Gulfshore Business Daily: July 21

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Video courtesy of WINK News

SWFL BUSINESSES CONTINUE SEARCH FOR MORE EMPLOYEES

Due to short staffing, many who dine out are experiencing longer lines, slower service and lengthy delays, even dealing with longer wait times for food while it’s being prepared. This is what people across Southwest Florida are dealing with as finding employees and retaining them remains difficult. For more than a year, some people have been making $700 to $800 a week from unemployment benefits, so businesses that can’t pay their employees more than that are suffering. Even though unemployment funding from the federal government was withdrawn weeks ago, businesses are still having trouble finding new employees, WINK News reports

 

REPORT: CAPE CORAL-FORT MYERS SPENT $1.9B ON NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION LAST YEAR

In 2020, the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area spent approximately $1.9 billion on new residential construction, according to a Construction Coverage report. That total amounted to $85,035 per construction worker, compared to the $51,738 the U.S. spent on new residential construction per construction worker at the national level, the report shows. To rank individual metropolitan areas on their annual new residential construction spending per construction worker, researchers at Construction Coverage divided the value of building permits authorized in 2020, taken from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Building Permits Survey, by the number of construction workers employed there, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Researchers also included statistics on construction employment and wages in each location. For complete results, click here.

 

TAMIAMI ANGELS INVEST IN MEDICAL DEVICE SOFTWARE FIRM

Angel investors from Southwest Florida invested in Galen Data, a company that has developed software to securely connect medical devices online. Members of Naples-based Tamiami Angel Fund IV invested $300,000 in Galen Data, the third investment for the members of Tamiami Angel’s newest fund. Galen Data, based in Houston, provides a turnkey software platform to connect devices to the internet cloud that is compliant with strict privacy laws governing patient information. In addition to cloud connectivity, Galen provides data analysis that helps health care professionals and their patients visualize and interpret health information using dashboards they can customize. Subsequently, data can be securely exported for further evaluation thanks to encryption and cybersecurity monitoring that complies with U.S. and European data protection regulations. 

 

Video courtesy of WINK News

CAPE CORAL TAPS LEE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT FOR HELP WITH CHARTER SCHOOL FINANCIAL WOES

Charter schools in Cape Coral are in need of renovations, upkeep and the money to pay for it all. Replacement buses and carpeting, new playgrounds and new technology are all among what the City of Cape Coral Charter School Authority says it needs but doesn’t have the money to buy. Superintendent Jacquelin Collins of Oasis Charter Schools in Cape Coral said much of the money pit is the schools’ annual $3.2 million lease on its buildings. The city is asking the Lee County school board for a cut of the district’s half-cent sales tax revenue, used to support maintenance, safety and security, technology and construction of Lee County schools. As of March, Lee County schools have collected more than $163 million in sales tax benefits, WINK News reports

 

CREW TO HOST LUNCH & LEARN FOCUSED ON 1031 EXCHANGES IN COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

The Naples Fort Myers Chapter of CREW will hold a CREW Power Hour from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 28, at The Capital Grille, 9005 Mercato Drive, North Naples. Janet Davis, CCIM, will discuss “1031 Exchanges in Commercial Real Estate.” Davis is a 1031 senior associate with Midland IRA & 1031 Exchanges. She has worked in the commercial real estate profession for more than 20 years. Her presentation will focus on the requirements and documentation needed to execute a standard or reverse/improvement 1031 exchange. She will share examples of properly executed 1031 exchanges and the potential for capital gains tax savings achieved through this type of transaction. This event is open to the public. Pre-registration is required by registering online. Cost is $25 for CREW members and $40 for non-members, which includes lunch at The Capital Grille. This event is sponsored by Suncoast Credit Union.

 

Activities at the GGSC have resumed

GOLDEN GATE SENIOR CENTER COMPLETES RENOVATIONS, WELCOMES BACK MEMBERS 

Three months after renovations began, the Golden Gate Senior Center has reopened its doors and is providing in-person programs and services to its 1,460 members, reports Collier Senior Resources (CSR), a nonprofit organization working to address the needs of older adults and their caregivers. CSR began renovations of the center at 4898 Coronado Parkway in March. Since work was finished June 28, bingo, dominos and UPSLIDE social groups have all resumed at the center, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and provides a daily hot lunch and food pantry. Programs are free of charge and designed to address the increased risk of depression, declining mental and physical health, and increased risk of death associated with social isolation among the elderly. 

 

Pat Rutledge

RUTLEDGE NAMED CEO OF MARCO ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Marco Island Historical Society (MIHS) Board President Mike O’Rourke announces that MIHS Executive Director Pat Rutledge has been named as the nonprofit organization’s chief executive officer. Prior to being appointed as full-time executive director of MIHS in 2017, Rutledge served as MIHS board president and volunteer executive director. In 2010, Rutledge and her husband, Ron, moved to Marco Island upon her retirement from the position of vice president of operations with Pitney Bowes where she was responsible for managing a 1,500-person nationwide operation. Admission is free at the Marco Island Historical Museum, 180 S. Heathwood Drive, which is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.  

 

BACK-TO-SCHOOL SALES TAX HOLIDAY STARTS JULY 31

The 2021 Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday starts at the end of this month. The tax-free week, planned for July 31 through Aug. 9 this year, is designed to help reduce the cost of school supplies for Florida residents. During this sales tax holiday period, Florida law directs that no sales tax or local option tax, also known as discretionary sales surtax, will be collected on purchases of clothing, footwear and certain accessories selling for $60 or less per item; certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item; and personal computers and certain computer-related accessories selling for $1,000 or less per item, when purchased for noncommercial home or personal use. For a complete list of tax-exempt items, click here.

 

LEE COUNTY DOMESTIC ANIMAL SERVICES PLANS ADOPTION EVENTS AT COMMUNITY OUTREACH CENTERS

Lee County Domestic Animal Services is partnering with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to hold adoption events at community outreach centers. A selection of adoptable pets will be available at each event and visitors also can see more available pets online and learn more about them. The adoption events are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on these dates: Monday, Aug. 2, at the Miromar Outreach Center, Suite 109, Miromar Outlets, 10801 Corkscrew Road, Estero; Tuesday, Aug. 3, at the Cape Coral Outreach Center, 4522 Del Prado Blvd. S.; Wednesday, Aug. 4, at the Edison Mall Outreach Center, Suite 1930, 4125 Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers; and Thursday, Aug. 5, at the Downtown Outreach Center, 2125 First St., Fort Myers. The adoption fee on dogs will be reduced to $20 and cats/kittens to $10 with an approved application for the events. 

 

CHARITABLE NOTES
 

St. Vincent de Paul receives $5,000 financial commitment from Wintrust Banking Center

St. Vincent de Paul Society, Naples (SVdP Naples), part of a worldwide, privately-funded Catholic lay organization that operates SVDP Naples Meals on Wheels and SVdP Naples Financial, Food & Furniture Assistance, received a $5,000 financial commitment from Wintrust Banking Center. The gift is helping SVdP Naples launch its new Life Skills Program, which offers low-income, working and recently unemployed Collier County individuals and families access to a series of 90-minute classes on essential life skills. Classes include Financial Literacy & Family Budgeting, Credit Use & Repair, Employment Skills & Opportunities and Everyday Savings. Each Life Skills class is offered twice a month and taught by area professionals from SVdP Naples donor organizations. Individuals interested in attending any of the SVdP Naples classes can call or email Samantha Maturo at 239-775-2907, extension 1014 or LifeSkills@SVdPNaples.org
 

Duffy’s Foundation awards $5,000 to LARC

Lee Association for Remarkable Citizens (LARC) has been awarded $5,000 from Duffy’s Foundation. The donation was a part of Duffy’s Estero location grand re-opening. The grant will help LARC, an organization serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, provide programs and services that help individuals with disabilities achieve. The Duffy’s Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Duffy’s Sports Grill, a sports-themed restaurant concept with 34 locations in South Florida. The mission of The Duffy’s Foundation is to benefit organizations and individuals who positively impact their local communities. Established in 1954, LARC is a training center for success for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  
 

Lighthouse of SWFL plans virtual Dining in the Dark

Lighthouse of SWFL will host its virtual 11th annual Dining in the Dark at 7 p.m. Sept. 23. Dining in the Dark is a unique, sensory awareness experience that gives guests a firsthand glimpse into the challenges of living with blindness or low vision while raising funds to achieve its mission of guiding people to independence. The event will be held virtually with the Remo platform for an interactive dining experience. An online auction with gift packages will be held in conjunction with the event. Sponsorship opportunities are available, ranging from $850 to $7,500. Donations for the online auction also are being accepted. Contact Carolyn Baker-McCord at cbakermccord@lighthouseswfl.org. Lighthouse of SWFL is a local United Way partner agency serving individuals with blindness and vision impairment in Lee, Glades and Hendry counties. 

 

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