Club Assembly

This past week Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Trust Board members Scott Congress, Chet Sadler, and Immediate Past President, Bill Rahe put together an impressive power point presentation regarding giving practices of our Rotary Club. Requests come to this committee in a couple of ways: member submission or applications from organizations and non-profits seeking funding for special projects. (Applications can be found on our club web site… under the “membership only” tab.

Bill Rahe @Club AssemblyScot Congress @Club Assembly

Once a funding application is brought before the committee a member is chosen as an internal Rotary club sponsor with responsibility for making sure necessary paperwork supporting request is in place, requests are reviewed by the committee, following status of request, and following-up on grants approved.

Rotarian, Chet Sadler, also serves on the committee as Rotary Foundation representative basically centering in on partnering projects that seek matching funds from Rotary District #6960 or Rotary International.

Health Screening Program

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary welcomed Kurt Peters, Sanibel Captiva Lions Club President, to our podium last week to give us an overview of the club’s Health Screening Program. I don’t know if many Islanders are aware of this program but believe me they should know. This is a one-stop FREE health screening opportunity to have your-blood pressure checked, blood glucose checked (primarily for diabetes), peripheral visual fields checked, testing to determine your intraocular pressure of the eyes (glaucoma), muscular degeneration screening, and a hearing test. These are painless tests that provide a quick easy preventive check for health issue that are unfortunately so common for many of us, especially as we age.

The Lions Club wants everyone on Island to take advantage of this program and has setup five various dates and locations for these Lions Club Health Screening opportunities …Sanibel Senior Center for Life-Nov. 18th, Sanibel Community House-Nov. 21st, and the Sanibel Rec. Center-Jan. 14th, Feb. 15th, and March 14th…all screenings will take place from 9:30AM TO 12:30PM.

Scholarship Awarded Kallie Greten

Ksllie was raised on Sanibel and attended The Sanibel School Kindergarten- 8th grade
She attended Bishop Verot Catholic High School and graduated 2013
She is currently in her 3rd year at FGCU,studying nursing (Dean’s list every semester)
Prior to attending FGCU, Kallie worked at Bahama Breeze for almost three years.

Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum- Anniversary

At Friday’s meeting, Rotary Club President, Chris DeCosta, Rotary of Sanibel-Captiva Trust Fund Chair John Grey, and Trust Fund member, Lee Almas presented to the museum’s Executive Director, Dorrie Hipschman a $2,000 check for this very special event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Bailey-Mathew’s Museum.

Shell Museum Donation

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary sponsors Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum Free Admission Day

Saturday, November 14th from 10am-5pm

The Anniversary day, (November 14t),  will be filled with family-friendly activities including scavenger hunts, hourly live-tank demonstrations, and arts and crafts projects.  Birthday cake by Bailey’s General Store will be served beginning at 11:30 until it runs out! And, each visiting family will receive a special birthday gift to take home (while supplies last).

For our birthday we’ve decided to give a gift back to our community – we’re grateful for the support of our many friends who make everything we do possible. Let’s take some time before “season” arrives to celebrate the past and envision the future” – Dorrie Hipschman, Executive Director.,,,Satellite parking and shuttle will be available at SCCF for this event.

Clean Water

In remote places throughout the world, people are getting clean water for the first time, thanks to the efforts of Rotarians in a district that spans from Palmetto to Marco Island. The Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch hosted a showcase before its regular meeting to show how clean water and sanitation projects are changing lives, reducing suffering for some of the 780 million people in the world who do not have access to clean water.

Rotarians from clubs in Bonita Springs, Estero, Sanibel-Captiva and Fort Myers South joined others from Sarasota and Manatee counties in promoting and learning about projects in Peru, St. Lucia, Guatemala, Haiti, the Philippines and Dominican Republic.

George Lewis, a four year Lakewood Ranch resident and club member, calls himself “The Waterman.” While still living in Oregon in 2006, he became involved in developing water projects. He figures he has helped 2 million people in 37 countries. “He’s always looking for ways to get people’s attention to donate to water,” said Ron Myers, the Lakewood Ranch club’s chairman for Clean Water Projects. The 81-year-old uses a palette knife to create original oil paintings. In exchange for $100 to pay his expenses, he gives them to Rotary clubs to then auction for higher prices to help fund charitable projects with an emphasis on clean water and sanitation. He is prolific. In 22 months, Lewis has painted 264 canvases, generating thousands of dollars. His name is known in Rotary circles. “I knew George before he was famous,” Myers quipped. The men, with Sandra Hemstead, of Bonita Springs, are the go-to people in planning, promoting, funding and executing projects that bring water filters, wells, latrines and hygiene education to the poorest of the poor living in Third World areas. They get help from volunteers such as Dr. Michael and Judy Berlow of Lakewood Ranch, who went up the Amazon in 2012 with Myers and follow club member John Freeman to the Iquitos region of Peru. Judy, a former Spanish teacher, said it was rewarding talking to the people in the village, teaching them the importance of clean water, sanitation and washing your hands. “They had a religious service before they turned the tap on,” said Michael Berlow, a retired radiologist. The children lined up to take the water home and the Rotarians noticed they carried unsanitary containers. Since then, the club supplied clean containers that have covers.

Sustainability for the projects is a key concern. The Rotarians work with the nongovernment organization Water Missions International to coordinate the projects, ensuring monthly visits continue for at least three years, residents are trained in equipment operation and the water is tested for quality. All of the work is not cheap. The Lakewood Ranch club has been involved in 26 projects since 2007. This year, the club committed to giving at least $55,000 toward clean water projects. That’s why Myers said it was important to honor his longtime friend, Carl Baldwin, and his wife, Kay. The couple live in Naples, but so believe in the Lakewood Ranch club’s water projects that they have made annual $10,000 donations since 2007. “They were not Rotarians,” Myers said. “Now they are honorary Rotarians. ”They also received a Major Donor Award on Thursday from District 6960 Governor Cyndi Doragh, of Fort Myers, recognizing their continued philanthropy.

It all comes down to numbers. Myers said 760,000 children die each year from diarrhea, which could be prevented with access to clean water. “That’s 2,000 children a day from water-borne diseases, and that’s too many,” he said. “That’s why we do what we do.”

Sanibel Planning Department

With just over a month to go, hurricane season in the US is just about over for this year. It’s been a pretty  quiet year on the home front for any kind of bad weather on Sanibel; but many of us still remember Hurricane Charley in 2004.

Why bring that up now? Well those memories might include how we felt returning to Sanibel and Captiva and looking at all the damage done during this major storm. We were lucky but we also had to cleanup, restore, and in some cases, rebuild our properties. On Sanibel we had an amazing team of City employees, led by Sanibel’s remarkable City Manager, Judy Z tackling the job to reopen the Island, clear the roads, evaluating and securing properties that were damaged, getting utilities going again, and setting in place recovery plans.

City of Sanibel Planning Department Director, Jim Jordan, was Rotary’s guest speaker on Friday morning.

Jim Jordan

Jim is almost a native of Sanibel having lived on the Island, since he was three years old. He has witnessed the incorporation of the City and all of the changes the city has gone through over the years. The fact is he has worked in the Planning Department for the last thirty year becoming its Planning Director in 2009.

It’s been an incredible 10-year’s plus on Sanibel, since Charley  With the City Council and City Manager improving on rebuild and redeveloping codes, non-conforming building regulations, Sanibel’s density plan, resort area rebuilding and improvements, etc.

Five years after Charley, the Island itself was looking better, trees were finally growing along Periwinkle and things were getting back to a normal routine but it had become obvious during this recovery process that some of our non-conforming buildings on Island particularly in our resort areas were in need of improvement and some of the City regulations in place had discouraged resorts and short-term rentals from reinvesting money into these properties and the time to do this was at hand.

The City Planning Department has certainly been kept busy with these important improvements and changes to City codes and regulations keeping in full view the: Sanibel Plan, Federal Emergency Management and National Flood Programs, State Building codes and the important value of the natural environment on Sanibel and the very reason people visit and move to this unusual Island.

Transparent and open Planning meetings have improved the understanding and value of changes to Planning Department codes, ordinances, and regulations particularly to pre-existing non-conforming properties on Island. Exploration of this topic was thoroughly addressed and pre-existing non-conforming property owners now feel comfortable investing in the updating of their properties particularly in resort and short-term rental unit areas.

Things do change in time, these are good changes, and Jim and his staff are doing an incredible job. Yes, I know they are a pain sometime but… No pain, No gain…as they say.

SCCF – Sanibel Tides

“Limitless and immortal, the waters are the beginning and end of all things on earth.” – Heinrich Zimmer, Historian.

Kristie Anders, SCCF Education Director, Kristie Anderswas our guest speaker last Friday morning.  Kristie’s talked about the influences the Moon and the Sun have on our Tides.

As the Earth rotates, the Moon orbits our planet. The distance between the Earth and Moon changes slightly during rotation and the strength of the gravitational pull on Earth also changes. The gravitational pull causes our oceans to bulge out in the direction of the moon and on the opposite side of Earth another bulge occurs because the Earth is being pulled toward the moon. The ocean bulges create our tides. High tide when the pull is greatest. Now add to this land mass and breaks in large landmasses, inlets, bays, rivers, estuaries, etc. Add positioning of the earth in its rotation, distance from the equator, and topography of the landmasses, weather, and currents. Now we’re talking. Here on Sanibel the water masses originate in the transition region of the Loop Current and the Florida Current.

“The Loop Current is an ocean current that transports warm Caribbean water through the Yucatan Channel between Cuba and Mexico. The current flows northward into the Gulf of Mexico, then loops southeastward just south of the Florida Keys (where it is called the Florida Current), and then just west of the westernmost Bahamas. Here, the waters of the Loop Current flow northward along the U.S. coast and becomes the Gulf Stream”.

The ebb and flow of the tides in and out play an important role in our ecosystem. High tides bring nourishing sediment and sea life into the estuaries. “Estuaries are coastal areas where freshwater mixes with ocean water that is delivered by the tides. Estuaries are home to biologically diverse and unique plant and animal communities.”  High tides bring in nutrients that create food for our fish, birds, and other wildlife. Shallow water pools provide nursery areas for fish and shellfish. Mangrove areas thrive along our island estuaries where many birds breed and nest.

Birds plan their feeding patterns on the tides. Long legged and taller birds have a longer feeding timeframe when the water is deeper and as the tide goes out; shorter legged birds feed in shallower water. Tides provide transport for organisms that begin life protected in the shallow areas of our estuaries and when mature use the tide to transport them out to the sea. Seagrasses are pollinated by water flow. Tides affect coastal shorelines in many ways…loss of beach sand and changing shorelines. Seashells are distributed along our shorelines, so much so, that Sanibel & Captiva are called the Shell Islands, known for the best shelling in the world.

When the sea level is rising or falling, water is flowing to and from the ocean. This flow causes currents called tidal currents. Tides enter San Carlos Bay threw three narrow water passageways under the Causeway Bridge and one in Red Fish Pass. Depending on water flow restrictions and wind tide times can reach different locations within our area and with as much as three hours difference. High tides drive ocean waters to our shores and along with wind drives currents through our water passageways and when the tide recedes causing low tide, leaving sediment behind with nutrients that our environment and wildlife thrive on.


We are extremely lucky to have many opportunities on Sanibel and Captiva to learn about the environment that surrounds us. The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation spearheads a number of research projects that provides information and research findings not only for Island residents but extends these findings to numerous scientific agencies across the globe. Sanibel-Captiva Rotary recently asked SCCF visiting research scientist and Rotarian, Dr. E.J. Neafsey, a research scientist on the faculty of the University of Virginia’s Department of Environmental Sciences, concentrating in Southwest, Florida on the inventory and health assessment of local mangrove ecosystems to speak to us about Island mangroves.

Dr E J Neafsey

So, let’s start with the basics. There are three types of mangroves on our Islands…red, black, and white. The red mangroves are closest to the shoreline, black centrally located behind and elevated slightly, and the white farthest away from the shoreline. EJ’s research is looking at each individual mangrove species to quantify the health of the species and the contribution it is making to our environment. Believe it or not, that contribution is immense; mangroves protect us from storm surge, floods, and provide screening from wind and waves. They are central to stabilizing our shorelines. Mangroves provide protected nursery locations for many fish species, crustaceans, and shellfish. They provide food for our local marine species and nesting/rookery areas for our island bird population.

The studies include observations about the stresses on our mangrove species. EJ stated that there is good news on that front; three-quarters of our Island mangroves are intact. Stress does come from storm surge and travels inward through the old mosquito drenches/canals doing harm. Refuse gets caught in the mangroves along the canals. Vegetation growth and impoundment from constructed blockades form a barrier disallowing water flow and nutrients to reach some of the inland mangrove areas. EJ’s example of this was Wildlife Drive at Ding Darling…right side of Wildlife Drive healthy because of great tidal flow…left side impounded by road deficient of nutrients, less vibrant.

Salinity, water temperature, tidal fluctuation, and soil also affect mangroves. High rain events and submerging for a length of time is definitely harmful to the mangroves.

EJ’s research extends beyond Sanibel and Captiva to Estero, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Naples, and Marco Island. There was a question regarding the coloration of the water close to the mangroves…EJ told us that if the mangroves are healthy the surrounding water will be clear; unhealthy mangroves present that sulfur smell and brownish in color.

Pigs in Paradise

San-Cap Rotarians suggest you join the Parents and Staff of the Children’s Education Center of the Islands at a delicious Pig Roast.

Pigs In Paradise Poster Family-Friendly

FISH 10K Race

Volunteer to help at FISH’s 10K race.   Volunteers will be stationed at all driveways and cross roads throughout the course.  The course starts at Community House, and then Periwinkle to Casa Ybel, Middle Gulf to Tarpon Bay, then up Island Inn Rd and double back to Tarpon Bay, to Periwinkle and end at Community House.  The race starts at 7:30am.  Volunteers have to be at their stations by 6:45am.  The police check the route and if all stations are not manned, the race will not start.

Lee Almas forward the names of our Rotary volunteers names to FISH.  They will then give Lee Almas the station assignment list by name..  When he receives the list, he’ll advise the volunteers. On race morning Lee will personally check all of the Rotary stations to be ensure they all are manned.   Race  t-shirts will be available at Friday’s meeting October 16.  Volunteers will receive a make-up for their participation, plus a BIG 100 service credits toward a Paul Harris award

Volunteers are free to leave their station when the last runner or walker has passed their station.  At the end of the group there is a car with P.A. system announcing that this is the end.

After the race is over, volunteers should go to Community House and watch the remaining runners come across the finish line and then for awards festivities plus drink and snack.