Gulfshore Business Daily: February 14

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The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) has announced a campaign to raise $9.5 million to purchase 68 acres of Sanibel property adjacent to the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. From private donors, DDWS has to date raised $2 million toward the minimum $3 million it will need to raise in order to receive support from other funding sources.

The conservation and planned restoration of the property, known as Wulfert Bayous, will protect a four-acre lake, 16 acres of existing mangroves, hardwood uplands, and 22 active gopher tortoise burrows. Wulfert Bayous contains 15 acres of wetlands that can be restored and enhanced to create a wading bird colony. Improvements would also include limited, passive public access for wildlife viewing. For more information, to make a donation, or to pledge support, visit or contact Birgie Miller at (239) 292-0566 or     


After six years in Collier County, McKenney Home Care has expanded its private home services into Lee County. The business, located at 9655 Tamiami Trail N., Suite 201, Naples, recently held a ribbon-cutting with the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

Sisters Michele McKenney and Patrice McGrath founded McKenney Home Care six years ago. Today, the business is accredited by both the Better Business Bureau and Accreditation Commission for Health Care. Its caregivers help clients maintain their independence by living at home with companionship, protective oversight and skilled care with daily living activities.


First State Bank of Arcadia is undergoing a name change. Starting this month, the bank will be known as Crews Bank & Trust. The new name echoes that of the owner, Crews Banking Corp., a privately held bank holding company that also operates Wauchula State Bank, Charlotte State Bank & Trust and Englewood Bank & Trust.

There will be updates to the First State/Crews Bank brand’s look and feel, to help modernize and grow the bank. The bank operates a satellite loan-production office in Manatee County and will open a full-service office in Sarasota County soon. Increased service capabilities at the renamed bank include trust and investment management services, headed by chief investment officer Michael Aloian and offered at the current First State Bank of Arcadia branches.


The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is hosting a free seminar for seniors on cyber theft at 10 a.m. on Feb. 21 at North Fort Myers Recreation Center. The seminar will focus on creating strong passwords, the dangers of oversharing on social media, using public Wi-Fi and online fraud targeting seniors. Participants will learn how to surf the web safely and recognize spam in email.

This class is free to anyone who would like to attend. For additional information, contact (239) 533-7200. For more information about Lee County Parks & Recreation events, visit, call (239) 533-7275 or email


Charlotte State Bank & Trust Retail Operations Officer Elizabeth Hernandez has been named an assistant vice president. She has been with the bank 16 years. Hernandez previously served as a customer service representative in Connecticut for American Airlines, the Hartford Courant newspaper and other companies prior to moving to Charlotte County in 2001.

She joined Charlotte State Bank & Trust in 2003, advancing from teller to head teller in four months. She became a personal banker in May of 2004 and moved into bookkeeping a year later. She spent time as a bookkeeping specialist and supervisor for eight years before entering retail operations.


Touchstone Wealth Partners | UBS has promoted Danielle Osborn to senior client service associate. She will continue to spearhead client relations as the first point of contact for all client service needs. Osborn educates on account services, manages the onboarding process, and connects with each client.

She began her career with UBS in Weehawken, New Jersey, and moved to Bonita Springs five years ago. Osborn earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Montclair State University and is fully licensed, holding The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Series 7 and 66 designations.


Five Guys Burgers and Fries has opened at 12031 Bonita Beach Road Southeast in Bonita Springs, near I-75. The new Five Guys Burgers and Fries location will serve burgers, hot dogs, fries and milkshakes. Dan Beaulieu is the managing partner of several Lee & Charlotte County Five Guys locations. The new location is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Learn more or order online at, or call (239) 221-8711.


Special Equestrians Taste of Love set for March

Special Equestrians' annual culinary event, Taste of Love, will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on March 10 at The Ranch Concert Hall & Saloon in Fort Myers. Themed "Taste of Love under the Stars," the event will feature dishes from area restaurants and chefs, wine tasting, live and silent auctions and entertainment. Celebrity auctioneer Jay Severson and award-winning radio and television personality Gina Birch will oversee the evening's events.

Nearly 500 guests attended the event in 2018, raising more than $200,000 for the nonprofit organization. Tickets are $100 per person and may be purchased at, by calling (239) 851-7070, or emailing

Edwardo C., Laura H., Mark T., Pati M., and Ralph I. at VITA Taxathon 2019 

United Way VITA Taxathon generates $100,645 in savings, refunds

The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee launched the 2019 tax season with its second annual “Taxathon,” a 12-hour free tax preparation and filing event designed to help families who may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Care Credits. United Way’s Taxathon was held for individuals and families whose household income was $66,000 or less as part of its mission to bring improved financial stability to the community.

While IRS-trained volunteers provided free tax preparation, clients were also able to visit a variety of agencies that offered financial services, voter registration, and affordable healthcare counseling. Agencies and vendors present to assist clients included: BB&T Bank, United Way 211, Staywell Insurance, Lee County Elections and Florida Rural Legal Aid.

United Way VITA services will continue through the tax filing deadline of April 15. For more information, visit, or call United Way 211 by dialing 2-1-1 or (239) 433-3900.

Registration open for 2019 LCEC/United Way Catch & Release Tournament

This year’s LCEC United Way Fishing Tournament will be catch and release, due to the effects of to the toxic algae blooms and red tide. The event will be held on April 13 at D&D Bait and Tackle on Matlacha. Registration is now open. Registration cost before April 11 is $65 per angler and $50 per student. After April 11, registration increases to $75 and $55, respectively. A captains’ meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on April 12 at D&D Bait and Tackle.

In addition to cash and prizes being awarded, there will be a silent auction, raffle and barbecue. All proceeds from this tournament go directly to the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties. For more details, visit, email or call (239) 656-2122.


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