Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sanctuary Islands: The Sanibel Legacy

History of Sanibel
Now Available For Your Viewing

Today, the City of Sanibel is releasing the first in a series of four videos provided by WGCU documenting the history of Sanibel.  Residents and visitors can now view the history of Sanibel and learn about the City's water quality initiatives while in the comfort of their own home or anywhere they are connected to the world wide internet. 

Upon release of the first video, City Manager Judie Zimomra stated, "We're very appreciative to our friends at WGCU for partnering with the City of Sanibel to distribute and make available the film chronologies that introduce the viewers to the uniqueness of Sanibel.  We urge every resident and visitor to take time to view this information."

Click to view

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sanibel - SUNDIAL K302 - Beachfront 2/2 with Best View on Sanibel

This comfortable, well-maintained 2 bedroom 2 bath direct Gulf front unit offers incomparable views from its living room and balcony and includes a stackable front load washer-dryer and upgraded bathrooms and kitchen appliances.

Wireless internet connection is now available.


We will refund the cost of a three-day pass to Sundial's amenities.  After you register with Sundial, keep the receipt and present it to VIP for the refund when you check out.

Chamber gearing up for 2011 Community Fair & Retail Expo

The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce will host the 2011 Community Fair & Retail Expo on Sunday, Jan. 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sanibel Community House, located at 2173 Periwinkle Way.

"There will be things to do for all ages," said Bridgit Stone-Budd, Director of Marketing for the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce. "There will be lots of fun stuff for the kids, games, raffle drawings and food and drink for everyone. And all of it is free!"

In addition to vendor booths found throughout the Community House complex, the event will offer live music, a DJ, an emcee and entertainment, photo opps with the Sanibel Fire Department's fire engine, a bounce house, a giant slide and segway rides from Billy's Bike Rentals.

Free food and refreshments will include coffee and bagels from The Coffee Bar @Bailey's, hot dogs and soda provided by Bailey's General Store, boiled peanuts and bottled water courtesy of Billy's Bike Rentals and wine tasting with Big Crush Distributors and The Grog Shop.

There will also be spectacular raffle prizes given away, in addition to several door prizes and product giveaways provided by the vendors. Congress Jewelers is this year's presenting sponsor and will be raffling off a beautiful piece of jewelry.

Along with the event's platinum sponsor, Congress Jewelers, the gold sponsor is 'Tween Waters Inn and silver sponsors are The Coffee Bar @ Bailey's, Royal Shell Property Management, Fort Myers Pest Control and

"We've had 100 percent retention at the expo because our businesses enjoy coming back every year," added Stone-Budd, who is producing the event for the fourth consecutive year. "I think that it's important for local businesses to get to know the products and services available from their fellow businesses here on the islands. And the fair is a great way for everybody to come out and mingle with their community."

For more information about the event, contact Bridgit at the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce at 472-8255. JEFF LYSIAk

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Celebrity chef hosts annual tropical cooking extravaganza

Once again this year, the Jacaranda will be welcoming the Loretta Paganini School of Cooking the last week of the month. This is the 14th year the Cleveland, Ohio culinary celebrity will have taught a series of classses here on the island. 

Joining Loretta again this year is Chef Tim McCoy. Paganini and McCoy will teach a series of six classes focusing on using fresh ingredients to make a variety of delicious dishes, such as Artichoke Parmesan Fritters with Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise; Blanquette de Veau with Herb de Provence; and a Honey and Pine Nut Tart, accompanied by Strawberry Ice Cream. Both chefs will share great entertaining ideas, the latest in international cuisine, and the newest techniques for preparing delicious meals. 

This gastronomic showcase brings to life the rustic flavors of Tuscany and the Mediterranean, and the haute cuisine of France. In each class, the chefs prepare a complete menu, while students sample each item paired with perfectly selected wines.

The classes are an ideal opportunity for food enthusiasts with discerning palates to gather and enjoy exceptional dishes in the elegant atmosphere of the historic Jacaranda.

Classes run from Monday, Jan. 24 to Saturday, Jan. 29 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day. Space is limited. The fee is $525 for a series of six classes, or $95 per individual class.

Call 472-1771 for more information. For reservations, call the Loretta Paganini School of Cooking at (888) 748-4063 or go to Paganini’s website, at www.lpscinc.comANNE W. BELLEW

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sanibel - Seagull Estates Private Home available for Feb and March 2011

255 Daniels Seagull Estates
Living Room
Lanai and view of private yard
 Don't let this one get away, it won't last long!!

Let the stress of life fade away while vacationing in this beautiful "Olde Florida" style home located in the community of Seagull Estates.
This home is a short walk to the beach and has a beautiful community pool, spa and tennis courts for you and your family to enjoy. The bicycle paths of Sanibel are easily accessible from this property.

This is a stunning 3 bedroom 2 bath home with wirless internet and fax. This is a great way to enjoy Sanibel.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Community News / News / Community News Islanders express concerns over sudden, rapid infill of Blind Pass

After 10 years of closure, Blind Pass finally opened at the end of July of 2009 — after months of planning, permitting, dredging and construction of course.

And while the actual opening of the pass was accidental — towards the end of construction, water eroded its way around a sheet pile wall on the Sanibel side of the pass — around Christmas, it became clear that Blind Pass was starting to close up again.

But some people are wondering if the County is as concerned with the rapid infill of Blind Pass as islanders are.

“When I think of all the efforts that went into getting the permit to do the project, it reminds me that we can’t just stop the day the dredge moves on, and that’s what I’m afraid the County has done,” said Captiva Erosion Prevention District Senior Administrator Kathy Rooker. “Many residents that call the CEPD say that Lee County promised a five year maintenance plan and they want to know why it isn’t happening. We realize the CEPD is not the project manager, but we’re a huge stakeholder, and so are all Captivans.”

Rooker said she and other members of the CEPD board have begun chronicling the gradual infilling of the pass and sending photographs, comments, suggestions and questions to Robert Neal, the project manager of the Blind Pass restoration with the Lee County Division of Natural Resources.

“We’ve been persistent in sharing information with Lee County and in trying to be a catalyst to get them to take action, but because we’re not privy to Lee County data, it’s hard for us to draw conclusions on how to proceed.

The CEPD has also asked their engineer, Steve Keehn of Coastal Planning and Engineering, to keep a close eye on the pass, stay in contact with County officials and to develop a plan to better maintain the pass.

“We’re looking for solutions because we’re not seeing anything from Lee County. We want to work with them and offer suggestions, but they’re unresponsive,” Rooker said.

At their board meeting on Wednesday, the CEPD drafted a letter expressing the organization’s concerns and requesting the County take responsibility — and action — that they will send to the Board of County Commissioners, the Division of Natural Resources and the County Manager, Karen Hawf.

“Inlet management is not an exact science and they’re very difficult to manage because there are so many different factors. The CEPD understands that. I’m disappointed because I thought we were all supposed to work together. We don’t want to point fingers or assign blame, we just want to solve this problem.”

Rooker said the CEPD was shocked to receive a bill for the project — $1,039,768.36 — stating that Lee County had officially signed off on the project as complete when maintenance provisions were not met.

They’ve paid most of it, but the CEPD is openly refusing to pay the remaining amount — approximately $130,000 — until the County takes accountability.

Rooker also said that the CEPD is frustrated with the fact that they’re not getting accurate, complete status reports or information about the pass — even as it continued to fill in over the past few weeks.

“It’s difficult when you have a financial obligation but you have no authority. That’s the position we’re in right now. We just want to make sure that the project meets the performance standards the people of Captiva were expecting,” Rooker said.

Captiva resident, business owner and CEPD board member Dave Jensen said he encourages concerned island residents to voice their concerns to Lee County Commissioner John Manning.

“As a business owner, I depend on healthy waters,” Jensen said. “Opening Blind Pass was a great concept and we went through a lot of work to get it done. The way we understood it, the County knew that there was a chance that the pass might not stay open — but they said they had a plan to maintain it. None of us know if it’s actually going to close, but we’re worried, and we feel that we’ve reached a point where there is great concern that nothing is being done. If it closes, it will take much more to reopen it entirely than if we start maintaining it. We just want to do what it takes.”

“In March, Robert Neal of the Lee County Department of Natural Resources came to Captiva for one of our town hall meetings about Blind Pass and said that if closure of the pass looked imminent, the County would go in and do something,” Rooker said. “The CEPD has always stressed that adverse trends with the pass need to be identified early and addressed. To see the rapid deterioration of the pass and not seeing immediate attention given to it is something that we want addressed.”

“There seems to be a lot of misinformation going around,” Robert Neal said. “When we opened the pass, we constructed something unnatural. We’re messing with Mother Nature on many different levels. Some people said it wouldn’t last a week, some said a month, but we’re now at 18 months. People are losing hope, but it’s not closed yet. We could go out and dredge today, but if we don’t understand where the sediment is coming from and how it’s getting there, we’re really no better off. We don’t want to jump the gun. It’s such a dynamic system, so we have to follow Mother Nature, watch the system and learn from it. We haven’t walked away from the pass. It’s a commitment the County stands behind.”

As a proactive measure in October of last year, before the pass exhibited the dramatic infill worrying islanders today, Lee County Division of Natural Resources applied for a permit modification to the Blind Pass project with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to do some additional dredging in an area outside of the scope of the original project which will hopefully facilitate a better flow of water through the pass.

Neal noted that the permit would also authorize maintenance dredging.

If the permit is approved in enough time, the County will be able to utilize dredges that will be on Fort Myers Beach this spring.

But Rooker thinks it might be too late.

“The longer they delay on taking action,” she said, “the sooner the channel will completely infill, making it that much more difficult to reopen. And because the permit modification wasn’t submitted until the end of October of last year, it’s going to take even longer.”

So was the initial Blind Pass restoration a total waste of time — and approximately $2.5 million?

“It was definitely a very worthwhile project,” Neal said, “the main benefits being environmental. When we opened the pass, we saw how the back bay cleared, wildlife returned, and seagrasses started growing and manatees started grazing in Clam Bayou. It was totally worth it. We do have a long term maintenance plan, and if the pass were to close, it would be a kink in the plan. We’re still here and we’re doing a lot of work to learn what exactly is going on. We recognize that if the pass closes, there will be a need to maintenance dredge it — but then we need to address the question of cost and benefit. Are we willing to put in another million dollars for another 18 months, or do we need to start looking at other, bigger alternatives?”

For more information about Blind Pass project, call the Captiva Erosion Prevention District at 472-2472 or go towww.MyCEPD.comJANE BRICKLEY

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rogue chicken is on the loose in Captiva

She’s been spotted twice, skulking around homes along the Gold Coast.

The suspect is an unidentified chicken — but no one knows where she came from and, perhaps more importantly, how she got here. 

“My grandson, Zack, arrived on Captiva yesterday (Jan. 4) from Colorado and, on his way to RC Otter’s, as he was turning out of our driveway, a chicken came out at the end of the driveway, right in front of him,” Oden said. 

Zack Oden pulled out his cell phone and took a picture, but his grandmother wanted to know more.

“I called up Colin Kilgore, who lives across the street from us, and I asked him if he was raising chickens. He said he wasn’t, but he also said his daughter, Summer Kilgore, said she thought she saw a chicken a few days ago stuck up in the trees next to their house,” Oden said. 

So where did she come from?

“I think someone might have had it in their truck in a cage, taking it somewhere, and the cage came loose and the chicken came out,” Oden said. “That’s the only thing that makes sense to me.”

But whether or not a plausible explanation is within grasp (eyewitness Zack Oden wonders, “Why did the chicken cross the causeway?), Nancy Oden said that, despite the rogue chicken’s intentions, she and her family have had a wonderful time mulling over the details.

“We laughed so hard about it that we thought we were going to expire! I called my neighbor, told her to get her camera out, and be on the look out for a chicken,” Oden said, the laughter erupting again as she recalled her neighbor’s bewildered reaction to the bizarre request. “We want to track it down so we can have some fresh eggs. I’ve found a bobcat in my front yard before — but a chicken beats all. It’s too funny for words!”

Captivans hoping for a glimpse of this hooligan hen should keep a careful look out as they make their way through the stretch of Captiva Drive closer to the double S-curve. 

“I don’t know where it came from or where it’s going,” Oden said, “but there is a chicken around here somewhere!” By JANE BRICKLEY

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

#Sanibel #Captiva Islands - Reserve your accommodations now!!

#Sanibel  #Captiva Islands  

Build Your Perfect Island Vacation!!!

Beat the rush and reserve your choice of units while                
                                          availability lasts.

Ellington’s delivers jazzy gift for SCCF campaign

Sharon Wise, owner of Ellington’s Jazz Club, gave the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) a musical boost to their campaign at year’s end. 

In a promotion conceived with the Island Jazz Dixieland Band, Ellington’s made a $200 contribution to SCCF’s campaign to acquire the historic Bailey Family Homestead. In support of that gift, Island Jazz donated their services to play the night away on Ellington’s bandstand.

“The Bailey Homestead is our next door neighbor,” said Wise. “We see the wildlife using the property and feel very strongly the land should be saved for habitat conservation. Hopefully this promotion will encourage others to get involved before the purchase deadline expires in June.”

Ellington’s will be contributing weekly to other island non-profits in exchange for Island Jazz performing every Thursday night in January. 

“We are delighted to be doing our part to support the good work being done on Sanibel,” said Island Jazz band leader Tom Cooley. “We’ll be offering up your favorite jazz and blues standards, with the inimitable vocal stylings of Sally-Jane Heit.”

SCCF (the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) is dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed through environmental education, land acquisition, landscaping for wildlife, marine research, natural resource policy, sea turtle conservation and wildlife habitat management. 

Tax-deductible contributions to the campaign can be made online at or by calling Erick Lindblad at 427-2329 or Cheryl Giattini at 395-2768.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Teddy Bears take over at the Sanibel Historical Museum & Village

This time of year, bears are hibernating, but not at the Sanibel Historical Museum & Village. January is a “Bear-y” busy month at the Historical Village. 

Mary McLaughlin, the Museum's Acquisitions Director, has let the bears out of the bag and put them on display throughout the seven historic buildings that make up the Village. 

The Museum’s teddy bear collection encompasses many different types of bears—most of them are older and come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Visitors are invited to view this new exhibit during Museum hours, Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is located at 950 Dunlop Road, next to BIG Arts. The Museum showcases Sanibel history from the 1880s to 1940s and also includes displays on the Calusa and Spanish exploration periods. Seven buildings have been moved from different locations on the island and found a permanent home at the Historical Village with its charming heritage garden and a reproduction of an island packing house that would have served the farming community at the turn of the 19th century. 

Admission to the Museum & Village is $5 for adults, 18 and over. Children and members are free. Visitors will find knowledgeable docents to answer questions and share island stories. There is a daily, docent-led tour of all of the historical buildings at 11 a.m. at no additional cost. For those who wish to explore and learn about Sanibel history at their own pace, the Museum now features audio/visual enhancements. 

For more information, please call 472-4648 during business hours or visit the Museum's website at

Tanger Outlets to host Fine Arts & Fine Crafts Show

The Fourth Annual Sanibel Tanger Fine Arts & Fine Crafts Show will take place at the Tanger Outlet Center in Fort Myers on Wednesday, Jan. 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday, Jan. 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

This special two-day exhibit brings together more than 80 artists from Florida, the United States, Canada, Israel and several other foreign countries.

This unique show features artists exhibiting their original and handmade art including sculpture, glass, fiber, jewelry, watercolors, oil, ceramics, photography, mixed media, acrylic, wood and more.

The event is free and open to the public. 

The Tanger Outlet Center is conveniently located at 20350 Summerlin Road (two miles from the Sanibel Causeway) and features 40 brand name and designer outlet stores. 

For additional information regarding this show, call 508-737-0998.  JULIA BABAIR