April 2015 Life In Naples Magazine

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Olivares Names Founders Award Recipient

Raphael Olivares


Hodges University has named Raphael (Alex) Olivares as this year’s recipient of the 2015 Founders Award – an honor presented annually to an exemplary Hodges University graduate who has provided outstanding and distinguished service to our community. The Award was presented at the 19th annual Humanitarian of the Year Awards luncheon recently.

“I am deeply honored to receive the 2015 Founders Award,” said Olivares. “My experience at Hodges University was life-changing.

The support and encouragement that I received helped me to change my beliefs about myself and what I could accomplish. As soon as I arrived at Hodges, I knew I was going to succeed.”

Born in Boston, Rafael Olivares grew up in both the United States with his parents and in the Dominican Republic where his grandparents lived. After graduating high school in Massachusetts, Rafael moved back to the Dominican Republic to spend more time with his grandparents and to enroll at Catholic University in Santo Domingo.

Rafael earned a degree in clinical psychology there in 2004 and has gone on to work in various social service settings. He began his professional career as a clinician working with chronically mentally ill patients in Lawrence, Massachusetts. After relocating to Florida he has worked as a non-residential counselor for Lutheran Services Florida, residential program director at the Oasis Youth Shelter, and as program director for Human Trafficking Services for Catholic Charities.

Rafael has also served as chairman of the Southwest Florida Human Trafficking Coalition where, under his leadership, the organization expanded to various counties hosting symposiums on Human Trafficking in our area. He is a member of the local Human Trafficking Task Force and regularly provides training and outreach to the community on the subject.

Since obtaining his Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Hodges University, Rafael has earned his certification as a domestic violence advocate by the Florida Coalition against Domestic Violence. He is currently the coordinator for the Florida Gulf Coast University Resource Center on Human Trafficking as well as one of the clinicians in the Human Trafficking Victims Assistance Counseling Program at Catholic Charities.

Rafael lives in Naples with his wife Scarlett and their two children.




Is your medicine cabinet filled with prescription and over-the-counter medication that you no longer use? If so, Drug Free Collier can help you clean up your act. Volunteers with Operation Medicine Cabinet® will be on hand at multiple locations throughout Collier County on Saturday, April 25, 2015 to help residents safely dispose of unwanted household medication.

Since 1993, Operation Medicine Cabinet has been working to keep harmful drugs from falling into the wrong hands by providing a responsible alternative that protects our kids and our environment. Last year, volunteers collected more than 8,700 pounds of prescription pills and assorted medicines for safe disposal. “We are thrilled that so many members of our community are now more mindful of how they use, store and safely dispose of household medication,” said Melanie Black, Executive Director of Drug Free Collier.

“As we learn more about the risks of unsecured medication in our homes and the impact of pharmaceuticals on our water supply, more people are resisting the temptation to flush them down the toilet or throw them out with the trash,” said Black.

With the rise of prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths reaching epidemic proportions in recent years, Operation Medicine Cabinet® has been an essential element of prevention. It’s a simple, yet powerful way for each adult in our community to take an active role in preventing further tragedies.



Over the years, Operation Medicine Cabinet has gained national attention and has grown thanks to the efforts of Veora Little and dozens of dedicated volunteers. Her involvement began in 2006 when a handful of local elementary students were transported to the hospital after taking prescription medication that was brought to school by another student. “After learning about this incident, Veora recognized that something more needed to be done to keep this from happening again and immediately took action and volunteered to spearhead
Operation Medicine Cabinet,” Black said.

Collier County now has 11 permanent drop-boxes where residents can conveniently and safely dispose of unwanted household medication. “Operation Medicine Cabinet would not be where it is today without the leadership, dedication and innovation of Veora Little,” said Black.

“Prescription pill abuse is preventable,” Black said. “You can be part of the solution by locking up your medication at home since it’s widely known that individuals who abuse prescription drugs often get them from the medicine cabinets of their family members and friends,” Black added. It’s also a good idea to keep a written inventory of all medication.

Both prescription and over-the-counter medication are accepted at each drop box with no questions asked. All pharmaceuticals are destroyed through incineration, a method which environmental specialists consider to be the best option for disposal.



 Jim Henderson President of William C. Huff Companies and national speaker for estate downsizing and lifestyle transitions

Jim Henderson
President of William C. Huff Companies and national speaker for estate downsizing and lifestyle transitions

When I bought William C. Huff Companies 26 years ago, baby boomers were in the midst of upsizing their homes and lifestyles. As a result of their prosperity and upward mobility, our company grew along with them.

A great number of boomers born between 1946 and 1964 have held top-level corporate positions; opened their own companies; and invested very well in the financial market. With their success, they purchased bigger homes, yachts, jets, automobiles and art. As our clients kept upsizing and moving every six or seven years into larger and larger homes, we stayed ahead of the trend by adding more staff, warehouse facilities and vehicles. Our mission is to provide stellar service to our clients and deliver a tradition of quality standards that are the highest in the industry.

Over the past four years, this dramatic upsizing trend has shifted to a downsizing movement. The 2010 Census revealed that there were about 70 million baby boomers aged 54 to 66 and about 20 million Americans over the age of 66. According to experts, as many as 12,000 boomers are retiring every day and many are moving south.

In the past three years alone, our New Hampshire office has seen a 700 percent increase in moves to Florida. The migration of these retiring boomers has had an incredibly positive financial impact here in Naples.

The Naples Board of Realtors reports real estate inventories are now the lowest in over eight years. New housing construction is up 300 percent over the previous three years and this makes for a thriving business climate. William C. Huff Companies saw a 39.5 percent increase in sales last year. We, too, will be expanding our warehouse to support the overwhelming demand for storage.

Like many other business owners in Naples, I appreciate our baby boomers and all our seasonal residents. They make a great impact on our economy – they buy homes, shop in our stores, use services like ours, and bring disposable income that in turn creates jobs and promotes local businesses. So I say, thank you baby boomers for choosing Naples!

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute discovers clues about what causes macular degeneration

by Jaclyn L. Kovach, MD

Jaclyn L. Kovach, MDWhat causes age-related macular degeneration (AMD)? Patients pose this seemingly simple question to me every day. For the past seven years, my colleague Dr. Stephen G. Schwartz, MD, MBA and I at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (BPEI) in Naples have collaborated with geneticists at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG) at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to try to answer that very question.

As it turns out, the etiology of AMD is complicated. There are many factors that increase an individual’s risk of developing this potentially blinding condition. Age is the most important risk factor, as AMD affects only patients over 50 years of age. A history of tobacco use, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia (lifestyle factors) are also believed to play a role, but genetics are thought to account for up to 80 percent of one’s AMD risk. Age-related macular degeneration is a strongly inherited disease and is commonly passed down through families. Genetic risk factors interact with lifestyle factors to determine one’s risk of developing AMD and how the condition progresses.

Macular DegenerationPrior to 2005, the genetic risk factors for AMD were unknown. At that time, we simply knew that there was a strong hereditary component to AMD risk. Margaret Pericak-Vance, PhD, director of the HIHG who is the principal investigator for our current collaboration was one of the researchers who identified the first and most powerful genetic risk factor for AMD, complement factor H (CFH).

An abnormal CFH gene can lead to unregulated inflammation in the retina and promote the development of AMD.

Since 2010, Dr. Schwartz and I at BPEI and the geneticists at HIHG have collaborated with other well-known national and international AMD researchers with the goal of identifying other genetic factors associated with AMD through an international group called the AMDGene Consortium. Created by the National Institute of Health’s National Eye Institute, the AMDGene Consortium has conducted a type of large research study call a genome wide-association study (GWAS) to identify the genes associated with AMD. In 2013 the Consortium published a landmark article identifying seven new genetic risk factors for AMD which to date brings the total of known genetic AMD risk factors to 19 genetic loci. The more we learn about the genetic abnormalities that play a role in the development of AMD the closer we get to the  prevention and better treatments for AMD.

To date, this fruitful BPEI and HIHG collaboration has authored over 100 peer-reviewed articles and national scientific meeting presentations that have contributed to the current state of knowledge of AMD. This research would not be possible without the help of over 1,000 of our Naples patients who have so generously agreed to participate in this ongoing genetic research project for AMD. For more  information regarding our research at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Naples, please call 239.659.3937 and ask for Rosanny Larach, our
research coordinator.





Naples Zoo officials announced today they are breaking ground on a permanent home for a young Florida panther that cannot be returned to the wild after it was blinded by a shotgun blast. This new panther exhibit will focus on expanding public awareness of the issues surrounding the growing number of cats in the area. And to meet the increased need to care for injured or orphaned panthers, Naples Zoo is also creating habitat space to provide temporary care along with an all-new large animal veterinary clinic. This is part of a cooperative effort with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife and Conservation Commission (FWC) to meet their needs in recovering the state’s panthers. The new exhibit is slated to open later this summer.

The Florida panther that guests will see at Naples Zoo’s new exhibit is an approximately 2-year-old male rescued in October by FWC biologists. After surviving a shotgun blast to both the face and hindquarters, the wounded and blinded cat may have been surviving on road kill for up to six weeks before he was found.

uno OperateHe received urgent care at the Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida followed by critical care at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo.

The panther was named Uno as he was the first animal treated in their new veterinary hospital. FWC is still investigating the shooting of this panther.

“As an organization with a strong commitment to Florida wildlife, we’re proud to provide veterinary support for the wild panther population–both in the field and onsite at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo,” said Dr. Ray Ball, Lowry Park Zoo’s Director of Medical Sciences. “Through a long-term relationship with USFWS and FWC, we have an important role in helping evaluate and rehabilitate wild panthers like Uno, as well as providing life-saving medical care for manatees.”

Since arriving at Naples Zoo, Uno has been cared for by the Zoo’s carnivore team in a behind-the-scenes area where he has free choice of inside and outside spaces. “Along with direct observation, we use remote cameras to monitor Uno’s activities during the day and night. While he preferred the indoor area at first, the videos show him exploring the outdoor area more and more,” explained Naples Zoo’s Director of Animal Programs Liz Harmon. “Given the trauma he experienced, he’s adapting quickly and moving around very well.” The Zoo’s carnivore keepers are also training Uno to sound cues and offer gentle, reassuring tones as they help transition him to a life without sight.

uno operationAs Uno’s story demonstrates, many dedicated agencies and related biologists and veterinarians currently serve to help injured panthers. This new facility at Naples Zoo will provide officials with a local facility to act even quicker by providing an alternative to moving cats several hours away in the state – an especially useful option for a cat that only needs short-term observation for a few hours or few weeks.

“We’re excited about providing a missing resource like this,” said Naples Zoo President and CEO Jack Mulvena. “We’re also progressing on fundraising for our own new veterinary hospital which will be able to help both larger local species like panthers as well as the exotic species in the Zoo.”

Larry Williams, Florida State Supervisor of Ecological Services for the USFWS, agrees, “Florida panther conservation is a team effort. Many
thanks to our partners at the Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida and the Lowry Park and Naples Zoos for nursing Uno back to health after his injury. Because he can’t be returned to the wild due to his condition, we’re happy Uno will be in an environment where he’ll continue to receive the proper care and attention he needs at the new exhibit, which will help educate people about Florida panthers.”



With as few as 20 to 30 cats surviving in the 1970s, Florida panthers once teetered on the very edge of extinction. Several decades of conservation efforts for this federally listed endangered species have resulted in a population estimated between 100 and 180 cats. While still
a critically low number for recovery, that growing number does increase the chance for interaction between cats and humans – and as Uno proves, it can be bad for panthers as well as people. Educational components of the new exhibit will engage guests in a balanced discussion of saving endangered species and living with large predators.

Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization cooperating in conservation and education programs both in and outside the wild for endangered species. For more information, visit www.napleszoo.org or call 239.262.5409.

Heritage Soul Food Gala

Macedonia1Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church (MMBC) had its second “Soul Food Gala” on February 26, 2015 at the River Park Community Center on 11th Street North. It fostered a feeling of togetherness, food, family, friends and fun with an evening of entertainment by the Youth Choir of Macedonia and Tenor, James McDuffy of Fort Myers.

Those in attendance were treated to food prepared by Ms. Catherine Bulger and Ms. Alma Williams of Macedonia. They served barbecue ribs, turkey, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, corn, green beans, rolls and cornbread, and Ms. Irene Williams’ collard greens.

Ms. Irene Williams helped to chair the event along with Mayor John Sorey, Reverend Lonnie Mills, Harold Weeks, and Lodge McKee.

Reverend Irvin Stallworth was the “MC” for the evening and Councilman Bill Barnett was the auctioneer extraordinaire of this extravaganza.

Macedonia2The live auction was so successful that a bid to the Swanson Winery in California sold for $2,500 and another for the same price was offered and accepted. In addition, two Spiritual Concert and Old Fashion Fish Fry tickets sponsored by MMBC for 50 people sold for $1,000 each.

According to the Finance Secretary, Tangie Burns, the evening brought in an estimated $20,000 before expenses. All monies raised will be used for the Building Fund only. Last year enough money was raised to replace all the windows inside the church and two new bathroom doors were installed.

Macedonia3This year the members are planning to purchase a new front door for the church, windows for the annex, and to decorate the windows installed inside last year.

Two other projects in the works will be installing new carpet and pews.

Macedonia is so grateful to the Naples community for their support of the Gala. Next year’s Gala is already being planned and we look forward to seeing you at this great event.

If you have any questions, please contact Voncile Whitaker at 239.262.4877, or 239.641.5069 or email mmbc@bapt1003.comcastbiz.net.

Boys & Girls Club holds third annual Youth of the Year Celebration

Christian Davis, Amy Sedlacek

Christian Davis, Amy Sedlacek

The Boys & Girls Club of Collier County recently held the Third Annual Youth of the Year Celebration at Artis-Naples with special guest and Boys & Girls Club alumni, Sugar Ray Leonard. More than 500 attended the event centered on the remarkable accomplishments of 20 local Youth of the Year nominees. Evening highlights included a cocktail hour with vocal and dance performances by Club members, motivational speech given by Sugar Ray Leonard and announcement of the 2015 Youth of the Year winner, Jesus Vilas.

Youth of the Year is Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition program for club members and was established to foster young people’s character, personal growth and leadership qualities. To participate in the program, candidates must be nominated, present a variety of speeches and gather letters of support.

Community leaders serve as local judges who ultimately choose the Yo

Christine Flynn, Terrance Flynn, Dorothy H. Baker

Christine Flynn, Terrance Flynn, Dorothy H. Baker

uth of the Year winner from three finalists. Youth of the Year winner, Jesus Vilas will go on to compete statewide, regionally and nationally to receive up to $50,000 in college scholarships and installment by the President of the United States.

The Boys & Girls Club of Collier County (BGCCC) is a non-profit, youth development organization, which annually serves 3,000 of the most at-risk children and teens in Collier County. The Club provides a safe, positive place where local youth can acquire: academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. The Boys & Girls Club is dedicated to its mission, which is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. To learn more about the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County or to arrange a tour, call 239.325.1700 or visit www.bgccc.com.

Understanding ‘The Cloud’

cloudYou can’t turn on the news, open a magazine or talk to a neighbor without the ‘cloud’ appearing. What is the cloud and how can it be useful to you?

Simply put, the term cloud is used to describe information that is stored not on your own personal computer but on a remote computer or server connected via the Internet. It is the next step in computers – having your files, photos, music and more backed up and available over the Internet, wherever you are whenever you need them.

From a physical point of view, the cloud is a bunch of servers, storage, networking hardware and software connected to the internet. They are usually stored in a ‘server farm,’ which is a group of networked servers that are housed in one location.

These are usually in clusters of buildings that can be spread over several acres. Apple Computer has started construction on a server farm in North Carolina, and the 500,000 square-foot center may be doubled in size before completion.


The most important features of the cloud for the consumer are access and convenience. When you store documents, photos or music ‘in the cloud,’ you have access to these files wherever you are, as long as you have a data connection. No longer do you need to go home to email photos that are stored on your hard drive, or burn a CD to listen to music in your car. These can all be accessed from the servers where they reside through almost any modern device. Having your files on the cloud means that you can access your data from any computer, tablet or smart phone almost anywhere.


The two most well-known cloud services are probably Dropbox and iCloud. Dropbox started as a file storage and sharing service, and iCloud is what keeps Apple computers and devices synced.

DROPBOX is a service that offers 2GB of storage for free, and will add 2GB to your storage for any referrals that sign up for Dropbox. You can also upgrade to paid versions for under $10 monthly that offer 1TB of storage.

Using the Dropbox website on a computer, or the Dropbox App on a tablet or smartphone, you can easily share files via email to friends, family and others. Dropbox is a convenient way to share dozens of photos, whereas you would be unable to email a large amount of high-resolution photos without sending multiple messages with a few files attached to each.

You can easy drag a few hundred photos into your Dropbox folder, and simply click a share button to send a link to those photos. Dropbox can also easily share video and document files.

APPLE’S ICLOUD is designed to automatically and securely unite all of your content – music, photos, files, apps, calendars, contacts, bookmarks, notes and reminders. Now, if you are at at lunch with a friend and they give you their new email address that you enter into your iPhone, it will automatically download to your iMac at your office, your iPad at home, and your iPod Touch in your kitchen. iCloud works with Apple devices, and with both Mac and PC computers.

Photo Stream, part of iCloud, manages photos that you take with iPhones or iPads. If enabled, every photo you take automatically appears on your computer or other devices, by pushing the photos from your iPhone to the other devices. If you have an Apple TV, you can
even share your photos from iCloud on the big screen of your HDTV. Photo Stream stores your 1,000 most recent photos from all devices for the last 30 days in iCloud. Do not think of iCloud as permanent storage for photos – if you want to keep any of these photos, make sure they are also saved on your computer or on your device.

For business owners, professionals and students, what could be better than having your documents with you all the time? Apple’s iWork apps like Pages, Keynote, and Numbers all work seamlessly and are available at icloud.com, and you can even open and edit Microsoft Office documents by logging into your iCloud.com account.

Whether you know it or not, you are likely using some form of cloud computing already, and it is services like this that incorporate technology into our daily lives. Make sure you try to take advantage of all that technology has to offer!

Jeff Bohr
Naples Mac Help
239.595.0482 | jeff@jeffbohr.com

The ‘Clay In May’

One Giant Leap For Tennis In Southwest Florida!

tennisCommunist parades, medieval pole festivals, an enormous tennis tournament; it must be May. And in this season ending month here at Cambier Park in downtown Naples we speak tournament tennis; and we speak it fluently. That’s because arguably the biggest tennis tournament around is about to start. With annual participation of over 500 entrants, spanning the entire month of May, this truly is a category 5 storm of an event.

With its unique format of self-match scheduling and month-long play, the entire local tennis community comes together for this festival of tennis. Both the players and spectators truly create an electric atmosphere.

On June 21st, 1969 man first set foot on the moon. But two months before this occurred; there was the start of something momentous in Naples, Florida. The very first ‘Clay In May’ (as the tournament is now referred to) was begun. For 45 years players have been competing for the title of City Champion in this richest of traditions in local tennis. Historically, it was one small step for a tennis center; but one giant leap for tennis in Southwest Florida.

So come on downtown to the Arthur Allen Tennis Center in Cambier Park. This year’s entry deadline will be Friday, April 24th, so whether as a player or spectator you can experience tennis excitement and history this May!