Sunday, June 27, 2010

When did the Islands (Sanibel & Captiva) Officially become Special???

by Barbara Joy Cooley,
President, Committee of the Islands
Just about everyone seems to acknowledge that Sanibel is special and unique. Have you ever wondered when this notion of Sanibel’s special nature began?
Teddy Roosevelt seemed to be aware of it, because he first came to Sanibel and Captiva to join a fishing party in 1914. In the 1930s, the secluded, natural setting of Sanibel and Captiva attracted famous people such as Edna St. Vincent Millay, Anne and Charles Lindbergh, and violinist Albert Spalding, among others.
In 1937, the cartoonist J. N. “Ding” Darling gave a speech to a large audience at a place called Fisherman’s Lodge. Historian Elinore Dormer describes this as the “turn of the road” for Sanibel and Captiva. In her book The Sea Shell Islands, Dormer wrote that, “With a sense of history, The Islander of the following week bore a cover sketch by Matt Clapp of two faces, the Spirit of Captiva and the Spirit of Sanibel, between them the lighted candle, ‘Conservation’.”
Official recognition of Sanibel and Captiva’s uniqueness came in 1939, when, largely through the efforts of “Ding” Darling helping islanders, the
Florida Legislature passed a Special Act (Chapter 19936) to establish a “game and fish refuge” encompassing the islands of Sanibel and Captiva. The act made it illegal for anyone to “catch, hunt, trap or take any wild game, game animals, game birds, or game fish” except those that needed to be removed “in order to maintain a normal biological balance.”
Original Refuge Included Entire
Following the state designation, the Sanibel National Wildlife Refuge was designated in 1945. Its boundaries then included the southwestern part of Captiva and all of Sanibel Island. Nevertheless, Florida continued to sell off pieces of the nearly 2,000 acres of state-owned land on Sanibel for development. “Ding” Darling protested strongly against these sales, and tried to have a more permanent refuge established on the island. Eventually he gave up and sold his Sanibel property. That left the Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society to take up the cause in the late 1950s. Progress was made, bit by bit. After Darling died in 1962, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Darling Memorial Committee worked along with the Audubon group to establish a National Preserve in 1967. Finally the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge was dedicated on February 4, 1978. It is this legacy as a special, sanctuary island that eventually propelled Sanibel residents into incorporating as a city – to protect the island from overdevelopment. And it is why codes on Sanibel are particularly restrictive when it comes to development, to protect the natural environment and wildlife.
This is what the Committee of the Islands is all about; its mission is “To
develop and promote policies and positions designed to maintain and enhance the quality of life on the islands and to preserve their unique and natural characteristics.”
If you have stories to share about the legacy of Sanibel and Captiva as special and unique places, we encourage you to send them to the Committee of the Islands at PO Box 88 on Sanibel, 33957, or to For more information about the Committee of the Islands, visit

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Foreclosure rescue scam reports increase, new study says

VIENNA, Va. – June 22, 2010 – The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released its first analysis of suspicious activity reports containing information about potential foreclosure rescue scams. The report, “Loan Modification and Foreclosure Rescue Scams – Evolving Trends and Patterns in Bank Secrecy Act Reporting,” analyzed more than 3,500 SARs filed from 2004 through 2009, with the great majority of those reports (3,000) filed last year.“The increase in reporting of suspected foreclosure rescue scam activity could mean that there is an increase in fraudulent activity, but it also reflects an increase in awareness among financial institutions of the fraud perpetrated,” said FinCEN Director James H. Freis Jr.Along with the increase in reported activity, the analysis found that the nature of foreclosure rescue scams shifted too. The latest scams reflect more advance-fee schemes, in which the alleged loan modification or foreclosure rescue specialists say they’ll arrange modification of a homeowner’s mortgage for more favorable repayment terms. Once the scammers receive large advance fees, they rarely, if ever, provide any service.A variation of the advance fee scam involves phony debt elimination programs, in which the homeowners paid advance fees and are given bogus documents or instructed to contact their lenders with specious assertions that the original mortgage debt is illegal.According to the latest FinCEN analysis, the top 10 metropolitan regions, ranked by the concentration of local subjects of all mortgage loan fraud suspicious activity reports tracked between Jan. 1, 2009 and June 10, 2010, are:Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL, came in ranked as No. 1; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA, No. 2; New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA, No. 3; Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI, No. 4; Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, No. 5; Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA, No. 6; Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ, No. 7; Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA, No. 8; San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA, No. 9; and Orlando-Kissimmee, FL, No. 10.© 2010 Florida Realtors®