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Family Island News
Tennessee couple create scholarship for Exuma students to attend MTSU
Submitted by Nikki Bethell   
Wednesday, 21 January 2015 08:52

Signing of the agreement establishing the Michael and Tina Cartwright Scholarship to benefit the students of the L.N. Coakley High School in Exuma. Pictured l-r: Mr. Michael Cartwrignt, Donor; Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald, Minister of Education, Science and Technology and Dr. Sidney McPhee, President of Middle Tennessee State University (Photo by Andrew Oppmann).GREAT EXUMA, Bahamas – A Franklin, Tennessee, couple who founded a network of substance-abuse treatment clinics has funded a special, targeted scholarship that will allow students from a high school in the Bahamas to attend MTSU.

Michael and Tina Cartwright, who have a second home in The Bahamas, wanted to help students from L.N. Coakley High School in Great Exuma develop expertise through higher education that, in turn, would help benefit others on the island of Exuma.

The Cartwrights, who both attended MTSU, established a $600,000 scholarship fund that will cover tuition, housing and other expenses for four Coakley students to live and take classes on MTSU’s Murfreesboro campus. The scholarship will renew after the first group of four honorees graduate from MTSU.

Michael Cartwright, chairman and co-founder of American Addiction Centers, announced the gift during events Tuesday and Wednesday (Jan. 21-22) in The Bahamas. MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, a native of The Bahamas, joined Cartwright in announcing the scholarships.

“Tina and I understand the value of higher education,” said Michael Cartwright. “We approached President McPhee to establish a pathway that could recognize and reward future leaders who could return to Exuma as leaders and will help spur economic development on the island.”

Resorts World Bimini hosts ‘16 Weddings, 16 Islands, One Priceless Day’ nuptials
Submitted by Michelle Malcolm   
Wednesday, 21 January 2015 08:08

BIMINI, The Bahamas -- On January 16th at 16:00 hours (4pm), a dream came true for Christina Gaston as she married the love of her life at Resorts World Bimini (RWB), as part of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s ‘16 Islands, 16 Weddings, One Priceless Day’ promotion.

She and newlywed husband Rudy Leschhorn said their “I dos” before family and friends at one of RWB’s breathtaking island seascapes under the watchful eye of the resort’s professional wedding planners.

The threat of inclement weather did not put a damper on the romantic ceremony which was officiated by Island Administrator Oscar Munroe. An islander at heart and descendant of Cuba, Cristina has always been fascinated by The Bahamas’ beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and tranquil island vibe which she came to love during her frequent visits to the country.

She decided that The Bahamas was the place where she wanted to have her special wedding day, but never dreamed that wish would come true.

“We got our dream wedding,” she said. “It really is better in The Bahamas. It was everything I had hoped it would be, and more.”

The creative and dedicated wedding specialists at RWB executed the theme ‘Lost in your embrace’ to perfection, from the venue and catering, to music and flowers, to guest accommodations and transportation.

Deana Whitlow and Henry Coleman enjoy dream wedding in Harbour Island
Submitted by Kendea Smith   
Monday, 19 January 2015 10:32

HARBOUR ISLAND, Eleuthera -- Deana Whitlow and Henry Coleman are a couple who believe getting married in The Bahamas was a “kiss from God” and it showed throughout their romantic journey to January 16, 2015. That’s the day 16 couples got married on 16 Islands at 16:00 (4:00 p.m.). It is one of Ministry of Tourism’s biggest promotions that was launched on February 14, 2014. However, before the promotion, the couple always dreamed of getting married in The Bahamas.

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Deana always felt a strong tie to The Bahamas. Her grandfather, who was born in Harbour Island, was a Sturrup. She visited The Bahamas once before for a family reunion on the island. But what really drew the Texan beauty to The Bahamas was the fact that she is an avid fan of past Bahamas Faith Ministries President the late Dr. Myles Munroe.

Resorts World Bimini holds Career Day for high school seniors
Submitted by Michelle Malcolm   
Sunday, 18 January 2015 07:20

BIMINI, The Bahamas -- Twelfth-graders attending the Louise McDonald High School in Bimini will be better equipped to land a job when they graduate this summer, thanks to an informative Career Day staged by Resorts World Bimini (RWB). Various departments at the Resort served as the classroom for the day as students learned valuable lessons on what is required in the hospitality sector, and how to better prepare themselves to fulfill those roles.

The one-day seminar included both theory and practical lessons, as the students were given an opportunity to spend time in the Resort’s operation shadowing leaders within their department of choice. Among the vital workplace topics covered were:

  • Life After Graduation
  • Resume Writing
  • Interview Tips
  • Becoming a Top Performer in the Workplace
  • Budgeting Finances
  • Deciding on a Career Path

The Career Day was coordinated by RWB’s Human Resources Department in an effort to give the students a better feel for the day-to-day operation of a resort. Managers and Directors with years of experience within the industry served as their mentors.

Two Florida residents file suit against Resorts World Bimini in Miami Circuit Court
Submitted by Tina Menditto   
Friday, 16 January 2015 08:12

Robert Parks. As managing partner of Robert L. Parks, P.L. Law Offices in Miami, Parks focuses his practice on resort litigation, premises liability, negligent security, commercial litigation, and aviation, maritime, admiralty, and general wrongful death and negligence claims. MIAMI, Florida -- Two Florida residents, who were assaulted in their hotel room while visiting The Bahamas last March, have filed a negligent security suit seeking damages against Resorts World Bimini.

On March 14, 2014 Richard Simmons, Jessiam Scungio and several other guests from Florida were in their room at the Bimini resort when they were attacked by four men, according to two complaints filed recently in Circuit Court in Miami.

"Resorts World Bimini failed to provide adequate security," said Miami attorney Robert L. Parks, who is representing Simmons and Scungio with Louis Stinson, Jr., a Coral Gables attorney.  "This brutal attack should never have happened."

According to Parks, Simmons was enjoying an evening with friends at the Resorts World Bimini casino when another Floridian visiting the resort, Robert Hunter Hink, 19, became verbally abusive and tried to start a fight.  At that point, Simmons cashed out his chips and left the casino. Hink followed Simmons outside and instigated a brief scuffle that was broken up by a security guard at the resort.

However, an hour after Simmons, Scungio and their friends had returned to their hotel room, Hink, his father Robbie Hink, David Jenkins and a fourth man kicked in the door to their hotel room and began beating Simmons and Scungio, causing severe injuries. Parks said the police were called and the assailants spent one night in jail and were then released.

BAMSI initiates Nassau grouper research project
Submitted by BIS   
Friday, 16 January 2015 08:08

A Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) with attached satellite tag swims away after release.ANDROS, The Bahamas -- The first field marine research project of the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) was initiated during the first week of January 2015 at the well known Nassau grouper aggregation off High Cay, Andros. This project is designed to investigate the dispersion and fate of mature Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) for the next year after participation in a spawning aggregation. This initial project will investigate this marine resource which is very important to the marine ecosystem as well as the culture and diet of Bahamians.

The importance of the Nassau grouper to The Bahamas is emphasized by the introduction of legislation which prohibits its capture during its reproduction period, from December to the end of February, in order to protect the species. Spawning aggregations have disappeared throughout much of its range and overfishing is believed to be primarily responsible for this. It was noted that very few fish were found at the High Cay site in early January.

The project is led by Dr. Vallierre Deleveaux, Director of Marine Science of BAMSI and Dr. Nelson Ehrhardt, of the University of Miami (UM). Dr. Ehrhardt’s participation was made possible through the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed between BAMSI and UM during July of last year.

The Marine Science Department of BAMSI has the vision to provide training and research that enhances marine science knowledge and promotes healthy marine populations and environments while meeting the needs of the Bahamian people.

Photo: A Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) with attached satellite tag swims away after release.

Bahamas Ferries provides major support for Family Island Junior Junkanoo groups
Submitted by Keen i Media Ltd   
Wednesday, 14 January 2015 14:37

Forest Heights Academy rushed to victory in the senior high school division of the 27th Annual Junior Junkanoo Parade with the theme NASSAU, Bahamas -- Bahamas Ferries partnered with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture for the tenth consecutive year to provide transportation for Family Island students participating in the annual Junior Junkanoo parade.

The inter-island transportation service provider, through its collaboration with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, arranged for 467 students and chaperones from schools in Abaco, Andros and Eleuthera to travel into Nassau for the event, held in December.

Four schools were represented in all, including two of the year's winners: Tarpum Bay Primary School - primary school division winner; Forest Heights Academy - senior high school division winner; Central Abaco Primary School; and Harbour Island All Age School.

In past years, Bahamas Ferries also provided travel into Nassau for the Spanish Wells All Age, North Andros High, South Andros High and Mangrove Cay High schools.

Since 2004, Bahamas Ferries has helped 3,000 Family Island students to participate in the annual event. According to Bahamas Ferries Sales and Marketing Manager Darnell Frazer, this involvement is one that the company is especially proud of.

"Supporting this event was a natural fit for us. We wholeheartedly endorse Family Island schools participating in Junior Junkanoo, particularly since we operate in Abaco, Andros and Eleuthera," Mrs Frazer said.  "We feel a tremendous sense of pride because it is challenging for Family Island schools to participate in the parade as it can be very costly. So, for one of them to win, that's a mammoth accomplishment. We congratulate all the schools."

Three Bahamas destinations to be served by new charter flights
Submitted by John Bell   
Wednesday, 14 January 2015 13:38

Meregrass Crew and iJet Management.FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida — Owners of iJet Charters and Wildcat Touring announced Wednesday the launch of scheduled charter flights from Fort Lauderdale to three Bahamas destinations, Key West and a flight from New York to Marsh Harbour in Great Abaco.  

“With the approval of the Department of Transportation (DOT) today we will begin bookings for the start of scheduled service on April 2nd,” said Jim Swieter, founder of iJet Charters in Fort Lauderdale, which is providing marketing and reservations for Director of Carrier Meregrass, Inc., DBA Wildcat Touring.

Swieter said flights aboard Meregrass, Inc’s new Saab 2000 aircraft, which features all premium class seating and high-speed travel, are now booking for roundtrip travel from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International’s (FLL) Sheltair terminal to Marsh Harbour, North Eleuthera, Freeport and Key West.  A scheduled charter flight from New York to Marsh Harbour is also available. Scheduled charter flights from Fort Lauderdale and Miami to Nassau are also anticipated in the future.

Roundtrip flights start at $329 (plus tax). For reservations please call 888-462-0462 or go to

In December, Bahamas Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe predicted a full recovery for Bahamas’ tourism sector thanks to hotel room growth and a series of airlift initiatives, which include scheduled charter flights added through Wildcat Touring.

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