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Gulfshore Business Daily: June 18

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SPIRIT AIRLINES TO START NONSTOP FORT MYERS-MANCHESTER SERVICE THIS FALL

Spirit Airlines has announced it will inaugurate nonstop service between Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) in New Hampshire on Nov. 17. Spirit Airlines will operate the RSW-MHT flight four times weekly.

 

Video courtesy of WINK News

ARMY CORPS NARROWING DOWN NEW LAKE OKEECHOBEE MANAGEMENT PLAN

In the process of rewriting how it handles operations for Lake Okeechobee, the Army Corps of Engineers has released six new possible lake management plans. For those living on the coast, environmental groups and leaders only want freshwater flows from Lake O when the Caloosahatchee River needs it. They also want to increase water sent south to the Everglades and Florida Bay. It’s a balancing act, from meeting the needs of people to the water supply to protecting the environment, WINK News reports. The Army Corps hosted a meeting Thursday to present its modeling results. Public comments may be sent to the Army Corps at LakeOComments@usace.army.mil.

 

Video courtesy of WINK News

INAUGURAL GROUP OF STUDENTS GRADUATES FROM TRADE PROGRAM IN LEE COUNTY

A group of high school students are already getting job offers. They spent their senior year learning trades such as construction, roofing and plumbing. That means they’re ready to get right into the workforce instead of going to college. An inaugural group of trade students graduated Wednesday night from the “Train to Gain” program in Lee County. Construction and trade businesses have a lot of work and not a lot of workers. They are struggling to find employees, so several local businesses are jumping at the opportunity to hire the graduates as soon as they can, WINK News reports.

 

Video courtesy of WINK News

LOCAL JOB FAIR ATTRACTS 200 PEOPLE LOOKING FOR WORK

Businesses are struggling to hire workers for many positions open across Southwest Florida, but the problem is getting those employees through the door and actually starting. It’s still a struggle to encourage people to get back in the office and out in the field. On Wednesday, about 200 people attended a job fair that Florida JobLink held in Fort Myers with about 16 booths. While it was a good turnout, employers say the issue is actually getting people to sign on and stick with the job, WINK News reports.

 

RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE SWFL EXPANDS, REOPENS, NEEDS VOLUNTEERS

The Ronald McDonald House Southwest Florida, which helps families with children undergoing medical treatments in the hospital, has reopened its doors more than a year after the pandemic began. During that closure, the local charity expanded from six to 12 rooms. Although only six families at a time are allowed to stay, the capacity will be increased soon. Ronald McDonald House is looking for volunteers to help. For more information, click here.

 

GOLDEN PAWS BEGINS CONVERSION OF FORMER HARLEY-DAVIDSON DEALERSHIP INTO ITS NEW NAPLES HOME

Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs swung the first hammers Wednesday to begin the long-awaited renovation project to transform the former Harley-Davidson dealership in Naples into the new home for the local nonprofit organization. The interior and exterior renovation work by PBS Contractors from building plans designed by JMDG Architecture is expected to take nearly a year. Golden Paws is targeted to open next May in the 30,000-square-foot building off Pine Ridge Road. The organization, which provides skilled assistance dogs to combat wounded veterans and children with life-changing disabilities, will be able to house and train up to 40 dogs at a time, doubling its current capacity at their facility on Horseshoe Drive. In addition to other financial commitments already secured, Golden PAWS has received a new $1 million matching gift from local philanthropists Patty and Jay Baker. PAWS’ new state-of-the-art campus will be named Ken & Susan Meyer Center for Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs. 

 

SOCE FLATS SELLS OUT IN OLD NAPLES

Waterside Builders announces the completion and sellout of SoCe Flats, new luxury, mixed-use hotel residences in Old Naples. As the co-developer and general contractor for the project, Waterside Builders and its team of professionals delivered 18 residential units, full amenity space and first-floor commercial units. Waterside Builders collaborated with MHK Architecture and PlanningCompass Real Estate and Clive Daniel Home for the project. SoCe Flats residences range from 608 square feet to 1,132 square feet. Amenities include a third-floor, rooftop outdoor enjoyment area, an elevated spa with views of downtown and the beach, dining and lounging area, outdoor grilling station with refrigeration and prep area, televisions and barstool seating. SoCe Flats also offers an app for residents and four universal car charging spots. Concierge services will be offered through Holiday Life.

 

GOODWILL RELOCATES TO FORMER SEARS & ROEBUCKS IN DOWNTOWN FORT MYERS 

Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida is relocating its Goodwill boutique to former the downtown Sears & Roebucks store. “The larger footprint will allow us to add an art gallery and a fun book department, which will be a nice addition to our current selection of apparel,” John Nadeau, Goodwill SWFL CEO and president, says. Rebranded as “blue,” the Goodwill boutique is moving into the corner of the Bradford Block (previously Re/Max real estate) and set for a ribbon-cutting ceremony tentatively set for 5 p.m. on July 2, during the next Fort Myers Art Walk. Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida is a nonprofit organization committed to serving people with disabilities and disadvantages by providing life-changing opportunities toward independence.  

 

TESLA PROPOSES SERVICE CENTER, SHOWROOM AT FORMER TOYS R US STORE IN NAPLES

A Tesla sales and service center has been proposed to replace the former Toys R Us store at Bed Bath & Beyond Plaza on the northwest corner of Airport-Pulling and Pine Ridge roads in North Naples. A state-of-the-art Tesla Service Plus concept for the luxury electric car company would fill the 30,585-square-foot store the toy retailer vacated three years ago at 5305 Airport-Pulling Road N., development plans show. A construction timeline and target opening date are not available yet. Tesla Motors’ proposed new service center would be about 2 miles away from the showroom the California-based company opened in December 2016 at Waterside Shops in Naples.

 

VITA 2021 Volunteers Richard LaCivita and Deb Schuckman

UNITED WAY VITA PROGRAM CONCLUDES EXTENDED TAX SEASON

United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program has concluded the extended 2021 tax season. United Way’s VITA volunteers provided free tax preparation services to more than 6,700 individuals and families who received approximately $9.7 million in tax refunds and saved more than $2 million in tax preparation fees. With the help of 147 determined IRS certified VITA volunteers and the support of community partners, United Way operated 16 traditional tax sites, five limited-contact drop-off/pick-up sites and one completely virtual site. Together, the VITA volunteers provided more than 12,800 hours of service, valued at $348,160, bringing the community impact for the program to $12 million, United Way reports.

 

Video courtesy of WINK News

SHORTAGE IN NEW CARS DRIVING UP USED CAR SALE PRICES

It’s not as easy as it used to be to buy a new car because cars are in short supply and that’s driving up prices. J.D. Power says used car prices are up 17% since the beginning of the year and both higher-end cars and less expensive vehicles are holding their value. Dealers blame the shortage of cars on a lack of microchips for the electronics needed to run new vehicles. The Alliance for Auto Innovation, the trade group that represents automakers, said the shortage could result in 1.28 million fewer cars being made in the U.S. this year, WINK News reports.

 

CHARITABLE NOTES

Red Sox Foundation donates $50,000 to local nonprofits

The Boston Red Sox Foundation recently presented two nonprofits with $25,000 each. Each year during Spring Training, the Boston Red Sox Foundation supports the Lee Health Foundation through its Boston Red Sox Celebrity Classic Golf Tournament, Tee Party Dinner and Auction and Dinner on the Diamond, as well as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County’s Evening with the Red Sox. For more than two decades, the Red Sox has helped these organizations raise millions of dollars for their programs, the foundation reports. The Red Sox Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the official team charity of the Boston Red Sox. The foundation’s primary focus locally is in serving the health, education, recreation and social service needs of children and families across Southwest Florida. 

 

From left to right: Tom Joseph, Carol Joseph, Janet Belle and Jerry Belle

Co-chairs announced for The Immokalee Foundation’s 2021 Charity Classic Celebration

The Immokalee Foundation has announced Janet and Jerry Belle and Carol and Tom Joseph as co-chairs of the 2021 Charity Classic Celebration and Don Fites as the chair of the Charity Classic Pro-Am. The events comprise The Immokalee Foundation’s largest fundraising effort of the year. The Charity Classic Celebration will be on Nov. 5 at The Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort, Naples. For the first time in Charity Classic history, the Pro-Am is moving to the spring, with a pairings party on March 6 and the golf professional-filled tournament on March 7, 2022. Don Fites, a longtime supporter of The Immokalee Foundation, is chairing the Charity Classic Pro-Am, which kicks off at Bay Colony Golf Club with an exclusive pairings party, followed by the tournament at The Old Collier Golf Club. The events pair professional golf players from PGA and LPGA Tours with Naples’ philanthropic golfers. Underwriting and sponsorship opportunities are now available for the 2021 Charity Classic Celebration and Pro-Am. For more information, contact Melissa Phillips at 239-430-9122 or melissa.phillips@immokaleefoundation.org.

 

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