NEWS: Braves 2nd attempt at Naples move shot down.

A months-old proposal to relocate the Atlanta Braves spring baseball operation to Naples wilted on the vine today when the Collier County Commission nixed the idea to float some $100M worth of bonds to build a sports complex for the team’s spring training sessions and games.

Even considering the prospect of an additional $25M pouring into the local economy, the vote was unanimous, 5-0, with commissioners citing more urgent needs such as infrastructure improvements, beach re-nourishment, and the yearly cost of maintaining the facility as reasons for the denial.

It appears Palm Beach and Sarasota counties are still in the running for the Braves — who have been looking to get out of the Disney World area for years.

Info: Gas prices

There are some widely held beliefs among locals that gas (1) is priced higher here than anywhere else in the state because “we are at the end of the supply chain;” (2)  should be priced lower  here than elsewhere because bulk gasoline is delivered at Port Everglades; (3) prices are artificially inflated during season. I’d say (3) is probably true — because demand increases when the population doubles, and that can justify moderate price increases. Up to a point. Continue reading Info: Gas prices

Nature: Eagles return to Lee County’s River Park

This is one of the most easily viewable nests in the area. Drive to River Park, just north of Bonita Beach Road (NW corner.) Park on the access road behind the boatyard. The nest is 500′ to the west about 60′ off the ground.

Eagle pair returns to LE-050 (River Park, Bonita Spring.)
Eagle pair returns to LE-050 (River Park, Bonita Spring.)

Social: Naples Digital Photography Club

There are almost as many reasons to love living in Naples as there are people here — and for over 300 one of the favorites is DPI-SIG. That stands for the Digital Photography and Imaging Special Interest Group of the Naples Free Net. Now you know why the more easily pronounced name was added. Some members call it "Dippy-sig," but it’s always said in a loving and positive context. Last evening was the group’s 146th monthly membership meeting (2nd Thursday.)

Of course, everybody takes photos and has at least a passing interest in capturing a few good ones. But this club is way more than just a bunch of nerds sharing secrets about Photoshop — there are activities all month long, including outings, classes, workshops, and auditorium presentations by the superstars of photography such as Artie Morris, Rick Sammon, George Lepp, and Moose Peterson. To cap it all off, the club also publishes a world-class digital magazine.

Download a copy or two and get the full scoop on this outstanding organization:

Gulf Views: Are the best values on Marco?

Great bargains can be found anywhere if one knows where to look and has a top-level agent to deal with. Conversely, how do you rate your chances of finding a real gem on the public sites before self-driving cars clog our highways?

On the topic of Gulf views — which to honest agents means a vast expanse of blue-green water and white sand — visits to dozens of high-rise residences in the past year have convinced me that a search for the most spectacular water view for the dollar should start on Marco Island.

There are lots of very logical reasons for that, including the fact that older buildings have lower (8-9′) ceilings and are generally divided into smaller units. However, not everyone wants to live in a cavern and pay the bills to keep it livable. There are also offsetting advantages to the more mature structures: Rental policies tend to be more flexible, building setbacks usually more generous, and spaces for guest parking rarely a problem in buildings constructed before land values skyrocketed and prompted plans that provide more salable units per acre.

Drop me a note if a killer view of our coastline is more than a gleam in your eye. I know several of the best agents on Marco — and I can have one of them give you a call.

Weather: It’s here!

The first dry, cool air of the season arrived overnight — pretty much on time. This highly anticipated event happens most always within a few days of October 15th.

It’s 7am as I write this. Temperature 69 (it has not been under 70 since last winter) and the Dew Point is 63. The latter is the key. Start of the dry season is recorded on the books as the first day during which the average dew point is 68 … or less.


Update: Hurricane Matthew

Residents in the coastal regions of Naples/Southwest Florida were spared the worst of this major hurricane, and the Tropical Storm Watch has been lifted.

By Friday afternoon, the cloudy morning had turned to periods of sunshine with barely more of a breeze than is normal for a coastal area that rarely eexperiences completely still air.

A check of several of our North Naples eagle nests revealed nothing disturbed with the raptors’ behavior patterns quite typical of the early phases of the nesting season.

CO-019a in North Naples. Nest re-buiding is accomplished one twig or branch at a time.


Weather: Dry season almost here!

Spring and Fall really don’t exist as definable seasons in Naples. Summer does, of course … stretching from late March through mid-October. The remaining portion of the year is simply referred to as the dry season.

Just three days ago, we started noticing air that is somewhat less humid.

We are still awaiting that magical day — usually a few days before or after October 15th — when the air suddenly turns fresh and cool. That’s when our overworked air conditioners get switched off and the window flung open.

We’ll be sure to note that event here — hopefully in a week or so.

Nature: Eagles return!

It’s completely unscientific, but I have always interpreted the early return of eagles as an indicator that we are likely to have a relatively calm ending to the hurricane season. Then again, there has been little late season hurricane activity directly affecting Southwest Florida over the past half-century: Donna in 1960, Andrew in 1992, Charley in 2004, and Wilma in 2005. Of those, only Wilma (October 24th) was what qualifies as a late season storm.

In any case, we have now spotted three different returning adult eagles: one each from CO-001, CO-019a, and LE-097. The eagles from CO-001 on the Conservation Collier tract) can often be observed late in the day perched in a dead tree behind the Pewter Mug Restaurant in North Naples just south of the light at Imperial Golf. The most visible nest in the area is in the cell tower at the southwest corner of US 41 and Bonita Beach Road. Pull off the road into the McDonald’s parking lot and look to the west.

Weather: Summer Rain

It’s a well circulated misconception that it rains every  day during Florida summers. Not quite. We’ve had two days in a row without heavy afternoon rains here on the southwest coast, and today is so far sunny with only an occasional puffy cloud.

Now, we do get plenty of rain here — nearly 5 feet of it annually — about 30% more than the US average. Three quarters of our annual rainfall happens in the summer and fall. Even at that, it’s a rarity to be under cloud cover and wet conditions for an entire day.

When it rains here, it really rains. But in relatively small areas at a time.

I keep an umbrella in the car, but rarely use it. Locals generally wait in the car for a shower to pass — or simply drive out of it and run the errand a mile down the road.

MLS: One day of sales: 108

Information on transactions recorded Monday (6/27) on the SWFMLS (SouthWest Florida Multiple Listing Service) shows 108 closed sales and 120 new listings. Thirty-three listings dropped off the MLS while 38 others were resurrected after having expired earlier. Now, this is the broad market: yesterday’s transactions ranged from a sale at $3M down to a listing under $30,000, a factor of 100 to 1. Continue reading MLS: One day of sales: 108

Vote: Funding for Everglades National Park

We enjoy such an abundance of nature here in SW Florida that it is sometimes easy to forget we have three National Parks and one Preserve — each a manageable drive away.

Everglades National Park is one of 20 nationwide in line for part of $2M grant — the allocation of which will go to the sites garnering the most votes from the public. Here’s the link to assure our own treasure of nature gets the help it needs to rebuild the Flamingo Visitor Center. Continue reading Vote: Funding for Everglades National Park