Kellie Burns' Scene & Heard
News, notes and gossip from NBC-2 news anchor and woman about town Kellie Burns.
Country star Blake Shelton made a scene with a secret show in Cape Coral.
What a Surprise
The Voice (well, at least one of its stars) came to Cape Coral in March, and, boy, it got that town all shook up. On the morning of March 8, the Dixie Roadhouse got a call that country music luminary Blake Shelton, a star on the NBC hit show, was headed this way and eager to stage a surprise, free concert the next night. The club put out the word on Twitter: “It’s for real.” By the next morning, swarms were out lining up for the performance and about a thousand fans, the maximum allowed in the club, got in for the show. Cape Coral never sounded so good—nor seemed so joyously surprised.
Be still, our hearts. The iconic, five-star Ritz-Carlton, Naples Beach Resort is closing down from July 24 until October for a major renovation project. All 450 guest rooms and suites, its three restaurants and its ballrooms are getting a facelift. We can’t wait to see the results, but we locals will have to get resourceful to replace the indulgent pleasures we seek there in the off -season. Like the fabulous spa and Bites in the lobby. Says devotee Mary Susan Clinton, business entrepreneur and trendsetter, “I don’t know what I’ll do without those delicious bites and the equally delicious people-watching.” Hurry back, Ritz. Our lifestyle’s not the same without you.
Let’s hear it for the kids. The 20th Annual Boston Tea Party and Sports Auction raised nearly $700,000 for the Golisano Children’s Hospital in February at the Forest Country Club in Fort Myers. An anonymous donor agreed to match what was raised. The good people in the Forest have raised almost $8 million since 1994, making the auction and golf tournament the largest and longest- running fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital. That’s going large to help the small.
Everywhere you look, Patty and Jay Baker are donating money to arts and health care causes, and back in March they turned to yet another arena. Honored as winners of the 2013 Walter Turken Award at The Humane Society Naples’ 13th Annual Pet Lovers Gala at the Naples Botanical Garden, they announced a $1 million challenge grant to the animal welfare organization. The Bakers’ commitment is the largest non-estate gift to The Humane Society Naples in its 53-year history of service in Southwest Florida. The event raised more than $900,000 in support of the challenge that evening. Talk about supporting your pet charity. Wow.
Food for All
“Nobody eats until people open their wallets.” With that, the legendary Sam Galloway welcomed 600 of his closest friends for the 10th year in a row to his Soup Kitchen fundraiser in March. Thus incentivized, the guests donated $350,000 so that Sam’s charity, Community Cooperative Ministries Inc., can help the hungry and homeless. Attendees then dined in the service department of Galloway Ford on food provided by nearly a dozen local restaurants. In his remarks to the crowd, Sam sounded the theme of the evening: “No one in this country should go hungry. It’s just not right. It’s just not America.” Good food for thought—and action.
The Hope for Haiti Passport to the Future gala outgrew its former digs at St. Ann’s Jubilee Center and moved the party north to the Waldorf Astoria in March, raising $1.6 million dollars for its programs, schools and medical center in Haiti.
Presto! Magic Under the Mangroves had a big, big night in March, raising just under $1 million for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. That topped last year’s record amount. The highlight? The fund-a-need segment, which raised $286,000 to feed and care for specific animals, from bears to pelicans. The organizing committee—from décor to food to fundraising—always knows how to get it just right and proved it one more time.
A sampling of money raised at area galas and events.
Hope for Haiti annual gala
Sunlight of Collier County annual fashion show and luncheon
Magic Under the Mangroves
Batfish Bash on the Bay
Candlelighters of SWFL Step Into Spring fashion show
Lifeline Family Center benefit dinner
Compiled by Brooke Zalis