Scene & Heard
Call it a vehicle to success. lana gomez, daughter of Neapolitan Simone Lutgert, was honored as an emerging artist at the SCOPE art show in Miami, considered one of the world’s leading contemporary art shows. Gomez’s canvas was a Smart Car, and her custom-wrapped design brought oohs and aahs from the crowd—and her proud family in Naples.
WHAT A HOST!
What will hosting president barack obama, prince albert of Monaco, countless charity events and weddings get you? In Rose Bernal-Rundle’s case, it was the 2011 Apex Woman of the Year award. Bernal-Rundle, the general manager of Harborside Event Center in downtown Fort Myers, was honored before 200 guests at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort in November. The yearly tribute to Lee County women recognizes professional achievement, personal development and community service. Bernal-Rundle was named the winner from a group of finalists including Christin Collins, Melissa Simontis, Carol Conway and Denise Spence. Bernal-Rundle was recruited for the job 10 years ago by then- Mayor Jim Humphrey, who was on hand to introduce a woman he calls his proudest accomplishment as Fort Myers’ mayor.
The “who’s who” of southwest florida gathered at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in November to honor Gulfshore Life’s 2011 Men and Women of the Year. What a class of honorees! Joe Cox, the man behind the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples; Tom Golisano, the money behind the museum, founder of Paychex and former owner of the Buffalo Sabres hockey team; 2010 Naples Winter Wine Festival chairs Bruce and Cynthia Sherman; famed Everglades photographer and environmentalist Clyde Butcher; businesswoman and philanthropist Gail Markham; and respected longtime Naples banker Gary Tice. There was one other attendee you might have heard of—a woman who was once a world force at her trade. Tennis star Monica Seles, looking beautiful and fit, was there as Golisano’s date. Score one for that Man of the Year.
BOOST OF $28 MILLION
How about this school day? there was no reading or writing, but the arithmetic was stunning. On a cool, clear night in early December, about 250 guests celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Lee County Foundation for Public Schools and learned from head man Marshal Bower that Foundation supporters have raised more than $28 million for Lee County Public Schools. The event took place in downtown Fort Myers outside the county’s oldest schoolhouse, the Gwynne Building (100 years old and counting). The parking lot was transformed by organizers Lou Pontius, Brenda Tate and Linda Ulrich into a magical outdoor dining room complete with candelabras, lighted palm trees and white tablecloths. Guests were treated to a wonderful catered dinner, and, naturally, champagne. An A-plus to all for this class act.
It sure seems like baby season is here. Congratulations to Heather and Jamie Dockweiler, who welcomed their daughter, Celie, into the world in late November. The couple was about to board a ship to take a Disney cruise when Celie decided to make an early entrance into this world. Advice to Heather and Jamie: Better schedule a makeup cruise so Celie doesn’t get cheated out of her trip. NBC-2 reporter Meaghan Smith and her husband, Josh Morgan, also welcomed a daughter, Mira Rose. And best wishes, too, to FOX-4 news anchor Amy Wegman and her husband, Trey Radel, on the birth of their son Jude. More birth announcements to come!
There was a whole lot of strutting and vamping going on one night last November on the patio outside Brodeur Carvell in Fort Myers. What we had was a “Stars Under the Stars” fashion show to raise money for a new children’s hospital to serve Southwest Florida. Models known as “friends of the hospital” sashayed down the runway sporting resort and holiday wear from local retailers. Sashayers included Michele Eddy, Muni and Jack Reynoldson, Sonya Sawyer, Victor Mayero and the show-stealer Amy Sanford, her handsome husband, Stephen, and one-year-old daughter Sienna. Thanks go to that relentlessly energetic Christin Collins, Lee Memorial Health System Foundation Director, for organizing the event and helping raise $6,000 for the cause. This was a model outing in every respect.
HERO OR VILLAIN?
Intrigue on captiva. the word is that Sanibel fishing guide-turned-best-selling author Randy Wayne White is writing another novel, based, of course, on the adventures of marine biologist Doc Ford. I hear one of the main characters might be familiar to many locals. Businesswoman/philanthropist Sandy Stilwell, a longtime force on Captiva Island and owner of the Captiva Inn and numerous other area restaurants, is said to be a character in his new book. No word yet on whether her 15 minutes of fame will be as a hero or villain. America will soon find out.
Help is on the way for the women of Southwest Florida. When Brenda Tate told her pals Lou Pontius and Linda Ulrich that $200 million had been raised for women’s funds all over America and not a single dollar was coming to the state of Florida, the three of them decided to act. They’re now putting their considerable fundraising skills into starting the Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida. They’ve already commissioned Florida Gulf Coast University to do a study to prioritize the needs that should be targeted for assistance. Stand back. This Lee County power trio is rolling and will deliver the goods for those most deserving.
Things are sure popping over at the Naples Botanical Garden. Hats in the Garden, that glorious unofficial start to season in Naples, brought 450 guests in their finest fascinators and couture caps to its eighth annual outing in November. Florida First Lady Ann Scott, wearing a black and purple fascinator, was there for the luncheon under the tent. Other notables included New York milliner Satya Twena and guest speaker Remco van Vliet, the famed designer who wowed the crowd with his floral creations. One more bright note—organizers raised $300,000 to support the Garden. Also in November, the Garden hosted nuptials for the winners of its first Dream Destination Wedding Giveaway. This took place at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 (11-11-11) and the happy couple, Princess Moody and Gabriel Davis, and their 75 guests were treated to a magical day at the garden, thanks to local vendors who donated their time and talent. I love a Garden that gives rise to so many diverse pleasures. Grow on.