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Rotary Happenings: Rotarians are good story-tellers – and great community neighbors

By Staff | Jun 29, 2016

And so it goes. Anyone who has attended one of our Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meetings knows the drill. The morning rituals begin with the Pledge of Allegiance and go straight downhill from there. Don’t know if it’s the early morning hour, or the first jolt of coffee, but for the first 15-minutes of getting together club members wake up each other with friendly sports rivalry challenges, way too many references to family and guests visits details are mostly funny and bring recognition of the joys, or not, of house-guests. We hear about family celebrations from births to college graduations to weddings. We also have a couple of members who our natural storytellers and a couple more who love to bring us a “joke of the week.” One rule applies to this time, no discussion of politics allowed. Laughter is the best medicine and helps in distressing our lives for the better.

Rotarians do take some time in the morning to do some networking, it’s subtle, but connections are made. A member might need advice from a lawyer – we have a number of those with an array of specialties – litigation, real estate, wills, trust, patents. A newly transplanted Rotarian is looking to buy property on the island, we have an expert Realtor. Need a physical therapist, we got the best on the island. Want to know about the Sanibel School, we have young parents in the club. Want to participate in a business to business cross-promotions, that works out between our partnering members; and Rotary nonprofit executives certainly have recruited board members from our ranks. Sanibel-Captiva Rotary is an active service club supporting community endeavors whether it’s with man power, or financial support. Rotary Internationals motto “Service Above Self.”

This past Friday, our speaker for the morning had to bail out. Things happen and so we turned to some of our own members to provide the program. Although we have a number of retired members, we also, have quite a few active business professionals in the club and wanted to hear from some of them about the health of our businesses on the islands.

Trent Peake, Sanibel and Captiva Chamber of Commerce membership director, let us know that business was up for this month. These numbers are strong and possibly a predictor of what’s to come for the summer season. The trend is family travel and that seems to reflex what is happening during these summer months.

Dorrie Hipschman, executive director of the Bailey-Mathews Shell Museum, told us that guest traffic was up well over last year’s figures and national and international recognition of the museum is outstanding. Just this past Monday morning, Good Morning America brought their cameras to Sanibel and to the Shell Museum and island beaches in celebration of National Seashell Day. Good Morning America was also slated to visit Fort Myers Beach. The museum will also be going strong during summer providing educational and fun projects for three camps here on island camps at the Shell Museum, Sanibel Recreation Center, and CROW.

Staying with education for a moment, Cindy DeCosta, director of the Children’s Education Center of the Island, is just getting lift-off on CECI’s summer program at the school and planning for the next school year. Cindy said classes are filling up fast, particularly the two year olds. Planning is also underway for next year’s Pig Roast fundraiser.

Jack Alexander, audit manager Stroemer & Company, LLC, is busy now with pension audits. These audits protect assets and financial integrity of employee benefit plans. Important, you betcha for many of us.

Angie Larson, manager Rosier Insurance, brought us two recent speakers dealing with the need of property and flood insurance. Property and flood insurance rates are about to go up, so she will be really busy for quite some time.

Chris DeCosta, Holtz Mahshie DeCosta, PA and James Cardle, Patent Attorney at Cardle Patent Law gave us some insight into legal work they are doing for clients. Who would of thought, some of this work sounds a little crazy, but no matter what these clients have great lawyers.

E.J. Neafsey, research scientist, continues his work on the inventory and health assessment of local mangrove systems. With all the rain and Lake O water releases this year E.J.’s mangrove health studies will provide important information as the damage done to the mangroves and how we can address this issue in the future.

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary now meets Friday mornings at 7 a.m., at the Shell Museum Sanibel. Guests are always welcomed