Scene & Heard
We saw many a graceful step at this year’s "Dancing With Our Stars" gala at Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa. First, there was Sally Maitland’s gracious exit as fundraising and media relations manager after seven wonderful years at the local Make-A-Wish Foundation. Sally’s one of the kindest, loveliest people I know, and I’ll always treasure the image of her twisting arms, cajoling, pleading—whatever it took—to raise money for sick children. She’s off to work with her husband, Andy, at Andy’s Island Seafood on Matlacha, and I wish her a whale of a time there.
I also celebrate the footwork of FOX4’s Patrick Nolan as he swept the awards night honors. Not only can he move his feet, but that boy can shake his booty. He puts a lot of salsa, comedy and personality into his mambo. Kudos, too, to WINK’s Holly Wagner, for that sexy cha-cha she did, including a split. Patrick’s date at the event was his close friend and former co-anchor, Krista Fogelsong. She’s still in town, awaiting another offer after she and the station failed to come to an agreement on her contract. The woman who replaced Krista, Amy Wegmann, danced in the show, not only competing against her new co-anchor but also her long-time boyfriend, WINK’s Trey Radel.
They were dressed to the teeth at the October costume party put on by orthodontist John Richards and oral surgeon Tim Hogan and their wives Kimberly and Amy. Nearly 200 people gathered at the Richards’ exquisite riverfront estate. Never have I seen so many beautiful teeth, gorgeous people and risqué outfits. There were sexy wenches, a catwoman in full lycra and buff rednecks. Tim and Amy dressed as Playboy’s Hugh Hefner and Holly (the mogul’s voluptuous playmate). But, horror of horrors, one of the prizes for best costume went to Chico’s FAS Inc. CEO Scott Edmonds and his wife, Mary, for their get-ups as Frankenstein and his bride. Beautiful.
The word has spread. Regis Philbin told some of our favorite Naples ladies how wowed he is by the awesome sums raised by our Naples Winter Wine Festival. Suzanne Chute took Shirlene Elkins, Denise Cobb and Lynne Groth to the Big Apple after buying the New York package at a charity auction. As part of the fun, the girls attended Live with Regis and Kelly and went backstage for some personal chitchat. Regis and his producer, Michael Gelman, have been in Naples for the event, and they treated our Neapolitans like visiting royalty.
More vibes from the Naples Winter Wine Festival: U.S. Ambassador to Portugal Al Hoffman and his wife, Dawn, have completed their duties there, and one of their last acts was to host the winners of the lot they donated to NWWF. They held dinners at the ambassador’s mansion in honor of Naples residents Sandy and Jim Figge and John Scot Mueller and Judith Liegeois. The fun also included a tour of the wine region and exclusive access to events with local dignitaries. Great diplomacy all around.
I got to catch up with another local resident, Diane Schwab, who also just returned from a visit to the Hoffmans’. She and a group of gals from Gulf Harbor, where the Hoffmans still own a home (on record as the most expensive house on the market in Lee County), made the journey to see their pal, Dawn.
I saw Diane at a steamy bash put on by the owners of the La-Te-Da and Top It Off salons. Vinnie and Will Sullivan celebrated their 14th year in business with an incredible party for all their clients.
Stylists to local stars, celebrities and the well-to-do, the Sullivans recently consolidated the two salons into one super luxurious location. The party spilled outdoors, where rugs, couches and candles lined the walkways and parking areas between the salon and SHE 3 Collections. SHE 3 owner Sheri Loren, wife of well-known local jewelry designer Mark Loren, hosted guests in her boutique as well. I also got the scoop from Chris Whitaker, one of the owners of the three Blu Sushi restaurants here, that he and his partners are looking to add another location at South Seas Plantation. It’s nice to see a group of local restaurateurs do well. Will there be a Blu franchise in their future?
HOUSE FOR STEVE?
Rumor has it that comedian Steve Martin bought Villa Del Sol, the private beachfront sanctuary in Old Naples. You’ve got to love it when a house has its own name—and this one deserves it. The four-bedroom, six-bath estate features formal gardens, an extraordinary media room and breathtaking views of the Gulf. We are unable to confirm the purchase, but a well-respected source tells me she tried to rent the home for an upcoming party and was told it had been sold to "the Steve Martin." Maybe the home is a gift to his new wife. Martin married his writer girlfriend, Anne Stringfield, in July. He was honored in December at the 30th annual Kennedy Center Honors.
Two brothers, Arun and Arjun Parameswaran, ages 24 and 22, are among BusinessWeek magazine’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs under the age of 25. The two brothers are the founders of Fort Myers-based Astutant Group, which specializes in business services for small-to-medium-sized companies and the medical industry. Both Arun and Arjun were raised in Botswana, Africa, and moved here in the last five years.
SEEKING MR. MONEYBAGS
If you’ve got champagne wishes and caviar urges, the Naples/Marco Island community is the place to live. So says AOL, which has released its top 10 places to find Mr. or Mrs. Moneybags of your dreams. Naples/Marco Island placed number two on the list because (according to the writers) it boasts the largest population of wealthy retirees in the nation. In case you’re taking notes, the article says Fifth Avenue South offers the perfect opportunity to bump into someone whose stock options you’ve been researching online.
Supper club parties are taking the Fort Myers social set by storm. We attended a dinner party for about 70 people at the home of Todd and Wendy Tooley in the Reflection Lakes community of Fort Myers. Each couple in the club agrees to host a dinner every two years. Every few months, one couple in the group prepares a dinner (or hires a caterer to do it) and invites up to 75 of their friends. It’s a great and fun way to meet new people. The Tooleys’ theme was Oktoberfest, complete with pork, brats and sauerkraut.
CHECK THIS WOLF
And finally, my co-anchor Craig Wolf recently reunited with some old high school friends and dug out this picture (below). I thought you all might enjoy seeing it. I figure I get enough comments from our NBC2 viewers about my hair, so maybe he should start getting some feedback too! You’re welcome, Craig.