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Saturday, 30 January 2021 17:53

The Day The Music Died

Rising American rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were killed when their chartered Beechcraft Bonanza plane crashes in Iowa a few minutes after takeoff from Mason City on February 3rd, 1959.

The flight was headed for Moorhead, Minnesota. Investigators blamed the crash on bad weather and pilot error. Holly and his band, the Crickets, had just scored a No. 1 hit with “That’ll Be the Day.”

After mechanical difficulties with the tour bus, Holly had chartered a plane for his band to fly between stops on the Winter Dance Party Tour. However, Richardson, who had the flu, convinced Holly’s band member Waylon Jennings to give up his seat, and Ritchie Valens won a coin toss for another seat on the plane.

Holly, born Charles Holley in Lubbock, Texas, and just 22 when he died, began singing country music with high school friends before switching to rock and roll after opening for various performers, including Elvis Presley. By the mid-1950s, Holly and his band had a regular radio show and toured internationally, playing hits like “Peggy Sue,” “Oh, Boy!,” “Maybe Baby” and “Early in the Morning.” Holly wrote all his own songs, many of which were released after his death and influenced such artists as Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney.

Another crash victim, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, 28, started out as a disk jockey in Texas and later began writing songs. Richardson’s most famous recording was the rockabilly “Chantilly Lace,” which made the Top 10. He developed a stage show based on his radio persona, “The Big Bopper.”

The first day of Chinese New Year varies every year, much like our Easter celebration does.

The Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between January 21 and February.20 . In 2021, the first day of the Chinese New Year will be on Friday, 12 February, which is the Year of the Ox..

asia fest musicians

Throughout history, Chinese Lunar New Year activities started as early as three weeks before Chinese New Year's Eve, but these days a week before is more usual, and this year, it will be celebrated on Feb the Mercato lawn area from 11am to 4pm.

Chinese New Year is one of the most important holidays in China, and has strongly influenced Lunar New Year celebrations.

This years festival is Presented by the Asian Professionals Association of SWFL (APASWFL ) ASIA FEST 2021

asia fest dancers1

asia fest dancers


This will be a fun-filled day filled with rich Asian Culture! Dancers and musicians with a wide variety of performances, Special Activities, Asian Cuisine &Vendors, Featured Guests and an Asian Parade too!

asia fest karate

asia fest dancer


ASIA FEST 2021 is an event where different Asian communities come together and showcase crafts, performance arts, their various customs and cultures from countries and regions from Asia. These communities come together at this festival to share their Heritage!

And all proceeds go to APASWFL SCHOLORSHIPS for outstanding Asian-American Senior Students.

The Festival will showcase crafts, performances, customs & cultures from countries and ethnic regions from Asia.

Your health and safety is our PRIORITY. APASWFL is one of the elite organization that has earned the RESTART SWFL Seal of Confidence. A campaign to bring a renewed sense of confidence and prosperity to the region through which business owners pledge to adhere to a set of four standards involving health, business and ethical practices and to participate in two business or health-related discussions to earn the seal.

All attendees over 2 years of age are required to wear a mask or face shield upon entering the festival. Social distancing must be maintained. Vendors will be required to wear a mask and hand sanitizers will be available at ALL booths. Signage of safety guidelines will be available throughout the event area.

asia fest dancers2


The festival will feature Alluring Multi-Cultural Dances from China, Indonesia, Turkey, Vietnam, India, Philippines, & the Pacific Islands, a Medley of Delectable Asian Cuisine, Enticing Specialty Vendors, Japanese Taiko Drummers, Traditional Lion Dancers, Martial Arts, Tai Chi Demonstration, Plus featured Special Guests, Influencers, Comedians & more. Win prizes by participating in the any of the 3 contests... the Asian Fun Fact Trivia, the Best Asian Costume and the **NEW** Best Asian Themed Mask Contest.

They encourage advance ticket purchase of $6 and have VIP entry access. Ticket sales at the event will be $7 per person over 7 years of age.

We encourage you to wear your favorite Asian Attire and Join our Parade of Cultural Pageantry by our Lovely Local Asian Beauties. The one who receives the most votes will be crowned "Ms. AsiaFest 2021". Vote for your favorite candidate ($1 per vote, after all, this is a fundraiser)!

Bring your chairs, umbrellas & beach throws. Stay a while and enjoy this day of Rich Asian Cultural Showcase. We will have activities & special treats for kids of ALL ages.

If you're interested in being a member or a volunteer, subscribe at our website or for additional details.

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Saturday, 30 January 2021 16:20

How To Handle Stress Better

The way our bodies react to stress is actually supposed to be good for us! I know, at first it seems like a weird statement, but it is true! You see in the grand scheme, in our grand design if you will, we react to stress as if it is a life or death situation.... think about that for a moment.... Originally, stress was life threatening! For example...

You’re walking through a jungle, and a tiger jumps out into view "THAT my STRESS" and all kinds of things start to happen in our bodies.

The stress response begins in the brain, and triggers 'the Fight or Flight" syndrome. Now I'm sure most of you have head that term before, but if not, it's the body preparing itself to either 'Fight' and defend itself from said stress, or prepare itself for 'Flight' and to run away from the stress it is encountering and again, remember, this reaction to stress happens because at our core, we consider stress a life or death situation.

Your body then triggers your sympathetic nervous system.... The adrenal glands respond by pumping the hormone epinephrine otherwise known as adrenaline into the bloodstream, making you stronger and quicker. The heart begins to beat faster than normal, pushing blood into the muscles preparing them for maximum exertion, other vital organs that can store blood do so, in case you're wounded, you would bleed less. You begin to breathe more rapidly. Smaller airways in the lungs open wide allowing the lungs to take in as much oxygen as possible with each breath. This extra oxygen is sent to the brain, increasing alertness. Your sight, hearing, and other senses become sharper. Meanwhile, epinephrine and

Cortisol trigger the release of blood sugar (glucose) and fats from temporary storage sites in the body which flood into the bloodstream, supplying more energy to all cells of the body and they also increase the availability of substances that repair tissues. It also alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system....

Digestion virtually stops, your brain is worried about staying alive, it could care less about undigested food in your stomach...

Hydrocortisone is released as an anti-inflammatory, so if you were to sprain your ankle, it may hurt but it would not swell up so you could still run on it. ...........

All this and much, much more happens .... all in an instant! from having seen the tiger in the woods headed your way.

In that same flash of an instance you have to decide which is it going to be... "Fight" or "Flight" .....let's look a few scenarios...

Case #1, you think the tiger hasn't spotted you yet and you choose "Flight".... at first, backing away slowly, trying to be silent and then when there is a little more distance between you and the tiger, you start running, you run for what seems like forever and finally all of a sudden you stop, and stay very quiet and listen..... you don't hear the tiger following and after a few minutes, you finally think you got away.... the next thing you do is “take a huge deep breath and let out a long audible sigh! and think Pheeeeuuuw,,,, that was a close one.”...the STRESS is over...! this is when your body starts to settle back down! The Para-sympathetic system kicks into gear, also known as the "rest and digest system" normalizing the body's chemicals and hormones, it is the opposite of the fight or flight response. It helps promote equilibrium in the body and allows the body to rest and repair.

Case #2, you think the tiger hasn't spotted you yet and you choose "Flight".... at first, backing away slowly, trying to be silent and then when there is a little more distance between you and the tiger, you start running, but the tiger catches you from behind and eats you....well let's face it, not the outcome we hoped for but.... the STRESS is also over...!

Case #3, you are sure the tiger sees you and as it turns and is now headed towards your way, you know you can't out run it at this point, so you brandish your weapons and the battle begins.... somehow, miraculously... you defeat the tiger with a final death blow to the chest and you both fall to the ground... you.... exhausted, the tiger.......... dead. After a moment to collect your thoughts you take a huge deep breath and let out a long audible sigh! and think Pheeeeuuuw,,,, that was a close one....and the STRESS is over....! You begin to "lick" your wounds, bandage yourself up and same as in case #1, the Para-sympathetic system kicks into gear, normalizing your body.

Case #4.You can probably guess this one.... tiger wins.. eats you and the STRESS is over... ! Point is, whichever the scenario.... there is an end to the stress!

Now the problem with our stress today is there is no end to the stress, because, getting ready for work can be stressful, running late for a meeting is stressful, being in traffic is stress.

There is no END ... it’s just one stress stacked up on another, on another! And remember the part I mentioned about digestion virtually stopping?

And another thing! It doesn't even matter if the stress is real or imagined like when in home alone the little boy goes into the basement and the furnace is trying to eat him..same internal reaction, or you think you hear footsteps behind you on a dark street.... same internal reaction, even when you turn quickly and no one is there.... too late! Fight or Flight has already kicked in!.

Now let's imagine the day of a mother of two school age children, who works at a firm, in accounting from 8am to 2pm, so she can pick her kids from school at 2:30,.....

She wakes up early in the morning has to get herself ready for work, her children ready for school, feed them breakfast, perhaps make a lunch for herself and the kids all before 7:15 when dad takes them to school (let's call that Stress A)

Then after they leave, she gets into her car where she deals with traffic and often road rage, some of her own and some from others before getting to work...normally a half hour drive (let's call that Stress B)

Then she clocks in at 8:03 because today it took over 40 minutes, she thinks, ”late again, what a day it’s been already,” which gets a look from floor manager (small Stress, not worthy of a letter) now she has X amount of work to do before she gets off at 2pm, taking time for a quick sandwich for lunch ... (let's call that Stress C)

Then it's back in the car for some more road rage to pick up her kids because this takes 30 minutes on a good day....(Stress D)

All followed by.... get home, prepare dinner, check if children do their homework Stress, Stress, Stress, Stress, Stress! These stresses continue to build up on top of each other!

So the question is, "How do we deal with stress when it actually is not life threatening and it keeps piling up on itself one stress after another after another?

I'm a L.M.T. a Licensed Massage Therapy provider, and I've been telling that tiger in the jungle story to my clients for the past 20+ years in an attempt to explain how the body reacts to stress especially these days when we are in stressful situations one after another all day long!

I was telling the story to a client one day (about 15 years ago) ....but this time, for some reason, I actually did the deep breath and the audible sigh..... I immediately felt relaxation come over me and it hit me....

The Huge Deep Breath and the letting out a long audible sigh is the signal to the body that STRESS IS OVER!


Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth making an audible SIGH


Now let's revisit a day in the life of a mother of two school age children.

She wakes up early in the morning has to get herself ready for work, after doing that, she stops for a moment and takes a deep breath and lets out a long sigh..... this closes the door on any stress she has encountered up to now and lets her para- sympathetic system start to settle her down.

She gets her children ready for school, feeds them breakfast, perhaps make a lunch for herself and the kids all before 7:15 when dad takes them to school.
Then after they leave, before she even exits the house to get in the car....... she takes a huge deep breath and lets out a long sigh....Again, the para-sympathetic nervous system kick into gear.

Then as she gets to her car she is already in a better place, physically and mentally and gets on the road where she deals with traffic, some road rage but from others now... and the trip seems, as she parks her she takes the key from the ignition she again, takes a huge deep breath and lets out a long sigh...this closes the door on any stress from the road trip and again her para- sympathetic system starts to settle her down.

Then she goes inside feeling pretty good, clocks in a few minutes early, and smiles, even though she won't get the extra minutes credit, she thinks, ‘it's going to be a good day!’ which gets a nod and a returned smile from floor manager, she has an easy time getting her work done in time with a regular lunch break before she gets off at 2pm.

And again before she leaves the building, even though it's been an easy day, she takes another huge deep breath and lets out another Long sigh....just in case!

I think by now you are starting to get the picture. By signalling to the body that all previous stress is over, your body and mind is better able to deal with other stress headed your way!

Now I must tell you I am not a doctor , I am a licensed massage therapy provider. I was an instructor of Massage Techniques and Anatomy and Physiology for 14 years and have had my own business on Fort Myers Beach for the past 20 years!

First thing to remember is, our bodies have a natural connection to relaxing when we exhale.... period. Every time you breath out .... at some level your body is going ....ahhhhhhhhh!.

So do it with me right now! ... Take a huge deep breath, hold it a second and let out a loud audible sigh.... and let it all out.....

Did you feel it?... The release... The relaxation... almost everyone of my clients do feel it the very first time I ask them to do it with me..

Add these deep breaths between the different parts of your daily routine... you will notice the difference.

If you didn’t feel it....Do it again!

Bobby Mimmo LMT

The USS Mohawk was a WWII Coast Guard Cutter that is 165 feet in length. After its service in the military, it now rests in approximately 90 feet of water just off the coast of Captiva Island, FL.

The ship reef structure maintains a population of marine life that spans the food chain. Large schools of bait fish, snappers, grouper and other game fish live around the reef.
SWFL Reefs is a nonprofit foundation that works to enhance the marine environment and protect natural reef ecosystems.

Through the creation of artificial habitats, we help to provide safe haven and food for more than 250 different reef fish species from the shallow waters of back bays and harbors, to more than 30 miles offshore.

From their base in Sanibel, Florida, SWFL Reefs works with other marine conservation nonprofit organizations, corporations and government agencies to ensure the sustainability of our underwater wildlife.

SWFL Reefs supports the Lee County artificial reef program, which includes planning and implementation of new projects, maintenance of existing sites, monitoring reef quality, educating reef users and informing the public about the role that these reefs play in enhancing the quality of life for people and marine ecosystems.

Artificial reefs created by Lee Cou­­­nty, not only hold sea life that recreational divers enjoy and anglers want to catch, but also create viable, long-lasting marine habitat that complement the natural ledges and outcroppings that exist off the Lee County coast, the USS Mohawk is a great example.


The Mohawk Cutter.... was and "Ice Breaker" when she was commissioned 

The Mohawk was officially commissioned in January, 1935 and first assigned patrol and general icebreaking duties on the Hudson and Delaware Rivers. The outbreak of war found her stationed in Cape May, New Jersey.

In November, 1941, the Mohawk was directed to serve as part of the naval forces of the United States. She was assigned to North Atlantic escort operations with the Greenland Patrol. She served there for the duration of World War II.

mohawk greenland

USS Mohawk Off the shore of Greenland

During the war, the Mohawk launched a total of 14 attacks against submarine contacts between 1942 and 1945. She also broke ice in the Arctic Circle and rescued more than 300 sailors in two different operations.mohawk subs

In November of 1945, the Mohawk’s war-time armament was removed and she was transferred to her old homeport of Cape and in April, 1946, the Mohawk was placed “in reserve, in commission” status with a skeleton crew at Cape May, New Jersey. She remained there until she was ordered to be decommissioned in October, 1947.

The Mohawk was declared surplus to needs of the Coast Guard in July, 1948 and was sold in November, to the Delaware Bay and River Pilots’ Association. For more 30 years, she was used as a pilot boat on the Delaware River.


Mohawk was found in a Staten Island scrap yard by Frans Boetes, then president and CEO of Mohawk’s Memorial Museum. She had been there, rusting for over 15 years.


After a complete overhaul, the USS Mohawk headed to Key West.

After some initial repairs, she was towed to Miami, where substantial repairs were made, and then on to Key West where the ship was berthed as USS Mohawk Memorial Museum at Truman Waterfront.

mohawk key west 2 

After repairs, as a Memorial Museum at the Truman Waterfront.

In the spring of 2012, it was once again in need of costly repairs,

WWII warship sunk for divers 2

so it was ultimately decided that the most honorable fate was to give her a final duty serving as a veteran's memorial reef rather than sending her back to the scrap yard where she would have been taken apart and melted down for her steel.

The Mohawk was donated to Lee County Department of Natural Resources and was transported to Fort Myers Beach in May, 2012 where she was cleaned in order to ensure no negative environmental impacts from its aging equipment, experts cleaned and prepared the ship to be an artificial reef, prior to sending it on its last voyage.


On July 2, 2012 , the “Mighty Mo” was scuttled 30 miles off the coast of Fort Myers Beach. In her final resting place as an artificial reef.

The Mohawk was the first dedicated veterans memorial military ship reef in the United States of America. The USS Mohawk CGC Veterans Memorial Reef was the brainchild of Mike Campbell with the Lee County Division of Natural Resources, and has made Southwest Florida a new diving destination and has become a popular.

Scuba divers should always practice their safety protocols and make sure to have their diving buddy.

mohawk fish sm

Take some awesome photos of fish, snapper, goliath grouper, barracuda and who knows what other types of sea life and marine creatures will come to populate the shipwreck. Spear diving may also be a popular underwater activity at this diving spot, just make sure to follow acceptable practices and local diving rules.

It's an excellent fishing spot too, fishermen will want to carry along a variety of fishing rods, fishing reels and tackle. Having your light tackle for fun with the small fish, as well as having a 50 pound class rod and reel outfit available should the big ones show up, helps to make the fishing day more fun.

At this reef, you never know what gamefish will show up hungry and ready to bite.


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Saturday, 30 January 2021 00:10

Bonita Beach / Fort Myers Beach.... "Dog Park"


 dog beach map


Searching for this dog beach on line, you will find that the location listed as: 14436 Bonita Beach CSWY. Bonita Springs, FL 34134, or as: 8800 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, luckily, both searches bring you to the same place.

It is a lovely Dog Beach where your dogs can run and frolic in sand and the gulf of Mexico off a leash.... for FREE! and legally!

The name on the sign is Bonita Beach Dog Park and it is the only Lee county-owned beach, where pets are allowed to run free. But depending on who you talk to, it is refered to by either name. Bonita Beach or Fort Myers Beach ‘dog park’

This is a coastal tideland, therefore the size of the beach will vary on the water level of the tide, when the tide is high, there is very little beach front but the water is very shallow for the dogs to run and play, when the water is low, the sand bars are all exposed and make more room for people, towels blankets and umbrellas.

"Dog Beach" is a strip of beach land on the outside edge of Lover's Key State Park along the Fort Myers Beach/Bonita Springs line.

It is an “off leash” beach to let your dog run free and play in the shallow, calm water of the Gulf of Mexico. There are no fences, leashes or worries required. Just plenty of dogs of all sizes to play with.

Many people visit that don't even have dogs, they come to watch the dogs run and play with their furry friends on land and water. I have met many visitors there who came because they miss their dogs that they were not able to bring with them on vacation.

You can see the sign from the road but the beach itself is not visable from the main road, just follow the signs around the trees and a clearing will open up to Dog Beach.

This is a great place where your dogs may run free in a beautiful beach setting.

Another good point: parking for your vehicle is also free. There is also a Doggie shower station at the edge of the parking lot, provided by a private donor,which allows you to rinse your dog before leaving the park.

dog beach

Having two Australian Sheppards myself, I have been there many times, this time of year.... in season, I try to go early, and I mean early in the morning, it gets very 'dog crowded' by 9am...and by noon, well, it's hard to keep an eye on your dog among the lot.

As seen below.You can see the Gulf at the far end of the picture, the dog beach is to the right of that. You will notice a path emerging on the right side of the opening long before you reach the open Gulf.

dog beach entrance

This photo (above) is the low tide look, during high tide, you may have to wade through some water, up to knee high, to get to it so check tides or be prepared to get a little wet.
Please "Paws" and read the rules. No glass containers or alcohol allowed. This is an unsupervised facility. You are responsible for yourself, your dog and its behavior. So Please be responsible for your dog, if your dog is not 'other dog' friendly then this is not the place for you or your dog.

The future of this wonderful facility depends upon our/your ability to self-monitor, so it is very important to clean up after your dog, so remember to bring poop bags, Pet Waste that is left uncollected degrades water quality. With an estimated 134,000 dogs in Lee County, this results in a lot of waste that sometimes washes into our waterways anyways.... we especially don’t want to increase bacteria and bad nutrients at our cool dog beach.

Join us in our ‘Do your Duty’ campaign and pick up the waste you run into... even if your dog didn’t do it!

To learn more visit: and help stop the Slime Monster.

This park does not have a restroom but there is a portable toilet (port-a-potty).

There is no running water so remember to bring lots of water for yourself and for your dogs.

Please follow the rules to make it a safe, clean enjoyable place for all.

For more information visit or call 239-533-7275. And have a fun safe day at dog beach!

When Oil Spill First Responders respond to an oil spill, training is not just a good idea, it is the law. According to OSHA, workers who handle oil spills must be trained annually.

The Ostego Bay Oil Spill CO-OP will present the mandatory O.S.H.A CFR1910/120 training at the Ostego Bay Marine Science Center on February 8th, 9th & 11th.

Joanne Semmer, President of the Ostego Bay Oil Spill Co-Op stated "This training is invaluable for both first responders and volunteers. "

The program begins with classroom instruction at the Marine Science Center, 718 Fisherman’s Wharf, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday February 8th and Tuesday February 9th followed by on the water drill day and annual refresher on Thursday February 11th at Salty Sam’s Marina, 2500 Main Street Fort Myers Beach.

Cost to Members of the Ostego Bay Oil Spill Co-Op is $300 per person while non-member is $350. Those that require just the 8-hour yearly recertification meet on Thursday February 11th at Salty Sam’s Marina. The recertification class is $100 for members or $150 for non-members. Registration and payment must be made in advance by contacting Joanne Semmer at 239-470-4993.

In 1991, the state of Florida began requiring local marinas to either maintain first-response capabilities themselves or contract with outside experts to provide those first response services.

obf oilspill2

The Ostego Bay Environmental Response Co-op was created in 1992 to meet those state requirements and meet the needs of the local maritime community. Learn more about the co-op at

Should boaters or marinas encounter an oil or fuel spill, they should contact the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at 800-424-8802. he National Response Center (NRC) is not a response agency. It serves as an emergency call center that fields INITIAL reports for pollution and forwards that information to all of the appropriate federal/state agencies for response.

For more information please contact: Joanne Semmer, President Ostego Bay Oil Spill Co-op

On January 23, 1957, machines at the Wham-O toy company roll out the first batch of their aerodynamic plastic discs—now known to millions of fans all over the world as Frisbees.

The story of the Frisbee began in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where William Frisbie opened the Frisbie Pie Company in 1871. Students from nearby universities would throw the empty pie tins to each other, yelling “Frisbie!” as they let go. In 1948, Walter Frederick Morrison and his partner Warren Franscioni invented a plastic version of the disc called the “Flying Saucer” that could fly further and more accurately than the tin pie plates.

After splitting with Franscioni, Morrison made an improved model in 1955 and sold it to the new toy company Wham-O as the “Pluto Platter”–an attempt to cash in on the public craze over space and Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs).

In 1958, a year after the toy’s first release, Wham-O—the company behind such top-sellers as the Hula-Hoop, the Super Ball and the Water Wiggle—changed its name to the Frisbee disc, misspelling the name of the historic pie company.

A company designer, Ed Headrick, patented the design for the modern Frisbee in December 1967, adding a band of raised ridges on the disc’s surface–called the Rings–to stabilize flight. By aggressively marketing Frisbee-playing as a new sport, Wham-O sold over 100 million units of its famous toy by 1977.

High school students in Maplewood, New Jersey, invented Ultimate Frisbee, a cross between football, soccer and basketball, in 1967. In the 1970s, Headrick himself invented Frisbee Golf, in which discs are tossed into metal baskets; there are now hundreds of courses in the U.S., with millions of devotees. There is also Freestyle Frisbee, with choreographed routines set to music and multiple discs in play, and various Frisbee competitions for both humans and dogs–the best natural Frisbee players.

Today, at least 60 manufacturers produce the flying discs—generally made out of plastic and measuring roughly 20-25 centimeters (8-10 inches) in diameter with a curved lip. The official Frisbee is owned by Mattel Toy Manufacturers, who bought the toy from Wham-O in 1994.

The agenda for Town Council’s meeting this week included pivotal decisions on redevelopment plans for the Bay Oaks Recreational Campus.

During public comment, Steve Johnson spoke about re-enforcing his belief in the lighting design project.

Barbara Hill, BORCAB spoke about moving the Bay Oaks Project forward and thanked town council for the opportunity to meet with them earrlier, to discuss the project.

Karen Woodson also representing BORCAB ... asking for the town to work in partnership to create a win win situation. Asking for more detailed plans, seeking to move the project forward and transparency into the planning project.

Lee Melsek BORCAB member asking the town not to move forward with the building project asking about possibilities to redesign the building. After months of discussion with and among members of the Bay Oaks Recreational Campus Advisory Board (BORCAB).

bay oaks

Town Council approved the current 30 percent plans prepared by DRMP, Inc., to build a new facility at Bay Oaks. The facility will include space for a variety of youth programs and activities, including an amphitheater and other new recreational amenities. Town Council requested that a site plan be updated to depict the location available for a future active recreation facility and a standalone amphitheater.

Also related to the redevelopment of Bay Oaks, authorization was given for staff to apply for a Land and Water Conservation Fund Program Grant to help in financing the project.

That grant application is due in early February and the decision to move forward with the current design plan was necessary to apply.

Other agenda items pertaining to Bay Oaks included the adoption of an interlocal agreement with Lee County Schools for an after school program, and an agreement with FMB Little League that includes wording about the League’s assumption of risk related to the possibility of contracting COVID.

In other business, Town Council gave the Town Manager the green light to negotiate with a consultant to implement a safety lighting project for Estero Boulevard. Three qualified companies responded to the bid, and, last week, a selection committee reviewed and ranked them. A representative from Florida Power & Light (FP&L) is scheduled to attend the February 16 meeting to brief Council on FPL’s efforts to balance safety and environmentally appropriate lighting. (continued on Page 2) The Town of Fort Myers Beach is on Estero Island off the southwest Florida coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The beach stretches for seven miles and the Town has a variety of unique parks, recreation, cultural facilities, shops, and restaurants. The Town has been incorporated since 1995.

Town Council also discussed the COVID-19 emergency declaration of April 27, 2020. Discussion resulted in continuing the mask requirement and continuing the prohibition of the community’s special event permits unless permit applicants wish to attend a Council meeting to seek Town Council authorization. (An updated order with this wording will be put on an upcoming Town Council meeting agenda.)

Mayor Ray Murphy was excused for the last half of the meeting to attend the funeral of Cape Coral Mayor Joseph Coviello. He was asked to express Town Council’s condolences to Mayor Coviello’s family, friends and fellow residents and officials of the City of Cape Coral. Other agenda or discussion items:

• Presentation by David Savarege, Ph.D, to request for the Town to join the Southwest Florida Regional Resiliency Company - this item will be brought to a future meeting for action

• Adoption of amendments in Ordinance 20-17 regarding special events

• Adoption of amendments in Ordinance 20-19 regarding height and setback requirements

• Delay of Times Square redevelopment project for a year at request of merchants

• FDOT is scheduled for the March 1 meeting to discuss the Matanzas Pass Bridge Project

The next regularly scheduled Town Council meeting will be on Monday, February 1, 2021, at 9 a.m. in Council Chambers at Town Hall, 2525 Estero Boulevard. In keeping with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about COVID-19, Council meetings are adhering to standards of social distancing and have reduced capacity for an audience. Masks or other face-coverings are mandatory.

Council meetings are broadcast live on the Town’s YouTube channel and Comcast Channel 98. Visit, click on the title Mayor and Council, then go to Meetings & Agendas. Agendas and minutes of meetings are also available at that link. To find out when Council meetings are scheduled, visit the Town’s website at and scroll down the homepage to the calendar.

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Sunday, 10 January 2021 08:45

Proposed Toll Roads And Panther Saftey

People were responsible for most of the 22 Florida panthers deaths in 2020.

According to data from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, one was hit by a train Another was killed by a panther. One person killed one panther intentionallyon March 7th. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a $5,000 reward in conjunction with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for information leading to a suspect. Purposefully killing a panther, can land a person in federal prison for one year and fined as much as $100,000.

Authorities ask anyone who knows something about the panther’s death to call a 24-hour state hotline at 888-404-3922, or a federal tips line at 844-397-8477. People can also email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Cars killed the other 19 panthers found dead last year. The toll for 2020 finish lower than recent years — 27 in 2019 and 30 the year before.

The FWC estimates there are between 120-230 adult panthers living in the state. The subspecies of cougar was down to about 30 panthers in the early 1990s.

“We typically say the number of panther fatalities and roadkill are increased with the increase in panther population size,” said Dave Onorato, a panther biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Under that logic, a lower death count might spell a bad turn for the endangered species. “It’s plausible. We don’t want to make too much of it yet, but it certainly gets our attention,” Onorato said.

Florida panthers are the only puma still roaming east of the Mississippi River. Their former range across the American Southeast has shrunk to a corner of the lower Florida peninsula. Scientists estimate between 120 and 230 adults live in the wild.

“For the most part we think the population is holding steady and stable,” Onorato said. “Signs don’t seem to show that it’s increasing at the moment.”

Environmentalists say the low numbers, and variability in the population estimate, mean the panther remains extremely at-risk.

One concerning factor for the 2020 figures is that biologists have tracked fewer panthers with radio collars than usual, according to Onorato. Their work, he said, has been hampered in part by the pandemic. Scientists have documented infections of the coronavirus in large cats. “We don’t want to be the ones responsible for transmitting (a disease) to panthers,” Onorato said.

panther kittens

Kittens are sometimes left to fend for themselves when parents are

killed. Florida panther kittens have blue eyes, and a spotted coat,

which helps to camouflage them better from potential predators.

The spots gradually fade as the kittens grow older.



Among researchers’ current focus is a mysterious neurological disorder in panthers, which is visible in animals hobbled by weak back legs. Onorato said biologists don’t know what causes “FLM.” feline leukomyelopathy. At least one animal with evidence of symptoms was recently spotted around the Big Cypress National Preserve, he said, researchers have positioned more cameras on public land in hopes of documenting the disorder’s prevalence.

The greatest challenge for panthers, environmentalists say, is the squeeze of development. “We’re heading toward a habitat that’s just too small to sustain a big cat,” said Matthew Schwartz, director of the South Florida Wildlands Association.

He and other advocates spent much of 2020 fighting a proposed toll road expansion known as M-CORES, which could bring a new highway near panther habitat. The leader of The Nature Conservancy in Florida called it an “existential threat.” A section of the three-part project, the Southwest-Central Connector, would run from Collier County to PolkCounty through prime Florida panther habitat.

Proponents of the toll road say it would spur development in rural Florida. But those rural areas, environmentalists say, offer crucial habitat for animals like the panther. Committees studying different segments of the road project suggested the state avoid environmentally sensitive areas.

“It really would open up the spine of Florida,” said Lopez, of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Frankly there’s no additional space for the panther to go. ... Each panther needs a ton of habitat to hunt and reproduce successfully.”

Some nature advocates say they are skeptical of the idea that more panther deaths in the past have been a sign of a growing population. They wonder if lower death numbers in 2020 might show what would happen with fewer drivers in panther territory. People, they say, could have stayed at home more during the pandemic.

Bradley Cornell, a Southwest Florida policy associate for Audubon Florida, said panther deaths are a reminder of the importance of preserving conservation land and big ranches as habitat in the middle of the state where the animals could expand.

The Florida Wildlife Federation campaigns to secure wildlife crossings in Southwest Florida. The organization’s local field representative, Meredith Budd said “FWF has opposed the toll roads since the idea manifested during the legislative session in 2019,”

“If the roads do move forward, crossings would be critical. They need to be considered and implemented across the board for roadways that bisect wildlife habitat — and land acquisition is also going to be essential” stating additional habitat surrounding crossings will be needed for them to function properly so wildlife may move through as intended.


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I hate to start off in such a negative way, but I'm positive it's essential to your well-being: If you don't make a special effort to take care of your brain, your brain may stop taking care of you.

Alzheimer's disease is on the rise and now considered the third-leading cause of death in America. One-third of all seniors will develop it, and it's not just older people who are suffering from alarming cognitive decline. Younger people are also showing unexpected signs of brain dysfunction including memory loss, an inability to focus and a tendency to prefer violent video games over a quiet walk in the woods.

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No doubt you've heard about many ways to wake up, juice up and help you rewire for a happier, healthier brain. Learn a new language, get eight hours of sleep, swear off processed foods, meditate daily ... and the magical elixir that I champion above all, enjoy exercise.

There's overwhelming evidence of the importance of physical activity when it comes to protecting, maintaining and improving the health of your brain, which is what makes you ... you.

Indulge me briefly as I summarize just one factor among many: Exercise stimulates the production of a protein called FNDC5, and that triggers the flow of BDNF -- brain-derived neurotrophic factor. BDNF has a huge impact on brain rejuvenation. It preserves the brain cells you already have, and it promotes neurogenesis, the growth of new neurons, especially in the hippocampus, the precious area of your brain associated with memory.

Don't worry. None of this is on your final exam. But before I lose you to glazed-eye syndrome, I want to tell you about two evidence-backed ways to boost brain health that you probably haven't heard much about -- yet. Even if you decide not to pursue them, you've goosed up your brain health a bit just by learning something new. Win-win.

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All exercise is good for the brain. Physical activity increases cerebral blood flow, reduces brain-damaging plaques and works to promote brain health at a cellular level. But it turns out that strong legs are super important for brain function, especially as we grow older.

According to a 10-year British study reported in the journal Gerontology, leg strength was a better predictor of brain health than any other lifestyle factor they researched.

So! How are you going to build your leg strength? Walking helps, but focused, functional leg strengthening should be calling to you, too -- leg extension machines in a gym, lunges at home, whatever you decide.

My favorite way to build leg strength is through yoga postures. If it becomes yours, too, your brain will last longer and be stronger than you can imagine.


The newest twist in brain training -- research led by Sarah McEwen, Ph.D., at the Pacific Brain Health Center -- involves combining physical exercise with mental exercises, done at the same time. It's called "effortful learning" or "dual tasking" -- linking a cognitive task to a physical task -- and McEwen and her colleagues feel this kind of training is crucial if people want to protect themselves from Alzheimer's and dementia.


For instance, a brain health coach -- and I believe every home should have one -- will ask a client to work out math problems while doing bench presses, or recite poetry while riding a stationary bike.

"I am going to say a sequence of four numbers," brain trainer Ryan Glatt tells his clients, "and I want you to step on those numbers in the reverse order I say them with your right foot."

What? Yes, it's a challenge, and that's just the point of effortful learning, because when the brain and the heart are challenged simultaneously, the brain's overall brain function improves. 

That's not true of playing brain game apps. Surprise.

"A brain game app makes you better at playing the game but doesn't improve overall brain functions," reports Dr. Cody Sipe in the January Fitness Journal. "Exercise, by contrast, affects multiple domains of cognitive ability -- especially when we do effortful activities that challenge the brain and the body simultaneously."


Please chew on this while reciting the alphabet from Z to A.

"Do not call for black power or for green power. Call for brain power."
                                                                       - Barbara Jordan

Marilynn Preston




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