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Video courtesy of WINK News



More people are making their way to Southwest Florida, and businesses are enjoying more customers as the state continues to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. Several business owners on Fort Myers Beach said things are getting back to normal slowly but surely as people are coming to the Gulf community from all over Florida and some from other states, too. Lee County Port Authority says it continues to see an increase in travelers, with most airlines starting to increase the number of daily flights this month and in July, WINK News reports.

Video courtesy of WINK News



The first businesses have earned the “Seal of Confidence” from RESTART Southwest Florida economic recovery initiative from Florida Gulf Coast University’s Lutgert College of Business and Marieb College of Health & Human Services. The goal of the initiative is to help customers feel more confident stepping into businesses again. Stores and restaurants had to pass two free classes from FGCU to let customers know they’re following and exceeding current CDC guidelines as well as practicing safe hygiene. More than 200 businesses have signed up for the program and, so far, 15 received their seal Monday. Nine more have one more step to complete before they also get their seal of confidence, WINK News reports. To take the pledge or register for panels, visit fgcu.edu/restart.


During a special meeting Tuesday morning, Naples City Council decided to reopen the city’s beaches to normal hours sunrise to sunset beginning Thursday, but beach parking restrictions will continue. Beach times have been restricted on weekends because of coronavirus concerns. The reopening plan includes the Naples Pier, Lowdermilk Park and their concession areas, as well as the City Dock in Crayton Cove. Parking in lots and metered spots on streets near the beach parks are temporarily designated only for vehicles with city of Naples or Collier County beach parking permits. Illegally parked vehicles will be towed. 

Scotlynn USA Division Inc. new headquarters will be in Fort Myers.


Scotlynn USA Division Inc., a multinational transportation and logistics firm specializing in truckload transportation and the distribution of perishable products, is launching its new North American corporate headquarters at 9597 Gulf Research Lane in Fort Myers. Seagate Development Group is constructing and developing the three-story, 60,000-square-foot building. The $11 million project is slated to break ground this month. Scotlynn’s new headquarters will eventually be home to over 350 management and operation staff. Due to Lee County Economic Development’s and Enterprise Florida’s qualified tax credit hiring incentives, Scotlynn has agreed to hire no less than 140 new employees for the Fort Myers facility in the next three years. Scotlynn USA Division Inc. has division offices in Tampa and Indianapolis. Its new space will come equipped with a gym, basketball court, cafeteria, walking track, and an indoor/outdoor recreational space featuring an eating area. The project will also feature eight acres of on-site improvements as well as an existing road extension. It is expected to be complete and open for business by 2021.


The Bonita Springs Utilities Inc. Board of Directors has authorized a $1.35 million capital credit payout to 31,555 members. This payout retires credits earned by members in 2015 and 2016 and follows the $2.55 million in 2014 capital credits paid to members in March. Including the latest retirements, BSU has returned more than $10 million in capital credits payments to members. Current members eligible for a capital credit payment will see it reflected on their next utility bill and former eligible members will be mailed a check. As a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative, BSU members are eligible to earn capital credits. For more details, visit bsu.us/capitalcredits.


Chris-Tel Construction welcomes Carland
Chris-Tel Construction has hired Matthew Carland as manager, Building Information Modeling (BIM)/Virtual Design and Construction (VDC). Carland has 12 years of experience in the construction industry. His responsibilities at Chris-Tel Construction will include the creation of virtual design and construction 3D models for constructability review, MEP coordination, preconstruction, marketing, and simulation of the final project for clients. Carland received his associate degree from Central Piedmont Community College in Architectural Design (CAD). He also has experience in Autodesk Enterprise account management, process control, critical path engagement, and an architectural background.
GATES Construction hires Loewenthal
GATES Construction has hired Nicholas Loewenthal as assistant superintendent. Loewenthal is responsible for assisting in onsite supervision of GATES’ projects, including quality control, safety, security, project closeout, and transition planning. Loewenthal comes to GATES with four years of construction experience. His project experience includes a hospital for acute patient care, an electrophysiology lab, and an oncology center. Loewenthal holds a bachelor’s degree in building construction from the University of Florida and will be based out of GATES Construction’s Sarasota office.


Luxury tower selects new property management company

Altaira, the luxury residential tower at The Colony Golf & Bay Club in Bonita Springs, has awarded a management contract to KW Property Management & Consulting. Developed by WCI Communities, Altaira was one of the first new residential towers in nearly a decade in Southwest Florida, according to a press release, when it opened in 2017. The 21-story building has just 75 Sky Homes measuring 3,300 to 3,500 square feet each. The luxury tower has four homes per floor and amenities include a rooftop terrace, a resort-style pool, fitness center and clubroom. KW Property Management & Consulting fully staffs Altaira with a property manager, in-house engineer, maintenance crew and welcoming front-desk team. KW Property Management & Consulting, founded in 2004 by Paul Kaplan and Robert White, now manages communities throughout Southwest Florida with nearly 20,000 homes in 45 community associations from its regional headquarters in Bonita Springs. 


Bank of America announces $1 billion, four-year commitment to support economic opportunity initiatives

Bank of America is making a $1 billion, four-year commitment of additional support to help local communities address economic and racial inequality accelerated by a global pandemic. The programs will be focused on assisting people and communities of color that have experienced a greater impact from the health crisis. The work builds on economic mobility and workforce development programs Bank of America already supports in local markets but will sharpen the focus of that work, accelerate the resources, and add a particular emphasis on health services during the pandemic. The programs will be executed through the company’s 91 local U.S. market presidents and non-U.S. country executives to help develop the opportunities to execute on these commitments. For more details, visit bankofamerica.com.

Metro-McGregor Kiwanis continues service, waives new member dues

The Fort Myers Metro-McGregor Kiwanis has adapted to the changing climate of current social distancing, while still providing service to the community. Club members continue to log service hours, and the club has shifted to meeting in a virtual format. Also, now through September, club membership is at no charge with Kiwanis International, Florida Kiwanis and the Fort Myers Metro-McGregor Kiwanis club all waiving new member dues. The Metro-McGregor Kiwanis Club is looking for more service-minded individuals and business professionals who would like to make a direct impact on the community through volunteering. For details, call membership chair Stewart Ross at (507) 304-1624 or email stewart.ross@mnsu.edu

Fifth Third Bank grants $25,000 to Lee Health 

Lee Health Foundation has received $25,000 from community partner Fifth Third Bank to help address the immediate and evolving needs arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Southwest Florida. While the needs are changing on a daily basis and long-term effects of the novel coronavirus are unknown, supportive funding has been crucial to providing necessary equipment, support and assistance to employees, patients and families. Lee Health is using donations to the Helping Frontline Heroes fund to work through the continued challenges presented by the pandemic. Donations have supported critical resources such as additional medical equipment and supplies, personal protective equipment, employee relief and increased technology including iPads to keep employees and patients connected with family. To learn more, visit LeeHealthFoundation.org.

St. Matthew’s House moves Tuesday distribution site

St. Matthew’s House has moved its food distribution site to Golden Gate High School at 2925 Titan Way in Naples. The food distribution will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays in June and July. The Thursday food distribution will remain from 1-5 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Naples at 3000 Orange Blossom Drive. Last Thursday, St. Matthew’s House fed 722 families to set a site-record at First Baptist Church. For more details, visit stmatthewshouse.org.

Rick Sjolander, army veteran, and his wife, Karen Sjolander.

Naples Therapeutic Riding Center resumes services for military families

Naples Therapeutic Riding Center (NTRC) will resume the Operation Strides program for military families from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on June 25, with limited capacity and new COVID-19 precautions. Prior to COVID-19, NTRC committed to expanding Operation Strides, a tailored equine-facilitated program for veterans, military service people and their families. The program includes veteran-only sessions as well as family sessions that conclude with time for food, refreshments and camaraderie among fellow veterans and military families. Volunteers and staff have been trained on new COIVD-19 protocols that include taking temperatures of all visitors and participants, hand washing, physical distancing, wearing masks, and smaller group sizes. The program is free of charge and funding is provided through donations and grants.

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