Saturday, November 28, 2009

Q&A with island singer, songwriter Danny Morgan

Danny Morgan doing what he loves best - singing to his fans.

Danny Morgan is like the island version of the Pied Piper. He seems to draw crowds with his gift of song where ever he plays.

Where did you grow up?

Kentucky is where I started growing up but to be honest I haven't completed the process yet.

What brought you to Sanibel?

A great friend from Cinti was playing at South Seas Plantation went to NYC to make a record for Atlantic, he called me to come fill in and he didn't come back all season so that started my love affair with the islands.

What were you doing before coming to Sanibel?

Playing music around the USA

What do you
appreciate most about living on Sanibel?

Walking the beach, the weather and the great community of interesting people.

Word on the island is that you are a singer. What kind of music do you play?

Wide variety from current pop to the "Great American Songbook" standards.

Our band plays all styles but the island style is the most popular. Many songs I have written are about island life, we play many of those.

What's your favorite style of music?

I love all music, but rap and hip hop don't come up on my radar much.

Do you have a favorite song?

Different songs for different moods. When I am painting paintings I love to listen to gypsy jazz (Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelly. Livingston Taylor has some great new songs, love Michel Legrand songs.

How long have you been a performer?

I had my first band making money at 10-years-old and it seems like I have been playing for 100 years.

What other musicians have you performed with?

I have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of musicians some famous some not, among the not so famous my current band is fantastic, and a few of the famous include the Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffet, Barry Manilow, Joe Cocker, Bo Didley and Livingston Taylor.

What inspires you most about being a singer?

The journey to be better, it is never ending.

Can you describe your fans?

Fantastic! Fun, an interesting mix of ages and walks of life.

Where can people see you perform?

Traders, Captiva Cruises and Casa Ybel poolside, the rest is private parties and weddings.

What do you do for fun when you are not performing?

Painter by education and I love to paint. Being outside doing anything.

What is your family life like?

I am married to Amy and have two barking dogs and a crazy cat, but other than that pretty quiet.
What are your long/short-term goals?

Short term a new CD mixing my Kentucky roots with my current island perspective. New paintings. Long term - always striving to be a better person to other people.

What is one thing about yourself that people would be

surprised to learn about you?

That I majored in Fine Art and not music

You seem to be relaxed and happy with life. What is your secret to happiness?

Happy wife, happy life. Great long friendships. I love my work and
feel totally blessed to live and work on these incredible islands.

Lily’s to sponsor community Holiday Celebration on Saturday, Nov. 28

Lily & Co. Jewelers Holiday Celebration

The event is free, but guests are requested to bring a small unwrapped gift for a child

When people have something to celebrate, they tend get a bottle of champagne and clink some glasses of bubbly.
But not if you are Dan Schuyler and Karen Bell.

Not that the two business partners don't believe in toasting to good fortune and success. They just prefer to share their bliss with the entire community.

It is in this tradition of goodwill that Schuyler and Bell, co-owners of Lily & Co. Jewelers, have decided to put on a Holiday Celebration for the island community on Saturday, Nov. 28 from 5 to 9 p.m.

Lily & Co. will celebrate its third anniversary with an Island Appreciation event and the grand opening of the store's new wing.

The event will feature food, wine, art and musical entertainment by Andre and Soli. Valet parking will be provided. Free dance lessons by the Fred Astaire Dance School will be available as well, Schuyler said.

Guests are also invited to enter a special drawing to win an item of jewelry valued at $2,000. Tickets are $1 for one or $5 for six and will be available in advance. Guests are requested to bring an unwrapped gift appropriate for a child. Drawing proceeds and gifts will benefit Friends Who Care.

"This is a celebration," Schuyler said. "We want people to have fun, relax."

Three years ago, Bell, a Sanibel-Captiva Realtor, and Schuyler, a jeweler with 28 years of experience, opened the doors to Lily & Co. Jewelers, at 520 Tarpon Bay Road on Sanibel.

Schuyler and Bell brought with them the store's mascots and greeters Lily, a Labradoodle, owned by Bell and Gracie and Angel, two frolicking yellow labs belonging to Schuyler. The pooches have helped shape Lily's into a friendly award-winning jewelry store that gets packed with customers.

Their success over the past three years have led two expansions, the latest being an entire wing.

The new wing to be celebrated at the event now gives the store 3,000 square feet to operate with, Schuyler said. Within the new space are more showcases and wall units. The additional space allows Lily's to carry high end designer men's rings - some even made with dinosaur bones, hand-blown glass and sailor's valentines.

Some history about the building

This is the second Lily's has expanded since opening in 2006.

Lily's store is considered an historic building. It is listed on the National Historic Registry, said Sanibel Historical Museum and Village President Alex Werner.

Lily's store is the former Schoolhouse for Colored Children, Werner said.

And before that the building used to house the island's first Baptist Church in the early 1900's. The Baptist Church sold the building to the Lee County School District to be used for black American children when their sharecropper families moved to Sanibel. The Sanibel Historical Museum will use a grant to place signs denoting the former Schoolhouse for Colored Children in the near future, Werner said.
So Schuyler and Bell are elated to have received the blessing from the city and island patriarch Sam Bailey of the Historical Preservation Committee to build the new wing.
Schuyler and Bell work to preserve their shop's rich history.

At one time, the building once floated after the hurricane of 1926 blew through the islands. The building sits an angle instead of facing the street, Schuyler said. He also noted pulleys in the building's attic. The pulleys were once used to pull bells in an earlier part of the building's existence.

"I love the history about our building," Schuyler said.

Aside from being The Schoolhouse for Colored Children and a Baptist Church, the building used to be the Towers Gallery, a bank and - more recently - an orthopedic shoe store before becoming Lily's, Werner said. A vault was constructed in the building along with a drive-through window for the bank. The drive-through window was removed about a month ago.

Business sparkles through gloomy economy

Through an unstable economy over the past couple of years, the island jewelers not only survived but thrived.

"We are just in awe," Schuyler said. "I don't know how to put it in words. We
have been blessed from the folks on Sanibel and Captiva."

Schuyler attributes their success to the comfy feel of the store and its staff along with a supportive community.

Over the past few years, customers have come to Lily's to look for engagement rings, blingy mementos of time well spent on the islands and special remembrances. One customer, Carolyn McClaine ordered a custom-made more-than $30,000 ring in loving memory of her four rescue dogs.

"It really has been built by the people of Captiva and Sanibel," he said. "It's their store."

Leading community supporter

Aside from being a treasured jewelry shop, Lily's has served the community by hosting fundraisers for many of the local charities and non-profit organizations.

"We can support the people in need through our store," Schuyler said. "That

continues to be our vision."

Throughout the year, Lily's sponsors community events and parties that benefit that always benefit someone in need. Residents and visitors tend to be eager to head over to the events which can involve anything from dogs, Elvis

impersonators, Easter rabbits, hidden diamonds and dunk tanks.

Meet designers, check out couture jewelry

Aside from the fun and games at the celebration, guests will have an opportunity to meet with some of the designers that create the artisan jewelry at Lily's.

World-renowned couture jewelry designers Charles Krypell and Lecil Henderson will be at the event.

A native New Yorker, first generation jewelry designer Charles Krypell majored in sculpture, which can be seen in the jewelry he designs today. He creates one-of-a-kind colored diamond pieces and boasts a sterling collection.
Lily & Co. is a full-service jeweler, offering services from jewelry repair and
restoration, watch repair and battery replacement, engraving services, bead and pearl re-stringing, pewter and holloware repair as well as appraisal services.

Lily & Co.'s P3 - or Positively Precious Program - enables them to purchase previously worn jewelry, stones, and fine stemware from customers for liquidation purposes.

Store hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about Lily & Co., call 472-2888 or visit

During a candid moment, Schuyler and Bell chuckled and shook their head about their jewelry business which has turned into a community hub filled with Elvis impersonators, diamond-filled Easter egg hunts and of course
tail-wagging pooches that greet customers.

"We've done so much in a short amount of time," Schuyler said. "And it's been fun."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Captiva among latest addition to Beach Town Poster series - Perfect Christmas present!!!

Captiva and Sanibel are the latest additions to renowned artist Aurelio Grisanty's art deco Beach Town Posters series and are now available for purchase at South Seas Island resort.

Grisanty says he draws the inspiration for his Beach Town Posters series, depicting landmark U.S. beach towns, from French beach posters of the 1920s and '30s, similar to the ones that had adorned his grandparents' beach home during his childhood.

"Captiva has been always mentioned to me by friends that have been there and fell in love with the island. I wondered how it was and it turned out to be very similar in feeling to the beach of my childhood in the Dominican Republic. We used to have a lighthouse there, on an island, a few miles from shore. I don't know if it is still there but Captiva sure reminded me of it, bringing beautiful memories back," Grisanty said.

"The open beaches, in such a natural state, pulls me out of the web of civilization to a world long past. Feelings I had from childhood summers all came back to me," he said.

A painter, graphic designer and U.S. government-decreed Exceptional Individual of International Renown, Grisanty first designed his retro, 1930s and '40s inspired travel posters simply for his own enjoyment, but as the popularity of Beach Town Posters grew, so did customer requests for Grisanty to commemorate their favorite beach towns.

"Four summers ago, Aurelio came into my shop, the Blue Room Gallery in Bethany Beach, Del. Neither of us had met before but we immediately felt a connection. The energy of my shop was just the style Aurelio was looking for to sell his new poster of Bethany Beach he designed. I agreed, that indeed, he had found the right spot. The few poster designs he offered, Rehoboth Beach Kite, Dewey Beach and Bethany Beach, flew out the door all summer long," said Clare Conley of Beach Town Posters.

By the fall, Conley and Grisanty had developed a business relationship in addition to a strong friendship.

Conley says she told Grisanty that he could easily sell his posters up and down the east cost.

"There are so many cool beach towns. He said, 'Yes, I've thought about extending the collection, but know I would need help in marketing them.' I said 'I can be that person.' We shook hands, named our business Beach Town Posters and three years later have 57 designs with fans all over the country," Conley said.

Grisanty's Beach Town Poster series now represents 57 vacation spots.

The Sanibel Island poster features the iconic Sanibel lighthouse and a windsurfer with a colorful sail, while the Captiva poster features a jumping dolphin, palm fronds and a well-known coastal fish house.

"I love the look of Aurelio's posters; the bold colors and Art Deco style and the nostalgia they provoke. They are a way for people to connect to happy times at the beach. They are a collectable series. That is something that you don't see in the art-world often. It's exciting for our customers when Aurelio releases a new designs. The response is amazing," Conley said.

But Conley says that the poster series aren't just fun to collect - they're an essential when it comes to home decor.

"Decorating with Beach Town Posters is fun too. Customers are designing beach-themed rooms, choosing posters of all of their favorite beach towns and hanging them in groupings of three over a couch, or several in a row on a large wall or over a mantel. With the daily stresses of life, the posters remind owners of more relaxing times," Conley said.

And South Seas Island Resort's director of retail David Levine agrees.

"South Seas Island Resort is an iconic travel destination synonymous with the Captiva experience," said Levine.

"It is natural that we would offer art that reflects Captiva's rich history since our resort has been such an intrinsic part of the island's past."

Posters can be purchased at several retail outlets at South Seas, including the Captiva Provision Company in Chadwick's Square and South Seas Island Outfitters in the Yacht Harbour Marina.

To view more of Aurelio Grisanty's Beach Town Poster series, visit

Sanibel Yoga opens in Town Center Plaza

Sanibel Yoga opens in Town Center Plaza

Dr. Susan Pataky is proud to announce the opening of Sanibel Yoga, a holistic educational center for the body, mind and soul and the only yoga studio on Sanibel.

Located in the Town Center Plaza at 2496 Palm Ridge Road, Sanibel Yoga offers authentic traditional lineage styles of Yoga, Pilates, QiGong, Pranayama and Meditation.
In addition to daily classes and great workshops at their studio, Sanibel Yoga's instructors, who are all required to hold a minimum of 200 hours of formal training, will come to your home, resort or office and will even provide instruction for private groups on the beach.

Dr. Pataky, owner of Sanibel Yoga and Soulstice, was originally certified in 1979 in the Sivananda yoga style. Her continuing education spans the decades and encompasses numerous yogic traditions. Dr. Pataky holds a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine. She is an active board member with the Florida Naturopathic Physicians Association (FNPA), a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) and a proud member of the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce. Her journey began in Fairfield County, Conn. more than 40 years ago. She now calls Southwest Florida her home where residents and visitors of Sanibel and Captiva have come to know and love her assortment of holistic offerings.

Whether you need special care of already have a strong yoga practice, Sanibel Yoga classes are instructional and will accommodate any stage of your journey.

For further information or a class schedule, please visit or You can also reach Dr. Pataky via e-mail at or by phone at 239-738-3856.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

December library programs explore the wonders of winter

December library programs explore the wonders of winter

Library associate Naomi Pastor shows off just one of the many winter-themed titles and craft projects — a paper plate snowman— for the upcoming holiday children’s programs at the Captiva Memorial Library.
In celebration of the upcoming holiday season, the Captiva Memorial Library will be hosting two special, family-friendly programs featuring lots of stories and wonderfully wintry themes.

First up on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 3 p.m., is "Winter Wonderland," where attendees can enjoy stories, poems and songs that are all about winter.

In addition, guests will get to make their own snowmen to take with them.

"On Dec. 5 we're going to have a 'Winter Wonderland.' We're going to read some snow stories, including 'The Snowman Pop-up Book' and other books like 'Danny's First Snow.' I've got a mixture of books that will appeal to children in pre-school and on up through elementary," said library associate Naomi Pastor.

After the reading portion of the event, attendees will get to make a special craft while they listen to songs about the holidays and, of course, snow!

"They'll get to make a snowman out of paper plates," Pastor said.

On Saturday, Dec. 19, at 3 p.m., the library will host "Happy December Holidays!" where guests will hear holiday stories and songs as they make hug cards.

"This one will cover all the December holidays - Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and of course, Christmas," Pastor said, listing holiday Hanukkah tales about latkes "Dream Snow" by Eric Carle as some of the stories attendees will here.

"We celebrate diversity here at the library," Pastor said.

After the holiday stories, Pastor said the children will get to listen and sing a long to holiday music and make "hug cards" - a greeting card that represents a child with arms that open wide to reveal a special saying inside the card.
For more information about a program or to register, please call the 472-2133.

"They're welcome to register, but we're not overbooked, so just come on out!" Pastor said.

The Captiva Memorial Library is located at 11560 Chapin Lane.


"Island firemen donating all calendar proceeds to charity"

Island firemen donating all calendar proceeds to charity

Some of the Sanibel Fire Rescue District firemen who posed in the inaugural calendar for 2010, which is currently on sale across the island. All of the proceeds from the sale of these calendars will be split between two charities, CROW and March Of Dimes.

Throw away those wish lists and forget about buying your loved ones a mini-laptop or hand-held entertainment device. The hottest gift to give this holiday season may be the 2010 Sanibel Fire Rescue District calendar.

Packed with 13 months worth of the island's bravest, bare-chested firefighters, the idea to produce a calendar - with 100 percent of the proceeds going to charity - came from John DeMaria, a firefighter/EMT stationed on Sanibel for the past two years.

"When we started the project in January, most of us wanted to lose some weight and get in shape before we took the pictures," he said. "We all worked together to do it. I lost between 15 and 20 pounds. When you see somebody eating right or exercising, that's a great motivator."

Between the beginning of 2009 and June, the firefighters - who "moonlighted" as models - lost 273 pounds collectively. The top individual weigh loss was 44 pounds, achieved by Capt. Tom Tracy.

"I think I've put on about 10 pounds since then," Tracy said with a laugh. "But I know I'm gonna be in much better shape when we do next year's calendar."

According to Training Officer Tim Barrett, the photo shoot for the calendar took place at various island locations over two days. The photography, completed Luis Alfonso - DeMaria's father-in-law - features images of the firefighters at Station #1, at the Sanibel Lighthouse, the City Boat Ramp and the Sanibel Fishing Pier.

"I was the last one to sign up, so I think that's why they put me on the first page," said Barrett, who appears as Mr. December 2009. "I'm glad we all lost weight because I knew there were gonna be a lot of my family, friends and strangers looking at it."

Ron Ritchie, who dropped 32 pounds before posing as Mr. September, stated that he was most proud of being the oldest - at age 52 - beefcake model amongst the group.

"I just had to show these young bucks how it's done," said Ritchie, who wanted to appear in September as a tribute to firefighters lost on 9/11.

"We all made a commitment to get into shape for this. We kinda broke down those macho barriers and helped each other out," noted Tim Hanahan, Mr. July. "I hope the calendar is going to be a great benefit to the organizations we're supporting."

Last Thursday, eight of the 13 firemen sat down to partake in what has become one of their favorite tasks: signing autographs. Since the calendar was released two weeks ago, requests to have each man affix their signature to their photograph have been coming in at a steady pace.

"We got about 20 orders in today. Every day we get about three or four," added Barrett, who estimated that calendar sales thus far have raised more than $3,000 for charity.

"Every penny of it goes to CROW and March Of Dimes," said Chris "Action" Jackson, who appears in August. "And we're splitting it evenly - 50/50."

DeMaria said that next year, the district will select different island charities to support through calendar sales. As for who will appear in the 2011 edition, nobody knows who will want to model again... or for the first time.

"It was a lot of fun," explained John Murray, Mr. November. "We were all playing around during the photo shoot. It was great for camaraderie."

The 2010 Sanibel Fire Rescue District calendar is on sale for $10 each, and available at Fire Station #1 (2351 Palm Ridge Road) as well as at Bank Of The Islands, Bailey's General Store and Barrier Island Title. The firefighters will autograph the calendars for free upon request; stop by in person or call 472-5525 to make arrangements.

"It's been a great experience," said John Reitenbach, Mr. June. "I did my photo shoot at the Fishing Pier. There were a lot of onlookers... some ladies that were fishing that day got a real kick out of it."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Twilight Café’s 2nd Annual Breakfast With Santa to benefit The Boys and Girls Club of Lee County

Twilight Café’s 2nd Annual Breakfast With Santa to benefit The Boys and Girls Club of Lee County

Twilight Caf invites you to join Santa Claus and his helpers - Minnie Mouse and Winnie The Pooh - for a special Breakfast Buffet on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 9 to 11 a.m.

Twilight Caf is collecting new, unwrapped toys for donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Lee County now through Christmas Day. To continue this giving spirit, buffet attendees who bring a toy will receive one free child's meal per adult per gift.

The Breakfast Buffet will feature everyone's favorites such as eggs, bacon, sausage, Eggs Benedict, French Toast and potatoes. Twilight Caf's regular menu will also be available. Price is $15.95 for adults and $9.95 for children, unless a toy is donated.

Twilight Cafe is located at 2761 West Gulf Drive. Call 472-8818 for more information. Space is limited and reservations are suggested. Don't forget to bring your camera!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"LCEC explains massive Sanibel and Captiva power outage"

LCEC explains massive Sanibel and Captiva power outage

Power has been restored to all customers on Sanibel and Captiva following an outage that occurred over the weekend.

On Saturday at approximately 10 p.m., an insulator on a LCEC power line failed. An insulator is a device used to isolate conductors (wires) from the distribution pole that support them. When kept intact, insulators also maintain proper distance between the various conductors in an electric line.

When the insulator failed (the nature of this failure is still being investigated) the conductor that it supported came into close proximity with one or more of the other conductors. This initiated an electric arc (or a flash) from one conductor to another. The arc is an electrical breakdown of the air between the two conductors. The ionized air can conduct extremely high currents of electricity causing a short circuit (or a fault).

Normally, protective devices located upstream of fault will detect the event and operate equipment to de-energize (or isolate) the short circuit. This will prevent or minimize any damage to equipment. Unfortunately, in this occurrence, the upstream protective device did not operate properly (this is being analyzed by LCEC personnel).

Standard LCEC engineering practice includes the installation of a back-up protective device that in this case operated to de-energize the line. Unfortunately this did not occur before damage to LCEC's electrical facilities had taken place.

LCEC crews, contract crews, supervisors and system operations employees worked through the night tirelessly to restore power. By 1 a.m. on Sunday, approximately 2,500 customers on Sanibel were restored. At 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, an additional 600 customers on Captiva were restored and by 7:50 p.m., all customers were restored.

All repairs have been made with the exception of a small portion of damaged underground line. Crews were able to rebuild this portion of line overhead in order to restore power in a timely manner. LCEC will continue to work to repair the underground line which typically takes longer to repair.

LCEC appreciates the patience of our customers during this event and we applaud the workers who were committed to the job until power was restored.

For more information on electrical safety, visit

Source: LCEC

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Sanibel Masters Art Festival will be held November 27th and 28th, 2009.

The Sanibel Masters Art Festival will be held November 27th and 28th, 2009.

Check the map to the right for driving directions just fill in your location and it will give you a map and directions right on the page. Click the printer Icon above and it will print out the info.

On November 18th, 2008 Sanibel Island was again named one of the “the best destinations in the world” in Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s 21st Annual Readers’ Choice Awards competition, earning a spot on the Top 10 North America Islands list.

This is one of the reasons why we will be displaying the works of 70 of the most interesting and unique artists gathered in one of the finest locations in one of Florida's most picturesque communities.The Sanibel Fall Art Festival promises to be Sanibel Islands Premier Art Event. The festival features the finest artists, gourmet food booths, and live entertainment.

On Friday we will have Mr. Ken Rose with his acoustic guitar playing from 11AM-2PM and on Saturday The BIG ARTS Chorus Directed by Steven Cramer will be performing a sampling of their Holiday Event.

Parking Areas are available along Periwinkle Drive and at the Library on Dunlop adjacent to the event. Parking areas will be well marked and we will have parking attendants to assist you. We will have a full shuttle service available. Handicap and parking for anyone who needs assistance will be available at the festival entrance.

You can spend the day in style walking along art-lined pathways. Take a moment to relax and mingle in one of our many display areas. Choose from dozens of food items and have the opportunity to meet and get to know each artist.

Proceeds from the event will go toward the programs at The Schoolhouse Theater on Sanibel.

The Schoolhouse Theater is Sanibel Island’s ONLY professional musical theater and offers Broadway caliber talent in an intimate atmosphere. The Schoolhouse Theater is proud to offer the best family oriented entertainment in one of the worlds most beautiful vacation destinations.

A great event in a spectacular location for one of the areas finest community organizations
Contact us if you have any questions.
Visit our Sponsors and Community Organizations by Clicking the image below

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lily & Co. Jewelers to celebrate third anniversary next weekend

Luminary celebration to include Porsche and Tag Heuer

Lily & Co. will enhance the island Luminary event with a special display from Tag Heuer watches and accessories and Porsche of Naples from 5 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 4 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5.

Representatives from Tag Heuer will be displaying the new Porsche inspired timepiece, the Tag Heuer Calivre RS. Porsche of Naples will also be bringing a number of cars to display. Guests are invited to enter a special drawing to win limited edition Tag Heuer watch. Tickets are $1 for 1 or $5 for 6 and will be available in advance.

Join the Bailey's Center Merchants Association for a tree-lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m., in front of Bailey's with a complimentary champagne toast. Guests can meet Santa Claus and enjoy caroling from the Fort Myers High School Sound Wave Show Choir. Light refreshments will be served.

Drawing proceeds to benefit the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation.For more information, call Lily & Co. co-owners Karen Bell or Dan Schuyler at 472-2888.
Sanibel's first "jewelry gallery," Lily & Co. Jewelers, will celebrate its third anniversary with an Island Appreciation event and the grand opening of the store's new wing with an event next weekend, co-owners Karen Bell and Dan Schuyler announced on Tuesday.

In 2006, Bell, a Sanibel-Captiva Realtor, and Schuyler, a jeweler with 28 years of experience opened the doors to Lily & Co. Jewelers, at 520 Tarpon Bay Road. On Saturday, Nov. 28 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., the pair will host an evening of celebration for members of the public, featuring food, wine, art and musical entertainment by Andre and Soli. Valet parking will be provided for your convenience.

Guests are also invited to enter a special drawing to win an item of jewelry valued at $2,000. Tickets are $1 for 1 or $5 for 6 and will be available in advance. Please also bring an unwrapped gift appropriate for a child. Drawing proceeds and gifts to benefit Friends Who Care.

Meet the world-renowned couture jewelry designers Charles Krypell and Lecil Henderson at the event.

A native New Yorker, first generation jewelry designer Charles Krypell majored in sculpture, which is apparent in the jewelry he designs today. From his one-of-a-kind colored diamond pieces to his sterling collection there is something for every lifestyle.

The Henderson Collection has served as a renowned member of the jewelry industry since 1990, offering upscale and emerging retailers an exclusive collection of beautiful pieces crafted with diamonds and fine gold. Created with the end-user's versatile lifestyle in mind, the fashionable designs merge old-world craftsmanship with new-world technology to offer impeccably constructed necklaces, bracelets and rings as well as hand-wrought and electro-form earrings.

Lily & Co. is Sanibel's first jewelry gallery combining a fine jewelry store and art gallery in one location. Lily & Co. namesake and spokesdog is Lily, Bell's Labradoodle who is often on site to greet customers and visitors. Schuyler's Golden Labrador, Gracie, and her little sister, Angel, are always at the front door to greet guests.

Lily & Co. is a full-service jeweler, offering services from jewelry repair and restoration, watch repair and battery replacement, engraving services, bead and pearl re-stringing, pewter and holloware repair, as well as appraisal services. Lily & Co.'s P3 - or Positively Precious Program - enables them to purchase previously worn jewelry, stones, and fine stemware from customers for liquidation purposes.
Store hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about Lily & Co., call 472-2888 or visit

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Adventures In Paradise Outfitters celebrates grand opening

Adventures In Paradise Outfitters celebrates grand opening

Attending the ribbon-cutting were Capt. Steve Bailey, Debbie Bailey, Steve Ehrhart, Sarah Ashton, Craig Stewart, Capt. Bill Hammond, Evelyn Stewart, Ric Base, Allen Meyers, Bryan Hayes, Josh Stewart, Sam Bailey, Kate Stone, Bridget Stone-Budd, Terry Walker, Noah Stewart, Nita Greenwell, Amber, Josh and S

Adventures In Paradise Outfitters celebrated it's grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Wednesday, which was attended by more than 200 guests.

The doors opened at 5 p.m. with live music by Jamaican Dave Steel Drums. Guests were treated to delicious hors d'oeuvres provided by Sweet Melissa's Caf and Smoked Mullet trays prepared by Baileys catering. Capt. John Carpenito and Randy Phares tended bar while Joshua Stewart greeted and hosted the billiard play.

Adventures In Paradise Outfitters is a unique shopping experience for travelers, locals and those that love the outdoors. Divided into several areas, the store is fun and relaxing... with a surprise around every corner. Clothing has been meticulously selected to reflect the "island" lifestyle with cool, clean linens, organic cottons and self wicking fabrics.

Perusing through the library, guests came across titles from local author Bob Sabatino's "Every Day Is Saturday" to Hemingway's "Hemingway On Fishing." Next to the library, a handsome humidor houses fine cigars. Gifts with the outdoors in mind were scattered throughout the store, ranging from beautiful hand-etched glassware to classic time pieces. Tucked around the corner from the great Tarpon mount and next to the Heritage Fishing Kayaks, guests found Fly Fishing rods and equipment, tackle, flys, waders and everything you need to go and catch the big one!

Adventures In Paradise Outfitters is located in Tahitian Gardens Shopping Center, at 2019 Periwinkle Way. For more information, call 472-8236 or visit
Special to the REPORTER

Chamber gearing up for popular Luminary Festival on islands

Chamber gearing up for popular Luminary Festival on islands

A variety of scenes from previous Luminary Festivals on Sanibel, which this year will celebrate 25 years of holiday tradition.

The Islands of Sanibel & Captiva Chamber of Commerce is proud to host the 25th Anniversary Luminary Festival on Friday, Dec. 4 (on Sanibel) and Saturday, Dec. 5 (on Captiva).

The Luminary Festival is an islands-wide holiday event that brings together residents, visitors, businesses and organizations, promoting goodwill and community spirit.

As participants "travel the trail," look for several fun and festive places to stop and enjoy. Once again, there will be complimentary trolley service, visits and 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," a chamber press release stated. "All chamber merchants are invited to participate and show off their creative decorated storefronts and host holiday celebrations at their center."

On Sanibel, Luminary Festival participants include:

East End/Seahorse Shops - Reggae band and refreshments
Sanibel Island Book Shop - Book signing, music and refreshments

Jerry's Center - Pictures with Santa and refreshments

Sanibel Community Church - Live nativity, music and refreshments

Tahitian Gardens - Cracker Blues Band and refreshments

Forever Green - Refreshments

Periwinkle Place - Pictures with Santa, entertainment and refreshments

Sanibel Congregational Church - Boutique, music and refreshments

Sanibel Community House - Santa's Workshop, Cypress Lakes Choir and cookie decorating

The Village Shops - Guitarist Michael David and refreshments

Hungry Heron Plaza - Refreshments

Tower Gallery - Refreshments

Olde Sanibel Shoppes - The Sanibel School Choir and refreshments

Bailey's Center - Gospel choir, music and refreshments

Participants on Captiva will include South Seas Island Resort, R.C. Otters, Keylime Bistro, Cantina Captiva, The Bubble Room, The Mucky Duck, Island Store, Royal Shell, Captiva Pizza & Yogurt and The Green Flash.

There will be 13 trolley stops along the trail, including East End/Seahorse Shops, Jerry's Center, Tahitian Gardens, The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater/Sanibel Community House, The Village Shops, Hungry Heron Plaza, Tower Gallery, Olde Sanibel Shoppes and Bailey's Center. Trolleys will operate from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Sponsors and special contributors for this year's Luminary Festival include, SandCastles, The Cedar Chest, CROW, the City of Sanibel, Waste Pro, Sanibel Fire Rescue District, Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary, ABWA, Zonta, Tarpon Bay Explorers, Adventures In Paradise, South Seas Island Resort, Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, Hillgate Communications, Sanibel Community Church, Sanibel Congregational Church, St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church, 'Tween Waters Inn, Giggles, Sanibel Air Conditioning, Sanctuary Island Electric, chamber staff, ambassadors and volunteers as well as Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

For additional information, call the Islands of Sanibel & Captiva Chamber of Commerce at 472-1966 or visit

To inquire about volunteering at the Luminary Festival, call Bridgit Stone-Budd at 472-8255 or Bob Harrington at 472-2783.

BIG ARTS holds artist reception for Matsumotos'

"BIG ARTS holds artist reception for Matsumotos'"

Ikki an Polly Matsumoto have added new pieces for their exhibit at the Founders Gallery at BIG ARTS.

Ikki and Polly Matsumoto.

Their names seem to be synonymous with island life.

The well-known and popular artist couple are exhibiting 21 pieces of their artwork at BIG ARTS Founders Gallery, 900 Dunlop Road. A reception for their exhibit called Take 2 will be held, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 21.

Their work whimsical, earthy, delicate, strong and sophisticated draws islanders to their exhibits. Last year BIG ARTS hosted a crowd that came to see the Matsumotos'' exhibit.

The Matsumotos',' who recently arrived from their Ohio home, hung all of their work in two hours early this week.
"We're excited," said Polly Matsumoto.

The couple said they are happy to be back in the area and have just bought a new home in Southwest Florida. They are moving back to the area to be closer with family and friends. They had lived in the area in prior years before moving back to Ohio.
Polly's weavings are filled with earthy colors and rich textures. And Ikki's pieces are fun and thoughtful. In several pieces his cat Chica is depicted doing feline things such as prancing through a grove of clovers and standing plump and happy with feathers cascading around him.

Ikki's voice softens as he chats about Chica whom he rescued at the side of the road.
He and Polly said they do not have a specific theme to their work. But a sense of happiness tends to be a key hue in their work which mostly depicts animals and nature.

"You need that these days," Ikki said of happiness.

BIG ARTS staff expects a similar turn-out for this year's exhibition Take 2 in comparison to last year's exhibit.

"It was such a successful and great show we wanted to have them back," said BIG ARTS Program coordinator, Natalie Cunningham. "They're huge island favorites."

Shareen Groce, coordinator of the exhibit is elated to have new pieces by the couple. Shortly after the Matsumotos' hung their exhibit on Monday, a crowd gathered wanting to buy pieces.

"It's a fabulous exhibit," Groce said.

The exhibit is open through Wednesday, Dec. 30. Founders Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Take 2 Ikki and Polly Matsumoto Exhibit supported by Visual Arts Patron Season Sponsors Deborah and John La Gorce.

For further information about this exhibit, call 395-0900, or email To learn more about BIG ARTS visit go to This includes links to artists' sites.

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Make your reservations for “Plaza Suite”

 "Make your reservations for “Plaza Suite”"

The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater is back for more after wowing islanders with the revue, "Lovely Night" - their first play of the 2009-10 season, a comedy by legendary playwright Neil Simon.

Originally a three-act play first performed in 1968, "Plaza Suite" revolves around three very different stories that take place in Suite 719 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Artistic director Victor Legarreta opted to take only two of the three original acts to the Schoolhouse stage, and, whether you're familiar with the play or not, you won't be disappointed by the two Legarreta chose!

The first act focuses on Karen Nash (Jennifer Smith), a somewhat forgetful but sympathetically endearing character, and her husband Sam Nash (Michael Dunsworth), a narcissistic, over-worked businessman.

Karen has made reservations for Suite 719 - the site of her and Sam's honeymoon - with hopes of rekindling their miserably crumbling marriage.

An appearance by the young and attractive Miss Jean McCormack (Madison Mitchell), Sam's secretary, starts the wheels in Karen's head turning and her scheme for re-seducing her career-obsessed spouse of more than 20 years comes crashing down around her as Karen finds out there's more to Sam's reluctance to reconnect.

Smith is delightful as the sometimes flaky but down-to-earth Karen Nash - remarkably funny and saucy with every comedic twist and turn.

Dunsworth's rendition of Sam Nash is seething with discontent and various mid-life crises that all seem to be flaring up at once - his portrayal of middle-age-induced neuroses is fabulously irritating, making you want to side with Karen even more!

Mitchell - who plays the tall, young, thin blonde you love to hate - is adorably sweet and utterly reprehensible all at the same time, reaffirming our loyalty to Karen.

In Act Two, Smith and Dunsworth play another couple, Norma and Roy Hubley, who are desperately trying to get their daughter - who has barricaded herself in the bathroom of Suite 719 - to her wedding, which is about to begin downstairs.

After a series of failed - but hilarious - attempts, the Hubleys discover why their daughter Mimsey (played by Mitchell) refuses to come out.

Miguel Cintron (who also plays the loquaciously friendly Plaza bellhop and waiter in Act One with terrific humor) saves the day as Borden Eisler (the groom) and delivers the line of the evening at the end of Act Two as he, with only a few strong words, successfully retrieves his bride from the bathroom.

In this act, Dunsworth has more opportunity to show off his comedic abilities as the desperately agitated father-of-the-bride, allowing Smith to slip into hilarious bouts of sheer panic and presumed cardiac arrest.

All in all, "Plaza Suite" is a kind of comedic study on the dynamics of relationships - the trials and tribulations, the ups and downs - and if you're up for an evening of laughs, get your tickets now for "Plaza Suite" at the Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater.

"Plaza Suite" will run at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday until Dec. 5. Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for children 16 and under. For more information and to order tickets, call 472-6862.
The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater is located at 2200 Periwinkle Way.

"Author shares virtues of vertical gardening"

"Author shares virtues of vertical gardening"

Vertical gardening allows growers to enjoy a garden with a minimal amount of space.

Psst. Have you heard? Gardening is in vogue.

Between the First Lady Michelle Obama encouraging children to learn to garden coupled with a growing desire to eat healthier and cheaper while saving the environment, gardening is increasing in popularity.

But what if one wants to cultivate a garden but does not have the space for it?
Worry not.
Think vertical gardening.

Vertical gardening is growing plants up rather than out.

Gardening author and part-time Sanibel resident Derek Fell has a possible new book in the works about vertical gardening.

Two weeks ago he attended a Congressional meeting to discuss creating programs for children to learn gardening at school.

Fell who spends his time between Pennsylvania and Sanibel had at one time been appointed chairman of the Committee to former President Gerald Ford's initiative to plant a garden at the White House. At the time President Ford had been looking to save money during the Vietnam war, Fell said. Though the garden plan got scrapped, the concept lay in wait. And now that wait is over as First Lady Michelle Obama encourages children to learn how to garden, Fell said.

So with the initiative in place, Fell is working to make gardening accessible through vertical planting.

"I advocate vertical gardening," he said. "It's labor saving."

In order to create a vertical garden a narrow strip of land is needed

Fell created a special system for making vertical gardens called the Skyscraper Garden. The system works by letting growers use an easy-to-assemble kit that contains two cedar brackets, a sturdy metal crossbar, a strong 4 feet wide by 6 feet high section of netting that includes reach-through mesh for easy picking, and ground anchors to hold the netting taught.

Produce such as tomatoes, climbing cucumbers, climbing spinach and pole beans do well in a vertical garden.

"It's a very sensible way for people who do not have a lot of time or space," Fell said.

Fell said with the cooler winter season underway on the islands, vertical gardening is ideal for folks who would like to plant some veggies but have smaller lots.
By ELLA NAYOR, POSTED: November 19, 2009

Brown Anole is common critter on Sanibel"

"Brown Anole is common critter on Sanibel"

Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei) Other names: Cuban anole, Key West anole / Status: FL-Invasive, still expanding its range, IUCN=LC / Life span: to five years / Length: Length: 6-8 in. (15-20 cm) / Weight: 0.05-1.5 oz (1.5-4 g) / Nests: on island / Found: IW (Interior Wetlands), MZ (Mangrove Zone), UA (Urban Areas), GB (Gulf Beaches, ............CW (Causeway).

Although no one is certain when the brown anole arrived on Sanibel and Captiva, the consensus is that it was shortly after the completion of the original causeway. It probably hitchhiked over in the root balls and canopies of the many ornamental palms imported from the Miami area when the island was experiencing the rapid growth of the early 1970s. Once here, it quickly became the most prolific lizard on the islands. An invasive species, its sheer numbers now prohibit any viable attempts to contain its spread or effectively remove the species. Its range continues to expand across the Southeastern U.S.

The brown anole has a number of subtle color and pattern variations, but its dewlap, the throat fan you can often see the male extending when announcing its territory to other males, is always yellow or reddish-orange. It is one of the easiest reptiles to find on Sanibel and Captiva, occurring around condominiums, homes, pools, screen enclosures, and the bike path-virtually every island habitat harbors at least a few, if not scores of brown anoles.

It feeds mostly in the daytime and prefers foraging on the ground where it eats beetles, grasshoppers, spiders, and roaches.The brown anole is a favorite food for white and cattle egrets, as well as great blue herons. An injured lizard often succumbs to overwhelming attacks of fire ants, and it is also favored by many of the islands' indigenous snakes.
To learn more about "Living Sanibel" go to
Living Sanibel, by Charles Sobczak POSTED: November 19, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sanibel and Captiva Restaurants open on Thanksgiving.....

Happy Thanksgiving from the VIP Vacation Rental Staff!

Sanibel and Captiva Restaurants open on Thanksgiving.....

Casa Ybel – 20% Discount w/reservations before 11/21.

Courntey’s – Open – 4 PM – 8:30 PM Thanksgiving Dinner Reserv. Not Necessary

Dairy Queen – 11 AM – 4 PM

Dunes – Open – 11 AM – 3:00 PM

Gramma Dots – Open Reg. Hours – Serving Thanksgiving Dinner

Il Tesoro – Open Serving Italian Turkey Dinner & Goose Roost

Keylime Bistro – Open serving Traditional T. Dinner 12 – 10 PM

Lighthouse Café – Open 7 AM – 3 PM

Sandy Butler – Open - Preparing Menu – Take out menu available.

Sanibel Steakhouse – Regular Hours & Menu & Thanksgiving Special

Schnapper’s - 7 AM – 4 PM

Timbers – Open 2 PM – 8 PM Accept. Resv. Turkey Dinner $13.95

Locations that are closed: Doc Ford’s, Mucky Duck, Green Flash, Matzaluna, Sanibel Cafe
and Island Cow.

CCA holiday party to support Salvation Army’s ‘Christmas Cheer’ campaign

CCA holiday party to support Salvation Army’s ‘Christmas Cheer’ campaign

Crystal, Alan and Amber Falde show their holiday spirit as the CCA gets ready for their Christmas party and toy drive in support of the Salvation Army.

With the holidays just around the corner, the Captiva Civic Association is getting in the spirit by hosting a Christmas party with a special purpose, on Thursday, Dec. 3 at the Captiva Civic Center from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The event will be a chance for Captivans to catch up with old acquaintances and make new friends while enjoying their favorite beverages and sharing hors d'oeuvres. Attendees are asked to bring their favorite appetizer for all to sample.

But this year's party is more than just a way to reconnect - it's also a great way to spread a bit of holiday cheer to Lee County's less fortunate families through the Salvation Army's "Christmas Cheer" campaign.

"Christmas Cheer" is a community-wide effort and the Salvation Army's largest outreach event each year.

The program organizes and distributes donated toys, food and gifts to those in need throughout Lee County during the holidays.

Last year, the Salvation Army reached over 4,700 families, but their goal for 2009 is 6,000.

To participate, simply bring new, unwrapped toys or gift cards (from businesses such as Wal-mart and Target) to the party and place them under the CCA Christmas tree.

Or, you can make a cash contribution with a check made out to the Salvation Army.

You may also deliver toys, gift cards or cash donations to the CCA office between 10 a.m. to noon or 1 to 4 p.m. from Monday, Nov. 30 through Dec. 4. The CCA will do the rest.
If you have questions about the CCA, the upcoming holiday party or the Christmas Cheer program, call 472-2111.By JANE BRICKLEY,

"South Seas welcomes community for ‘A Season of Celebration’"

South Seas welcomes community for ‘A Season of Celebration’

South Seas Island Resort is inviting members of the Captiva community to celebrate "A Season of Celebration" at Kings Crown, the historic resort banquet space, on Sunday, Dec. 6 through Thursday, Dec. 17 for holiday champagne brunches, lunches and dinners to benefit the Salvation Army's Family Services Unit in their residential shelter facility.

"South Seas invites locals to come back to the resort and visit Kings Crown overlooking Pine Island Sound. It's a special space with the old Florida feeling that for decades served as the locale for wedding receptions, family reunions and company parties" said Rick Hayduk, South Seas Island Resort managing director.

Kings Crown, once the warehouse that stored key limes when South Seas was the largest key lime plantation in the world, remains intact with the original fireplace, brick flooring and view of the t-dock over a lawn of palm trees.

The space will feature seasonal decor and offer locals festive holiday brunches, lunches and dinners.

Holiday menus - devised by South Seas' chef Sebastian Heil - will include brioche French toast with warm banana caramel sauce, pan roasted Jidori chicken, seared Florida black grouper, sugar crusted ham, pumpkin soup and traditional holiday sides and desserts such as apple pie, pineapple upside down cake and Yule logs.

A portion of the proceeds from all meals will be given to the Salvation Army.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with South Seas this holiday season for the second year in a row and appreciate that the resort is recognizing the importance of serving the local community," said Major Art Penhale, corps officer for the Salvation Army of Lee and Hendry Counties.

Island residents and guests interested in attending the "A Season of Celebration" can call 866-565-5089 to make reservations.
For parties of 20 or more, South Seas Island Resort will double the proceeds to the Salvation Army.
For more information on South Seas Island Resort visit or call 472-5111.

"’Tween Waters tree lighting ceremony returns Nov. 27"

’Tween Waters tree lighting ceremony returns Nov. 27

If you've traveled past 'Tween Waters Inn lately, you might have noticed a familiar character scaling the palm tree in front of the historic resort, scanning the gulf waters for signs of the upcoming holiday season.

Santa Claus, of course, has resumed his post in front of 'Tween Waters, indicating that the resort's annual tree lighting ceremony is coming up soon - the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 27, to be exact.

"It will be another wonderful event with a couple of new secret elements. But you have to come out to see them," said 'Tween Waters general manager Jeff Shuff.

Carolers from the Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater will regale guests with holiday favorites as they mingle through the twinkling wonderland - and you can probably count on a visit from the man in red himself.

In addition to giant snowmen, hard-working elves and gravity-defying reindeer, approximately 120,000 lights have been strung up by 'Tween Waters staff to create the holiday haven.

To avoid traffic build up, Shuff recommends that folks get to the resort early, around 5:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

"It's our Christmas present to the islands," Shuff said.

CEPD discusses importance of beach renourishment, community involvement

 "CEPD discusses importance of beach renourishment, community involvement"
The Captiva Erosion Prevention District met last Wednesday for their regular meeting where beach renourishment and community education regarding beach erosion were thoroughly discussed.

CEPD administrator Kathy Rooker offered a report on her trip to the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association conference, saying that it was a wonderful learning experience and reinforced just how important beach renourishment is to coastal communities.

"One thing I did take away from the engineering meetings is that there is no one right way to do a project. You need to go back and examine projects that have been done around the country and find out what really works.

"We really need to study successful projects to know what works. We've been talking a lot about sand sources because sand sources are becoming very limited. One of the things that was stressed to us, and one of the most important things to a project, is how good your sand is. If your sand is not going to be good, your project won't be good. Don't forget that in your equation," Rooker said.

Rooker said she was able to look at pictures of the devastation caused by hurricanes along the Gulf coast of Florida and Louisiana.

"All of the speakers told us that the difference in the structures that were saved was the amount of sandy beach in front of it. Wide, sandy beaches protect, and that was stressed to us," Rooker said.

"That reminded me that we don't just do beach renourishments for recreational value, we are saving people's homes and businesses," Rooker said.

The topic of beach renourishment led into board members discussing the organization's community relations mission and their hopes of informing the Captiva population about the importance of beach nourishment.

"Overall, what we're trying to accomplish, is to recognize that the community in Captiva has changed dramatically in the last number of years," CEPD chairman Mike Mullins said, noting many people are property owners but are here infrequently or simply rent their properties and don't really understand the history of beach erosion and beach nourishment.

"We recognized at one point in time that to be successful in having community understanding and support, because they're ultimately the people that are paying for this, that we need to have a community relations plan that allows us to promulgate to the community, the historical information that most people miss," Mullins said.

"People don't really get that this group is fending for itself in a big way, but most importantly, however it gets done, if we don't maintain that beach we can't count on the County or the Feds or the State or anybody else to do it for us, and without the beach, the property values, the habitats, the recreational capabilities and so on and so forth are gone. So we feel, that we recognized the need going forward that we have to try to get this information out," Mullins said.

"We have a real problem, because when something works people don't really pay attention to it. When it breaks, people pay attention. We can't afford to let it break again like it was in the 1970s and 1980s," Mullins said.

Bob Gray of Partners in Progress presented a community relations update to the CEPD, informing the board members that he has found at least two potential candidates for researching and assembling educational, community presentations for the organization.

The CEPD will meet again at 'Tween Waters Inn, 15951 Captiva Drive, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at noon.

The Captiva Erosion Prevention District is located at 11513 Andy Rosse Lane, Unit 4. For more information, call 472-2472, or visit

Stilwell organizes effort to feed Lee hungry with leftover supplies

 "Stilwell organizes effort to feed Lee hungry with leftover supplies"

As the fears that accompany hurricane season begin to dwindle - the official end of hurricane season being Nov. 30 - for some families in Lee County, the worry that comes along with trying to feed themselves and their families is an everyday struggle.

Captiva resident and business owner Sandy Stilwell, a past chairman of the Board of the Salvation Army who currently serves the organization's Executive Committee, says she has an idea to help allay the fears of hungry people in Lee County, especially for the upcoming holiday season.

"We are so fortunate on Captiva. In the true spirit of Thanksgiving, why don't we celebrate the official closing of the 2009 hurricane season by donating our stock of hurricane food to a local food pantry?" Stilwell said.

"This year more than ever, we are in need of food. People who have never asked for assistance are in need now. With unemployment being so high, we are increasingly short of food on a daily basis," Stilwell said.

Rather than letting hurricane supplies expire and go to waste, Stilwell proposes that folks who don't need to hold onto their non-perishable food items donate them to a worthy cause - feeding the hungry in Lee County.

"If you are interested, we will make it easy for you," Stilwell said, noting that all Captivans have to do is gather up the food supplies that would otherwise go to waste and drop them off at the Captiva Island Inn. Stilwell and Captiva Island Inn manager Corban Chestnut will take care of the rest.

Interested Captivans can drop off their non-perishable food donations at the Captiva Island Inn, 11508 Andy Rosse Lane, seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
 Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander


The future of Sanibel placed in young hands

The future of Sanibel placed in young hands

Vice Mayor Mark Thomas, left, and Mayor Rocco Smith sat at the front of MacKenzie Hall last week as the duly-elected local leaders on Student Government Day.

As the result of a narrow 4-3 vote from the sitting City Council, Sanibel will now be open for development by fast food hamburger chains and coffee mega-merchants.

That is, if Friday's acting council members had things go their way.

Last week, 44 eighth grade students from The Sanibel School visited MacKenzie Hall as part of Student Government Day. The annual outing included the mock election of a Mayor, Vice Mayor and three council members as well as appointments of a City Manager, City Clerk and City Attorney.

Following a brief introductory welcome by City Clerk Pamela Smith, councilmen Jim Jennings and Peter Pappas spoke to the teenagers and their teachers on several topics, including "How a citizen becomes a City Council member," "How citizens submit input to City Council," "How Sanibel laws are enforced" and "How Sanibel laws are made."

"Hopefully, you will all become involved voters," said Jennings, who described the election process to the group, "because that's the way citizens understand what is going on in their community."

Asking the students for their opinion on how their city is governed, as well as seeking comment or suggestions on what could be done to improve Sanibel yielded many responses.

Maxas Jankauskas, for example, noted where repairs to portions of the city's shared use paths would improve safety for walkers and bicycle riders alike.

Other students complained about vehicular traffic not stopping for pedestrians or bikers at crosswalks, garbage trucks who exceed the local speed limit, dead rodents on roadways and the poor taste of water at several fountains along the bike path.

"I've heard some very valid concerns today. It's nice to hear that so many of you have concerns about your city," said Jennings. "You did great with this. Not just great... excellent."

Next, the students staged a mock election, nominating three of their own - Kimberly Breece, Mark Thomas and Rocco Smith - for election to the Sanibel City Council.

Asked why her fellow pupils should vote for her, Breece boasted, "Because I'm awesome! I watch a lot of those law shows, too."

Nearly unanimously, Smith took the center chair as Mayor, with Thomas selected as Vice Mayor. Breece, Jankauskas and Dane Johnson rounded out the council. Later, students chose Lochlainn Kane to serve as City Clerk, Samantha Fowler as City Manager and Ronnie Griest as City Attorney.

After debating a number of suggested "hot topics," the acting City Council invited a discussion on whether to allow fast food eateries to develop on Sanibel. Several teens demanded the need for "fast and cheap" food on the island, while others noted that such competition could run long-established local eateries out of business.

Following public comment, the council offered their own "pros" and "cons" to allow such development, finally settling upon the go-ahead for McDonald's, Starbucks and all comers to add their services here on Sanibel. That "yes" nod elicited a loud round of applause from the audience, save for a few silent and disgruntled grown-ups.

"You live in a city that's unlike any other government in the world," said Pappas. "We operate with a unique form of government where citizens have an opportunity to participate in decision-making... maybe greater than anywhere else."

Before the students broke for lunch, which was generously donated by George Schnapp of Schnapper's Hots, the visitors were divided into smaller groups for tours of various departments represented at City Hall.

Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Westland promoted to Supervisory Ranger at 'Ding' Darling NWR

Westland promoted to Supervisory Ranger at 'Ding' Darling NWR
Ranger Toni Westland, the environmental education specialist at J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, was recently reassigned to the position of refuge Supervisory Ranger, which was vacated in August 2008 by Ranger Kevin Godsea.

Westland has worked in environmental education since she graduated from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point with a major in natural resource management, emphasis on environmental education. She will continue to oversee the refuge's education program, which is heavily supported by "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS).

"It was a difficult choice among highly qualified applicants from near and far, but Toni has demonstrated a great capacity to bring energy, innovation, leadership, and inspiration to the Visitor Services program," said Refuge Manager Paul Tritaik.

"I had mixed emotions about giving up my work with the kids, but we have agreed that I will keep my hands on that aspect as I take on new roles such as media contact, liaison for both DDWS and Tarpon Bay Explorers concession, and head of Visitor Services at the refuge," said Westland.

DDWS is a non-profit, friends-of-the-refuge organization that supports the Education Center, "Ding" Darling Days, and other educational programs at the refuge.

To join DDWS and become a friend to the refuge, stop in at the Refuge Education Center or visit

CROW's Giving Tree Festival highlights Luminary Weekend

CROW's Giving Tree Festival highlights Luminary Weekend

CROW (The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc.) is putting the final touches on its spectacular Fourth Annual "Giving Tree Festival," so mark your calendars for Sunday, Dec. 6 at The Sanctuary Clubhouse.

Gaily decorated trees, wreaths and garlands will be featured in a silent auction, to raise philanthropic support while The Giving Tree offers guests the opportunity to donate to crucial needs for the hospital including food for patients, fellowship and student programs, as well as rescue and education.

CROW board member Daniel Moore-Thompson and chair of the event has been busy organizing a talented group of designers for this tremendous evening.

"The festival will showcase some of the most amazing talent this island has to offer," said Moore-Thompson. "Guests come every year to bid on trees to decorate their homes as well as to give as gifts."

According to Moore-Thompson, the event will also feature a fabulous "Boutique Unique" that will display exclusively designed stemware for CROW by Luc Century as well as other one-of-a kind gifts.

Tickets, priced at $100 each, are selling fast so make your reservations now. Call 395-0050 ext. 2 for credit card reservations. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with complimentary wine.

"A wonderful menu by The Sanctuary chefs, entertainment by Johnny Ray and a beautiful holiday setting all the ingredients that make a perfect evening while at the same time supporting CROW's important mission," said Carol Rothman, event committee member.

Our sincerest thanks go to The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, the premier event sponsor.

"CROW's Giving Tree Festival has become a tradition to kick off the holiday season, to celebrate CROW's service to area wildife and the recent opening of the new hospital," said Terry Igo, San Cap Trust Executive VP.

Other sponsors for the evening include Bank of the Islands, Coral Veterinary Hospital, Steve and Mandy Greenstein, Roberta and Phillip Puschel, Sanibel Island Taxi, Suncatcher's Dream and Susan and Bob Tucker. We thank them for their support.

The local artists and designers include Donna Sue Andazola, Jaye Boswell, Inga Bredahl, Luc Century and Dee Serage, Congress Jewelers, Greg and Diane Cortese, Mary DeMic and Zoe Cohen, Susan Gordon, Fran Grant, Liz Gresham, Liz Kennedy and Ann Potter, Lily & Co., Bonnie Moore and Carol Weissman, Kym Nader Interiors, Pandora's Box, Tom Service, Suncatcher's Dream, Surroundings by Melissa, Tarpon Bay Explorers, Birgie Vertesch and Anita Pinder, Kevin Vertesch and VIP's Jim and Karen Hall.

Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander
Submitted by CAROL ROTHMAN POSTED: November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Food Bank puts call out for Thanksgiving turkeys

Community News

Food Bank puts call out for Thanksgiving turkeys

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and turkeys are in very short supply in order to feed the hungry in Southwest Florida.

Last week, the Harry Chapin Food Bank put out an emergency plea for the 6,000 turkeys needed by their participating non-profit agencies who rely on them to fill food baskets for the holiday distribution to the ever-increasing numbers of hungry adults and children.

Individuals can assist the food bank by either purchasing turkeys or contributing financial aid to purchase turkeys. Businesses can help by encouraging customers to support the turkey drive.

Joyce Jacobs, associate director of the food bank, says that the demand for turkeys is greater than ever this year. The food bank is working to provide the 6,000 turkeys to its partner agencies so families will have a Thanksgiving dinner with their families.

Jacobs also noted that right now, the Harry Chapin Food Bank only has 500 turkeys in the freezer. She says that $9 is the approximate cost of each turkey and urges people to assist the bank in this emergency drive to provide the turkeys needed.

In addition, Jacobs said that turkeys can be dropped off at their warehouse, located at 3760 Fowler Street in Fort Myers, or checks can be mailed to the same address. Contributions can also be made online at Time is of the essence as Thanksgiving doesn't wait - the annual "turkey day" is approaching very rapidly.

Additional information about or to contribute financially to the Harry Chapin Food Bank, contact 239-334-7007 or go to
Subscribe to Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

"Sanibel's New Year's Eve Party promises 'Something 4 Everyone'"

Sanibel's New Year's Eve Party promises 'Something 4 Everyone'

The City of Sanibel's official New Year's Eve Party, hosted by the Sanibel Recreation Center, will take place on Thursday, Dec. 31. Doors will open at 8 p.m. and the festivities will conclude at 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2010.

Among the multitude of activities on tap during the end-of-the-year shindig include games "4" children and "4" adults, a 50/50 raffle drawing (half of the proceeds go to the winner, half of the proceeds going to the city's Recreational Assistance Fund), a display of artwork created by students from The Sanibel School and bingo "4" adults.

Bingo participants must be 18 or older, with only 100 seats available. Fabulous prizes include gift certificates at restaurants, hotel stays, golf outings, boat rides and more. Prizes are valued in excess of $4,000. Cost in advance is $50 per chair, which includes admission and two bingo cards. At-the-door cost is $60.

Admission to the party includes fantasic food and refreshments such as chicken fingers, pizza, hot dogs, cold cut platters, veggie trays, fruit, sushi, chips, pretzels, popcorn, soda, water, juices, root beer floats, ice cream, cake, coffee and tea.

Each admission also receives a chance to win a door prize. Party hats and noisemakers are included, too.

The price for tickets to the City of Sanibel's New Year's Eve Party is $10 per person in advance or $15 at the door. Children age 4 and under are admitted free and must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets may be purchased at the Sanibel Recreation Center.

All proceeds from this event are donated to the City of Sanibel Recreation Center Financial Assistance Program to assist workers who financially qualify for their children to attend the after school program, summer day camp and fun days at the Sanibel Recreation Center. This is a family-friendly, alcohol- and tobacco-free event.

Major co-sponsors are the City of Sanibel and Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Foundation.

For more information please call the City of Sanibel Recreation Center, located at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Road, at 472-0345.
Subscribe to Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sanibel Island Farmer's Market

Sanibel has its very own weekly fresh produce and food specialties showcase that will operate through the entire "season."

Farmer's Market - November 15th 2009. Arrive early

before the crowds!!

According to organizers Jean Baer and Betsy Ventura, the Sanibel Island Farmers Market began Sunday, Nov. 1 at Tahitian Gardens, located at 1975 Periwinkle Way. The market will be held each Sunday - rain or shine - from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. throughout season, ending on April 25, 2010.

White pelican boasts size and stature on Sanibel

(Editors Note: Following is an excerpt from LIVING SANIBEL-A Nature Guide to Sanibel and Captiva Islands, by Charles Sobczak. The book is due out in January and will cover most of the birds, plants and animals that share these two islands with us. Go to to learn more about the book and the writings of Sanibel author, Charles Sobczak.)

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) Other names: none / Status: FL=stable to increasing slightly, IUCN=LC / Life span: to 31 years / Length: 60-63 in. (152-160 cm) / Wingspan: 96-110 in. (243-279 cm) / Weight: 15.4 lb (7 kg) / Nests: in the summer in Canada and the north-central Great Plains / Found: fall, winter, and early spring months in MZ.

The white pelican is the largest and heaviest bird found on Sanibel. Before its eradication from both islands around 1910, the wild turkey (weighing as much as 24 pounds) would have held this title. The wild turkey was more than likely lost as a result of over-hunting. That being said, however, the white pelican would still have boasted a longer wingspan, measuring nine feet for a mature bird. The white pelican is one of only seven pelican species worldwide; the only other pelican native to North America is the familiar brown pelican. There is one pelican species in South America, the Peruvian pelican, which is similar in appearance to the brown pelican but more than twice as large.

Over the past 20 years the sightings of the white pelican on Sanibel have increased dramatically. In the early 1990s it was found only on remote barrier islands and along oyster bars in northern Pine Island Sound. Today it can be seen regularly off the third culvert along Wildlife Drive in the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, especially during a midwinter low tide.

A stunning bird to observe in flight, the white pelican has conspicuous black tips at the end of its wings and carries one of the largest bills in the world. (The Australian pelican, which is seven pounds heavier and has the same coloration, does in fact have the largest bill of any bird species on earth!) During the nesting season the white pelican develops a large, conspicuous plate on its upper bill. The purpose of the plate is not entirely understood but is believed to be related to breeding displays.

Unlike its brown cousin, the white pelican does not dive for its food. Instead it forms a communal group that herds its catch into shallow water or surrounds a school of minnows, then feeds on them by dipping its large bill into the water and scooping them up. Although it feeds on saltwater fish during the winter months, its primary diet consists of freshwater species such as perch, sunfish, suckers, and carp. As the white pelican's numbers have increased, it has come increasingly in conflict with the growing aquaculture industry in the southeastern United States.

Because of its commanding size, the white pelican has few natural predators. Like many other birds, this pelican was severely impacted by the widespread use of DDT and other pesticides beginning in the 1940s until DDT was banned in the United States in 1972. The white pelican is still recovering from the effects. Despite being a protected species, it is still the target of hunters, its single largest cause of mortality.

Ceasar says Hi from Jerry's on Sanibel Island

Jerry's Foods of Sanibel 1700 Periwinkle Way Sanibel, FL 33957

Pre-Order your groceries on-line.

A bonded delivery person will stock your condo cupboards and refrigerator so everything is ready and waiting for

Sanibel and Captiva Islands article from Islands Magazine

Most people who come to Sanibel and Captiva, twin barrier islands off Florida's Gulf Coast, share a single passion: seashells. This is, after all, the home of the "Sanibel Stoop," a posture folks assume while scouring the sandy shoreline for the more than 200 varieties of shells that wash ashore after storms. Streets here are named for shells, and the leading cultural attraction is a museum devoted to them. In fact, the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum is the only one of its kind in the United States, with a remarkable collection not only from Southwest Florida but also from around the world.

Even if you don't know a cockle from a conch, you're still likely to enjoy the sandy beaches (13 miles of them on Sanibel, including Bowman's Beach, a quiet stretch of white sand where barbecue grills facilitate the perfect picnic).

Sanibel is not just shore, however. Golf and tennis are popular, and because the island is flat, bicycling is a breeze - at a pace geared to, say, bird-watching. Countless birds (and more than a few alligators) attract visitors to the island's natural centerpiece, J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. At nearby Tarpon Bay you can paddle a kayak or canoe along marked water trails through mangrove forests and get a close-up look at more of that wildlife.


You're here for the seashells, so consult a tide table and plan to arrive at Turner Beach, which extends on both sides of the Blind Pass Bridge that links Sanibel and Captiva, about 90 minutes before low tide. (That may indeed mean getting up before dawn.) The next two hours offer the best shelling of the day; expect to get wet up to your knees as you search for lightning whelks.


Alligators and turtles and birds, oh my! For nature lovers, the 5,000-acre J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a treasure. There are trails for hiking, biking, and canoeing - all good ways to have Animal Planet-type encounters with more than 200 bird species, including such local favorites as white ibis and roseate spoonbills. Keep an eye out for armadillos, otters, and the resident crocodile. (The refuge is closed Fridays.)


Among the 25 or so miles of bike paths is Wildlife Drive, a four-mile loop "paved" with hard-packed sand and shells (you'll need fat tires on your bike) that leads through the Darling refuge. On Rabbit Road Trail, which borders a canal, look for marsh rabbits and alligators.

Friday, November 13, 2009

ARC to host 15th Starlight Auction over Thanksgiving weekend

If you find yourself having cabin fever by Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, or want a unique experience in which to treat a guest, tickets are now available for the 15th ARC Starlight Auction.

The Animal Refuge Center (ARC) is a not-for-profit animal welfare society that has found a magical formula in hosting this fund-raiser over Thanksgiving weekend, both for that time and at it's steady location.

The event will be held on Saturday, Nov. 28 at the Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa. The five-star hotel also offers special room rates, which many take advantage of while enjoying the auction party.

"This event is our premiere event," said ARC Board President Lee Allor. "It is out number one fund-raiser for the year, and is a celebration of ARC's success."

He said it is an event not to be missed. "It has become part of our culture over that Holiday weekend. We have volunteers, veterinarians the public and patrons. Everyone is a part of this."

The theme this year is "Gone With The Whiskers" ala "Gone With The Wind," said ARC Board Treasurer Betty Hughes. "We vow at ARC to never go hungry again!" she added.

The auction is known for fabulous items, and over 200 have already been donated. "You check in 6 p.m. and go to the auction, and can begin bidding immediately for silent auction items and then there is a live auction. There is fine art from local artists, get away packages at resorts nationwide, and even a photographic safari adventure to South Africa. These are premiere items; we are getting spectacular donations."

Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa is a long-standing location. "We've had it there 13 of our 15 years. It is 'location, location, location' - it is a five-star resort with professional service."

The resort is technically located in Fort Myers before you get over the Sanibel Bridge. "It is a five-star atmosphere right on the Gulf, the gateway to the island."

She said Sanibel Harbour also donated a fantastic package this year. Five nights, dinner for two on the Princess Yacht, dinner for two at the Tarpon House there and two spa packages.

"You can count on an evening filled with wonderful items to bid on, scrumptious food to dine on and an evening of fun spent with fellow animal lovers. Come out and celebrate ARC's achievements over the past year and meet some very special canine alumni," Hughes continued.

"Our guest master of ceremonies Amy Wegmann of Fox-4 News along with auctioneer Mike Joyce of Gulf Coast Coin and Jewelers will help create a magical evening. It is a geat way to break the monotony of a long holiday weekend - it's also a very unique experience to treat out-of-town guests to."

Incorporated in 1988, Animal Refuge Center is a not-for-profit animal welfare society, dedicated to caring for all homeless animals brought to its care at its 22-acre sanctuary in North Fort Myers. The sanctuary houses a Welcome Center, 12 feline facilities, 29 canine lodges and is home to more than over 400 cats and dogs.

And that doesn't include those who get adopted through ARC. "Proceeds benefit a variety activities at ARC. It benefits over 1,000 pets that pass through our door or sanctuary every year," she said.

While they are still accepting auction sponsors, right now the focus is on ticket sales. "It is normally a sold out affair at 300. You are going to want to secure your table seating early."

Tickets are $70 each.

The resort is offering a room rate special of $137.64 all inclusive. To get this rate, you must call direct at 800-767-7777 and say you are calling for room reservations at the special Animal Refuge Center rate.

Tickets can be purchased by calling Hughes at 239-841-0810 or by e-mail to

Chapel By-The-Sea will resume Sunday services beginning on Nov. 15 at 11 a.m. with the Reverend Dr. Robert R. Hansel.

The historic, interdenominational Chapel By-The-Sea will resume Sunday services beginning on Nov. 15 at 11 a.m. with the Reverend Dr. Robert R. Hansel.

Parishioners will remember Dr. Hansel from two years ago when he finished his three year term and Reverend Joyce Kelly came to the Chapel. Chapel Ministers normally only serve one three year, but unfortunate circumstances have brought Dr. Hansel back.

"This is actually my fourth year. The reason I'm back is because Joyce Kelly's husband is ill and she was unable to complete the third year of her term," Dr. Hansel said, noting the church committee contacted him and invited him back to the Chapel for a fourth term.

"I'm a retired Episcopal minister and my particular background is in specialized ministry. I've been a prison chaplin, I've been a boarding school headmaster and I've been an assistant to three bishops, so it's really not the typical neighborhood congregation for my ministry," Dr. Hansel said, noting that he's also a writer and has published several books.

"I think the people will be interested in my perspective on larger national and world issues.

"For the people of the Chapel, it will be like a familiar friend returning," Dr. Hansel said.

The Chapel will continue Sunday services until April 18, 2010.

Chapel By-The-Sea is located at 11580 Chapin Lane, directly behind the Captiva Memorial Library and Civic Association. For more information, call 472-1646.

South Seas Island Resort hosts Island's first annual "Buddy Walk" and raised $8000.00

Last Saturday, South Seas Island Resort hosted the island's first annual "Buddy Walk" and raised $8,000 - the original goal being just $5,000 - for the National Down Syndrome Society and to support the integration of children with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities at the Sanibel Sea School.

The 1.5 mile walk down Plantation Road began at 11 a.m, ending with a celebration of live entertainment, buffet lunch and bounce house fun on the East Lawn beside Sunset Beach.

South Seas Island Resort managing director Rick Hayduk said that he personally identifies with this cause because of his four-year-old daughter, Jamison.

"I have learned how extraordinary Jamison and other Down syndrome individuals are. They are blessed to keep life simple and remind us of the meaning of true happiness and unconditional love," Hayduk said, noting that because this year's event was such a huge success, South Seas is already beginning preparations for a Buddy Walk in 2010.

According to Bruce Neill, executive director of the Sanibel Sea School, the money raised by the Buddy Walk will provide funds for scholarships for the Sanibel Sea School.

"We are so thankful to South Seas for hosting this extraordinary event. Our mission is to promote marine conservation, but our methods promote the stewardship of humanity. To that end, we are deliberately inclusive and believe in integrating children with intellectual disabilities into our existing programs to interact with other kids. Very quickly, everyone learns to appreciate the gifts of a special needs child, and together they all learn to love the ocean," Neill said.

The Buddy Walk garnered many family sponsorships at $100 each and corporate sponsorships for $250 from organizations and businesses including Offshore Sailing School, Swimtastic Swim School, Ram Investments, LLC, Kay Casperson Spa, Island Pharmacy, American Legion Post 123, SunTrust Bank and Captiva Cruises.

For more information about South Seas Island Resort, contact 1-800-CAPTIVA or visit

For more information about Down syndrome, visit

For more information about the Sanibel Sea School, visit