Lead Photo: Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz opens a new office in Port Charlotte
DATA SHOWS PEOPLE FAVORING MOVE TO SWFL OVER OTHER PARTS OF STATE
The pandemic has created many challenges, but it also changed the way we live and work. Some are choosing to make their vacations permanent and move to Southwest Florida full-time to work remotely. CityLab found that most people moving to the state are moving to Southwest Florida. Mapping the percentage of change during the pandemic compared to the year prior, CityLab provided ratios for the number of people moving in divided by the number moving out of areas. The top areas in the region ranked by their percentage of growth include Clewiston (10.8%), Naples/Marco Island (9.7%), Punta Gorda (8.1%), Northport/Sarasota/Bradenton (7.3%) and Cape Coral/Fort Myers (6%).
HERTZ REPORTS NEW EQUITY CAPITAL PROPOSAL ‘SUPERIOR’ TO FUND ITS CHAPTER 11 EXIT
Estero-based Hertz Global Holdings Inc. announced Wednesday that it has determined that a revised proposal to provide equity capital required to fund the company’s exit from Chapter 11 is superior to an existing plan sponsored by affiliates of Centerbridge Capital Partners L.P., Warburg Pincus LLC and Dundon Capital Partners LLC. The new proposal was made by affiliates of Knighthead Capital Management LLC, Certares Opportunities LLC and Apollo Capital Management LP. Hertz will comply with the procedures established by the bankruptcy court’s April 28 order establishing bidding and auction procedures relating to the submission of alternative plan proposals, setting a hearing for approval of the successful bidder and authorization of supplemental solicitation materials and granting related relief governing Hertz’s evaluation of the alternatives. If the current plan sponsors inform Hertz by May 7 that they intend to make a counteroffer to the proposal by the KHC Group, then the company will proceed to an auction on May 10, in accordance with the process established by the bankruptcy court, the company reports.
GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY SET FOR CORKSCREW ROAD WIDENING PROJECT
The public is invited to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the Corkscrew Road widening project at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 13, at Pinewoods Water Treatment Plant, 11950 Corkscrew Road, Estero. Attendees should use the east entrance to the plant. The ceremony will feature brief remarks by Lee County commissioners and other officials. The widening project is a transportation priority for the Lee County Commission. The first phase will create a six-lane, divided arterial road from Ben Hill Griffin Parkway east to Fire House Lane and a four-lane divided arterial road from Fire House Lane east to Bella Terra Boulevard. The $23.3 million contract is with Lee County-based Cougar Contracting.
Video courtesy of WINK News
CAPE CORAL LOOKS TO BUY SECOND GRAPPLE TRUCK TO HELP PICK UP YARD WASTE
Cape Coral will buy a truck to deal with its ongoing trash problem. In some parts of the city, the trash has been piling up, so the city will help to dispose of it. The Waste Pro driver shortage continues, and that means delays in picking up trash and yard waste continue. The city will have public works crews hauling away debris that has yet to be picked up by the trash service. This a direct response to the repeated complaints of waste lining neighborhood streets. City workers are able to help thanks to a city-owned grapple truck. The city is in the market to buy a second grapple truck for about $150,000, WINK News reports.
SWFL NAMED AMONG BEST PLACES TO GET A MORTGAGE IN FLORIDA
Lee and Collier counties were named to SmartAsset’s list of “Best Places to Get a Mortgage” in Florida. The financial technology company considered factors like borrowing costs and property taxes for the study. Lee County ranked No. 7, with a loan-funding rate of 63.49%. Collier County followed at No. 8, with a loan funding rate of 63.25%. For an overview of the methodology and an interactive map showing the top mortgage markets in the U.S., click here.
FOUNDERS MARKET & BISTRO CLOSES FOR REBRANDING IN NORTH NAPLES
The Founders Market & Bistro permanently closed last week in North Naples, but the owner of the local venues plans to rebrand and reopen the businesses Oct. 1 with a new name and concept. “We’re going to come back with an organic restaurant and market and we’re going to come back strong,” said Randy Johns, noting that the all-organic restaurant will have a new chef and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Founders Bistro originally opened Feb. 21, 2020, as a promising farm-to-table restaurant, but it closed Aug. 9 before retooling and reopening Sept. 26 with a new chef and management team. The Founders Market quietly opened Feb. 15 but closed less than six weeks later.
FPRA SWFL TO HOST PR UNIVERSITY 2021 ON MAY 21
The Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) will host the annual 2021 PR University, “Tackling the challenges of our changing world,” from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on May 21 in building AA, Room 177, at Florida Southwestern State College (FSW). PR University will focus on exploring new approaches within the profession, all while staying true to the guiding principles of the public relations industry. Attendees will gain insight on ways to adapt, evolve and educate themselves on emerging strategies and technologies. This year’s event will showcase professionals in tourism, business development, media and more. Registration is $55 for students, $75 for members and $99 for nonmembers, and includes breakfast and lunch. Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) professionals can earn two APR continuing education credits. Register here.
SWFL LAW FIRM OPENS NEW PORT CHARLOTTE OFFICE
The Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting on April 29 to mark the opening of the new Port Charlotte office of Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz at 2602 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte. The personal injury law firm occupied its previous location for four years before moving to the new office. Notable features include larger office space for client appointments and an improved lobby area to better accommodate the growing legal firm. The nearly 60-year-old personal injury law firm has been serving Port Charlotte since 1999.
NEW EXECUTIVE CHEF TAKES HELM OF LUMINARY HOTEL’S FOOD AND BEVERAGE
Luminary Hotel & Co. has promoted Brent Gauthier to executive chef overseeing all of the new hotel’s food and beverage operations and outlets, including The Silver King Ocean Brasserie, Ella Mae’s Diner, Beacon Social Drinkery and Oxbow Bar & Grill. Overseeing the hotel’s culinary team as interim executive chef for the past month, Gauthier started his journey at Luminary in January as senior sous chef and has since assisted in all aspects of the hotel’s food and beverage department. With more than 10 years of high-volume experience in American cuisine, Gauthier joins Luminary from Gaylord National Harbor in Maryland, where he worked as a senior sous chef and was responsible for leading a team, monthly inventory and lowering labor and food costs. Prior to that, Gauthier was executive chef at Le Meriden Arlington, Virginia. He attended Johnson & Wales for his associate’s degree in culinary arts. Luminary Hotel & Co. overlooks the Caloosahatchee River at 2200 Edwards Drive in downtown Fort Myers.
UNCOMMON FRIENDS FOUNDATION APPOINTS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
The Uncommon Friends Foundation has appointed Heather D. Fitzenhagen as the new executive director. Fitzenhagen took over for Jennifer Nelson on April 1. Fitzenhagen has a long career in law and politics in Florida, representing Fort Myers and the 78th District in the House of Representatives for eight years. She has served on the board of directors of her alma mater, Hollins University, the Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking, Lee County Association of Women Lawyers, the PACE Center for Girls and more. As executive director of the Uncommon Friends Foundation, Fitzenhagen will lead the mission and values of the foundation under the guidance of the board of directors. Founded in 1993 to carry out the generational values of Fort Myers, the Uncommon Friends Foundation is dedicated to lifelong character-building among today’s youth and business leaders.
PRIORITY MARKETING ADDS FENDER AS MEDIA RELATIONS SPECIALIST
Priority Marketing has added former television reporter Noelani Fender to its public relations team as a media relations specialist. In her role, Fender will help tell clients’ stories through television, print, digital and social media. Fender’s media experience includes roles as a features and enterprise reporter for FOX4 in Southwest Florida, bureau multimedia journalist for WCTV Eyewitness News in Tallahassee and WALB News 10 in Albany, Georgia. Prior roles include social media manager, media specialist and public information intern. Fender is profiled in the journalism textbook “Broadcast News Writing, Reporting and Producing.” Fender earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in mass media from Valdosta State University, minoring in speech communication.
SKINNER JOINS THE TEAM AT GULF COAST INTERNATIONAL PROPERTIES
Gulf Coast International Properties (GCIP) has welcomed Anthony Skinner, Realtor, to the firm. Originally hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Skinner graduated from Loyola University-Chicago and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. He holds real estate licenses in Naples and Chicago. Skinner played competitive hockey for 18 years. Gulf Coast International Properties is a real estate firm specializing in luxury real estate in Naples.
United Way helps bring eye care to low-income, employed population in Collier
The United Way of Collier and the Keys recently awarded a grant of $10,000 to the Florida Lions Eye Clinic (FLEC) to help provide comprehensive medical and surgical eye care services to the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed (ALICE) population of Collier County. These services include comprehensive eye exams, diagnostic tests and treatment. The clinic currently serves more than 2,000 patients a year, but the unmet needs remain strong, FLEC states. It is the only organization that provides free eye care to the underserved, uninsured communities in Southwest Florida, FLEC states.
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