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Lee County has secured $700,000 from the Florida Harmful Algal Bloom Management Grant Program through the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the removal, processing and disposal of harmful algae blooms from select test sites in unincorporated Lee County and affected municipalities, most notably Cape Coral. Over the past week, Lee County has been working closely with DEP and county consultants to create an approved work plan for this project. The work plan includes: a health and safety plan to address any physical hazards that may be encountered; the equipment to be used and the procedures to be implemented during the algae recovery operations and the transfer, temporary storage, processing and final disposal of the recovered algae; the sampling required prior to disposal and steps for review of the laboratory data and obtaining approval for disposal. The treatment of the collected material is a time-consuming and complex process, which will limit the clean-up locations to those with the greatest concentration of algae. Lee County has mobilized AECOM, one of the nation’s largest construction and engineering firms with expertise in environmental cleanup, under a state contract for emergency cleanup deployments. The DEP approved the plan on Wednesday to allow the work to begin.


Michelle Wier has been appointed as the new principal of FSW Collegiate High School-Charlotte. Prior to joining FSW, Wier was the assistant principal at Lemon Bay High School for the past five years. Her career in education began nearly 30 years ago as a teacher before serving as a dean of students and a career specialist/student services program planner. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in education at The Ohio State University and her master’s degree in educational leadership at Florida Gulf Coast University.


The Southwest Florida CCIM District will hold its next monthly marketing meeting from 4:30-630 p.m. on Aug. 15 at the Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport at Town Center. Lee County Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson will speak at the event, titled "Whatever You Wanted to Know About Property Values in Lee County: The Latest Trends.” Wilkinson served four years in the Army before becoming property appraiser in 1980. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University. Wilkinson's professional background was in banking and appraising before being elected to public office. Event admission is $10 for district members, $20 for nonmembers and $5 for Florida Gulf Coast University students. Register online at


Robyn Bonaquist, president and founder of B-Squared Advertising of Naples, will be a featured speaker at the Southeast Building Conference (SEBC) held on Aug. 16-17 at the Gaylord Palm Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida Hosted by the Florida Home Builders Association (FBHA), the SEBC Conference will be celebrating 40 years in 2018.  Home to the Excel and Aurora awards, the SEBC is the largest tradeshow in the Southeast, with an audience of builders, developers, remodelers, general contractors, trade professionals and more. Bonaquist will present “Marketing to Millennials” at 8 a.m. on the first day. The information will provide insight into the obstacles of marketing to the millennial generation, as well as the secrets to overcoming those obstacles.


Dr. Eric B. Dent will be presenting his research at the Academy of Management Conference on Aug. 10-14 in Chicago. Dent will speak three times on subjects ranging from executive coaching to mindfulness. His executive coaching presentation, “Pulling Back the Curtain,” reveals the primary topic discussed in his 20-plus years of executive coaching. Dent has also recently conducted research on mindfulness. He and a research colleague studied the decision making of middle managers and found increased cognitive awareness and increased cognitive flexibility reduced negative affects and improved decision making. For more information, contact Dent at or (239) 590-7162.


Audubon Country Club has welcomed Richard H. Nielsen Jr. as its executive chef. Nielsen will oversee all culinary operations at the club. With more than 25 years of experience, Nielsen has held executive chef roles at clubs including Victoria National in Indiana, listed by Golf Digest as one of America’s Top 100 Golf Courses; Sankaty Head Golf Club on Nantucket; and The Tuxedo Club in Tuxedo Park, New York. Nielsen graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and earned his Certified Executive Chef designation from the American Culinary Federation. Nielsen also holds the Pro Chef III designation from the Culinary Institute of America.


Golisano grants $140,000 to STARability Foundation

The STARability Foundation has been awarded a $140,000 multi-year grant from the Golisano Foundation to support its Trailblazer Academy program. STARability launched the Trailblazer Academy in 2016 to fill the void in community-based programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities after they aged out of school services. In partnership with more than 20 local businesses and organizations, STARability’s Trailblazer Academy provides vocational training, employment readiness, independent living skills and life-enriching opportunities for the participants. The Golisano grant will allow STARability to expand the program to serve more people and to bolster the employment outcomes for the participants. For more information, visit

Free zoo admission for emergency workers

Naples Zoo is offering free admission to active and retired professional emergency workers through Aug. 31 for First Responders Appreciation Month. First Responders Appreciation Month is hosted in appreciation of the police, sheriffs, paramedics, TSA agents and firefighters who aid the community. Emergency workers need to present identification from their workplace to receive free admission. Other adult and child guests in their party will receive $2 off regular zoo admission. Emergency workers will have full access to the zoo’s activities, including a seated safari, the Primate Expedition Cruise, all of the animal exhibits and the opportunity to feed the herd of giraffes.

Larry J. Romano Memorial Golf Tournament scheduled for October

The 2018 Larry J. Romano Memorial Golf Tournament will take place on Oct. 1 at Colonial Country Club. The event raises funds to purchase life-saving equipment for the Fort Myers Police Department. Golf tournament registration begins at 11 a.m. followed by lunch at noon and a shotgun start at 1 p.m. The tournament will be followed by a cocktail hour at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. with an awards presentation, silent auction and 50/50 raffle. The entry fee is $200 per player and $100 for a non-playing guest. Individual and corporate sponsorships range from $1,500 to $3,000. Program ads are also available for $250 to $350. In 2016, the tournament was renamed in honor of one of the Fort Myers Police Foundation’s founding members, Larry J. Romano, who passed away suddenly last July at the age of 75. Since 2014, the Police Foundation has raised more than $150,000, which has gone toward purchasing medical kits for patrol cars, ballistic shields, electronic ear protection for shooting ranges, K-9 and more.  Reservations and sponsorships for the event are now available by visiting or calling (330) 323-4088.

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