Sgt. William Gifford tossed his wrist watch into the air until it landed about 40 feet away deep into the grass.

He opened the door of his police cruiser. His canine partner, a German shepherd named Titan, bounded out and began tracking the faint human scent left behind on the watch.

Titan ran over to where the watch had landed in less than a minute and laid down with the timepiece between his front paws.

“That’s the hunt and he’s showing you, ‘That’s what I have,’” Sgt. Gifford explained.

Titan is one of 12 dogs used to battle crime and protect the lives of the people in Collier County. The four-legged partners of a close-knit group of deputies who serve as their handlers and currently make up the K9 Unit at the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

The 12 K9 noses are among the most important crime-fighting tools at CCSO.

“There’s a big misconception that all we do is go out and bite people and that’s just so far from the truth,” Sgt. Gifford said. “We use our dogs for their sense of smell.”

The dogs come from all over, from as near as North Florida to as far as Israel, Germany and Mexico following an in-depth selection process.

A dog is selected when it meets all of the qualifications the unit is seeking. Qualifications include sociability, hunt drive, play drive, ability to retrieve, and nerve.

Once a dog is selected it goes through a bonding process with its assigned handler followed by training. The training covers each discipline that a dog will be tasked to perform such as narcotics detection, explosives detection or patrol functions.

Initial training for K9s and handlers is about 500 hours. A dog joins the unit once it has completed the required training and is deemed ready for service.

The K9 teams train regularly to maintain proficiency in their performance of the skills associated with their duties. They are on call 24 hours a day. The K9 Unit recently completed three days of training with the Aviation Unit to get the dogs used to flying and landing.

“It’s one of those things we always try to prepare for,” Sgt. Gifford said. “You never know if you’re going to get called out to the middle of the Everglades. There is no place to drive out there, so you’ve got to be airlifted.”

All of the dogs live at home with their handler. This allows the teams to build a strong relationship with their partners, which translates to amore effective team on the job. K9s are considered a part of the family.

Once a K9 is ready to retire, their handler is given the opportunity to adopt the dog.

Sgt. Gifford adopted his previous partner, retired K9 Bandit, who passed away in 2018.

“It was tough because it was like a piece of you passed,” Sgt. Gifford said. “I know people are close with their pets, but a police dog is a little bit different. I spent more time with him than I think I did with my wife or son.”

If it is a non-emergency, contact the Collier County Sheriff ’s Office non-emergency line at 239-252-9300. If it could be a crime in progress, call 911.

If you have information on past occurred crimes or people who are involved in criminal activity, call the CCSO TIPS line at 239-775-8477, or to remain anonymous and be eligible for a possible reward call Crime Stoppers at 800-780-TIPS.You can also email CCSO at


Sheryl Soukup,

by Sheryl Soukup, Executive Director, Residential Options of Florida

The road to independence is not easy. Take the case of Thomas (name changed for privacy). Thomas has an intellectual disability that makes it difficult for him to do things that people without disabilities often take for granted.

He has trouble recognizing when someone is taking advantage of him. He has difficulty managing his finances and paying bills. He doesn’t always understand things that are apparent to others. He needs more time to learn things, and he needs things explained in simple terms.

Thomas does complete many tasks independently, but he needs people who understand how he learns to teach him how to be safe and to help him learn how to take care of himself and his home on his own.

With the right supports, Thomas has the ability to live independently in the community.

That’s where Residential Options of Florida (ROOF) comes in. ROOF develops new affordable housing opportunities for those with developmental disabilities. ROOF helps adults like Thomas who need affordable housing along with supports that help them live safely in the community.

When ROOF met Thomas he had a job, but he soon found himself homeless when a couple who claimed to be his “friends” took advantage of him by convincing him to give his paychecks to them. In exchange they allowed him to sleep on their couch.

Once they had taken all of Thomas’ money, they locked him out of their home. After repeated attempts to get back into the home to retrieve his belongings, Thomas resorted to sleeping in an abandoned house, and then eventually in an emergency shelter.

ROOF wanted to help Thomas but knew that he needed support to be successful in a home of his own. Thomas had health insurance, but the type of plan he was on would not provide the support services he needed.

ROOF helped Thomas change his health plan and find a support provider. ROOF met with Thomas multiple times and showed him how to make the many calls required to change his health plan and apply for services.

ROOF representatives modeled for Thomas how to advocate for his needs and provided him with support to set up his own services.

Not only did Thomas learn independent living skills (namely, how to make phones calls to agencies, fill out paperwork, and set up appointments for himself), he also learned about self determination. He learned that he can choose his own health plan and his own support service provider, and that he can actually choose the individual the agency sends to provide his care. He also is able to choose how to spend his own money, where he will live, and with whom he will share a home.

With ROOF’s support, Thomas now has choices.

Choice. It’s an important term that many of us take for granted. Too often those with disabilities have very few choices, especially when it comes to housing. ROOF’s vision is that every community in Florida will have an abundance of housing choices that meet the needs of these individuals, providing them with the dignity and safe environment they deserve.

While it is difficult to fathom, families of those with developmental disabilities face many tough questions, such as, “Where will my child live and who will help them when I’m gone?” ROOF is offering new choices in our community for the future of their loved ones with disabilities.

Choice is a beautiful thing when it is available to everyone, no matter their lot in life. To help establish more homes for people like Thomas, ROOF is seeking to acquire real property through donations from community members.

Donations of real estate to ROOF Housing Trust will offer assistance to many people who need it.

For more information on donating, visit or call 239-774-7663.

Programs, Tours and Events at Rookery Bay Reserve


Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

At Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, you can learn about environmental science and the natural world through actual hands-on experiences with marine life touch tanks, exhibits and coastal habitat displays. The two-story modern visitor center is air conditioned and includes an art gallery, naturalist led programs, gift shop, nature viewing platform over the water and more!

Kids and grown-ups alike can explore the center and discover the plants, fish and wildlife that call Rookery Bay Research Reserve’s 110,000 acres home. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids 6 – 12, and free for kids under 6 and Friends of Rookery Bay members. Located at 300 Tower Road, one mile south of the intersection of US41 and Collier Boulevard. Learn more and register for tours and events at Friends of Rookery Bay member discounts apply to most events.

Year-round Kayak Tours at Rookery Bay Research Reserve

Join Rookery Bay Research Reserve’s exclusive ecotour partner, Rising Tide Explorers, for a kayak adventure into the beautiful backwaters of Rookery Bay Reserve! All the guides are active local biologists, certified naturalists and certified kayaking instructors making them the most qualified guides in the region. The whole family can enjoy a memorable and educational adventure into the estuary.

With our kayak tours, guests can paddle through beautiful mangrove tunnels, teeming mudflats and intricate oyster reefs while searching for amazing wildlife like sea stars, large snails, birds, dolphin and manatee!

You can choose between a single or tandem kayak for your journey. Tandem kayaks are great for families with small children. Conditions do vary, but usually consist of calm, waist deep water and sunshine. Sunset tours are also available. These tours are perfect for the first-time paddler or pro. Get out and explore the backwaters Rookery Bay Research Reserve. Visit to register for tours today.


Kids FREE Fridays are Back – Summer of Science 2019

June 14 -August 2, 2019 • 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (educator led programming) • $5 Admission for adults, FREE for kids under 12

This popular education and hands-on program is back for the Summer of Science 2019 at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center!

Beginning Friday, June 14 environmental educators will put the spotlight on a different marine creature with scheduled hands on activities, labs, crafts and games within the cool comfort of the airconditioned, state-of-the-art Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center.

Please visit for weekly themes and activities. Open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Summertime Science Saturdays – Discovery Labs for ALL Ages and Free Admission for Kids under 12 Every Saturday, May-August 2019 • $5 Admission for adults, FREE for kids under 12

This summer at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center Science Saturdays are FREE for kids under 12 and are sure to unleash the inner scientist or marine biologist in you with hands-on discovery labs for all ages.

Each Saturday, adults and kids alike can discover science with an educator including examining live organisms under microscopes, behind the scenes experiences in our working laboratories, hands-on marine critter connections and more! Please visit Rookery for more information. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Kids FREE Friday! Summer of Science: Wading Birds

9 a.m. – 1 p.m. • FREE for Children 12 and under No registration necessary

This popular “hands-on” summer education program offers FREE admission for kids under 12. Environmental educators will lead kids in a schedule of activities, crafts and games within the cool comfort of the air conditioned, state-of-the-art Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Programming and activities on Kids Free Fridays are geared towards children who are accompanied by an adult.

We recommend a ratio of no more than 3 kids per adult to ensure a safe and pleasurable experience

Essentials of Digital Photography

August 12 • 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. • $55Registration is required

If you want to get the best pictures possible, and truly understanding your camera’s features, this camera workshop is for you. The class covers the essentials of your digital camera. You will learn how to use your camera’s shutter, aperture, ISO control and the drive modes to create images with impact and creativity.

Sonny Saunders has over 35 years of experience in photography and instruction and is renowned for his ability to communicate to a wide variety of students.

National Honey Bee Day – BOGO

August 16 • BOGO Admission No registration necessary.

Visitors to the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center can celebrate honey bees and their contribution to each of our lives through the pollination of 80% of the world’s plants including 90 different food crops.

Enjoy buy one get one free entrance on August 16 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Breakfast with the Birds: Water Quality

August 20 • 9:30 – 10:30 am • $15 Registration is required

Learn how the quality of water around them effects bird populations at the final lecture in this summer’s Breakfast with the Birds’ series. Adam DiNuovo, the Shorebird Stewardship Program Manager for Audubon Florida, will present.

Adam has been working with shorebirds and seabirds across the United States and beyond for more than 15 years. Doors open at 9:00 a.m. Lecture begins at 9:30a.m. Enjoy pastries, coffee and juice.


National Wildlife Day

September 4 • BOGO Admission No registration necessary.

Visitors to the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center can celebrate National Wildlife Day on Wednesday, September 4 with buy one get one free entrance. On National Wildlife Day, people are encouraged to take the opportunity to learn more about endangered species, preservation and conservation efforts around the world.

Essentials of Digital Photography

September 9 • 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. • $55 Registration is required

If you want to get the best pictures possible, and truly understanding your camera’s features, this camera workshop is for you. The class covers the essentials of your digital camera. You will learn how to use your camera’s shutter, aperture, ISO control and the drive modes to create images with impact and creativity.

Sonny Saunders has over 35 years of experience in photography and instruction and is renowned for his ability to communicate to a wide variety of students

National Estuaries Day

September 28 • 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. • FREE Day and FREE Activities! Registration is required

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is celebrating National Estuaries Day with a free day of fun and activities at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. This FREE event includes entrance to the Environmental Learning Center, staff narrated boat tours (bus transportation provided to the boat 15 minutes away), introductory 30 minute kayaking trips, stand-up paddle boarding demos on Henderson Creek, Estuary Encounter experience with touch tanks, live animal presentations, crafts, Junior Scientist lab activities and more!

Additionally, foods truck will be on-site during lunch hours Activities are available on a first come, first served basis. Signup begins when doors open at 9 a.m. Age restrictions may apply, please see website for more information:


World Habitat Day

October 7 • BOGO Admission No registration necessary.

World Habitat Day reminds people of the basic need for adequate shelter. In order to build an adequate shelter for ourselves, we must nurture and support a healthy ecosystem or environment. Visit the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center for buy one get one free entrance on October 7 and find out how Rookery Bay Research Reserve helps keep our estuary ecosystem thriving!

Art After Dark – August 2019

Crayton Cove is historically one of the earliest commercial areas servicing the people of Naples.

It has always had a charm that is unique to this waterfront niche in the downtown district. It currently consists of some of Naples’ best restaurants and quaint family owned businesses.

This time of the year is a great time to venture to this part of town and experience “no waiting” at Bleu Provence, The Dock At Crayton Cove, The Boat House, Cove Inn Café, Napoli On The Bay or Chez Boët and enjoy a memorable meal with friends or family.

The Naples Ships Store, Random Acts of Art, Phil Fisher Gallery and Guess-Fisher Gallery are here offering unusual and artistic items while featuring some of Naples’ best art.

The Naples City Dock is also located here stretching out into the Naples Bay, offering a peaceful walk among the various boats at rest or waiting to be chartered.

There are advantages to being here this time of the year! The numbers will be climbing soon so take the time to explore what Naples has to offer while the roads aren’t as busy. The reasons we live in a place many like to visit become obvious.


Naples couple spurs global research on possible “Alzheimer’s Germ”

Rainey and Dr. Leslie Norins married in 1994, are business and life partners for 29 years” and residents together in Naples since 1990.

“We’ve hardly ever met a person in Naples or elsewhere who didn’t have a family member, relative or friend affected by Alzheimer’s disease directly or indirectly,” says Rainey Norins, vice-president of Alzheimer’s GermQuest, Inc.

The public benefit corporation was started by her and her husband, Dr. Leslie Norins, company president, as an effort to increase research on the role of microbes in causation of Alzheimer’s dementia.

Rainey’s family tree shows the illness struck hard. “My grandmother and her two sisters all died from ‘dementia’, which in their era was the umbrella label which included Alzheimer’s. And my mother developed it at age 88 and passed away five years later,” she says. “With that history, who wouldn’t be interested in accelerating a cure for it?”.

Leslie’s focus on Alzheimer’s came from a different direction. He was just winding down a 45-year career as a successful publisher of medical newsletters for healthcare professionals. (Rainey was his business partner as well as spouse).

Hearing frequent mentions of the affliction in Naples he decided to update himself on the medical literature about it.

“Rainey’s grandmother, Lillian Mayhall (1st child on the left) and her two sisters in 1894. These siblings all died of dementia in their 90’s. It likely was Alzheimer’s.

He had been a medical researcher early in his career, so he made a two-year deep dive into bioscience journals. To his surprise, he found there had been little to help patients discovered in the five decades since he graduated from Duke Medical School.

“Back then there was nothing, and it’s basically still the same. Even the cause of Alzheimer’s remains unknown,” he says.

However, among the numerous research reports he reviewed, he was struck by the fact there were some aspects of Alzheimer’s which resembled those seen in unusual infections, like TB, leprosy, and hepatitis.

“I’m not talking about typical infections, like the common cold or the flu”, he emphasizes.

He wrote a white paper presenting the clues, “It’s Time to Find the Alzheimer’s Germ”, and published it on a website they established,

Ever since Dr. Alois Alzheimer first described the disease in 1906, most research effort and billions of dollars of research grants had gone into studies of the peculiar amyloid plaques and tau tangles found in the brains of stricken patients. Only a few scientists and paltry monies had focused on infectious agents.

“We felt that since a cure for Alzheimer’s was desperately needed, it was time to encourage researchers to check out those hints an unusual microbe might be the villain,” Leslie says. “But our years in medical publishing had taught us an idea not only has to be good, it has to capture the attention of its intended audience.

My mother, Ida Hammatt, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 88 years old. This photo is at her Memory Care Center where she was crowned Queen of Mardi Grass, she died a few months later.

So we came up with our ‘$1 Million Challenge Award’, for the scientist who provides persuasive evidence for an infectious agent causing Alzheimer’s disease.”

The deadline for entries is December 2020.Since their project spotlighting Alzheimer’s microbes was announced in January 2018, both science and lay media showed interest;

NPR did a story, and a German TV network flew a video crew to Naples to interview them.

The Naples Daily News and The Wall Street Journal covered it.

The Norins’ have also presented the project at major Alzheimer’s and infectious diseases conferences, including one in Switzerland. But they feel the most promising result since they began is that the NIH, the nation’s biggest funder of medical research, recently deemed Alzheimer’s infectious agents a “high priority” topic, and will allocate millions of dollars to new research grants.

“Many people share the credit for this, but no doubt our activities played an important role, Leslie said.


by Teresa M. Araque

Accountants. That word alone conjures images of a studious and dedicated individual wearing a green eye shade while locked away in an office. However, as with most stereotypes, the reality is far different.

Accountants and auditors play a critical role in business, both the public and private sectors. They can serve as key decision makers, analysts, and executives and are a vital part of any organization.

In fact, the demand for accountants and auditors is projected to continue growing at an annual rate of over 10 percent. With a master’s degree in accounting, positions now range from an accountant, auditor, financial analyst, to corporate controller, chief financial officer, and vice president of finance. Add in successful completion of the requirements to become a CPA, and the additional value added is apparent.

Hodges University is responding to that demand with its newly redesigned master’s degree in accounting (MAcc) that can be completed in just 10 months. Classes will start in Fall 2019.

“We’ve listened to public and private sector businesses and have redesigned our master’s degree in accounting to provide the education and training needed in an accelerated time frame,” said Dr. John Meyer, president of Hodges University. “In this new cohort-based format, we’ve also included added benefits.”

Those benefits start with offering the degree 100% online. “This degree is all-inclusive, meaning that the total cost includes tuition, books, fees, and class materials,” added Dr. Meyer. “There is limited enrollment because we like to keep our class sizes small. Students benefit from the opportunity to have more personalized attention from our faculty. ”

And the biggest perk? “Students in this program will also get CPA exam review materials incorporated directly into the instruction,” said Dr. Meyer. “The total cost is $24,900, which is very competitive. And with the added bonus of solid preparation to sit for the CPA exam, we strongly believe that this degree will help fulfill a growing need for finance experts.”

MAcc, like all of the business related degrees in the Johnson School of Business, is also accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE) and is approved by the Florida Institute of CPAs. Hodges University has also been named one of the 50 Great Small Colleges for an Accounting and Finance Degree.

For more information about the master’s in accounting degree, visit

Project HELP gearing up for annual fundraiser

By Eileen Wesley –
Executive Director,
Project Help

As the summer months try to melt away our resolve with its scorching heat, Project HELP’s cause burns stronger than ever.

Being the only certified rape recovery and victim service center in Collier County means that season doesn’t apply for our clients. Thousands of people pass through our doors each year who need therapy, counsel, or help getting back on their feet after a violent crime, rape, or other unspeakable traumatic event in their lives.

Our 24-hour HELP line takes hundreds of calls per year, talking people through issues when they had nowhere else to turn.

For those who want to support this worthy cause, there is a big opportunity on the horizon to help — and you might just have a whole lot of fun at the same time.

Our annual fundraiser, A Night in Monte Carlo, is right around the corner. It will take place the Saturday before Thanksgiving, from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, November 23, at Hilton Naples. There will be food, prominent guest speakers from around the county, a silent auction, and lots of gaming for a great cause.

Every day I speak with men and women who benefit from us simply being accessible. There are so many people who are terrified to come forward with their story. They believe their stories don’t deserve to be heard, or there’s nowhere safe to go if they have a traumatic event that upends their lives.

We’re here to tell you that you’re not alone, and we hope the community will join us in our fight to let victims know that there is a safe haven right in your backyard.

So I call on the entire community to stand up and join us. We’re here to help. But we need yours, too.

Come to our annual fundraiser and have a lot of fun raising money for a truly noble cause.

Our therapists, counselors, advocates, and case workers help our victims gain every advantage they can to jumpstart their lives again. We work to re-empower victims to move forward and recover from what was taken away from them.

We offer coping skills, safety plans, and individual goal planning to help victims take the steps they need towards recovery. We work with victims so they can recognize, face, and solve problems arising from their trauma. We want to be sure all victims know their rights, and never feel alone.

Because HELP is here.

Join our cause. Visit for more information, or call us at 239-649-1404.


What: A Night in Monte Carlo

When/Where: 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 23, at Hilton Naples.

Tickets: $160Tickets include 2 drink vouchers for the event. There will be food, guest speakers, a silent auction and lots of gaming for a good cause.

Call 239-649-1404 or visit our website at to reserve a seat now.

What in the world… IS GOING ON?

By Mimi C. Gregory, V.P. Programs, Naples Council
Board Member, World Affairs Councils of America

Gulf Coast winning HSAWQ team 2019

If you find that question challenging, then the Naples Council on World Affairs can give you the answer!

Part of a network of close to 100 Councils nationwide, the Naples Council began in 1981 when a group of residents, challenged by that very question, gathered to discuss world affairs on a regular basis. Today that nascent group has grown to 2200 active members whose interest in foreign policy and international affairs sustains a robust membership and a growing waiting list.

Clearly it is gratifying that our now indisputable “global world” fosters that much support in our community.

Nourished by a plentitude of resources, the Naples Council offers a Flagship Lecture Series comprising ten lectures from November to April addressing the most pressing foreign policy challenges our country faces today. Drawing from a compendium of experts who come from Washington’s many research institutes, nationwide universities, historians, authors, diplomats, journalists, you can see that the garden is ripe for the harvesting and the results, for our audience, are rewarding.

Great Decisions…

In addition to our Lecture Series, the Council offers participation in the Foreign Policy Association’s “Great Decisions Program”. “PA”, as it is commonly known, is actually the New York City World Affairs Council and celebrated its Centennial Year in 2018.

Their annual publication of a briefing book, based on the eight most pressing foreign policy issues annually, fosters participation in discussion groups led by members of the Naples Council.

At this time, more than 830 of our members belong to 30 discussion groups in Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs and Estero.

MSAWQ 1st place winners Pine Ridge Team A

Reaching Out…

In 1989, as part of its educational outreach, the Naples Council on World Affairs undertook to develop a program of academic enhancement in global issues for area high school students. The Council decided that a Model United Nations program would be well suited to achieve this goal.

Other World Affairs Councils across the United States had been sponsoring Model United Nations programs for forty years. Simulating the actual working of the United Nations, Model United Nations programs (MUNs)have four purposes:

  • To teach negotiating, bargaining and communication skills
  • To represent a foreign perspective in a disciplined forum
  • To enhance awareness and inform students on critical global issues
  • To acquaint students with the workings of the United Nations

Underlining those skills were 237 delegates representing 13 high schools from three counties: Collier, Lee, and Charlotte and well over 100 NCWA members, all volunteers, were actively involved providing financial support, grading position papers, serving as judges, manning reception tables, and managing the overall endeavor.

30 countries were represented and among the committee topics ripe for negotiations were:

  • Disarmament of Terrorist Organizations and Radical Actors
  • Combating Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants
  • Access to Clean Water & Sanitation in Rural Communities

The winning schools and the countries they represented for 2019 were:

  • 1st: Israel, Port Charlotte High School
  • 2nd: United Kingdom, Gulf Coast High School
  • 3rd: France, Cape Coral High School

More than $30K in financial awards were distributed in scholarships, best position papers, winning teams, and most of all, the satisfaction that a new generation of students will remain aware and engaged in world affairs.

MUN judges

Academic World Quest…

The brainchild of the North Carolina World Affairs Council, the challenge began as an adult after dinner game quiz, often failed by the participants, but mercifully moved into the schools where the challenges were met with a greater accumulation of wisdom!

The annual High School Academic World Quest Competition demonstrated once again the diligence and knowledge of the region’s high school scholars.

On March 2, nearly a hundred students on twenty-four teams from Barron Collier, Golden Gate, Gulf Coast, Naples, Palmetto Ridge and the Community School of Naples battled it out for prizes and bragging rights in answering a set of tough questions supplied by the World Affairs Councils of America. Topics included:

  • “How to Deal with North Korea,”
  • “The Global Refugee and Migration Crisis”
  • “Focused question rounds on Qatar and Japan.

Gulf Coast High School, winners once again, went to Washington for the national competition.

The success of this program inspired…

Middle School Academic World Quest…

This event was hosted by the Community School of Naples on March 23. This year nine local middle schools participated with 38 teams totaling 155 students.

The hall buzzed with enthusiasm during the event. The best comment that we receive from many of the coaches is “The kids love it!”

All students receive a certificate of participation. The top three teams receive “In Honor of Academic Excellence” medals, and the winning school receives a trophy which they retain for one year for the school trophy case.

The winning team this year, retaining the trophy, was Pine Ridge Middle School Team A with the outstanding score of 88 out of 100 points. In second place was Oakridge Team A and in third was Pine Ridge Team B.

Academic World Quest’s successful programs are part of the School Outreach Committee whose mandate includes an impressive list of scholarships that are given to a group of juniors and seniors annually.

In 2019 we sent eight junior year students overseas through the Experiment in International Living to broaden their experience and understanding of global issues, culture and politics; and we sponsored six high school students for a trip to Washington, D.C., and a week at Georgetown University to take courses and engage in seminars on International Relations and National Security.

This coming school year of 2019-2020 we will have several students participating in a new scholarship offering: The Global Scholar Program. Beginning as sophomores, the students will complete advanced studies in varied world affairs courses and three years of study in a language of their choice. This program will offer some internship opportunities with the Foreign Policy Association in New York and the United States Institute of Peace in Washington. The goal is the continuum of global awareness.

Finally, we are proud of our mission: to educate, inspire and engage our community in international affairs and critical global issues.

The Paradise Coast Trail

Michelle Avola
Ex Director of NPC

Across the country and across the state, places like Dunedin, Winter Garden and Inverness enjoy extensive, connected multiuse pathways, but shockingly, Naples does not. And too many of us have either been hit by a vehicle while biking or running on local streets and sidewalks or had numerous close calls – even in our own gated communities!

Without a safe network of non-motorized multi-use pathways, itis getting less and less safe for us to enjoy activities we love. To answer that need, Naples Pathways Coalition is thrilled to announce the Paradise Coast Trail!

We envision this to be a premier, 70+ mile trail built exclusively for safe and enjoyable walking, running and biking. Connecting Naples, Ave Maria, Immokalee and many other areas within and beyond Collier County, it will expand transportation options, improve health and wellness, reduce our carbon footprint and provide a destination to experience the Paradise Coast’s unique beauty.

Consider a future where you are within minutes of a trail that you and your family can safely walk, bike and explore.

Did you know Florida has one of the highest rates of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities in the nation? Between 2011 and 2016, Collier County had over 800 reported bicycle and pedestrian crashes with 33 fatalities and 119 serious injuries.

Imagine freedom from the fear of being hit by a vehicle as you move along this separated pathway. Over 40% of Americans say they would be more likely to ride a bicycle if motor vehicles and bicycles were physically separated.

Consider the value of your home increasing simply because it is close to this trail. The National Association of Homebuilders cites trails as one of the community amenities most desired by prospective homebuyers.

The values of homes in areas with “above-average” access to active transportation are higher than those of comparable properties by as much as $34,000. Imagine the stronger sense of community, more enjoyable quality of life and the economic benefits that will come to Collier County from the Paradise Coast Trail.

With the water quality issues we faced last summer that caused thousands upon thousands of our expected visitors to vacation elsewhere, we can no longer rely on our beaches to drive tourism.

The 22-mile West Orange Trail in Winter Garden is said to be bringing in $3.6M to the area annually!

The popular Gordon River Greenway is an outstanding example of a local multi-use pathway. It gives a taste of what awaits with the Paradise Coast Trail. However, it is only 4 miles long and not connected to other pathways. Imagine a trail experience like this extending over 70 miles!

At a glance, the impact of trails:

  • 61% of Floridians say that outdoor recreation is very important in their lives
  • Walking, jogging and bicycling are the outdoor recreation activities desired most by Floridians
  • Naples residents say walking, hiking and biking trails are the community’s most needed recreational facilities
  • Bicycling and walking provide healthy exercise for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities
  • Those who walk 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week have a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Trails are promoted as a healthy option for Americans by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Three Central Florida trails have an estimated economic impact of $42.6 million annually
  • Construction and maintenance of trails create more jobs per mile than any other type of transportation project
  • A viable trail network is an important option to provide opportunities for car free commuting

Fundraising for the Paradise Coast Trail has already begun. You can help this dream become a reality by donating today! Please visit to learn more about this project and make a tax deductible donation.

Moorings Park Grande Lake Celebrates Construction Milestone As Sales Remain Strong

The construction of the first three buildings in Phase 1 at MooringsPark Grande Lake started in late 2018. Now, approximately nine months later, officials at the Life Plan (CCRC) community have announced the buildings have hit the halfway mark in their construction, with one of the buildings celebrated during a topping off ceremony in early August.

“This construction milestone at Moorings Park Grande Lake is an exciting time for the development teams and our first residents, who are looking forward to moving into their beautiful new homes in Spring 2020,” stated Dan Lavender, CEO of Moorings Park,Institute, Inc.

A limited number of outstanding homes with incredible lake and golf course views are still available in Phase 1. Those who purchase in the first phase will receive a social membership to Naples Grande Golf Club, located within walking distance of Moorings Park Grande Lake.

The membership takes effect the moment residents take occupancy of their home and until such time as the Moorings Park Grande Lake Clubhouse is completed.

The membership includes golfing privileges on Naples Grande Golf Club’s18-hole championship golf course, as well as dining options in Naples Grande’s elegant clubhouse.

In addition, residents have access to Naples Grande Beach Resort and its Har-Tru tennis courts, fitness center and spa, resort-style pool and beach, and preferred pricing on hotel rooms and dining. Sales are also available in the community’s second phase, which hit the 50 percent sold mark in early July.

The floorplans available are the popular Brook model, which features a magnificent great room, master bedroom and bath separated from the guest suites, as well as private elevators that lead into residents’ private vestibules.

A spectacular penthouse residence is also available. Entrance fees at Moorings Park Grande Lake start at $1.5 million and are 70 percent refundable. Assisted Living, Memory Care and concierge healthcare are included.

Located on the south side of Golden Gate Parkway, between Airport-Pulling and Livingston Roads, the pet friendly Moorings Park Grande Lake is being developed by Moorings Park in partnership with esteemed London Bay Development Group.The community’s list of amenities is also impressive including its beautiful clubhouse.

As planned, its interior will feature casual and fine dining, a lakefront restaurant and bar, a state-of-the-art fitness center, including a best-in-its-class golf simulator, a theatre, and a salon and spa.

As planned, the exterior of the clubhouse will feature a resort-style pool with poolside bistro and cabanas, all overlooking the 28acre lake.

A few of the planned outdoor activities and amenities will include a yoga pavilion, walking paths, lakeside parklettes  with boardwalks, gardens, fire pits and overlooks, several birdwatching posts, and bocce and pickleball courts.

Also located within the clubhouse is The Center for Healthy Living, which is home to the community’s rehabilitation services, as well as the Care 360 concierge healthcare program, which was developed in partnership with NCH Healthcare System.

The Moorings Park Grande Lake sales gallery is open Monday thru Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00p.m. Visit, or call(239) 232-8409.