School grades above state average

School grades above state average: 76 percent of Lee high schools get an A or B

Published in Cape Coral Daily Breeze Dec. 18, 2014 issue

Two high schools in Cape Coral sustained their A grades, while the other two schools went from an A to a B for 2014.

Cape Coral High School and Ida Baker High School kept their A grade, which both schools have earned since 2012. Island Coast High School received a B, after earning an A for the first time since 2010. Mariner High School received a school grade of a B, which is the first time since 2010.

According to the School District of Lee County, 76 percent of high schools in Lee County earned an A or B grade, which exceeds the state average of 71 percent. Statistics also show that there are 60 fewer A schools in the state of Florida compared to last year, which includes four high schools in Lee County – Island Coast, Cypress Lake, Mariner and Lee Virtual.

Lee Virtual dropped to a B because only 94 percent of its students tested.

East Lee County High School was one of 55 schools in the state of Florida to have raised a letter grade from a D to a C.

“Even though we improved there, we understand we have a lot of work to do,” Board Member Steve Teuber said. “This board will be looking at changing how we apply resources to East.”

He said the board will look at what resources are necessary for success, giving East further attention and emphasis to improve the letter grade even further.

The high school grades are based on 50 percent assessment performances and the remaining 50 percent is based on such components as graduation rates, ACT and SAT scores and for the first time this year U.S. History End of Course exam.

Teuber said the graduation rate continues to increase for Lee County schools. He said Island Coast High School had an 89 percent graduation rate, Cape Coral High School had an 88 percent graduation rate, Ida Baker High School had a 90 percent graduation rate and Mariner High School had an 86 percent graduation rate.

The dropout rate, on the other hand, Teuber said, stinks.

“The state doubled and we tripled,” he said.

Lee County’s dropout rate went from 1.1 percent to 3.9 percent, compared to the state dropout rate of 4.3 percent.

Teuber said if a ninth to 12th grade student moves to Georgia and tells the school district they are moving, that student is taken out of the system. If the school district is not made aware of a student moving out of the school district, they are considered a dropout.

The school grade scores were changed on a state level from the previous year, 2013-2014 for A and B schools. Schools were required to earn 70 additional points to earn or maintain an A grade. In order to earn or maintain a B grade, high schools were required to earn an additional 50 points.

Teuber said the question the district has to look into is did those schools drop a grade because of the extra 70 points they had to earn, or would the school grades have dropped if the bar was not raised.

“I don’t know if it’s indicative to less performance or didn’t perform enough,” he said, adding that he will further look into the state data.

“Oldest theater group in Lee County”

Catching a Show at Cultural Park Theatre

Published in Community Lifestyles Cape Coral October/November 2014 issue

The oldest theater group in Lee County is celebrating 52 years of providing entertainment to Southwest Florida residents and visitors.

coverExecutive 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.

The shows became very popular once the entertaining began, which led the group to changing their troupe name to the Cape Coral Community Players.

“They performed anywhere and everywhere they could find space,” Moran said.

The Cape Coral Community Players saved up their earnings, and together, built the Cultural Park Theater. The little house, at 528 Cultural Park Blvd., has remained the same over the decades it’s been in use, with the exception of upgrades to the decor and sound system.

The original group was scheduled to have their first stage production in November 1963.

“They had to cancel the first show they ever did because it happened on the same day President Kennedy was assassinated,” Moran said. “They canceled their first performance in honor of the president.”

He said the troupe decided it was far more tasteful to be closed that day.

“From there they have just grown tremendously over the years,” Moran said. “January through May you have to call early to get a seat in this place. The summertime gives us a little more play room.”

When the Cultural Park Theatre first began holding performances, there were one or two a year. Now the theater hosts approximately 26 of them a year.

The theater has numerous seasons throughout the calendar: Broadway shows September through May; concert series September through May, summer concert series and summer camps.

The concert series, now in its fourth year, is the newest of the programs offered for residents.

“It has grown substantially,” Moran said. “When we started four years ago, we had to chase after artists and now the phone rings by people who want to be a part of the season.”

The music varies, so it is appealing for all patrons. This year the series includes mostly tributes of different styles of music.

Cultural Theatre2This year’s season kicked off with a Patsy Cline tribute by Linda Fazioli. The season will also have David Morin as Elvis Presley Friday, Oct. 31, Saturday, Nov. 1, and Sunday, Nov. 2, performing four shows, both matinees at 3 p.m. and evening shows at 8:30 p.m.

“He is a knock-your-socks-off performer,” Moran said. “He covers the Elvis venue, from young Elvis to the end.”

Other performances include a Charlie Vee tribute to Barry Manilow in February; Simply Streisand Carla Del Villaggio as Barbara Streisand in March; Neil Zirconia as Neil Diamond in April and Cultural Park Theater’s Reveilli Revue in May.

Tickets for the concert series are $20. The theater seats 184 people.

The Broadway shows will include “You’re Never Too Old” in October; “And Then There Were None” in November; “Fantasticks” and “Christmas Spectacular” in December; “Monty Python’s Spamalot” in January; “Dixie Swim Club” in February; “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum” in March; “Fools” in April and “Odd Couple” in May.

Moran said the Cultural Park Theater has the most reasonable tickets in the area for their Broadway season. Tickets are $19 for adults; $17 for seniors; $13 for students with ID and $10 for children under 12 years old.

In 1991, the theater began holding children and adult education classes and summer classes. There are three educational programs offered for every age group.

The most popular class is the Broadway Babies program for children ages 5 to 7, which has already begun for the fall session.

“The program is an introduction for young students to come in and start learning the basics of acting, singing and dancing,” Moran said. “They get together to meet for eight weeks, one day a week and put a program together for friends and family at the end of the class.”

The theater also offers Musical Theater Performance Level I and Level II. Music Theater I is geared for children 7 to 10 years old and the Musical Theater II is for 11- to 16-year-olds.

Moran said the more advanced classes work on all aspects of musical theater, such as acting, singing and dancing. The older kids work on character development during the course.

The last of the educational programs is an Adult Acting class. The class does not begin at a certain level, but rather teaches as if students were learning the craft for the first time. The instructors, Moran said, work individually with each of the students in the class.

The summer camp is another favorite among elementary- to high-school-aged children, attracting 45 to 50 students every session. The camps, which run all summer long, are held for two weeks at a time, focusing on developing stage presence, acting, singing and dancing, as well.

At the end of the two week session, the students put on a showcase for their families and friends.

The two-week camp is $240 and is held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information about the Cultural Park Theater, any of its upcoming performances, classes or to purchase tickets, contact the box office at 239-772-5862 or go online by visiting CulturalParkTheater.com.

‘Satisfying that sweet tooth’

Untitled

Sweet Treats

Satisfying that sweet tooth in Cape Coral

Published in August/September Cape Coral Community Lifestyles

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.

Rosie’s Gourmet Fudge

Rosie’s Gourmet Fudge has been a part of the Shell Factory for more than 38 years, offering sweet goodness to its customers at the 2787 N. Tamiami Trail location.

Fudge master Kim Corbett said they offer 30 different varieties of fudge, all hand-made at the shop. She said the 45-minute process begins by pouring ingredients into a copper pot and cooking it at 230 degrees.

After the fudge is done cooking, it’s poured onto a marble slab table and shaped into loaves of bread with a little spatula. Once shaped, the fudge is put onto trays that are then moved to the store’s display.

“I make four to five batches a day,” Corbett said.

page 23Fudge is made daily except on the weekends – all without preservatives. Since the fudge is made without preservatives, it can be left out for two weeks or put into a freezer for up to a year. The fudge, however, cannot be placed in the refrigerator because it will harden.

“On Monday we make it again and start fresh,” she said. “I try to make up a good selection.”

On average, there are 20 different flavors of traditional and gourmet fudge.

Some of the varieties include maple pecan, plain maple, Butterfinger, Snickers, chocolate raspberry, mint chocolate chip, Health Bar, cookies and cream, chocolate walnut, vanilla with pecans, coconut, and peanut butter banana. Another favorite is penuche, which is old-fashioned brown sugar fudge, offered both plain and with walnuts.

Corbett said the fudge has nuts rippled throughout, as well as inside. The candy fudge is made the same way. Chocolate-covered Oreo cookies, chocolate-covered pretzels and chocolate-covered marshmallows are also offered to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.

Rosie’s also carries homemade ice cream, made in Sarasota from an Amish family. There are 28 flavors offered. Some of those include peanut butter cup, cotton candy, rocky road, pistachio, Oreo cookies, Superman, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and two sugar-free flavors.

Banana splits, sundaes, root beer floats, coke floats and milk shakes also grace the ever-tasty menu. Corbett said Rosie’s offers specialty waffle cones and a variety of toppings, as well.

For further information about Rosie’s Gourmet Fudge, visit Et sy.com/ shop/Ros iesGourmet Fudge or call 239-997-5555.

Miz Catherine’s Dessert Cafe

A business reopening their doors on Santa Barbara Boulevard is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth with its gourmet cupcakes, cookies and variety of cakes, at 3032 Santa Barbara Blvd., Unit 201.

Catherine Hoggs-Perez reopened her store, Miz Catherine’s Dessert Cafe, earlier this month after closing at the end of April. The cafe originally opened on Nov. 2011.

page 24“I’ve been baking since I was a young girl,” she said. “I always baked with my mom and grandmother. It is something we have always done in my family and we bake from scratch.”

Hoggs-Perez spent time taking classes in New York at a culinary school, primarily to acquire some new decorating skills.

Her bakery consists of cupcakes, cookies, cake pops, wedding cakes, custom cakes and birthday cakes.

“It’s just a sweet shop,” Hoggs- Perez laughed, which is all made from scratch.

She hopes to add cobblers, slices of pie and parfaits to the menu to provide a variety of desserts customers can choose from while enjoying a cup of coffee.

Hoggs-Perez said when creating and decorating cakes, she takes individual’s ideas, and adds her own sweet touch, making masterpieces.

“The bride sends me pictures and we chit chat of what their dreams are and come up with something special for them,” she said.

In order to make a wedding cake, Hoggs-Perez said she has to have at least six- to eight-week advance notice, unless the cake is less intricate, which can then be made in less time. With birthday and theme cakes, she needs at least two to three weeks advance notice.

“I just love doing them,” she said of making wedding cakes.

The cafe will also offer gluten-free and vegan cupcakes for customers, in addition to the 25 flavors that already grace the shop.

“On a daily basis, I do between seven and eight flavors,” Hoggs-Perez said of the cupcakes. “After two days I rotate to two new offerings.”

Some of the gourmet cupcake flavors include mint chocolate chip, classic red velvet, coconut chocolate chip, cherry pistachio, pink lemonade, classic tiramisu, lemon raspberry and blackberry delight.

The cafe also offers an assortment of cookies, which regularly rotates. The cake pops, which she said children really love, come in such flavors as key lime, chocolate, lemon, pumpkin and peanut butter.

For more information about Miz Catherine’s Dessert Cafe, visit MizCatherines.com, or find the cafe on Facebook by searching “MizCatherinesADessertCafe.”

Send It Sweetly

If artisan chocolates and gourmet popcorn is among your cravings, stop by Send It Sweetly in South Cape Coral to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Ande and Shane Grant opened Send It Sweetly a year ago on 47th Terrace after making sweets in the Phoenix area for a while. Ande said although her husband has played with chocolate his whole life, due to working in restaurants since he was 15 years old, he has been creating chocolate flavors for the past four years.

The couple purchased the 6,000- foot building, 1309 SE 47th Terrace, and decided to give it a facelift by re- painting the exterior and putting up new signs, so customers know precisely where they are.

sweetsThe couple makes artisan chocolates, custom candy bars, more than 50 flavors of gourmet popcorn, half-pound jumbo cookies and half-pound Belgium brownies.

Boutique wines from small vineyards are also available.

“My stuff is the best that is bad for you,” Ande laughed about the ingredients they use for their Noela Chocolat.

She said they carry Belgium chocolates in dark, white and milk chocolate in close to 100 different varieties. Some of the flavors include pistachio, chipotle cinnamon, honey caramel, green apple, strawberry and raspberry.

The purees are pure and natural, and the business uses fair trade chocolate whenever possible.

“We try to use fair trade because they help the farmers; it is organic and kosher,” she mentioned.

Ande said the one thing she and her husband take pride in, is when customers bite into their chocolate, they know what the flavor is without looking at a cheat sheet.

“If you bite into orange (flavored chocolate), you are going to know exactly what you are eating,” she said. “We put a lot of product inside of them. We don’t skimp on them. That was how we started tweaking our chocolate so people know … there is no doubt in your mind.”

The couple also makes customized candy bars in bright colors like yellow, metallic, silver, purple, red, copper, green, gold and red. The copper, for example, includes a variation of honey, caramel and walnuts, while the green has pistachio and caramel and the silver candy bar includes gooey marshmallows and graham crackers.

“My husband I like to play with stuff,” she said of creating new flavors. “We are constantly trying new and different things.”

The gourmet popcorn includes such tasty flavors as orange cheese mixed with caramel corn, pretzel toffee crunch, green caramel apple and regular caramel drizzled with chocolate. Ande said she uses coconut oil to make the popcorn.

The Grants’ shop is geared toward gifts and personalization. The business’ specialty is personalizing the sweet gifts by using an engraving machine on the merchandise.

Customers can personalize their chocolates by placing a business logo on top, or if someone gets married, their wedding date can be added to the chocolate. Boxes and wine bottles can also be engraved with whatever the customer chooses, as the business offers many customized boxes of selected chocolates.

“It’s a personalized sweets factory,” Ande said. “If someone walks in, we can turn the logo-ed chocolates around in 48 hours.”

Shane has his own transfer sheets on premise, so nothing goes out, everything is made fresh and in house.

To see a collection of what the Grant’s offer, visit SendItSweetly.com, or call 239-793-3859.

Fathoms Restaurant & Bar

Restaurant transformation

New owners to close The Joint at Cape Harbour, reopen it as Fathoms Restaurant & Bar

Published in Cape Coral Daily Breeze Sept. 12, 2014

A popular restaurant located at Cape Harbour has been renamed by the new owners, and will soon receive a facelift, before reopening Tuesday, Sept. 23.

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.

With the desire to return back to the United States, and after visiting Cape Harbour, Hoffman fell in love with the potential of The Joint and the outside bar.

“It’s a little bit humbling to buy something successful,” he said.

One of the major changes that took place after purchasing The Joint was the name change. Since the restaurant overlooks the marina and Cape Coral has 400 miles of canals, Hoffman decided to change the name to Fathoms Restaurant & Bar.

fathoms1“Fathoms represent the nautical depths for water,” he explained. “It seemed to tie in with the theme with the strong ties of Cape Coral and the nautical element without going over the top.”

One of his chefs from the Caribbean property has joined Hoffman in Cape Coral and is working with the current executive chef.

“The biggest area that we are having a lot of fun in right now is the specials,” Hoffman said.

He said they will have three to four specials every night, so the chefs have an opportunity to specialize in different menu items. Hoffman said they will create some custom pieces that may end up on the menu if they are popular.

“The specials are the things that we are most excited about,” he said. “The specials are where we see the most change coming in, in terms of the restaurant.”

Other than the specials, the menu will remain the same.

Fathoms Peruvian Style Mahi Ceviché. Photo Provided

Fathoms Peruvian Style Mahi Ceviché. Photo Provided

Hoffman said as they develop more relationships with local vendors, they will incorporate more locally purchased products into the menu items.The restaurant is closing after service on Saturday, Sept. 13, and reopen Tuesday, Sept. 23. Hoffman said since the restaurant is 8 years old, it needs a facelift. The facelift will include painting and improving the initial layout of the restaurant, which he said does not work as well anymore.

“Hopefully it will improve service that transcends down to our guests,” he said.

Hoffman said they are going to lighten up the restaurant by using a lighter color palette.

“I want the inside to be appealing like the outside,” he said.

The tables, which are walnut color, will also be lightened back to its natural wood. The plates used for the dishes are a little more modern as well.

“What we do will only last a few years before we have to do it again,” Hoffman said. “We believe it is important to keep the place fresh and looking good.”

On Saturday, before the restaurant closes, Hoffman will have music and an auction to benefit Autism Speaks. He said a few of the items merchandised to The Joint will be auctioned and the money generated will be donated.

“Let’s have a laugh and have a little bit of fun on the bidding,” Hoffman said of such merchandise as surf boards and an old chandelier.

When Fathoms Restaurant & Bar reopens on Tuesday, Sept. 23, Deb & The Dynamics will perform.

“We are very excited to have them here on that night,” Hoffman said.

Fathoms next event will be held on Oct. 3, through Oct. 5, for Oktoberfest, which will feature live music and a 25-foot smoking BBQ truck.

Fathoms is located at 5785 Cape Harbour Dr. Visit its Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/fathomsrestaurant for more information.

Read the article on the website of the Cape Coral Daily Breeze:

http://www.cape-coral-daily-breeze.com/page/content.detail/id/541080/Restaurant-transformation.html

“That event itself was life changing”

The life of one medically retired United States Marine changed forever after coming into contact with the nonprofit organization Wounded Warrior Anglers of America, Inc.

“I believe it’s an outstanding organization that is perfect right now for the pulse of America and the veteran community,” Peter Paskewicz, a Cape Coral, Florida resident, said. “It’s a little niche not found out there.”

Approximately six months ago, Paskewicz paid a visit to his local bait store, which resulted in an invitation to talk to the organization after asking about other veterans in the area that enjoyed fishing. He said he happened to be in the store when Dave Souders, co-founder of the organization, was also there.

“That is basically how I really got connected,” Paskewicz said.

He joined the Marines and served for three years during the first Gulf Wars from 1990 to 1993.

“I was with some very outstanding people and I know that the Marines made a positive influence on my life,” he said. “I wish I could go back. I love it.”

Paskewicz sustained lower extremity injuries, some of which include a lower back injury from a fall and a shattered hip.

He said since he has some physical problems, he wanted to get to know other veterans who liked to fish, a passion he found when he was a youngster.

“I enjoy the environment,” Paskewicz said of why he loves fishing. “I believe we are connected to the water in one way. If the water is healthy, I believe the rest of the environment is healthy.”

Before medically retiring from the service, he said fishing had always been his most private and personal time where he could reflect back on the good in his life, as well as allow all the negative things to fade away.

As a wounded warrior who loves fishing, Wounded Warrior Anglers was a perfect match for this gentleman.

battle of matlachaThe organization helps its warriors by taking them out on the water for a day of fishing, an outing that promotes a friendly and peaceful environment to help warriors heal.

“I think the Wounded Warrior Anglers provides a platform that is easy for people to meet and greet one another,” Paskewicz said.

He said the commonality and disability portion of the organization really brings everything together, making Wounded Warrior Anglers what it is today.

He said after leaving the service, fishing provided a new kind of therapy.

“It made me feel like I am still capable of doing things, still capable of accomplishing goals,” Paskewicz said. “It gives me a sense of achievement.”

Wounded Warrior Anglers holds a few retreats throughout the year that invites wounded warriors and their caregivers to Matlacha, Florida, for a day of relaxation on the water fishing, or at Spa 33, with others who have gone through similar experiences.

“That was a very important day for me and my family,” Paskewicz said of the retreat he attended about two months ago. “I had been struggling with medications and pain for about six and a half years and not feeling very good about fishing or anything.”

Once this wounded warrior received an invitation to his first retreat, it provided him with the freedom to go out fishing, while knowing he was not alone, knowing he was going to be with other wounded warriors.

“That event itself was life changing for me,” he said. “I have a whole new attitude. It was absolutely what I needed.”

That single day of camaraderie, that one day of sharing a love of fishing with others, has kept positive thoughts flowing through Paskewicz.

“I’m very grateful for the Wounded Warriors and I feel strongly that it is something really needed in our communities today for our veterans and community members as well,” he said. “It brings veterans closer to the community and the community closer to the veterans. I think it is an outstanding platform.”

Paskewicz recently volunteered at the organization’s 2nd annual Redfish Poker Fishing Championship, in memory of Sgt. John R. Pestel, last month. He said he provided a helping hand in the morning to set things up and whatever else was needed to show support.

“I was approached by at least 100 people that day, all thanking me for my service,” he said.

Those words touched this Marine.

“It was an honor,” Paskewicz said. “It made me feel proud and glad I served for people like them. That was a very special day in itself also. The civilians got to interact with the veterans and I think it was great

“It was grand”

The 2nd annual Redfish Poker Fishing Championship, in memory of Sgt. John R. Pestel, was a huge success for the nonprofit organization, Wounded Warrior Anglers, this past Memorial Day weekend.

“I think it was grand,” Judy Souders, co-founder of Wounded Warrior Anglers said after the event. “The tournament was 100 percent successful. It raised good money for Wounded Warrior Anglers and that’s why we did the tournament.”

20142ndannual1a-2Dave Souders, also co-founder of the organization, said 23 boats and 11 kayakers participated in the Saturday, May 24, tournament.

Although this year’s tournament included seven more kayakers, the number of boats decreased by six. David said the decrease really did not affect the success of the tournament, due to the interest in the silent and live auctions and 50/50 raffles.

“I think everybody had a great time and really loved the event,” Dave said.

The event kicked off with a captain’s meeting the night before, which he said went pretty smooth without any problems, as the anglers learned all the specifics of the tournament at Beef O’ Brady’s in Cape Coral

The following morning the anglers arrived at their destinations with the  same thought in mind – claiming one of the first place prizes by catching the biggest red and the redfish with the most spots.

The photo and release tournament required the anglers to take a photograph of their catch on an approved measuring board. Those photographs were then brought back to the Olde Fish House Marina for weigh in that Saturday afternoon.

The boat division was won by JBA Construction Jeff Asbury, who claimed $1,000. The first place kayak division winner was Jeff Gabrick who won $500 cash.

The calcutta winner was the Dirt Necks, who claimed $2,000.

Caleb Smith also walked away from the tournament with some additional funds in his pocket. He won $600 for the most spots calcutta and $100 as the 16 and under winner.

Caleb, 10, who goes out fishing pretty much every weekend, said catching the fish was his favorite part of the tournamnet.

“We went to different spots and went red fishing,” the youngster said during the tournament.

Caleb also said it was exciting winning $700.

Throughout the day, five bands donated their time and talent, to bring some music to the event. Not Guilty, Grayson Rodgers, Sticky Revenge, Wild Caught and Bonham528 kept the crowd entertained from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“The bands were incredible,” Judy said.

The second annual boat raffle was also deemed a success, due to the organization selling out of all 3,000 tickets by 12:30 p.m. the day of the tournament.

This year’s boat was a 2014 NauticStar 2110 Sport Bay with 115hp Yamaha four-stroke and trailer.

The lucky ticket holder was announced at 7 p.m. at the Olde Fish House Marina on May 24.  Bill Swartzwelder of Cape Coral, Florida, became the owner of the brand new NauticStar. He said he plans on letting Asbury use the boat to take individuals out on the water.

Next year’s boat raffle, Dave said, may possibly increase to 5,000 tickets, which will provide more individuals with the opportunity to donate to the organization.

The organization is seeking a boat manufacture who would like to donate a boat to the cause, to provide the organization with the opportunity to put more funds into the organization, and therefore help more wounded warriors and their caregivers.

Judy said overall the day was awesome.

“The weather was beautiful, the volunteers were awesome,” she said. “The people that came were awesome, they gave, they were pleasant.”

Judy said it amazes her how the wounded warriors come out and work with each other and stand up for their brotherhood.

Tate Hutchinson, a board member of Wounded Warrior Anglers, had the opportunity to attend this year’s tournament.

“It was great,” he said of his experience. “It was very inspirational and it was nice to see the community come together for the veterans.”

Before the day concluded May 24, approximately 500 people stopped by the Olde Fish House Marina to support the organization Wounded Warrior Anglers.

Approximately $12,500 was raised during the 2nd annual tournament, which will help the organization fulfill their mission of helping our wounded warriors and their caregivers.

The 3rd annual Redfish Poker Fishing Championship has already been set for the Saturday before Memorial Day in 2015.

Wounded Warrior Anglers of America, Inc. was founded in 2012 by Dave and his wife Judy. Its mission is to “help rehabilitate the mind, body and soul of all service members who have been injured, wounded or disabled in the line of duty no matter what their era of service.”

The organization helps its warriors by taking them out on the water for a day of fishing. This outing helps promote a friendly and peaceful environment to help warriors heal.

Wounded Warrior Anglers also help the warrior’s caregivers by treating them to a day of relaxation at Spa 33 in Matlacha, Florida.

For more information, visit http://woundedwarrioranglers.org/

To view more blogs about this organization, visit https://meghan80.wordpress.com/wounded-warrior-anglers-of-america-inc/

‘European traveling water circus’

I contributed an article to the Cape Coral Daily Breeze, a newspaper in Florida, this week about a European traveling water circus. It sounds like a neat show, especially with the water aspect. The producer and CEO offered me tickets to the Cape Coral performances, too bad I no longer live in the area. It would be neat to see what I wrote about.

‘Cirque Italia’ to present multiple shows in Cape Coral

Published in Cape Coral Daily Breeze March 6, 2004

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.

Cirque Italia, a European traveling water circus.  Photo provided for the Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Cirque Italia, a European traveling water circus.
Photo provided to the Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Cirque Italia owner Manuel Rebecchi was born and raised in Milan, Italy. 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.Chante’ DeMoustes, Cirque Italia producer and chief operating officer, said Rebecchi was inspired by the European concept of the circus, which is more of a black tie affair.

“He brought Europe here,” she said adding that attendees have an opportunity to experience the feeling of a show that travels to smaller towns. “They don’t have to go to Vegas or New York to experience those types of shows. We are bringing them to their backyard at a fraction of the cost.”

DeMoustes said although they have traveled all over the United States for two seasons, this is the first time Cirque Italia will stop in Cape Coral.

The shows are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 7; 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8; 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, March 9; 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 14; 1:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 15 and 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, March 16.

Cirque Italia, a European traveling water circus.  Photo provided to Cape Coral Daily Breeze.

Cirque Italia, a European traveling water circus.
Photo provided to Cape Coral Daily Breeze.

The tent will be set up at 917 N.E. Pine Island Road.DeMoustes said the show is two hours long with a 15-minute intermission between the first and second half of the performance.

The 35,000-gallon-water stage, which was custom designed in Italy, is located in the center of the white and blue tent. The 40-foot Broadway, circular-style stage, is 4 feet high with a stage lid that lifts 35-feet up in the air during the show as rain descends and a fountain dances with each performance move.

“Water is the aspect of our stage,” she said. “We have this stage and the water falls from the top of the tent to the bottom of the tent inside a pool of water.”

Delena Fusco, a sixth generation circus performer from Argentina, does an aerial act.

“I’m the mermaid of the show and I also do a traditional act from Argentina,” she said.

During her performance, she is located on top of the water. She said the stage opens up and it rains water.

“It’s not a job, it’s my life,” Delena said. “I have been doing this since I was 3 years old. We came to the United States 10 years ago performing the circus. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Emiliano Fusco does a juggling act with his brother. He said they do lots of difficult tricks, such as juggling with fire and balancing objects on their head.

His brother Maximiliano set the Guinness Book of World Record for juggling five clubs for 57 minutes.

“We have performers from all over the world,” Emiliano said. “It’s fun for the whole family.”

Cirque Italia, a European traveling water circus.  Photo provided to the Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Cirque Italia, a European traveling water circus.
Photo provided to the Cape Coral Daily Breeze

DeMoustes said her favorite part is watching people’s faces after the show.”When they come, they don’t know what to expect,” she said of the intimate, theatrical feel the performance provides.

DeMoustes said the individual acts have their own unique story line, which is not hard to understand once the performance is complete. There is also a humorous act where the performers go in the water.

“There is an act for every age,” she said. “It’s really for all ages.”

Tickets range from $10 to $50 depending on which level is purchased. Free children tickets are provided for youngsters 12 years old and younger. The special is given with every regular full price adult admission ticket for levels two and three only.

“Manuel didn’t want the price point to be $100 a ticket,” DeMoustes said. “He wanted every age to be able to enjoy the show.”

To purchase tickets, call 941-704-8572, or visit cirqueitalia.com/tickets/.