Gulfshore Business Daily: December 19

Hertz Arena will undergo improvements, Lehigh Acres land is authorized for Conservation 20/20, NABOR installs new leaders and more.


The Lee Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a contract for structural design and construction improvements to the Hertz Arena roof and building for continued use as an emergency shelter. The $3.2 million project will be funded by $2 million from the Lee County’s All Hazards Reserve Fund, $1 million from the General Fund and the balance from major maintenance funds.

The Walker Contracting Group Inc. is the contractor for the project. Earlier this year, commissioners approved a new lease agreement with KTB Florida Sports Arena LLC, owner of Hertz Arena, then known as Germain Arena, to continue the availability and use of the arena as a public shelter for disasters and emergency events and replacement of the roof.

Lee County previously had an agreement in place with the arena owners since 1999. Improvements to the arena include design and repairs to the roof and other necessary measures to withstand hurricane winds. Work is anticipated to begin in March and be completed in June, weather permitting.


The Lee Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday authorized the $3.87 million purchase of 624.9 acres along Joel Boulevard in northern Lehigh Acres for Conservation 20/20.

The parcel, commonly known as "GS-10," was historically used as a borrow pit. It is southeast of the Greenbriar Swamp and the size, location and previous use are ideal for a water quality/storage project with potential passive public recreation components.

The Conservation 20/20 Land Acquisition and Stewardship Advisory Committee unanimously recommended approval of the purchase. This parcel is part of the proposed Caloosahatchee River Estuary, Lehigh Section 10 Storage Project in the 2012 Caloosahatchee River Watershed Protection Plan. For more information, visit


The Naples Area Board of REALTORS (NABOR) has installed its 2019 board of directors and officers at its 69th annual installation banquet, "The Future Belongs to Those Who Believe in Their Dreams,” held Dec. 1 at Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club.

Jeff Jones was welcomed as 2019 president and announced his plans for 2019, which include delivering affordable MLS solutions for commercial Realtors and affordable educational classes to members entering the real estate field. 

Florida Realtors President-Elect Barry Grooms installed the following 2019 NABOR officers, in addition to Jones: Lauren Melo, president-elect; Adam Vellano, vice president/secretary; Bill Archer, treasurer; and directors Ryan Bleggi; Nicholas Bobzien; Corey McCloskey; James Schlimmer; Terrilyn VanGorder; Paula Angelopoulos Urbinati; and Rick Baranski.


Porter Wright has appointed Theodore Walters as the new partner-in-charge of the Naples office as of Jan. 1. Walters is a transactional and trial lawyer focusing his practice on corporate, medical/dental, banking and real estate matters. Walters joined the Naples office in 2013. He is a member of The Florida Bar, The District of Columbia Bar, and the American and Collier County Bar Associations. He is board-certified by The Florida Bar as a specialist in international law, fluent in German and proficient in French and Spanish.

Walters also serves as an attorney coach to the Immokalee High School Mock Trial Team after several years as a 20th Judicial Circuit High School Moot Court Competition judge. He formerly served on the Board of Directors of Collier Senior Resources, the Naples Chapter of the American Red Cross, and the Avow Hospice PAWS Committee.

Walters received a Juris Doctor degree from University of Miami School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from The American University. While attending college, Walters was an aide to then-U.S. Congressman John McCain in Washington, D.C. and Phoenix, Arizona. 

While partner Jeff Cecil is stepping down as partner-in-charge, he will continue his work with clients and remains an integral part of the firm.


In conjunction with its Home Owners Association’s recent recognition as a Blue Zones Project participant, Naples Lakes Country Club has promoted Laz Rua to senior director of the club’s fitness/wellness department. Rua has led the Blue Zones wellness effort every step of the way, a press release states. 

The new senior director of fitness has been at Naples Lakes since 2007. He previously served as head wrestling coach at Palmetto Ridge High School and assistant and head wrestling coach at Naples High School. Rua attended William Penn University in Iowa on a wrestling scholarship and earned a Bachelor of Science in human performance from Florida Gulf Coast University. He holds various professional certifications in fitness and health including strength, nutrition, and bodybuilding.


The Suncoast Schools Credit Union Foundation is partnering with The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools to offer five $2,000 scholarship awards to high school graduates in the class of 2019. Class of 2019 high school graduates in Suncoast Credit Union’s 21-county service territory can apply for financial support to continue their education, thanks to a $116,000 investment in scholarships by the Tampa-based credit union’s foundation. Applications opened Dec. 15 and are available until March 29, 2019. To apply, visit


Inaugural Soiree Under the Stars set for January

The inaugural Soiree Under the Stars will be held from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Jan. 17, with a VIP cocktail reception at 6 p.m., at the London Bay model homes at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club. The evening will feature local celebrity models showcasing the latest fashion from Brodeur-Carvell Fine Apparel.

The event will raise funds to support KKIDS Inc. and its mission of providing for at-risk children. State Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, is the honorary chair of the event. The co-chairs are Marilyn Santiago, president of Creative Architectural Resin Products (CARP), and John-Carlos Estrada, WINK News anchor and reporter.

Tickets are $95 per person or $150 for VIP and are available by calling Mindy LaCroix at (239) 292-7031 or visiting Soiree Under the Stars is presented in partnership with Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club, London Bay Homes, and Brodeur-Carvell Fine Apparel. Other sponsors include Clive Daniel Home, Attorney Sean King of King Law, John R. Wood Properties, Manhattan Construction, and Overtime Pizzeria & Sports Pub. Sponsorships are still available.

Norris helps build Southwest Florida family new home for the holidays

Norris Furniture & Interiors has partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties to help rehabilitate a home for a Southwest Florida family in need. Along with donating $5,000 to Habitat for Humanity for the project, Norris’ team was also on site at the build helping with construction on Dec. 6. Norris is one of ten partners behind this special project. Upon completion, the home will belong to Southwest Florida native Yolanda, a single mother of two boys.

Yolanda was accepted into the Habitat program to earn and purchase a rehabilitated home. While working as a full-time receptionist and medical biller, she was able to raise the necessary $1,700 closing costs for the home and also is volunteering 300 sweat equity hours, helping build her own home and homes of others in the program. Yolanda will also complete 20 hours of home-ownership classes before she purchases the home at the appraised value with an affordable mortgage. The “Home for the Holidays” build will culminate with a special home dedication ceremony at 11 a.m. on Thursday.

Naples children with special needs benefit from Grampy’s Pro-Am

Robbie’s Riders, Grampy’s Charities and Sanibel Captiva Community Bank presented two adaptive tricycles, worth more than $2,000, to Naples children during the second annual Grampy’s Pro-Am, presented by Sanibel Captiva Community Bank at Fiddlesticks Country Club. 

The tournament was established 30 years ago by McDonald’s owner/operator Fred Frederic, founder of the Fort Myers Ronald McDonald House, until his passing in 2015. At that time, Grampy’s Charities offered to coordinate future tournaments and raised more than $80,000 at the inaugural Pro-Am in 2017. The 2018 tournament raised $100,000 to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida.

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