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Kellie Burns' Scene & Heard

Kellie Burns shares gossip, news and notes from around Southwest Florida.

Dulce Mendoza gives thanks to her migrant worker parents at a gala to support the Guadalupe Center, where the Immokalee High senior has taken part in many programs.


Anchor Weds … A Lauder Show … Political Heavyweights


One of fashion’s newest stars, Aerin Lauder (who just happens to be the granddaughter of one of the iconic names in the business, Estée Lauder), was in town in January to show off her new AERIN furniture collection at Clive Daniel. Locals with great taste flocked to the store to meet Lauder and check out everything from couches to coffee tables. Philanthropist/socialite/dance champion Shelia Davis was so enamored with what she saw that she bought a room full and had it delivered to her Mediterra home the very next morning …




“After my dad was diagnosed with cancer in March, we didn’t know if he would be able to walk me down the aisle.”

—Stacey Deffenbaugh, NBC2 weekend anchor

What a touching and elegant wedding it was when Stacey Deffenbaugh married her culinary dream man Keith Meyer in January at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. Gorgeous pink and orange flowers flowed from the fountains to the tables, matching the pink and orange sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Both Stacey’s dad, Paul, and Keith had been diagnosed with cancer and are now in remission. Her mom, Penny, introduced the couple and is thrilled that her new son-in-law owns her favorite restaurant, Trabue. “It was the best day of my life,” Stacey said. “We had a lot to celebrate.”


… Foodie alert! SS Hooker’s is coming your way in May, courtesy of Sandy Stilwell, Lee County restaurant mogul. This eighth restaurant of hers, in Punta Rassa just before the Sanibel Causeway, will offer American cuisine with a Cajun flair along with a fish market and gift shop. Mary Susan Clinton and Nora Price have added their creative touch to the look and feel of the Old Florida-style building. Sandy’s goal? “To provide a nice yacht club feeling,” she says, “but someplace you can go casually dressed.” … The Wall Street Journal really loves Bob Cacioppo and his Florida Repertory Theatre. For the sixth straight year, its drama critic Terry Teachout raved over a company production, this time Arsenic and Old Lace. He referred to “the sterling track record of this excellent company” and noted that in the latest production they “succeed in making every laugh count” … Naples’ own Queen of Broadway, producer Patty Baker, has turned to a King for her latest production. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, showcasing the early life and career of the singer/songwriter, opened in January to rave reviews in New York. Patty has produced eight shows on Broadway, but told me, “This one is special.” I’m sure they’re leaving the theater in New York humming A Natural Woman and Will You Love Me Tomorrow?...



“Every step they took, every fruit or vegetable they picked or packed was a brick in our educational foundation.”

—Dulce Mendoza, Immokalee High School senior

In a stirring address to 350 guests and supporters of the Guadalupe Center of Immokalee at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples in January, Dulce Mendoza, 17, paid tribute to her parents and others who helped her become the first high school graduate in her family and the first who will be attending college. She plans to become a doctor. A member of the Tutor Corps Program, she is a shining example of how the programs at the Guadalupe Center break the cycle of poverty through education. This “Taste of New York” gala raised $300,000 to support education programs for children from toddlers through high school.


… January brought us busy traffic in political heavyweights. First, there was Vice President Joe Biden spotted around town at places like the Snook Inn on Marco Island. The vice president was here visiting his brother James, who just bought property on Keewaydin Island. He just missed Speaker of the House John Boehner by a few hours. Less than two weeks later, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, in the middle of the furor over the George Washington Bridge traffic blockage issue, was rumored to be attending a fundraiser in Naples with Gov. Rick Scott. But instead it was Indiana Gov. Mike Pence who stopped in town, with Christie joining Scott later in the week … The NCEF Friends of the Foundation’s Tuesdays with Friends events are fast becoming an unofficial meet-up for Naples’ socially conscious young professionals. At January’s Masa happy hour, we saw members of the young executive committees of the David Lawrence Center, The Shelter for Abused Women and Children, Hope for Haiti and the United Arts Council present and engaged. A good thing for them—and the community.



A sampling of money raised for local charities

Friends of Foster Care Comedy Cabaret $55,000

Naples Winter Wine Festival $13,500,000

Passport to Paris Tea and Fashion Show $50,000+

Rose Ball $150,000

Tux & Trees Gala $92,000


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