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Civic meeting covers variety of topics

December 9, 2015
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Greater Pine Island Civic Association held its second meeting of the season last Tuesday night.

President Roger Wood opened the meeting with an announcement regarding tentative dates for upcoming Pine Island Plan Amendment meetings by the County Commissioners.

"They have prepared a tentative schedule for adoption of the Pine Island Plan amendments and LDC (Land Development Code) amendments," Wood said. "The date for authorization to proceed with LDC and Lee Plan Amendment Process was set for Nov. 3, 2015. Assuming that direction is authorized by the BOCC, then the tentative schedule will be as follows:"

12-14-15 - Local Planning Agency (LPA) Lee Plan - Land Development Code (LDC) amendments

1-6-16 - Board of County Commissioners - Zoning (BOCC) Comprehensive Plan Amendments (CPA) transmittal

1-19-15 - Board of County Commissioners - Regular (BOCC) Land Development Code (LDC) 1st Phase

March/April - Board of County Commissioners - Zoning (BOCC) Comprehensive Plan Amendments (CPA) Adoption

March/April - Board of County Commissioners - Regular (BOCC) Land Development Code (LDC) 2nd Phase

Phil Buchanan announced that The Pine Island Land Planning Committee will meet Wednesday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m., at the Fishers of Men Lutheran Church.

"At that meeting, we will discuss and make official our required changes to the Pine Island Land Plan and the implementing Land Development Code," Buchanan said. "We will also hear reports from any subcommittee that wishes to do so."

"Tonight the GPICA would like to recognize some of the organizations on the island that provide community outreach to the people of Pine Island and Matlacha," Wood said. "I'll start with the Pine Island Community Church Thrift Store.

"If you have large items you'd like to get rid of, the thrift store will come out and pick it up for you to be sold in the thrift store. The thrift store is fondly named the 'PICC-Up Store.' It has become a phenomenal source of income that we use for church operations. We have everything from furniture, to clothes, tools, fishing gear and almost all house hold items. We give away a lot of things to needy families and individuals whenever needed."

PICC store hours: Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. If you have something reusable that you would like to donate, call the church office during the above hours at 239-283-9922.

The church is at 5320 Doug Taylor Circle in St. James City. The office number is 239-283-9944


Ron King, VFW Auxiliary member, was there to represent the Pine Island VFW Post.

The VFW was established in 1914 and members of the VFW Auxiliary set out to serve the veterans of this country and our communities in honor of the sacrifices and commitment of every man and woman who has served in uniform.

"The Pine Island Veterans of Foreign War Post 4353 Men's Auxiliary was formed in 2003 with only 40 members," King said. "Today we are proud to say we have over 240 members. The main job of the Men's Auxiliary is to raise money for local charities on the island.

"To be a post member of the VFW you have to be 'boots on the ground' in a foreign war," King said. "Therefore, membership is in decline. But to be an auxiliary member, the requirements are: you must be a citizen (or nationalized) of the U.S., at least 16 years old, husband or wife, widower or widow, father or mother, grandfathers or grandmothers,

sons or daughters, grandsons or granddaughters, brothers or sisters."

The VFW raises money for island charities (Little League, veteran's retirement centers) and this year the Pine Island VFW will award two $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors.

"I would like to invite you to come by and see what we do for the island," Kind said. "It's a great place where friends get together."

Beacon of H.O.P.E.

"As many of you know, the Beacon of H.O.P.E. was established after Hurricane Charley and from that we learned two things: one was to find long-term solutions and two, you can't do it by yourselves," BOH Director Betsy Haesemeyer said. "I'm happy to say that the lessons we learned then we still apply today."

The Beacon works closely with organizations on the island. Recently the Beacon helped a VFW member receive a complete set of dentures. F.I.S.H. helps the Beacon feed 115 island children breakfast and 85 children lunch through seven summer weeks at the Methodist Church. The Elks helped the Beacon with a set of tires for the van.

"We recently got a call about a mother in an abusive relationship with three children that was going to be on the street," Haesemeyer said. "With all of the contacts and help there is out there, we found a place for that mother and her three children. We work with F.I.S.H., with the Pine Island Food Pantry and so many others. By building these collaborative relationships gave us the opportunity to help this woman and her children."

The Beacon of H.O.P.E. is at 5465 Pine Island Road, #1, Bokeelia. Call (239) 283-5123

Elks Club #2781

The Elks hosts a number of events at the lodge. Membership is going strong at 350 members.

Elks invest in their communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, by undertaking projects that address unmet need, and by honoring the service and sacrifice of our veterans.

The Greater Pine Island, #2781, is at 5630 Pine Island Road, N.W., Bokeelia. Call 239-283-4388 (lodge), or 239-283-6031 (office).


F.I.S.H. is an acronym for Friendly Islanders Sending Help. The organization provides non-emergency transportation to medical facilities, grocery store, pharmacy, bank, etc., to individuals with no other access to transportation; mobility equipment to lend: wheelchairs, walkers, etc.; special needs: emergency financial assistance for rent, utilities, medical, etc.; respite: relief to non-paid, primary caregivers for approximately 4 hours once a week; In-touch: contact with homebound individuals either by phone or home visits. It's the lead agency in the Pine Island "Basket Brigade" Program.

Contact Pine Island F.I.S.H. Inc. at PO Box 357 Matlacha, FL 33993, or 239-283-4442 or email

Pine Island Food Pantry

The Pine Island Food Pantry is housed in the Life Center of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church on Stringfellow Road in Bokeelia. The pantry, an equal opportunity organization, serves residents of Pine Island and greater Matlacha. It's open Mondays and Thursdays from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., closed on holidays. Non-perishable food can be dropped off at the following locations. Winn-Dixie, V.F.W., American Legion, Moose, Stonegate Bank and the Matlacha Post Office. Donations can be mailed to Pine Island Food Pantry, 12175 Stringfellow Road, Bokeelia, FL 33922.

For inquiries, call 239-443-6561 and leave a message.

Matlacha Hookers

The Hookers are a non-profit organization that raises money throughout the community all year through fishing tournaments, donations and various other activities for the children of Pine Island, Florida. Established in 1993, the Hooker's are over 400 members strong!

Dues are $20 annually with the membership year running from the first of October through the end of September. You can obtain a membership application through its web site and click on "JOIN US" on the home page. Mail the application and check to the address on the application or bring them with you to the next monthly Hooker General Meeting. See the "CALENDAR" on the website for time and location

E-mail the Hookers at phone 239-560-9687 or 239-691-3018

Helping Paws Animal Sanctuary

Helping Paws Animal Sanctuary is a 501(c)3 non-profit, no-kill shelter, housing almost 200 healthy cats and kittens as well as special needs, FIV and FELV cats. They are housed in rooms not cages; waited on by loving volunteers, have toys, TVs with cat videos and water fountains. The goal of the shelter is to not only find them homes, but to provide a wonderful home for the cats while they are in our care. "Interesting shelter" you might think, but now we need to tell you about our Inspiration, whose standards we strive to meet every day.

Helping Paws Animal Sanctuary is at 10060 Mallory E Parkway in St James City. Call 239-283-9100


The purpose of the GPICA is to promote environmentally responsible planning for smart growth, shall promote preservation of sensitive natural areas, shall recognize and promote the unique character of our rural and agricultural island community. And uphold those sections of the Lee County Plan that deal with Greater Pine Island in support of those objectives.

The GPICA is a civic group encompassing all of the Greater Pine Island area including Saint James City, Bokeelia, Pineland and Matlacha.

The GPICA has been active for over forty years and is responsible for the retention of the "Old Florida" charm and atmosphere that attracted most of us to this location.

Meetings are at 7 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month at the Elks Lodge on Pine Island Road, West, of Stringfellow Road.



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