Please join us in congratulating our December 2021 “Do The Right Thing” recipients. These students exemplified what it means to “Do The Right Thing.”
Giana Geary and Madison Stratman, Gulf Elementary School – 5th Grade
Giana and Madison found $50 cash on the floor in the cafeteria. They demonstrated tremendous integrity and responsibility by turning the cash into an adult.
Gavin Gardner, Oasis Middle School – 6th Grade
Gavin remained calm during an emergency situation in the school’s parent pick-up line. He kept his little brother entertained so that he would not be scared. He showed maturity far beyond his age.
Monica & Louis Galindo Caloosa Middle School – 8th/6th Grade
Monica and her brother Louis found a smart-watch on campus after school. They contacted the owner through the smart-watch and made arrangements to turn it into the school front office. The owner of smart-watch was very impressed with their honesty.
Robert & Richard Waddell Jr Mariner Middle School – 6th/8th Grade
Both Robert and his brother, Richard, were very kind and supportive of another student even when the other student was not kind to Robert. The boys were willing to forgive and give meaningful advice to the student who was not being kind. Both Richard and Robert understood the importance of working out a situation with words, kindness and understanding rather than physical aggression.
Congratulations to all the kids and their parents for their choice to Do The Right Thing!
Customer service center hours are reduced temporarily
Lee County Government is encouraging residents to use online services to obtain transponders as customer service center hours are reduced temporarily due to COVID-19 staff shortages.
The county last fall created an online portal for customers to get free transponders for use on the Cape Coral, Midpoint and Sanibel Causeway bridges, which use all-electronic tolling. Visitwww.leegov.com/tolls to set up an account and receive a free transponder in the mail. Motorists with transponders are not charged an administrative fee. Many other toll agency transponders work at county toll plazas as well, including Sunpass, E-Pass, EZ-Pass, PeachPass and more. Visit the website for details.
Beginning Tuesday, the county’s customer service center for tolling – called the LeeWay Service Center – will have reduced lobby hours for the next two weeks. New temporary hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at the center, 1366 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers.
When normal hours resume, the website will be updated to alert customers. Staff shortages also may contribute to longer hold times for customers who call the center at (239) 533-9297.
In addition to getting a transponder and setting up an account, motorists without transponders can use the website to pay toll invoices incurred via the pay-by-plate system. The website also has helpful videos about all-electronic tolling and partnering toll agencies. Visit www.leegov.com/tolls/electronic.
How do I get a free prepaid transponder?
You can get a transponder mailed to your house by creating an account with LeeWay and loading a prepaid account.
Submitted by Sean David Hartman, Government Affairs Director
This week’s extremely short Council Watch is brought to you by Interrupt-Her! Are you running a City Council meeting and a sweet old lady keeps talking during Citizens Input Time? Or perhaps you are zooming in and-
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Here are the Highlights for the January 5th Regular Meeting:
Not much, as this was another short meeting.
The Community Development Block Grant Board Has a three new members, finally obtaining a full board.
Dr. Maya Robert gave the City Council an update on the bubble Curtain.
At the request of the City Manager, City Council has repealed a perpetual conservation easement with the South Florida Water Management District, so that way he can negotiate a new easement deal.
Citizens Input Time
Joseph Tranquita, representing the Egret Condominium, urged the Council to rezone their condos from commercial to residential. This has created an issue with banks and insurance agencies who see the residential owners as commercial/business owners. Waste Pro has also designated their building as commercial which has led to delays that would not happen if they were zoned as residential.
Vincent Lehman spoke of a reverse concern. His property was purchased as residential but has since been incorporated into the Pine Island Corridor, rezoning it commercial. He does not want his property rezoned back to residential, as he keeps construction vehicles on his property and wants to turn his property into a meeting hall.
Germaine Silyason (sic) is concerned about a problematic house in her neighborhood, 3808 SE 2nd Place, which is infested with mold, rats, and armadillos, and wanted to report it to the City.
Francie Metzker came to the City Council because she is the Lorax and speaks for the trees.
“I’ve witnessed some of our trees being cut down, perfectly good trees,” said Francie. “They cut two trees when they said they were doing the sidewalks. I understand the sidewalks sometimes buckle, but those trees were not buckling the sidewalks that much.”
Sidewalk buckles are cracks or damages in the concrete, usually caused by long-term heat exposure, but which can also be caused by tree roots running underneath the pavement. To resolve this, city workers remove trees that could cause this buckling.
Francie is not a tree hugger, she says, but she wants to keep good trees and offered to pay for replacing the two removed trees.
After speaking on trees, Francie inquired if she had more time (she did), before proceeding to mention how difficult it is to get out of the Kohl’s parking lot, which she described as “literally treacherous.” She recommends a traffic light at the intersection. Eventually, the buzzer went off, and sweet Francie ended with “I’ll come back another time.”
District 2 Councilman Dan Sheppard thanked all the citizens who came out to speak, but especially thanked Francie for her desire to “be a good citizen and beautify the city.”
Community Development Block Grant Board Has Full Slate
The Community Development Block Grant Board now has a full slate of five, meaning the board will meet in March.
The Citizens Advisory Board, which advises City Council on funding for affordable housing and social services, was unable to meet last year due to lack of membership. Their duties were carried out by city staff, who thankfully kept the Board Chairman (yours truly) in the loop.
Dr. Maya Robert gave an all-clear for the Caloosahatchee River and informed the Council that the Mandarin Canal bubble curtain has been operational for a few months. Three more curtains have been purchased and are just awaiting permits from the Federal Government, which, according to Dr. Robert, have been approved, but need to be processed. So we should have those by Christmas.
The City Council also repealed a perpetual conservation easement for the South Florida Water Management District. This was brought forward by City Manager Rob Hernandez, who is negotiating a new easement agreement with the regional environmental agency. It is unclear what this deal will be or if our environment and water quality will be helped or harmed.
The City Council approved a comprehensive rezoning plan, but it was not without opposition.
The rezoning involved 14 blocks of property, mostly rezoned from commercial back to residential based on market trends.
“The market is the market is the market,” said former Mayor and current Sorcerer Supreme Joe Mazkurkiewicz, who spoke in favor of the ordinance. “The use is going to be determined by the market.”
Maz the Mysterious was there representing Newcomb Property Services, who own a block of property on the corner of Chiquita and Savona. Mayor Mazurkiewicz explained that the property was split off from what is now the Aspire Apartments, and was zoned with it, meaning the property is multi-family residential.
Newcomb Property Services sees commercial viability with that corner, and their rezoning request has been added to the broader rezoning ordinance
But Ken McLindon (sic), who lives behind the property, wants to know if the rezoning behind his property will lead to more traffic. The question was rhetorical because the answer was yes.
Ken’s surroundings had been rezoned from single-family to multi-family to mixed-used, with a condo on one side and commercial properties on the other. Ken was not happy with Maz’s magic act.
“He says it’s a high-end marketable piece of property, although there’s residential built right up to the edge of it. Right around the corner, there’s a 7-11 store and a Dollar General. We also have a storage unit, so if that’s the high-end commercial property is going to be used for, great,” said Ken sarcastically.
“I don’t get it. Again, my property changed from single-family, on that canal that they want to look down, to commercial property,” Ken continued. “They changed mine from single-family…to multi-family. Now we got a corner up here that they want to change back because there was some kind of an issue or a problem, there was a misunderstanding, my client — whatever, I got it — want to change it to what it currently is to commercial. So you change mine. You help them, everybody goes away fine, and we’re still left holding the bag.”
District 5 Councilman Bobby Welsh looked up Ken’s property and found that it was not going to be rezoned. However, that does not address his other concerns about traffic and the change in where he lives.
Waste Pro is reporting staffing shortages due to COVID-19, and in response the City of Cape Coral is advising residents they may experience delays in yard waste pickup beginning Monday, January 10.
Cape Coral residents should continue to put out their garbage, recycling, bulk waste and yard waste on their normally scheduled days.
To help mitigate Waste Pro’s current staffing challenges, the City has asked the company to prioritize utilizing the majority of Waste Pro’s available staff on the collection of garbage, recycling and large bulky waste items, and then yard waste.
Residents should know:
If you experience delayed service regarding yard waste, recycling, trash or bulky waste you are encouraged to report missed pick-ups to the City Call Center at 311.
The City and Waste Pro are asking residents to be please mindful of the amount of yard waste they place at the curb and reduce it, if possible.
Regular collections will resume as soon as collection crews are able to return to work.
*These changes do not impact the switch to Same-Day Pick-Up or the Bulk Waste Drop-Off Site. Same-Day Pick-Up will commence Monday, January 10 and the Bulk Waste Drop-Off Site is scheduled to open Tuesday, January 11.
In an effort to continue to enhance the services available to the residents of Cape Coral, the City is partnering with Waste Pro to offer residents a bulk waste drop-off site. The site is a complimentary service, and is an addition to the residential bulk item collection already provided. Residents are still able to place bulky waste curbside on their collection day.
The bulk waste drop-off site is a pilot program that will be implemented for one year. After evaluating public response, the City will decide whether or not to open a permanent location.
The bulk waste drop-off site will open on Tuesday, January 11, 2022. The facility is fenced and staff will be on-site to assist residents as needed. The site will operate Tuesday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Commercial businesses are not permitted to use the facility, because the program is an optional service for residential use only. Proof of residency may be required to dispose of items. Household chemical waste and recycling will not be accepted at the drop-off location.
The bulk waste drop-off site is located on the west side of the North Cape Government Complex.
The address for the complex is 1200 Kismet Parkway; however, the bulk-drop off-site entrance is off NW 14th Avenue, at the western portion of the complex. (See map below)