Lead Photo: Kathryn Kelly, JoAnn and Joe Catti at the 3th Annual Love Your Neighbor event. Details below.
ALICO INC. ANNOUNCES INCREASE IN DIVIDEND, SALE OF MORE RANCH LAND
Fort Myers-based Alico Inc. on Monday announced significant activities that will continue to support its business strategy and generate greater returns for its shareholders. The Alico board of directors approved an increase in the quarterly dividend from $0.18 to $0.50 per common share, which represents an increase of about 178% effective the third quarter of fiscal year 2021. The company also announced the sale of about 12,500 additional acres of Alico Ranch this month. Alico sold about 11,700 acres encumbered by an easement for about $12.2 million. In addition, the company also sold 763 acres to two independent third parties for about $3.5 million.
LEE COMMISSIONERS AWARD CONTRACT FOR COUNTYWIDE WASTEWATER PLAN
Lee County commissioners voted Tuesday to award a professional services contract to AECOM Inc. to provide evaluation and planning for a countywide wastewater master plan, which will provide a comprehensive analysis of the county’s existing wastewater collection systems, wastewater treatment facilities, wastewater flows and alternatives for septic system conversions within unincorporated Lee. The plan will be developed in cooperation with municipalities and partner agencies. This is a cooperative effort with two departments – Lee County Utilities and the Department of Natural Resources – to support improving water quality and enhance environmental protection. The $724,313.30 contract with AECOM was awarded through competitive negotiation. The work is expected to begin this fall and be completed by the end of 2022.
LEE COMMISSION AWARDS CONTRACT TO MANAGE ALGAE BLOOMS AS NEEDED
Lee County commissioners voted Tuesday to award a one-year, as-needed contract to Solitude Lake Management to provide collection, remediation, transfer, treatment and/or disposal of blue-green algae or similar threats from various county canals and waterways. The board awarded the as-needed contract as a proactive measure to expedite Lee County’s response and clean-up efforts in the event of a harmful algae bloom. Extensions of the one-year contract may be negotiated. In the summer of 2018, Lee County suffered a large harmful algae bloom that resulted in thick mats of blue-green algae in numerous waterways. Recognizing the potential health threats to the community as well as impacts to the recreational use for residents and visitors, the State of Florida funded a county-managed, major clean-up effort.
LEE COMMISSIONERS ADOPT ALL-ELECTRONIC TOLLS FOR CAPE CORAL, MIDPOINT AND SANIBEL CAUSEWAY BRIDGES
All-electronic tolling will continue permanently on the Cape Coral, Midpoint and Sanibel Causeway bridges under a plan approved Tuesday by Lee County commissioners. The approved plan also means the board will return to the same tollway fee structure that was in place before the COVID-19 pandemic, including re-instating a $3 administrative fee for motorists who do not have transponders. The fee was suspended last year during the peak of the pandemic. The board also voted to conduct a public hearing at a yet-to-be-determined date to eliminate the current motorcycle toll discount to be consistent with the state’s SunPass program. Transponders used for all-electronic tolling are available free of charge by clicking here.
UNITED AIRLINES OFFERING NEW NONSTOP DESTINATIONS FROM FORT MYERS
United Airlines will begin offering nonstop flights later this year from Southwest Florida International Airport to San Francisco and Los Angeles. The daily flights to both destinations from RSW in Fort Myers will begin on Dec. 16 and will continue through May 5, 2022, on Boeing 737s-800s.
Video courtesy of WINK News
MANY SWFL HOTELS MAKING PANDEMIC CHANGES PERMANENT
As travel picks up this summer, some businesses that made changes during the pandemic will make those changes permanent, and that includes hotels. Many are getting back to normal, but normal might have a new look for a lot of them. Because of guest preferences and a shortage of workers, many hotels in Florida are making service changes permanent, adapting to a new, post-pandemic business model. Those changes range from the way they serve the breakfast buffet to more flexibility when it comes to booking and cancellations. All also have stepped up their sanitation procedures, of course, WINK News reports.
NAPLES ATTORNEYS INVOLVED IN MILESTONE TO REPLACE EVERGLADES CITY WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the General Appropriations Act on June 2, resulting in funding for the replacement of the City of Everglades City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. Local government relations lawyers at Woodward, Pires & Lombardo P.A. (WPL) have represented and worked on behalf of the City of Everglades City since 2017, primarily to help pave the way to replace and fund the new wastewater treatment plant. Working with the city on wastewater issues are WPL attorneys Lenore Brakefield, Zachary Lombardo and Everglades City Attorney Chris Lombardo. WPL began representing the city in its litigation with the Department of Environmental Protection and negotiating a consent final judgment that laid out the road map for resolving the threat that the city’s aging wastewater infrastructure posed to the Everglades, the firm states. WPL then assisted the city with compliance and funding sources for a new plant.
UNITED WAY ANNOUNCES NEW OFFICERS, BOARD MEMBERS
United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee announced the elected new officers and board members at its annual meeting. Officers and executive committee members for 2021-2022 include board chair Roger Desjarlais, Lee Board of County Commissioners; vice board chair Bob Beville, Waterman Broadcasting Corp.; treasurer Cynthia Hawkins, Wiltshire Whitley Richardson & English PA; assistant treasurer Victoria Loyola, Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co.; secretary Mary Vlasak Snell, Pavese Law Firm; and immediate past chair Robert Shearman, Henderson, Franklin, Starnes, & Holt PA. Joining the United Way Board of Directors are Corey Vertich, Uhler and Vertich Financial Planners; Dotty St. Amand, Lighthouse of SWFL; Darren Wallace, Henderson, Franklin, Starnes, & Holt P.A.; David Klein, Klein Solutions Group LLC; Earnest Wilks, Regions Bank; Harlan Parrish, FineMark National Bank & Trust; John Joyce, CRS Technology Consultants; City of Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson; and Kevin Karnes, Lee County Clerk of Courts. All money raised in the United Way Campaign stays in the local community to help support the local human service network.
GUARDIAN AD LITEM FOUNDATION HIRES ZDANOWICZ
The Guardian ad Litem Foundation, 20th Judicial Circuit, has added Lara Zdanowicz as a program assistant to help facilitate relationships between donors, volunteer child advocates and the children they represent. As program assistant, Zdanowicz will coordinate requests from volunteer child advocates and maintain databases to track donations, grants and distributions. Zdanowicz also will manage the foundation’s website and social media platforms and assist with special events. Prior to joining Guardian ad Litem Foundation, Zdanowicz worked as a payroll specialist for an event staffing agency in New Hampshire. Previous roles include office manager for a window restoration company, production manager for a window and siding business, office manager and receptionist for two elevator corporations and financial administrator for a solar installation firm. Zdanowicz received an associate degree in health information technology from Fisher College, graduating with honors. The Guardian ad Litem Foundation assists with recruitment, training and support of volunteer child advocates who serve as the voice for children in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties as they navigate the judicial, education and child welfare systems.
CUSHMAN & WAKEFIELD HIRES FABER
Cushman & Wakefield | Commercial Property Southwest Florida (CPSWFL) has hired Talisha Faber to fill the new position of associate director of business development. Faber has worked locally in banking and finance since 2005. Her experience includes positions at IberiaBank, Florida Gulf Bank, Busey Wealth Management and AmSouth Bank. Faber also serves on the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame committee and as an allocations team member for the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee. In addition, she is a member of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Committee and the Rotary Club of Fort Myers and a Harry Chapin Food Bank volunteer.
GCIP HONORS AGENT OF THE MONTH FOR MAY
Gulf Coast International Properties (GCIP) has named Steven Fenttiman as Agent of the Month for May. A Naples native and resident of 30 years, Fenttiman recently achieved a personal sales record along with a neighborhood sales record, obtaining the highest price for lot value for his client in the Palm Circle area of downtown Naples, GCIP reports.
13th annual Love Your Neighbor Event raises $500,000
The Heights Foundation/The Heights Center‘s 13th annual fundraiser, Love Your Neighbor raised $500,000 on May 17 to support the organization that works to build strong, self-sufficient families in The Harlem Heights neighborhood of Fort Myers. The event typically hosted in a private home in Gulf Harbour was moved to The Heights Center this year, and the number of attendees was limited. Guests enjoyed cocktails and a performance by The Heights MOSAIC woodwind students on The Heights Education Center’s rooftop terrace, then proceeded to The Heights Center auditorium. Chef Norman Love of Norman Love Confections and Chef Harold Balink of Harold’s Restaurant provided a chocolate and wine tasting. Chef Harold served a farm-to-table dinner with wines paired by wine writer Gina Birch. Scott Robertson of Scott Robertson Auctioneers conducted the fundraising. Donors exceeded a $100,000 challenge match by Gaye and Jim Pigott. The Danny Sinoff Trio performed during dinner and after the auction for dancing.
Blessings in a Backpack receives $31,000 donation from Nor-Tech
Blessings in a Backpack SWFL has received two donations from Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats that will help provide weekend meals to close to 200 school children in Lee and Collier Counties, the organization reports. The Cape Coral boat manufacturer donated $31,000 from two separate philanthropic endeavors. As part of the company’s 30th-anniversary celebration, Nor-Tech raised $80,000 for local charities. The $80,000 was evenly divided among four nonprofits, including Blessings in a Backpack. An additional $11,000 was raised for Blessings as Nor-Tech’s first-ever “Charity of the Month.”
Two Lee County students receive $10,000 scholarships to FSW
The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools (FLCPS) and Florida Southwestern College (FSW) (fsw.edu) surprised two students with a $10,000 Scholarship to FSW. Mariner High School and Riverdale High School had the highest Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion rate this past school year, which allows them to nominate students for the scholarship. The two scholarship recipients were chosen by a selection committee made up of principals, counselors and staff of the FLCPS. Both students will be attending FSW in the fall. The scholarship awardees are Skylar Giallombardo, a senior at Mariner High School, and Madison Gribbins, a senior at Riverdale High School.
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