Lead Photo: Owen-Ames-Kimball Florida begins construction of Coronado Parkway Condominium. Details below.
Video courtesy of WINK News
SMALL BUSINESSES EVALUATE MASK POLICIES AFTER NEW CDC GUIDELINES
The latest chapter in the mask debate could be turning small businesses against new CDC guidelines released last week stating that vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks indoors. This swift change of course has left some businesses and shoppers not knowing what to do or believe. Should they trust people will follow guidelines and mask up if they aren’t vaccinated or continue telling everyone to wear one? Small business owners especially are all over the place with these guidelines. One store clerk says they took down their “mask up” sign as soon as the CDC guidance came out last week. Other stores will continue to require customers to wear masks, WINK News reports.
Video courtesy of WINK News
FPL BUILDING LARGE SOLAR ENERGY CENTER IN SWFL
FPL is building a sizable solar center in Southwest Florida aimed at helping support the nation’s largest community solar program. The energy company’s goal is to have 30 million panels by 2030. With this new center, they’re about 30% of the way there. Offering much more than just clean energy, the facility promises new jobs and more tax dollars. FPL chose DeSoto County as its innovative hub for solar power in 2009. The county now has five solar energy centers, the most in the Sunshine State. The new facility will create enough energy to power 15,000 homes, WINK News reports.
Video courtesy of WINK News
FAWCETT MEMORIAL HOSPITAL PLANNING $60M EXPANSION
Fawcett Memorial Hospital in Port Charlotte is getting a $60 million expansion to serve the growing community. The hospital plans to expand its critical care units, operating room and pre-op treatment areas. A new main lobby, registration areas and waiting rooms are in the works, too. Construction is expected to begin early next year. Fawcett is one of three hospitals in Charlotte County and one of two in Port Charlotte, WINK News reports.
Video courtesy of WINK News
CHILD TAX CREDIT PROGRAM TO BENEFIT FAMILIES
Starting this summer families will get monthly payments from the federal government as part of the extended child tax credit program. The money is normally provided in tax returns, but now the goal is to get families more money faster. The child tax credit increased from $2,000 per child to $3,600 for children under 6 and $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17. This applies to married couples who make $150,000 or less, singles who make $75,000 or less and heads of households who make 112,500 or less. Instead of waiting until tax season, now families can choose monthly payments to help pay for whatever their kids need sooner, WINK News reports.
Video courtesy of WINK News
LEE COUNTY CUTS RIBBON FOR GATEWAY HIGH SCHOOL
The Gateway community in unincorporated Lee County is finally getting its own high school. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was Wednesday for Gateway High School, which will accommodate up to 2,000 students and take the pressure off crowded schools nearby. This school is going to offer construction management and cybersecurity programs as well as the Florida Gulf Coast University Collegiate Academy, where students can gain college credits. Despite the pandemic, construction finished ahead of schedule for the new school, which will open for classes in August, WINK News reports.
RSW AIRPORT TRAFFIC UP FOR APRIL
During April, 1,107,004 passengers traveled through Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers. This was an increase of nearly 2,000% compared to April 2020. However, the April 2021 passenger count was 0.4% less than the record-breaking total of 1,111,558 for April 2019. Year-to-date, passenger traffic is up 12% compared to last year. The traffic leader in April was Southwest Airlines with 252,004 total passengers. Rounding out the top five airlines were Delta (170,511), United (133,508), American (132,980) and JetBlue (131,242). Southwest Florida International Airport had 10,612 aircraft operations, an increase of 206% compared to April 2020. Page Field saw 11,915 operations, a 111% increase compared to April 2020.
AS TRAVEL PICKS UP, SO HAVE RENTAL CAR SCAMS
Criminals are taking advantage of the nationwide car rental shortage. During the pandemic, travel came to a halt and rental cars were sold by the thousands. Now that more people are traveling again, car rental prices have skyrocketed. So have the number of scammers creating fake websites offering deals too good to be true. The Better Business Bureau is seeing new scams happening across the country and in Southwest Florida. The BBB offers some tips to avoid getting scammed: Never pay with gift cards or prepaid debit cards, go directly to the company website and check the URL carefully, beware of sponsored links and call the company to verify deals.
CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON CORONADO PARKWAY CONDOMINIUMS IN CAPE CORAL
Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. (O-A-K) has begun construction and site work on Bacino Vista Investments’ Coronado Parkway Condominiums in Cape Coral. The nautical-themed, approximately 48,954 square foot, multi-family condominium building will have 16 two and three-bedroom residences on two floors. The building’s design reflects a Bahamas-inspired architectural style and the tropical waterfront setting. Residents will have waterfront views across the 80-foot-wide Atlantic canal, with direct access to the Caloosahatchee River. Additional amenities include private boat slips and a custom-built boat dock, pool and gathering space overlooking the boat basin. The building will have ground-level parking below the residential living space. Site work includes utilities, landscaping, and an asphalt parking lot. O-A-K’s project manager is Kevin James, the project superintendent is David Campbell, and the project estimator is Abel Natali. The project architects are GMA Architects & Planners.
VALERIE’S HOUSE-NAPLES WELCOMES COMMUNITY FOR OPEN HOUSE
Valerie’s House is hosting an open house at its Naples location to welcome potential new families, volunteers, mentors, and community supporters interested in learning more about the organization, which has the sole mission of helping children grieve the loss of a loved one. The event takes place from 5-8 p.m. on June 3 at 819 Myrtle Terrace, Naples. Valerie’s House families, staff, and board members will be onsite to give tours of the grief center, demonstrations of how grief support groups run, and share more about the programs available for children and families who have lost a loved one. Attendees are welcome to tour the home, learn about how to support our region’s grieving families, and enjoy light refreshments and acoustic music by Naples-based band Roman Fortune.
GREATER NAPLES LEADERSHIP ANNOUNCES 2021-2022 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Greater Naples Leadership (GNL) announced its 2021-2022 slate of board officers and directors during the virtual GNL annual meeting held on April 27. The nonprofit’s newly elected board assumed office on May 1. The board officers are president Gerald “Jerry” Godshaw, president-elect Kitty Keane, secretary Loreen Sellitto, treasurer Bill Hogan, and immediate past president Sue Dillon. The board directors include Caren Arnstein, Jim Donohue, Jeremy Farmer, Debbie Finch, Sandie Fleming, Mary Beth Jones, Donna Messer, Geoffrey Murphy, Martha Rozman, Mark Schwab, Beth Stein, Julie Wade and Giselle Wagner. Greater Naples Leadership (GNL) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing leaders with a unique opportunity to learn firsthand about Collier County’s challenges and encourage using their skills individually and collectively in addressing these needs and bettering the community.
WRIGHT ELECTED TO FSW FOUNDATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS
John Wright, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank’s executive vice president, chief financial officer and chief operating officer, has been elected to the Florida SouthWestern State College Foundation board of directors. Wright was recently promoted to the bank’s executive vice president, chief financial and operating officer. With more than 30 years of experience in community banking, he has worked for several community banking institutions in Maryland. Annually, the foundation provides close to $2 million in student scholarships and program support to benefit over 22,000 students, including funding for academic programs, new technology, and new or improved facilities. The FSW Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization.
FREY & SON HOMES WELCOMES NEW TEAM MEMBERS
Frey & Son Homes has added several new team members this month. Thad Pauly has been appointed superintendent, responsible for the Collier and East Lee County areas. Pauly has worked as a general contractor and has over 30 years of experience in the construction industry. Angela Woolley is the home builder’s newest administrative assistant. A Florida native, Woolley is new to the construction industry. Joe Tedesco joins the team with more than a decade of experience in the building industry.
FIFTH AVENUE SOUTH ENRICHES BRAND WITH NEW BANNERS
The Fifth Avenue South Business Improvement District (BID) has added new streetlight banners hailing its designation as Naples’ historic main street. Over the past few weeks, Fifth Avenue South has been lined with the streetlight banners, an enhancement initiative unanimously supported by Naples City Council. The banners feature photos rendered in a paint style with messages promoting the avenue. The banner initiative on Fifth Avenue South is part of a larger marketing effort that takes the same message and magnifies it through advertising, media relations, digital platforms and events. The banners will be rotated seasonally, with some remaining up in key locations throughout the year.
The Founders Scholarship Fund awards 32 scholarships to Collier County students
The Founders Scholarship Fund (FSF) awarded college scholarships to 32 Collier County students during an online celebration on April 30. Soon-to-be high school graduates and several parents and Founders Fund Board members gathered via Zoom to celebrate during the hour-long event. The board voted to increase the four-year scholarship from $10,000 to $12,000 – a $384,000 commitment to the incoming class of 2021, FSF Board Chair Adam Crescenzi announced during the event. The Founders Scholarship Fund awards renewable scholarships to students. Founded in 1991 by Club Pelican Bay golf members, the nonprofit organization has awarded scholarships of more than $4.5 million to more than 725 students. Founders Fund Inc. is celebrating 30 years by increasing the scholarship to $3,000 per year for four years and for more than 30 students.
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