News-Press from Fort Myers, Florida on October 28, 2007 · Page 14
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News-Press from Fort Myers, Florida · Page 14

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Fort Myers, Florida
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Sunday, October 28, 2007
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Page 14
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B8 THE NEWS-PRESS, LOCAL & STATE, SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2007 BONITA SPRINGS Inaugural RiverFest an Imperial celebration Kayak races, cleanup highlight event .-ft. IMPERIAL RIVER CHALLENGE 2007 WINNERS Fastest time men's single kayak: Win Turner Fastest time women's single kayak: Debbie Hunt Fastest tandem kayak Lyn McKee and Eric Carlson Fastest canoe: Todd Truax r A v' -Jl V - wj u ft BY CHRISTINA CEPERO cceperonews-press.com A bag of pungent rotten apples. A black carry-on suitcase shrouded in moss. A red barnacle-encrusted beach chair. Volunteers pulled out these items among other debris from the water during Saturday's inaugural Bonita Springs RiverFest "This river used to be crystal clear and had lots of fish," said Ryan Willoughby, president of the Imperial River Conservancy. "I'm trying to get more membership and people involved." The event included a two-mile river race for kayaks and canoes. Twenty-five boats entered the competition. The outcome was a win-win situation -- Win Turner of Naples came in first "It's actually one of my favorite rivers to paddle," said Turner, vice president of the Paradise Coast Paddlers Club and member of the Southwest Florida Paddling Club. "It's a great event It's promoting the park and promoting Lee County." The competition formed part of the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival for the 100-mile trail that runs through the county. Volunteers from the Casa Mexico soccer league kept score at the Bonita Springs race Money from race entries, a raffle and T-shirt sales will go to the Bonita Springs Waterways Conservation Fund. A couple hundred people turned out at dockside at Riverside Park. "We are very pleased," Councilwoman Martha Simons said. . "We expected it to be small. Seeds are small and they grow into big things later." Pete the Pelican, the city's anti-littering mascot, made an appearance. "We're big supporters of the river," said Lyn McKee of Boni- ta Springs, who won the tandem kayaking event with Eric Carlson. Jean Steinmyer, 87, who has lived in Bonita Springs since 1948, cheered kayakers and canoeists as they crossed the finish line. "The kids used to swim in here," she said. "These cottages used to be down here," she said, pointing to the riverbanks. She referred to the sue fishing cottages the city moved to the adjacent park, restored and converted into art studios a year ago. The artists showcased their paintings, sculptures and jewelry at Saturday's celebration. CHRIS UMPIERREO'HE NEWS-PRESS Bob McGrath helps Kandra Attwood and her niece, Jesse Kridel, carry out a tire they pulled out of the water during the Imperial River Conservancy's Imperial River cleanup Saturday at Bonita Springs RiverFest. - . mm B QSBd news-press-cohnpfensports I ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Digestive Specialists Board Certified Gastroenterologists "Herniated Disc?" 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