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Scene & Heard

Word from Ford

Stand back … Ford’s rolling into town with its CEO, Alan Mulally, stepping up as the featured speaker for the Edison & Ford Winter Estates 10th Anniversary Gala. The annual event was moved from its customary November time frame to Jan. 15, 2011, to accommodate Mr. Mulally’s extremely busy series of commitments. He will be here thanks to the efforts of local Ford dealer Sam Galloway, and it’s fitting the gala will be held on the historic grounds once owned by Henry Ford, along with neighbor and close friend Thomas Edison. There should be much wisdom to absorb from the man Time magazine named one of “the world’s most influential people” in 2009.


Hats on

Hats. Gardens. Star power. We all remember Naples Botanical Garden’s Hats in the Garden luncheon last year with the fabulous Oscar de la Renta and entourage as the featured players. Ever resourceful, co-chairs Karen Scott and Vicky Smith have lots of glitter and natural beauty to grace this year’s event, too, on Nov. 9. Former designer and New York model Carolyne Roehm—now a guru on flowers, decorating and entertaining—is the featured speaker. Guests in their finest hats and suits will also see several new gardens unveiled and savor a tasty lunch under the tent. The Patron Party Nov. 8 will have Pamela Fiori, former editor-in-chief at Town & Country and major style icon, in attendance along with the design team behind Italian jeweler Faraone Mennella (thanks to their partnership with Marissa Collections). All in all, it promises a stylish beginning to season in Naples.


Welcome, bushes

Read all about it: Former first lady Laura Bush will be on hand for the Celebration of Reading event at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Estero on Feb. 11. A nice coup indeed. This is an annual gathering hosted by Jeb Bush and his parents, George and Barbara Bush, and we welcome one more distinguished family member to the cause. Kudos, as ever, to them, for their continuing support of such a worthy enterprise.


TV connections

We Gulfshore folks sure have a special affinity for the popular ABC show Modern Family. First came an honored visit to the set last summer by Lee and Penny Anderson’s daughter Katherine. The Andersons had cast the winning bid on the Naples Winter Wine Festival lot donated by producer Steve Levitan, who is a friend of Naples residents Denise and Brian Cobb. Modern Family won an Emmy this year for Best Comedy, and not only did the Cobbs attend the award show but also saw to it that Steve’s wife, Krista, had a very special flourish for her ensemble. Thanks to Denise’s B.F.F. Mary Susan Clinton, Krista got to wear an original creation from Naples jeweler Amanda Jaron, a gorgeous black onyx piece from the Nolita collection. Mary Susan drove the necklace to the airport the day before the Emmys, put it on Delta Dash and got it to Denise in time for the show. Millions watched the show, and Krista and the necklace were spotted on camera twice within 20 minutes … deserved showtime for our very talented Amanda.


Grand reunion

Call this a well-seasoned happening. Captiva’s Emmett and Kathleen Nealon celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in their 300-year-old family home in Kittery, Maine, on Sept. 2. The entire Nealon clan turned out for the occasion, including their five children, two of whom live in Lee County. Their son is comedian and actor Kevin Nealon, best known for his nine years on Saturday Night Live, many films and his current role as Doug Wilson on Showtime’s Weeds. Mom even got a few small roles on SNL back in the day. Her favorite was playing a woman having an affair with Fabio, for a Mother’s Day special. Emmett and Kathleen are two of the warmest, funniest, kindest people I have ever met. Here’s to many more happy years together for the loving couple.


Top vintner

Exquisite tasting ahead! Exclusive Napa Valley winery Staglin Family Vineyard has signed on as the signature vintner for the 2011 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, to be held Feb. 25 and 26 at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club in Lee County. Staglin’s vintages have earned top marks from critics around the world and have been selected for meetings of prime ministers, presidents and dignitaries the world over. The Staglins also raise more for charity than any other vineyard. “Having such an esteemed and philanthropic vintner partner in Garen and Shari Staglin will be a boon to next year’s Wine Fest,” says Dr. Steve Machiz, chairman of the festival. The Staglins are familiar with Southwest Florida, regularly taking part in the Naples Winter Wine Festival. They are sure to help the growing Lee County event top last year’s $930,000 for such children’s charities as The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. And don’t forget the fun, too. This event is always a blast.


Dress power

I just love the smarts of Christin Collins, head hoochie (as she calls herself) of the Love that Dress fundraiser for the PACE Center for Girls. This year’s event at the Embassy Suites in Estero in September drew a crowd of 600 women and raised nearly $75,000. This is one of the sharpest concepts on the charity circuit, a shopping bonanza where women in Lee and Collier counties donate their dresses to the cause. Gently used dresses flew off the racks, and such local retailers as White House/Black Market and Saks even donated new items. Never underestimate the power of dresses. Such a nice payoff.

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