Naples Daily News Weekend Digest Miss something this week? Catch up on a few of our big stories in this quick digest

‘Let’s go to the game:’ New field in Immokalee making all the difference

Wearing a helmet and a Captain America T-shirt, 4-year-old Joaquín Ortiz runs to the next base during his T-ball practice. When he gets there, he takes off his helmet and looks at his mom, Patricia Ortiz, from across the field.

She gives him a thumb up.

"He is a professional," Ortiz says with a smile.

Joaquín and other players of the Immokalee Little League Phillies T-ball team trained last Thursday on a brand new field at Tony Rosbough Park. Just a few months ago, the field was an uneven grass lot where kids risked tripping when they played ball on it. The field now is the third diamond the Little League players can use at any time throughout the season. They can also access baseball fields behind Immokalee High School when they are available.

Ortiz likes it.

"Our town is very small," she says. "This is something that was added to the community so that our children can play."

Clam Pass dredging ushers in slow-motion race against time

A dredger has begun digging sand out of Clam Pass in North Naples in a slow-motion race against time to save a dying mangrove forest.

Heavy winter rains and poor tidal flushing at the mouth of the choked off pass have flooded patches of mangroves that grow below the Pelican Bay neighborhood's high-rise condos, causing an 8-acre die-off. More mangroves are showing signs of stress, biologist Tim Hall said. He said the die-off might not be over.

"We don't know yet," Hall said. "It's too early to tell whether we've hit the bottom of that downward slide."

Hall, representing a Pelican Bay taxing district, has been trying to get a Clam Pass dredging permit from the U.S. Corps of Engineers for almost two years. The review faced hurdles with endangered species like the smalltooth sawfish and red knot.

Besides that, dredging at Clam Pass has generated intense public scrutiny over its effect on sea grass beds and boating access between the Gulf of Mexico and the Seagate neighborhood and a county kayak and canoe launch.

Reviewers signed off on the 10-year permit — Hall called it a compromise over the extent of dredging and what estuary conditions would trigger new dredging — and Collier County commissioners declared an emergency to speed up the hiring of the dredger.

In the Know: Butcher’s Son truck grows from foodie roots

Making a living from making food is essentially inherent to Jon Wagner.

Food service is deeply rooted in the co-owner of The Butcher's Son food truck, which launched a few months ago in Naples.

"I grew up in the food business, the food industry, so I've always kind of been around food my whole life," Wagner said.

Wagner, 29, was only about 5 or 6 when his mother married Ralph C. Stayer, then CEO of Johnsonville Sausage, a Wisconsin-based company Stayer's parents founded in 1945. The "Sausage King" helped raise Jon, letting him get a firsthand taste of Johnsonville's international success.

Stayer's parents, Ralph F. and Alice Stayer, retired to Naples and spent their final days here. Following in his parents' footsteps, Ralph C. Stayer also retired to Naples, while his wife, Shelly, launched Grace & Shelly's Cupcakes and Johnsonville Sausage Marketplace stores here.

Now, five years after co-founding Two Trucks LLC in Dallas, the next generation of food entrepreneurs — the butcher's son — is in Naples.

National retailers open in East Naples center

One East Naples neighborhood with a lean retail scene is bulking up.

Stores at Tamiami Crossing at U.S. 41 and Collier Boulevard have started to open their doors to shoppers, and folks in the area couldn’t be happier.

“Stein Mart opens March 10 — ladies, write that down,” said Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala during a town hall meeting she held on Marco Island at the beginning of March. She took her own advice and at least tried to check out the store on its first day.

“I was there the day they opened, but I was only able to walk in the front door. The lines to buy anything went all the way to the back of the store,” she said — and we’re talking about a 32,000-square-foot store, the largest in the Tamiami Crossing complex. “It was really jammed.”

Marshall’s, with 22,000 square feet, opened March 31, and they have been equally busy, store manager Sean Ritchie said. “Business has been awesome. We’re doing really good,” he said. Shoppers at both stores, the only two open so far in the center, were excited just to have the major retailers at the south and east end of town, without having to travel to the north end of Naples or beyond.

“We need more stores here. We’re off the beaten path,” said Valerie Annicelli, checking out the fashions in Marshall’s. “I love this store. I always find something here, and they have great prices.” That, in a nutshell, is the appeal of Marshall’s, Ritchie said, brand names for less.

Quick thinking saves man who collapsed on Naples tennis court

Walt Conroy heard the fall.

David "Bud" Armbruster had collapsed on one of the courts at the Arthur L. Allen Tennis Center. It was a little after 8 a.m. on April 11. Conroy was playing doubles the next court over. At the tennis center, where it's typical for a bunch of retirees to play on a dozen available courts, it's not unusual to see someone fall.

But this one was different. Armbruster wasn't moving.

Conroy, a retired firefighter, rushed over to Armbruster. There was no pulse. He yelled for help.

"The four courts where we were all playing stopped," Conroy said. "Everybody stopped."

Upstairs at the tennis center, Brianna Love, an employee, saw the whole thing. She was walking toward the west exit of the clubhouse and noticed a man lying face up on the north side of Court 7. He was wearing a white tennis shirt, shorts and sunglasses. He seemed lifeless.

She yelled for another employee, John Pearson, and handed him the center's automatic defibrillator, which they keep behind the counter.

Naples families put international, fun twist on Seder tradition

Debra Atkins needed a toothpick. She had already spelled the names of a handful of the 67 guests expected to show up to the Saturday Seder with white chocolate tinted blue. Now she was affixing each letter to a piece of matzo to serve as place cards.

At her request, Daryl Sissman pivoted in the kitchen of her home on Whispering Pine Lane in Naples, white apron twirling, as she headed for the pantry.

"We're both on the Board at Temple," Sissman said, her voice muffling as she rummaged through boxes of dry goods. "That's a very meaningful part of our lives."

Atkins nodded, head bent over her matzo project.

"Toothpicks aren't a very important part of lives," Sissman mused.

With Atkins using a straight pin instead, the first name card came together Wednesday morning. Just 66 to go.

While most Jewish families traditionally celebrate the first night of Passover with a ritualistic dinner ceremony called a Seder, lasting up to four hours, Sissman has for the past few years opened her home to extended family, Jewish friends and those of other denominations to take part in a less traditional Seder on the second day of Passover.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.