Scene & Heard: Naples Couple on 'House Hunters'
Plus: Big news for Browtopia
Naples is making a national splash on HGTV for the second time in the last year. This time, viewers will follow the real estate and renovation journey of two recent transplants from Atlanta. Lisa Senters-McDermott and her husband, Ed McDermott, recorded an episode for House Hunters shortly after Hurricane Irma. Lisa told me, “My son, Eamon, lit up the screen.” But, she claims the surprise performance came from her number-crunching husband, who is the chief financial officer at Grey Oaks Country Club. When the cameras started rolling, she says, “He came alive!” Quite a surprise, Lisa says. We’ll learn the location of their new home when the show airs. Also, I’m told to look for the family to pack into a colorful golf cart that’s sure to get the neighbors talking. (The show airs at 10 p.m. March 29.)
What an absolute whirlwind this past season has been—and it’s still flying by in a sparkly cloud of events, parties and festive gatherings. There’s just nothing like springtime in Southwest Florida.
And yet, it seems like just yesterday that I was at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in January for Chicago as local triple-threat singer/dancer/actress extraordinaire Amy McLeary took the stage as marvelous murderess Velma Kelly and set the boards on fire to thunderous applause from a full house. The night I attended with a VIP guest list—including City Council member Teresa Watkins Brown; Rachel Peacock of WGCU with her husband, Cole; Eric Raddatz of the Fort Myers Film Festival; philanthropist and part-time Broadway Palm piano player Marc Collins; and owner of “the Palm” Will Prather, with his stylish girlfriend, Maureen Green—Amy was returning to the cast after her understudy had filled her tap shoes for a couple of performances. The leading lady had a nasty bug, but she rallied like the trouper she is and danced, sang and acted up a storm. As Marc said, “The actors are all incredible at the Broadway Palm. They sometimes perform nine shows a week, and their love for their craft shines through with every performance. Amy McLeary is an inspiration and a testament to the old saying, ‘the show must go on.’” Personally, if I have even a headache, I moan and groan and cancel everything. I need an understudy to go to the grocery store for me, while someone like Amy does two shows a day and then goes home to her two small children. Bravo, indeed. My Fair Lady opens on the Broadway Palm main stage on April 12, and if you want to check out Marc tickling the ivories, be in the lobby bar on Friday nights from 5 to 6:30—there’s always a good crowd and a fun time.
Musicals are fun, but thrillers can be scary—remember at the beginning of the year, when there was a false emergency missile alert in Hawaii? Restaurateur Sandy Stilwell Youngquist’s son, Chauncey, lives in Maui with his wife and Sandy’s four grandchildren and told him, Mom, it was 38 minutes of “pure terror.” He called Sandy, told her he loved her and asked her to pray. The false alarm left the entire family shaken.
Norman and Mary Love are known for being one of the sweetest couples in Southwest Florida, so when the twosome behind our favorite chocolate empire celebrated the January wedding of their super sweet daughter, Carly, and her husband, Chris Haller, it was a big “awwww” moment. There’s nothing like newlywed love in the Love family.
Meanwhile, in the local media world, NBC2 anchor Heather Turco is no longer reporting crime but rather preventing it. Heather recently went to work for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office as a crime prevention specialist. Meanwhile, February marked popular meteorologist Robert Van Winkle’s last days on NBC2. Local viewers are indebted to him for his expertise and calm while reporting on Hurricane Irma and so many other weather events during his 31-year tenure with Waterman Broadcasting. He retires with travel and family on his mind. He’ll certainly be missed.
World-renowned wildlife photographer Clyde Butcher no longer captures the Florida landscape on film. Like Dylan going from acoustic to electric, this stalwart of dark room suspense has made the switch. “I’m having a lot of fun with (digital),” he told me on the phone. It’s a drastic change forced out of necessity nearly a year ago. “On May 2, I’m in the dark room with a 40-by-60 print, and two days later I’m in the hospital with a stroke.” He’s continuing rehab near his home in Venice and still comes down to meet fans in Collier County. In January, Clyde made his first public appearance since the stroke at his Big Cypress Gallery in Ochopee. At 75 years old, it’s physically taxing to load film and lug a large-format camera around wetlands. Clyde says physical therapy sessions are helping his recovery, yet it seems he’s not fully whole without a camera in hand. He’s still able to venture out weekly to find that perfect shot. Only these days, he leans on more than just a lighter digital camera. “I call my walker my off-road vehicle,” Clyde said, laughing at his evolving work tools. He does it because he remains passionate as ever at keeping Florida’s landscape from changing.
January brought a luxury car caper to Naples. Two pricey vehicles were stolen out of two garages in one night. On Eighth Avenue South, someone swiped a BMW 600 series convertible out of an open garage. And surveillance cameras from a Port Royal homeowner on Nelson’s Walk recorded three hooded guys who gained access into a closed garage and pushed out an Audi R8 convertible. As of press time, there had been no arrests.
Few people know more about football than Barry Alvarez. The longtime Wisconsin Badger head coach and current athletic director spends as much time as possible at his Naples home to escape Madison’s frigid winter. He gave yours truly, a football lovin’ Georgia Bulldog alum, hope in the lead up to the College Football National Championship game. A mutual friend at Bay Colony mentioned, “You know, Barry likes Georgia’s chances.” Though pushed to the brink, ’Bama proved one play better. There is an ever-so-slight silver lining to Alvarez’s team missing the playoff altogether: He flew down to Naples sooner than later.
Great big congrats to Brooke Sanzari of Browtopia in downtown Fort Myers. Not only did our local eyebrow expert (also known as the “Brow Pixie”) celebrate 10 years in business this year; she also attended the Indie Beauty Expo in Manhattan in January and had the pleasure of doing the gorgeous brows of Svetlana Lazareva, the uber famous model who has graced the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, among many others. Svetlana was so impressed with the Brow Pixie’s skills, she even featured Brooke and Browtopia on her Instagram page (super important in the beauty product world!).
Photo courtesy Charlie McDonald Photography