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REDISCOVER THE WILD CELEBRATE NATURE AT CONSERVANCY OF SOUTHWEST FLORIDA REOPENING » IN TROPICALIA

SOUTH LEE / NORTH NAPLES SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2013

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LEE COUNTY

GUNPLAY NO GAME TO LAWMEN

Tracking baseball tickets a struggle Despite promise by former manager, county failed to record names of many using the spring training perks. By Thomas Himes thimes@news-press.com

A News-Press analysis reveals Southwest Florida officers rarely pull the trigger.

Over a six-game stretch, Lee County officials recorded giving out 262 Major League Baseball tickets — worth $6,118 — without recording a single person’s name, according to ticket logs and face value prices. In their first crack at tracking 1,710 tickets valued at $41,990 this spring training, Lee officials created logs that identified the names of only 45 people as sitting in Lee’s seats at Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins games. Most of the ticket giveaways, instead, were recorded under event or organization names, while county officials reported handing over $15,401 worth to the Red Sox and Twins. The giveback, in part, was because interim County Manager Doug Meurer put off giving away tickets, in a last-minute effort to create documents that would track who received them. Commission Chairman Cecil Pendergrass said Lee needs to do a better job next year and he told Meurer as much. “I told him last week that we need to have a policy in place for that and he’s working on it now, as we talk,” said Pendergrass, who joined the commission in See TICKETS » A3

By Marisa Kendall

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aptain Dennis Eads has fired his gun once in 26 years with the Fort Myers Police Department — and he never wants to do it again. “It’s not a fun experience,” he said. “I don’t care what anybody says. It’s not like the TV movies depict it.” Trigger-happy TV cops have led many to mistakenly believe firing a weapon is an everyday part of an officer’s job, Eads said. But records from local law enforcement agencies show officers in Southwest

Florida rarely fire their weapons. When they do, a News-Press analysis reveals, it’s usually in response to an animal. From 2009-2012, officers engaged in 142 shooting incidents while on duty with the Fort Myers and Cape Coral police departments and Lee and Collier county sheriff’s offices. There are about 1,601 sworn officers in those agencies, meaning there were about nine shootings for every 100 officers. In 24 shooting cases, officers fired at human suspects, and in 111 they fired at aggressive or injured animals. The remaining shootings were accidental, or their nature is unknown pending an investigation. See SHOOT » A6

SOURCES: FORT MYERS POLICE DEPARTMENT; CAPE CORAL POLICE DEPARTMENT; LEE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE; COLLIER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE. ILLUSTRATION: SCOTT SLEEPER/THE NEWS-PRESS

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Video: Get a first-hand look at the Collier County Sheriff’s Office simulator from reporter Marisa Kendall. Also watch an interview with John Carioscia Sr., a former Chicago police officer and current Cape Coral councilman talking about having to fire his service weapon at a suspect during an incident almost 30 years ago.

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» SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2013


cover story

Conservancy gets grand

Facility celebrates new, modern features with upcoming weekend grand reopening event.

By Jenny Williamson jwilliamson@news-press.com

It’s home to about 80 gopher tortoises. It’s a way station for recovering pelicans, opossums and loggerhead turtles. And it’s a place where you can track the path of a raindrop from Florida’s upland ecosystems to the ocean. It’s the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center and it will be celebrating its grand reopening April 20-21. Visitors will have the oppor-

tunity to tour the facility’s new and recently renovated buildings including the Dalton Discovery Center, Ferguson Learning Lab and Eaton Conservation Hall. The original Nature Center was “old Florida,” complete with taxidermy, according to Education Manager David Webb. He said the improvements make it easier for visitors to interact with the exhibits and get the feeling of being involved. “For me, it’s about getting work of the Conservancy out to

the people and into their hearts and minds,” Webb said. “I want to see lots of people come through here who want to make a difference.” The Conservancy began in 1964 as a publicly funded organization whose purpose was to prevent a road from being constructed through Rookery Bay. Its efforts to protect the land were opposed by developers and citizens who believed undeveloped land would not produce tax revenue and therefore damage the economy and surrounding land value in

Naples. Since then, the Conservancy has formed partnerships and collaborations with other local organizations including FGCU, CREW Land Trust and the Center for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW). The 21-acre Nature Conservancy is focused on four areas: environmental science and research; environmental policy and advocacy; environmental education and wildlife rehabilitation.

A great blue heron takes flight along the Gordon River in Naples. It was seen as part of an electric boat ride that the Conservancy offers. ANDREW WEST/THE NEWS-PRESS

See NATURE » 23

* TROPICALIA » THE NEWS-PRESS » SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2013 »

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cover story Nature Continued from 3

Webb said the new and renovated facilities further the goals for all four areas while becoming more sustainable. New features such as a geothermal unit and solar panels make heating and cooling buildings more energy efficient.

Modernizing the facilities

The first difference visitors will see when visiting the Conservancy Nature Center is Smith Preserve Way — the new entrance that allows motorists and pedestrians direct access from Goodlettte-Frank Road. Webb said it was important to make the Nature Center more visible to those traveling the busy Naples road. As visitors arrive, they cross a wooden bridge that takes them over a gopher tortoise habitat. Webb said the new bridge is curved because it was constructed around the tortoises’ burrows and was made from wood because the pilings create less disturbance during construction. But taking care of wildlife is nothing new for the Conservancy. Visitors to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital can watch from the nursery viewing area as volunteers feed and care for wildlife. Right now, Webb said there are a lot of opossums and baby birds. The hospital treats more than 2,000 injured, orphaned and sick animals each year. Also available for public viewing is the shorebird pool. The pool is an area Webb described as “kind of like a physical therapy area” for birds such as the brown pelican to spread their wings and exercise before being released. Nearby is the constructed filter marsh that was specially designed to catch runoff from the Coastland Mall. The filter marsh slows the drainage down and allows nutrients to break down before the water enters the Gordon River. The

filter marsh has allowed native fish to become more abundant in the river since its installation. The Ferguson Learning Lab will have three classrooms and a laboratory. Children in grades K-12 will have the opportunity to learn using iPads for activities such as scavenger hunts. Webb said the focus is to engage children in nature in a fun way. “It’s a big argument that I tend to get into with others in the field,” Webb said. “They tell me, ‘you’re supposed to get them into nature where they can be disconnected from technology.’ But we use the things they are excited about to get them interested in nature.” It’s only one of the many

ways the Conservancy Nature Center is leaping into the 21st century. Next to the Learning Lab is the Dalton Discovery Center, which is the centerpiece for the integration of technology and education. The topographical map of Florida that used to greet visitors has been replaced with an interactive, digital table-top display that shows the shrinking of the everglades and much more. The map is an overview of the Discovery Center’s focus — following a drop of water. It begins with rain falling in the uplands area, then moves from the hammock to the Everglades. Then through the mangroves and out to the

Visitors to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida are able to watch as animals are rehabilitated. ANDREW WEST/THE NEWS-PRESS

IF YOU GO » What: Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center » Where: 1450 Merrihue Drive, Naples » When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 20-21 » Admission: $10 for Adults, $5 for children 3-12, Children under 3 enter free » Parking: Free parking is available at Colonial Square on Goodlette-Frank Road with complementary shuttle service. » Activities: Sylvia Earle from National Geographic will be speaking on Saturday only. Kayak rentals, boat tours, live entertainment, food, crafts, interactive programs and the opportunity to learn about other environmentally focused groups in Southwest Florida, visitors will also have the opportunity to join the more than 500 volunteers if they want to be involved.

See NATURE » 24 * TROPICALIA » THE NEWS-PRESS » SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2013 »

23


cover story Nature Continued from 3

Webb said the new and renovated facilities further the goals for all four areas while becoming more sustainable. New features such as a geothermal unit and solar panels make heating and cooling buildings more energy efficient.

Modernizing the facilities

The first difference visitors will see when visiting the Conservancy Nature Center is Smith Preserve Way — the new entrance that allows motorists and pedestrians direct access from Goodlettte-Frank Road. Webb said it was important to make the Nature Center more visible to those traveling the busy Naples road. As visitors arrive, they cross a wooden bridge that takes them over a gopher tortoise habitat. Webb said the new bridge is curved because it was constructed around the tortoises’ burrows and was made from wood because the pilings create less disturbance during construction. But taking care of wildlife is nothing new for the Conservancy. Visitors to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital can watch from the nursery viewing area as volunteers feed and care for wildlife. Right now, Webb said there are a lot of opossums and baby birds. The hospital treats more than 2,000 injured, orphaned and sick animals each year. Also available for public viewing is the shorebird pool. The pool is an area Webb described as “kind of like a physical therapy area” for birds such as the brown pelican to spread their wings and exercise before being released. Nearby is the constructed filter marsh that was specially designed to catch runoff from the Coastland Mall. The filter marsh slows the drainage down and allows nutrients to break down before the water enters the Gordon River. The

filter marsh has allowed native fish to become more abundant in the river since its installation. The Ferguson Learning Lab will have three classrooms and a laboratory. Children in grades K-12 will have the opportunity to learn using iPads for activities such as scavenger hunts. Webb said the focus is to engage children in nature in a fun way. “It’s a big argument that I tend to get into with others in the field,” Webb said. “They tell me, ‘you’re supposed to get them into nature where they can be disconnected from technology.’ But we use the things they are excited about to get them interested in nature.” It’s only one of the many

ways the Conservancy Nature Center is leaping into the 21st century. Next to the Learning Lab is the Dalton Discovery Center, which is the centerpiece for the integration of technology and education. The topographical map of Florida that used to greet visitors has been replaced with an interactive, digital table-top display that shows the shrinking of the everglades and much more. The map is an overview of the Discovery Center’s focus — following a drop of water. It begins with rain falling in the uplands area, then moves from the hammock to the Everglades. Then through the mangroves and out to the

Visitors to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida are able to watch as animals are rehabilitated. ANDREW WEST/THE NEWS-PRESS

IF YOU GO » What: Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center » Where: 1450 Merrihue Drive, Naples » When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 20-21 » Admission: $10 for Adults, $5 for children 3-12, Children under 3 enter free » Parking: Free parking is available at Colonial Square on Goodlette-Frank Road with complementary shuttle service. » Activities: Sylvia Earle from National Geographic will be speaking on Saturday only. Kayak rentals, boat tours, live entertainment, food, crafts, interactive programs and the opportunity to learn about other environmentally focused groups in Southwest Florida, visitors will also have the opportunity to join the more than 500 volunteers if they want to be involved.

See NATURE » 24 * TROPICALIA » THE NEWS-PRESS » SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2013 »

23


causes *

THE NEWS-PRESS » MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2013 » SECTION D

NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS HEALING BY HELPING

SOMETHING GOOD COMES FROM GRIEF

After his twin sons drowned, one father felt moved to keep other kids safe

“I KNEW THAT IN HELPING OTHERS IS WHERE THE HEALING IS. I WANT TO TURN THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE INTO SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL.” By Janine Zeitlin jzeitlin@news-press.com

P

aul DeMello cried each day for 13 months, the same number of months his twin sons lived. “I wanted more,” he said softly. “I wanted more.” Three years ago, Joshua and Christian DeMello crawled into the Port Charlotte lanai after dinner on a Saturday, escaping through a baby gate. DeMello wasn’t there that January evening, but has imagined their final moments: Maybe they were giggling, proud of themselves for finding a route outside. They were little explorers. The shimmering pool caught their eyes. The minute or two after they hit the water is what makes him ache.

Joshua and Christian on Just Against Children Drowning Foundation logo. SPECIAL TO THE NEWS-PRESS

Meals on Wheels needs drivers Community Cooperative Ministries will soon see a 30 percent drop in volunteer drivers for its Meals on Wheels program as seasonal residents head back North. “Unfortunately we see this every year at this time,” said Tracey Galloway, CEO of CCMI. “We are so thankful for the wonderful seasonal residents who volunteer their time with us each winter, but we are at a critical point in needing volunteers to help us pack and deliver meals through the summer months so our seniors don’t go hungry.” CCMI serves more than 400 homebound seniors and more than 8,000 meals each month through the program. The agency relies on volunteer drivers to cover its 30 routes across Lehigh Acres, Cape Coral, Estero, Fort Myers and North Fort Myers. A two-hour commitment once a week is all it takes. Drivers must have a current driver’s license and insurance. Contact Volunteers@CCMILeeCounty.com, or call 332-0441. INSIDE » More ways you can get involved » D3

From happy hour to home repairs, residents give back.

Paul DeMello, who lost his 13-month-old twin boys in a 2010 backyard pool drowning accident, gets a hug from foster child Elijah Thursday in Port Charlotte. SARAH COWARD/THE NEWS-PRESS

Elijah peers through the child-proof pool fencing, with dog Rusty by his side, at foster mom Marie Mullins’ Port Charlotte home Thursday. SARAH COWARD/THE NEWS-PRESS

»2

Celebrate the Conservancy’s 21-acre nature experience

A

ANDREW MCELWAINE President of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida

TELL US ABOUT IT

Have a story to tell about your organization or cause? Send an email to causes@newspress.com.

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See video of DeMello as he discusses his twins and the organization, Just Against Children Drowning.

See POOLS » D3

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

GET INVOLVED

Toast of the Coast

“In my mind, it’s ‘Where’s Daddy? Where’s Mommy? What’s going on?’” Their mother found them floating facedown in their grandparents’ pool. DeMello was the primary caregiver, but shared custody of the adorable, tow-haired babies. He rushed to the hospital, where he said goodbye to Joshua. He then went to Christian, held his hand and told him he loved him. Christian died three days later and donated his liver and kidneys. They looked like dolls in the casket they shared. The drownings were accidental, but the 44-year-old Punta Gorda resident knows his sons’ deaths could have been prevented by a pool barrier. Four months after their deaths, he created Just Against Children Drowning Foundation, which champions drowning prevention through active supervision, security systems, swimming classes and CPR. The acronym also represents the first letters of his boys’ names. “I knew that in helping others is where the healing is,” he said. “I want to turn the worst day of my life into something beautiful.” He wishes nothing but healing for his sons’ mother and grandparents as well. DeMello’s group works with businesses and volunteers to provide free pool barriers to families. Since December, the

ll good things come to an end and that’s certainly true for the $20 million in sustainable renovations at Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples. The project included a new entrance, four additional acres of nature preserves, new filter marshes, three new buildings and three renovated buildings. The public is invited to experience the new 21-acre Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center during our Grand Reopening Weekend Festival Saturday and Sunday. Funding was provided through the “Saving Southwest Florida” campaign which raised more than $38.8 million. In addition to the center renovations, funds are being used for policy initiatives, environmental education programs, environmental science research and native wildlife rehabilitation. The campaign also provided increased endowment funding, including an environmental education partnership with Florida Gulf Coast University. The original Naples Nature Center was built in 1981 and the old style, energy “inefficient” labs, classrooms, auditorium and wildlife clinic were in dire need of an extreme makeover. The new Conservancy Nature Center was designed to teach people about the natural treasures of the region, the work the

CONTACT US » AME/Targeted Content » Wendy Fullerton Powell » 239-335-0388 » wfullerton@news-press.com

See NATURE » D3

WHY I GIVE

Joanne Show “I believe you get out of life what you give. At a very early age I gave my favorite toy to a neighbor that was very sick. She looked so fragile and scared. When she took the stuffed animal she brightened up and smiled. It made me feel so good to see how much joy it brought her. I never forgot that feeling. It is not something you can buy or something else someone can give you. You earn that feeling. I wanted to remember how that felt so I promised myself to keep that feeling alive by doing good things for others.” »Joanne Show, is retail manager/vice president for Central Bank Southwest Florida. She serves on the board of directors for the Dr. Piper Center and Children’s Home Society and teaches a financial literacy course through Central Bank Southwest Florida to the Fort Myers Housing Authority.


* THE NEWS-PRESS » MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2013 »

Rita McCurry gets a kiss from great-grandson Elijah in foster parent Marie Mullins' Port Charlotte home Thursday. SARAH COWARD/THE NEWS-PRESS

Pools Continued from D1

group has provided four barriers and has four in the works. Fence costs vary, but he estimated most run from $750 to more than $1,000. The foundation has partnered with the state Department of Children and Families to provide fences to families in the child welfare system. There’s a bike run next month to raise money for their work. “It’s about saving all the kids but I like to unify families,” he said. “I would love to see people involved with DCF pretty much have to do some drowning awareness in order to reunify.” DCF is highlighting groups like the foundation and measures focused on prevention of child abuse and neglect in April as part of Child Abuse Prevention month. The Children’s Network of Southwest Florida, which runs foster care locally, has rolled out public-service announcements and is hosting arts events for young people in foster care. On Friday, the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is hosting a talk on young children affected by violence. “We as a community need to wrap our arms around these kids,” said Terri Durdaller, a department spokeswoman. “Paul’s action is an example of local businesses providing extra support to make a difference in the lives of our vulnerable children.” Florida leads the na-

“PAUL’S ACTION IS AN EXAMPLE OF LOCAL BUSINESSES PROVIDING EXTRA SUPPORT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF OUR VULNERABLE CHILDREN.” TERRI DURDALLER, DCF SPOKESWOMAN

tion in pool drownings for children from ages 1 to 4 years old, according to the state’s most recent child abuse death review. Florida counted 64 drowning deaths for that age group in 2011, including five in Lee, Charlotte and Collier counties, the most recent data available shows. On average, each year, the number of Florida children who die due to drowning could fill about three preschool classrooms, according to the Department of Health. DCF referred Port Charlotte resident Marie Mullins to DeMello’s organization. The group installed a pool fence in her home after she took in her 3-year-old greatnephew, Elijah in January. Her four children are grown. He entered care after his mother was arrested on drug charges. Investigators found signs of neglect. Her pool met state requirements to place the boy in her home but the barriers added extra security. “We were always afraid of him getting into the water,” she said. “It has definitely eased my mind. It’s a great cause.” She plans to teach him how to swim. DeMello sees his sons in children like Elijah,

whom he visited at Mullins’ home on a recent morning. “I love his curls,” he told Mullins. “The twins had the same thing going on, except blond.” Elijah showed DeMello a firetruck book, saying the words “firetruck” and “doggie.” His vocabulary has grown to dozens of words since he came into Mullins’ care. The only words he said when he first arrived were, “Are you all right?” He repeated Mullins’ words of gratitude to DeMello: “Dank you.” DeMello loves being around children, but he grieves for the many ways in which his twins never lived. He never had a chance to coach his sons in baseball or watch them play football. Sometimes, he gets angry at God, but believes God is good and he’ll see his boys again. “I’m grateful for the one season I did have them. I know if I close my eyes, they’re right there in my heart and they’re always looking down on me,” he said. “I don’t want to see anybody else go through it.”

JUST AGAINST CHILDREN DROWNING

Nature

» What: The organization is hosting a bike run in Port Charlotte to raise money for swimming classes and other prevention. » When: 11 a.m. Saturday, May 18 » Where: Walmart Super Center, 375 Kings Highway, Exit 171, Port Charlotte » Cost: $15 per rider, $5 per passenger » For information: 941-626-7106 or jacdinc@gmail.com. On Facebook: Just Against Children Drowning.

Conservancy conducts to protect our water, land and wildlife, and to inspire people to take action to preserve our quality of life. Visitors enter from Smith Preserve Way, just south of Naples Zoo on Goodlette-Frank Road. Spectacular native species, including endangered gopher tortoises, are seen meandering through the Christopher B. Smith upland preserve. The Dalton Discovery Center is the focal point for the guest experience with several “natural” Southwest Florida ecosystems featuring interactive exhibits, a touch tank exploration and a live loggerhead sea turtle in a 5,000-gallon patch reef tank. The von Arx Wildlife Hospital treats more than 2,200 injured, sick and orphaned native animals each year. Guests can observe baby animals in the nursery and learn about animal care, as well as observe wading birds in their last stages of recovery in the Shorebird Pool. Eaton Conservation Hall and the Jeannie Meg Smith Theater offer a state-of-the-art multimedia experience with presentations, daily programs, speakers and more. Ferguson Learning Lab is home to the Con-

Continued from D1

CHILD SAFETY SEMINAR » What: The Prendergast Endowment Fund for the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida’s Child Advocacy Program is hosting a talk with a speaker from Boston Medical Center on identifying and responding to young children affected by violence. » When: 1:30-2:30 p.m. Friday » Where: Gulf Coast Medical Center Community Room » For information and to reserve space: 343-5391

» What: The Children’s Hospital and the Kohl’s Kids Safety Program is hosting a free safe pool party in North Fort Myers to learn tips to keep your family safe. » When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday » Where: North Fort Myers Community Pool, 5170 Orange Grove Blvd., North Fort Myers » For information: 343-5224

GET INVOLVED

Broad Strokes

More than 80 works by and about women featuring Degas, O’Keeffe, Cassatt and more.

PATTY & JAY BAKER

NAPLES MUSEUM OF ART

5833 Pelican Bay Blvd, Naples · (239) 597-1900 · thephil.org Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm; Sunday, noon-4pm $10 adult, $5 full-time student (with valid ID), museum members are always free

Exhibition generously underwritten by Merrill Lynch A cooperative effort funded by the Collier County Tourist Development Tax · ParadiseCoast.com

Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917), Visit to a Museum (detail), about 1879–90. Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John McAndrew. Photography © 2012 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Exhibition organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

servancy of Southwest Florida STEM Institute, where hands-on environmental studies incorporate the latest in science, technology, engineering and math. At the Allyn Family Lagoon and Dock, guests can search for wildlife and perhaps spot a manatee on a leisurely boat cruise, or rent a kayak for a closer look at nature in a mangrove-lined lagoon up to the Gordon River. Guests can explore the secrets of how the Shotwell Wavering Family Filter Marsh cleans and purifies water, and view wading birds and wildlife from the gazebo. Of course, no visit is complete without a visit to the Bradley Nature Store for nature-inspired gifts, books, toys, games and more. Every corner of the 21-acre Nature Center was part of a sustainable effort, from land and water conservation, to green buildings and energy sources, including utilizing geothermal energy for cooling. . You can help protect the region’s water, land and wildlife by volunteering, becoming a Conservancy member, making a donation, or making a purchase or donating furniture at the Conservancy Upscale Resale Furniture and More store in Naples. Andrew McElwaine is president of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

DROWNING PREVENTION EVENT

Connect with this reporter: Janine Zeitlin News-Press (Facebook) @Janinezeitlin (Twitter).

PAINTING WOMEN

D3

» Volunteers are needed to assist Wake Up America by picking up groceries from participating markets. The groceries are then dropped off at the Distribution Center on Central Avenue in Fort Myers. This takes less than 2 hours any morning from Monday to Saturday. Help is also needed at the Distribution Center to sort the groceries. Call Lynda at 239-910-0293 for details. » Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center has several opportunities for volunteers this month. They include: Dog Wish (an original play by Michelle Hayford of FGCU that explores the human-animal bond we share with “man’s best friend”), help is needed from 7-10 p.m: today, Tuesdsay and Wednesday. Also

Children will be amazed by the aquarium inside the Dalton Discovery Center. SPECIAL TO THE NEWS-PRESS

IF YOU GO » What: Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center’s Grand Reopening Weekend Festival » When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday » Where: 1450 Merrihue Drive, Naples » Admission: $10 for Adults, $5 for children 3-12, Children

under 3 enter free » Parking: Free parking is available at Colonial Square on Goodlette-Frank Road with complimentary shuttle service. » For information: Visit conservancy.org/ grandreopening or call the Grand Reopening Hotline at 430-2466.

Music Walk and Dancing at the Davis (Piano Night with Scott McDonald and this month’s Dancing at the Davis is a Latin Dance Party) volunteer shifts are 6:30- 9:30 p.m. or 9 p.m.-midnight Friday. The center is at 2301 First St., Fort Myers. For details call, 333-1933.

» The Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce is seeking volunteers to staff its Visitors Center 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Volunteers are needed to answer telephones, assist walk-ins, aid with office projects and should have sufficient computer skills. Shifts are scheduled in four-hour sessions. Schedules are flexible. Monday volunteers are needed immediately. For information or to schedule an interview, contact Jaimee Romines at Jaimee@BonitaSpringsChamber. com or call 992-2943. The Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce is at 25071 Chamber of Commerce Drive in Bonita Springs.

» Voices for Kids is looking for a few good volunteers on the committee to organize events in the fall. Committees include but are not limited to: sponsorship; Voice of the Year recommendations; public relations and marketing; silent and live auction items; silent and live auction logistics and set up; volunteer coordination; event fundraising activities; decorations; social media; venue and more. For details, call Lori or Darlene at 533-1435.

Send your volunteer needs to causes@news-press.com

For more ways to get involved, go to news-press.com/causes. Or call the United Way Volunteer Center at 433-2000, ext. 260 to find out about other volunteer opportunities.

good causes calendar TODAY » Kiwanis Little Blue Dining Book Kickoff of sales of the book, which raises funds for playgrounds at Brightest Horizons and Child Care Southwest Florida children development centers, provides world atlases for Heights Elementary fourthgraders, and funds a Harry Chapin Food Bank Mobile Pantry, as well as a major donation to a Habitat for Humanity home. Information and the $20 book may be obtained at www.KiwanisGTTI.com or 415-3100.

THURSDAY » Inaugural Chefs Cooking For Kids hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast-Lee County 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $60 per person or $500 for a table of eight. “Top

Chef” culinary extravaganza features 20 top local chefs to showcase their culinary specialties as well as cocktails, music, silent auction and camaraderie benefiting a great cause. The Club at Grandezza, 11481 Grande Oak Blvd., Estero. 288-4224.

THURSDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY » Giant Spring Book Sale Benefits Friends of the Cape Coral Library. More than 8,000 books will cover the tables and most are priced at $2 and under. 3-5:30 p..m., Thursday (members only preview, join at the door for $10); 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. In the large meeting room at the Cape Coral Public Library, 931 SW 39th Terrace, off Mohawk Parkway. Donations to the book sale are always appreciated, leave a message on the

Friends Hotline at 349-2572 to schedule a pickup or small quantities can be left at the library circulation desk. capefriends.org

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY » Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta Fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Cape Coral at Four Freedoms Park in Cape Coral. Open to businesses, schools, youth groups, groups of friends, and nonprofit organizations desiring to build a boat and participate. For families, youth groups, or individuals the entry fee is $30 or free. Prizes are awarded for first, second and third place. Money raised benefits the Rotary Foundation. For sign up and reservations email info@capecoralregatta.com or go to capecoralregatta.com/ Index/Participate#citizen

Grand Reopening covered in Sunday News Press  
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