Sunday, September 24, 2017

Talk of the Town: Was John Travolta in Naples? Is Physician’s Regional Being Sold?

John Travolta heads to the piano at Barbatelle Restaurant in downtown Naples to sing a song.

“naplesQ. Is it true John Travolta was in Naples at Barbatella Restaurant? Why couldn’t I have been there! Rachel, Naples

A. I second that, Rachel and yes, it’s true! And we have some photos to prove it.

Known for their regional Italian fare & wood-fired pizzas just as things were winding down as the last round was served on a January evening at Barbatella’s Restaurant, the scene suddenly became electrifying!
Here’s more of the story from those who were lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time! While Travolta’s time at the Restaurant on Third Avenue was fleeting, the memory is forever etched in the minds of those who met him.

Barbatella’s singer, pianist, Michael Hennessy  was finishing his last set of Frank Sinatra tunes and, “Luck be A Lady” as patrons were happily singing along, when he looked up and saw who he thought was John Travolta. Although donning a baseball cap, Hennessey knew for certain it was him. Travolta was actually filming Hennessey as he played and other areas with his own cell phone. Hennessey stood up, introduced himself and shook his hand and thought he might coax him into signing a song.

Travolta said with a smile, “I’m off tonight! When I’m off I just want to sit, and relax.”

And with that, he sat on the piano bench smiling and laughing with the stunned, happy-as-a-clam crowd.

“Travolta didn’t dine at the restaurant and was there for about 5 minutes but we were all in awe,” Hennessey said. “He was very cordial, even a bit bashful, but accommodated all who asked to have a photo taken with him. He’s just a genuinely nice guy.”

Joyce Nash was enjoying the music with a friend and knew the famous face from her favorite movie, “Saturday Night Fever.” Nash said, “Without hesitation, I actually ran up and hugged and kissed him on the cheek and said, ‘You’re so cute!'”

She said he was patient and kind and waited for her friend who fumbled to find her phone to keep taking more photos, saying they needed the perfect picture. “I’ve always loved Travolta,” Nash said, “What a night!”

Diane Gingras was visiting from Massachusetts and knew without a doubt who she spotted. “I looked up and there he was!” Gingras said. “Although he was filming all of us with his cell phone I looked at him starstruck and asked if he’d take a photo with me.”

She told Travolta it was her birthday the following week and that last year during her birthday month she dined at Joanie’s Blue Crab Cafe in Big Cypress National Preserve, and met actors Peter Fonda and Norman Reedus, “The Walking Dead” star and motorcycle enthusiast who were in Florida filming for his television series on AMC, “Ride with Norman Reedus.”

I said to Gingras, I think we all need to start hanging out with her when she’s in town! And on that note, you never know who you’ll meet. If you see a celebrity sighting send it my way to

Q. Is Physicians Regional Medical Center being sold and to who? Beth, Marco Island

A. Tomi Galin, a spokeswoman for Community Health Systems (CHS) out of Franklin, Tennessee who manages the hospital said, “CHS has announced its plans to divest 25 hospitals.  We only announce the specific hospitals to be sold when we complete a definitive agreement for sale.  So far, we have announced transactions covering 20 of the 25 hospitals.

The facilities in Naples are not part of that group. We remain fully committed to the long-term operations and success of Physician’s Regional Medical Center.  We’re proud to support the medical staff and employees at Physician’s Regional and look forward to continuing in our effort to provide high-quality healthcare for residents and visitors to the Naples area.”

Tidbit – The temperature is beginning to heat up so cool off and have some fun with the annual Dunkin’ Donuts ‘Happy Hour!’ Now thru August grab a medium hot or iced coffee or tea for .99¢. Daily between 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

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