Life in the Facet Lane cool man

Diana Jarrett GG RMV

The history of men’s wedding bands doesn’t go back as far as the story of women’s bridal jewelry. Not until the 20th century did the practice of men’s wedding bands even come into vogue. Men could choose a wedding band that matched with the bride’s ring—or not. But while men have not historically enjoyed a wide variety of wedding rings, their day has come. Today, men’s wedding bands are colorful, imaginative and produced in a wider array of metals than the bride’s ring.

Designer Etienne Perret, celebrated for his innovative men’s wedding bands says, “The cool factor is very important to men.” Their requirements are very different from that of the female shopper. “Most men don’t care if their ring is made of precious metals. They just want to wear it every day and not worry about it breaking.” Men’s wedding bands are not considered a status symbol like the bride’s wedding jewelry so they may opt for metals that are high on style. Stainless steel and ceramic are innovative choices finding a new fan-base since they are low maintenance. And cobalt chrome is ideal for tension mount rings, notes Perret.

Men’s 18 K white gold wedding band with fancy intense greenish yellow diamond. Courtesy Leibish & Co.

Richard Lewis at Leibish & Company finds men enthusiastically embrace more options available now, and that includes using fancy color diamonds. “It’s surprising how the envelope has been pushed with what men are willing to wear,” he reports. “Celebrities like David Beckham for instance, have made it ‘cool’ for men to adorn themselves with jewelry which was traditionally a woman’s domain. With more masculine tastes, men often plumb the darker, cooler colors like a deep gray, black, brown, or a deep green diamond. But we have also had a large number of men who prefer very bright canary vivid yellow diamonds that match the stones their partners adore.”

Black ceramic band with mokume pattern two, 18 k yellow, white and rose gold courtesy Etienne Perret

Whether choosing alternative or traditional metals, or even matching bands, the men’s ring category offers more personalized options than ever. Contact Diana Jarrett at and read and check out

Naples Zoo Recovery

by Jack Mulvena, Naples Zoo Presidentand CEO, and Kelsey Burr, Naples Zoo Marketing Associate

Hurricane Irma dealt a serious blow to Naples Zoo –botanically, structurally, and financially.

Most of the damage was to our beautiful botanicals, including the destruction of two nearly century-old specimens planted by Dr. Henry Nehrling, who founded the tropical garden in 1919.

“The damage to the zoo’s garden was overwhelming…limbs, branches, leaves, water…everywhere. Just when I thought I had seen the worst damage, I would turn another corner and find more severe damage,” Danielle Green, Director of Gardens and Grounds, said.

“The hardest loss was the last remaining Royal palm planted by Dr. Henry Nehrling – the crown was snapped off and it took us days to locate it. This palm had stood in this garden for nearly 100 years and weathered many storms in the past, but fell victim to Hurricane Irma. I think that is one of the hardest things in these situations –to experience the loss of something in an instant that has stood for decades. I had hoped that this would never happen under my watch.

”The good news for the garden was that the vast majority of trees were strong enough to survive because of regular care by certified arborists and the horticultural staff in the form of nutrition, pest control, and other preventative care like pruning and structural shaping to better withstand wind loads.

For the animals, preparation begins each spring when the hurricane plan is updated for the coming season reflecting the current animals and exhibits. The structures that house animals like the tigers, bears, and primates during storms are concrete block with concrete roofs. In both Irma and Wilma, these buildings suffered no core damage when trees toppled onto them. With the exception of two greater kudu antelope lost to Irma, the animals weathered the storm well.

“Storms can always surprise you no matter how much you prepare,” explained Liz Harmon, Director of Animal Programs. “I’m very proud of our team in carrying out the plan and how quickly they were able to adjust under changing circumstances.

”While the crisis days are fading, the recovery work will continue for months with its ongoing costs – a doubly difficult challenge as the zoo lost over a month of admission and sales revenues required to care for the plants and animals each day.

“We’ve calculated the total costs of the hurricane to be just over $400,000 with the tree, plant and debris removal and fence repair costs representing well more than half of that amount, ”Jack Mulvena, President and CEO, said. “Fortunately we have already raised just about $300,000 to date from so many of our Zoo friends and supporters.

We are profoundly thankful and appreciative of the community’s support to date, but we do still have a ways to go.

”Naples Zoo is an award-winning 501 (c) (3) non-profit, funded entirely by donors, visitors, and members. To support your zoo’s hurricane relief efforts, you can mail a check to the zoo at 1590 Goodlette Rd, Naples FL 34102 or donate online at

Naples Zoo has also created an Amazon wish list, filled with much-needed supplies at“We look forward to seeing our visitors, zoo members and all our friends again,” Mulvena said. “Talking to guests on the pathways, seeing the cruises out on the lake, and just watching our amazing staff and volunteers getting back to what they love doing every day is part of the healing process for all of us.

”The Naples Zoo staff would like to thank everyone who has supported and will support us through our recovery. Every little bit counts. Every dollar is appreciated. Just as every guest is special to us as they help us carry out our mission: “To inspire people of all ages to respect, value and help conserve wildlife and our natural world.”

For more information about your zoo, visit

The Eighth Continent… let’s travel

Isolated off the coast of Africa for eons, Madagascar’s unique biodiversity is so extravagant that it has been called the eighth continent. Four of every five of its plants and animals live nowhere else on earth. But superlatives both bless and curse Madagascar. The island’s biological abundance is cruelly matched only by the extreme lack endured by the Malagasy people. Thus the survival of its lemurs and numerous other endangered species and habitats is forever entwined in the well-being of the people who share the land. Recently, Naples Zoo’s Director of Animal Programs Liz Harmon and I traveled to this extraordinary island to participate in conservation meetings and assist in both wildlife and people.

Because of this island’s significance, Naples Zoo has supported conservation efforts in Madagascar for the last two decades. Naples Zoo is a Managing Member of the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group (MFG) that works in eastern Madagascar. I serve on the executive committee and as an advisor. To protect critically endangered species like ruffed lemurs and indri, the zoo increased our commitment to help fund operational costs protecting some of the last remaining eastern lowland rainforest in the Betampona Natural Reserve. In addition, the Zoo helped raise $18,000 to purchase emergency supplies
and timber to rebuild a village bordering the reserve following a devastating fire. The mayor thanked us for our work on their behalf.

On the botanical front, the MFG received a Darwin Initiative grant from the British government to secure plants not currently found in protected areas as a hedge against their extinction. We were honored to be there for the dedication of the new facilities as part of the meetings we attended. It was Madagascar’s rosy periwinkle plant that provided the crucial alkaloids that have saved countless cancer patients over recent decades.

Two 11-hour drives away, we found ourselves in the dry forest of Ankaranfantsika National Park in the northwest. This season, the zoo helped fund National Geographic Explorer Dr. Luke Dollar and his team and also provided three GPS collars to better understand the needs of island’s top carnivore: the fosa – pronounced foose-uh and formerly spelled fossa. This species is often persecuted by locals, but it’s a key species in controlling some of the wild pigs and rats that destroy rice fields and stored grains. A critical issue as rice is life itself for the Malagasy people.

Harmon and I were with Dr. Luke Dollar and his team as they caught the last fosa of the season as part of this research. Efforts like these and many others are only possible because of our visitors, members, and donors. So what can you do to help Madagascar? Visiting and supporting an accredited zoo is an easy first step. Because of our supporters, Naples Zoo is able to fund everything from discovering new species to patrolling rainforests. We support a village school, distribute conservation education resources, and reduce deforestation by funding Rocket Stoves that both reduce the use of firewood and cooking time by 50 percent. But the needs and opportunities surpass current resources. We need your help to take what we’ve learned to expand the good we can do. Madagascar simply cannot wait. Please contact me at to bring hope to this wondrous island. Learn more about the MFG and our other programs at

Moorings Park at Grey Oaks adds Care 360 Healthcare Program

Moorings Park recently introduced a number of improvements to its physicians’ medical practice, while also enhancing the integrated approach of Moorings Park’s renowned continuum of healthcare for its residents, members and the general public. Care 360, as it’s been named, was created and developed through a partnership with Naples Community Hospital (NCH), and provides personalized healthcare based on a model akin to a concierge care practice.

The new program supports the overall Moorings Park commitment to provide Simply the Best® amenities and services with professional and compassionate care to each person they serve, with a mission to deliver outstanding healthcare enabling residents, members and non-residents to live longer, healthier and happier lives. Due to NCH’s affiliation with the Mayo Clinic Care Network, the Care 360 program provides participants with access to the Mayo Clinic’s physicians and specialists’ knowledge and expertise.

Other advantages include additional time allocated for office visits and exams in an unhurried setting; physicians available by appointment, plus 24/7 access via phone, text or email; annual comprehensive physicals with a health assessment to develop a baseline medical profile; a focus on preventative care and education; close followup regarding medical appointments, tests and preventative evaluations; coordination of NCH hospital care, including admissions, visitation and records, as well as appointments with leading area specialists as needed.

Moorings Park’s Care 360 also includes complimentary access to the wellness center provided by Moorings Park.
For those considering becoming a resident of Moorings Park, or for a member of the public interested in participating in just the Care 360 program, two membership opportunities are available.

The Platinum Membership is ideal for individuals and couples who are within one to two years of making their residency decision. The Diamond Membership is available to individuals and couples who are in the early stages of finalizing their
retirement plans. For details regarding the Care 360 Concierge Healthcare Program, as well as the Platinum and Diamond memberships, visit

Veterans Memorial Celebration December 7

On December 7, 2017, Ave Maria School of Law will host its Second Annual Veterans Memorial Celebration in honor of our nation’s Veterans. The ceremony, beginning at 5:00 p.m., will take place at the Veterans Memorial Law Library and there will be a dinner reception following at St. Thomas More Commons. This year, Ave Law will be awarding the first Annual St. Martin of Tours, Patron Saint of Veterans and Soldiers, Hero Award. Major General J. T. (Mike) Coyne, United States Marine Corps (Retired) will serve as the Master of Ceremonies. Back by popular demand will be the Ladies for Liberty Singing Troupe.

Veterans and their families together with the Ave Law community and friends of the law school are invited to attend, but must RSVP due to limited seating. Please RSVP to Amber Richards,, 239.687.5341.
Last year, on December 7, 2016, National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, the law school dedicated the school’s law library to veterans, renaming it the “Ave Maria School of Law Veterans Memorial Law Library.” Inside the library, Ave Law created a Veterans Wall of Honor. As patrons enter the library, they are greeted by depictions of oversized service members in uniform, representing each of the five military branches. Benefactors, faculty, staff, students, and members of the community may purchase plaques to place on the wall with the name of a veteran. It enables family and friends to
memorialize and honor their beloved veterans, keeping the memory of loved ones and their service and sacrifice to our nation alive for many years to come.

Ave Maria School of Law is committed to honoring our nation’s military veterans. Ave Law has earned the 2017 national Military Friendly School designation by Victory Media. Ave Law is proud of our students and alumni who are veterans, as well as three retired Army JAG officers on our faculty including our President and Dean, our Founder, Thomas Monaghan, a Marine Veteran, and several members of the Board of Governors who are also veterans.

• Veterans can receive full scholarships to attend law school free of charge. There is no limit to the amount of scholarships
offered to veterans who qualify for the yellow ribbon program.
• On-campus housing is available for students and their families.
• Ave Law’s campus lies contiguous to an elementary school.
• Veterans parking is available throughout campus.
• A Veterans Advocacy Center is located in the library, providing resources for veterans to research veteran rights and benefits.
• Ave Law will launch a Veterans Friends & Family video project to honor loved ones who served our country that will live in our library and on our website.
• The law school will continue to host an annual event every year honoring our nation’s veterans, highlighting local veterans in the Florida region.

“Can You Honor A Veteran?”
You are invited to become one of the 100 founding members of the Veterans Memorial Law Library at Ave Maria School of
Law by pledging your support of $50,000 in this lasting tribute to honor and remember our nation’s veterans.
Your donation helps us honor our veterans, provide full scholarships to veterans and ensure that those who fought for
us and protected our freedoms are never forgotten. Pledges can be paid in gifts of $5,000 each year for 10 years, or in a few
payments. Veterans Wall of Honor plaques to honor your loved one are available with a $2500 donation.
For more information, please visit
or contact Sharon Sparrow, Leadership Gifts Officer, 239.687.5344 or
Ave Maria School of Law Campus
1025 Commons Circle, Naples, FL 34119

Doctor’s Corner Valuing America’s Minority Majority

by Allen Weiss, MD, MBA, FACP, FACR
President and CEO, NCH Healthcare System

Unless you are a native born American Indian, you are either an immigrant or descended from immigrants. One out of every three Americans came through Ellis Island. Unfortunately, many of us do not remember, value, or honor our rich heritage, which is adversely impacted by the stress, speed, and isolation of today’s modern society.

What is our identity? How do we define American? Having uncomfortable conversations about the realization that over fifty percent of our nation will be minorities by 2025 was addressed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas. He was a keynote speaker at the annual Leadership Florida meeting that I was recently privileged to attend. More importantly, how can we together maximize the power, diversity, culture, richness, and economic advantage of being a welcoming nation? After all, America’s success was built generation upon generation on the shoulders of others from elsewhere.

Famous immigrations to America started in 1620 with about one hundred Pilgrims who were escaping religious persecution. From 1619 to the mid-1800’s, Blacks from Africa arrived against their wills, ultimately resulting in monumental suffering and subsequently splitting the nation with our Civil War. No one ever wants to experience the horror of brother fighting against brother or as Lincoln definitively stated, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” We never again want to have anything like the suffering leading up to the Civil War or the war itself.

Additional massive migrations of our ancestors came from northern Europe due to famine during the mid- 1800’s. About one-third of immigrants in this period came from Ireland alone, constituting 4.5 million, settling mostly along the East Coast and still contributing mightily to the cultural richness of these cities.

During the same time, five million German immigrants populated the Midwest including Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Cincinnati, creating the industrial engine of our nation. In the 2000 national census, more Americans claimed German ancestry than any other group. Interestingly, attitudes including xenophobia are not new.

“The influx of newcomers resulted in anti-immigrant sentiment among certain factions of America’s native-born, predominantly Anglo-Saxon Protestant population,” according to an article on immigration written before 1965. “The new arrivals were often seen as unwanted competition for jobs, while many Catholics— especially the Irish—experienced discrimination for their religious beliefs. In the 1850s, the anti-immigrant, anti- Catholic American Party (also called the Know-Nothings) tried to severely curb immigration, and even ran a candidate, former U.S. president Millard Fillmore (1800-1874), in the presidential election of 1856.”

Starting in 1880 and for the next forty years, America received more than twenty million immigrants including my mother
and grandparents. Again religious persecution motivated two million Jews from Eastern Europe to leave their previously stable, productive, and comfortable lives behind. Six hundred thousand Italians migrated during the same time, bringing skills, culture, and intellect to a growing melting pot whose children and grandchildren now have the opportunity to welcome other new waves of contributors to America.

With the two World Wars, Great Depression, the 1959 Communist revolution in Cuba, and other political events as
motivation, Congress passed the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965 allowing Americans to sponsor relatives. Today, Asia and Latin America dominate our incoming immigration populations. Immigration has always been stressful and controversial. Nonetheless, we would not be as productive and successful as we currently are without people “Coming to America, TODAY”— Neil Diamond’s 1981 classic capturing an inspirational spirit.

“Immigration is not one size fits all. Most undocumented immigrants cannot simply ‘get legal’ and ‘be a citizen’ by filling out paperwork or paying a fee. • The right way to immigrate was at one time to simply show up. Processing at Ellis Island involved health inspections and naturalization.

• Many of our ancestors would not have qualified under today’s immigration laws.
• Many European immigrants benefited from ‘amnesty’ such as the 1929 Registry Act.

Research has shown that immigrants are more likely to start businesses, grow the economy, and have an overall positive
impact on long-run economic growth. If mass deportation were enacted, as some have suggested, U.S. Gross Domestic
Productivity would drop by $1.6 trillion. Annually, undocumented immigrants pay an estimated $11.64 billion in state and local taxes, and pay $13 billion into the Social Security fund without being able to receive Social Security benefits.

A border would be ineffective in restricting immigration as an estimated 40% of all undocumented immigrants were visa
holders, which means they entered the country legally. It has also been shown that immigrants commit less crime than the native-born population. Immigrants are less likely than native-born to be behind bars. Higher immigration is associated with lower crime rates. Between 1990 and 2013, the foreign-born share of the U.S. population increased from 7.9%
to 13.1% and the number of unauthorized immigrants increased from 3.5 million to 11.2 million. During the same period, the violent crime rate declined 48%—which included falling rates of aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and murder. The property crime rate fell 41%, including declining rates of motor vehicle theft, larceny/robbery, and burglary.”

In conclusion, many hard-working immigrants transformed themselves to successful, affluent citizens with hard work,
hardship, sacrifice and the goal of living the American dream. We can be jealous, competitive, and xenophobic; but a better
attitude would be for each of us to celebrate, emulate, and assimilate the positive “can-do” attitude of the pioneers,
explorers, and risk-takers who came before us and share these attributes with our next generation.
After all is said and done, almost all of us have descended from immigrants who made better lives for themselves, their
families, and America

Naples Winter Wine Festival unveils the Best of the Best

The Naples Winter Wine Festival (NWWF) has announced its full vintner, chef and Master Sommelier roster for the three-day Festival, taking place January 26-28, 2018 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, FL. Celebrating the Festival’s 18th year, attendees of the three-day event will have a chance to taste some of the most celebrated dishes and wines from award-winning culinary and wine legends from across the globe.

Bringing together more than 30 of the world’s highly distinguished wineries with 18 award-winning chefs, this year’s roster boasts a collective eight Michelin Stars, 15 James Beard Awards, and wines from over 13 wine producing regions, eight countries and five continents for a series of exclusive, curated dinners. The 2018 roster of Master Sommeliers includes 17 of the 236 professionals worldwide. All proceeds from the Festival will benefit charities that improve the physical, emotional and educational lives of Collier County’s underprivileged and at-risk children.

This year, Michelin-starred Gary Danko of Restaurant Gary Danko and Vintners David R. Duncan and Karynne Duncan MD of Silver Oak will be honored as Chef de Cuisine and Honored Vintners in recognition of their professional and philanthropic accolades. These longtime Festival participants will be joined by additional key supporters of NWWF,
including renowned vintners Marilisa Allegrini of Allegrini Estates, Shahpar & Darioush Khaledi of Darioush, Olivier Krug of Krug Champagne and Shari & Garen Staglin of Staglin Family Vineyard along with celebrity chefs Paul Bartolotta of The Bartolotta Restaurants, Dominque Crenn of Atelier Crenn and Joseph Lenn of JC Holdway and Master Sommeliers Will Costello of Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Estate, Chris Miller of Seabold Cellars and Larry Stone of Linqua Franca.

“Year after year the Naples Winter Wine Festival is proud to welcome such resounding talent to Naples, Florida,” said 2018 Festival Co-Chair Susie McCurry. “We are thrilled that these respected vintners, chefs and Master Sommeliers will be joining us for what is sure to be an exciting Festival weekend to support the children of Collier County.” On the Festival’s first evening, guests will be chauffeured to one of 17 intimate dinners hosted by Festival Trustees in private homes and settings throughout Naples. There they will savor multi-course meals, expertly prepared by these famous chefs and designed to pair perfectly with a selection of the attending vintners’ first-class wines, an experience that can’t be missed.

Ticket packages to the Naples Winter Wine Festival are limited to 580 guests and start at $10,000 per couple. A $25,000 package that includes reserved seating for a party of four at a Vintner Dinner and under the tent is also available. To inquire about tickets to the Festival, please contact Barrett Farmer at or 239.514.2239.

For all press-related inquiries, please contact or 212.691.2800. A full list participating
chefs, vintners and Master Sommeliers available here:

The Naples Winter Wine Festival, one of the world’s most prestigious charity wine auctions, offers a weekend of unforgettable memories. Guests enjoy world-class wines and food during intimate dinners in private homes and settings, and are invited to bid on once-in a-lifetime travel and wine experiences during an electrifying live auction. Since its inaugural event in 2001, the NWWF has raised more than $161 million, making a profound difference in the lives of
thousands of children.

The Naples Children & Education Foundation, the founding organization of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, is improving the educational, emotional, and health outcomes of underprivileged and at-risk children. Through its annual grants and strategic initiatives, NCEF has impacted over 40 of the most effective nonprofits in the community, providing more than 200,000 children with the services and resources they need to excel. NCEF’s unique approach, which emphasizes collaboration between organizations and bridges public and private resources, has become a blueprint for how to transform a community, one issue at a time.

Mayor’s Corner…not your ordinary week

Mayor Bill Barnett

If I were to turn the clock back twelve years to October 24, 2005 and the week leading up to that date it was almost deja-vu to me starting on September 3, 2017. That fateful week in October turned out to be hurricane Wilma. The week ahead looked to be routine.

Naples in September is brutally hot, quiet, lots of rain and all of us wishing for mid-October when we step outside one morning and break out with an immediate smile because it’s cool and the humidity has gone even if it’s only for a few days we know nice weather is on the way. I was prepared for our Wednesday City Council meeting and on Monday and Tuesday it
was City business as usual except I was watching the weather reports and ever since Wilma I watch those reports during hurricane season perhaps a little closer than the average viewer would. Once our City manager along with the Fire Chief started sending special weather reports out early that week we became a little more aware of hurricane Irma.

Being the eternal optimist I’m thinking the chances are slim that we will get hit and by Wednesday Irma was one powerful storm and picking up strength as she rolled along spreading wrath and destruction in her path. I’m not going to rehash a lot of what happened because we all know the end result. However; with that being said, I will share with you my thoughts and plans.

Our City and County staff and the County’s Emergency Operations Center were mobilized and pre-hurricane, mid hurricane and post hurricane plans were put in place. Although precautionary at first it was all seriousness and every possible scenario had to be anticipated from the smallest to the largest. We had set up our own Emergency Operations Center and Our City Manager and Fire and Police operations were working from there.

By late Wednesday early voluntary evacuations had started and although if Irma was going to hit Florida it wouldn’t be until late Saturday or early Sunday. Governor Scott had advised everyone in the state of Florida to evacuate if possible and it wasn’t long before the reports of massive traffic jams, gas shortages and the availability of rooms was zero. On the first interview with the Weather Channel on Thursday night they asked me why we hadn’t ordered mandatory evacuation yet and I answered because if they had no set place to go it would be more hazardous for them. I immediately had criticism by way
of e-mail but I remained steadfast on that.

Friday the City and County ordered mandatory evacuation. I debated just staying at City Hall as I did for Wilma, but thought
better of it because of the projected wind strength and storm surge. Mid-afternoon my wife Chris and I took our dog and two cats, water, snacks, etc, and checked in at the Hilton. We were with numerous City first responders, other families and many pets. After getting them checked in I went back to City Hall. We knew Florida was going to get hammered but the forecast was that Irma’s path was going to take her up the East Coast. Still, that hurricane was 400 miles wide and regardless we were going to have effects.

It’s now Friday about 4:30 in the afternoon. I know from Wilma experience when my phone starts to ring and the national news media wants to set up interviews starting tonight and continuing Saturday and in to Sunday and Monday that was not a good sign. Each time Irma moved a degree closer to us I ran a checklist in my head. I had all the confidence in the world that our City Manager and his staff had taken every precaution they possibly could and with the help of the local media our City residents had either evacuated or hunkered down to ride it out or checked in at a shelter. That evening although subdued
we were ready.

The lobby in the Hilton turned out to be a makeshift gathering place and information center for all of us that were staying there. I was given the use of the Concierge desk and used it for correspondence, updates, and sharing one phone charging station that was generator driven. Later that evening I got the news that I didn’t want to hear that Irma was not going up the East Coast but up the center of the State and of course that changed again to Irma was going to directly target Naples.

Saturday morning, we lost our power. It was rainy and windy and the city of Naples looked like a ghost town. I went to City Hall where we had a skeleton crew answering phones and trying to answer questions that were all hurricane related. By then my phone was one constant ring. The networks all asked me basically the same question, “What is your major concern with this monster storm approaching?” My answer remained twofold, making sure our citizens had information about what
to do to be safe and storm surge. The predictions were that we could get from a 10 to 15-foot surge which would have been catastrophic for us. Meanwhile our City Manager and his staff along with Collier County’s Emergency Operations Center were constantly updating us.

I knew what I had experienced from Wilma was not going to compare with what was going to be expected from Irma. We had the Weather Channel crew staying at the Hilton, along with CNN, and some of our Fire and Police First Responders. Late Saturday afternoon I went to the Edgewater Beach Hotel to do an interview update that was being done at the beach. The wind was howling and bands of rain were relentlessly pounding us from all sides. I couldn’t wait to get back to the Hilton and
I decided that one job I didn’t want would have been a member of the traveling Weather Channel storm chasers who throughout the rest of this hurricane ran on pure adrenaline. Back at the Hilton it was only a matter of hours before our first responders were going to be on lock down and would not be able to respond to any calls because they would be in danger if they ventured out.

Sunday morning at 12:30 a.m. I had my last phone interview and went to bed. Fortunately for all of our pet dogs that needed a facility to use, and until it got so bad none of us could take them out, the Hilton parking garage worked well. Sleep was out of the question and it was eerily quiet with nothing but rain and wind pounding the windows. Sunday morning was ugly and getting worse. We shared our provisions that we had brought with everyone and the Hilton Staff supplied whatever they had. Storm surge was inevitable and there was nothing to do but wait. Updates were coming in via cell phone and battery operated
radios that the Florida Keys were being hit hard and that the eye was going to go directly over us by late afternoon. Early afternoon we had to abandon the lobby and go to our rooms. I was still talking with national news media from CNN, MSNBC, Weather Channel, Bloomberg, and a myriad of others. They wanted to know how did I feel, what were my thoughts, how was I coping, and of course the not knowing what would await me after the storm had passed was the most stressful.

At 3:30 p.m. Irma was approaching Marco Island and heading for us within the next hour. Our room faced South and
was on the second floor. It was perhaps the scariest scene I had ever witnessed looking out of that window just prior to the eye passing over us. Palm trees bent over from the raw power of the wind coupled with the hardest rain I had ever seen was hard to describe. Conversation was almost non-existent between Chris and I. All of a sudden, she looked at me and said, “I wonder what the score of the Buffalo Bills game is?” We had to laugh and then a text on my phone from our daughter Kim who was in Boston and watching the unfolding scene said you have about 10 minutes to take Zsazsa (our bulldog) out because the eye is directly over you. Sure enough it became calm the wind and rain stopped and there was a beeline of owners and pets scurrying for the lobby door so they could do their business. Seven minutes later we had to get back in as the wind had changed directions and the back of the storm ramped up.

And then the next text that I will never forget appeared on my phone. It was from Bill Moss our City Manager. It said “No storm surge.” My first thought was that he was joking but I knew better. I called him and he briefly told me that the back of the storm was breaking up and we would have perhaps a minor surge, but nothing like was expected. I knew from that point on that no matter how bad it might be when we could get out and assess the damage that we escaped catastrophic damage to our City of Naples. Irma started to decrease as she moved on and Sunday night about 11:30 p.m. some of our first responders ventured out for a very brief assessment of what lay ahead for us on Monday.

Today is October 1st. Next month I will do part two of this article which will be the post Irma wrap up. I will tell about my heartfelt and heartbreak experiences and more. Throughout the last three weeks I am thankful for the wonderful
Nationwide and International e-mails and correspondence that I have received. I am also honored to be your Mayor!
I do respond to e-mails:

Weathering Irma

For many of our readers, who arrived later than 2005, when Wilma came to town, Irma was the first major hurricane they experienced. Because this came on the heels of Harvey, everyone was on high alert. But before Houston nearly drowned under Harvey’s 50”+ of continuous rain and wind, Naples had its own Harvey, a forgotten, but fierce Tropical Storm, in mid-September 1999.

Although I had been in Naples for a few years, I had never seen the streets overflow with storm water, let alone experience this lapping up to the doors of my house. I remember it well – for my oldest daughter had just arrived home days before as a newborn. Thinking back to that “little storm” made me appreciate the degree to which the stresses Irma and Wilma before placed on all of us. Can you imagine delivering a baby in the middle of the storm, with the hospital operating on generators? Or not knowing if your baby would have a home in which to live, after the storm? We may live in Paradise, but, for a week or more this past September, I know many of us felt like this was Paradise lost.

The meteorologists provided updates every three hours. When the storm began tracking back to the West, the uncertainty of the path and the fears of storm surge created turmoil in our collective minds. Time to prepare – possibly for the worst.
For life in Naples during storm season, much of our storm prep and planning boils down to managing anxiety. What can you tolerate? Many decided to evacuate. This decision brought other issues. Gas lines and shortages created new fears. What if gas wasn’t available on the road? And, unless you got lucky or planned well in advance – hotels were booked beyond Georgia.

Also, the sheer magnitude of the storm meant travels might place you in the harm’s way. During Wilma, many locals fled to
Fort Lauderdale, only to have the storm follow their course, leaving many stranded far longer than planned, without gas, electricity and groceries. For Wilma, I left my 1952 home but stayed in a newer, local pet-friendly hotel. For Irma, in a different home, with a new roof, I felt comfortable staying on, provided Irma remained a Category 3 or under. But talk of the surge caused me to rethink this plan.

Fortunately, I was able to remain in town in a friend’s secure home located on a higher elevation. For me, part of grappling with the uncertainties of the storm pattern was the ability to remain close at hand to assess conditions and damage as soon as it was safe to do so, after the storm.

Another part of managing anxiety is the gathering of hurricane kits, which include your important papers, medicines, food and water for pets and people for several days, flashlights, batteries and a radio, as well as other valuables and sentimental items which were irreplaceable. During times of storms, people have different diets than usual, and these changes precede and follow the storm. It may be the “Hurricane” diet – on one hand, some lost their appetites; others sought comfort
food – and drink. As a result, whether or not you participated in the Hurricane “clean up” workout this time, it involved rolling 40 lb Royal Palm tree logs – some found themselves leaner after the storm. Doing this without the benefit of air conditioning also helped some shed a few more lbs.

Besides weight, collectively, many of us lost the barriers we set up among ourselves and the world. Though nerves were frayed, generally, it seemed, people did their best in trying times. They checked in on neighbors. Patiently waited in lines. Let those in need go first for supplies. Volunteered at organizations serving the hardest hit, such Chokoloskee, Everglades City and Immokalee. All over town, people brought food and beverages to thank first responders and lineman
helping our City. The streets are cleared of debris, though piles remain nearby, and  grocery shelves are full. Still, in this Thanksgiving month, remember there will be many going without as Irma recovery efforts continue.

Typically, I cover a charitable organization in this column, or write a round-up article about several with needs that you, our reader, can fulfill. Here, I give a nod to three organizations who stepped in after Irma and continue to help those in need for the Thanksgiving holiday and beyond.

Need Assistance?

The Harry Chapin Food Bank
(profiled here in the Aug-Sept-Oct 2012 issue) can be reached at or via phone: 239.337.1399

Collier Homeless Coalition or via phone: 239.263.9363

Meals of Hope or 239.537.7775

Volunteerism Making a Life in Naples

Lois Bolin Old Naples Historian

SWFL Veterans Alliance hosted its first Naples Spirit of ‘45’s Volunteer Appreciation Dinner at Faith Lutheran Church on September 2nd in remembrance of the signing of the formal agreement of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender aboard the USS Missouri. U.S. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, the Commander in the Southwest Pacific and Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, accepted the surrender.

Special guests for the evening included two WWII Veterans, who served with General McArthur, Rudy Balocki and Armand Pepper. Also in attendance were Pappy Wagner, Iwo Jima Survivor, Bugler Bob McDonald and Korean Veteran, Col. Herb Savage.

Want more happiness in your life? Researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between
volunteering and happiness in a large group of American adults. No surprise, they found that the more people volunteered, the happier they were. Some of the other benefits that come along with volunteering are: it connects you to others; it is good for your mind and body; it can advance your career; and it can bring fun and fulfillment to your life.

Thanks to the 115 volunteers for the Naples Spirit of 45 Weekend Tribute, happiness was plentiful that weekend. At the 8th Annual Greatest Generation & Beyond Breakfast, the Victory Florida, Community Spirit, and America Spirit Awards were announced. No doubt you have seen these happy people around our community. Mark Michael, Victory Florida recipient, owner of Naples Gold & Silver, deals in auction and estate sales. Last year, he led a group of patriots on the 3rd Annual Thank You Across Florida Tour, which followed Florida’s WWII Heritage Trail. He will be leading another tour this November to raise awareness on veterans needs as they honor our Greatest Generation. Deborah and Alen Silver, the 2017 Community Spirit Award Recipients, deal in precious gems, in more ways than one.

Alen, National Sales Manager for Casio G Shock Watches and Deborah, Operations Manager for Bigham Jewelers, are well
known to anyone who has been involved in a Collier County Honor Flight. Both served as founding Board Members and recently formed VIP, Veterans in Paradise, a monthly gathering held at the Naples Senior Center. Pastor Don Treglown, Senior Pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, was the recipient of the Tim Timrud American Patriot Award. Since 2003 Faith Lutheran Church in cooperation with Homer Helter’s Antique Mall & Military Museum have sent close to 75 tons of supplies to our men and women overseas. Faith Lutheran Church graciously donates space for the Marine Corps League of Naples weekly luncheons held every Tuesday.

Speaking of happiness, the 2017 Christmas parade theme has been announced: The Heart of A Naples Christmas. The parade will be held December 12th and its theme is in honor of all of the first responders and volunteers who gave so much before and after Hurricane Irma. Thank you to Life in Naples for being the Overall Theme Prize sponsor and to M & M Café for being the Theme Contest sponsor. Can’t attend the parade? Not to worry – you can watch live on the City of Naples TV channel (Comcast 98) or online at

Winston Churchill said that we make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. SWFL Veterans Alliance salutes all of our community’s volunteers who make life in Naples so happy.