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Naples has ranked No. 1 in Florida on SmartAsset’s fifth annual study on the Best Places to Retire. The study rates cities by their tax friendliness, recreational and social opportunities for seniors, and availability of medical care. The city scored 13.7 percent in tax friendliness, 28.1 in doctors’ offices per 1,000 people, 9.8 in recreation centers per 1,000 people, 1.1 in retirement centers per 1,000 people, and 51.5 percent for percentage of seniors. Naples received an overall score of 100 on SmartAsset’s Best Place to Retire Index. Additional information on the study, including the methodology and interactive map, can be found here.


The LCEC board of trustees has approved a $14.6 million 2018 equity allocation. In addition, an $11.9 million equity retirement was approved, putting those funds back in the pockets of active and inactive electric cooperative members. This amount includes an $8.1 million return of equity to inactive customers with memberships that have been closed since 2011, and an additional return of $3.3 million to current and inactive members. Customers will see credits on their bill or equity checks soon. Over the years, LCEC has returned more than $280 million in equity to customers. Equity in LCEC is not equivalent to cash or liquid assets. Equity represents members’ investment in LCEC’s electrical system in the form of substations, poles, lines, transformers and other facilities.


The Lee Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a consultant contract to allow the Lee County Department of Transportation to keep pace with technology used in connected and autonomous vehicles and to ensure an efficient transition toward technology for future traffic management. The consultant, Iteris Inc., will create a Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Technology Strategic Plan to assist county staff in understanding how tech companies, automotive manufacturers, infrastructure providers and others are advancing their products and how Lee County can work with those products. The strategic plan also is expected to forecast technology trends for the next 15 years, evaluate the cybersecurity risks in the technology and identify grant opportunities. The contract with Iteris Inc., based in Santa Ana, California, is for $389,510 and is expected to be complete in about a year.


Calusa Waterkeeper has created The Big Calusa, a family-friendly, recreational, educational and cultural week-long festival and clean-up to reconnect the community in a positive way with local waterways. The Big Calusa begins on Earth Day, April 22, with the Calusa Kayakers Clean-Up Kick-Off Party at Millennial Brewing Company from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in Fort Myers. Millennial Brewing plans to unveil a brew specially crafted for the event called “The Big Calusa” on tap at various venues all week. That same day, The Big Calusa teams up with Keep Lee County Beautiful to initiate Calusa Clean-up, a comprehensive week-long effort to clean waterways throughout the region, partnering with kayak outfitters, civic associations, homeowners associations, service groups, churches and schools. The person who cleans the most garbage out of waterways and posts photos to social media with the hashtag #calusacleanup will be celebrated as clean-up champion at the Big Calusa Awards. Calusa Culture Night follows on April 24 at Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, then Big Calusa Day on April 27 at North Shore Park. The week-long events culminate with the Big Calusa Awards Ceremony on April 28. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Email Schulberg at to find out how to get involved. For more information or to volunteer, visit


The Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida has earned a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s leading nonprofit watchdog organization, for the 10th consecutive year. This is Charity Navigator’s highest possible rating and indicates that the organization adheres to sector best practices and executes its mission in a financially efficient way. Only 2 percent of the charities evaluated by Charity Navigator have received at least 10 consecutive four-star ratings. The Harry Chapin Food Bank’s overall rating is 92.92 out of 100, including a perfect 100 out of 100 in the category for accountability and transparency.  The detailed rating can be seen at


The South Florida Chapter of the National Speakers Association will feature former NBA player and Hall-of-Fame speaker Walter Bond, with a special afternoon session by Heather Christie, on April 13 at The Tarpon Cove Yacht & Racquet Club in Naples. Bond will present “Who Said Talk is Cheap?” and Christie will present “How Much Money Does Your Webcam Make You?” For more information and to register, go to


Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) Regional Director of Operations Anne Ronco has been nominated by the Naples, Florida Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) as Woman of the Year for 2019. Ronco will compete to raise funds for blood cancer research and patient support programs, which could earn her the title of Woman of the Year. “During my LLS Woman of the Year campaign, my goal is to work as hard as I can to ensure that necessary treatments and patient resources provide hope to families and those battling cancer in diverse communities all over the world,” Ronco said. To vote for Ronco, go to This link will take you to Ronco’s personal web page, where you may donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Every dollar donated counts as one vote for Ronco.


Casino in the Cape coming Friday

The Silver Stars 2018 Cape Coral Leadership class is hosting Casino in the Cape 2019, continuing the tradition established by the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce. The fundraiser will take place from 6-11 p.m. on Friday at Cape Coral Yacht Club. The event, sponsored by The Gunterberg Charitable Foundation, supports local nonprofit organizations in Cape Coral. The four charities chosen are Big Brothers Big Sisters, Blue line Bear, Cape Coral Caring Center and The New Beginnings of SWFL. For more information, click here or contact Trevor Medenwaldt at 239-471-3564.

Valerie’s House receives grant from New York Life

New York Life has awarded Valerie’s House  a $20,000 Community Impact Grant. The grant will support ongoing programs at Valerie’s House, including support groups for more grieving children, their parents, families and other caregivers from Lee, Collier, Charlotte and Hendry counties. Donna Caruso, financial services professional at New York Life’s South Florida General Office joined Valerie’s House as a founding board member in 2016. She currently serves as vice-chair on the executive board and supported the organization for the grant application. The Community Impact Grant program awards grants of up to $25,000 to local nonprofit organizations which are championed by New York Life agents and employees to serve the needs of their local communities. Since the program’s inception in 2008, more than 500 grants totaling nearly $7 million have been awarded to nonprofits across the country.

Enterprise Holdings Foundation donates $3,500 to Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida

The Enterprise Holdings Foundation has donated $3,500 to Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida for support of Goodwill’s Mobile Job-Link Program. The Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Enterprise Holdings, which, through its integrated network of independent regional subsidiaries and franchises, operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands. The Mobile Job-Link and Family Strengthening Service Vehicle provides financial education services, Affordable Care Act health care assistance, SNAP, Digital Training, FAFSA applications, VITA tax return assistance and employment services to people who are underemployed, unemployed or disadvantaged. In 2018, the vehicle participated in 61 events with an estimated 7,400 attendees.

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