Mayor Bill speaks…

Mayor Bill Barnett

I guess by now my trademark if there is such a thing for me would be that I start almost every article the same. I say what today’s date is so the readers get a sense of what it’s like to hear that today it’s June 23rd, I’m writing an August article that will cover not only August, but September and I think October
as well.

City Hall is receiving a much needed facelift with some fresh paint and trim work and in addition our City Council Chambers are getting a redo as well. New carpet, chairs, paint, and a general clean up is in the process. I honestly can’t remember the last time this was done, and I’m not certain the chairs have ever been replaced although I’m sure it has been well over twenty years ago since that happened.

I am frequently asked to do charity auctions if my schedule permits it and it’s something I have been doing for many years and I do enjoy it although these days I have been so busy that I have to turn some down. Just when I thought I had participated in about everything possible in Naples from ribbon cuttings to getting dunked in a dunk tank for an elementary school function I have now found something new to try and so far, it has been rewarding! Etiquette!

I received a call from a good friend of mine Brenda O’Connor and she asked me if I would assist her in teaching an etiquette class for 7th, 8th and 9th grade girls for The League of Courageous Women.
Brenda is very well known in our Naples community for being involved with many charitable organizations and this event was for one of them.

I was a little taken aback to say the least because etiquette is something that I don’t give much thought to on a daily basis. Well, it sounded like it would be fun, and I said sure. It was going to be about dining etiquette and would be a lunch held at the Naples Yacht Club. Brenda and I decided that she
would be the lead person and I would be her backup. In other words, we would play it by ear and see how it goes. I must say I was impressed. The young ladies came dressed beautifully for the occasion and they, like us, didn’t quite know what to expect.

Well the Yacht Club had the tables set as if it were a member event. We discussed the do’s and don’ts of table manners, the proper placing and use of the silverware and just about everything we could think
of. We made it a learning and fun event. The girls asked many questions and I emphasized just how important a part of their life etiquette would play. We also talked about use of cellphones at the
dinner table and lots more. We told them about the importance of thanking their servers because it means a lot. The event turned out to be a huge success and I felt like we really made a difference in
these young ladies’ future.

Two weeks after the event I was called again by Brenda and she said the word had spread and we were invited to teach a boys group from the Boys & Girls Club. I smiled and said of course because this was definitely going to be different. It was at the Olive Garden and once again a fun, learning event. We covered everything from how big a meatball could you stuff in your mouth to breaking rolls before buttering them. Our final event before summer vacation was for the Chamber of Commerce’s Youth
Leadership Collier at the Naples Hilton. These were all recently graduated high school Juniors both boys and girls. The result was the same, successful.

A special thanks to the Naples Yacht Club, Olive Garden, and the Naples Hilton for hosting these events
for our young people! As an aside we did use Emily Post for our references. As Emily would say “Etiquette is a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good
manners, no matter what fork you use”. I’m not ready to give up my day job but this was a worthwhile, fun experience for me, and it sounds like we will have some other invites this Fall!

I know by now you are probably tired of hearing about safety preparations for impending storms and hurricanes but take it from me because I’ve been there you can’t be too careful. Take heed and stock up on the supplies you will need. Hopefully you won’t need them, but you’ll be happy you are well supplied if you do. Lots of good things happening in our City!

The awards keep rolling in with the latest being named the #1 Beach Town to live in. Couple this with our Happiest, Healthiest City of 188 surveyed and throw in some of the quality of life awards and I don’t have to say another word. We will keep working to attain our high standards!

In closing I received one of the best e-mails I have ever read, and I am going to share it with you. Good food for thought. I will leave the names out for obvious reasons. It relates to the beach survey that I mentioned above. It said: I think it’s timely that this survey was just published this week. After considering beach communities in all 50 states, it’s interesting that Naples was named #1. And of all the categories we were named first in “quality of life”.

I’m thinking of those whiners and the fact that they should be sending Mayor Bill and the rest of Council a sincere “thank you” instead of wasting time trying to define an ideal small town. Truth
is the vote is in – and we live there!  See you in November!

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