18TH ANNUAL GUMBO FEST TO RETURN
The Shell Factory & Nature Park will host its 18th annual Gumbo Fest from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 26 at 16554 N. Cleveland Ave. in North Fort Myers. The festival proceeds will benefit the Nature Park & Environmental Education Foundation. Sponsored by Sam Galloway Ford, the event features free admission, a variety of festival food, a $5,000 reverse raffle and live entertainment by Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, as well as The Porchdogs. The Shell Factory & Nature Park’s other attractions will also be open including the Nature Park, Close Encounters, bumper boats, video arcade, mini golf and zip line. New this year, children and adults can enjoy a carousel ride for $1. Also, one child admission is free to the Nature Park with a paid adult or senior admission. B1039’s Big Mama and the Wild Bunch will be on hand to help celebrate the festivities. To purchase raffle tickets, contact Sandy at (239) 995-2141 ext. 110 or visit at ShellFactory.com.
SHINE MEDICARE COUNSELING PROGRAM SEEKS VOLUNTEERS
The SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) Program is seeking volunteers, including bilingual volunteers, to assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers in Southwest Florida. SHINE is a program of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and is operated locally through the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida (AAASWFL). Specially trained SHINE counselors help educate and empower Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to understand their health care options so they can make the best decisions for their individual needs. The SHINE mission is to provide free and unbiased information about Medicare and Medicaid for beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers. Requirements to become a SHINE volunteer include an interest in assisting seniors and people with disabilities, along with basic computer knowledge and internet navigation skills. A background in health care or insurance is not required. Specialized training and informational materials are provided to all SHINE volunteers. Potential SHINE volunteers may contact Camilita Aldridge, SHINE Liaison, at (239) 652-6900 for more information about volunteer opportunities or to apply. Volunteer applications can also be found at www.floridashine.org.
SANIBEL-CAPTIVA CHAMBER UNVEILS NEW WEBSITES
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce members now have their own website plus a brand new improved site designed to help visitors find them more readily. The new site will function as an archives portal for all information chamber members might want to access, including the chamber’s legislative priorities, past email newsletters, press releases sent by members, and marketing photos and videos. Members can access their site at members.sanibel-captiva.org. The new visitors site at sanibel-captiva.org has brought the chamber digitally up to date with new imagery, video capabilities for the first time, and a better flow of information. The last update happened in 2017.
HODGES CONNECT TO HOST RÉSUMÉ, INTERVIEW WORKSHOP
Professional Education & Training (PET) Hodges Connect will host a Résumé and Interview Workshop from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 1 on the Fort Myers Campus of Hodges University. Registration is required. The fee is $25 for the public. The fee for Hodges students and Alumni is $10 with the promo code HAWKPRIDEFEB20. To register, click here. For questions or more information, email HodgesConnect@hodges.edu
MERCATO WELCOMES BAR TULIA, KILWINS
Mercato, managed and leased by Madison Marquette, will soon welcome Bar Tulia and Kilwins to its roster of food-and-drink-centric tenants. The 3,185-square-foot Bar Tulia, a craft cocktail bar with an Italian-influenced pub menu, is expected to open in the second quarter of 2020 beneath Silverspot Cinema. The 944-square-foot Kilwins, a purveyor of fine confections, chocolates and ice cream, is expected to open in late summer in the former Second Cup space next to the also new Narrative Coffee Roasters. As previously announced, the new 1,301-square-foot Narrative Coffee Roasters is slated to open at the center in early February and is now serving customers from its signature mobile espresso cart each Saturday in January between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in Mercato’s central piazza.
ROSS ELECTED HENDERSON FRANKLIN STOCKHOLDER
The law firm of Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt P.A. has elected attorney Amanda Sharkey Ross as stockholder. She focuses her practice in the areas of transportation liability, premises liability, negligent security, wrongful death, construction litigation, and product liability. Ross also represents vessel owners, marinas and associations and writes on various aspects of maritime law on the Southwest Florida Business and IP Blog. Ross has received awards and recognition over the course of her legal career, and she is a member of the Stetson University Alumni Board and the University of Miami Hurricane Club. Ross received her undergraduate degree from Stetson University and law degree, cum laude, from the University of Miami Law School.
PREMIERE PLUS REALTY CEO HONORED BY RISMEDIA
Eric Gallus, CEO/Owner of Southwest Florida’s Premiere Plus Realty, was named a 2020 Real Estate Newsmaker by national industry magazine RISMedia. The January 2020 issue highlights the achievements Gallus has made in advancing the brokerage. Gallus led the brokerage in adding 436 real estate agents in 2019, maintaining the lead in having the most licensed REALTORS at a brokerage in Southwest Florida, according to a press release. They opened a sixth office in Cape Coral, hold the most transactions for 2019, and are a leader in sales volume, the press release states. For the full article, visit https://rismedia.com/newsmaker/?id=604.
SPILLER HONORED BY TRAVEL ADVISOR MAGAZINE
Lisa Spiller, luxury travel advisor with Preferred Travel of Naples, has been named as a 2019 “Trendsetter” by the Luxury Travel Advisor Magazine. Spiller is one of 41 travel consultants who made the list from hundreds of travel advisors throughout the U.S. and Canada. As a result of her accomplishment, Spiller was featured in a full-page article in the magazine’s December issue. Advisors who made the “Trendsetter” list are key experienced players from luxury travel agencies in North America. Those chosen are also the highest producers and the most innovative travel consultants at their respective travel agencies, a press release states. Spiller has 25 years of experience serving clientele in the luxury hospitality and travel industry. She specializes in extensive international travel and port knowledge extending over six continents, 60 countries and islands, and more than 100 ports of call. This marks the fourth year in a row that Preferred Travel of Naples has had a travel advisor named a ‘Trendsetter.’ Previously, Karen Berger, Wendy Taylor and Linda Walker were given the honor.
CONSULTING AGENCY EXTENDS GRATITUDE PROGRAM
The Sky’s The Limit Consulting Inc. (TSTLC), of Estero, has extended its “20 in ’19 Gratitude Program” into 2020. In celebration of its 20th anniversary, TSTLC has been offering a gift of six coaching sessions to current and former clients as well as several nonprofit agencies, most of them in our own community. Some of the program recipients so far have come from the following organizations: Gold Aviation Services (Fort Lauderdale), Matthew Shepard Foundation (Denver), Syngenta (LaBelle, Florida and Sinaloa, Mexico), Southwest Florida Community Foundation (Fort Myers), Feeding Children Everywhere (Longwood, Florida), Valerie’s House (Fort Myers), Calusa Waterkeeper (Fort Myers), The Shelter for Abused Women and Children (Naples), CAIR Florida (Sunrise, Florida) and the Southwest Florida Pain Clinic (Fort Myers). For more information, visit https://www.theskysthelimitconsulting.com/20-in-19-program.
WINK Feeds Families Hunger Walk held Saturday
Sixth annual Give Where You Live Collier to return
The Community Foundation of Collier County has partnered, once again, with the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation to host the sixth annual giving day in Collier County, Give Where You Live Collier, from noon to noon on Feb. 19 through Feb. 20. The event gives 40 Collier County basic needs and education nonprofits a much-needed boost with donations, a $400,000 matching fund and $50,000 in prizes from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, and a $100,000 match from the Community Foundation. The event raised a record $5.5 million in the fifth year and almost $19 million for local basic needs and education nonprofits since its inception in 2015. The online giving campaign transforms the way our residents think about— and contribute to—Collier County charities. Built upon the idea that everyone can be a philanthropist, this project provides an easy way to support the education and basic needs efforts of 40 nonprofits through a 24-hour online fundraiser. For more information, visit GiveWhereYouLiveCollier.org.
Tropical-themed gala celebrates MS Center’s 20th anniversary
The nonprofit Multiple Sclerosis Center of Southwest Florida will celebrate its 20th anniversary with the annual A Vintage Affair on Feb. 8 at Quail West Golf & Country Club in Naples. This year’s gala theme is “Margaritas at Sunset,” with evening festivities beginning at 5 p.m. The island-inspired event will include a tropical buffet, music, and silent and live auctions. This year’s silent auction will focus on art, with paintings and wearable art among the items up for bid. Stock Development and eBella magazine are sponsors of “Margaritas at Sunset.” Tickets are $350 each or tables for up to 10 are $3,000 and can be purchased at (239) 319-0904 or online at MSGala.com.
Opera star named honorary chair of Opera Naples gala
Opera Naples announces bass-baritone Greer Grimsley has agreed to be the honorary chair of the company’s annual gala, to be held on Feb. 25 at the LaPlaya Beach and Golf Club. Grimsley is an internationally recognized singer-actor particularly noted as one of the most prominent Wagnerian performers of his generation, according to a press release, reigning as the leading interpreter of the god Wotan, the role he reprised once again this past spring at the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Der Ring des Nibelungen. In the U.S., Grimsley has performed one of his other signature roles, Jokanaan in Salome, with The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, and L’Opera de Montreal, as well as other roles such as Scarpia in Tosca in houses across the country. He has also performed in Britain, Canada, Germany, Israel, Japan, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, and Venezuela. For more information, visit operanaples.org.
NCEF, Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation partner on ‘Trustee Give Back Day’
The Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), the founding organization of Naples Winter Wine Festival, and Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation recently hosted a “Build-Out and Celebration Day” to help enhance Youth Haven. More than 30 NCEF trustees and staff members volunteered to create a community garden, new sports equipment shed, and distribute food and other items to youth in need in Collier County. Through its annual grants and strategic initiatives, NCEF has impacted over 45 nonprofits in the community, providing 275,000 children with the services and resources they need to excel. Since its inaugural event in 2001, the Naples Winter Wine Festival has raised more than $191 million. The 2020 Naples Winter Wine Festival takes place Jan. 24-26. For more information, visit www.NaplesWineFestival.com.
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