Gulfshore Business Daily: April 22

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Lead Photo: MGN/Pixabay. Sourced from WINK News

 

FLORIDA ONLINE SHOPPERS TO PAY MORE AS GOV. DESANTIS SIGNS ONLINE SALES TAX BILL INTO LAW

Get ready to pay more when shopping online. Gov. Ron DeSantis this week signed into law a plan to require out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases made by Floridians, with the estimated $1 billion a year in revenue going to curb a pair of taxes on Florida businesses. Florida business groups have lobbied for years to require out-of-state retailers to collect and remit sales taxes, saying it is a matter of fairness. Retailers with a “physical presence” in Florida already are required to collect and remit sales taxes. Democrats argued that working Floridians will be hurt by the proposal because of “regressive” sales taxes. The final package was approved 27-12 by the Senate and 93-24 in the House, WINK News reports.

 

FGCU PRESIDENT MIKE MARTIN OUTSPOKEN ON VACCINATING STUDENTS, STAFF

Florida Gulf Coast University’s graduation is one week away, but school leaders are already looking ahead to next year, with one big focus being the COVID-19 vaccine. President Mike Martin says he would mandate vaccines for students and staff if he could, but it’s ultimately up to the Florida Board of Governors, which makes these decisions for the state’s public universities. In the meantime, FGCU is looking at lowering the number of people needed on campus (more working from home) and making more classes available online to mitigate the spread a little. Martin has been very vocal about keeping students at FGCU safe with mask mandates and accessibility to COVID-19 tests, WINK News reports.

 


Video courtesy of WINK News

LEE COMMISSIONERS APPROVE ORDINANCE PROHIBITING DANGEROUS USES OF ROADS AND RIGHTS-OF-WAY

Lee County commissioners voted this week to adopt an ordinance prohibiting dangerous uses of public roads and rights-of-way within unincorporated Lee County. Dangerous uses include stopping and standing on a median or engaging in any physical interaction between a pedestrian and an occupant of a motor vehicle within certain areas of unincorporated Lee County. Increased use of public roads and rights-of-way by pedestrians to solicit drivers has led to heightened concern regarding pedestrian and driver safety within unincorporated Lee County. The Cape Coral-Fort Myers metropolitan area currently ranks 11th in the nation for most dangerous places for pedestrians according to the 2021 Dangerous by Design Report issued by Smart Growth America in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The unexpected presence of individuals standing in the medians or interacting with drivers further increases the danger of collisions between pedestrians and motor vehicles.

 

WINK News

SELECT PUBLIX LOCATIONS TO OFFER SELF-SERVICE KIOSKS FOR VEHICLE TAG REGISTRATION

Citizens renewing vehicle tags in Florida have a new option to expedite the process. Kiosks at participating Publix locations will allow customers to pay by credit card and renew their vehicle registration in less than two minutes. The kiosks can be used to renew personal automobiles, pickup trucks, motorcycles, utility trailers and camper trailers. Customers are guided through the process by voice prompts available in English or Spanish. A 2.3% credit or debit card transaction fee is included in the transaction total, WINK News reports. Locally, the new kiosks are available at Publix stores in Colonial Crossings, 4600 Summerlin Road, Fort Myers; Midpoint Center, 2420 Santa Barbara Blvd., Cape Coral; and Homestead Shopping Plaza, 1324 Homestead Road N., Lehigh Acres. For a complete list of kiosk locations, click here

 

REGAL CINEMAS FINALLY REOPENING MOVIE THEATERS

In the dark for more than six months because of pandemic-related issues, Regal Cinemas is finally bringing back its theaters nationwide. In Florida, Regal already reopened its cinemas in Orlando and Winter Park. The rest will follow within the next month. Locally, the first to open this Friday will be Regal Belltower & ScreenX at Bell Tower Shops in south Fort Myers. On May 7, 15 cinemas will reopen in Florida, including Regal Naples 4DX & IMAX in North Naples and Regal Gulf Coast & IMAX at Gulf Coast Town Center. The last to open locally will be Regal Coconut Point in Estero on May 21. While many other cinemas have reopened, all Regal screens have been shuttered since Oct. 8 because the pandemic postponed major film releases over health concerns. “As we re-open our theatres, we remain committed to the safety of our patrons and employees,” Regal announced, citing the use of CinemaSafe expert-backed, industry-specific health and safety protocols. 

 

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT REPORTS MARCH TRAFFIC

During March, 1,162,342 passengers traveled through Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers. This was an increase of 35% compared to March 2020 and an increase of 60.2% increase compared to February 2021. Year-to-date, passenger traffic is down 20.4% compared to last year. The traffic leader in March was Southwest Airlines, with 284,606 total passengers. Rounding out the top five airlines were Delta (182,846), United (146,494), American (135,886) and Spirit (127,161). Southwest Florida International Airport had 11,472 aircraft operations, an increase of 7.5% compared to March 2020. Page Field saw 12,794 operations, a 0.6% increase compared to March 2020.

 

NAPLES HOME INVENTORY DOWN 73% IN MARCH

Overall home inventory in Naples was down 73% to 1,819 in March compared with March 2020, according to the Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island). Overall closed sales increased by 57% to 1,851 in March compared with March 2020, and overall pending sales increased by 153% to 2,469. The median closed price was up by 12% in March to $415,000, and the average days on the market decreased by 31% to 67. The full NABOR March 2021 Market Report will be available at noon on April 23 here.

 

CAPITAL WEALTH ADVISORS WEBINAR TO DISCUSS HOUSING MARKET

Naples-based Capital Wealth Advisors (CWA) continues its monthly Market Happy Hour Webinars at 4:30 p.m. on April 27. Ryan Marshall, president and CEO of PulteGroup, will share his insights and views on the current real estate cycle. Market Happy Hour webinars are free and open to the public. Prior registration is required. To register, click here. CWA is an independent financial advisory firm serving families and entrepreneurs through wealth advisory, estate planning and family office services with $1.66 billion in assets under management and clients in over 40 states. 

 

FORT MYERS CRA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS MEETING HELD ON APRIL 28

The Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency Board of Commissioners will host its regular meeting from 9 a.m. to noon on April 28. In accordance with social distancing orders limiting gatherings, anyone who wishes to join the meeting or make a public comment via Zoom may do so by calling 877-853-5257, toll-free. The webinar ID is 956 9464 2677. For assistance, contact the CRA office at 239-321-7100 or cra@cityftmyers.com. For more information, click here.

 

ABOVE BOARD CHAMBER RETURNS TO IN-PERSON SEMINARS

The Above Board Chamber of Florida returns to in-person seminars with its upcoming luncheon, “The Legal Differences and Tax Ramifications of Hiring an Employee vs. an Independent Contractor,” held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 10 at Hilton Naples and May 13 at the Crowne Plaza Bell Tower in Fort Myers and online via Zoom. At the seminar, business leaders will learn guidelines to help determine whether hiring a new employee or using an independent contractor is best for their company’s needs. Naples panelists include Patrick Neale, Patrick Neale & Associates; Karen Mosteller, Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co. P.A.; and Renee Thigpen, NCH Healthcare System. Fort Myers panelists include Tracy Pyles, Lee Health; Lee County Commissioner Kevin Ruane, Castleton Mortgage; Mindy LaCroix, Minette L. La Croix, CPA PA; and Suzanne M. Boy, Boy Agnew Potanovic PLLC. Jeanne Sweeney, CEO/Founder of the Above Board Chamber of Florida, will emcee both seminars. In-person registration for either seminar is $33 for members and $35 for non-members. Zoom registration for either seminar is $10 regardless of chamber membership. Click here to register.

 


Video courtesy of WINK News

FORT MYERS BEACH FIREWORKS BACK ON FOR JULY FOURTH

After a year without Fourth of July fireworks on Fort Myers Beach, the town council has decided they’ll be back. The pandemic forced the town to cancel its annual Independence Day celebration last year. COVID-19 badly hurt businesses along the beach, so the go-ahead to bring the fireworks show back is a sign of hope for them, WINK News reports.

 

BEATTIE JOINS BOARD OF DIRECTORS AT FAMILY INITIATIVE

Family Initiative has named Paul Beattie to its board of directors. Beattie is the founder and president of Beattie Development and the Beattie Family of Cos. His track record of support for Family Initiative includes a December 2020 matching-funds challenge that raised $10,000 for the nonprofit and enlistment of a volunteer group of Beattie company employees to paint the exterior of the newly opened Family Initiative Autism Services Center. Beattie, who holds licenses as a general contractor, plumber and roofer, has been building and remodeling luxury custom homes in Southwest Florida since 2009. His Beattie brand portfolio includes new home building and remodeling, a full-service design center, cabinet company and real estate firm, as well as B&C Granite and Bergau Plumbing. He currently serves as president of the Lee Building Industry Association (BIA). Beattie graduated from Clemson University with a degree in construction management.

 

Rae Krivohlavek

MEDIABRAINS EXPANDS TEAM

MediaBrains named Rae Krivohlavek as vice president of sales and Jacob Buckheit as director of product as the digital firm expands its services to publishers, marketers and advertisers. Krivohlavek brings more than 25 years of sales experience in a variety of industries, including health care, sports retail and senior housing. The firm promoted Buckheit to director of product. A recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with an information systems and software engineering degree, Buckheit will spearhead MediaBrains’ proprietary technology to benefit publishers and marketers.

 

NAPLES FINANCIAL ADVISOR RECOGNIZED AMONG TOP IN U.S.

Tom Moran, the founder, chief executive officer and senior PIM portfolio manager of Moran Wealth Management, has been recognized by Barron’s on its 2021 list of America’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors in the U.S. This is the tenth consecutive year that Moran has been named to this list. Barron’s is a financial weekly newspaper published by Dow Jones & Co. since 1921. Barron’s Top 1,200 rankings are based on data that includes assets under management, revenue produced for the firm, regulatory records, quality of practice, internal company documents and 100-plus points of data provided by the advisors themselves. Investment performance isn’t an explicit component. Moran Wealth Management is an investment management practice based in Naples.

 

CHARITABLE NOTES

 

2021 Southwest Florida Heart Ball takes place online tonight

The 40th annual Heart Ball gala will take place virtually at 7 p.m. this evening. The American Heart Association and its Southwest Florida chapter are sharing the evening of entertainment, education and efforts to raise money for lifesaving research, outreach and health improvements in the community. The evening will feature entertainment from country music’s award-winning trio Lady A, as well as a chance to meet this year’s Heart Hero, Emerson Butera. Registration is required here.

 

Volunteer of the year award named after and awarded to Dr. Don L. Bradke

Panira Healthcare Clinic honors volunteer on sunset cruise 

Panira Healthcare Clinic held its first fundraiser of the year aboard the Naples Princess in March. Proceeds from the cruise will support the clinic’s mission of providing affordable healthcare for all Collier County residents. As a special surprise to top off the evening, Dr. Don L. Bradke, medical director of Panira Healthcare Clinic, was honored with an Outstanding Volunteer award by the team of Panira. The award was created in his name and will be presented annually to an outstanding volunteer. Bradke is board certified in internal medicine and served two years as the chief of internal medicine for Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. He also practiced internal medicine in New Orleans for 20 years and in Oklahoma City for seven years. In 1999, he moved to northern Indiana and retired in 2016 as the medical director for emergency services at a critical care hospital. He now lives in Naples full time.

 

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