Collier County invests $10.5 million in storm-ready wastewater pump station

Collier County invested $10.5 million in a new wastewater pump station meant to replace aging infrastructure and prepare part of the region for large storm events that may knock out power.

Tucked at the dead end of Thomasson Lane just northwest of Lely, the two-story building houses three large pumps capable of pushing 15 million gallons of wastewater through the county’s system every day.

Wastewater coming through the station stays within the pipes getting rid of the need for a wet well, whic

Grant makes foam recycling possible in Collier County, Florida

Collier County, Florida, announced Oct. 1 that it will begin offering expanded polystyrene recycling effective immediately at its North Collier Recycling Drop-Off Center. The county says it is one of the leading counties in Florida proving this service, which is aimed at keeping foam out of landfill and helping preserve the environment.

Residents and commercial customers can drop off foam products at the North Collier Recycling Drop-Off Center for free. Most foam products with a No. 6 recycling symbol can now be recycled, including clean takeout containers, coolers and egg cartons.

Collier County’s foam recycling pilot program was made possible by a $50,000 grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition. The grant was used to purchase a foam densifier, which compresses foam into blocks which are then sold to a vendor for collection and resale.

Brent Batten: Foam finds new home in Collier recycling pilot project

The COVID-19 epidemic and ensuing stay-at-home mentality has brought us restaurant meals delivered to our door, retail goods dropped on our front porch and foam. Lots of foam.

Until now, the foam used to keep takeout meals hot and to protect TVs and other delivered goods from breaking has been going to the landfill.

Collier County has launched a pilot program to recycle the foam. While a few private businesses around the state recycle foam, Collier County officials believe theirs is the first

Bear-proof garbage containers roll out in Collier County

Florida black bears will eat just about anything, including trash left out at the end of a driveway.

The omnivores aren’t particularly picky, and Collier County hopes to reduce the risk to residents of bears wandering around neighborhoods.

On Friday, any county resident can purchase new bear-proof trash containers that have a locking mechanism to keep the bears out. Collier is the fourth county in the state to offer these cans.

Kari Hodgson, director of solid and hazardous waste with the coun

Wildlife campaign launched on Sanibel targets fishing gear

A wide of range of wildlife in Southwest Florida have been fighting a losing battle with fishing line and fishing hooks.

Birds. Fish. Sea turtles. Manatees. Alligators. All have been found with hooks embedded in their bodies and monofilament line injuries.

“I saw an animal yesterday that had swallowed a fish that had a hook in it,” said Dr. Heather Barron, who works for the Clinic of the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) on Sanibel Island. “Sea birds and turtles are frequently presented to

Fort Myers cats adopted by Danish couple 4,753 miles away

Pet adoption scored a major victory recently when two kittens residing at a Lee County Animal Services shelter found their way into a new home with a loving family.

Nothing unusual about that, right?

Happens almost every day in towns and communities across America.

But this particular match was far from ordinary when you consider these two factors:
• The kittens statistically fall into the “least likely to be adopted” category because of the color of their fur.
• The husband and wife who fell

Calendar Girls dance for a worthy cause

A group of senior ladies has found its niche when it comes to fundraising and supporting a worthy cause in Southwest Florida.

Their secret?


That’s right. They dress up in sequined matching outfits as cowgirls, or pirates, or sexy school girls. On some occasions, they’ll even break out their Cher and Dolly Parton costumes.

“Our Cher show was fabulous. Wherever we go we get big smiles,” said Katherine Shortlidge.

Shortlidge is a member of the Calendar Girls, the colorful da

Artful Shopper: Cottage & Loft in Fort Myers

Talking shop with Michelle Dean, partner of Cottage & Loft in Fort Myers.

What do you sell?

We have furniture and home furnishings, but at the holidays we do carry more Christmas and gift items. After the new year, we will carry more home decor items. We have inspirational signs and gourmet food items like coffees, teas, jams, dips, pastas, seasonings and bread mixes.

What do you have for the holidays?

We have fully decorated Christmas trees, ornaments, custom wreaths, and dishes. We have

Mrs. Edison's Hymn sing set for Feb. 7

The annual Mrs. Edison’s Hymn Sing is a long-standing tradition in Fort Myers.

The fundraiser to benefit The Soup Kitchen of Community Cooperative has shown up on the calendar every February for the past 27 years and it is one of many events tied to the Edison Festival of Light that was created to honor Thomas Edison, who spent winters in his estate along the Caloosahatchee River.

Edison’s wife, Mina, is whom the hymn sing is named after.

“We hear a great deal about the wonderful work of Thom

Dress for Success rolls out red carpet to help empower women

Dress for Success rolls out red carpet to help empower women

As the founder and CEO of Dress for Success of Southwest Florida, Barbara Dell is proud of what the organization has been able to accomplish after a relatively short period of time.

She opened this region’s first Dress for Success boutique in 2010 in Fort Myers and seven years later, Dell and her team continue to work hard in a variety of ways to fulfill the mission: to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by prov

Fishing tournament reels in funds for Ronald McDonald House

Jeff Miloff doesn’t mince words in describing the approach he and other volunteers take when it comes to raising money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida.

“Our motto is ‘work hard, play hard and give back hard,’ ” Miloff said.

Miloff started supporting Ronald McDonald House 15 years ago. He’s been involved with the board for the past eight years, including having the distinction of being a past president. He is still a board member and the event coordinator for the an

Valerie's House plans support group for grieving husbands, dads

When Marshall Mills talks about the death of his wife, you hear a man who has been on an emotional rollercoaster ride that compares to few other things in life.

Mills’ wife of 18 years, Robin, a person who he grew up with and who he calls the love of his life, died suddenly in November of 2015. Mills has a daughter who is 14 and an 8-year-old son.

“Talk about feeling lost and alone,” Mill said. “It was a little overwhelming.”

Mills said there was a wave of support right after his wife passed

Despite early struggles, Army specialist Love discovers path to success

Justin Love learned an important lesson in life before he even graduated from high school.

“Nothing is ever given to you in life,” he said. “You have to make the journey yourself and take what you need in life.”

Love has survival instincts, for sure. He’s also smart and he is someone who when you talk to him, is filled with pride because of all of the things he has been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.

Love, a graduate of Lehigh Senior High School, is a specialist for geospa

Collier County to add more generators for pump stations to prevent flooding

Collier County to add more generators for pump stations to prevent flooding

Collier County is making sure people never have to see raw sewage on its streets again. This happened when Hurricane Irma hit Southwest Florida in 2017.

The Amberton Townhomes community in Collier County was among those flooded four years ago after the storm.

Collier County Board of County Commissioners approved more funding for the county’s $4.8 million project to receive more backup generators to place at pump stati

Collier officials urging the use of bear-resistant trash cans as populations grow

Bears are on the move and have appeared all over Southwest Florida this week.

Florida’s black bear population continues to grow. There are an estimated 1,000 bears in South Florida living in the conservation areas of Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Now that bears are becoming more active and roaming closer to humans, officials are urging people to use bear-resistant trash bins. Collier County sells the bear-proof cans for $115 each.
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