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Gulfshore Business Daily: February 3

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Tiffany Esposito
Lead Photo: Aerial rendering of the I-75 at Colonial Boulevard Diverging Diamond Interchange Project provided by the FDOT and worked on by EHC. Details below.

 

FLORIDA LAUNCHES STATEWIDE PRE-REGISTRATION SYSTEM FOR COVID-19 VACCINE APPOINTMENTS

Florida has launched a statewide pre-registration system to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments for individuals 65 and older and frontline health care workers. Individuals can pre-register for vaccine appointments and be notified when appointments are available in their area by visiting myvaccine.fl.gov. This website will allow individuals who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to be proactively contacted when vaccine appointments are available at state-supported vaccination sites. On the site, residents can select their county and submit their contact information. Once appointments are available, individuals will be contacted by phone call, text or email and will be assisted in scheduling an appointment, WINK News reports.
 

MASKS NOW REQUIRED AT SOUTHWEST FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Effective Feb. 2, federal law requires wearing a mask at all times in and at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW). Failure to comply may result in removal and denial of re-entry. Refusing to wear a mask in or at RSW is a violation of federal law and individuals may be subject to penalties under federal law. Under Security Directive SD 1542-21-01, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has directed that all U.S. airports require masks to be worn to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during air travel. TSA has developed these requirements in consultation with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC has also issued an order under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264)Security Directive SD 1542-21-01 exempts special categories of persons from wearing masks. The federal law and mask requirement will also apply to customers and guests using the terminal building at Base Operations at Page Field. For more information, visit flylcpa.com.
 

Video courtesy of WINK News

MILLENNIUM PHYSICIAN GROUP PLANS FOR POSSIBLE VACCINE DISTRIBUTION

Millennium Physician Group has been authorized as a distributor of the COVID-19 vaccine, but so far has not received any doses. The group says watching other agencies trying to manage the rollout has taught it some lessons for when those doses do finally become available. The biggest difference between Millennium and a mass vaccination site or even a local pharmacy is that the doctors there know their patients and they know who needs the vaccine the most, WINK News reports.
 

FGCU STUDY SHOWS SWFL HOUSING MARKET BENEFITED DURING PANDEMIC

According to a new report from Florida Gulf Coast University, Southwest Florida’s economy has a promising side effect from the pandemic. Single-family home building permits were up 39%, home sales up 37% and home prices up 13 to 30% within the last year. Thanks to low-interest rates during the pandemic, more people are upgrading or buying new homes, especially since more people need office space to work from home, said Amir Neto, the interim director of the Regional Economic Research Institute in the Lutgert College of Business at FGCU. For a link to the Southwest Florida Regional Economic Indicators report, click here.
 

LEE COMMISSIONERS OK IMPROVEMENTS AT BROOKS COMMUNITY PARK

Lee County commissioners voted Tuesday to approve a contract to build improvements at one of Lee County’s oldest parks, Brooks Community Park, 50 South Road, just south of Page Field. The project will provide a shade structure for the pickleball courts, new restrooms, upgrades to existing restrooms for compliance with ADA standards, 196 additional parking spaces, sidewalks, additional landscaping and plumbing improvements. Brooks Park, constructed in 1973, is host to six youth athletic leagues and four adult athletic leagues. Nearly 9,800 people visited the park in December alone. The county acquired an adjacent 1.5-acre property as well as about 1.3 acres of former right-of-way between 2012 and 2017 to allow for expansion. The $1.6 million construction contract is with AIM Construction Contracting. The work is expected to take about six months, weather permitting, according to the county.
 

Video courtesy of WINK News

JETBLUE PARK FINISHES REPAIRS BEFORE SPRING TRAINING

Major last-minute repairs were completed this week at JetBlue Park before Red Sox spring training. Cracks were discovered on the skywalk connecting the suite level seating to the Green Monster. Crews were seen finishing up the repairs Monday morning. One look at the huge fissures in the concrete and it was easy to see why the county gave this immediate attention, WINK News reports.
 

SRMA TO HOST ROUNDTABLE FOR MANUFACTURERS ON FEB. 17

The Southwest Regional Manufacturers Association (SRMA) will host the “Accelerating Workforce Skills & Certifications” Roundtable at 8 a.m. on Feb. 17 on Zoom. The free roundtable webinar is open for all to attend. Participants will learn about on-the-job training programs, apprenticeship programs and rapid certification courses available to improve the skills, confidence and productivity of their workforce. Featured speakers include Immokalee Technical College Director Dorin Oxender, Assistant Director Aaron Paquette, and Instructor Ross Porter. SRMA Board Chair Jeff Poirier will moderate the discussion, and guests will have an opportunity to ask the panel questions that relate to their business. To register, visit srma.net/category/events/ and a Zoom link will be sent to you. 
 

LA MAISON YAMRON LAUNCHES AT WATERSIDE SHOPS IN NAPLES

La Maison Yamron, a retailer of unique, pre-owned luxury and vintage jewelry and timepieces, recently opened its store at the Waterside Shops in Naples. The new store, which specializes in rare pieces by prestigious houses such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari, Patek Philippe, Graff, Audemar Piguet and Harry Winston, joins Yamron Jewelers in a separate shop at the upscale open-air mall off Seagate Drive in the Pelican Bay area. The new store is next to Brio Italian Grille in the space where the Starbucks coffee shop closed two years ago. La Maison Yamron, 5505 Tamiami Trail N., Suite 5, is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed Sunday. For more information, call 239-596-2732 or go to lamaisonyamron.com
 

EHC KICKS OFF 2021 WITH NEW PROJECTS

EHC, a construction company that provides pre-construction, earthwork and infrastructure services, started the I-75 at Colonial Boulevard Diverging Diamond Interchange Project (DDI) in Fort Myers and the Heritage Bay Government Center Project in Naples in 2021, plus two new projects in the fourth quarter of 2020. The DDI project improvements involve the reconfiguration of the I-75 at Colonial Boulevard Interchange to a Diverging Diamond Interchange. Additionally, EHC is working with Kauffman Lynn for Collier County on phase one of the Heritage Bay Government Center located in North Naples. The first phase of the project focuses on the development and construction of an approximately 20,000-square-foot Collier County Government Services Center (GSC). The two projects EHC started in the fourth quarter of 2020 involve Manasota Key Sidewalk, Lighting & Landscaping in Englewood for the Charlotte County Government and St. Paul Catholic Church in Arcadia. For more information, visit EHCconstruction.com.
 

JOHN R. WOOD PROPERTIES HAS 2020 INCREASE OF $1 BILLION

John R. Wood Properties has reported a 2020 written sales volume of $3.65 billion, an increase of $1 billion over the company’s 2019 written contract volume. The firm specializes in southwest Florida, conducting business only in Collier and Lee counties. With 2,467 closed listings and 2,863 new listings in 2020, the company sold more listings and represented more sellers in Southwest Florida than any other firm, according to Phil Wood, president of John R. Wood Properties. Demand was particularly strong in areas with larger single-family lot sizes, such as Port Royal, the Moorings, Quail West, and Golden Gate Estates. Larger homes with more rooms and those with greater outdoor spaces were also highly coveted during the past year, John R. Wood Properties reports. The company has more than 600 real estate agents in 19 offices.
 

Tiffany Esposito

ESPOSITO ELECTED CHAIR OF HODGES UNIVERSITY BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Hodges University has named Tiffany Esposito as chair of its board of trustees. Esposito is the president and CEO of SWFL Inc., a regional chamber serving Lee, Charlotte and Collier counties. Esposito is a Lee County native and a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University, where she received an undergraduate degree in communications and a Master of Business Administration. She also earned the Certified Chamber Executive designation, the Institute for Organizational Management designation from the United States Chamber of Commerce, and the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) designation from the Public Relations Society of America.
 

CHARITABLE NOTES

 

Lee commissioners vote to accept grants for gopher tortoise habitat

Lee County commissioners voted Tuesday to accept a grant to help improve gopher tortoise habitat and another to educate people about the threatened species. Commissioners voted to accept funding from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in the amount of $6,450 for Telegraph Creek Preserve gopher tortoise habitat improvement. The funding will be used to clear heavy undergrowth on 43 acres, which allows the tortoises to better forage and burrow. The board also will accept funding from the Gopher Tortoise Council, Donna J. Heinrich Environmental Education Grant in the amount of $1,620 to be used exclusively to create materials that will help educate preserve visitors about gopher tortoises and their habitat at places such as Prairie Pines Preserve, Powell Creek Preserve and Hickey’s Creek Mitigation Park. Additional preserve information is available at conservation2020.org or leeparks.org.
 

Renée Gaddis

Renée Gaddis Interiors completes donated suite for Ronald McDonald House

Renée Gaddis Interiors, a full-service residential interior design firm, recently completed and donated a fully furnished and decorated suite and bathroom for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida at 16100 Roserush Court in South Fort Myers. Inspired by a sense of cheerfulness, Gaddis designed a space that instantly creates feelings of happiness, optimism and hope for a family needing a place to stay while their sick child is cared for next door at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. The finished room and bathroom donation is estimated at $50,000. Serving families who must travel far from home, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida provides support and resources for families with sick children just steps from the hospital. Since 1996, thousands of families have stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Fort Myers. For more information, visit rmhcswfl.org/house/.
 

Sponsors needed for upcoming Mac & Cheese Challenge

The Make-A-Wish Southern Florida Youth Leadership Committee is hosting a Mac & Cheese Challenge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 1 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa. The event will include mac n’ cheese samples from restaurants, catering companies, and businesses. Guests will vote on their favorite. There is also live music, games and a silent auction and raffle. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students and $10 for children 12 and under. All of the net proceeds benefit Make-A-Wish Southern Florida. Tickets are available online in advance at makeawishtickets.org. Sponsorships are greatly needed for this event. To participate, contact Taylor Norman at 239-992-9474 or tnorman@sfla.wish.org.
 

United Way offers free online tax filing tool 

United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee on Feb. 1 launched this tax season’s MyFreeTaxes.com site. For the 12th year, United Way is providing online tax filing software, accessible through MyFreeTaxes.com, to help taxpayers easily and accurately file their taxes from their computer or smartphone. MyFreeTaxes is free for all simple returns and includes schedule C options. A list of the tax forms included in the offering is available at MyFreeTaxes.com. Users of MyFreeTaxes can also contact United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee for additional resources or to find ways to volunteer to support the community.
 

Guadalupe Resale Shop requests community volunteers

Guadalupe Resale Shop is in need of volunteers to help process donations, price items, stock shelves, create displays, assist customers and ring up purchases at its North Naples showroom. The nonprofit organization typically has more than 100 volunteers who lend their services during the year. However, some winter residents are staying up North this season because of COVID-19 while local volunteers are limiting their outside interactions. Proceeds from the Resale Shop help Guadalupe Center create endless possibilities through its nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program and college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program. Guadalupe Center’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee. Since the pandemic began, Guadalupe Resale Shop has introduced a series of safety measures to keep volunteers, shoppers and donors safe. For more information, visit GuadalupeCenter.org.
 
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