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Gulfshore Business Daily: April 13

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Video courtesy of WINK News

SWFL CONSTRUCTION FACES MORE DELAYS DUE TO MATERIAL SHORTAGE

New home builds are facing another round of major delays, but not because of the pandemic. U.S. factories that make construction materials such as PVC pipe, latex and metals were shut down for weeks during winter storms. Residential construction is impacted the most, says Joseph Cimilluca, contractor and division director with Stevens Construction in Fort Myers, but even a few commercial projects are affected. The building industry already saw delays from COVID-19 lockdowns, but Cimilluca says recent delays are worse. Items such as PVC pipe, which would usually cost $16, now cost $100, WINK News reports.

 

AUTISM SUPPORT CENTER OPENS IN CAPE CORAL

The Family Initiative Autism Support Center recently opened at 734 SW Fourth St. in Cape Coral to serve people on the autism spectrum. The first autism center of its kind in the area features clinical rooms, therapeutic intervention rooms and advanced new technology for remote training. The facility also will host social skills groups, parent support groups, town hall meetings and educational forums.

 

Credit: WINK News

LEE HEALTH BOARD APPROVES PLAN TO IMPROVE COMMUNITY HEALTH

Lee Health is making swift changes to address medical concerns and gaps in services after a recent community assessment, a systematic data-driven report that studied the health status, behaviors and needs of people living in Lee County. The board of directors recently approved a Community Health Needs Assessment Implementation Strategy, which includes the launch of healthy cooking demonstrations with food distribution partners; supporting community collaborations to increase behavioral health programs and services; vaping and tobacco prevention education programs targeting youth and young adults; and providing screenings, education and referrals in partnership with community stakeholders, WINK News reports.

 

LEETRAN ANNOUNCES SEASON SCHEDULE CHANGES

Several LeeTran bus routes will return to their off-season schedules beginning Sunday, April 25, affecting service for Fort Myers Beach, Estero, Bonita Springs, the Downtown River District and the LinC connection with Collier Area Transit (CAT). These changes will affect routes 40, 110, 150, 410/490, 515 and 600. Complete information about the changes can be found after they take place here or by calling the customer service team at 239-LEE-TRAN. LeeTran, the public transit provider for Lee County, operates 26 bus routes during season, 23 bus routes during off-season and a paratransit service known as Passport.

 

SOUTH FLORIDA TECH STARTUP AIMS TO CLOSE WORKFORCE GAP

Endevr, a Bonita Springs-based tech startup founded by Connor Firmender, aims to close the tech workforce gap by matching emerging professionals to the best-suited online education. As of April, the public beta is open to free registration. Supported by Southwest Florida capital, the young startup already has a presence in the Fort Myers-Naples area, now heading for expansion in the greater Miami area. Endevr is targeted toward undergraduate college students, recent graduates, and even those who are changing their careers to something more tech-related. With resources from companies like Coursera, Udacity, QuickStart, and FutureLearn, Endevr compiles online education in technology and matches participants using its proprietary algorithms. Features like automated matching, activity tracking, and instant messaging are included.

 

NAPLES MATTRESS OUTLET OPENS FIRST ESTERO LOCATION IN MIROMAR OUTLETS

Naples Mattress Outlet has opened in Suite 358 of Miromar Outlets in Estero. Owner Jerry LeCompte and his wife, Jenifer, moved to the area more than 13 years ago. Naples Mattress carries brands such as Tempur-Pedic, Serta, Sealy, Beautyrest, Stearns and Foster and more. Naples Mattress also offers a complete manufacturer’s warranty with every product they sell, as well as delivery setup and removal of a customer’s old mattress. The store is located across from Tommy Hilfiger and next to Starbucks. For additional information, call 239-317-2863.

 

NAPLES LAKES COUNTRY CLUB CONSTRUCTING CABANA CAFE

Residents of Naples Lakes Country Club will soon celebrate the opening of its new $3.9 million resort-styled Cabana Cafe and Pool with expanded casual dining and poolside recreational activities. Interior beams in the restaurant are designed to replicate the shape of the umbrella in the Arnold Palmer logo, as Naples Lakes is Collier County’s only Arnold Palmer signature golf course. With construction completion expected by the end of 2021, the new outdoor dining facility will replace a snack bar-style kitchen with a contemporary 6,095-square-foot restaurant and seating for 130 guests. New staffing will be added to service the restaurant. The Cabana Cafe will feature 92 covered dining seats, a horseshoe-shaped cabana bar with 25 seats, plus tables for deck dining and chaises for poolside relaxation. The new private resort pool will feature a beach entry, two lap lanes and in-pool benches with water jets. The revitalized recreation area will include a new spa, three new bocce ball courts, and two built-in fire pits. The tennis viewing area will also be updated. The architect for the project is Dave Poorman. Construction will be handled by Curran and Young Construction. 

 

Dr. Ana Puszkin-Chevlin

PRSA TO HOST VIRTUAL ‘LUNCH ‘N LEARN’ ON APRIL 27

The Public Relations Society of America’s Gulf Coast Chapter (PRSA) will host a virtual “Lunch ‘N Learn” session from noon until 1 p.m. on April 27 via Zoom. Dr. Ana Puszkin-Chevlin, regional director of Growing Climate Solutions, will teach public relations professionals actionable communication strategies to promote ways their organization, business, or clients can incorporate sustainability into their efforts. Attendees will learn how to leverage Growing Climate Solutions to increase awareness of their organization’s sustainability commitment. This free event will also feature Growing Climate Solutions founders Rob Moher of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Eileen Connolly-Keesler of the Community Foundation of Collier County, and Sarah Owen of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. The event is offered free to the community and students. Registration is required. Click here to register.

 

WGCU NAMES NEW GENERAL MANAGER

Following an extensive search, WGCU has appointed Corey Lewis as WGCU Public Media’s next general manager. Lewis spent the first 18 years of his career in commercial TV in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Connecticut and Rhode Island. In 2002, he joined WBUR, the public radio station on the Boston University campus, as director of corporate support and development and then served as station manager for 15 years. Lewis has a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a master’s degree from Boston University in administrative services with a concentration in innovation and technology. Lewis will succeed Rick Johnson, who will retire as general manager at the end of May.

 

CHAMBER HONORS AWARDEES, NAMES NEW OFFICERS

The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting on April 7 in an outdoor venue at the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club with a limited number of attendees. Before distributing 2021 annual awards, John Lai, chamber president and chief executive officer, welcomed Mark Blust of Timbers Restaurant as the 2021-2022 chair of the chamber board of directors. He thanked immediate past chair Brian Kautz of the Dunes, and the 2019-2020 outgoing chair, Mary Bondurant. The following annual awards were distributed: Citizen of the Year Award, former Sanibel Mayor Mick Denham; Sue Rosica Gray Volunteer of the Year Award, Josh Stewart; New Business of the Year Award, Paper Fig Kitchen; and Business of the Year Award, Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank. Additionally, JR Ramirez of Casa Ybel Resort joined the executive committee as secretary-treasurer. Calli Johnson of Bailey’s General Store moved into the position of chair-elect. Michael Nachef of Lee Health was welcomed as a new board member.

 

Andres Paz

YOUTH HAVEN WELCOMES PAZ TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Youth Haven Inc. welcomes Andres Paz to its board of directors. Andres Paz is the chief experience officer of AdVenture, a full-service marketing agency based in Bonita Springs. Paz graduated with a Bachelor of Science, cum laude, from Kean University in management science with a concentration in marketing. In his 14 years of marketing experience, Paz has served as a marketing consultant for Fort Myers Broadcasting, Renda Broadcasting, Glades Media and the Media Vista Group. Paz is committed to making a difference in the Southwest Florida Community. He is a long-time sponsor and supporter of Youth Haven. Paz has been recognized as one of Gulfshore Business’ 40 Under 40.

 

CUMMINGS & LOCKWOOD ANNOUNCES NEW ASSOCIATE

Cummings & Lockwood has appointed Lauren V. Mabe as an associate of the legal firm’s private clients group in its Bonita Springs office. Mabe received her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the University of Florida, Levin College of Law, in 2020, and her Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude, from Liberty University in 2016.

 

CHARITABLE NOTES

 

Lee Health welcomes back volunteers

Lee Health is welcoming back volunteers after temporarily suspending the program for more than a year for the safety of patients, staff and volunteers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteers play an important role in creating a more comfortable environment for patients and visitors, and Lee Health is excited to welcome them back into its facilities, the health care provider states. Learn more about Lee Health’s volunteer program here.

 

Community Foundation of Collier County provides $67,000 grant for trees 

The Community Foundation of Collier County (CFCC) has provided a $67,930 grant that resulted in planting trees, in partnership with Naples Botanical Garden to create a “Tropical Florida” experience at East Naples Park, in advance of the 2021 Minto U.S. Open Pickleball Championship, held from April 17-24. The Minto U.S. Open Pickleball Championships have been held at Collier County’s East Naples Community Park since 2016. This year’s event anticipates 2,200 players and more than 5,000 spectators over the seven-day event. The grant is part of a $500,000 goal to plant trees in Collier County as part of CFCC’s Your passion. Your Collier campaign to address challenges in the community. Planting native trees in our community will help preserve the beauty of Collier County, improve air quality, provide shade, and support wildlife, CFCC states. 

 

South Florida Hooters present donation to Girl Scouts

Hooters locations in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Naples, Port Charlotte, Sarasota and Bradenton partnered with the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida to help with their annual cookie sale fundraising efforts. Representatives from South Florida Hooters locations donated $15,000 to the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida Council on April 8 at their Fort Myers camp. As part of the program, every box sold by the Girl Scouts was matched by Hooters at each of its seven regional restaurant locations.

 

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