Lead photo: Mercola adds solar panels to carport. Details below.
Video courtesy of WINK News
FGCU SET TO LAUNCH ACADEMY FOR STUDENTS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES
A first-of-its-kind program in Southwest Florida will help students with intellectual disabilities transition from high school to college. FGCU’s new Soaring Eagle Academy will teach them how to become independent in the real world, WINK News reports. A similar program offered in nearly 300 schools nationwide consists of 39 credit hours over six consecutive semesters. Students attend classes, have homework and learn how to live independently. Applications are being accepted now for the FGCU program, which begins in August. To apply, click here.
SIZZLE DINING RESTAURANT WEEK RESCHEDULED FROM SUMMER TO FALL THIS YEAR
After more than a year’s hiatus because of the pandemic, Sizzle Dining Restaurant Week is being rescheduled from June to September this year. The three-week, annual event is planned for Sept. 9-29 at restaurants throughout Lee and Collier counties. The community-driven dining specials showcase the local culinary scene by offering three-course, prix-fixe meals to residents and visitors for either $29 or $39, depending on the location. For every Sizzle Dining meal purchased during the three-week event, each participating restaurant will donate $1 directly to Blessings in a Backpack SWFL, a local 501(c)(3) charity that feeds elementary school students every weekend during the school year. Restaurants may participate by contacting Guy Clarke at Guy@SizzleSWFL.com or 239-405-7767.
Video courtesy of WINK News
COMMUNITY FOCUS GROUP SHARES ITS VISION FOR FUTURE OF CAPE CORAL
A community focus group was held in Cape Coral on Thursday to discuss what people see for the future of the city. While waterways and the quality of the water are at the top of their list, people also want to focus on improving walking and nature trails, as well as outdoor activities and community amenities such as dining and events. Information collected will be a part of a final draft presented to the city by the USF Florida Institute of Government, which is helping the city create a blueprint for the future. Another community forum is planned for people to share their ideas, but the event time and location haven’t been announced yet. The final plan could be presented to the city as early as August, WINK News reports.
Video courtesy of WINK News
FOOD BANKS ALREADY PREPARING FOR HURRICANE SEASON
Area food banks say they learned a lot from past hurricanes, and that’s to be overprepared for hurricane season. If the pandemic has taught the Harry Chapin Food Bank anything, it’s to be flexible, take food to where the need is great, and work with partners like St. Matthew’s House to reach even more people. Now, Harry Chapin and partner agency St. Matthew’s House are gearing up for the 2021 hurricane season. Food banks say the pandemic hasn’t changed how they prepare for storms but how they get food to people in need, WINK News reports.
MERCOLA COMPLETES CARPORT PROJECT, ADDING MORE THAN 400 SOLAR PANELS
Natural health company Mercola in Cape Coral recently completed phase II of its solar power project, adding 429 solar panels to its newly installed parking lot carport. Installed by commercial solar contractor Advanced Green Technologies (AGT), these panels will provide 185kW of energy and, together with the building’s rooftop solar panels, fulfill most of Mercola’s energy needs. The company says it is one the largest in Cape Coral that’s powered by solar energy. The next steps for Mercola include the completion of its Mercola Market, a retail store and smoothie bar that offers organic clothing, supplements, foods and more. The market plans to open in summer.
KENDRA SCOTT LAUNCHES POP-UP STORE AT WATERSIDE SHOPS IN NAPLES
Kendra Scott, a leading fashion accessories brand, opened its newest pop-up store Friday at Waterside Shops in Naples. The 1,062-square-foot store displays Kendra Scott’s current fashion, sterling and fine jewelry collections, as well as Mother’s Day gifts. Kendra Scott’s collections are iconic for their custom-created stone shapes, genuine materials and innovative design details. The store will also showcase the brand’s unique Kendra Scott Color Bar, offering shoppers an interactive experience to create customized jewelry in minutes and leave with it in hand. This will be Kendra Scott’s eighth store opening in Florida. Since establishing its footprint in the Sunshine State, the brand has continued to show its support for the local community through partnerships with nonprofits and organizations. Kendra Scott Waterside, 5485 Tamiami Trail N., D-5, is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Call 239-237-0532 or click here.
SWFL INC. TO HOST BUSINESS AFTER HOURS MAY 13
SWFL Inc. is hosting a Business After Hours event from 4 to 6 p.m. on May 13 at The Hangout by Two Guys. Each $15 ticket includes appetizers and one beverage. No chamber membership is required to attend. Register to attend here. SWFL Inc. members with the Nonprofit or Relationship Package can RSVP online for free. SWFL Inc. is a regional chamber of commerce serving the Southwest Florida business community.
VECTRA DIGITAL ANNOUNCES NEW PRESIDENT
Yvonne Bourk has been named president of Vectra Digital in Fort Myers. Former president Albert Arguelles has become the new CEO. At 23, Bourk was one out of three females amongst 500 male stockbrokers that worked on Wall Street. With more than 20 years of financial services experience, Bourk, a Certified Exit Planning Advisor, has worked with companies to accelerate and monetize the value of their business. She is a past Gulfshore Business 40 under 40 honoree.
MCDONALD NAMED TO CYPRESS AT HOME MANAGER POST
Todd McDonald has been appointed as manager of health services and business development for Cypress at Home. McDonald previously worked for Lee Health as a senior physician relations and network development representative. His most recent role allowed him to connect, educate and navigate healthcare services for healthcare providers in the Southwest Florida region. While at Lee Health, he contributed to business development efforts and the growth of the healthcare system’s outpatient, post-acute, and accountable care networks. Cypress home is a Southwest Florida-based home and community-based care provider.
THREE NEW MEMBERS JOIN FUN TIME BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Fun Time Early Childhood Academy (FTA) has appointed three new members — Naples attorney Ruth Damys Orange, retired educator Karen Hopper and retired business executive Darrell Balmer — to its board of directors. Damys opened her own practice in 2015 and is on the board of Cancer Alliance of Naples. She also serves as attorney coach for the Gulf Coast High School chapter of the Florida High School Mock Trial and is a member of the Collier and Lee County Bar Associations. Hopper has more than 30 years of experience as an educator and has a strong background in volunteerism with a focus of raising funds for medical research in Boston hospitals, a SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) unit for a hospital in Salem, Massachusetts, and Foundation Fighting Blindness. Balmer spent several years at IBM, from engineer to credit corporation director. He later held a senior executive role overseeing research groups at Gartner Group and served as COO of Agency.com in New York City. He currently volunteers for Senior Core of Retired Executives (SCORE).
CLA HIRES BARNES AS ASSURANCE SENIOR
CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen), which has offices in Naples and Fort Myers, has hired Jamie Barnes as an assurance senior in its state and local government practice. Barnes comes to CLA with 12 years of experience in the accounting industry. Barnes joins CLA after working at Ashley, Brown and Co. for the last nine years. Barnes received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Florida Gulf Coast University and a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Central Florida.
THE FLORIDA LIONS EYE CLINIC WELCOMES NEW BOARD MEMBERS
The Florida Lions Eye Clinic (FLEC) has appointed two new directors, Terry Cavanaugh and Dr. Richard T. Corea to its board of directors. The FLEC, a non-profit agency, provides medical and surgical eye care to underserved individuals in Florida. After retiring as CEO and president of Erie lnsurance in 2016, Cavanaugh founded Accretive Consulting, an executive coaching practice. Previous to Erie Insurance, Cavanaugh had a 33-year career with the Chubb Group of Insurance Cos. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame and attended the Harvard Business School PMD Program. A retired senior staff member from Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Corea received his Doctor of Optometry from The Ohio State University and Bachelor of Arts in psychology from St. Joseph’s College in Rensselear, Indiana. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Pennsylvania College of Optometry and as the staff optometrist for Parris Castoro Cataract and Laser Center in Bel Air, Maryland.
MNMW WELCOMES LOZANO TO TEAM
Daisy Lozano recently joined Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co. P.A. (MNMW) after working with the firm as a Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) intern. Lozano works in the accounting and tax division, helping to prepare business tax returns and provide supportive accounting services. Lozano is working towards her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting at FGCU, with anticipated graduation in May. In the future, Lozano has goals to pursue her master’s in accounting and taxation, and later obtain her Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. MNMW is a public accounting and consulting firm with offices in both Fort Myers and Naples.
$250K match leads 2021 SWFL Wine & Food Fest virtual auction over $1 million mark
SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. presented its 2021 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest on April 24, with auction proceeds totaling more than $1.2 million in support of the nonprofit’s efforts to build a build the new SWFL Children’s Charities Eye Institute of Golisano Children’s Hospital. Gifts pledged directly to the cause through the child art program and the Fund-A-Cause totaled nearly $700,000. The new facility will provide expanded ophthalmology services to children across the region. The 2021 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest’s storybook-inspired theme, “Out of the Darkness Into the Light,” speaks to the struggles of children facing vision challenges and blindness. More than 200 bidders came together during the virtual event and auction of the 13th annual event, with Chef Vintner Dinners held at eight luxury venues throughout the region and one in Sonoma, California. Festivities during the virtual event broadcasting live from one of the venues included 2021 Honored Signature Vintner Jean-Charles Boisset entertaining the crowd. Attendees also participated at home for the first-ever SWFL Wine & Food Fest Wine Fest@Home experience.
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