Aug. 16, 2018

2019 BIG ARTS tickets now on sale

BIG ARTS' upcoming season will feature 17 main stage performances that run the gamut - peppered in amongst art exhibits, a film series, lecture programs and more - and tickets go on sale today.

The 2019 Schein Hall series will run from January through March, kicking off on Jan. 5 with Beginnings, a Chicago tribute band that has performed at Disney's EPCOT Center and Las Vegas casinos since 2002. The band is comprised of some of the finest New York musicians around.

"We wanted something upbeat and fun to kick off the season," BIG ARTS Executive Director Lee Ellen Harder said. "They are the ultimate Chicago experience."

The organization is marking a big milestone in 2019.

"It's our 40th anniversary, and we are looking forward to a spectacular year," she said.

Following Beginnings, the musical lineup offers something for everyone.


Schein Hall series for 2019

  • Jan. 5 at 8 p.m.: Beginnings
  • Jan. 10 at 7:30 p.m.: Pacifica Quartet with Sharon Isbin
  • Jan. 12 at 8 p.m.: DePue Brothers Band
  • Jan. 13 at 3:30 p.m.: Oboe Fusion
  • Jan. 17 at 8 p.m.: Bumper Jacksons
  • Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m.: Jonathan Biss
  • Jan. 30 at 7 p.m.: iluminate
  • Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m.: Dover Quartet with Peter Serkin
  • Feb. 2 at 8 p.m.: m-pact
  • Feb. 9 at 8 p.m.: Hot Club of San Francisco
  • Feb. 10 at 3:30 p.m.: Alfredo Muro with Natasha Farny
  • Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.: New Shanghai Circus
  • Feb. 22 at 8 p.m.: Judy Collins
  • Feb. 24 at 3:30 p.m.: Parker Quarte
  • March 1 at 7:30 p.m.: "Sister Strikes Again!: Late Nite Catechism 2" by Maripat Donovan
  • March 8 at 7:30 p.m.: "Every Brilliant Thing" by Zoetic Stage
  • March 16 at 8 p.m.: Live in Central Park (Revisited) Simon & Garfunkel

Source: BIG ARTS

We have some great music coming," Harder said.

Classical acts like the Grammy Award-winning Pacifica Quartet with Sharon Isbin, unusual and engaging Oboe Fusion, and American virtuoso pianist Jonathan Biss are on the lineup with Grammy Hall of Famer Judy Collins, seven-piece brass band Bumper Jacksons and globe-trotting m-pact.

"They range from pop and contemporary, to bluegrass and classical," she said.

Other performances include the Cirque du Soleil-caliber New Shanghai Circus and iluminate, a dance and acrobatic group aglow with wireless lighting that took third place on "America's Got Talent."

"We have some theater pieces coming," Harder said.

March will feature "Sister Strikes Again!: Late Nite Catechism 2" by Maripat Donovan, a sequel to the "standing-room-only" original, as well as the Zoetic Stage's heartwarming "Every Brilliant Thing."

"We're bringing in a new partnership with the Zoetic Stage theater company out of Miami," she said. "We're very excited about our new partnership with them."

In addition to the main stage acts, BIG ARTS will host a weekly film series on Monday nights from November to March. Foreign and independent documentaries from around the world, the first one takes place on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. The film, "Itzhak" by Alison Chernick, looks at the life of Itzhak Perlman.

"We show incredible films that you're not going to see at the first-run theater," Harder said.

While The FORUM lecture series is typically sold out early through subscribers, BIG ARTS does feature a daytime lecture series - and has added a new theater series - for February through March. Started about three years ago, Talking Points is held on Tuesday mornings on a variety of subjects.

"We have six lectures set up," she said, adding that they will range from local to timely issues. "One's talking about sea level rise, another is on Lee County and the issue with Robert E. Lee."

One lecture is with author Lynn Povich, who wrote "Good Girls Revolt."

"We have health, we have an education panel," Harder said. "So very interesting topics."

New this year, BIG ARTS will host a series of lectures focused on the theater.

"They'll be very informations and interactive, with the audience dialogue," she said, noting that they will include a question-and-answer session. "The theater lectures will also include multi-media."

BIG ARTS will also offer staged play readings, however, the dates have not yet been set yet.

"We've done them in the past, but we've expanded," Harder said. "We'll do a few more readings."

In October, the Phillips Gallery and the Founders Gallery will open to the public. The galleries each showcase one exhibit per month, with each of the exhibitions debuting with an artist's reception.

"Those are always free and open to the public, as are our galleries," she said.

Harder hinted that there will be a new expanded event in December for the community.

In addition, BIG ARTS features a range of ongoing workshops.

"We have a wonderful array of offerings, from painting and drawing, pottery and ceramics, to discussion groups," she said, noting that there is one program called the Winter Academy.

Some topics are HD Live at the Met Lectures, The Roosevelts and Masterpieces of Western Music.

"They really run the gamut, our educational programming," Harder said.

Registration opened on July 1, with options available for beginners to advanced.

"We're not full," she noted.

Tickets for the 2019 season can be purchased online or at 239-395-0900.

The main stage acts range from free to $5 for children and students 25 and under.

"We want to make sure that the arts are affordable to everyone, so that families can afford to come," Harder said.

Season brochures should be available in mid-September.

"We have a very diverse array of programming," she said. "There's something for everyone."

Plus, feedback is welcome and encouraged.

"We want to hear back from the community," Harder said. "We had the best season ever last year and we're looking forward to another one."

For more information on BIG ARTS, visit online at

Posted in Local News
Aug. 13, 2018

How does red tide affect pets?

Veterinarians warned pet owners to keep their furry friends from coming in contact with red tide

“Dogs like to turn around and lick themselves and they can ingest that toxin,” said Dr. Sharon Powell, a veterinarian at Edison Park Animal Hospital. “If they ingest a sufficient amount it can cause different neurological problems.”

Dr. Powell said some symptoms to watch for are shaking, dizziness, skin irritation, or trouble breathing.

WINK News reporter Anika Henanger spoke with veterinarians and concerned pet owners about the topic. Watch the full segment above.

Click here for entire article 


Posted in General
Aug. 13, 2018

Galloway Captiva Tri update

Ever wanted to try a tri? You’ll have one more chance to try one right here on Captiva, at the Galloway Captiva Tri Sept. 15-16. Registration is now open for the event, which features a sprint-length triathlon on Sunday morning after a kid’s tri Saturday morning (three different age groups available).


This will be the last year for the Galloway Captiva Tri, so be sure to join the fun one last time (or try it out for the first time). Details are online at, and as in years past proceeds will benefit Community Cooperative’s School Pantry program.

Event organizers are monitoring water and air quality conditions related to the current red tide outbreak affecting the island, and may make adjustments to the event based on conditions that weekend in order to keep athletes and spectators safe.

Posted in Local News
Aug. 13, 2018

Updated Sea Turtle Nesting Report For The Islands

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation released an updated nesting report as of today.

Officials reported that the total number of strandings since the red tide started at the end of last year is currently up to 136. Of those, 97 have been reported since June 1, with 14 in the past seven days.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which has been monitoring sea turtle mortality associated with red tide since the 1990s, hatchlings are not impacted by red tide.

Sea turtles are usually affected through ingestion by eating poisoned prey. Since hatchlings migrate quickly offshore and do not eat for three to seven days after their hatching, the opportunity for bioaccumulation of the toxin is minimal, officials noted.

A total of 705 nests have been laid on Sanibel and Captiva this year, of which 243 nests have hatched, producing 16,830 hatchlings this season.

The comparison of nest counts to date (as compared to 2017) are as follows:


  • East End: 101 (156 in 2017)
  • West End: 438 (523 in 2017)
  • Captiva: 163 (188 in 2017)
  • Total: 702 (876 in 2017)


  • East End: 0 (3 in 2017)
  • West End: 2 (30 in 2017)
  • Captiva: 0 (0 in 2017)
  • Total: 2 (33 in 2017)


  • East End: 0 (0 in 2017)
  • West End: 1 (0 in 2017)
  • Captiva: 0 (0 in 2017)
  • Total: 1 (0 in 2017)

The counts for false crawls are as follows:


  • East End: 233 (238 in 2017)
  • West End: 792 (609 in 2017)
  • Captiva: 225 (203 in 2017)
  • Total: 1,250 (1,050 in 2017)



  • East End: 0 (0 in 2017)
  • West End: 0 (23 in 2017)
  • Captiva: 0 (1 in 2017)
  • Total: 0 (24 in 2017)

Tips to help keep keep the beaches sea turtle friendly:

  • Turn off or shield all lights that are visible from the beach. Do not use flashlights or cell phone lights on the beach. If necessary, use amber or red LED bulbs.
  • Do not disturb the screens covering nests. They prevent predators from eating the eggs and the hatchlings emerge through the holes without assistance.
  • Remove all beach furniture and equipment from the beach at night.
  • Dispose of fishing line properly to avoid wildlife entanglement.
  • Fill in large holes that can trap hatchlings and nesting sea turtles.
  • Do not disturb nesting turtles please do not to get too close, shine lights on or take flash photos of nesting sea turtles.
  • Pick up litter.
  • To report a sea turtle stranding, contact SCCF's hotline at 978-728-3663.
Posted in Local News
Aug. 13, 2018

Beach, bay clean-up continues

The Captiva Erosion Prevention District (CEPD) has been monitoring the beaches and fish kills. We were getting more dead fish along the beach rack line as a result of shifts in recent winds and water current. The beach cleanup crew has re-mobilized to rake and clean beaches again. Additionally, Lee County contractors continue to remove the dead fish from our back bay waters.

A 4-yard dumpster has been placed at Alison Hagerup Beach Parking Lot with daily pickup on a temporary basis. We appreciate any assistance from visitors and residents who have been bagging dead fish in an effort to keep our beaches beautiful. 

You can click on for daily beach conditions and for red tide status.

If you have any questions, concerns or issues, please call the CEPD at (239) 472-2472.

Posted in Local News
Aug. 13, 2018

TBE earns TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award

TBE earns TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for eighth consecutive year for 8th Consecutive years. 

Tarpon Bay Explorers' superior customer service was recently recognized and reflected by being awarded Trip Advisor's Certificate of Excellence for the eighth year in a row.

The certificates can only be earned by consistently receiving great reviews on the travel site.

"Our employees enjoy what they do and who they work with, so providing our visitors with a great experience and phenomenal service comes as second nature," part-owner and general manager Wendy Schnapp said.

Since its inception, the company has always put an emphasis on customer service.

"We have a great staff here at Tarpon Bay. Just within the past couple weeks alone, our staff has gone above and beyond," she said. "We had a captain 'rescue' a child's fallen stuffed animal from a cruise boat, to retrieving kayakers during unexpected weather events. These acts reflect what kind of organization we are and how we try to be as compassionate as we can to our visitors."

Tarpon Bay Explorers is the official concession to the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, providing low impact, recreational and educational activities for refuge visitors. A portion of its proceeds goes back to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to benefit the national refuges nationwide.

For more information, visit or call 239-472-8900.

Posted in Local News
Aug. 11, 2018

Visitors returning to Sanibel beaches

Sanibel saw a vast improvement today in the volume of dead sea life found on its beaches and shorelines, as well as improved conditions within its canals and bayous.

City officials reported that all the island's beaches from Lighthouse to Turner were in "very good" to "excellent" condition upon inspection this morning. As of noon, a total of 30 bags of sea life - mostly fish - had been removed, mainly in the area stretching from Bowman's Beach to Turner Beach Park.

Additionally, the west end canals and bayous looked much improved, along with the east end canals. The only area with red tide respiratory irritation was a "moderate" amount on the far northwest end of Sanibel, according to officials.


"Any immediate improvements on our beaches does not lessen the city of Sanibel's resolve, nor the need for our citizens and all who love our environment to lessen our pursuit of the city of Sanibel's water priorities," City Manager Judie Zimomra's daily report states. "The next phase of this crisis is our ongoing efforts of pursuing full cost recovery for the city's expenses to date, as well the full economic recovery of the island."

She noted that the Sanibel City Council and city staff are engaged and committed to these goals.

Any issues entailing sea turtles on the beaches should be reported directed to the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation's hotline at 978-728-3663. No turtle should ever be moved or removed from the beach by anyone other than the SCCF's research team.

Posted in Local News
Aug. 10, 2018

Lower volume of sea life on Sanibel's Gulf side

First reports of deposits in canals on west end

The dead sea life deposits today on Sanibel are again lighter on the bayside, while yesterday marked the first reports of dead marine organisms in Dinkens Bay, Clam Bayou and the west end canals.

The city of Sanibel has released its first break of day reports. While the Gulf side of the island continues to receive lighter deposits for the fourth consecutive day, officials reported that the first deposits of sea life were seen on Aug. 8 at Dinkens Bay, Clam Bayou and the west end canals.

However, the city did see less volume in the east end canals on the same day. Prior to Aug. 8, crews were averaging 250 to 300 bags daily from the east end canals; on Aug. 8, the total was 80 bags.

City of Sanibel Environmental Specialist Dana Deltmar measures goliath grouper and tarpon carcasses to collect data for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

According to officials, approximately 535,095 pounds - 267 tons - of dead sea life had been collected and removed from the island's beaches as of the close of day Aug. 8. The total includes the carcass of a whale shark that came ashore on July 22, as well as 72 goliath grouper - totaling 7,245 pounds - and 14 tarpons, which totaled 1,825 pounds; the total does not include canal cleanup.

On Aug. 8, the city removed six large carcasses - two goliath grouper and four tarpon - and thousands of smaller dead sea life.

Two shifts of clean-up crews are continuing to work the beaches daily in an effort to catch deposits after the second tide of the day. Officials reported that the greatest deposits occur during low tide.

Large carcasses inventory for Aug. 8:

Goliath grouper

  • One at 100 pounds
  • One at 80 pounds


  • Two at 100 pounds
  • Two at 75 pounds

Today's first light of day report from Public Works staff is as follows:

Light House Beach


Current Conditions: Good at fishing pier area and fair at Gulf side

Red Tide: Present

Odor: Strong at fishing pier area and slight at Gulf side


Deposits: Approximately 10-15 dead sea life every 10 feet; no dead sea life present to surf at fishing pier area and dead sea life present in water at Gulf side

Sanibel Boat Ramp

Current Conditions: Fair

Red Tide: Present

Odor: Present


Deposits: Approximately 13 dead sea life every 10 feet; dead sea life also floating in water near shore

Algiers Beach (Gulfside City Park)

Current Conditions: Good

Red Tide: Present

Odor: Present


Deposits: Approximately three dead sea life every 10 feet; none present floating in water

Tarpon Bay Beach

Current Conditions: Good to excellent

Red Tide: Low

Odor: Not present


Deposits: None present and none floating in water

Bowman's Beach

Current Conditions: Fair

Red Tide: Not present

Odor: Not present


Deposits: Approximately four to five dead sea life every 10 feet; none present floating in water

Blind Pass

Current Conditions: Good

Red Tide: Slight to moderate presence

Odor: Slight


Deposits: Approximately four to five dead sea life every 10 feet; none present floating in water

Turner Beach Park

Current Conditions: Good to excellent

Red Tide: Not present

Odor: None

Deposits: None present and none floating in water


Based on tides, winds and currents, the conditions may alter quickly and significantly.

If you encounter any dead sea life washed ashore on private property that is too large to be removed by hand, email address and location to and attach a photo if possible.

A large portion of the dead fish on the beach are catfish. The pectoral (side) fins and dorsal (top) fin contain sharp venomous spines; extreme care should be used when handling the fish. Beach-goers should also avoid stepping on dead catfish as some sharp barbs can even penetrate the sole of a shoe.

Under the direction of the Sanibel Department of Public Works, the city has three basic operations underway to remove dead sea life from the island:

  • Beach clean-up
  • Canal clean-up and waterside removal
  • "Rapid Response Team" primarily addressing large carcasses

The Sanibel Boat Ramp is the staging area for the canal and water-borne clean-up operations. All dead sea life is being loaded into dumpsters at the beach for transport off-island or transported back to the Public Works yard for disposal or to be hauled off-island by Advanced Disposal. Additional dumpsters have been deployed to Public Works for debris disposal. At this time, public access to the boat ramp is permitted.

Officials noted that the state has made an additional $400,000 available to Lee County for local waterway cleanups. In addition, the Lee County Tourism Development Council today endorsed an "open-ended" amount to be allocated from the bed tax reserves to assist with the cleanup costs.

The Lee County TDC also endorsed allocation of an additional $1 million in bed tax reserves for a marketing campaign once the beaches are clear of dead sea life. The bed tax is a 5 percent county tax collected by the county on short-term rentals, such as hotels, motels, condominiums and campsites.

Sanibel Councilwoman Holly Smith represents the city on the TDC.

Posted in Local News
Aug. 9, 2018

County begins removal of sea life deposits

County begins removal of sea life deposits on Captiva's bayside

Lee County has initiated a plan to clean up dead sea life collecting on the bayside of South Seas Island Resort of Captiva.

On Aug. 7, county contractor CrowderGulf deployed several flatboats to the island's back bayside to begin removing deposits of fish and other marine organisms that are the result of the algae blooms. The Captiva Erosion Prevention District reached out to the county for aid after residents voiced concerns.

Administrator Damon Grant explained that the CEPD began cleanup efforts on the Gulfside beaches last week, including raking, bagging dead sea life and setting up a dumpster for the public to use.

"We've had really good winds that are pushing to west, pushing the fish off the beach and back out to shore," he said. "But on the other side of the island, it's pushing the fish up against the bayside."

"They're lining up in the mangroves," Grant added.

The CEPD received calls from several individuals who expressed concern about the number of dead fish they were seeing on the bayside, with some of the callers also pointing out the smell and odor.

"We weren't sure to the extent of how much fish we had on the back bay," he said.

So Grant reached out to the county for assistance in accessing the situation.

"CrowderGulf has resources like flatboats that can kind of get into the mangrove areas," he said, adding that they surveyed the areas. "They saw way more than we thought were back there."

The county came up with a multi-phase approach for the cleanup using boat crews.

"The effort will start at the north end and process to the south (Blind Pass)," Grant said of the bayside. "Really at the north and mid-island is where we're seeing most of the dead fish for some reason."

The first two phases - or priority zones - are planned out.

"They'll go as quickly as they can removing the fish," he said of the crews. "I don't know how fast that effort will progress. We don't have any idea how long it's going to take to even finish priority one."

Once the first two zones are completed, officials will regroup to determine the next phase.

"We're going to re-evaluate then and identify priority three," Grant said. "We'll need to come up with another priority from mid-island down to Blind Pass."

To report a large fish kill, call the CEPD at 239-472-2472 and provide a name and address.

"So we can make sure as part of this effort that we can go out and remove those for them," he said.

As for North Captiva, cleanup efforts on the northern island are also continuing.

On Aug. 7, the Upper Captiva Civic Association reported that the county donated three dumpsters to assist the island in collecting and removing the dead sea life that are the result of the red tide. The dumpsters are located on the south fenceline of Team Davenport's barge lot, close to Barnacle Phil's.

"The dumpsters are for dead fish and other marine life only," officials said.

The public was advised not to deposit household trash, yard waste and such in them.

"To do so will jeopardize our arrangement with the county and will only serve to make our current problem worse," officials said.

The UCCA also reported that Lee County contracted with CrowderGulf to assist with the cleanup and the contractor is set to take care of Safety Harbor and the canal by the North Captiva Island Club.

"This will continue to be an ongoing project until after the red tide has left our area, and there is no way to predict when that will happen," officials said.

Those interested in helping out with the cleanup efforts can contact Duncan Rosen, of Tortuga Properties, at 305-336-4925. Rosen organized a cleanup of the island's Gulfside beaches last week.

The public is asked to double bag any dead sea life picked up.

The UCCA added that Rosen has additional bags for those who need them.

"If you are going out on the beach, please wear boots or thick soled shoes. Catfish barbs are very painful," officials said. "Also, strongly consider a breathing mask to protect you from the stench and the toxins."

Posted in Local News
Aug. 6, 2018

22nd Hobie 16 World Championship to Take Place in Captiva

South Seas Island Resort Named Official Host Hotel of Hobie 16 World Championship

South Seas Island Resort has been named the Official Host Hotel of the Hobie 16 World Championship. From Nov. 1-16, 2019, the International Hobie® Class Association (IHCA) will bring its prestigious sailing event to South Seas Island Resort, marking the first time in 35 years that Hobie will host a World Championship in the U.S.

"We're proud to serve as a home-away-from-home for the world-class athletes and their families who will travel to Captiva Island from around the globe," said Bob Walter, Regional Managing Director of South Seas Island Resort. Walter continued, "Our iconic resort has captured the hearts of sailing enthusiasts for decades, and our superior location and pristine natural surroundings coupled with a multitude of dining and recreational options offer the ideal setting for the Hobie 16 World Championship."

During the event, South Seas Island Resort will be host to more than 1,000 athletes and 336 teams on 60 new Hobie Cat racing catamaran sailboats. Sailors from 30 countries are anticipated to join the championship. 

"South Seas Island Resort is honored to be the designated location of this exciting upcoming championship event," said Interstate Hotels & Resorts Senior Vice President of Operations, Elie Khoury. "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to host these talented athletes and showcase our property's renowned location as a destination rich in recreation."

The racecourse will be positioned just off Sunset Beach, offering audiences a picturesque setting in which to watch exhilarating races. There will be three championship disciplines for sailors from across the world participating in this world championship, which are: Women's, Youth and Open. There will be additional three disciplines i.e. Masters Cup, Grand Masters Cup and Great Grand Masters Cup.

For reservations or more information about South Seas Island Resort, please call 1-800-533-5553 or visit For all details regarding the 22nd Hobie 16 World Championships visit


Posted in Local News