Lead photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels
Video courtesy of WINK News
COLLIER COUNTY STARTS DISTRIBUTING COVID-19 VACCINE
Every county in Southwest Florida now has the COVID-19 vaccine for the general public. Gov. Ron DeSantis reminds Floridians that there are limited vaccines available – not enough for everyone, for now – so, people should be patient. Collier County was the last county in Southwest Florida to get vaccines for public distribution, and it only took minutes for the health department to be all booked up at its three sites. People weren’t happy that appointments went so fast, but by making appointments, the county could avoid the long lines that plagued its neighbor to the north. Vaccinations in Collier began Sunday (Jan. 3) and will only be given to high-risk frontline health care workers and people 65 years of age and older. Three hundred people signed up but the county will continue to receive the vaccine in the following weeks and will announce further dates, WINK News reports.
FOAM RECYCLING EXPANDS IN COLLIER COUNTY
On Sunday, Jan. 2, Collier County began offering foam recycling collection at all recycling drop-off centers. As part of a pilot program, foam recycling has been available at the North Collier Recycling Drop-off Center since Oct. 1. Now, the recycling drop-off centers are accepting clean polystyrene foam products from residents and commercial businesses at four locations: 2640 Corporate Flight Drive, Naples; 9950 Goodlette-Frank Road N., North Naples; 990 Chalmer Drive, Marco Island: 825 39th Ave. NE, next to the fairgrounds in Golden Gate Estates. The centers are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Most foam products with a number 6 recycling symbol can be recycled including clean takeout containers, coolers and egg cartons. Packing peanuts cannot be accepted for recycling and foam should not be placed in the curbside recycling containers with the yellow tops. This important initiative will keep foam out of the landfill and help preserve the environment. Collier County’s foam recycling pilot program was made possible by a $50,000 grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition. The grant was used to purchase a foam densifier, a machine that compresses foam into blocks which are then sold to a vendor for collection and resale. For more information call 239-252-7575 or visit colliercountyfl.gov/recycle.
LEE HEALTH SCHEDULES BLOOD DRIVES FOR JANUARY
Lee Health continues to be in urgent need of blood donations to replenish low supply levels, and they’ve scheduled several drives for the month of January, WINK News reports. The coronavirus pandemic has led to many canceled blood drives and the depletion of the health system’s supply. Type O+ remains critically low, and supply levels for all other blood types are also below normal. “We are in critical need of donations as blood inventories are at some of their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic,” said Jeremy Puckett, Blood Center supervisor at Lee Health. “Maintaining a constant blood supply ensures optimal treatment for all children and adult patients who need it.” For more information on how and where to donate, click here.
RIA POOLSIDE RESTAURANT DEBUTS AT RITZ-CARLTON GOLF RESORT
Ria, an outdoor dining spot, debuted Dec. 21 with a Latin American dinner menu at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in North Naples. Sharing classic Latin American flavors with house-made modern touches from Mexico to Argentina, Chef Aldo Novoa Rodriguez features ceviche, empanadas, arepas, tacos, guacamole and more alongside a complementary cocktail program. The new restaurant concept replaces the Poolside Grill at the golf resort, 2600 Tiburon Drive. Ria is open from 5:30 to 9 p.m. nightly, and its bar is open until 10 p.m. For reservations, call 239-593-2000.
AFSONA RESTAURANT, SERVING UZBEK CUISINE, LAUNCHES IN NAPLES
Afsona Restaurant, serving Uzbek and European cuisine, debuted Christmas Eve in Trinity Plaza on the corner of U.S. 41 and Third Avenue North in Naples. For eight years, the space was home to Maria D’Anna Café, which closed last March. Afsona is an Uzbek word that means “legend” or “myth.” Afsona serves Uzbekistan’s signature dish of palov, a main course made with lamb and beef, carrots, onions, rice, chickpeas and raisins, finished with dolma and quail eggs. Other entrees include kebabs with skewered chicken, beef, lamb or shrimp; and somsa, house-made dough stuffed with beef, spinach or squash. Afsona Restaurant, 300 Tamiami Trail N., is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and for dinner 4:30 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 239-263-6892 or go toafsona-restaurant.business.site.
NECTAR LAB PLANS SECOND LOCATION AT GULF COAST TOWN CENTER
Nectar Lab, a kava bar lounge that launched its first location a year ago in Naples, plans a second location at Gulf Coast Town Center in Lee County. Nectar Lab recently started construction at the former Rita’s Italian Ice unit, 9902 Gulf Coast Main St., Suite 145, near Miller’s Ale House and Outback Steakhouse in the outdoor regional mall, said Naples native Drew Gendron, who co-owns Nectar Lab with three other partners. The second location is targeted to open in March. A third location for the concept is being planned for Florida’s east coast, Gendron said. Nectar Lab’s menu includes botanical teas, coffees, juices, smoothies and bar bites.
NEW HOUSING DEVELOPMENT BREAKS GROUND IN COLLIER COUNTY
Ventana Pointe, a new 74-unit single-family residential community, broke ground at the end of December on nearly 38 acres on the south side of Immokalee Road about 2 miles east of Collier Boulevard. The subdivision is under construction on a narrow strip of land east of Fogg’s Nursery & Mulch Supply, west of Richards Street and across Immokalee Road from Heritage Bay Golf & Country Club. One- and two-story houses in the Pulte Homes community are expected to be completed in summer 2021 and will start in the low $400,000s.
PARADISE COAST WELLNESS EXPERIENCE SET FOR JAN. 16-17
A weekend of wellness events held throughout Collier County is set Jan. 16-17 for the third annual Paradise Coast Wellness Experience. Locals and visitors are invited to participate in the many health and wellness activities available in Collier in the midst of the COVID pandemic. Activities will be held via Zoom or in person, observing physical distancing. Activities are rooted in time-honored traditions that promote health and healing for the mind, body and spirit. The calendar includes nature immersions, beach yoga and meditation, Segway wellness tours of downtown Naples, fitness instruction, Blue Zones-inspired dining, plein air art instruction, a series of Zoom workshops hosted by Spiritual Communities Network, and more. See the event’s calendar of events at BeWellinParadise.com.
PROMENADE AT BONITA BAY EXTENDS FARMERS MARKET HOURS
Promenade at Bonita Bay is extending the hours of the eighth seasonal farmers market by Local Roots LLC. Every Saturday through April 24, the outdoor venue at 26795 S. Bay Drive in Bonita Springs will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., giving the public an additional hour to shop and reducing crowds during peak times. The initiative is coupled with the Promenade’s mission to combat the coronavirus by asking guests to wear masks, practice social distancing, sanitize hands, not to gather in groups, and not to touch products unless they are buying them. Farmers’ market vendors will continue to provide hand sanitizer at their booths as well as wear masks. New vendors include Bettina’s Tea, Blaze Bees Company, Blended Juices and Smoothies, Daily Delice, Elderberry Elixir, Flying Eagle Kombucha, K-9 Kitchen, Pepper Street Studio, Pickle in Paradise, The Traveling Salad Bar, and Twila Mae’s Chicken Salad. For more information, visit BuyLocalLee.com.
NATIONAL GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB LAUNCHES THIS WEEK AT AVE MARIA
Lennar Homes will host a ribbon-cutting celebration on Thursday, Jan. 7, for the grand opening of The National Golf & Country Club at Ave Maria. The Gordon Lewis-designed 18- hole golf course will open on Friday, Jan. 8. The National Golf & Country Club office is at 5080 Annunciation Circle, Suite 101, Ave Maria. Features of the golf course include a chipping area, putting green, driving range and golf pro shop. Amenities at the clubhouse include a resort-style pool with chickee bar, tennis center with pro shop, Har-Tru tennis courts, pickleball and bocce ball; and a sports club with a fitness center, yoga/aerobics room, men’s and women’s saunas, spa and massage rooms and a nail and beauty salon.
LONDON BAY SELLS $12.8 MILLION PORT ROYAL HOME
Following the record sale of the luxury estate on Admiralty Parade West listed for $18.5 million in Port Royal, London Bay Homes is capping 2020 with another multimillion sale in the Naples neighborhood. Located on Gordon Drive, the $12.8 million custom home by London Bay was created in partnership with John Cooney of Stofft Cooney Architects, Romanza Interior Design’s Jennifer Stevens and Naples landscape architect Koby Kirwin. Boasting 4,648 square feet of living space and four en-suite bedrooms within two stories, the home features West Indies-Coastal architecture.
Earn to Learn FL receives $10,000 grant from PNC Foundation
The PNC Foundationhas awarded Earn to Learn FLa $10,000 grant for its Near Peer Coaching for Postsecondary Success program. The near-peer coaching model trains older students in core coaching and mentoring skills and matches them with a younger, at-risk student identified by the school needing a mentor. The PNC grant will assist in paying and training 12 AmeriCorps members to provide near-peer coaching to hundreds of 11th graders and first-time college students who are economically disadvantaged from South Fort Myers High School and Florida Gulf Coast University in Lee County. AmeriCorps is a voluntary civil society program supported by the U.S. federal government, foundations, corporations, and other donors that engage adults in public service work with a goal of helping others and meeting critical needs in the community.
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