Lead Photo: Ginni Rometty, former executive chairman and chief executive officer of IBM receiving the Edison Achievement Award at the 2019 Edison Awards Gala. Details below.
MORE FLORIDA RESIDENTS ELIGIBLE FOR COVID-19 VACCINE
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced this week that he is expanding the ages for eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccination. Beginning Monday, Florida residents age 40 and over are eligible to make an appointment to be vaccinated. The following week, all Floridians 18 and over will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning April 5, the day after Easter.
APPLICATIONS CLOSE MARCH 26 FOR NEXT CLASS OF LEADERSHIP SWFL
Applications for the next class of Leadership SWFL close at 5 p.m. today. To apply or share the application, click here. Leadership SWFL takes professionals from a variety of industries through immersive day trips and in-depth discussions about the operations of Lee, Collier and Charlotte Counties. This gives current and future community leaders a deep understanding of Southwest Florida’s resources and needs and connects them with an alumni network of nearly 400 graduates. Nine, full-day class sessions and an overnight retreat for the program will run from May through December. Sessions focus on topics including crime and justice, economic development, education and the workforce, environment, government, healthcare, infrastructure, media and tourism. This will be the 23rd class of Leadership SWFL.
AGENDA ANNOUNCED FOR 2021 EDISON AWARDS
The Edison Awards has announced the agenda for its 34th annual awards celebration, taking place April 21-23. This is the first year the event is being held in the City of Fort Myers and organizers are offering Southwest Florida residents $350 savings to attend the three-day event. The Edison Awards agenda features a broad range of executive-level networking opportunities, panel discussions, presentations, and field trips with topics ranging from solar energy to space. The event will kick off on April 21 with an opening reception at the former winter home of Thomas Edison, Edison and Ford Winter Estates. The three-day event will culminate with the Edison Awards Gala, where the best in innovation will be recognized and honored at the Caloosa Sound Convention Center. This years’ list of finalists includes six from the state of Florida: Arthrex, Babcock Ranch, Black & Veatch, ecoSPEARS, Florida Gulf Coast University, and NeoGenomics. A full event schedule and registration information can be found online. Southwest Florida guests may receive $350 off the ticket price using the discount code SWFLRES.
MARCO ISLAND SINGLE-FAMILY HOME SALES UP IN FEBRUARY
Sold single-family homes in Marco Island were up by 41% in February compared to February 2020, from 32 to 45, according to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty Broker Associate Gerry Rosenblum. Sold condominiums were are up by 73%, from 44 to 76, and sold single-family lots were up by 127%, from 13 to 39. Inventory decreased in February by 72% for single-family homes, 63% for condominiums, and 69% for single-family lots, Rosenblum reports. For more information, click here.
SONOMA VINEYARD OWNER OPENS EXCLUSIVE CRU WINE CLUB TASTING ROOM IN BONITA SPRINGS
The Cassata Sonoma Family Vineyard, Glen Ellen, California has announced the opening of the new CRU Wine Club tasting room in Bonita Springs in the new Causeway Commerce Park, 28280 Old 41 Road, Unit 9. CRU refers to the finest grapes and best terroir of the vineyards. Wine and olive oil tastings and food pairings are held inside and outside by reservation only on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 4 to 6 p.m. Owner Tom Cassata said the Cassata Sonoma Utopium wines and two Talisman Pinot Noirs wine will be featured. The Cassata Sonoma Utopium brand features four varietals: cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel, merlot, sauvignon blanc, and two new CRU wines barrel-aged for five years, a 2014 Sonoma Reserve CRU Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2014 Sonoma Reserve CRU Zinfandel. The intimate wine tasting room can be booked for a maximum of eight guests outside and six inside. Light bites, charcuterie and wine tastings will be featured during the happy hour events. To make reservations or for more information click here.
MERRILL LYNCH TO EXPAND IN NAPLES
Following a 10% jump in new client relationships in Florida – the largest for one state – Merrill Lynch is gearing up to expand its presence in key markets, including Naples. The wealth management division of Bank of America has found that much of this influx is due to wealthy individuals who have moved to Florida fleeing high taxes and cold weather, the company reports. As part of its strategy to meet their needs, Merrill Lynch says it plans to double the number of wealth advisors serving Naples and other target Florida markets from 20 to 40 teams over the next few years.
GULF WESTERN GROUP LAUNCHES NEW ENVIRONMENTAL DIVISION
Gulf Western Group has launched its newest division, Gulf Western Environmental (GWE). GWE offers a full range of environmental consulting in the areas of preserve management, environmental permitting and compliance, and wetland determinations, with plans to expand into additional environmental fields such as remediation and marine services. The division provides permitting, compliance and land management services including exotic and nuisance species control; environmental restoration and habitat creation; mangrove permitting, pruning and planting, and more. Michael LeBlanc and Timothy Schwan, environmental managers with more than 30 years of expertise in projects throughout Southwest Florida, lead the new division.
ST. MATTHEW’S HOUSE INTRODUCES ONLINE THRIFT STORE
St. Matthew’s House has introduced a new online thrift store. Items can be viewed and purchased here. The site features items selected from the nonprofit’s six brick and mortar thrift stores and provides easy access to categories for patio, housewares, furniture, clothing, accessories, electronics and sale items. New items are added daily. Shipping options are available for housewares and clothing, and local delivery is available for large items. St. Matthew’s House Thrift Stores are located in Naples, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers and Immokalee. Stores are open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For store locations, click here.
CAPITAL WEALTH ADVISORS MARKET HAPPY HOUR WEBINAR HELD MARCH 30
Naples-based Capital Wealth Advisors (CWA) continues its monthly Market Happy Hour Webinars with the next event at 4:30 p.m. on March 30. During the webinars, CWA’s experienced research team members review what they believe to be the important market events of the month, and discuss the economic and global drivers that they believe are moving the markets. The webinars are free and open to the public. Prior registration is required. To register, click here.
WOMEN IN BUSINESS TO EXPLORE VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES AT APRIL 7 NETWORKING EVENT
The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Committee will offer insight on volunteer opportunities with area nonprofit organizations during its networking event, held from 4-6 p.m. on April 7 at Bell Tower in Fort Myers. Welcoming 11 nonprofits from across Southwest Florida, this month’s Women in Business program will showcase opportunities to volunteer within each organization. The program will be held outdoors to allow for safe networking, and appetizers will be provided by chamber member Burntwood Tavern. The cost to attend is $10 for members of the chamber and $20 for nonmembers. Admission includes one complimentary beverage. Attendees can register in advance here or call 239-332-2930.
GATES CONSTRUCTION SELECTED FOR LEHIGH ACRES PROJECT
Gates Construction has been selected to provide construction management services for the renovation of the Lehigh Acres Senior Citizen Center. The improvements will include Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant restroom upgrades, an ADA special lift to access the multi-purpose room stage, kitchen updates, and replacement of all six rooftop heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units. The center is a nonprofit organization that was established to provide mature adults with opportunities to be engaged, enriched and empowered. Design services are provided by ADG Architecture LLC.
DECOOK JOINS LSI COMPANIES INC. AS DIRECTOR OF ACCOUNTING
LSI Companies Inc. welcomes Eric DeCook as its director of accounting. DeCook will be working alongside the chief financial officer to provide financial governance and is responsible for the timely completion of month-end financial statements, operational budgets, internal analyses, and payroll. DeCook received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Central Michigan University and brings more than eight years of experience to the company.
ROYAL PALM COAST REALTOR ASSOCIATION HIRES FOSTER
The Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association (RPCRA) has hired Angela Foster as director of professional development. Foster brings more than 20 years of experience to her director role, where she will be responsible for creating and managing RPCRA’s professional development offerings that empower Realtor members to expand their careers and stand out in a competitive market. Prior to joining the RPCRA, she served as a professional development coordinator and administration coordinator for the Orlando Regional Realtor Association. Foster spent most of her career in the nonprofit industry after earning a bachelor’s degree in public administration and minor in nonprofit management from the University of Central Florida. She is currently a member of the Florida Society of Association Executives.
Lee County Animal Services annual ‘Flip This Kennel’ set for Saturday
Lee County Domestic Animal Services, along with county agencies, area shelters and rescues will decorate kennels and catteries this weekend for the “Flip This Kennel” event to highlight shelter pets in the county’s adoption center. Visitors to the shelter on Saturday can vote for their favorite flip between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. People also can vote on the DAS Facebook page by liking the picture of a favorite kennel or cattery all day Saturday and Sunday. Winners will be posted on the Facebook page Monday. This is the seventh annual “Flip This Kennel” event and this year’s theme is “Video Games.” Prizes will be awarded for first, second, third place and honorable mention in both in-house and Facebook votes. The adoption center at Lee County Domestic Animal Services, 5600 Banner Drive, Fort Myers, is open from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Available pets also can be viewed online.
Sunshine Ace Hardware announces spring fundraising campaign
Sunshine Ace Hardware is launching a monthlong spring fundraising campaign to generate support for Children’s Miracle Network, which relies on donations to provide life-changing medical care to children across the region. Starting April 1, Sunshine Ace customers can round up their purchases at the register to support Children’s Miracle Network. The spring “Round Up for the Kids” campaign kickstarts Sunshine Ace’s annual fundraising campaign for Children’s Miracle Network. Sunshine Ace Hardware has nine locations in Collier, Lee, Charlotte and Pinellas counties, as well as two Crowder Bros. Ace Hardware stores in Manatee County. Donations collected in Southwest Florida support Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers, while donations in the Tampa Bay region support Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. Since establishing a partnership three decades ago, Ace Hardware has raised more than $140 million for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.
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