December 2017 Life In Naples Magazine Flipbook

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Machine Learning

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

Society is being transformed on a spectacular scale. Technology accelerates everything. Machine learning is our next revolution much the same way that the steam engine, electricity, and the internal combustion engine have already changed society.

Machines that sense, reason, and act can accelerate solutions to large-scale problems and push science, finance, medicine, and education further, faster. Artificial intelligence (AI) is at the heart of much of today’s technical innovation. Now is the time to learn about AI and make it work for you.

“I think we have the opportunity to make huge in roads into helping to cure diseases, drug delivery that doesn’t cause side effects, cars that are autonomous. We’re just really at the very beginning of this whole journey,” states Nigel Toon, CEO of Graphcore, about AI and machine learning.

AI is most likely already embedded on your person. Your handheld device is enabled with voice recognition so you can ask Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant for help at any time. Voice recognition has been functional since the late 1990s.

In my medical office from 1998 to 2000, I dictated all the medical records using IBM’s Via Voice. The computer “learned” the nuances of one’s voice after reading aloud a story for twenty minutes. Even back then, the computer accommodated for accents, understood homonyms, suggested punctuation, and was even pretty accomplished at grammar.

Now voice recognition can be found in your car or employed for answering phone calls for customer service. NCH’s automated main number asks callers “Who would you like to reach?” as the opening question, successfully routing the vast majority of calls. Of course, a back-up operator is always available, but we now have been able to shift colleagues to other patient-focused roles.

Speech recognition is about three times as fast as typing on a cell phone. Nurses are exploring better ways to asynchronously communicate with each other and physicians using voice recognition texting. Freeing up their hands and themselves to physically care for a patient while simultaneously sending a text message is not science fiction.

We have the technology with an error rate of less than five percent, which is much lower than with previous software. The error rate drops even more when routine repetitive phrases, thoughts, and words are used because the voice recognition learns every time a correction is made.

Image recognition is also probably functioning in your pocket or purse. If you take pictures with your handheld device or follow Facebook, you may discover that the images have been organized for you, first prompting you to confirm names and then bringing families together or aggregating work associates.Self-driving cars use vision systems with cameras that recordabout thirty frames per second. Currently, the image accuracy in identification is only one error per thirty million frames, improved from one in thirty frames just a few years ago.

Self-driving cars are significantly safer than human-driven cars.

“Human error causes 94 percent of all motor vehicle crashes, due to mistakes like speeding, fatigue and drunk or distracted driving. By removing humans from the driving process, self-driving vehicles offer an opportunity to significantly reduce the number of our loved ones killed and injured in crashes each year,” according to David Strickland, former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Another major area of improvement is in cognition and problem solving. Machines routinely beat the finest human players at poker and Go. The classic story of man versus machine is chess Grand Master Gary Kasparov versus IBM’s Deep Blue. The first match in 1996 was narrowly won by Kasparov, subsequently followed in 1997 by Deep Blue’s comeback win.

Deep Blue was capable of analyzing 200 hundred million positions per second during the second match. No human has been able to beat an optimized programmed computer. Of course, settings exist for the computer to “back off,” giving the human opponent a fifty/fifty chance of winning, thus bringing back some joy to playing chess. After all, who wants to lose all the time?

Allegedly, years later when Kasparov was asked what he would bring if he had a rematch, he responded, “a hammer.”

Certainly, IBM and others interested in AI were not building complex machines and programs to play games but rather to use “lessons learned” on real life problems. Locally, NCH employs computer technology to recognize sepsis early, thus saving lives.

Pattern recognition, vigilance, and digital data are three important components already incorporated into NCH’s computerized medical record system.When the computer recognizes a patient having a characteristic pattern of vital sign changes including rising temperature and pulse along with dropping blood pressure and urine output, a warning is issued to the physicians and nurses caring for the patient. This “head’s up” happens about twelve hours before full blown sepsis, so therapy with antibiotics, fluids, and other support treatments can be initiated. The prognosis changes dramatically for the better.

NCH’s mortality for patients with sepsis has dropped from over 30 percent to consistently single digits due to a quality improvement project started in 2013, placing us in the top 10 percent of the nation’s hospitals. Recently, we had our best month ever with the lowest mortality at 2.27 percent for sepsis patients.

Unfortunately, sepsis remains the leading cause of death in hospitals, even though about 80 percent of the time sepsis starts outside the hospital.

Our emergency room is also under surveillance, so recognition and treatment can start quickly. We still depend on the public to be alert to changes in mental status, unexplained fevers, shortness of breath, extreme pain, and a high heart rate.

Machine learning is a relatively new application derived from AI. All around us, particularly on the internet, we are experiencing AI and machine learning. Shopping histories predict future purchasing behavior. Car locations and speed(that indicate traffic flow) predict better alternative routes. Suspicious store transactions assist in fraud detection. Facile language translation assists in communication. These are just some current, common examples with many more to follow.

Machine learning, digital information, and AI will be accepted parts of life for the younger generations—digital natives—who have grown up in the computer age. Digital immigrants will learn to relax as they realize that, according to Intel Chairman Andy Grove’s classic comment, they “have lost their privacy, [and must] get over it.”

Welcome to the machine age.

Art as a Gift – Ask the Artsperts

by Juliana Meek and Kristine Meek

Dear Artsperts:

I am looking for a very special gift for very special people in my life. I wonder do you have any advice for me for purchasing a painting for each of my children and for my wife this Christmas.

Is it possible to find something that won’t break the bank?


Shopping for Others

“Epipyll II” by Gary Bukovnik, watercolor, 11”x11”, 2010. Bukovnik paints flowers with motion, giving them energy and interest as well as beauty.

Dear Shopping,

Art is personal, it is all about how the viewer relates to the images and colors in a work and the feelings the work evokes. Art makes for a perfect gift for someone special – a spouse, child, grandchild or dear friend –someone close to you, who you know well.

In most cases paintings that are purchased as a gift, tend to be small works. Not only are these works less expensive, but their size makes them easier to wrap and give. Small works are also easier to receive because they are more likely to fit anywhere in the recipient’s home.

There is always room for a small work of art! The one scenario that is an exception to this is the case of a delayed gift. We have had many situations where parents will purchase work with their children in mind, but with the intention of giving it many years in the future. Until that time they plan to have the works hanging in their own home, in which case they tend to purchase larger works.

When purchasing for multiple children, many people do like to keep the purchases fair in terms of value. A good choice is always a 10”x8” Hunt Slonem rabbit. These are our most popular works that are given as gifts to children (both young and adult).Hunt Slonem is well known for his rabbit paintings and the small 10”x8” rabbits come in a variety of colors and techniques, such as diamond dust and metallic paint. The price is the same for any 10”x8” sized work by Hunt Slonem. No matter how many he has painted, each rabbit has its own unique personality.

“Black Diamond” by Hunt Slonem, oil on wood, 10”x8”, 2017. Hunt Slonem uses diamond dust on many works including this one, which is ground glass. It’s one of his most loved techniques.

With gifts for friends, clients have purchased small watercolors of a particular type of flower by Gary Bukovnik. A noted watercolorist, Gary Bukovnik has works in the permanent collections of many top museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian, Chicago Museum of Art, and Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. His flowers are beautiful and make for a very special gift for a dear friend.

When purchasing for a spouse, there are many options to choose a work that reminds you of your spouse. The trick is keeping it a secret from your spouse! In one case, a client purchased a work for his wife as gift. He knew she loved the work, so it was an easy purchase. It became tricky when his wife came in to purchase the work for herself.

We are normally extremely honest at Harmon-Meek Gallery, but in this scenario, we had to come up with a quicklie to keep the purchase a secret!

Each year with the Holiday gifts in mind, Harmon-Meek Gallery has exhibited a small works art show. This year’s exhibition runs November 20 – December 8 at Harmon-Meek Gallery (5999th St N Suite 309). Small works are on display throughout the year at Harmon-Meek modern (382 12th Ave S).


by Erick Carter

If you’re pressed for time, nothing can save the daybetter than dry shampoo, but only if used correctly!

  • Keep it off the scalp. Dry shampoo is to be applied to the roots NOT the scalp. Applying to the scalp can cause your head to become itchy.
  • Divide, apply, and repeat. Make sure you are dividing the hair into small sections.
  • Don’t stop there. Once you have applied as above, flip your head over and massage it through your hair. This will help bring back the volume in your hair.
  • Limp hair? This is a great time to back brush to create volume. Use small sections while your hair is flipped over. Back brush each section and simply flip that section back in place. Add extra back brushing for more height, less back brushing where a tighter look is desired.

Washing your hair too often can produce more oil. So, try washing your hair every other day and use dry shampoo in between. I prefer Rusk Deepshine Color Care Invisible Dry Shampoo. It has a great fragrance and does not leave a powder residue.

Any questions?

I would like to invite all readers to write in your questions. You can do so by email at or call meat 239.777.2380.


by Clay Cox

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause!

There must be a Santa Clause, Virginia, because we asked him for a successful year again and once more he did not disappoint us. It’s as if he spreads that magic dust that we heard so much about and our wish was granted.

You too Virginia, can experience this magic. All you have to do is keep the faith. Kitchens by Clay is filled with gratitude and acknowledgement of how Blessed we are. We have the best clients a company could hope for and an amazing, professional and experienced staff that we couldn’t do without.

This was a year we will never forget. With many twists and turns, including the visit from crazy Irma, there was never a dull moment. We are proud to be part of the Naples community, to see the support and caring for each other, the strength of our emergency personnel and the never ending charitable giving.

Naples is certainly a magical place offering opportunities, a beautiful environment and calming blue waters. And so we have to stop here and thank everyone, including Santa, that made our year here at Kitchens by Clay the most wonderful year that we have ever experienced. We wish all of you a Blessed Holiday Season and a very Merry Christmas!

Please E-mail Clay with your questions or comments at

Enjoy your remodel,

Clay Cox

30 Years Later, Chief Casts Her Spell

Chief Stephanie Spell

On a chilly December evening in1987, Stephanie Spell reported for duty as a Collier County Sheriff ’s Office dispatcher. She worked 12-hour shifts as the calm and reassuring voice for those who dialed 911 when chaos hit.

It was a job that seemed overwhelming at first, and the responsibility of being the first point of contact for callers in the midst of an emergency was significant. But she grew to love it. Before long she developed a deep connection to both the agency and the community.

Over the years she rose through the ranks and ultimately achieved the highest level possible. As a member of Sheriff Kevin Rambosk’s executive command staff she serves as the agency’s Chief of Community Engagement.

“Chief Spell is an outstanding leader and public safety professional,” said Sheriff Rambosk. “She has been instrumental in furthering our agency’s philosophy of community, safety, service and service to others before self. She establishes and develops the partnerships that bring us together with our community.”

Chief Spell oversees Media Relations, Crime Prevention, Crime Analysis, Planning and Research, Victim Advocate, Senior Services, Minority Affairs and Volunteers.

She is also active in the community. She is president of the board of directors for Youth Haven and outgoing chair for Collier Child Care Resources. She is a board member for the United Way,  Leadership Collier Foundation and the League of Courageous Women. She also serves on the Florida Bar Grievance Committee.

Cyndee Woolley is a Naples-based public relations professional, author and owner of C2 Communications. Over the past decade, Woolley and Chief Spell have served the community together through civic, political and professional organizations.

“Chief Spell is one of the most authentic women I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know,” Woolley said. “ I admire her as a courageous leader who has helped shape our community, as a dedicated mother and Jammi (grandmother) who has taken her family on wild adventures, as well as a friend and mentor that has inspired me to grow.”

Amanda Beights is vice president of the Leadership Collier Foundation. Chief Spell graduated from the program in 2010 and has remained involved with it ever since. Beights said Chief Spell’s contributions to the program are significant.“Chief Spell has set the standard for what the Leadership Collier™ program has become today,” Beights said. “Her passion for developing leadership is palpable, and we are incredibly fortunate to have her on our Leadership Collier Foundation Board. Our program isn’t complete unless we have Chief Spell’s sage words of wisdom each year as she is a true model of everything Leadership Collier represents.”

Chief Spell earned a bachelor’s degree in public safety management and a master’s degree in administration from Barry University. In addition to being a Leadership Collier graduate, she is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy’s Florida Executive Development Seminar and Leadership Florida.

In 2013 she was named one of Florida Weekly’s Women in Power. In her free time she enjoys fly fishing, skeet shooting and adventure travel. Thirty years after she first reported for duty, Chief Spell continues to be a calm and reassuring presence. She was the ‘voice’ behind the popular “Reality Check” posts after Hurricane Irma on the agency’s Facebook page.

“In a style that was decidedly atypical for anything coming from a public office, post-Irma reality checks provided important information that was succinct and peppered with a good dose of common sense so that people would know exactly what to do. They would also know they were cared about.”



by Greg Ulrich
Owner of KGT Remodeling

KGT Remodeling has won two more awards for their outstanding work and craftsmanship in their industry. The KGT Remodeling team is proud to announce they just received two Sand Dollar Awards from the Collier Building Industry Association (CBIA).

The 2017 awards were presented at the CBIA Sand Dollar Awards ‘Under the Sea’ banquet at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples in late September.

Greg and Theresa Ulrich, owners of KGT Remodeling, accepted the Sand Dollar Awards on behalf of their entire team. The awards were received for their Autumn Woods and Bay Harbor Club residence remodeling projects.

“Referrals are great. We love when our clients recommend our company, it’s the biggest compliment we can receive,” says Greg.

Autumn Woods was a client referral that included a kitchen transformation. The kitchen was a small closed off area that made entertaining friends and family very difficult. We began by creating a design that included removing walls, adding new floors, cabinets, backsplash, quartz countertops, and oversized pendant lighting.

Today, the owners have a beautiful open concept kitchen with oversized island bar perfect for get-togethers.

The second award was given for their Bay Harbor Club remodeling project. This was a complete remodel from reconfiguring the space to opening up walls to give an updated floor plan to the 11th floor condo. Kitchen walls were removed to create an open concept that gave the living areas an airy and bright feel.

Warm wood floors, clean bright shaker cabinets, a sea-tone backsplash and light countertops were added to give the kitchen a more spacious and contemporary look.

The master bath went from a tiny 80’s style to a spa-like retreat. The other rooms of the condo were also given updated looks.  The finished product has given the owners the pleasure of enjoying their spectacular views of both the Gulf of Mexico and Hickory Bay from their relaxed living space.

The remodeling project designs were produced in partnership with local designer Lyndsey Davis Nicklas of L Design Studio. The two new Sand Dollar Awards, with KGT’s six prior awards, bring their total wins to eight.

KGT Remodeling, a Sand Dollar Award winning firm and 2015 CBIA Remodeler of the Year, is a licensed and insured residential remodeling company with over 45 years of experience. Their goal in every project is complete customer satisfaction by sharing their ‘5-Point Promise’ which includes: prompt and clear communication; listening, advising, and adding value; excellence in design and workmanship; custom client portal; and a clean job site.

We hope you have a perfect home for entertaining this holiday season and if not, give us a call – we can make your dream home a reality today!

Please give us a call at 239.992.2300 for your next remodeling project – entire home, bathrooms, kitchen or outdoor living space; we can make your dream home a reality.

KGT Remodeling is licensed, insured and an award winning remodeling company!

Florida’s Report Card Points to a Disconnect

Beth Brainard
Ex Director of NPC

There is an ironic twist in Florida’s standing in the 2017 Bicycle Friendly State Report Card recently released by the League ofAmerican Bicyclists. Overall, Florida ranks 15 out of the 50 states. That’s a curious score for the state that is also ranked #1 in the country for the most bike/ped crashes and fatalities per capita.

Where is the disconnect?

The League calculates how bicycle and pedestrian (bike/ped) issues are addressed at the state level in many categories then gives each state an aggregate score. A breakdown of the categories and Florida’s scores shed some light:


Florida starts off looking good. The state has adopted and is implementing a Complete Streets planning policy that takes all users of state roadways – not just motorists – into consideration when they are designed or retrofitted. (When will Collier County get on board?)


Still looking good. The Florida Department of Transportation getting high marks for supporting bike/ped events and developing educational materials; the number of commuter cyclists in the state is increasing; driver’s licensing tests include questions about bike/ped laws; and there are state advocacy groups (Florida Bicycle Association and Bike Florida).


A clue to the disparity is in this category where it is noted that the state gets low marks for transportation “policies that limit the ability to fund bicycling and walking infrastructure,” but ranks well in the other subcategories: how easy the state makes it to build bike/ped facilities; if the state allocates funding for facilities; if the state makes use of federal funding; the number of facilities the state has reported or planned.


Another clue here where Florida receives high marks for having a Bike Ped/Advisory Committee and a bike/ped pedestrian plan that follows best practices, then fails in all others where it is noted Florida has not made bike/ped safety a priority, does not have a program in place to collect data on people who bike and walk.


Florida fails miserably in this category for not having laws that adequately protect people who bicycle and walk. At last we come to the crux of the matter.

The report card points out that Florida is not safe because leaders in Tallahassee have not made the safety of people who bike and walk a priority, and they have not enacted laws to adequately protect them. The state allocates funds to create an array of programs but not to create a system to collect the data needed to give them teeth. They have to have the stats to justify essential transportation funding or move the legislators to make the safety of people who bike and walk a priority.

It would save all of us a lot of money if state bureaucrats and elected officials got on the same page about bike/ped safety. After all, laws that protect bicyclists and pedestrians also protect other roadway users. Perhaps Florida has to become the #1 most dangerous place in the world for that to happen?

Beth Brainard is the Executive Director of Naples Pathways Coalition (NPC), a non-profit organization that works to create safe, bikeable, walkable communities in Collier County.

For more information or to join, visit the NPC web site or contact Beth directly


If you’ve enjoyed a drink and a chat at Shula’s bar, chances are you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Eric Boyce, our resident libation expert. A longtime Shula’s Steakhouse employee, Eric worked his way up from a breakfast server, to working lunch shifts and at special events, to dinner server and his current coveted position as bartender.

A proud Naples native, he is also a dedicated family man. With life keeping him on his toes both behind the bar and in the community, he took a rare timeout to tackle our Q&A session to share his experience serving up his superior drinks and service to our customers, and even give some insight into what makes his cocktails so irresistible.


A: I started bartending in college at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and I built experience from bartending in various bars and
night clubs.


A: My favorite drink to make is an Old Fashioned. I love the char from the bourbon and sweetness of the dark cherries and citrus from
the orange. It’s a perfect blend of flavors.


A: Everyone should know how to make a Cosmopolitan. It’s just the easiest drink ever!


A: I toast to family, health and happiness.


A: Fresh juices are the key. They make the drink.


A: What I enjoy most about the Shula’s bar is the huge selection we have. From ports and cognac, to sipping rums and bourbons and scotch, there are so many options for customers to choose from. It is also without a doubt the most beautiful bar in town.

To learn more about Shula’s bar, or to peruse the perfect food pairing for your drink of choice, visit

Shula’s Steak House At The Hilton Naples 5111 Tamiami Trail North | 239.430.4999

The Heart of a Naples Christmas

by Lois Bolin

Old Naples Historian

Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol was released on December 19, 1843, and has never been out of print since. Its timeless character, Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy, bitter, stingy man said, “Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas,’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding!” Yet, on one Christmas Eve, Scrooge is transformed.


The newly released movie, The Man Who Invented Christmas, captured the tale of Scrooge and how one writer and one book revived the most noted holiday of the Western world.

Few know of the story of a debt-ridden and dejected Charles Dickens who wrote this small book just before Christmas in 1843 – a book he had hoped would keep him from debtor’s prison. After his publisher rejected his manuscript, Dickens used what little funds he had to self publish, A Christmas Carol.

Magically, Dickens’ book breathed new life into a holiday that had fallen into disfavor, weakened by lingering Puritanism and the cold trendiness of the Industrial Revolution. Yes, Victorian England was in dire need of an antidote for the country’s malnourished souls and Dickens’ imagination was just the tonic it needed. This Tiny Tim size booklet ignited a spiritual renewal throughout the land because it stroked a universal longing in the masses and that longing was inner peace.


When Christmas is over, we can count on the breakdowns – the taking down of lights, ornaments and evergreens as well as the meltdowns – facing large crowds to return those “what were they thinking” gifts and holding off those sugar cravings as we threaten the kids with no more pie, cake or X-Box until they write those thank you notes.

Who can forget Hurricane Irma when many were without water, gas and lights for weeks on end? While there were no lights in many communities there was another kind of light, which cast a glow across Southwest Florida. Without an organized central agency, other than our first responders and those awesome linemen from around the country, local citizens launched into overdrive to help their neighbors far and wide.

While I cannot mention all who played a role in those efforts, I would like to mention a few individuals that I had the pleasure of working with: Katie Schweikhardt, Kristin Downey, Amber Philips, Kathy Holbrook, Kristin Wearden, Sara Cox, Don Treglow, and Jon Bates.


Carrying this light forward, on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, the City of Naples Christmas parade will once again bring together children of all ages with its theme, The Heart of a Naples Christmas, which is dedicated to our first responders and volunteers who came together in our community’s time of need.

Our Honorary Grand Marshall, who will serve with our Grand Marshall, Mayor Bill, is 92 years young and long time city resident, Polly Crews, who is still volunteering. This past year she helped to launch the SWFL Gold Star Mothers chapter.

Our Honorary Judges will command their post at the corner of 5th Ave South and 6th St. South with the daunting task of determining the 10 category winners, who will receive their awards in front of City Council the following week. We thank Reg and Sandra Buxton of Life in Naples magazine for being our Grand Prize sponsor and Matt Moen for hosting an ice cream social for our parade Theme Contest winning entry from Waves of Wonder Montessori School.

Can’t make it to the parade? Not to worry – tune to the City’s station, Comcast Channel 98 to watch the parade live as it passes City Hall. You can also watch live streaming on and if you are busy shopping, don’t forget to set your DVRs. The  filming is sponsored by SWFL Veterans Alliance and hosted by Dr. Lois Bolin along with a surprise co-host.

The Committee, Judges and film crew look forward to sharing in a moment to slow down and remember the meaning of it all.

Until next year, Wayne Smith (my hubby) and I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and, Happy New Year and hope your best days in 2017 are your worst days in 2018.