Need to catch up on the latest business news in Southwest Florida? No problem. Here are the top stories of the week pulled from our daily newsletter, Gulfshore Business Daily.
Friday, February 28
DESANTIS ANNOUNCES $14 MILLION IN WORKFORCE TRAINING AWARDS FOR DISASTER RECOVERY EFFORTS
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Feb. 27 announced more than $14 million has been awarded to seven organizations through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Rebuild Florida Workforce Recovery Training Program. Award recipients include local workforce development boards, schools, colleges and universities in communities impacted by Hurricane Irma. Hendry County School District was among the seven organizations awarded, receiving $1.46 million to expand the district’s workforce development program providing training in industrial mechanics, HVAC and welding. For more information, visit www.RebuildFlorida.gov
Thursday, February 27
HOMEWOOD SUITES COMPLETES $5 MILLION RENOVATION
Homewood Suites by Hilton Fort Myers at Bell Tower Shops
has completed a $5 million renovation project. The lobby, dining and lounge areas, all guest suites, meeting facilities and corridors were redesigned and updated. The hotel’s two-room suites with full kitchens now have contemporary décor and feature all new furnishings, beds with upholstered headboards and mattresses with cool gel foam technology, updated flooring, wall coverings, window treatments, and lighting fixtures. Each living and sleeping room in the suites features a 55-inch high-definition television. All suite bathrooms were totally reconstructed and now offer new walk-in showers, upgraded lighting, and the latest efficient fixtures. The meeting space includes new seating, wall coverings, and window treatments. The hotel’s corridors were also remodeled, with new carpet, wall coverings, window treatments, and energy-efficient lighting. Updates were also made to the hotel’s 24-hour Home Office business center, Suite Shop, and guest laundry. Later this year, the hotel’s 24-hour fitness center will undergo a renovation that will introduce new cardio equipment with personal viewing screens, and a new outdoor patio/kitchen with a pergola and upscale seating will be installed.
Wednesday, February 26
LOCAL GANNETT/GATEHOUSE MEDIA JOURNALISTS ANNOUNCE UNION FORMATION
The journalists of The Naples Daily News, The News-Press, The Banner and the Marco Eagle announced they are forming a union Monday and asked management to voluntarily recognize the Southwest Florida News Guild, part of the NewsGuild-CWA. A delegation of the union’s organizing committee presented local management with a letter requesting voluntary recognition from the newspapers’ parent company, Gannett, which would pave the way for contract negotiations. More than 75% of non-management employees have inked union authorization cards, denoting unity among both newsrooms behind organizing efforts that would better equip employees to take on an ever-changing media landscape while preserving quality local journalism and the staff who produces it, according to a press release. The dedicated group will file signed authorization cards with the National Labor Relations Board requesting an election within a 30-day time period. The Southwest Florida News Guild would cover more than 50 reporters, photographers, planners, producers, news assistants and columnists spanned across both newsrooms. In the last six months, Gannett employees have filed and won union elections at the Arizona Republic, the South Bend Tribune and the Springfield News-Leader, a press release states.
Tuesday, February 25
COLLIER REPORT: CLOSED HOME SALES UP IN JANUARY
Collier County’s overall closed sales in January increased by 22%, according to the January 2020 Market Report released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS (NABOR), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island). Despite a tug on inventory that resulted in a 26% decrease to 5,761 properties in January compared to 7,773 properties in January 2019, overall closed sales in Collier County rallied in January, especially in the luxury market. The region gained 360 more listings in January than what was available to buyers in December. Collier County has a 6.6-month supply of homes, which is higher than many other hot markets in Florida, according to the report. To view the entire report, visit www.NaplesArea.com
Monday, February 24
LEE COMMISSIONERS AWARD CONTRACT FOR AFTER-STORM CARE
The Lee Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a contract to allow two vendors to mobilize quickly to remove debris and vegetation from waterways and creeks following major storms to improve flow and reduce the impact of potential flooding. Contracts were awarded to Aftermath Disaster Recovery, Inc., as the primary vendor and TSI Disaster Recovery, LLC, as the secondary vendor, on an as-needed basis for an initial one-year period. The contracts will allow the county to act swiftly after a major storm event to clear clogged or obstructed waterways in order to improve flow and reduce the impact of potential flooding. The solicitation and contracts comply with federal reimbursement regulations, so any expenses incurred would be eligible for FEMA reimbursement. No expenditures are planned for this fiscal year unless there is a major storm event. The emergency response preparations are part of ongoing effort by the Board of County Commissioners, which has set policies and directed major investments in the millions of dollars for both water quality and flood resiliency efforts in recent years.
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