Saturday, July 31, 2010

South Florida, Keys, East coast face no threat from oil

South Florida, Keys, East coast face no threat from oil

Story Created: Jul 30, 2010 at 10:59 AM America/New_York
GULF OF MEXICO, Fla - Southern Florida, the Florida Keys, and the East Coast are not likely to
experience any effects from the remaining oil on the surface of the Gulf as the oil continues to
degrade and is hundreds of miles away from the loop current, according to a new NOAA analysis.
This analysis assumes the Deepwater Horizon/BP wellhead will remained capped.
“For southern Florida, the Florida Keys, and the Eastern Seaboard, the coast remains clear,” said
Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA
administrator. “With the flow stopped and the loop current a considerable distance away, the light
sheen remaining on the Gulf’s surface will continue to biodegrade and disperse, but will not travel

This latest analysis is part of NOAA’s ongoing work related to the Deepwater Horizon/BP
response and recovery efforts, including aerial and satellite-based observations of surface oil and
monitoring of the loop current.

Overflights in the past week found only scattered patches of light sheen near the Mississippi
Delta – an indication that aggressive efforts to capture the oil have been effective and that the
remaining oil is naturally dispersing and biodegrading.
A large loop current eddy, called Eddy Franklin, has pinched off and detached from the loop
current. As of July 25, Eddy Franklin was more than 100 miles from the nearest surface oil
associated with the Deepwater Horizon BP source.
Until the loop current fully reforms, there is no clear way for oil to be transported to southern
Florida or beyond, which is not projected to occur for several months. At that point, essentially all
of the remaining surface oil will have dissipated.
Read more:

Pinocchio's Original Italian Ice Cream

You do not want to miss Ice Cream at Pinocchio's!!
Sanibel tradition for more than 30 years, Pinocchio's is a landmark for islanders and visitors alike.
Pinocchio's premium homemade ice cream and gelato is made fresh every day, right in the store from the finest, freshest ingredients, and has been voted Best of the Islands "Best Ice Cream" year after year!  No
surprise there..... Regular customers will tell you "coming here is part of the Sanibel Vacation experience."
They are now listed in National Geographic's The 10 Best of Everything: Families - an Ultimate guide for travelers one of "Gulf Coast America's Ten Best Ice Cream Spots."
Visit their website.....
Island Scene - Sanibel & Captiva Island.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Free summer programs at the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge

This summer visitors to the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge get the opportunity to take a free tram tour on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m. sponsored by “Ding” Darling in conjunction with the Refuge concessionaires, Tarpon Bay Explorers. Visitors have enjoy fun and camaraderie while learning about the area’s natural resources.
The day, water, sun, moon, night - I do not have to purchase these things with money.
- Plautis
Many of us remember being told as a child to go outside and enjoy nature. Back then running in the grass, exploring the woods and trying to identify the various critters we encountered during our journey outside didn’t cost a thing.
The sky, lakes and plants carried no fee.
But now all to often there is an expensive price tag attached to seeing wildlife and nature. Admission fees to nature parks can run a family several hundred dollars.

But for cash-strapped families and folks wanting to enjoy a bit of well what comes naturally - the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) and the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum is featuring free programs for families.
In conjunction with the Tarpon Bay Explorers, The “Ding” Refuge is offering three free education programs through Aug. 15.
This summer the new Family Birding Tram Tours, offered every Wednesday and Saturday at 10 a.m. is drawing crowds.
“The program is growing,” said Supervisory Ranger Toni Westland. “I think parents are looking for free educational programs to go to.”
The free tram tours are narrated by a Tarpon Bay Explorer and a “Ding” staff educator. This format helps everyone to learn about life on the refuge. Staff say program numbers seem to be up this year. Although European visitors and out of the area Florida residents comprise many of the tours, staff are seeing lots of locals this summer.

Newly hired “Ding” educator Becky Wolff said the tours always fill up.

“Ding” staff hope by offering fee programs that more people will take advantage of learning about nature and work to conserve it.
“There’s a push in all aspects to get people outside,” Wolff said.
The tours have become popular not just because its free but because of the spontaneity of wildlife.
On a recent tour Wolff said the tour group grew excited after a fiddler crab was spotted.
“You never know what you are going to see,” Westland said.
And it the enthusiasm built from the tours that Westland and Wolff hope will make a difference in the future.

“The whole idea is to create future conservationists,” Westland said.

The first 28 people to arrive for the tram tours score a free narrated birding tour along Wildlife Drive. During the program, participants can learn how to identify and count birds, then return to the Education Center to enter sighting data into the E-Bird Trail Tracker computer.

Those who wish to take the tram on a day other than the free days can make reservations at 472-8900. It costs $13 for adults and $8 for children 12 and under.

Here are some other free programs at “Ding”

n Reading at the Refuge, every Thursday at 11 a.m.: Attendees to each reading-and-crafts session will receive a free Nature Journal (one to each child) in which to record their impressions of their refuge visit and future nature encounters.

n Family Beach Walk, every Tuesday at 9 a.m.: In partnership with the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, the program convenes at Gulfside Park for a one-hour exploration of the refuge’s gulf-front Perry Tract.

For more information on the refuge summer programs, call 472-1100, stop in at the Refuge Education Center or visit

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Timing of release for 'unspOILed' book coincided with Deepwater oil disaster

Timing of release for 'unspOILed' book coincided with Deepwater oil disaster

The recently released book, 'unspOILed,' features 38 writers, scientists and students who share their abiding love of Florida’s Gulf of Mexico coast and its sea life.

A literary project that had been initiated from the idea of rallying a number of Sunshine State-based writers, scientists and students speaking out against off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico hit bookshelves only days after the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.

Be it coincidence or bad timing, the newly-released 163-page softcover collection of essays about Florida's delicate environment and the threat it would face as a result of any potential — now actual — oil spills, "unspOILed" debuted on May 26 and is already one of the most talked about summer releases on Sanibel and Captiva.

"We Floridians love our coasts. We love our fishing. We love to swim and surf and eat seafood and build sand castles. Florida’s beaches are pure white stretches of bliss that feed our souls, a natural gift as important as the Rocky Mountains or the Grand Canyon," the book's website states. "Now, as we face the Gulf of Mexico's worst ever environmental disaster, the British Petroleum oil spill off Louisiana, we must ask: How could it possibly be worth it to risk the health of Florida’s number-one economic engine – its coasts – at the hands of the careless and unaccountable oil industry?"

Jessica Wheeler, one of the 38 contributing essayists to "unspOILed," is a former extern and employee at the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. She explained that she had been contacted by two of the book's editors — Susan Cerulean and Janisse Ray — to submit a story for the collection.

"I wrote my essay about the potential impact an oil spill would have on mangroves," said Wheeler of her chapter in the book, entitled "Pricing The Priceless."

Wheeler, who graduated from the New College of Florida in 2009, where she majored in Ecology," said that although the initial mission of the book remains intact, the April 20 oil spill did steer the editors in a more purposeful direction.

"Janisse Ray's opening chapter speaks in very simple terms, yet it is deeply emotional," said Wheeler. "She talked about growing older and looking back on your life and wishing you could have done things differently. I think we can all relate to that. So many of us have such a close connection with nature. And once these things are gone, we won't be able to recover them for a really long time."

In "Pricing The Priceless," Wheeler writes, "I want my legislators to tell me how much money Florida would make by allowing oil drilling in our pristine waters. Then tell me if they've accounted for the coast, both in capital and in ecological damage, of dealing with an oil spill — the cost of cleaning up the oil, the dead birds and fish. Have they accounted for the cost of dune restoration? Sea grass restoration? Oyster reef restoration? Is the attempt to recreate fragile coastal ecosystems included in the estimation of job creation? What about the attempt to reinvigorate confidence in the safety of oil rigs during hurricanes?Could money bring back the tourism industry?"

Florida Gulf Coast University professor Jesse Millner contributed an essay entitled "Sanibel Island" in which he writes about kayaking through the mangroves at "Ding" Darling NWR.

In addition to Wheeler, Millner and Ray, contributors to the book include Doug Alderson, Marty Ambrose, Bill Belleville, Erin Canter, Susan Cerulean, Felicia Coleman, Jan DeBlieu, Connie May Fowler, Thomas Hallock, William F. Hammond, Lola Haskins, Julie Hauserman, Grace C. Jackson, Jeff Klinkenberg, Christopher Koenig, Ellie Alexandra Levy and Megan M. Melvin.

Other essayists include Myra Mendible, Jono Miller, O. Victor Miller, Julie Morris, Riki Ott, Oannes Arthur Pritzker, Dawn Evans Radford, Mandie Rainwater, Diane Roberts, Jack Rudloe, Michael Savarese, Matt Smith, Linda Taylor, Crystal Wakoa, A. James Wohlpart, Kathryn Keene Wohlpart, Sasha Linsin Wohlpart and Edward C. Woodward. David Moynahan added several illustrations throughout the volume.

The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education at FGCU, whose mission works toward "realizing the dream of a sustainable and peaceful future for Earth through scholarship, education and action," also supported the publication of the book.

"unspOILed" reminds us that now is the time to shift from the oil dependent, industrial economy that is devastating our planet and driving climate change," the website continues. "It is time to transform our culture into a way of living in balance with the greater web of all beings, a culture based on truly sustainable lifestyles and clean, renewable energy sources."

To purchase a copy of "unspOILed," visit MacIntosh Books and Paper, located at 2407 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel, or via the website at

"Popularity of antiquing brings big business to Islander Trading Post"

Bob Averill, who has owned the Islander Treading Post since 1988, is pictured with several antique Japanese glass fishing floats, which date back to the 1930's. His store specializes in nautical decorative items.

Antiquing has been one of the most popular hobbies enjoyed by millions of Americans for several decades. People have been collecting rare or unusual artifacts for generations, with some families passing down priceless heirlooms of varying age and quality; others have joined the hobby simply to own a piece of the past, which evoke special memories of days gone by.

A perfect past time for both young and old, antiquing has only become more and more popular over the past few decades. Folks looking to replace a long-lost childhood toy, kids who grew up saving bottle caps and baseball cards or home decorators hoping to find a quirky or unusual piece of vintage "kitsch" all count themselves among the legion of antique hunters.

In recent years, television shows like "Antiques Roadshow" and "American Pickers" have intrigued legions of modern day collectors to rummage through their attics, closets and basements, or travel to antique fairs and estate sales in search of some value priced — as well as priceless — goods of all shape, size and variety.
Here on Sanibel, that place is the Islander Trading Post.

And while you might not find an ultra-rare, turn-of-the-century Coca-Cola sign priced for only pennies. you will discover some things you may not have seen in quite a while. Or ever before.

"WE started out as a candle and gift shop," said owner Bob Averill, who purchased the Islander Trading Post 22 years ago. "In the 1990s, it sort of went through an evolution to the antique business."

According to Averill, the store began specializing in "old country store" antiques, including vintage advertising signs and displays. But before long, he added, "we were selling something for everyone."

Among the best-selling items offered at the Post includes antique books, toys, nautical items, cameras and film equipment, pharmacy and automobile items, costume jewelry, tobacco and beer memorabilia, license plates and old Florida souvenirs.

"We used to do a lot of the big shows and conventions all over the country, buying and selling antiques," said Averill. "But now we're just here at the store. But we still buy items at shows and estate sales. We have to replenish our inventory."

Walking through the Islander Trading Post is like stepping into a time machine. The store is organized neatly, with every category of collectible sectioned off in a well-planned maze. On your left, an assortment of vintage sports memorabilia. A few steps to your right, bookshelves filled from floor to ceiling with kitchen wares and colorfully decorated tins, which were once filled with everything from cookies to coffee.

An entire room is dedicated to beer signs, displays, bottles and the sort. Glasses of all sizes and shapes — from pilsner to shot — are everywhere.

In the back of the store, the walls are covered in both vintage and vintage-style (reproduction) advertising signs, selling everything from the beaches of Captiva to RC Cola and John Deere Tractors.

"We have signs for both pocketbooks," said Georgene Emery, who helps Averill run the business. "Some of the old or rare ones go for $500, and some of the replicas sell for as little as $20."

The best-selling signs feature brand name beverages, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Mountain Dew among the soft drink varieties. Beer and automotive signs are also quite popular in the current market.

Among the more unusual items offered at the Post is a giant, rusted anchor, salvaged from a shipwreck off of Key West.

"That one comes from a boat that sank back in the 1850s," explained Averill. "Aside from the fact that it survived for over 150 years, it's pretty rare. It's only the second anchor like that we've ever had in the store."

Averill noted that being an an island, many of his customers come in looking for vintage nautical items. The shop offers everything one might imagine, from fishing nets and buoys to mermaids and various marine life.

"People like to decorate their homes in a nautical theme," he said. "We have a lot of customers who come down from up north. When they find something they like, we can also help them ship it wherever they'd like."

One of the rarest items ever sold at the Post includes an old porcelain soda dispenser, which was quite rare and in pristine condition. That sold for about $3,000.

And what does Averill enjoy most about his business?

"I think it's that every day is different," he said. "Customers come in here every day looking for something. Sometimes they'll find it, and sometimes I'll try to help them find it. We take notes and then go out looking for them."

But chances are, if there's an antique you've been looking for, you'll find it at the Islander Trading Post.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Grand Opening of Sea Star Cafe & Bar - Sanibel Inn Location

Announcing the Grand Opening of Sea Star Cafe & Bar on Monday, July 19, 2010

Sea Star is located at Sanibel Inn (the old Ellington's)

937 East Gulf Drive


Hours: 7am - 9pm

Serving Contemporary American Cuisine - Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Full Bar

sneek peek at the menu offerings from best of!


New England Clam Chowder, Crab Bisque, Crackling Calamari, Fresh Guacamole Dip, Shrimp or Chicken Satay, Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato, Maryland Crab cakes, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail


Caesar Salad,Yellow Fin Tuna, Chicken or Shrimp Salad, Mediterranean Salad, Chef's Special

Burgers & Sandwiches

All served with Sanibel Slaw, Pickle, Fries or Salad. Additional Toppings available at an extra charge.

Char-Grilled Sirloin Cheese Burger, Turkey Burger, Garden Veggie Burger, Smokehouse Steak Sandwich, Grilled Salmon Sandwich, Chicken Bacon and Swiss Sandwich, Turkey Club, Yellow Fin Tuna Sandwich, Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

Cold Sandwiches

Accompanied by unique- Sanibel Slaw and pickel.

Black Forest Ham with Brie, Classic Chicken Salad, Roast Turkey Cobb, Albacore Tuna Salad

Panini ~ Served on European Flat Bread

Chicken Fajita, Cuban, Meatless, Meatless Mozzarella & Tomato Basil, Chicken Parmigiana


Lobster Ravioli, Alfredo Fettuccine, Bolognese Meat Sauce, Penne Arabiatta, Pasta Preimevera, Penne a la Vodka

Ocean Grill Specialties

Lobster Tail, Grilled Salmon, Alaskan King Crab Legs, Grilled Tilapia, Marinated Grilled Shrimp, Blackened Ahi Tuna, Grilled Mahi-Mahi, Blackened Grilled Grouper, Sea Bass


Traditional Fish & Chips, Fried Shrimp Basket, Grilled Chicken Breast, BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Herbs Seasoned NY Strip Steak, Grilled Sirloin Steak, Fillet Mignon, Frilled Sirloin Steak and Lobster Tail, Shrimp Scampi and NY Strip Steak, Triple Combo Ribs, Wings & Shrimp


Chocolate Cake, Cheese Cake, Tiramisu, Lemoncello

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sea turtle monitoring on the islands making adjustments due to oil spill

One of Sanibel's marked sea turtle nests discovered during the current nesting season. This year, nests are located via GPS.

The SCCF Sea Turtle Research and Monitoring Program is doing a number of things under the guidance of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to protect sea turtles on Sanibel and Captiva after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The most visible is how the nests are being marked.

This nesting season, all nests are being marked with four yellow stakes with an additional four stakes in the dune to assist in locating the nest if the stakes surrounding it are lost. All nest locations are being documented with an extremely accurate GPS to further aid in locating the nest if the four stakes surrounding the nest are lost.
Specially trained sea turtle volunteers are determining the exact location of each nest’s egg chamber, which will help us protect the sea turtle hatchlings in the event of oil reaching our shores.

Please remember to practice sea turtle friendly behaviors on the beach. It is important to respect all sea turtle staking, even the extra stakes in the dune vegetation.

This year, more than any other, sea turtle conservation is imperative. The survival of our hatchlings is an important contribution to sea turtle populations because of the struggle to survive facing adult and hatchling turtles in other areas along the Gulf Coast.

Sea turtle nesting season is from May through October and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation coordinates over 100 volunteers each summer who patrol the beach by foot or jeep for sea turtle nests. Nests are staked and monitored; after they have hatched, the eggs are counted and the nest stats are reported to FWC.

To learn more about sea turtles, come to a Turtle Tracks program at SCCF on Thursdays at 9 a.m. Please call SCCF at 472-2329 for more information.
Special to the REPORTER POSTED: July 14, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Birds injured in Gulf oil spill released on Sanibel

Birds injured in Gulf oil spill released on Sanibel

 Paul Tritaik, right, manager of the J.N. 'Ding' Darling National Wildlife Refuge, assists with the release of a pelican from Louisiana at Gulfside City Park on Monday afternoon.

A crowd of about 100 onlookers was witness to the release of more than three dozen birds injured off the coast of Louisiana, victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, at Gulfside City Park on Monday afternoon.

The birds, which included 21 brown pelicans and 17 northern gannets, had been transported from New Orleans to Fort Myers earlier in the day. Packed into wildlife cargo containers, four vans brought the animals — cleaned of oil and rehabilitated by volunteers from Tri-State Bird Rescue — and representatives of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service from Page Field to Sanibel.

"All of these birds came in to us in relatively good condition, so I think that they've got an excellent chance to survive," said Dr. Jenny Powers, wildlife veterinarian from the National Wildlife Service, who traveled from Louisiana with the 38 birds, each of whom was banded with two red tags for identification purposes.

Dr. Powers said that she is hopeful that the pelicans and gannets will adapt to Sanibel's habitat quickly.

"Since we started releasing oiled birds back into the wild, we haven't seen any of them returning to oiled areas," she added. "But we have had reports of them nesting in the areas where we released them."

Paul Tritaik, refuge manager of the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, took part in Monday's release.

"It felt really great to be a part of a success story like this," he said. "I think these birds are being given a good chance at finding new homes along Sanibel's shores. The island provides an excellent nesting and foraging habitat for both species."

Among the spectators looking on throughout the release, which took approximately 45 minutes to complete, was Steve Greenstein, executive director for CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation Of Wildlife). Although his group was not officially a part of the bird release, he attended the event to show their support for the work being done by volunteers and other organizations impacted by the British Petroleum disaster.

"There are a lot of different places being considered for these releases, so the selection of Sanibel as a release point only confirms our community's ethic of how we live cooperatively with wildlife," said Greenstein. "The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is doing an amazing job."

One by one, the cargo containers were carried to the shoreline. Members of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service carefully separated the tops and bottoms of each container, allowing the gannets to swim freely into the Gulf waters while letting the pelicans fly freely into the open air, with applause from the crowd cheering them on.

"What we're seeing here is the final step in a long process of treatment and recovery," added Greenstein. "Watching a release like this is so inspirational."

Kim Young, visiting from Covington, Ga., was grinning widely following the release of the final pair of pelicans.

"This was just spectacular," she said. "We've been coming down here for 30 years and have seen the sea turtles coming out of their nests, but this was completely unique. I'm so happy to have seen it."


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Captiva Cruises offers adventure into the past

Captiva Cruises offers adventure into the past

Captiva Cruises features an historical adventure to the Mound House on Estero Bay. During this cruise passengers get a chance to learn about the ecology and history of the area as well as participate in an historical tour and educational experience at the Mound House. The next trip is Friday July 23."History teaches everything including the future." - Lamartine

Mighty warriors braved the heat, mosquitoes and other formidable predators to create a thriving civilization in Southwest Florida.

Then they disappeared forever.

It is believed death came to the mighty warriors in the form of disease and political separation from their culture and people.

But no one truly knows.
The extinction of the Calusa Indians remains still pretty much a mystery.

But for those curious souls who like to learn more and try and piece together the lives of the Calusas can take a mini voyage seemingly back into time with Captiva Cruises. The business features a unique cruise to the historic Mound House on Estero Bay.

The day cruise which departs from Punta Rassa highlights the local waters and its history before reaching Mound House where Theresa Schober, Director of Cultural Resources, will conduct a tour and sneak peak of their new underground archeological exhibit.

Captiva Cruise educator Richard Finkel narrates the cruise to the Mound House. Along the way, Finkel will share information about the history and ecology of Punta Rassa, Pine Island Sound and Estero Bay.

Finkel, a nature enthusiast - never misses a chance to point out a pod of dolphins - which passengers will likely see along the cruise - or a bird soaring above the boat.

"Everything ties back to the body of water that we travel on," Finkel said.

On a recent historical tour to the Mound House wildlife of all sorts including dolphins and osprey popped out of the sea and air. The about 40 passengers hooted and dashed to the edge of the boat at the sight of some Atlantic Bottle nose dolphins. Finkel joined in the enthusiasm and shared some tidbits about the sea mammals.

"I am like a little kid when I see dolphins," he said.

During the rest of the cruise Finkel chatted about the importance of the estuaries which act like nurseries for many types of wildlife and about the area’s history including the Mantanzas bridge the role the waters played for the Calusa Indians - the people who once ruled Southwest Florida many about 2,000 years ago.

Once docked at the Mound House, Theresa Schober, Director of Cultural Resources, greets passengers. Schober, a friendly woman brimming with equal measures of enthusiasm and knowledge of the Calusas’ beckons the passengers to shore and begins a program that includes discussion of the Mound House - called that because it the land is built high from layers and layers of shells. The Calusas’ often used shells to build their homes and civilization upon. The higher the mound usually denoted a person of greater importance and power lived there, according to Schober.

During the program attendees get a chance to actually handle instruments and tools like the Calusas would have used. And there is even a chance to try and nab a pretend deer in the way the Calusas would have centuries ago. There is time for questions and even crafts before departing back to Punta Rassa.

But perhaps the most interesting element of the tour is the sneak peek of their new underground archaeological exhibit.

The once inground pool built by former proprietors of the property has recently been converted into an underground exhibit that showcases the different layers and strata of shells from the Calusa mounds.

Some of the shells are considered to be 2,000 years old. The new exhibit stirred the crowd’s imagination and sense of wonder.

"I think it’s fascinating," said Rebecca Moss. "The Calusa are so mysterious."
This new exhibit at The Mound House offers a rare opportunity to walk in an actual Calusa shell mound to observe its construction, its layers and to see this cross section of two thousand years of Southwest Florida history.

The cruise back to Sanibel seemed to be a think tank for the passengers. Some chatted with Finkel about the tour while others chatted amongst themselves.

But an overall sense of knowing something new and different pervaded the ruffling breeze aboard the ship.

"I have a much better understanding of how the shell mounds were created and how the Calusas lived," said Phil Urion.

His partner Stella Farwell - also a local artist loved working with the Calusas’ tools and shells during the program at the Mound House.

"I think the hands-on approach gives you the appreciation for the skills they use," she said.

The next trip to Mound Key will depart from Punta Rassa at 9 a.m. on Friday, July 23.

Reservations are required, as space is limited. Cost for the historical cruise is $45 per person which includes a donation to The Mound House Cultural Resources Center. This Cruise into the Past return to Punta Rassa at 1:30 p.m.

Also history buffs take note there will be on the water history cruise on Saturday, Aug. 14. The cruise, which will depart from Punta Rassa at 9 a.m., will focus on the cultural history of Southwest Florida.
Finkel will team up with Schober to highlight some of the significant sites and historical accounts of the diverse cultural legacy within our coastal environment.

The tour will last until 11:30 a.m. and costs $35 per person.
For more information or reservations, call Captiva Cruises at 472-5300.

Holy Smoke launches new space, live entertainment

Holy Smoke sous chef Preston Mobley serves up a pulled pork sandwich with a side of baked beans.

Holy Smoke Heavenly Barbecue and Better Burgers will host a grand reopening — feature a brand new pool hall, arcade and live entertainment by Jeff Long — on Friday, July 16.

“There’s not a lot of live entertainment on the islands and because Chadwick’s Square is already open to the public, we’re just expanding upon Holy Smoke,” said Carolyn Hudson, Director of Communications and Community Relations for South Seas Island Resort. “We’re creating nightlife. It’s going to be a great place for kids, teens, adults and families to get great meals and great entertainment.”

Starting on July 16, entertainer Jeff Long will begin nightly performances from 6 to 11 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays until Labor Day.

Long, originally from Little Rock, Ark., has been a professional musician for more than 45 years and boasts a diverse and extensive repertoire consisting of thousands of songs from a wide variety of genres and popular music.

“Jeff is amazing. He’s a performer’s performer and he’s extremely interactive with the crowd. His tag line is, ‘If you can say it, I can play it.’ So if somebody screams out the title of a song, he’ll just start playing it,” Hudson said, noting that Long will also provide accompaniment for those that are brave enough to karaoke.

Long comes to Holy Smoke through Amy Morgan of Thank You for the Dance Entertainment.

The new pool hall, adjacent to the original Holy Smoke building, will also feature a full bar, an arcade, a dance floor, stage and the only public pool tables on the island — and of course, dining space to enjoy Holy Smoke’s divine menu of barbecue cuisine.

“I’m very excited,” said Holy Smoke Sous Chef Preston Mobley. “This is a process that has been going on for about a year and a half. When we first opened, this was our intention — things got pushed around a bit — but now we’re going to proceed with our plans. This is one of our biggest projects and it really gives Holy Smoke the opportunity to really reach its full potential. For me, it was really a blessing to see this blossom,” Mobley said.

When Holy Smoke first opened in August of 2008, the resort wasn’t sure how well a barbecue restaurant would do on Captiva.

“We realized that there really isn’t any other barbecue restaurant on Captiva or Sanibel. And the techniques that Preston uses — which are really from the south and use a real smoker grill — makes it some of the best barbecue you can get. We call them our ‘better burgers’ because they are the best burgers,” Hudson said.

Throughout the week, Holy Smoke will also offer a daily special — everything from 50 cent wings to $9 bucket of beer.
Holy Smoke will also be running special redemption advertisements encouraging people to come into the new space between the hours of 6 and 11 p.m. and use their redemption tickets for things like $5 worth of free tokens or a free pitcher of beer.
“The new Holy Smoke is just one more thing South Seas has to offer to the public — the circus acts from Russia and Chadwick’s Square bringing on the Kay Casperson Spa, Giggles and Captiva Blooms. Chadwick’s Square is really becoming the public space we always dreamed it could be. There’s something for everyone,” Hudson said.
The new Holy Smoke addition will officially open on Friday, July 16, at 6 p.m. with a live performance by Jeff Long.
But if you just can’t wait until dinner time to sample some of Holy Smoke’s spectacular food, the restaurant is always open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
For more information about the new Holy Smoke, call 472-7559.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hundreds gather to watch island's Independence Day parade

Hundreds gather to watch island's Independence Day parade

Participants aboard the START (Solutions To Avoid Red Tide) float, dressed in patriotic garb, take aim with their water blasters at people lining Periwinkle Way.

The Bailey’s Center Merchants’ Association (BCMA) hosted their second annual Fourth of July Backyard BBQ on Saturday, July 3.

The event began immediately following the Independence Day parade, and more than 400 adults and children attended.

There was laughter and splashing on the waterslide and in the bounce house, and both adults and children tested their pitching arms at the Sanibel Shell’s dunk tank. The Bailey’s mules walked riders around the center. Fafco’s mobile solar power unit provided electricity throughout despite cloudy skies, all while The Hat Boys entertained everyone with a sampling of both familiar and patriotic tunes.

There were constant queue lines at the Bailey’s food table, where hungry families were served by George Schnapp, at the snow cone and popcorn stand, at Retta’s face painting and at the Coffee Bar @ Bailey’s iced lemonade and smoothie stand.

The Fort Myers Senior High School’s boys basketball team — 2010 Florida State Champs — turned out to support the event and signed autographs.
Master of ceremonies, Wendy Schnapp, announced the event’s program activities along with the 13 lucky raffle winners who received a prize from one of the BCMA merchants, which includes Bailey’s General Store, Bailey’s True Value Hardware, The Grog Shop, Nick’s Place, Hillgate Communications, Island Cleaners, Island Cinema, Sanibel Barber Shop, Lily & Co. Jewelers, Sanibel Shell Automotive, Select Vacation Properties, Video Scene and Coffee Bar @Bailey’s.

Candy and water from toy guns sprayed a jubilant crowd of holiday revelers during the 20th Annual Sanibel Independence Day Parade on Saturday morning.

Though grey clouds hung above the crowd, there was no rain on the parade. It seemed like the moody, overcast day could not dampen the spirits of scores of families and folks out to see the “Freedom Rocks” theme-based parade. In fact, the greyish weather seemed to make the revelers and parade staff brighter.

“It’s got to be the coolest parade,” said Julie DeBord, a parade volunteer. “Normally, we’re baking.”

Ryan and Nancy Mullens, visiting with their four children — Kasey, Abigael,

Gus and Tucker — as well as the children’s grandfather, Dan Keys from Indianapolis, Ind. were not phased by the sunless summer morning. Their daughter’s sported matching Americana themed-skirts and dashed about the

grass waiting for the parade to start.

“It’s surprising how many people are coming,” said Ryan Mullens.

But parade organizers and volunteers did not seem rattled by the clouds.

“We always get a great turn-out,” DeBord said.

And this year was not any different.

People of all ages waved tiny American flags, sported patriotic garb and funky red, white and blue hats. Even the pooches showed their patriotic side as many dogs there were spotted wearing flag-themed collars and bandanas.

Part-time Sanibel residents Dennis and Shari LaFrance said they couldn’t resist bringing their West Highland terriers named Candy and Tuney to the parade.

“They like to watch the people,” Shari LaFrance said.

The air electrified with excitement as the about 30 floats made their entrance into the parade, which ran from Tarpon Bay Road, down Periwinkle Way to Casa Ybel Road. Screeches, laughter and squeals of delight pierced the air as a caravan of patriotically-decorated cars, trucks, vans, Segways and floats rolled by.

Island standards such as Sam Bailey driving his antique Model-T automobile and the Grand Marshal, Ralph Woodring, zipping by in his four-wheeler drew smiles and lots of hand clapping.

“It’s Mayberry by the Sea,” said Sanibel author and realtor Charlie Sobczak.

The homespun community feel is what most come — some from many miles away — every year to see in person.

“It’s just small town Americana,” said Eleanor Darlton.

Darlton has been coming to the parade with her husband, Corky, for at least 15 years. She used to bring her grandchildren until they grew up. However, she still carries a bag to collect goodies tossed from the people on the floats. She then gives away the treats to children passing by. Her friend and fellow Sanibel resident, Ada Shissler, said that she loves all of the small town things that comprise a parade like Sanibel’s.

“It’s just like life passing you by,” she said.

One by one, floats moved by the spectators. All of the floats earned a round of applause and smiles, but some seemed grab the attention of the crowd a bit more.

R.S. Walsh Landscaping's entry drew admiration for its blossom and plant-filled float. And there was plenty of hooting and hollering for the Tarpon Bay Explorers’s float named "Born To Be Wild." The tram turned wild safari-like machine enchanted the crowd with its copious palm fronds jutting out of it and costume snakes woven about the windows.

And the action on the sidelines appeared to be no less than processional of floats.

“Shoot me!” hollered a little girl along the side hoping to get sprayed by one of the many super soaker water guns donned by float passengers. Getting sprayed with water and collecting as much candy and other stash as you can from the floats as they move by is one of the parade traditions that many — including McKenna Houston — look forward to.

Ellie and Addy Rundquist, visiting from Atlanta, Ga., flashed toothy smiles as they held up bags of treats they collected from the floats including balls, beads and lots of sweet goodies. Their parents, Magnus and Laurie Rundquist, just smiled and shook their heads at their grinning children.

“I think it showcases America,” Laurie said of the Sanibel parade as they turned to leave.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sanibel documentary 'Sanctuary Island' wins Telly Award

Sanibel documentary 'Sanctuary Island' wins Telly Award

Title screen for the documentary 'Sanctuary Island: The Sanibel Legacy.'

WGCU Public Media’s documentary "Sanctuary Island: The Sanibel Legacy" recently won a bronze award in the 31st Annual Telly Awards competition, which awards silver and bronze statuettes to outstanding productions in various categories each year.

"Sanctuary Island," written and produced by Sanibel Island writer Chelle Koster Walton, tells the story of how grassroots determination and diligent environmental awareness created an island sanctuary in spite of plans to the contrary.

Besides Walton, several other islanders contributed to the 30-minute documentary’s production, including former Island Reporter editor Barbara Linstrom, WGCU executive producer; Laura Sheft, associate producer and narrator; Rusty Farst, who provided aerial footage; musician Danny Morgan, who donated the use of his music; and Aaron Walton, production assistant.

"Sanctuary Island" debuted in March 2009. Among the people interviewed for the WGCU Untold Stories series episode were Sanibel’s first mayor Porter Goss, former mayor and conservationist Mark “Bird” Westall, early “Ding” Darling ranger Charles LeBuff, and key staff at the refuge, SCCF and CROW.

“Today a low-key beach community of some 6,000 year-round residents and thousands of birds, Sanibel Island, Florida, was headed for an entirely different fate in the 1960s,” the documentary begins. “Back then, county officials and developers were hatching plans to build Sanibel out to full capacity -- into a high-rise, highly commercialized tourist destination of 90,000.”

The documentary was funded through contributions to the WGCU Green Fund by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society; the Robert & Mary Linstrom Memorial Fund at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and the Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank.

To view the documentary online, visit

The Telly Awards is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, film and video production, and Web commercials, videos and films.

WGCU Public Media provides media content and services that enrich the lives of our citizens and strengthen the social, democratic and cultural health of our region by fostering personal growth, celebrating human diversity and motivating community engagement. WGCU TV/FM is a broadcast service of WGCU Public Media at Florida Gulf Coast University.