Thursday, August 19, 2004

Tristate transplants pack into Skyline



By Mark Curnutte
Enquirer staff writer

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Another little piece of Cincinnati - the Skyline Chili restaurant in a Fort Myers strip mall - felt the wrath of Hurricane Charley.

Fort Myers, about 20 miles south of Punta Gorda, was spared the full fury of Friday's Category 4 Hurricane.

But Skyline was closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tiles blew off the restaurant's air conditioner, which is on the roof. Owner Rob Rodenfels, a former Ohio newspaper publisher, reopened Monday.

"It's amazing," he said of the clientele that visited after the storm; "three-fourths were from Ohio."

Apparently nothing calms hurricane-frayed nerves of a native Cincinnatian like a Skyline three-way.

Rodenfels also owns a Skyline franchise farther south in Naples. He opened the Skylines in 1988.

In the Fort Myers store, a framed photo of the Cincinnati riverfront hangs on the wall. Pennants from UC, Miami, the University of Dayton, Xavier and other Ohio colleges are lined above the counter.

Up north

Residents were allowed back Saturday into Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island, which sits at the mouth of Charlotte Harbor.

Gene Daniels, 50, of Walton, left his home there Thursday to escape the hurricane and returned Saturday to check damage. He arrived back in the Tristate late Tuesday night.

"I was already down there. We were going to ride the storm out," he said.

Daniels went to the hardware store and bought a hurricane-preparedness kit, including a flashlight and weather radio.

Then he heard the island might experience 10- to 15-foot water surges. That's when he decided to leave with his wife and son.

His home was not badly damaged.

"We timed our escape just right," said Daniels, who owns the two Sports of All Sorts buildings in Northern Kentucky.

"We were right behind (Tropical Storm) Bonnie and ahead of Charley."

E-mail mcurnutte@enquirer.com




105TH VFW CONVENTION
Kerry criticizes Bush on plan to shift troops
Freedom Center fascinates visiting candidate Kerry
Poll: Ohio still up for grabs
Countering Kerry
U.S. veterans still sensitive 29 years after Vietnam War
Varied reactions

TOP STORIES
Ohio tax amendment sought
Veteran officers returning to streets
Marsupial wows Fairfield
Public gets first glimpse today of rare rhino calf

IN THE TRISTATE
New fire chief for Blue Ash expected soon
Cincinnatians assess damage
Tristate transplants pack into Skyline
Frailey pledges measures to control budget growth
Wal-Mart design divides trustees
Citizen helps foil suspect's escape
Shopping center will avoid Lakewood
Teen charged with murder
Measures discussed to help felons vote
Lead, mold and swirling storms are past; Kings back in school
Local news briefs
Mason change goes to council
Neighbors briefs
Mystery illness stalks island
Dangling costs job at school
Public safety briefs
Fairfield heralds return to school with community festival
Sycamore school levy will be on November ballot
Petition ruling 'retracted'

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Bronson: Many in VFW have no desire to salute Kerry
Teacher named a top UC student

LIVES REMEMBERED
Theodore Frey, 96, commodities broker
'Woody' Wills, 90, Miami health prof

KENTUCKY STORIES
Collector home run: Babe Ruth autograph
Northern Kentucky news briefs
Dems deny fault in budget impasse
Schools a 'safe environment'
Distinctive old building burns
Kentucky workers assisting in Florida
State police group endorses Mongiardo
Man beginning gender change jailed over unpaid child support
Tax votes more clear
Newport students transfer