Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Best-selling author Mary Alice Monroe will be signing copies of her latest novel, 'Last Light Over Carolina,' at the Sanibel Island Bookshop on Jan. 23.

 "Monroe coming to Sanibel Island Bookshop in January"

Mary Alice Monroe will appear at the Sanibel Island Bookshop, located at 1571 Periwinkle Way, on Friday, Jan. 23 starting at 11 a.m. She will be reading from and signing copies of her latest best-seller, "Last Light Over Carolina."

Monroe has written stories for as long as she can remember. As a child, she could always be found curled up with a book or writing. One of her strongest memories is her first trip to the public library. She couldn't believe all those books were there for her! When they gave her her first library card, she felt as though she'd been given the keys to a candy shop for her imagination. She still feels the same thrill in libraries and bookstores, just browsing through the books.

Mary Alice claims much of her creative spark came from her large and very close family. Growing up, she and her nine brothers and sisters wrote and performed in their own plays and musicals. Some wrote, painted, sang or played instruments. Her teachers recognized her talent and encouraged her to write. She first pursued nonfiction and studied journalism. Later, she was the assistant to the General Editor for Encyclopedia Britannica and worked with world famous artists, authors, composers and scientists as EB III was developed.

After an extended trip to Japan with her husband, Monroe studied Asian culture in earnest. She was awarded a fellowship and earned her master's degree in Asian Studies and became bilingual in Japanese. Later, she helped establish a government-funded English as a Second Language program for Southeast Asian refugees. Working with immigrants and helping them integrate into American society, Mary Alice co-authored an English-language survival text.

Not until years later did fate intervene. When her doctor confined her to bed for the final months of her pregnancy, Mary Alice's husband handed her a yellow notepad and pencil and urged her to write the novel she had always dreamed about. Knowing she might never again have that gift of time, she wrote and wrote.

"I gave birth to a baby and a book," said the author.

A dozen books later, Monroe has found her voice in fiction. Although known for her intimate portrayals of women's lives, her writing has gained added purpose and depth with her move to the Lowcountry. An active environmentalist, she draws themes for her novels from nature and the parallels with human nature, thus drawing attention to various endangered species and the human connection to the natural world.

Mary Alice is involved with several environmental groups and is on the board of the South Carolina Aquarium. Her work with these groups provided the inspiration for her novels "The Beach House," "Skyward," "Sweetgrass," Swimming Lessons" and her children's book, "Turtle River." She is currently working on her next novel, due out in spring 2011.

Don't miss out on attending this exciting island event. If you have any questions or can't make the event, please contact the Sanibel Island Bookshop at 239-472-5223. They can reserve a signed copy for you.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Island LifestylesQ&A with Cartoonist, graphic artist Dave Horton

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a small town called Kankakee, Ill. It was rated the worst place to live in America a few years back. Kankakee is the exact opposite of Sanibel.

The gangs at the school I went to had a certain respect for cartoonists, so I only got beat up every other day.

What brought you to Sanibel?

My wife Diane interviewed for a job at Lee Memorial Hospital. Her boss took her to Sanibel for lunch and she fell in love with the island.

Later on, my brother (Lee) and I bought Sanibel Print & Graphics, produced a comic panel and the rest is history.

What do you appreciate most about the islands?

It's unlike any other place I've been. I think everyone knows what I mean.

It's a wonderful island. The only thing that would make it better would be to have a Chinese-food joint and a bowling alley. OK, scratch the bowling alley.

We hear you are a cartoonist. How did you get into that creative line of work?

I worked with Hallmark cards for years. Then we moved to Florida and approached the newspaper with our tourist/wildlife concept.

The big surprise to us was that they actually published it! Wa Haaa! suckers! Now the cartoon is published in island newspapers all around Florida, but Sanibel was the first.

What is your favorite cartoon? Why?

"Calvin and Hobbes" by Bill Watterson. He's a genius.

Also, "Peanuts", I am a member of the National Cartoonists Society and I met Charles Schulz at an annual meeting. It was a great experience until he borrowed $20 from me and died a year later.

You have some pretty funny, clever cartoons. Where do you draw your inspiration?

This is the most asked question of all cartoonists in the cartoon world. I only have two words for you... Diet Coke. (I can't believe I gave away the, secret.)

What do you hope to accomplish when you draw cartoons? Is there a message you try to get across?

My first hope is to make people laugh. Second I hope that people will get the joke. I've been told that I have a distorted view of life. I guess that's a nice way of saying "You're Sick!"

How does someone break into the cartoon world?

Never give up. Perseverance.
Did you dream of becoming a cartoonist when you were a child?
Yes. My mom says I was drawing cartoons on everything in the house from the time I was born. My dad was a college president so I had plenty of fancy letterhead paper to practice on.

What do you do when you are not creating cartoons?

I play terrible golf, worse tennis and I run half marathons at a snails pace.
I also teach cartooning classes to kids on Sanibel. As I have gotten more popular, young people seek me out mainly to ask, "Do you know the guy who draws Sponge Bob?"

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

I'm 45 years old, but I read at a 47 year old level.

I jumped off the highest bridge in Canada. I was once featured on David Letterman. I have cat-like reflexes and the strength of 10 men. (Only half of these are true.)

What is your family life like?

I've been married for 21 years to Diane (a pediatric dietitian) and have three children, Nicole (15) Genevieve (12) and Alexander (6) Basically I'm a chauffeur, a cook and an ATM machine.

What are your long/short-term goals?

Long term: I would like to get nationally syndicated.

Short term: I need to clean the cat box.

You appear to be a pretty happy, easy-going fellow. What do you attribute your joy of life to - your inner happy cartoon character if you will?

I have many great friends, customers and a nice family that keep me in good spirits. I like to relax by taking long walks on the beach, as long as a giant squid doesn't grab me and pull me out to sea.
By ELLA NAYOR, enayor@breezenewspapers.com

Sanibel landmark opens Coffee Bar @ Bailey’s

Sanibel resident Lydia Lloyd, the 112th customer, received a book of coupons good for one free drink on the 12th of every month for 12 months.

Bailey's General Store opened its most recent addition on Saturday, known as Coffee Bar @ Bailey's. Guests were able to sample the menu, which includes 37 varieties of hot and cold drinks.

"Coffee Bar @ Bailey's is for our guests who were looking for a quality coffee drink that they could enjoy without the hassle of long lines or having to brew it at home," said Richard Johnson, Bailey's General Store general manager. "Bailey's is where Sanibel shops and we are delighted now to be offering Sanibel's 'Best Coffee Bar None'."

Both the 12th and 112th customers were each awarded a coupon book good for one free 16oz. drink on the 12th of every month for 12 months. Shirley from Richmond, Virginia was the 12th customer and Sanibel resident Lydia Lloyd was the 112th customer, both on Saturday afternoon.

Bailey's General Store has contracted the day-to-day operations of Coffee Bar @ Bailey's to Blanaid Colley and her staff of baristas and servers.

"We are so pleased to be able to serve the residents and visitors of Sanibel, and especially the guests of Bailey's General Store," said Colley, who is overseeing the operations of Coffee Bar @ Bailey's.

Guests will enjoy espresso-based coffee drinks, including latts, espressos and cappuccinos, frappuccino-style cold drinks, smoothies and even Italian cream soda. Loyalty cards are available at the counter and reward customers with a free drink for every nine purchased.

Coffee Bar @ Bailey's is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. just inside the entrance to Bailey's General Store, located at 2477 Periwinkle Way. A grand opening and Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 27 from 5 to 7 p.m.

For more information, call 239-577-0026 or visit www.sanibelcoffeebar.com.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tween Waters hosts boat decoration contest

'Tween Waters Inn will be hosting a boat decorating contest on Friday, Dec. 18 and Saturday, Dec. 19 at the resort's marina.

This will be the first time the resort has hosted a boat decoration contest.

"My marina manager, Harry Cullen, came up with this as a way to promote the marina," said 'Tween Waters general manager Jeff Shuff. "If it works out, we'll make it an annual event."

Shuff says members of the public are welcome to come out to the 'Tween Waters marina to watch the contest and enjoy the holiday decorations.

The event will begin after dark today and tomorrow at the marina, located at the back of the resort.

"We know the marina is sold out and we're expecting a good crowd," Shuff said.

And according to Shuff, there will be a few amazing prizes awarded to the folks with the best boat decorations.

"First place will win a two night stay at 'Tween Waters Inn, second place will win a two night stay at the marina in your boat and third place will win dinner for two at the Old Captiva House."

For more information about the marina at 'Tween Waters, call 472-5161.

'Tween Waters Inn is located at 15951 Captiva Drive.


VIP Realty Group names top November producers for Sanibel office

VIP Realty Group, Inc. of Sanibel recently announced the top sales producers for the month of November.

"The Marketeers" - consisting of Jason Lomano, Jim Artale, John Nicholson and Ken Colter - have woven their considerable expertise into an Elite Real Estate Team in order to serve the needs of Southwest Florida real estate customers more effectively. This team offers over 70 years of experience to their clients. Year after year, their combined efforts have lead them to be one of the most effective real estate teams in Southwest Florida.

Since 2002, The Marketeers have received the prestigious "Florida 100" award, placing them amongst the Top 100 producing real estate professionals for the entire state.

Lynda Traverso was recognized as the Top Sales Agent and has been selling real estate on Sanibel and Captiva since 1988. Having closed over $300,000,000 in sales during her career, she remains one of the island's top producers.

In 2006, and again in 2008, Lynda was named leading residential sales associate for all of VIP's Southwest Florida offices in Naples, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers and Sanibel/Captiva. She is also consistently a member of VIP Realty's Chairman's Club, an honor reserved for VIP Realty's top producers.

The McMurray-Nette Team is comprised of Mike McMurray, Trevor Nette, Brooks Selby, Arika Bjorkedal and Lisa Marth. They have been recognized as the Top Listing Team and overall Top Producer Team. The McMurray-Nette Team is a partnership of trust and commitment that each and every team member brings to their clients so that their real estate experience is as special as it can be. They are dedicated to every person who comes in contact with them and they make it a point to offer the highest service.

Rose Dakos has been recognized as the Top Producer for the month of November. Whether you're buying that special property or selling and ready to make a move, her goal is to make your real estate dreams come true. Rose has been a consistent top producer in real estate on Sanibel and Captiva Islands for over 20 years. Her commitment to you is to work with every facet of our transaction from start to finish.

Glen Simmons has been recognized as the Top Listing agent for the month of November.

VIP Realty Group, Inc. has provided Southwest Florida with a full range of real estate services for more than 25 years. As the largest locally-owned residential real estate firm in the region, VIP Realty offers services in new home sales, resales, relocation, annual and vacation rentals, and property titles.

Submitted by LISA FERRARA

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Enjoy breakfast with Santa at Twilight Café

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

Twilight Cafe 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, December 8, 2009

Only dress rehearsal tickets remain for Dancing with the Islands’ Stars

With all tickets sold for the first annual Dancing with the Islands Stars, the committee chair has made the decision to have dress rehearsal night added to this exciting fundraising event.

Dress rehearsal night will be held Friday, Jan. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Sanibel Community House as an additional opportunity to watch the event in a dress rehearsal setting. Marge Meek, event chair has said "This event has been so well received, we are pleased to offer an additional attendance night and please don't forget to support your favorite dancer and vote (donate)."

This fundraising event is becoming more fun and more competitive and your votes are essential in supporting your favorite islands' star dancer. The proceeds from this fundraiser will go towards much needed facility improvements and programs for the Sanibel Community House. Visit one of the blue boxes for voting (donating) located around the islands: Bank of the Islands, Bailey's General Store, Billy's Rentals, Head To Toes by Tina, Lily & Co., Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, The Mucky Duck, VIP Realty and the Sanibel Community House.

The six islands star dancers preparing to dance for you are Craig Albert, Karen Bell, Liddy Johnson, Billy Kirkland, Linda Naton and Susan Scott. The dancers and their professional dance partners from Fred Astaire Studios, emcee Richard Johnson, judges Rick Zurbriggen, Marjorie Nordstrom and Bobby Logue, videographer Rusty Farst, hostess Evette Zurbriggen and DJ Frederick Sunde will all be part of the dress rehearsal night.

Drinks will be available for purchase and dress rehearsal night tickets are available for $25 each. Call 472-2155 or come in to the Sanibel Community House, located at 2173 Periwinkle Way.

Thanks to the event sponsor, the Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, for making this event possible.

Submitted by KIMBERLY LA BAR

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!"

Holiday decorations across island evoke the true spirit of the season

 "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!"

Some folks may have noticed an increased amount of red and green around the islands of late, a handful of wreaths, ribbons and bunting, plus an assortment of inflatable decorations featuring shapes and faces familiar to both young and old.

Looks like the holidays have arrived!

Residences and businesses have joined forces in welcoming the Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa season to Sanibel and Captiva, with the return of the traditional Lions Club tree lot to Bailey's Center, scores of characters - Santa Claus and his elves, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the sort - adorning lawns and storefronts, plus twinkling lights of all colors and styles wrapped around the trunks of palm trees.

The Sanibel Historical Museum & Village is all decked out for the holidays, too, after a group of spirited volunteers spent two days decorating each building in The Village.

"They're all volunteers, and they'll be decorating each of the seven buildings within the museum," Blair Wyatt, coordinator of the decorating committee, said on Monday. "They are simple decorations like the ones that might have been seen on early Sanibel."

Many decades ago, Brazilian peppers, Spanish moss, shells and garland made from paper were used in holiday decor, Wyatt noted.

The Village Christmas tree, located in the Old Bailey General Store, is a seven-foot Douglas fir, again donated this year by the Sanibel Lions Club.

In keeping with the holiday season, the museum is selling an exclusive Luc Century etched glass Sanibel Lighthouse ornament/suncatcher as well as beautiful, handcrafted shell wreaths fabricated by Joan Emilius and Peggy Henward.

"There are only about 30 wreaths, and they completely sold out in minutes last year," Wyatt added.

This Friday, Dec. 4, the Museum & Village will offer a free tour to those who purchase an ornament ($45) or wreath (priced from $60 to $75). The Village Gift Shop is in the Bailey Store; shoppers may go directly to the store without paying museum admission.

The Sanibel Historical Museum & Village, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing Sanibel history, is located at 950 Dunlop Road and open on Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information, call 472-4648 during normal business hours.

Also on Friday, Sanibel Mayor Mick Denham, Vice Mayor Kevin Ruane and members of City Council will officiate at the Bailey's Center tree lighting starting at 6:30 p.m. The tree lighting ceremony will take place during the Bailey's Center Merchants' Association (BCMA) "Silver Luminary Celebration" at the corner of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road.

Live music will be performed throughout the evening. Santa will be at the Bailey's Center from 5:30 to 5:45 p.m. to take photos with children and families. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres and drinks will also be served while many BCMA merchants will be welcoming their customers, clients and guests with extra festivities to mark the occasion.

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Luminary Festival of the Islands, guests are invited to wear their finest silver attire and accessories. All are welcome to attend this free community event.

Other Luminary Festival details (SUBHEAD - BOLD)

The 25th Annual 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.

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 ShopOnSanibel.com, 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 http://www.sanibel-captiva.org/.

By JEFF LYSIAK, jlysiak@breezenewspapers.com

CROW's annual Giving Tree Festival returns this Sunday

CROW has put the final touches on its spectacular Fourth Annual Giving Tree Festival, scheduled for this Sunday, Dec. 6 at The Sanctuary Clubhouse and the event looks to be a sellout this year.

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

"The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company supports many local organizations who work to protect our quality of life for both current residents and for generations to come," said Al Hanser, Founder, CEO and co-chairman of the company. "Our team is proud to help the CROW team in their efforts to care for and protect our remarkable and diverse native wildlife."

CROW board member Daniel Moore-Thompson, chairman of the event, has organized a talented group of designers for the evening's silent auction featuring themed holiday trees, wreaths and garlands, raising important philanthropic support for the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW). The popular "Unique Boutique" will include local ornaments, tree skirts and stockings not sold anywhere else, as well as Luc Century champagne flutes designed exclusively for CROW.

Highlighting the evening will be The Giving Tree, which 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. We are grateful to have Drs. PJ Deitschel and Amber McNamara to answer any specific questions concerning the delicate care this hospital provides. New this year will be a table offering CROW memberships for holiday gift giving.

The event will begin with a complimentary wine happy hour to toast the holiday and friends followed by the culinary delights of The Sanctuary chefs which include homemade pastas, carving stations, salads, and of course gourmet deserts all while enjoying the delightful music by Johnny Ray.

"All these elements create a perfect evening while supporting the necessary mission of CROW," said Carol Rothman, acting development coordinator and event committee member.

Other Giving Tree event sponsors include Bank of the Islands, Friends of CROW, Steve and Mandy Greenstein, Roberta and Philip Puschel, Sanibel Island Taxi, Suncatcher's Dream, and Susan and Bob Tucker. We thank them for their generous support.

Local artists and designers include Donna Sue Andazola, Jaye Boswell, Inga Bredahl, Luc Century and Dee Serage, Greg and Diane Cortese, Cathy and Carly DeGennaro, 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, Melinda Graham's Surroundings, Tarpon Bay Explorers, Merrill Taylor, Birgie Vertesch and Anita Pinder, Kevin Vertesch, and VIP's Jim and Karen Hall.

Tickets for the Giving Tree Festival are $100 each, but there are only a few left! Call for reservations now at 395-0050 ext. 2 and give the gift that makes a difference all year long.

"CROW relies heavily on private donations to operate, and events such as the Festival bring in the necessary annual operating support for CROW," said board president Susan Tucker.

2010 ABC Sale t-shirts have arrived at the CCA

The 2010 ABC Sale is only months away and, just in time for Christmas, Captivans can begin picking up their own commemorative ABC Sale t-shirt at the Captiva Civic Association.

"The artwork was done by Lauri Kaihlanen. He's a very popular artist here on Captiva. Lauri did a really nice job of incorporating Captiva landmarks - the Island store, the fishhouse, the Chapel-by-the-Sea, the CCA office and Lauri's painted mailbox at the post office," said Sharon Brace of the CCA.
Captivans interested in purchasing a t-shirt will have their choice of white and yellow haze, a kind of pale yellow.

Sizes range from youth small to adult double extra large. Each shirt costs $20.

"If people want to get one before Christmas they can get them at the office here weekday mornings between 10 a.m. and noon. It's helpful if they call first, 472-2111," Brace said.

After Jan. 1, the ABC Sale t-shirts will be available in front of the Captiva post office, though a sale schedule is yet to be determined.

The 2010 ABC Sale will take place on Saturday, March 6.

The Captiva Civic Association is located at 11550 Chapin Lane.
By JANE BRICKLEY, jbrickley@breezenewspapers.com