Gulfshore Business Daily: December 3

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Low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available to Florida small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses and private nonprofit organizations affected by Hurricane Dorian from Aug. 28-Sept. 9. Acting SBA Administrator Christopher Pilkerton made the loans available in response to a letter from Gov. Ron DeSantis on Nov. 6, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers counties including Collier, Hendry, Lee and Glades. Eligible entities may qualify for loans up to $2 million. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at The deadline to return economic injury applications is Aug. 13, 2020. For more information, visit



Collier County tourism research shows 154,000 visitors stayed in paid lodging in October, an increase of 12.7% over October 2018. Those visitors also spent more 16.4% more, resulting in over $143 million in economic impact to the county. Visitation, occupancy, spending and other key tourism indicators were reported on Nov. 25 at the monthly Collier County Tourist Development Council meeting, based on this month’s report from Tampa-based Research Data Services Inc. Additional highlights for October compared to the same month last year include: Occupancy rose 5.3% to 67.5%, average daily rate increased 4.3% to $176.70, and revenue per available room grew 9.9% percent to $119.30. Several other positives coming out of the October visitation report include strong growth in visitation from the Midwest, up 22.8%; the number one in-state Florida market, up 8.7%, and Europe, including both the U.K. and Germany, up 19%. For more information, visit



Island Coast Pediatrics has joined the Vivida Health Medicaid plan to expand health services for low-income families. Island Coast is a private pediatric practice that has been in the Lee County community for nearly 30 years, operating offices in Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Estero. Vivida Health is a Medicaid Provider Service Network (PSN) providing access to high quality health care for eligible children, expectant mothers, elderly adults, low-income families and those with disabilities in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Sarasota counties. PSNs differ from traditional Medicaid plans in that they are owned, operated and governed by physicians and other health care providers. As a provider-owned and operated Medicaid plan, Vivida Health is designed to cater to the people and patients it serves within its designated region. To learn more about Vivida Health, visit



Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau recently received the Henry Award, the highest honor in the Creativity in Public Relations category, presented by VISIT FLORIDA at the Flagler Awards. The awards are an annual, statewide competition recognizing outstanding Florida tourism marketing. The Henry Award recognized the destination’s public relations efforts and creative response to the red tide bloom which wreaked havoc on the states gulf coast in 2018.  Through a grant-based recovery program with VISIT FLORIDA, Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach created its most successful advertising campaign to date, the post-red Tide response – “Are You Beach Ready?” When the red tide was no longer present in area waters, the destination hosted key media influencers around the area’s beaches and islands to enjoy and promote the “Beach Ready” message.



The Press Club of Southwest Florida (formerly the Naples Press Club) is hosting “Brunch with Boomer,” with ESPN anchor and award-winning sports journalist Chris Berman, from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 13. at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples. Berman became an anchor for SportsCenter on ESPN in 1979, joining a month after its initial launch, and hosted the network’s NFL Countdown program from 1985 to 2016. Tickets are $60 and reservations and advance payment are required. Register at Eventbrite. Sponsors of the brunch event include Presenting Sponsor Gulfshore Life and Major Sponsor ITVantage.



Pelican Isle Yacht Club has been selected as a Platinum Club of the World. Platinum Club recognition is the most respected award in the private club industry, according to a press release. Pelican Isle Yacht Club was awarded internationally in the 2020-2021 top 50 Yacht Club Category. Initiated in 2013, the Platinum Clubs of the World vote takes place every other year and is conducted through a worldwide vote of an international panel of industry experts, historians and connoisseurs. These industry leaders were directed to vote for clubs that meet the seven Platinum Clubs of the World Selection Criteria. This year, the Top 50 Platinum Yacht Clubs of the World have been elected for the first time through Platinum Clubs of the World. Previously voted the No. 7 Yacht Club in America, this is the fourth consecutive placement for Pelican Isle Yacht Club on the Platinum Clubs list. For more information, visit



 The Collier Building Industry Association’s (CBIA) annual Holiday Happenings will be held at 6 p.m. on Dec. 19 in The Club at Olde Cypress Golf & Country Club in Naples. More than 100 CBIA members and associates are expected to attend the annual holiday event and networking opportunity, where the CBIA Builder and CBIA Associate of the Year awards will be announced. Sponsors to date include B-Squared Advertising, 2-10 Home Buyer Warranty and Stock Development. Holiday Happenings will include a celebratory buffet dinner served in Olde Cypress Golf & Country Club’s clubhouse overlooking its Pete Dye-designed 18-hole championship golf course. The deadline to RSVP is Dec. 13. The cost is $50 per member and payment must be received in advance. Online registration is available at For questions, call (239) 436-6100 or email


David Wumkes


GATES Construction has hired David Wumkes as senior superintendent. Wumkes is responsible for daily onsite supervision of GATES’ projects, including quality control, safety, security, project close out, and transition planning. Wumkes, who relocated from Chicago area to Southwest Florida in 2003, has over 35 years of construction experience with a wide variety of project types such as healthcare, hospitality, government, and commercial construction. Wumkes will be based out of GATES Construction’s headquarters in Bonita Springs.



Hughes, Snell & Co., P.A. donates to Foster Care Advisory Services

Hughes, Snell & Co., P.A., Certified Public Accountants and Consultants, continues to support Foster Care Advisory Services/Children’s Network of Southwest Florida, and invites others to join them in supporting the organization. Since 2003, Hughes, Snell team members have collected and provided holiday meals, gifts and gift cards to area families in need through the organization. This year, HSC provided 30 Thanksgiving meals and 35 holiday gift cards for foster children and their families.


Samaritan’s Purse staff member surveys devastation post-Hurricane Dorian. Courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

The Community Foundation of Collier County Hurricane Dorian Disaster Relief Fund benefits Samaritan’s Purse

The Community Foundation of Collier County Hurricane Dorian Disaster Relief Fund has granted $96,000 to Samaritan’s Purse, a nonprofit dedicated to the needs of individuals in crisis, to rebuild six homes in Grand Bahama and Great Abaco Islands at $16,000 per home/family. The houses that will be rebuilt are still intact but need to be thoroughly dried, cleaned, repainted, and repaired. These homes will receive new roofs, doors, and windows/storm shutters that will be installed according to hurricane approved building codes in the state of Florida, protecting against inevitable future storms. Samaritan’s Purse is focusing its rebuilding projects on Grand Bahama and Great Abaco at this time. The Samaritan’s Purse staff will be identifying families by working with local churches and using local contractors to do the work while overseeing the progress on each home. The vetting process for families and identifying which homes can rebuild has started. The Hurricane Dorian Disaster Relief Fund was established to provide disaster relief to victims of this unprecedented storm, which left behind massive devastation. One-hundred percent of donations were distributed to aid hurricane victims.


The $5.3 million grant will enhance wetland habitat for roosting and nesting birds.

‘Ding’ awards $9K in school conservation education grants

“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) recently awarded $9,106 in grants to conservation education-related projects at 11 different schools and educational resources in Lee, Charlotte, and Collier counties for the 2019-2020 school year. Teachers submitted grant applications to the DDWS Environmental Education Committee by Oct. 31. The committee chose awards based on need and relevance to conservation.

Educational resources to which DDWS awarded grants this year include East Lee County High in Lehigh Acres for two separate projects titled “Growing Our Future” and “Bringing Thoreau & Emerson To Life;” Edison Park Creative & Expressive Art School in Fort Myers for “Grow Up for Environmental Stewardship;” Lee Adolescent Mother’s Program in Fort Myers for “Green Space – A Garden for Us All;” Lee County Schools for “Project Wonder of Water;” Lehigh Senior High for “Retention Pond Study;” Immokalee Middle School for “Water Is a Valuable Resource;” James Stephens International Academy in Fort Myers for “Escape Drill and Practice;” Orange River Elementary in Fort Myers for “Let’s Get Wet;” Peace River Elementary in Port Charlotte for “Hydrophonics;” Quality of Life Center of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers for “Quality Conservation Project;” and Villas Elementary in Fort Myers for “Microscopes to Inspire & Enhance Scientific Inquiry.”

Grant recipients report back on their projects to the society and refuge, sending pictures and often thank-you notes from the students, upon project completion in June 2020. For information on next year’s grants, contact Sierra Hoisington at (239) 472-1100 ext. 4, Wendy Kindig at, or visit


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