Lead Photo: Naples Beach Hotel, which is closing in May after 75 years.
DEADLINE FOR CAPE CORAL EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE IS FRIDAY
Cape Coral has $680,000 to give to eligible households, so those who qualify could get up to six months of emergency assistance. The application on the city’s website must be submitted before Friday. Basic requirements, which can be found in the program guidelines, are income-qualified and the need for assistance must be COVID-related.
NAPLES BEACH HOTEL & GOLF CLUB CLOSES IN MAY
Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club will finish its last season this year. The Southwest Florida resort will be ending a 75-year run when its doors close on May 23. The 125-acre property has been owned and operated by the Watkins family since the end of World War II. The original building, called The Naples Hotel, was built in the 1880s just over one mile south of where the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club currently stands. In 1929, Allen Joslin and his wife, Lois, built the first 18-hole golf course in the region and created The Beach Club along the shoreline nearby. When Henry B. Watkins Sr., a retired toy manufacturer, arrived from Ohio in 1946, he bought the original hotel, the club, and the golf course. Collectively, this became the resort that sits between US-41 and the Gulf of Mexico today. Watkins, Sr. continued to operate the site for many years before passing it to his son Henry B Watkins Jr. The family tradition continued with Michael Watkins becoming the president of the hotel and his brother Henry Watkins III becoming executive vice president. Since its modest beginnings, the location has undergone extensive upgrades while maintaining its classic old Florida charm.
REPORT EXPOSES TROUBLING TRENDS FOR SWFL WATER QUALITY
Lee, Collier, Manatee and Charlotte has experienced the greatest increase in water quality impairment, according to a report released by Calusa Waterkeeper chronicling trends in the quality of Southwest Florida’s waterways from 2018 to 2020. The study covers Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Hendry and Glades Counties, and is based on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) assessment criteria, gathered from the agency’s annual comprehensive verified list of impaired waters. The report also reveals that fecal bacteria was the most frequently occurring impairment parameter in six of the nine counties including Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas. The presence of fecal bacteria is a significant public health risk in addition to compromising ecosystems, Calusa Waterkeeper states. For more information and the full report, click here.
LATE FOUNDER OF TEXAS ROADHOUSE CHAIN HAS LONGTIME TIES TO SWFL
The Texas Roadhouse founder who died Thursday had long-time connections to Southwest Florida. Powell and Marilyn Taylor, the parents of Kent Taylor, founder and CEO of the restaurant chain, have been seasonal residents of Naples for about 30 years. The couple have owned a bayfront condominium in Harborside Gardens, a community in The Moorings on Gulf Shore Boulevard, since March 1992. Kent Taylor, 65, took his own life after suffering from symptoms related to COVID-19, including severe tinnitus, according to a statement released Sunday by his family and company. Experts say the coronavirus can exacerbate tinnitus, a common condition involving ringing or other noises in one or both ears. “Kent battled and fought hard like the former track champion that he was, but the suffering that greatly intensified in recent days became unbearable,” the statement said. Texas Roadhouse has regional locations in Estero, Fort Myers and Naples, where a mural near the entrance features Taylor and his parents.
PHYSICIANS REGIONAL CELEBRATES HEART CENTER MILESTONE
The Heart Center at Physicians Regional Pine Ridge, a newly opened center, performed its 100th open heart procedure on March 17. The hospital performed its first open-heart case in July 2020. The Heart Center at Physicians Regional’s multi-million dollar renovation of nearly 17,000 square feet opened in July 2020. The center includes advanced surgical equipment and technologies, allowing for a full range of invasive and interventional cardiovascular procedures. Clinical care is enhanced with a dedicated cardiovascular intensive care unit for open-heart surgery patients, two new operating rooms, two new cardiac catheterization labs and a new recovery area for interventional cardiology and electrophysiology patients. Dr. Dennis Stapleton, cardiothoracic surgeon, performed the 100th open-heart procedure at Physicians Regional. Dr. Scot Schultz was instrumental in developing the heart program at Physicians Regional alongside Stapleton.
RED SOX SPRING TRAINING TEAM STORE TO CLOSE MARCH 30
The Boston Red Sox Team Store located at JetBlue Park will be closing after the last home game on March 30. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on non-gamedays. As a “thank you” to team fans, beginning March 27, the store will be holding a 50% off sale. Some exclusions including memorabilia apply. The Red Sox Team Store is located at JetBlue Park, the Boston Red Sox’s 106-acre Spring Training and Player Development Complex, located at 11500 Fenway South Drive in Fort Myers. The store phone number is 239-226-4732. The team store is not scheduled to reopen until January 2022.
LITIGATION EXPERT TO DISCUSS DRONE LAW ON MARCH 24
Michael Corso, a Florida civil trial expert with Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt P.A., will present “Rise of the Drones: Current UAV/UAS Law Landscape” on March 24 to members of the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC). The FDCC is an international association of vetted defense and corporate counsel and industry executives dedicated to leading the profession by advancing the principles of integrity, professionalism and fair civil justice. Corso, who is also an aerospace engineer, will discuss the state of the law with regard to drone safety campaigns, Federal Aviation Administration drone regulations and enforcement, federal and state legislation, and Fourth Amendment protections. Corso has been Florida Bar board certified in civil trial law for more than 35 years and in business litigation law for more than 20 years. His trial practice area is heavily involved in the defense of non-medical professionals, copyright/trademark infringement, product liability and tobacco litigation. Corso speaks throughout the U.S.
FREE VIRTUAL MENTAL HEALTH SYMPOSIUM TAKES PLACE MARCH 25
The Uyeno Foundation will host a free Virtual Mental Health Symposium at 9 a.m. on March 25. The symposium will explore the mental health care crisis faced by frontline workers such as police officers, firefighters, EMS and public defenders. The symposium will include Dennis Gingerich, founding pastor of Cape Christian Fellowship and the lead Chaplain for the Cape Coral Police Department as the moderator, and Kathleen Smith, Sandy Cheetham, Dr. David Hall, 1st Lt. David Harrow, Dr. Amy Trout and Master Sgt. Jennifer Matlock as the panelists. For more information, click here. The symposium will be free of charge and hosted virtually. Register online.
STERIS CORP. CEO TO SHARE STORY OF BUSINESS GROWTH ON MARCH 26
Bill Sanford, former CEO of Steris Corp., is sharing his life journey and lessons learned with the NextGen Speaker Series this Friday, March 26. Networking begins at 8 a.m. with the presentation following at 9 a.m. In 10 years’ time, Sanford led Steris—a global leader in infection and contamination prevention—from a start-up with five employees to a New York Stock Exchange-listed public company with 5,000 employees and a market value of $2 billion. Register for the interactive event here.
CONSERVANCY’S GUIDED NATURE WALKS RESUME AT CLAM PASS
Now, more than ever, residents and visitors of Southwest Florida are enjoying Southwest Florida’s ever-enchanting natural environment. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s guided tours have resumed operations at Clam Pass Park in North Naples. These free walks require a reservation, and the maximum group size is five individuals. Naturalists and participants are required to wear masks during the entirety of the program. You will join a Conservancy of Southwest Florida volunteer naturalist for a free guided walk on the boardwalk, beach and back bay areas of this county park to learn about the lives of the flora and fauna of this captivating and biologically-rich area. Those interested in participating in a guided tour should make a reservation by calling or texting 239-734-1132 or by clicking here.
FIVE JOIN NAPLES BETTER GOVERNMENT BOARD
Naples Better Government announces that Brandon Cooper, William Douglass, Julie Sprague, David Turrubiartez and Richard Zelinka have joined its board of directors. They will serve with board president Julia Smith, secretary Dianne Mayberry-Hatt, treasurer Sara McFadden, immediate past president Sally Tiffany, and board members Bill Barnett, Lisa Boet, Ken Drum, David Farmer, Mike Petscher, Doug Rankin, Dennis Sanders, and Rhona Saunders. Founded in 1991, Naples Better Government is the only non-partisan political committee in Collier County that interviews all candidates, makes endorsements, and evaluates elected officials after one year in office, the organization states.
APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR FGCU ALUMNI ASSOCIATION LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
Applications for the 2021 Florida Gulf Coast University Alumni Association Leadership Academy close on April 9. The annual Leadership Academy, organized by the Office of Alumni Relations, meets on the last Friday of every month April to September and welcomes up to 15 participants. The group gets unique, behind-the-scenes access to academic, athletics and arts programs. The cost to participate is $150. For more information or to register, click here.
Youth Haven to host inaugural art show on March 31
Youth Haven Inc. is hosting “Art Haven: Healing Through Self-Expression,” an inaugural art show featuring work created by the children & teens of Youth Haven, from 4-7 p.m. on March 31 at The Collective Naples. The public can attend this event in person, or virtually from You Haven’s website. The purchase of an original piece of art supports Youth Haven programs. Refreshments will be provided at this event, which is free, open to the public and underwritten by The Collective Naples. The event space offers indoor and outdoor viewing opportunities; local mandates regarding masks and social distancing will be followed.
‘Battle of the Burntwoods’ to benefit United Way
“Battle of the Burntwoods,” a fundraising event for United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee, is taking place from 5-8 p.m. this Wednesday, March 24, at the Burntwood Taverns of Bell Tower and Gulf Coast Town Center. Two teams will go head-to-head to bring the most tips in for United Way. Current campaign chairs include Karen Ryan of LCEC and Bob Beville of Waterman Broadcasting, leading the Beauties and the Beasts team at Bell Tower. Past Campaign Chairs include Beth Hendry of Cogent Bank and John Clinger of Merrill Lynch, leading The Closers team at Gulf Coast Town Center. For more information, click here.
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