Video courtesy of WINK News
FLORIDA SENATE APPROVES ONLINE SALES TAX BILL
Paying an online sales tax in Florida is one step closer to reality. The state Senate approved a proposal that would require out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes, with the money slated to be used to help Florida business owners avoid increases in unemployment taxes. It would add a 6% tax to online purchases, making out-of-state retailers responsible for giving that money back to the state of Florida. This is already something Floridians are supposed to pay, but most people either don’t know about it or don’t pay it because it isn’t strongly enforced. Florida economists estimate this tax would bring in around $1 billion each year if it passes. The money would replenish the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund, which took a hit during the pandemic. The bill could be an incentive for employers to hire more people, WINK News reports.
COLLIER COUNTY COVID-19 FINANCIAL RELIEF PROGRAM OPENED MONDAY
A new community assistance program with aid available for some past due bills will help Collier County residents and small business owners impacted by COVID-19. The county opened online applications for its new program Monday. Payment assistance is available for households behind on mortgage, rent and utility bills. Small business owners, nonprofits and agricultural operations behind on utility payments and/or need to repay the Economic Injury Disaster Loan may also qualify for aid. The financial relief program will be open on an ongoing basis this year or until funds are depleted. Past-due bills must have accumulated as the result of COVID-19 and must be documented. Income and other eligibility requirements may apply. Assistance is available on a first-come, first-qualified basis. Food banks and pantries may also apply for assistance by reaching out to the Community Foundation of Collier County, WINK News reports.
LAKE OKEECHOBEE RECEDES, BUT NOT ENOUGH; WATER DISCHARGES CONTINUE
Lake Okeechobee discharges will be reduced to the Caloosahatchee River but will continue at the same rate to the St. Lucie River – indefinitely. The Caloosahatchee will get 969 million gallons per day, down from an average of 1.3 billion gallons a day since Feb. 13, said Col. Andrew Kelly, Florida commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. St. Lucie will continue to get a weekly average rate of 323 million gallons per day, the same amount since discharges started March 6, Kelly said. At 14 feet, 8 inches on Thursday, Lake O’s elevation above sea level has dropped over 6.5 inches since March 6 but is still 2.5 feet higher than this time last year. The Army Corps projects the lake level will be about 13.5 feet by June 1, but the agency typically wants it a foot lower by the start of the summer rainy season, WINK News reports.
Video courtesy of WINK News
NEW RESIDENCY CLASS AT LEE HEALTH CONSISTS SOLELY OF WOMEN FOR FIRST TIME
For the first time, there are more women than men enrolled in U.S. medical schools, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, and Florida is trending that way: The eight doctors in the newest class of Lee Health’s residency program are all women. Lee Health says it doesn’t base its decisions on race or gender, but rather focuses on qualifications, looking at applicants’ academics and extracurriculars before narrowing down to whom they want to interview as a potentially good match for the program. The students also do the same thing, then they rank each other. Dr. Alfred Gitu, the director of the family medicine residency program, told said that out of the 1,500 applicants, the strongest ones for this class were women, WINK News reports.
FUTUREMAKERS COALITION LAUNCHES ‘TALENT TALK’ PODCAST
The FutureMakers Coalition has launched a new podcast, “Talent Talk,” that dives deep into the ever-changing world of talent and economic development. Each season will include conversations from the perspectives of those designing, working in, and experiencing the talent and economic development systems. Season One included topics on workforce development in rural communities, shifting the way higher education does business, equity and culture competence in workplaces, student voices, adult learners adapting for success and more. Season Two is now available and features eight episodes that discuss building skills, bold goals for workforce development, students finding inspiration, finishing a degree you started, being a student ally, careers in a year, the importance of early childhood education and prioritizing student needs. New episodes are available each Friday. The podcast is available on Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Google and the FutureMakers website.
SHRM SWFL ANNOUNCES 2021 SUMMIT, HELD MAY 14
The Southwest Florida chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM SWFL) will host its 2021 Summit on May 14 at the Marriott Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa. During the inaugural conference, attendees will have the opportunity to engage in meaningful industry-driven discussions, network with fellow HR professionals. Alongside a day packed with sessions and networking, the chapter will welcome Greg Hawks as the keynote speaker. Closer to the conference, SHRM SWFL will release the full event program, which includes three more industry speakers. Open to both SHRM SWFL members and non-members, registration for the event will remain open until May 7. While the non-member registration rate will remain at $150, members, which includes every SHRM chapter across Florida, can capitalize on early-bird pricing of $99 through April 14 before the rate increases to $125. For more information click here.
LUNCHEON TO COVER BEST PRACTICES FOR WORK-BASED LEARNING PROGRAMS
The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon, held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 28 at the Crowne Plaza at Bell Tower in Fort Myers, will highlight internships and what employers need to know about organizing impactful internship experiences for future professionals. Guest speaker Ashleigh Droz, director of the Office of Internships & Cooperative Programs at Florida Gulf Coast University, will cover all things internships to help employers create opportunities that are both challenging and supportive for students expanding their professional horizons in Fort Myers and surrounding Lee County. Admission is $25 for chamber members and $35 for future chamber members. Advance registration is required as capacity is limited to allow for social distancing. For more information, click here or call 239-332-2930.
SANIBEL CAPTIVA COMMUNITY BANK CFO TO RETIRE
Sanibel Captiva Community Bank has announced David Carleton Hall, the bank’s executive vice president, chief financial officer and chief operating officer, will retire on March 31, following a career of more than 40 years in banking. Hall has grown Sanibel Captiva Community Bank from its inception in 2001 to the largest community bank in Southwest Florida, the company states. Under his leadership, the bank has grown to more than $700 million in total assets, achieved a return on equity that ranks within the top 60 banks nationwide (out of 4,000 banks), and experienced deposit growth in excess of 26% per year compounded for the past eight years. John Wright, who joined the bank in April 2020, has been named executive vice president, chief financial and operating officer. Wright, who has more than 30 years of experience in community banking, has spent the last year working closely with Hall to prepare for his new role. Over his extensive banking career, he has worked for several community banking institutions in Maryland. Wright holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from The University of Maryland.
TOLIN NAMED LITIGATION PARTNER AT NAPLES LAW FIRM
Woods, Weidenmiller, Michetti & Rudnick has elected Jessica Tolin as the newest litigation partner at the firm. Tolin started her career at the firm as a law clerk, while attending Stetson University College of Law, and began practicing as an associate attorney after obtaining admission to the Florida Bar in 2016. Tolin practices primarily in the areas of construction litigation, commercial and business litigation, landlord-tenant litigation, litigation involving condominium and homeowners’ association disputes, and litigation involving insurance claim disputes. She is also admitted to practice in the Middle District of Florida and is a member of both the Collier County Bar Association and the Collier County Women’s Bar Association.
THE PRESERVE WELCOMES KELLER AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Ryan Keller has been named the new executive director for The Preserve, a skilled nursing and assisted living community in Fort Myers. Keller is transferring from within the Volunteers of America organization after serving as the associate executive director for Homestead at Anoka in Minnesota since 2012. He has nine years of senior living management experience. As associate executive director, Keller was responsible for the day-to-day operations of a 120-bed rehabilitation and living center for Homestead at Anoka. He managed a team of 15 department directors and an admissions department that handled approximately 1,000 admissions a year. In addition, Keller was also responsible for overseeing the efforts of Homestead at Coon Rapids, which consisted of 54 assisted living apartments. Keller is a University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire graduate with a Bachelor of Science in health care administration.
YOUTH HAVEN WELCOMES NOVAKOVICH TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Youth Haven Inc. has welcomed Amy Novakovich to its board of directors. Combining her educational background in finance and psychology, Novakovich co-founded Nova Wealth Management with her husband, James, in 2011, where she is a wealth advisor. Prior to establishing their firm, the duo began their partnership at Fifth Third Securities servicing clients from Marco Island to Cape Coral. Novakovich is both a Certified Financial Planner and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor.
MILNER JOINS DEANGELIS DIAMOND AS SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER
Naples-based DeAngelis Diamond welcomes Adam Milner to the team as senior project manager. In his role, Milner will monitor project performance to ensure projects are delivered according to the client’s expectations. He will take a leadership role in managing the client relationship together with the project resources. With more than 12 years of construction experience, Milner has an impressive, diverse portfolio on projects totaling 3.9 million square feet and $1.8 billion. After receiving his degree in building construction from the University of Florida, Milner began his career in Las Vegas before transitioning to the Nashville area in 2018. He will be based at the DeAngelis Diamond Nashville office to lead the Vitality Senior Living project, Capitol View-Block F multifamily project in downtown Nashville and provide operational expertise on future project pursuits.
Boys & Girls Club of Collier County seeking virtual volunteers to lead education programs
The Boys & Girls Club of Collier County is expanding its virtual programs to include additional volunteer opportunities for guest speakers, businesses and organizations in Southwest Florida. New virtual volunteer opportunities include career exploration, where Guest speakers can discuss the pros and cons of their chosen career; virtual tours, where businesses can give student members a virtual facility tour, demonstrating a cool feature or unique piece of equipment; educational classes, where volunteers can lead student members through arts and crafts, yoga, dance or karate classes; and interactive lectures, where individuals can hold lectures covering youth-friendly topics like backyard wildlife, gardening, animal training or Southwest Florida history. Although the Boys & Girls Club reopened last summer, it continues to restrict in-person visitor access to keep students and staff safe during the pandemic. To explore volunteer opportunities, click here, email volunteer@BGCCC.com or call 239-325-1700.
Don’t be the last to know what’s happening in Southwest Florida. Sign up for our free daily newsletter, Gulfshore Business Daily, to stay connected.