Friday, October 30, 2009

Goodwill awards Sanibel teen with thrifty honor

Amy Burns reacts after learning she won Goodwill’s Thriftiest Shopper in Southwest Florida contest on Friday. She is pictured at the Sanibel Goodwill location.

Amy Burns face broke into a Christmas tree bright smile after walking into Goodwill on Friday and being greeted with a din of flashing lights and a crown as Goodwill administrators announced she is the winner of the Thriftiest Shopper in Southwest Florida contest.

Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida has spent the last four months hunting for the savviest thrift shopper around, as part of its "So You Think You're Thrifty" contest. More than 40 candidates entered the competition, and the field was narrowed down to four finalists in late August. The finalists received gift certificates for $100 to test their shopping mettle. After a month of online and in-store voting, Burns is the winner, according to a press report.

Burns, a Sanibel resident, hollered with glee and grinned like royalty - which in a way she is.

Kirsten O'Donnell, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, made the sense of of a regal moment come alive as she placed a silvery tiara upon Burns' head and gave her a bouquet of golden shaded flowers.

"Oh my goodness, I can't believe it," Burns said. "I think has not sunk in yet," she said as she scanned the crowd of smiling faces.

As winner Burns was given a $250 Goodwill gift certificate and the opportunity to appear in a Goodwill ad campaign, along with other prizes.

"What really impressed us about Amy is she's not the typical shopper," O'Donnell said. "She's young and stylish."

But aside from Burns savvy fashion sense, something else resonated with O'Donnell. She said she admired the fact that one of the primary reasons Burns shops at Goodwill is to help the environment by recycling clothes. She would frequently get pieces of clothes and turn them into beach bags or other goods.

"She finds a lot of thing she can reuse," O'Donnell said.

As winner Burns will participate in an upcoming Goodwill advertising campaign.

But what will she do with her gift certificate?

"I am going to shop with it," Burns said.

But she probably will be judicious in her shopping choices and not just grab everything she sees.

"Now I have a reputation to uphold," she said. "I have to be thrifty."

For other Thriftiest Shopper want-to-be's start stretching those shopping dollars and get ready because Goodwill plans on making the contest an annual event.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bailey Boys talk about island's past... just for the 'shell' of it

Bailey Boys talk about island's past... just for the 'shell' of it

At last week's special dinner at Twilight Cafe are, standing from left, Michael and Maureen Valiquette and Dan and Sharon Schuyler. Seated from left are Sam Bailey, Karen Bell and Francis Bailey.

In today's world, children groan with displeasure if forced to take the bus to school instead of carpooling with friends. Hard to say how they'd react to Sam Bailey's transportation challenges.

"Every Sunday evening, I took the ferry from Sanibel Island to Fort Myers so to attend Fort Myers High School. I stayed at a boarding house all week and took the ferry home on Friday evening so I could work in the store over the weekend," Sam reported as one of the guests of honor at a special dinner hosted by Robert Parks, owner and chef for the Twilight Caf.

The live auction at The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum's Annual Fundraiser, "Under The Sea," provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the highest bidder: dinner with the Bailey Brothers at the Twilight Caf.

The bidding war that ensued prompted the auctioneer to ask for permission to offer two such experiences. Last Tuesday evening, museum board member Dan Schuyler and his wife Sharon, Mike and Maureen Valiquette and Karen Bell lived out the dream evening and took a walk back in time with Sam and Francis Bailey.

Something was different about the ambiance of this charming, dimly lit table for eight. There was a palpable sense of awe, respect, reverence and genuine interest. Sam and Francis didn't seem to mind the questions fired from every side of the table.

"As a child, I dreamed of leaving the island and was sure I'd never come back... but things change," explained Sam.

"While we were growing up, there were many Cuban fishermen hanging around the island, looking for a good catch. Our Dad would invite them over to spend time with our family," Francis reported.

When asked what one thing had the most significant impact on the island, in unison both Baileys answered with conviction: "The bridge."

"I voted against it" said Francis, who quickly added, "I still would today. But if there has to be a bridge, I'm glad we have the beautiful one we have now."

In 1926, a quarter century years before hurricanes were named, what became known as THE Hurricane - or "The Big Blow" - hit South Florida.

"During the summer, we rented a house in North Carolina," said Sam. "We hadn't returned to Sanibel yet in September when the storm hit."

The banter and laugher accelerated when Karen asked Sam if he knew... but before she could utter the name, Sam said, "If she was good-looking and lived on the island I knew her."

Bell let it slip that she always thought Sam was the oldest, but to recover quickly added, "and the best looking!" Then, in a true conciliatory spirit, hoping that the aging process resulted in hearing loss, told Francis she thought he was the best looking.

Although there may have been differences of opinion on certain subjects discussed as the group lingered over a delicious meal, they were all there for the "shell" of it - to share their time and treasure with The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum.

Home sales climb in metro area - September sales 77% hike over total for '08

Home sales climb in metro area

September sales a 77 percent hike over total for ’08
Sales of single-family homes are increasing. The sale of this home in southeast Cape Coral is pending.

Cape Coral’s two-year housing crisis may be coming to an end, according to a September report of home sales from Florida Realtors and the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. The Fort Myers-Cape Coral metropolitan area had 1,321 home sales in September, a 77 percent increase from September 2008 when 746 homes were sold. These dramatic numbers were likely spurred by a median home price of $89,700. “It is very bright news as we enter the winter season, our strongest selling season,” said Gloria Tate, a member of the Cape Coral City Council and a Realtor. “We are expecting a brisk selling season.” Figures from Cape Coral led many others statewide in home sales, including Fort Lauderdale at 800, Sarasota-Bradenton at 781 and Miami at 619. On the other hand, three metro areas had greater sales than Fort Myers-Cape Coral, including Jacksonville with 1,127, Orlando with 2,247 and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater with 2,410. Tate said Fort Myers-Cape Coral is on its way to recovery because lower home prices are allowing people to be homeowners who never had a chance before, and they come from a number of different professions. “Police, firemen, teachers and those people who in the long run weren’t able to buy in the Cape,” she said. “But now the average homeowner can more than afford a home in Cape Coral.” Home prices in September were down 37 percent from September 2008 when the average home was priced at $141,400. Of course, home prices are slowing getting higher, Tate said. “There are all new kinds of financing opportunities, it’s never been a better time to buy,” she said. Short sales have become a trend in the real estate industry, Tate said, with many homeowners being financially forced into a short sales, while others choose to walk away even though they have the money to afford the home. Cushman & Wakefield Executive Director Gary Tasman is “encouraged” by the numbers. He said the increase in home sales has been the greatest since officials began keeping local records. “It’s going to be the foundation in which the economic recovery is built,” Tasman said. “This is what we need to see happen to lead the commercial recovery out of its doldrums.” The city also has many commercial properties that are vacant. Landlords and property managers have been offering businesses rent-free commercial space until they generate a profit. Tasman said today’s market is a mix between investors and first-time buyers, and the inventory of vacant homes is decreasing at a rapid rate. “It’s going down at a faster than expected rate,” he said. In the meantime, residents, local businesses and Realtors are all hoping that the local economy reaches some semblance of normality. Tate said it will take awhile for the market to correct itself. “But, we have a lot of people moving here from all different walks of life and areas of the country,” she said. “There is a marketplace for the investor, but there also happens to be people wanting to live here.” Tasman added that many foreclosures are still waiting in the pipeline and could delay economic improvement.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Image of roseate spoonbill tops submissions for 2009 'Ding' Days Amateur Nature Photo Contest

Joe Mikus' image of a roseate spoonbill was declared the first place winner in the 2009 'Ding' Darling Days Amateur Nature Photography Contest.
On Saturday, "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) announced the winners of its annual "Ding" Darling Days Amateur Nature Photography Contest at a special Conservation Through Art Day presentation at the Refuge Education Center.

On Oct. 2, judges selected 12 winners from 108 entries. First place went to Joe Mikus from Winchester, Va. for his moody portrait of a single roseate spoonbill looking at the camera with wings extended.

Miguel Hnatow of Sanibel Island took second place with an image of a bobcat mid-step. In third place was Michael Dougherty from Clarkston, Mich. with his snowy egret photograph capturing the bird landing on a branch.

The three winners will receive cash awards from DDWS at a special presentation on Oct. 24. The winning artwork and other entries will be on display in the Refuge Education Center through the end of May.

DDWS Director Terry Baldwin coordinated the contest. Judges included Supervisory Park Ranger Toni Westland and photographers Dick Fortune and Don Parsons. West Wind Inn sponsored the contest.

To view the other top-ranking entries, visit and click on "Photos."

Entries earning honorable mentions (in alphabetical order) included David Drachman of Concord, Mass. (Snowy Egret); Ginny Campbell Darmouth of Devon, England (White Pelican); Bill Fischer of Hinsdale, Ill. (White Pelicans); Leslie Hastings of St. James City, Fla. (Raccoon); John P. Hawkins of Cape Coral (Roseate Spoonbill); George Hoch of Fort Myers (Roseate Spoonbill); Ken LaValley of Lake Worth, Fla. (Horseshoe Crabs); Rick Shultz of Cape Coral (Great Blue Heron); and Don Thompson of Indianapolis, Ind. (Raccoon).

"Ding" Darling Days 2009 was hosted by DDWS, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Tarpon Bay Explorers. Local sponsors include Doc Ford's Sanibel Rum Bar & Grille, Times of the Islands, 'Tween Waters Inn, Bailey's General Store, Caloosa Tent & Rental, Edison National Bank, Jerry's Foods of Sanibel, John Grey Painting, Ocean's Reach, Royal Shell Vacations, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, Sanibel Captiva Trust Co.. Shop On Sanibel, a division of R.L.R. Investments L.L.C., Jim and Patty Sprankle, The Timbers Restaurant & Fish Market, West Wind Inn, Billy's Rentals and Billy's Bikes Blind Pass Condominium Vacation Rentals, In-Home Therapy of Sanibel/Island Therapy Center, Lily & Company, Rotary Club of Sanibel-Captiva, Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club, Suncatcher's Dream, The Clem Werner Family, Barefoot Charley's Painting, Casa Ybel Resort, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP), Dan Hahn Custom Builders, Chip and Sheryl Lesch, Lighthouse Caf, Over Easy Caf, Sanibel Arms West, Wendy and George Schnapp, Sotheby's International Realty, Winston and Barbara Spurgeon, She Sells Sea Shells, Traders Store & Caf and Twilight Caf.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Farmers Market to open for season Nov. 1

 Fresh produce from a variety of growers will be available at the Sanibel Island Farmers Market.

The Sanibel Island's Farmer's Market will be open for business on Sunday, Nov. 1.

The Farmer's Market will be held Sunday mornings from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Tahitian Gardens shopping center off of Periwinkle Way.

Last season - the farmer's market drew crowds with its variety of vendors and friendly atmosphere. It was the inaugural run for the market.

Jean Baer and Betsy Ventura, co-founders and market managers, expect a great season this year.

"We'll be expanding some," Baer said. "We're super excited."

Aside from the returning vendors, customers can expect some additional growers and vendors carrying homemade sausage, soup and packaged nuts.

Islanders can nosh on treats such as kettle corn, strawberry shortcake, cheeses and streudels.

Myra Roberts, a Sanibel resident and artist, is looking forward to getting fresh locally grown produce at the Farmer's Market. Roberts and her family grow a garden and strive to eat organic, local fruits and veggies. She and her family work had at not doing anything that will increase their carbon footprint such as using gas to shop far off island or buying food grown thousands of miles away.

"All the communities that have farmer's markets are progressive communities that are concerned about people's health and well being." Roberts said. "I was very excited to learn that the the community O live in is part of the healthy food movement in this country which makes food part of our sustainable life style."In the end were helping the environment."

There will be food for the pooches as well. Bark Street and Edy's Bakery are returning to serve the community's four-legged friends.

This year, the Sanibel Island's Farmer's Market is partnering with BIG ARTS to show a movie called "Fresh," a documentary about how we produce food and celebrates the farmers who do the work. It's a call to action to eating fresh, healthy food. To learn more visit

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Second Annual 'Celebrate Sanibel!' features island gatherings

The Second Annual Celebrate Sanibel! kicks off on Sunday, Nov. 8 with free festivities at the Sanibel Community House and culminates Friday, Nov. 13 with a Historic Beach Buffet at Thistle Lodge.

Kristie Anders, education director at Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), will address Sanibel Island from a historic and natural heritage perspective as Sunday's keynote speaker. City Planning Director James Jordan will talk about Sanibel, in both present and future tense.

Various island clubs will be on hand that day to disseminate information about their services while attendees enjoy free refreshments and can enter a drawing for a pair of six-foot Jamaica dogwood trees, compliments of SCCF.

Highlights during the week will include:

Free admission to "Ding" Darling Refuge on Monday, Nov. 9, plus a free guided tram tour with Refuge Manager Paul Tritaik

C.R.O.W. Open House on Tuesday, Nov. 10

American Legion cookout on Wednesday, Nov. 11

Screening of "Sandbars To Sanibel: Pioneering An Island" at BIG Arts on Thursday, Nov. 12

F.I.S.H. Open House on Friday, Nov. 13

Special historic exhibits at Sanibel Public Library

25 percent discounts on select tours for Sanibel residents at Tarpon Bay Explorers

Sanibel Beautification tours

Free talks at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and Sanibel Historical Museum & Village

To celebrate its historic role in Sanibel Island's history, Thistle Lodge will reprise its once-popular family beach buffets on Friday, Nov. 13 from noon to 2 p.m., featuring historic recipes. Cost is $14.95 per person.

The Committee of the Islands, Sanibel Community Association, Sanibel Historical Museum & Village and the Sanibel Public Library are co-partners for "Celebrate Sanibel!," a week of community festivities to commemorate our island's past, showcase its present and envision the future.

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit or email

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Halloween celebration at the Sanibel Recreation Center on Oct 29th and 30th.

The Sanibel Recreation Center is hosting “Fun Days” on Thursday, October 29th and Friday, October 30th, for youth in Kindergarten through Eighth gradefrom 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“Games, Ghouls and Gourds” Fun Days at the Sanibel Recreation Center Thursday, October 29th and Friday, October 30th

The Sanibel Recreation Center is hosting “Fun Days” on Thursday, October 29th and Friday, October 30th, for youth in Kindergarten through Eighth grade from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Extended care from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. is available. The cost for Fun Days per child is $20 per day for members and $25 per day for non-members. Please register in advance at the Sanibel Recreation Center and to find out more information on Extended Care.

The theme is “Games, Ghouls and Gourds,” and a crop full of fun fall games and activities are planned. Attendees will also learn ghoulish new ways (non-carving) to decorate a pumpkin this fall season. Fun Days include time in the gym and pool, so bring a swimsuit and towel. Each child also brings their own lunch. Light snacks will be served.

For more information contact the Sanibel Recreation Center at (239) 472-0345. The Sanibel Recreation Center is located at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Road. Daily, weekly, semi-annual and annual memberships are available. For more information call the Sanibel Recreation Center at (239) 472-0345 or visit our web site at .

City of Sanibel Island Seniors of Sanibel Prepare for Annual Bazaar Saturday, November 21

City of Sanibel Island Seniors of Sanibel Prepare for Annual Bazaar Saturday, November 21

Members of the City of Sanibel Island Seniors Program are currently preparing for their annual Holiday Bazaar, which will be held Saturday, November 21, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Civic Center located at 2401 Library Way.

Members of the City of Sanibel Island Seniors Program are currently preparing for their annual Holiday Bazaar, which will be held Saturday, November 21, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Civic Center located at 2401 Library Way.

The Island Seniors of Sanibel partner with the City of Sanibel to offer programming for all Sanibel citizens. A copy of the Island Seniors Newsletters and Calendar are available by clicking here Island Seniors Program .

The Sanibel Seniors’ Center is located at 2401 Library Way. For more information regarding Senior Programs, please call the Island Seniors’ Center at (239) 472-5743.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New policies, features at the Sanibel Public Library

The Sanibel Public Library welcomes all of our patrons returning from their summer away and invites new visitors as well. While you were away, we have been thinking of ways to make your wonderful library even better!

We have extended the loan policy. You may now take out a total of 30 items:
10 current new books
10 magazines
10 videos (any format)
10 audios (any format)
All materials may be checked out for two weeks. All videos (any format) may be checked out for one week.

Also, you may place up to 10 items on hold at any time.

The Large Type Book Collection has been expanded, with an addition of about 100 new books to the collection. Featured authors include Louis L'Amour, Fern Michaels, JD Robb, David Baldacci and Iris Johansen.

The Computer Area has expanded printing capabilities. A wireless print station has been added for our laptop users. We also have implemented the capability to print for our Mac users. Photo printing is now available for a nominal fee of $1 per page, for photo printing on photo paper right from your memory stick or USB. We are also offering hands-on computer workshops this season, so watch the local papers for more details.

In addition, the Children's Area has expanded the Early Literacy Station, which now has two interactive stations available for the kids. Be sure to check out the newly remodeled dollhouse - courtesy of Joelene Black - while you are there.

We can't wait to see you!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ding’ Days celebrates 20 years of conservation

Ding’ Days celebrates 20 years of conservation

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of “Ding” Darling Days, the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge has added a special day devoted to the legacy of conservation art started by refuge namesake, Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist and original Duck Stamp artist, Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling. Although Darling earned his living as an editorial cartoonist, which were published in more than 150 newspapers across the country, his passion was teaching the wise use of the world’s natural resources. Skilled in public speaking, articulate in writing, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner devoted his special talents to conservation education and to developing programs and institutions which would benefit wildlife. The National Wildlife Federation, the Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit Program and the Federal Duck Stamp Program all owe their early existence to Darling’s forceful leadership and conservation ethic. Darling also designed the Blue Goose logo, the national symbol of the refuge system. Rachel Carson, author of “Silent Spring,” scientist and chief editor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1932 through 1952, wrote of the emblem, “Wherever you meet this sign, respect it. It means that the land behind the sign has been dedicated by the American people to preserving, for themselves and their children, as much of our native wildlife as can be retained along with our modern civilization.” According to The J.N. “Ding” Darling Foundation, the Norwood, Michigan native created his superb wildlife drawings as a diversion from the intensity of his profession. In these drawings, he was able to express his appreciation of nature in a medium far different from his editorial cartooning. Although he has been recognized as perhaps the most masterful of artists at depicting birds in flight, he did not sell his etchings. Only those that met his demanding standards were given to friends and family. These few existing etchings are now avidly sought by collectors for their excellence and their rarity. Conservation Through Art Day will bring the weeklong “Ding” Days 2009 to a close at the refuge on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. The presentation and stamp signing by the current Federal Duck Stamp Artist will be moved from Family Fun Day to the art day event this year. The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Artist and Florida Junior Duck Stamp contest winner will also join him. Family Fun Day on Sunday kicked off the week’s festivities. Admission to Wildlife Drive is free to everyone on Oct. 24, and free to hikers and bikers on Oct. 23. The days between Family Fun Day and Conservation Through Art Day are filled with free biking and birding tours and discounted kayaking and boat excursions through Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge’s recreation concession. “‘Ding’ Days is part of National Wildlife Refuge week when refuges around the country encourage people to get outdoors and experience their refuges,” said Toni Westland, “Ding” Days committee co-chair. “Ding” Darling Days 2009 sponsors include Doc Ford’s Sanibel Rum Bar & Grille, Times of the Islands, ‘Tween Waters Inn, Bailey’s General Store, Caloosa Tent & Rental, Edison National Bank, Jerry’s Foods of Sanibel, John Grey Painting, Ocean’s Reach, Royal Shell Vacations, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, Sanibel Captiva Trust Co., Shop On Sanibel, a division of R.L.R. Investments L.L.C., Jim and Patty Sprankle, The Timbers Restaurant & Fish Market and West Wind Inn. Additional sponsors include Billy’s Rentals and Billy’s Bikes Blind Pass Condominium Vacation Rentals, In-Home Therapy of Sanibel/Island Therapy Center, Lily & Company, Rotary Club of Sanibel-Captiva, Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club, Suncatcher’s Dream, The Clem Werner Family, Barefoot Charley’s Painting, Casa Ybel Resort, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP), Dan Hahn Custom Builders, Chip and Sheryl Lesch, Lighthouse Cafe, Over Easy Cafe, Sanibel Arms West, Wendy and George Schnapp, Sotheby’s International Realty, Winston and Barbara Spurgeon, She Sells Sea Shells, Traders Store & Cafe and Twilight Cafe. For more information about “Ding” Darling Days, log on to

Friday, October 16, 2009

Darling Wildlife Refuge celebrates its 20th Annual "Ding" Darling Days.

Forget about the couch and TV.

Think fresh air and fun outside.

Over the next week, raccoons, birds, trees and all things connected to nature will have top billing on the islands as the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Refuge celebrates its 20th Annual "Ding" Darling Days.

In an effort to encourage families to have fun together outdoors as well as highlight the importance of wildlife refuges the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Refuge is sponsoring its 20th annual "Ding" Darling Days.

"Ding" Darling Days birding and eco-festival celebrates the birthday of J.N. "Ding" Darling - the national Wildlife Refuge's namesake and father of the federal duck stamp program, the week of Oct. 18-24.

Toni Westland, a supervisor park ranger for "Ding" said the event draws thousands of people each year.

"Our biggest thing is to get families out together," Westland said.

This year's 20th annual event kicks off at the refuge on Sunday, Oct. 18, with Family Fun Day, featuring free activities such as narrated refuge tram tours, live wildlife presentations, hot dogs, kids nature crafts, a touch tank and butterfly house, and more.

"You can't beat that, especially in our economic times," Westland said referring to the free events and food.

The events are planned to engage and educate the entire family about nature and refuges. National refuges are recognized during October.

During Family Fun Day children will get a chance to pose as different animals in a yoga program, check out different snakes and reptiles presented by the Calusa Herpetological Society.

"We need to educate people about the purposes of reptiles," Westland said.

Education will be a key component of the entire "Ding" Days week.

Other animals folks will get a chance to see are gopher tortoises, black vultures and alligators.

Black vultures?

"There nature's cleaning crew," Westland said. "They serve a really good purpose."

Among the events children will get a to doodle their own wildlife sketches and have a chance to get a caricature.

Aside from nature, "Ding" is working to promote art and creativity among the youth.

Westland points out that the sketching and crafts programs during "ding" Days is a great perk for kids who do not have little or no art programs in their schools.

"I think art is really forgotten," Westland said. "We cannot lose that creative outlet for our children."

Jean Rankin, a longtime volunteer at "Ding" encourages everyone to come out and have a good time this week.

"It's a great learning experience for the whole family," Rankin said.

Rankin who will be working at the information booth said she looks forward to watching children's faces light up during the different interactive events.

"I like seeing the families and groups come out together," she said.
The Duck Stamp Artist presentation this year moves to Saturday's Conservation Through Art Day, which also includes kids nature art and writing activities with free nature journals. On Saturday, Oct. 24 children will also have an opportunity to learn how to create a nature nook with children's author Marianne Berkes.

Throughout the week, festival-goers can go to free biking and birding tours, take advantage of discounted kayaking and nature boat excursions, and sit in on free nature deck talks at Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge's official recreation concession.

But whether you decide to take advantage of the free and discounted tours and nature adventures or participate in the art, animal and many other demonstrations and events - just do it together is the word from "Ding".

"Let's go outside," Westland said.

For a full "Ding" Darling Days schedule, visit, or call 239-472-1100, ext. 226.

CROW transfers wildlife patients to new hospital

In a well-orchestrated move 150 wildlife patients were placed in cages and carriers and transferred to Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc. (CROW) new hospital this week.

Staff are elated with the roomier, more efficient clinic. Though the clinic was built and finished several months ago, CROW had to wait to get their Certificate of Occupancy in order to move. But after getting the CO in place a few weeks ago the staff has been working hard to transfer wildlife patients and medical equipment to the new state-of-the-art building.

One by one reptiles, mammals including baby squirrels and birds were carefully moved in carriers and cages to their new patient quarters.

"It's very exciting," said Dr. PJ Deitschel, Clinic Director and Staff Veterinarian for the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc. (CROW). "It's definitely time to move on."

The old clinic which will be torn down leaving more space on the grounds served as the CROW wildlife hospital for 25 years, Deitschel said.

But transferring patients and sensitive equipment and machinery is not an overnight process. The wildlife had to be transferred during their regular treatment times as to not disturb their daily routine or handle them more than usual. One of the keys to rehabilitating wildlife is to have as little human contact with them as possible so that they may heal and return to living successful animal lives in their habitats.

"A lot of planning went into this whole transition from design to occupancy," Deitschel said.

An increase in patient load has resulted in CROW building the new wildlife hospital.

CROW treats more than 4,000 wildlife patients a year. Deitschel said she expects the staff to treat about 3 to 400 patients more this year than in 2008. That's an estimated five to 10 percent increase. The increased patient load is attributed to trauma, including getting hit by cars or boats, injuries involved with fishing and orphaned animals. A greater loss of habitat contributes to human and animal interaction which in most cases helps cause the injuries to wildlife. Deitschel said 90 to 95 percent of most wildlife cases have to do with human/animal interaction.

The clinic will allow more space for wildlife and to better meet their individual needs.
And since the clinic staff prescribe to more hands-on and integrated western and eastern medicines, fancy, expensive medical machinery will not fill up the space in their clinic.

"We don't need a lot of bells and whistles," Deitschel said.

Though CROW has upgraded to a digital X-ray machine to get a better look at animals without handling them as much as the traditional X-ray machines required, the clinic staff does not want for often bulky, pricey diagnostic equipment.

Deitschel said they have a pretty full tool box, including well-trained clinicians who use their indepth training and senses to guide their care.

"Lots of equipment doesn't mean better treatment," Deitschel said. "Look at your patient, use all of your senses."

To get a look at life in the clinic, residents and visitors can go to CROW's new state-of-the-art Healing Winds Visitor Education Center and watch patients through interactive cameras. The Center located at 3883 San-Cap Road offers a look inside the world of wildlife medicine. Through exhibits, videos and interactive displays visitors will learn about the 300 species of reptiles, mammals and birds that have been treated at CROW over the past 40 years, the reason for their injuries and how humans can help. The adjoining J. Howard Wood Gift Shop offers all wildlife related items with 100 percent of the profits going toward patient care. For more information, call 395-0050 or visit online at

Thursday, October 15, 2009

6 Yoga Classes Starting October 19th, 2009 at Sanibel Recreation Center

Effective Monday, October 19, 2009, 6 Yoga classes a week will be included in Sanibel Recreation Center membership and no additional fee will be charged. Four of the classes will be held at the Recreation Center and two of the classes will be held at the Sanibel Seniors' Center.

Saturdays 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. at the Sanibel Recreation Center

Power Yoga is an athletic combination of strength challenges and flexibility training for a balanced yoga workout. The class flows through a series of standing postures and floor work, finishing with rejuvenating Savasana. Participants are encouraged to bring a mat, towel and water.

Mondays and Fridays 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. at the Sanibel Recreation Center

Hatha Flow Yoga is an all-level yoga class for students of any skill level. Safe poses along with modifications for different skill levels are demonstrated for a personalized experience within a group setting. Participants are encouraged to bring their own mats, a towel or blanket, and blocks (if needed).

Wednesdays 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. at the Sanibel Recreation Center

Sampoorna Yoga means the yoga of fullness. This class includes breathing exercises, warm up and strengthening exercises, followed by an intelligent flow of yoga postures that work on all the systems of the body. After a class experience participants will have increased vitality, flexibility, strength, and most of all, peace of mind. All experience levels are welcome and encouraged to bring a mat, towel and water.

Mondays and Wednesdays 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. at the Senior Center
Gentle Yoga is designed to stretch tone and strengthen the body, while increasing flexibility, proper alignment, circulation, and stress relief. Class includes energizing chair and mat postures with modifications to meet the needs of varying levels of fitness and experience. Participants are encouraged to bring a large towel or blanket.

The Sanibel Recreation Center is located at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Road. Daily, weekly, semi-annual and annual memberships are available. For more information call the Sanibel Recreation Center at (239) 472-0345 or visit our web site at

Planning a Family Vacation to Sanibel & Captiva, FL?

Welcome to Sunny Day on-line – a vacation guide to the Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Florida. Find detailed editorial listings that offer descriptions of numerous dining and shopping areas and attractions. Learn all about Sanibel and Captiva and what the areas have to offer – right here in our Sanibel Captiva Islands vacation guide.

There is much to see and do with the entire family on these gulf coast Florida islands. Rise early and watch the richest sunrise you have ever seen. Run your fingers and toes through white, powdery beaches, unmatched in beauty. Learn the Sanibel Stoop and see why the shelling is the best in the Western Hemisphere. Visit Sanibel’s wildlife refuges, find the finest restaurants, shops, galleries and boutiques. Go fishing on the Florida Gulf Coast or simply take it easy with a good book out by the pool. Unwind, relax and let the warmth of the Sanibel Captiva sun wash over you, filling you with the serenity of the islands.

Detailed descriptions of all there is to see and do on the Sanibel and Captiva Islands such as events, maps, and in-depth editorials about shelling, fishing, charter boats, birds of Sanibel, art galleries, theaters, biking, dolphins, manatees, and turtles are only a click away. Find all of this and more throughout this Sanibel Captiva Islands resort planning guide; let us help you plan your next family vacation.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Forecast is for a 'Lovely Night' at The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater

Forecast is for a 'Lovely Night' at The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater

"Lovely Night: The Music of Oscar Hammerstein"
Running Oct. 15 through Nov. 7
The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater

2200 Periwinkle Way

The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater will welcome back its legion of loyal patrons tonight, Oct. 15, in celebration of the opening of its 2009-10 season.

The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a delicious selection of hors d'oeuvres and beverages being served on the President's Patio. At 7 p.m., a dedication ceremony honoring the theater's past presidents - whom the new garden and patio are dedicated to - will take place.

Honorees include former theater leaders Keith Trowbridge, Steve Brown, Ginny Fleming, Art Cassell and Chuck Ketteman. Hosting the ceremony will be current Schoolhouse president Steve Klug.

Then, the Schoolhouse family will kick off the first show of the season - "Lovely Night" - at 8 p.m. Tickets for the Oct. 15 performance are sold out.

"Lovely Night" is a rousing tribute to the glorious music of Oscar Hammerstein II. This lively musical revue stars five actors, all of which will be making their Sanibel debuts: Amanda Hunt, Pamela McKenna, Joshua Noble, Kevin Rose and Elizabeth Urbanczyk. Credits among them include "The Fantasticks," "The Music Man," "Godspell," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and "Footloose."

Also debuting tonight will be The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater's numerous other renovations completed over the summer, including new carpeting throughout the lobby and theater, a new lobby bar, exterior and interior paint, some additional stage lighting equipment and upgraded landscaping throughout the property.

"Lovely Night," sponsored by Henderson Franklin, Attorneys at Law, will run through Nov. 7. The remainder of the 2009-10 season schedule includes:

"Plaza Suite" by Neil Simon - Sponsored by Bank Of The Islands and Royal Shell Vacations, this play offers one of Simon's most hilarious works based upon the trials and tribulations of relationships. Running Nov. 12 through Dec. 5

"Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)" - Sponsored by Brian Johnson VIP Realty and Pinocchio's Original Italian Ice Cream, the production features a trio of actors performing a side-splitting rendition of every Christmas tale, guaranteed to be an evening of holiday merriment and laughter. A play written by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald and John K. Alvarez. Running Dec. 15 through 31

"Unnecessary Farce" - Sponsored by 'Tween Waters Inn, this comedic farce from Paul Slade Smith follows two inexperienced police officers who try to catch the mayor in an embezzlement scandal. Too bad that everything that could go wrong actually does! Running Jan. 14 through Feb. 6

"Fly Me To The Moon: A Tribute to The Rat Pack" - Sponsored by Lily & Co. and the Bell & Beggs Team, this musical revue features the unforgettable music made famous by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Running Feb. 18 through March 20

"Something's Afoot" - Sponsored by Congress Jewelers, this British musical farce by James McDonald, David Vos and Robert Gerlach offers a colorful assortment of characters thrown together in a murder mystery... where everybody is a suspect! Running March 25 through April 24

All performances begin at 8 p.m.

The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater is located at 2200 Periwinkle Way. Call the Box Office at 472-6862 or check out their Web site at and sign up for their "green" newsletters.

Sanibel & Captiva Luminary Festival - December 4th and 5th

Sanibel & Captiva Luminary Festival - December 4th and 5th

The Chamber is proud to host its 25th annual Luminary Festival on Sanibel and Captiva Islands Friday, December 4th, on Sanibel and Saturday December 5th, on Captiva. Luminary Festival is a community-wide holiday event that brings together residents, visitors, businesses and organizations, promoting goodwill and community spirit. Some of our visitors make early hotel reservations especially for the event.

As you "travel the trail", look for the many fun places to stop and enjoy. There will be a tree lighting ceremony, complementary trolley service, Santa visits, photos with Santa, a live nativity scene, music and activities for the entire family.

Our goal is to offer recognition to island businesses and encourage local shopping while providing a fun-filled evening for family and friends. All chamber merchants are invited to participate and show off their creative decorated storefronts and host holiday celebrations at their center. If you would like more event information including programs to distribute at your business, please call 472-1966 to let us know.

Luminary candles kits are available at the Chamber for our members to display at their businesses along Periwinkle Way, Palm Ridge Road and Tarpon Bay Road.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Synonymous with Sanibel, the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is second only to the islands’ beaches in popularity with visitors. It is one of the most visited refuges in the country today, and it’s no wonder. Whether you hike, bike, paddle, boat or drive, the refuge’s bountiful wildlife will provide hours of joy to wildlife watchers. But don’t forget to stop in at the Education Center for fun, well-presented lessons on what surprises the refuge has in store.

Wildlife Drive is generally the first wildlife experience people have on Sanibel Island. The drive is actually set atop dikes created to assist with mosquito control. The road leads past tidal mud flats and mangrove forests. Here roseate spoonbills, white ibis, little blue herons, reddish egrets, brown pelicans and other colorful birds can be seen feeding, resting and preening. Low tide is the best time for watching birds in a frenzy of feeding.

Toward the end of the drive, a small tropical forest rises from atop an old Calusa Indian shell mound. There is a one-third mile walking trail around the shell mound itself. Just after the trailhead is Alligator Curve.

Across a small canal are afternoon basking spots frequented by gators in winter. Don’t let a sleeping alligator fool you, and don’t try to rouse it. Respect wild animals and give them safe distance.

The Center for Education at the refuge is definitely the place to start your trip. In the state-of-the-art exhibits, a tiny indigo bunting hides in a gumbo limbo tree; a baby alligator peers out from spartina and sawgrass; fiddler and horseshoe crabs are depicted rummaging around the mud flats under mangrove trees; a birders’ room is lined with a huge photographic mural of many of the common birds seen from Wildlife Drive.

Theodore Roosevelt declared a tiny pelican rookery the first National Wildlife Refuge in 1903. During the next 20 years, small rookeries were preserved throughout Southwest Florida. Pine Island, Matlacha, Island Bay and Caloosahatchee National Wildlife Refuges are some of the first rookery island sanctuaries for wading and water birds.

The Sanibel sanctuary story begins with editorial cartoonist Jay Norwood Darling. A frequent winter resident, Darling recognized the unique characteristics that defined the Sanibel-Captiva area. Many of his original sketches still hang on the walls of the Old Captiva House at ‘Tween Waters Inn, where Darling and his wife Penny frequently stayed.

In addition to being a cartoonist, Darling was an avid conservationist. His cartoons in the 1920s show his growing concern over dwindling gas supplies, soil erosion, piles of junked cars and clear-cutting original growth forests. He supported reforestation, habitat restoration and world peace. He understood the need for sound science to make good management decisions. He was instrumental in starting the Federal Duck Stamp Program, conceived the National Wildlife Federation and envisioned a network of refuges that supported birds on the migratory flyways. Darling also founded cooperative research and education training programs at land grant universities.

In 1945, it was efforts led by Darling that created a lease of land that would be known as the Sanibel Refuge. In 1948, the state legislature declared Sanibel and Captiva as Sanctuary Islands. Mr. Darling continued to influence the expansion of the refuge to the Bailey and Perry Tract and inspired others to become involved in the preservation of the Islands. In 1967, these lands became the Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

The refuge is second only to the beaches as an island attraction with 800,000 visitors annually. It is in the top ten most visited refuges in the nation. Tarpon Bay Explorers, a concessionaire to the refuge, provides tours with trained naturalists who will spot the wildlife for you and share fascinating information about all you will see. There are tram, electric boat and kayak tours through the refuge. People can also enjoy hiking, biking and boating on their own. Call 239-472-1351 or 239-472-8900.

Pine Island Sound is a great place to fish. The mud flats are banquets for long-legged and short-legged wading birds. The upland woods are a haven for songbirds and tropical migrants. The surf is combed by shorebirds darting in and out of the foam. Birds of prey glide overhead. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is minding the shore of this delightful haven.

The refuge’s face is always changing. Sunlight, tides and wind, minute by minute, influence the scenery and wildlife. In fact, residents will tell you the refuge never looks the same.

However you get there, however you explore, the refuge should not be missed as part of your island adventures.

The gate to Wildlife Drive generally opens one half hour after sunrise and closes one half hour before sunset. The drive is closed on Fridays. The Education Center is open 9-5 November through April and 9-4 in the summer.

The refuge has an entrance fee program that includes $5 per car and $1 per person for walkers and bikers. If someone in your car possesses a Golden Eagle, Golden Access or Golden Age Passport, the fees are covered. If you are making more than one visit, there are passes available. Tram tours are $13 per adult and $8 per child.

Visitors are advised to check in at the Education Center to watch an introductory video, interact with the exhibits, and get the latest information before embarking on the drive. Call 239-472-1100. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society, a non-profit “friends of the refuge” group, operates the engaging Center and its treasure-filled bookstore. To become a Friend of the Refuge, call the center or visit Members receive a 10% discount on bookstore items and Tarpon Bay Explorers tours.

The Tarpon Bay access is open 7 days a week. There is no entrance fee and costs vary depending on activity. Guided tours and rentals by boat, kayak, canoe and bike are all available. Call 239-472-8900.

Preserving Our Good Nature - Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation

Preserving Our Good Nature - Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation

The islands’ reputations are known worldwide for shelling, birding, fishing and striking beauty. Located where the temperate mingles with the tropical climate and fresh water mixes with the salty water of the Gulf of Mexico, Sanibel and Captiva Islands are ideally situated to create unexcelled habitat for aquatic and terrestrial life.

The land and sea are so strikingly beautiful, productive and bounteous, they captured the attention of conservationists long before most of the world became aware natural resources were finite.

In the 1930s the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Conservation Association was founded under the leadership of Jay Norwood Darling. The first formal protection came from the State of Florida in 1939. In the next few decades under Darling’s urging, the federal government began protecting lands, and the Sanibel refuge was established.
In 1967, the refuge was renamed to honor the memory of its first conservation hero, Mr. Darling. In that same year, the grass roots organizers incorporated as the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), dedicating themselves to the preservation of natural resources and wildlife habitat. Complementing the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s activities, the foundation began preserving precious freshwater wetlands, while the refuge purchased bayside mangrove habitat.

Lot by lot, acre by acre, SCCF has purchased and restored vegetation and habitat that began to disappear under pressure of development on these islands. Skilled habitat managers have studied the land and needs of wildlife, steadily influencing the preserved lands to provide a place for river otters, bobcats, gopher tortoises, great egrets and more.
Marine scientists conduct research and monitor the health of the waters that surround the islands. Educators help residents and visitors explore the islands and learn more about the world around them. A native plant nursery is available for gardeners to learn more about landscaping for wildlife.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Decorating Den announces $10,000 Dream Bedroom Makeover Sweepstakes

Decorating Den announces $10,000 Dream Bedroom Makeover Sweepstakes

"Decorating Den announces $10,000 Dream Bedroom Makeover Sweepstakes"

To mark the firm's 40-year anniversary, local Decorating Den owners Cliff Welles, ASID and Judy Underwood, Allied ASID, have announced the company's "Forty and Fabulous Dream Bedroom Makeover Sweepstakes. "

The grand prize winner will receive a professionally designed custom bedroom which includes:

A professional design plan with a Decorating Den designer

A professionally painted bedroom from CertaPro with designer-selected paint from Benjamin Moore

One 6' x 9' Nourisan area rug; custom window fashions from Hunter Douglas

Custom bedding and window products from Carole Fabrics

Selected lighting and accessories from Decorating Den Interiors.

To enter the sweepstakes, participants simply have to complete a short survey.

Welles and Underwood, veteran Decorating Den owners who recently purchased the Sanibel studio, view the sweepstakes as an opportunity to re-acquaint existing clients with the design firm's unique services, and to introduce the firm's complimentary in-home design consultations to local home and condo owners. Designs and makeovers will be provided to a local winner by one of five Decorating Den residential designers, all of whom have been servicing Sanibel and Captiva for an average of 10 years.

Homeowners can enter the Sweepstakes online at The winner will be selected from all entries received on or before Oct. 26.

Cindy Malczyski, Marcia Feeney, and Bridget Vandenburgh, all allied members of ASID, along with Jeanie Tinch and Kym Nader, both residential designers, comprise the Decorating Den team serving Sanibel and Captiva.

80 percent of flights on time at SW FLA airport

News from around the region80 percent of flights on time at SW Fla. airport, study finds
A study released by the Brookings Institution Thursday stated that Southwest Florida International Airport had a 80.9 percent rate for on-time arrival from January to August. “We certainly are pleased that we consistently run in the 80s. We work very closely with the airlines to give them the infrastructure to support their flights, so they can leave here on time,” Lee County Port Authority Public Relations Director Victoria Moreland said. She said that during 2008, between January and August, Southwest Florida International Airport had a 76.15 percent on-time arrival performance. According to the Brookings Institution, the nation’s airports are experiencing some of the largest arrival and departure delays in nearly a century. Since 2000, at least 15 percent of flights have been delayed by 15 minutes. “Our data shows that the air travel system has never been under so much stress,” Adie Tomer, a research analyst for the Metropolitan Policy Program and co-author of the report said in a prepared statement. “On-time performance has improved recently because the number of people flying is at its lowest point since 9/11; but as the economy bounces back, air passenger levels will grow, and on-time performance will likely resume its decline.” A prepared statement from the Brookings Air Travel stated, “The number of airline flights landing at least two hours late has more than doubled in the last two decades and is expected to rise as the economy recovers in the coming months.” The current national average for delayed flights is one hour. Southwest Florida International Airport had an average delayed arrival time of 50 minutes as of June. Moreland explained that the airport does not have any control over delayed flights due to the airlines scheduling the plane flights. A total of 6.6 percent was attributed to the National Aviation System of delays, which consists of approximately one-half due to weather driven delays and one-third contributed to pure volume, Moreland said. She explained that since fewer planes are flying this year the National Aviation System of delays is 8.9 percent. “We make sure we have facilities to handle people who come through the airport,” she said. Moreland added that Southwest Florida International Airport has the capability of providing an infrastructure to help passengers move through the airport to boarding the airplane as smoothly as possible. From 1990-2008, a strong economic growth has helped American airports increase their passenger and flight levels by more than 60 percent, according to the Brookings Institution. Since the current economic downturn, airports have felt a sustained reduction in passengers and flights since 2008. Moreland said Southwest Florida International Airport saw a 3.25 percent decrease from January to August in passenger traffic, with only 7 percent fewer flights. The Brookings Institution report is an analysis of air travel among metro areas, instead of individual airports. The report focuses on where travelers go and how often individuals are flying, along with tracking if flights take off and land on time.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hollywood coming to Sanibel!! Sandbars to Sanibel

Sanibel Island and Shelling

Sanibel Island Shelling & Beaches

Treasures from the sea....

Every March the "Annual Sanibel Fair and Show" is a delightful event to see the wonderful shell collections and shell art.

Sister island Captiva Island also displays an abundance of seashells on its beaches.

What fun to go shelling along the surf and beaches of Sanibel Island, unique in that it lies east and west, different than most islands which lie north and south, this direction allows Sanibel Island to catch abundant sea shells that the Gulf of Mexico brings to its shores. Sanibel Island is world renowned for its shells. People from all over the world come to collect and admire the colorful "Treasures From the Sea". You will find young and old with buckets, bags and nets shuffling long, stooping over, this stance has come to be know as "The Sanibel Stoop"

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sanibel Island

Have you ever. . .dreamed of being on a tropical island, your toes in the soft white sand, an expansive beach, swaying coconut palms, lush tropical foliage and beautiful crystal blue water. Imagine watching the pelicans and herons fish for their dinner, collecting "treasures from the sea," pastel colored seashells, while the sandpipers scurry along the surfs edge.

Sanibel Island has everything one could wish for...excellent restaurants, accommodations, golfing, tennis, fishing, boating, shopping, bike paths, canoes, theatrical productions, the renowned J.N. "Ding Darling" National Wildlife Refuge & Bird Sanctuary. Since 1884 Point Ybel Lighthouse has guided seafarers to Sanibel Island's shores.

Sanibel Island is world renowned for its shelling beaches and the "Sanibel Stoop". In the travel industry Sanibel Island is a top Florida destination for visitors. If you want a truly unforgettable family vacation, holiday, wedding, honeymoon, anniversary or get-away, this is the place to be. Visit Sanibel Island and do it all… or just lay back on the beach with the book you've been wanting to read or… just do absolutely nothing. All this is just a short ride from Fort Myers International Airport, Florida.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Baileyfest 2009 OCT 25 from 1 to 4p.m.

"Baileyfest 2009 offering $1,700 worth of prizes"

More than 40 different door prizes - valued at more than $1,700 - will be awarded at the 24th annual Baileyfest.

Baileyfest 2009 will be held on Sunday, Oct. 25 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Bailey's Center, located on the corner of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road.

All 14 merchants in the Bailey's Center Merchants' Association (BCMA) have donated prizes:

Bailey's General Store $100 gift card

Bailey's True Value Hardware $100 gift card

Biddles Bucket Four $25 gift certificates

The Grog Shop $100 case of wine

Nick's Frozen Yogurt $100 gift basket

Hillgate Communications $100 spa gift basket

Island Cleaners $100 gift package

Island Cinema 10 $10 gift certificates for concessions

Lily & Co. $495 jewelry set

Sanibel Barber Shop Four $25 gift certificates

Sanibel Beauty Salon $100 beauty gift basket

Sanibel Shell Automotive Four $25 gift certificates for parts or labor

Select Vacation Properties $100 BBQ gift basket

The Video Scene 12 double movie rental packages

In order to enter the drawings, individuals need to visit the 14 BCMA merchants through Friday, Oct. 23. Entries are limited to one per person at each merchant. Winners will be announced at Baileyfest, but do not need to be present to win.

The Baileyfest stage will run from 1 p.m. and feature acts from local performers such as The Schoolhouse Theatre, BIG Arts, Jennifer Valiquette (saxophone player), The Sanibel School Steel Drum Band, Ring of Emerald dancers and more.

The family-oriented event will include food and beverages, crowning of Baileyfest King and Queen, mule and wagon rides, a bounce house, dunk tank, inflatable slide, miniature golf, and traditional games, including an egg and spoon race, hula hoop contest, tin can alley and fastest pitch. All proceeds will benefit Sanibel and Captiva non-profit organizations such as CROW, F.I.S.H. and Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.

Monday, October 5, 2009

New Season at the Schoolhouse

New season at the Schoolhouse

Many improvements made to island's Herb Strauss Theater

Victor Legarreta, left, and Madison Mitchell stand on both sides of The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater's sign on Periwinkle Way, which promotes upcoming productions to passersby. The theater will raise the curtain on its 2009-10 season on Oct. 15.

As the folks at The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater prepare to raise the curtain on their 2009-10 season of comedic productions and musical revues, they are still putting a few finishing touches on improvements made during a very busy summer "off-season."

"We've made so many changes," said Victor Legarreta, artistic director for the historic Sanibel playhouse. "There's new carpeting, new paint, a new concession stand and we did a lot of work outside, too."

According to Madison Mitchell, the theater's marketing director, they have installed new carpeting throughout the building, installed dimmer lights inside the theater and a concession stand and bar in the main lobby. Above the stand, a new flatscreen television will promote upcoming productions as well as facility sponsors.

"The newest addition is the outdoor patio," explained Mitchell, making her way down the front stairs and walking to the east side of the building. "It's a really nice place that people will have to sit before or after a show."

A decorative white trellis is featured at the entrance to the patio, which winds along a red brick walkway to an area with shaded bench seating, an intimate spot which Mitchell explained will be officially dedicated to the past presidents of The Schoolhouse Theater - formerly known through its long history as the Pirate Playhouse, The Old Schoolhouse Theater, The J. Howard Wood Theater and The Periwinkle Playhouse.

On opening night for the 2009-10 season, which will be Thursday, Oct. 15, a dedication celebration will be held beginning at 6:30 p.m., with hors d'oeuvres and cocktails to follow at 7 p.m.

Among the other changes to the facility is new exterior paint and expanded landscaping throughout the parking lot, including painting all of the curbs pink.

"We're also attempting to go green a little more," added Mitchell. "We're doing away with our mailers and are asking people to go to our Web site - - for information about upcoming shows."

On the roster for the 2009-10 season at The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater are the following productions:

"Lovely Night: The Music of Oscar Hammerstein" - Sponsored by Henderson Franklin, Attorneys at Law, this will be a rousing tribute to the music of Oscar Hammerstein II, a composer of some 850 songs including "Getting To Know You," "The Sound of Music," "Ol Man River" and ""Oklahoma!" Running Oct. 15 through Nov. 7

"Plaza Suite" by Neil Simon - Sponsored by Bank Of The Islands and Royal Shell Vacations, this play offers one of Simon's most hilarious works based upon the trials and tribulations of relationships. Running Nov. 12 through Dec. 5

"Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)" - Sponsored by Brian Johnson VIP Realty and Pinocchio's Original Italian Ice Cream, the production features a trio of actors performing a side-splitting rendition of every Christmas tale, guaranteed to be an evening of holiday merriment and laughter. A play written by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald and John K. Alvarez. Running Dec. 15 through 31

"Unnecessary Farce" - Sponsored by 'Tween Waters Inn, this comedic farce from Paul Slade Smith follows two inexperienced police officers who try to catch the mayor in an embezzlement scandal. Too bad that everything that could go wrong actually does! Running Jan. 14 through Feb. 6

"Fly Me To The Moon: A Tribute to The Rat Pack" - Sponsored by Lily & Co. and the Bell & Beggs Team, this musical revue features the unforgettable music made famous by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Running Feb. 18 through March 20

"Something's Afoot" - Sponsored by Congress Jewelers, this British musical farce by James McDonald, David Vos and Robert Gerlach offers a colorful assortment of characters thrown together in a murder mystery... where everybody is a suspect! Running March 25 through April 24
All performances begin at 8 p.m.
With only two weeks remaining until their first production hits the stage, Mitchell and Legarreta are both equally excited to begin the season.

"It's definitely been a very productive summer, to say the least," said Mitchell, who pointed out that she is most looking forward to staging "Plaza Suite" in November.
"I'm going to be in it," she explained with a laugh. "Actually, I'm really looking forward to opening night so we can show off everything that's new and refurbished."
Legarreta added that he's excited to see the Florida debuts of "Unnecessary Farce" and "Something's Afoot."

"We'll have some of the popular people who have played here returning," he noted, explaining of the latter, "It's a murder mystery musical. A very big cast. It's kinda like 'Clue' but with a British twist... and singing!"

To purchase tickets or for more information about The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater, visit the box office at 2200 Periwinkle Way, call 472-6862 or go to their Web site at

Flu Season is here

Flu season is here

Inoculations recommended

Flu Facts What is Influenza (also called flu)? The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is by getting a seasonal flu vaccination each year. Every year in the United States, on average 5 to 20 percent of the population gets the flu; more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications; and about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes. Some people, such as older people, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), are at increased risk for serious complications from seasonal flu illness. This flu season, scientists believe that a new and very different flu virus (called novel 2009 H1N1) may cause a lot more people to get sick than during a regular flu season. It also may cause more hospital stays and deaths than regular seasonal flu. More information about the new H1N1 flu is available here. Symptoms of Flu Symptoms of seasonal flu include: fever (often high), headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches. Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults. Some people who have been infected with the new H1N1 flu virus have reported diarrhea and vomiting. When to Get Vaccinated Against Seasonal Flu Yearly seasonal flu vaccination should begin in September, or as soon as the seasonal flu vaccine is available, and continue throughout the flu season into December, January, and beyond. This is because the timing and duration of flu seasons vary. While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time seasonal flu activity peaks in January or later. Information about when to get vaccinated with the new H1N1 flu vaccine can be found here. Source:

Even though H1N1 has garnered much of the public attention surrounding vaccinations this year, health experts are stressing that everyone should still get a shot of the seasonal flu vaccine. The seasonal influenza vaccine is currently available in clinics and drug stores across Lee County. Each year doctors predict what the seasonal strain will look like and synthesize a vaccine that prevents those injected from contracting the often deadly flu. Anna Vann, president of the Visiting Nurses Association of Southwest Florida, said 36,000 people die each year from the seasonal flu. An additional 220,000 are hospitalized each year. “It’s not a benign illness,” she said. “The CDC (Centers for Disease Controls) recommends that everyone get a seasonal flu shot this year.” The injection is administered in two ways: the traditional shot where it is injected into the muscle and another where the vaccine is sprayed into the nose. Vann said that a person getting over the flu is more likely to catch other strains, including H1N1, because they have a weakened immune system. “The problem is that you don’t want people getting sick with seasonal flu and then getting better but having a weakened immune system,” she said. “When you fight off regular flu it makes your immune system work harder.” The pneumonia shot is another vaccine that should be considered by people over the age of 65, as well as those with chronic diseases and smokers. Pneumonia is an infection or inflammation of the lungs, and smokers have a higher risk of developing this type of infection. According to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 60,000 Americans die from pneumonia each year. Furthermore, the CDC reported that 30 percent of all H1N1-related deaths were in people who also had pneumonia. Flu and pneumonia shots are offered by the Visiting Nurses Association ( for $25 and $45, respectively. There are 16 vaccination sites offered by the VNA in Cape Coral. The Lee County Health Department is also providing the community with flu shots. They are free to children, ages 6 months to 18 years, and $25 for anyone over the age of 19 — only cash or checks are accepted. Flu vaccinations are free to anyone with Medicare Part D, and they must bring their Medicare card with them to the health department, she said. Jennifer James-Mesloh, spokesperson for the health department, said most people get their shots through an employer or local drug store. But the department will have clinics and will open local high schools as vaccination sites. Last year, the health department administered 5,172 flu vaccines to various age groups, while this year that number is due to increase dramatically. The health department also released its action plan for administering the H1N1 vaccine as soon as its available in mid-October. Small supplies of the vaccine — specifically a flu mist for children — will be shipped to county health departments as early as next week. At this time the county health department hasn’t received the H1N1 vaccines, said James-Mesloh, but the county has already filled out its order to the state. Once it arrives the department plans to vaccinate 190,000 people in four months – one health department worker can administer 25 vaccines per hour. “The best we can understand is that they are coming from the state and all county health departments have submitted orders and state will ship them,” she said. The health department also is seeking volunteers to help with the H1N1 vaccinations process. Approximately 2,000 volunteers are needed — both medically and non-medically trained — which is equivalent to the relief effort from Hurricane Charley. To sign up as a volunteer, call United Way’s 211 or log on to the county health department’s Web site at

Saturday, October 3, 2009

St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church Noah’s Ark Thrift Shop serves community bargains, camaraderie

 In the Biblical account of the story of Noah's Ark, God protected and nurtured Noah, his family and animals from a global flood.

The story line is not too much different at St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church Noah's Ark Thrift Shop - except for the menagerie of animals. The thrift shop draws countless residents and visitors from around the world who seek the warmth and camaraderie offered in the little ark-like building.

 And those waiting to go back to Noah's Ark - which has been closed for a month and a half of cleaning and remodeling - can get their shopping bags out because the shop will be reopening today at 9:30 a.m. When Noah's Ark reopens in October it will be open on Tuesdays and Fridays only until they reopen fully for season on Nov. 1.

  The non-profit thrift shop which carries gently used and in many cases new designer clothing, furniture and household goods is a mecca for those looking for deals and for socializing.

 The about a quarter of a century shop caters to the well-heeled looking for an incredible find, the struggling trying to make ends meet and to those just looking for a friendly face.

 "It's an institution," said Betty Modys, a volunteer at Noah's Ark. "We're almost like a meeting place."

 At least 70 seemingly tireless volunteers work throughout the week to organize, sort, stock and inventory items donated to Noah's Ark.

 The new inventory is filled with spectacular deals and finds, including an $80 Michael Kors top for $8, Mikasa dinnerware, a Robb & Stuckey chair for $75, Waterford dishes and a carved duck by Tom Ahern for $150. The piece would typically go for $450, according to Noah's Ark staff. And for holiday enthusiasts there is a huge inventory of Halloween costumes and decorations as well as Autumnal and Thanksgiving adornments. There is even a fiber optic plush turkey.

 "There's plenty of stuff to open up with," Modys said. "We have some really good stuff. There's enough Halloween stuff to have the biggest party."

 But as volunteers scampered through the immaculate shop making last minute preparations and hanging clothes, a sense of joy and reverie was palpable.

 Sue Scutakes smiled as she steamed shirts to be put on racks. She said she is looking forward to getting to know all of the customers that will be coming to the shop as well as the regulars.

 Lynn Kern is one of the regulars. She gets a gleam in her eye when she thinks about her favorite shopping haunt.

 "It's the thrill," she said. "Shopping there is a shopping event. I don't know here you can get so much for so little."
She often buys toys and games for her grandchildren when they are visiting and then donates the stuff back when they leave.
 "It's very green," she said.

Kern marvels at how hard the staff work to keep Noah's Ark afloat. Kern, a volunteer at the island human care agency FISH notes how many people depend on getting affordable household items. And for some Noah's Ark becomes a means for social interaction - away to chase the blues of loneliness away.

 "They are so much to so many people," Kern said.

 But the store is more than a store where pleasantries are exchanged and deals are made.

 "It's a ministry," Modys said.

 Modys and the other volunteers are members of the St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church. Giving back and being of service to others is a main tenet of their Christian faith.

 Last year the thrift shop helped organizations such as: Brightest Horizons, Community Housing Resources, Fort Myers Soup Kitchen, F.I.S.H., Girls Making it on Purpose, Habitat for Humanity, Hope Hospice, Southwest Florida Addiction Services, and Quality Life.

And since much of the inventory that is sold comes from estates donated by families, volunteers encourage family members to continue bequeathing the donations when a loved one passes away.
 "It's difficult to do," Modys said. "At least you know it's going to a good place."
Receipts are giving to people who make donations.
Ample free parking is available on the church property. For more information about the store, call 472-3356.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Island Cinema

Island Cinema,

We love the Island Cinema

Sanibel Island Cinema, Sanibel Island Entertainment

Yes! The Island Cinema is back open!!! After a brief break over the slow month, the Island Cinema is back with a bang! Go to for more movie info, like the show times for “500 Days Of Summer”, “Inglourious Basterds” and “The Informant!”. Or you can check out our calender for times and other things to do around the Island Cinema before or after your show!



Entertainment - Live on the Islands

Ellington's Jazz Club and Restaurant has live jazz seven nights a week from 7 to 11pm at its new location at 1244 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel phone 337 5299

Biddles Buckets entertainment line up is: Tuesday, karaoke: Wed, David Barbar, Thursday Robby Hutto and the absent-minded band. Friday, Karaoke: and Saturday, Steve Reynolds. Biddles Bucket is at 2499 Periwinkle Way. 472 2323

The Crow's Nest at 'Tween Waters Inn, Captiva, has live entertainment Fridays and Saturdays starting at 9pm.

RC Otter's  11506 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva, has live music daily with dining inside and outside.

Keylime Bistro on Captiva features live entertainment seven days and nights each week.

McT's Shrimp House and Tavern's entertainer on Friday and Saturday nights is Ira Wilkes.

The Jacaranda, 1223 Periwinkle Way, has entertainment nightly from 8pm to midnight.

The Island Cow's live entertainment is from 6 to 9:30pm nightly. The line-up: Monday, Dan Confrey; Tuesday, Jeff Key: Wednesday, Ken Wasiniak Thursday, Diana Lynn: Friday, Greg Watts: Saturday, Diana Lynn: and Sunday, Ken Wasiniak.

Doc Ford's Fort Myers Beach Rum Bar and Grille at 708 Fisherman's Wharf, Fort Myers Beach, has entertainment most Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday Afternoon and evening.

Sunshine Seafood Cafe at 8750 Gladioulus Drive Fort Myers has live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights Featuring Jazz and Relaxing Dining entertainment.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum

The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum

Kayaking at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Kayaking at J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

The second annual Islands FallFest breezes into town September through November. This fun-for-all event celebrates the area's tropical charm, natural wonders and distinctive coastal culture. From sand-sculpting competitions and nature festivals to crowd-pleasing food and music events, there's sure to be plenty of fun, bargains and beautiful weather.

Ding Darling Days

Ding Darling Days

Edison & Ford Holiday Nights 2009

Edison & Ford Holiday Nights 2009

December 11, 2009 - January 2, 2010

Fort Myers, Florida(September 30, 2009) - With a theme of Favorite Things, Edison & Ford Holiday Nights at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is a 34 year tradition attracting visitors from all over the nation to see millions of lights and decorations throughout the riverside homes and gardens of the famous families.

This year there are many new surprises and the return of the successful favorites making this a 'must do' for families, residents, visitors and groups. The Edison & Ford Winter Estates is a National Register Historic Site and has just completed more than $12 million in award winning restoration to the historic Edison and Ford buildings, and historic gardens. In fact, the project won the top award for restoration from the National Trust for Historic Preservation this year because of its attention to restoration detail and authenticity. Just recently the Estates is adding a new outdoor lighting system for an additional $500,000.

The historic site prides itself on recreating the holiday tradition in the days of the Edison and Ford families and their hundreds of visitors. The historic buildings, porches, interior rooms and the gardens are all seasonally decorated. This year, there is a new spin - the lights will be brilliantly colored which was the fashion and original design of the 1920's. The lights are a combination of tiny bright lights, new LED varieties and antique light displays from the collections of the Estates and museums as far away as the Schenectady Museum in upstate New York (home of GE who manufactured the lights). The site has also added areas with projected laser light star fields (Edison would have enjoyed this contemporary spin!).

Some of the old favorites and new additions for December 2009 include:

* Millions of colored lights throughout the site which includes nine historic buildings and unique structures such as the1910 above ground swimming pool and teahouse

* Favorite Things theme for the antique, replica and designer decorations

* Projected laser light star fields in the trees

* Live performance holiday music nightly in the Estates Heritage Garden by groups (free to the public)

* Children's Holiday Tree Trail created by schools throughout Lee County

* Holiday music throughout the gardens

* Riverside Lights Café open nightly offering beverages and light foods for purchase overlooking the beautiful riverside property

* Estates Museum and the Edison Botanic Research Lab will be open nightly with new exhibits and hundreds of artifacts as well as the Estates Museum Store

* Historic Edison Creative Cottage open for the holidays with spectacular work for purchase by regional artists, authors and chefs

* Holiday Cottage Shoppe open on the Ford Estate for wonderful gift items including tree ornaments, cards, books, jams and jellies, clothing and art work - including decorator holiday shirts by Leoma Lovegrove

* Garden Shoppe open for purchase of Edison heritage plants and trees, flowering plants and new this year, hanging herb baskets which will be featured decorations throughout the historic site as well

* Special Holiday Party to kick off the season at the gloriously decorated homes and gardens of the Estates on December 10 from 6 PM - 9 PM. A spectacular evening with food and drinks by the river; live music; Creative Cottage artists and authors available to personalize gifts; photos with Santa, Thomas Edison & Henry Ford; special silent auction of wreaths. Members $50, non members $60

* The Twenty One Wreaths of Holiday Nights, auction featuring designers/artists who will create a holiday wreath reflecting their unique design signature. Wreaths will be auctioned off to the highest bidder at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Holiday Party on December 10

Timbers Restaurant and Fish Market 31st Anniversary - Wow!

Prawnbroker Restaurant Group Tomorrow starts the celebration of the Timbers Restaurant and Fish Market 31st anniversary. Select dinners will be priced 2 for $31.00. Look for details for ORIGINAL pricing later in October!

"Midwest Airlines announces new route"

 "Midwest Airlines announces new route"

Earlier this week, the Lee County Port Authority announced that Midwest Airlines will start nonstop service to Kansas City (MCI) from Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) on Dec. 17.

The flight arrives from MCI at 10 a.m. and departs from RSW at 10:30 a.m. and will be operated on a 76-seat Embraer 170 aircraft, featuring 2-by-2 all-leather seating.

This will be the second nonstop destination offered by Midwest to/from Southwest Florida International Airport. The airline currently offers seasonal daily nonstop service from Fort Myers to Milwaukee (MKE).

For more information, visit

Noah's Ark to reopen Oct. 2

Noah’s Ark to reopen Oct. 2

October 2, 2009 @ 9:30 AM

Noah’s Ark Thrift Shop will be closed for the remainder of August through September. They will reopen Friday, Oct. 2 and continue their summer hours (Tuesday and Friday 9:30-12:30) through the end of October. Noah's Ark is located to the rear of the church at 2304 Periwinkle Way. Ample free parking is available on the church property.

BIG Arts makes a big move

BIG Arts makes a big move

Gallery and gift shop ready to debut on Periwinkle Way

The folks at BIG Arts, in an effort to gain a more visible presence on Sanibel, have made a dramatic more that will undoubtedly increase awareness of the group from both an artistic and retail-driven perspective.

The organization, whose mission is to provide quality cultural and educational experiences to the residents and visitors of Sanibel, Captiva and neighboring communities, recently announced the opening of its second location - a gift shop and gallery located at 2244 Periwinkle Way, near The Sanibel Bean.

"We're pleased to have more retail and office space," BIG Arts Executive Director Lee Ellen Harder said. "Our new location will also have more workshop classrooms and meeting rooms, which allows us to further our mission to provide cultural and educational experiences to the community."

The BIG Arts on Periwinkle Gallery and Gift Shop will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. They will offer customers a variety of art, jewelry and gift items, many created by local artists including Myra Roberts, Muffy Clark Gill, Michael Pohlman, Alicia Schmidt and Helen Ketteman.

One of many local artists represented at the shop is Eve Lynch, who creates glass mosiac calaveras (skulls) to celebrate El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead).

"The Day of the Dead is a Mexican celebration in which people remember and celebrate their loved ones that have departed." she said. "I have always been envious of cultures that can use color with abandon. It is this that attracted me to this holiday. I have found that stained glass is the perfect medium to express my affinity for the sugar skulls and catrina skeletons of El Dia de los Muertos."

Lynch also creates colorful shoe sculptures, jewelry and mosaics in glass.

Cathy Paus, director of marketing for BIG Arts, explained that the organization had outgrown their office space at their main campus, located at 900 Dunlop Road. The new location provides more than 2,000 square feet of space, which includes two meeting rooms, a classroom, offices as well as the gallery and gift shop.

"This gives us a lot more space and a lot more room to continue our work," she said.

Scheduled to officially open on Thursday, Oct. 1, BIG Arts on Periwinkle Gallery and Gift Shop sells original artwork of all mediums, shapes and sizes. While most of the items offered for sale are priced under $200, hand-painted ornaments can be purchased for around $12 while a Myra Roberts painting is priced at $6,000.

Maureen Tesoro, who also works at the new location, is very pleased with the appearance of their freshly painted and decorated digs.

"I'm happy that we have lots of windows," she said with a laugh. "We were so packed in at the other space that we had to move boxes around to let people in."

Receptionist and resident artist Lisa Gould added, "I enjoy the closeness to the other BIG Arts space, plus the convenience of being on Periwinkle."

To celebrate the opening of the gallery and gift shop, a ribbon cutting has been scheduled in cooperation with the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Nov. 26.

The phone number for BIG Arts on Periwinkle Gallery and Gift Shop is 472-9700. For further information about exhibits, information about upcoming events at BIG Arts, to purchase tickets, sign up for workshops or become a member, call the main facility at 395-0900, e-mail or log on to

Sanibel Fishing Pier reopened following repairs

"Sanibel Fishing Pier reopened following repairs"

Work has now been completed on the City Fishing Pier Repair Project and, as of Wednesday, Sept. 30, the pier is reopened. We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced while this important public improvement project was under way.