Scene and Heard: Myra’s 90th … Bush Parties … Wedding Belles

Kellie Burns' news and notes from around Southwest Florida

BY September 30, 2015


We feel the same, but maybe we don’t look the same.

—Denise LeClair Cobb

Naples resident Denise Cobb traveled to Atlanta the first weekend in June to celebrate the 35th anniversary of CNN. Denise was one of the first women to anchor a newscast on the cable network when Ted Turner launched it in 1980. Hundreds of CNN originals gathered to reminisce about the early days of cable news. “At the time, I thought nothing could top the feeling of anchoring that first day of CNN,” Denise says. “But seeing all of us oldies-but-goodies did just that. The nagging question, though: ‘How did we get this old?’”


 Myra Daniels has told the story of a woman, asked for her age, replying, “It’s just a number—and it’s unlisted.” Well, on June 26, the number came up for Myra and 100 distinguished locals gathered at the Naples home of Jack and Tina Nicholson to celebrate what she admitted to being her 90th birthday. Naples Mayor John Sorey and his wife, Delores, and Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk were among those on hand, and all were treated to a sumptuous buffet, moving personal testimonials from those whose lives she touched, and a compelling video of Myra from childhood to her triumphs in the Chicago ad world and on to her grandest achievement of building the Phil in Southwest Florida. Sheriff Rambosk presented Myra with the county’s first CCSO Community Star award honoring the many ways she has enriched Southwest Florida. Myra spoke eloquently of her past and resolutely about her future (building an arts theater in Ave Maria) and expressed deep gratitude to all who had been part of her life here. She leaned over and blew out all the candles. When she straightened back up, Myra had some birthday cake on her front. We’ve always treasured our Myra. But Myra with icing added? Priceless. What a night … Controversy is brewing again over the namesake of Lee County. The local NAACP is calling for a boycott of the county commission chambers, where a portrait of confederate General Robert E. Lee has been hanging for more than 80 years. Commissioners are not taking any action yet, and there are strong ties to the United Daughters of the Confederacy …



Every single person on stage had the crowd laughing—and crying.

—Tina Matte

What an honor it was in June when local PR maven Tina Matte was asked to produce a special Celebration of Reading in Kennebunkport, Maine, in honor of Barbara Bush’s 90th birthday. Tina organizes the annual Celebration here and has known the family for more than 16 years. Four of the Bush children, along with a few acclaimed authors (including Sandra Brown), told touching and funny tales, as did Barbara herself in a segment with family friend David Rubenstein. Tina was also invited to the birthday bash, where Bush 41 was present and Bush 43 gave a touching tribute. Performers included Reba McIntyre, Amy Grant and Michael C. Smith. Soon after, Tina found a hand-signed note from Mrs. Bush in her mailbox, saying, “I enjoyed the evening more than you will ever know.”

Pictured: "Doro,", Jeb, Barbara, Marvin and Neil Bush


… Two longtime Southwest Florida news anchors have left the business to pursue other careers. ABC7 morning anchor Amy Sedlacek did her last broadcast in June, and CBS nighttime anchor Stacey Adams signed off July 2. Both are looking to spend more time at home—Stacey with her 4-year-old son and Amy with her fiancé, who proposed during a surprise trip to Bermuda in May … Speaking of proposals: Gail Markham and Doug Meurer are making it official. It seems like the forensic accountant and her county planner beau have been together for years—often spotted at charity galas and community events. Doug proposed in Venice, one of their favorite cities, at the beginning of the couple’s whirlwind tour of Europe in June and July … Ave Maria President Jim Towey has been spending his free time as a special advisor to Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign. He was in Washington, D.C., with the former governor for a few days in late June, right after Bush made his official announcement. Jim and Jeb are longtime friends, meeting right after Bush became the governor of Florida. Jim, then a Democrat who had worked for Gov. Lawton Chiles, credits Bush with converting him to a Republican. The two families spend every Thanksgiving together. It was Jeb who recommended Jim, Mother Teresa’s former attorney, to his brother George W. Bush to serve as director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives … Congratulations to The Arlington’s Vicki Tracy, honored in July with the Seven Seals Award by the Employer Support of the National Guard and Reserve. Vicki was recognized for her work on behalf of the men and women who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. She had no idea she had even been nominated for the award until she heard her name called at the Arlington’s Fourth of July dinner at Lely Resort. She burst into tears and guests gave her a rousing standing ovation. Friends report it’s the first time they have ever seen her speechless … In a blissful new twist for a dinner party, Vicki and Richard Pitbladdo invited 11 other couples to join them in late June to celebrate their nuptials for a second time. The deal was that they show up in their original wedding attire and have the wives recount how their husbands had proposed. Guests included Maria and Wayne Wiles, Elaine and Fred Hawkins, and Dr. Eric Eason and his wife, Melissa. There was lots of champagne and kissing and the joyous sounds of wedding belles and beaus. 


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