My passion for writing began at a young age as I wrote stories about my hamster, as well as many letters to my parents. Once I began high school my mother encouraged me to take a journalism class to see if that passion would grow into something more. With the help of a wonderful mentor, that journey continued through high school and into college as my newspaper writing opportunities expanded.
Although my journalism career began in high school, it officially took off after I graduated from Arizona State University in 2006. Since graduation, every year proves to be better than the last, offering more opportunities to do what I love, write.
A highlight of my career took place in November 2011, when a job presented itself on an 18-mile island in Southwest Florida. I became the editor of the Pine Island Eagle.
I now write for a few publications in Southwest Florida: Community Lifestyles, the Cape Coral Daily Breeze and Body Mind & Spirit Health Magazine.
I have been writing for Community Lifestyles since the inception of the publication in 2013. My second journalism job out of college was for the Cape Coral Daily Breeze in 2009.
Here is a collection of some of my articles that have been published accompanied with some photographs I have taken over the years.
Community Lifestyles publications
Articles published in February and March 2015 issue:
Shining a spotlight on the Florida Rep
A Fort Myers theatre, once a Vaudeville house in the 1920s, has attracted local and national attention over the course of its 17 seasons.
The Historic Arcade Theatre, at 2267 1st St., downtown Fort Myers, now home to the Florida Repertory Theatre, was built in 1908 and attracted such first time viewers as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.
Over the years, as movies became more and more popular, the building transformed into a movie house throughout the 1920s, remaining successful until the 1970s.
Unfortunately in 1989, the theatre plummeted into severe disrepair.
Articles published in November and December 2014:
Catching a Show at Broadway Palm
A dinner theatre nestled at the foot of the Cape Coral bridge, 1380 Colonial Blvd., is celebrating its 22nd season with some past favorite Broadway-style musicals this season.
Broadway Palm Theatre Director of Marketing Melissa Vogt said the theatre has been a part of the community since October 1993. Before opening, the theatre had an extensive renovation, due to the 36,000-square-foot building once housing a Publix supermarket.
Gallery Hopping: Take a trip through the local art world
Southwest Florida offers a variety of art galleries representing works of art from the 20th century to present day. Make a day – or evening – out of it, and gallery-hop to several fantasticlocal exhibits and displays throughout the area.
There are many opportunities to indulge into the art world through monthly exhibits, independent films and a casual stroll through galleries highlighting talented artists from around the country – and the world.
Articles published in October and November 2014:
Lovers Key Resort: A serene retreat on the south end of the island
A hidden gem frequented by couples for a romantic getaway is tucked away on the south tip of Fort Myers Beach, providing breathtaking views, an award-winning restaurant and lagoon-style pool to really escape.
Catching a Show at Cultural Park Theatre
The oldest theater group in Lee County is celebrating 52 years of providing entertainment to Southwest Florida residents and visitors.
Executive Director Michael Moran said the Cultural Park Theatre began with a group of 10 thespians in the early 1960s who enjoyed putting on plays and performances, performing for folks at the Yacht Club.
Articles published in August and September 2014:
Sweet Treats: Satisfying that sweet tooth in Cape Coral
Everyone loves a sweet treat from time to time. Cape Coral offers a few sweet treat destinations where individuals have an opportunity to indulge themselves with some incredibly tasty artisan chocolates, fudge, cookies and cupcakes, which will satisfy their sweet cravings.
Sweet Treats: Satisfying that sweet tooth in South County
Everyone loves a sweet treat every now and again (and again). Southwest Florida offers a few sweet destinations where individuals have an opportunity to indulge themselves with some incredibly decadent chocolates, confections and other tasty tidbits that will satisfy their sweet cravings.
Shell Point Retirement Comunity offering a vibrant, warm and active lifestyle
A continuing care retirement community for individuals 60 years old and up nestled within Southwest Florida provides an abundance of amenities and programs to help guide residents on their own personal journey to better themselves.
Articles published in February 2014:
Southwest Florida’s only distillery sets up shop in Cape Coral: tours available
A Cape Coral distillery has created quite a following from individuals who enjoy savoring a rum created with all Florida ingredients.
Articles published in January 2014:
The Verandah, known for its professional and well-maintained golf courses, as well as “a place where the days are never long enough,” is currently undergoing renovations, providing more space for their fitness complex.
Fashion & Style: Glitzy Valentine’s Day Romance: Celebrating Valentine’s Day with the perfect glitz and glam
There is a plethora of jewelry for individuals to choose from this Valentine’s Day that is guaranteed to leave a smile on their loved ones face.
Articles published in December 2013:
Shadow Wood: Your luxurious home away from home
Shadow Wood Country Club, a gorgeous Bonita Springs community, offers an assortment of amenities for its residents, ranging from golf to access to a private beach club.
Cape Harbour, a yachting community in Cape Coral offers a variety of public events, shopping and dining opportunities for its residents and community at large to enjoy.
Cape Coral Daily Breeze articles:
Articles published in May 2015:
State of Our Schools: Lee students rising to the challenges faced today
Although students today are faced with rigorous expectations to prepare them for a competitive workforce, School District Superintendent Dr. Nancy Graham told those in attendance at the State of Our Schools – Partners in Education breakfast Friday morning that students are rising to the challenge with great success.
Veteran from the Cape wins boat raffle
A charitable drawing likely sent a Cape Coral resident reeling as his name was drawn from 4,000 raffle tickets at the Olde Fish House Marina Saturday, making him the winner of the 2015 Wounded Warrior Anglers boat raffle.
The reality of his win hit home Wednesday morning as he signed the papers for his very first boat at Fort Myers Marina.
Pink Heals unveils new vehicle dedicated to young cancer victim from Cape Coral
The legacy of a young Cape Coral girl who lost her battle to cancer earlier this year will live on as the newest pink fire truck travels throughout Southwest Florida baring her name while bringing comfort to others who are faced with cancer.
“This is huge,” Amy Castro said, adding that her daughter’s name, Amiyah, is now on a truck that travels all over bringing awareness to pediatric cancer.
Gear Up Florida cyclists
Almost 100 members of Special Populations, cheering and holding handmade signs, welcomed 21 bicyclists Monday afternoon at the Sun Splash Family Waterpark pavilion.
Articles published in April 2015:
Still time to get tickets for ‘Luau of Life’ children’s hospital fundraiser
A traditional pig roast, an Elvis Presley impersonator and fire dancers will be among some of the festivities for the first gala Luau of Life this weekend to raise money for pediatric cancer.
The inaugural event will be held this Saturday, April 11, at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, 2301 1st St., Fort Myers. Tickets, which are $150 per person, $250 per couple and $1,200 for a table of eight, are still available and will be until 3 p.m. Friday. To reserve a ticket, call (239) 343-6950 or visit www.luauoflife.com.
South Cape bars can now apply to stay open until 4 a.m. on weekends
With a new ordinance approved, businesses and bars in the South Cape are weighing the pros and cons of what a two-hour weekend extension can have on their business.
Monday night the Cape Coral City Council approved an ordinance that will give businesses and bars the option to apply for a special permit to participate in a pilot program extending hours from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. In addition to applying for the permit, business must pay to have an off-duty Cape police officer on premise for safety; install surveillance systems to monitor all activity; comply with the state Responsibility Vendor Act; have one dedicated security staff person per 150 patrons and 15 minutes before closing will be last call.
City spokesperson Connie Barron said permitting staff is finalizing the process and should have forms and fact sheets ready by the end of next week for the new ordinance.
Articles published in March 2015:
Two island residents to be part of Pine Island Plan discussion group
Lee County will continue its review of density guidelines for development on Pine Island and will formally include two islanders in the process.
The Lee County Board of County Commissioners unanimously agreed during a lengthy meeting Tuesday that county staff, outside legal counsel and expert consultants will review the existing Pine Island Plan. The vote also included the involvement of two residents that live on Pine Island, who have had a hand in drafting the original plan.
Army intelligence photog to speak Saturday
A U.S. Army intelligence photographer, who served in the 1st Infantry Division “The Big Red One,” will speak at the Northwest Regional Library on Saturday about her experience.
Rebeca Brown, who moved to Southwest Florida from Los Angeles 10 months ago, joined the Army in 1980 and served until 1984.
“I wanted to join the Army because I wanted to travel the world and take photos,” she said. “I really love my country.”
County to address Pine Island Plan issue Tuesday
A record turnout attended a town hall meeting this week to rally behind the Pine Island Plan.
“We do care about the island, the animals, the clean water and we care about the people,” Greater Pine Island Civic Association Vice President Kathy Malone said. “We are a family. We come together when we need to. We are all on the same page on this issue.”
Greater Pine Island Civic Association President Roger Wood said the attendance for the Monday, March 9, town hall meeting was huge. He said after counting 565 people it became hard to keep track because people were standing outside the doors, in the parking lot and out towards the street.
Articles published in February 2015:
County to consider raising impact fees
The Lee County Board of County Commissioners will begin its discussions about a possible impact fee increase this Tuesday during a public hearing.
“I can only hope that it goes well,” Commissioner Frank Mann said of the public hearing. “I’m nervous to say the least.”
The current fees are set at 20 percent of the estimated cost of constructing such things as roads, parks and schools necessitated by growth.
County eyes impact fee hike
The Lee County Board of County Commissioners will begin its discussions about a possible impact fee increase during a public hearing scheduled for March 3.
The current fee is set at 20 percent of the estimated cost of constructing such things as roads, parks and schools necessitated by growth. The starting point for next month’s hearing would bring the charge on new construction up to 45 percent of cost or more than double the current amount charged.
Italian ‘water circus’ sets Cape Coral performances
Cirque Italia, an Italian water circus, will return to Cape Coral at the end of February for three performances off of Northeast Pine Island Road.
Cirque Italia owner Manuel Rebecchi was born and raised in Milan, Italy. In an effort to preserve his family’s traditional European style circus, Moira Orfei Circus, he crafted a new brand, Cirque Italia, and brought it to North America in August 2012.
Articles published in January 2015:
Lee School District looks to ‘summer school’
The School District of Lee County has eliminated private tutoring after they opted not to renew a yearly contract. A fifth quarter option of additional instruction will be implemented this summer.
The concept of the extended learning proposal, the fifth quarter, was brought forth to the school board at the beginning of December during a briefing meeting.
The fifth quarter will be held for 25 days with 75 hours of instruction, which breaks down to four hours a day with two hours of reading instruction and an hour of math. It will also include breakfast and lunch.
No impropriety: School super cleared
“Waste, fraud and financial mismanagement” allegations made against Superintendent Nancy Graham in December were dismissed late last week, after a third party attorney found no evidence to support the complaints.
The School Board of Lee County then concluded that no further investigation is needed and no action needs to be taken on the findings during its Jan. 13 meeting.
Articles published in December 2014:
Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village: Poutine proves to be popular ‘secret menu’ treat
A secret menu item was added to the restaurants at the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village after the general manager wanted a taste of home – Canada.
Executive Chef Drew Tait said poutine, a traditional French Canadian dish, was added to a “secret menu” after the manager one day asked him if he could make the delicacy for him.
“He wanted something that reminded him of home,” Tait said.
Organization makes holiday a little brighter for Cape family
A Cape Coral family received a little holiday cheer Wednesday night from the Wounded Warrior Anglers Act of Kindness Emergency Relief Fund to help them through some financial hardships.
School grades above state average: 76 percent of Lee high schools get an A or B
Two high schools in Cape Coral sustained their A grades, while the other two schools went from an A to a B for 2014.
Outside counsel to investigate complaint
The School District of Lee County unanimously agreed to spend up to $10,000 to have an outside attorney investigate a complaint against Superintendent Nancy Graham.
The complaint alleges she “embellished” claims to have saved the district nearly $1 million, as well as expended Title I funds without approval.
Legislative plan: Lee School District tackles testing
The School District of Lee County has unanimously voted to file specific language for legislation regarding state-mandated testing and high-stake penalties for students and schools.
The vote, taken during a special school board meeting Wednesday, passed 4-0, with Mary Fischer being absent.
Articles published in October 2014:
Cape family first to benefit from WWA Act of Kindness Emergency Relief Fund
Wounded Warrior Anglers Act of Kindness Emergency Relief Fund changed the lives of a Cape Coral couple and their 1-year old son, Keygan, Wednesday, Oct. 22, when the organization donated $1,200 to Melissa and Eddie Breese.
Articles published in September 2014:
Restaurant transformation: New owners to close The Joint at Cape Harbour, reopen it as Fathoms Restaurant & Bar
Timothy Hoffman of Hoffman Group Holdings, LLC, said he purchased The Joint on July 9, after residing in the Caribbean for a very long time. He said he owns luxury hotels in the west Caribbean and West Indies, as well as a restaurant, and has been in the hospitality business for a number of years.
Articles published in August 2014:
‘Opt-out’ aftermath: School district looks to move forward
With the Lee County School Board’s decision Wednesday to “opt out” of statewide assessment testing, personnel of the school district were left scrambling to formulate a plan Thursday morning.
Articles published in March 2014:
‘Cirque Italia’ to present multiple shows in Cape Coral
A European traveling water circus, Cirque Italia, will stop in Cape Coral for two weekends this month, featuring a vivid and dramatic experience for attendees of all ages.
Articles published in November 2013:
East West Veterinary Care Center culls top business award
East West Veterinary Care Center was named the winner of the 2013 Southwest Florida Blue Chip Award Thursday afternoon at Harborside Event Center.