Photo by Jacqueline Kelly from Pexels
ALICO ITEC PARK WILL BE HOME TO GULF COAST MUSEUM OF MILITARY HISTORY
A new 45,000-square-foot Gulf Coast Museum of Military History & Veterans Advancement Center is planned on a 4.5-acre lakefront property under contract at Alico ITEC Park in Fort Myers. The growth and expansion initiative was announced Monday at the Naples Airport, where the Naples Museum of Military History has outgrown its longtime location. The local museum’s collection of more than 13,000 military artifacts from all branches of the military from the Revolutionary War on will be relocated to the new Gulf Coast Museum of Military History when completed. The future home of Florida Gulf Coast University’s Museum Studies Program also will call the museum home. The adjacent Veterans Advancement Center will include multiple local and national veteran’s assistance programs and has been developed to provide aid, support, guidance and treatment to service members and veterans.
HOFFMANN FAMILY OF COMPANIES BUYS REGENCY WATERSPORTS ON MARCO ISLAND
Since 1998, Regency Watersports has operated on Marco Island with competitor Marco Island Water Sports just down the road. Now they’re joining forces, providing a combined 66 years of experience on the island. The Hoffmann Family of Companies purchased Regency Watersports on Friday night. Marco Island & Naples Beach Water Sports joined the Hoffmann Family of Companies in September of last year. Regency Watersports offers lounge chairs and umbrella/cabana rentals, paddleboard and kayak rentals, personal watercraft rentals and guided tours into the mangrove forest of the 10,000 Islands from two locations at The Club Regency and Eagles Nest Boardwalks. The Hoffmann Family of Companies, a Naples-based subsidiary of Osprey Capital LLC, continues to expand its hospitality portfolio in Southwest Florida which already includes a number of entertainment and sightseeing based companies, including the Hertz Arena and the Florida Everblades hockey team.
CIRELLA’S BISTRO REVAMPS MENU, INTRODUCES NEW NAME IN NORTH NAPLES
The owners of Cirella’s in North Naples slightly changed the local restaurant’s name because they introduced a new menu and no longer serve sushi. Cirella’s Italian Bistro & Sushi Bar is now
Cirella’s Neighborhood Bistro & Bar at its location in Vanderbilt Commons near the northwest corner of Vanderbilt Beach Road and Collier Boulevard. Cirella’s original location in Bonita Springs still serves sushi, said owners Michael and Lisa Cirella. “The Naples location not only serves Italian, we have added burgers, salads, chicken wings, meatloaf, fish and chips and more — something for everyone,” Michael Cirella says. The local restaurant has two outdoor patios and an indoor-outdoor bar with happy hour 4 to 6 p.m. Cirella’s Neighborhood Bistro & Bar, 7211 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Suite 1, is open for dinner 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed Sundays. For more information call 239-331-7496 or go to cirellasrestaurantsswfl.com.
NARRATIVE COFFEE ROASTERS LAUNCHES ESPRESSO CART AT WATERSIDE SHOPS IN NAPLES
Shoppers can now easily get a morning coffee to go during the holidays at Waterside Shops in Naples. Narrative Coffee Roasters recently launched a pop-up espresso cart at the upscale outdoor mall to sell coffee beverages 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays through the end of this year. The mobile cart is stationed between the Max Mara and John Craig stores. Meanwhile, Narrative recently extended its hours this week at its first brick-and-mortar coffee shop at Mercato in North Naples. The coffee shop in the middle of the mixed-use center now is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
LEE CLERK REOPENS FORT MYERS RECORDING OFFICE FOR IN-PERSON SERVICES
Fort Myers residents and businesses can once again record deeds, mortgages, and other official records in person at the Clerk of Court’s Recording office. Lee County Clerk Linda Doggett announced the downtown Fort Myers location began accepting customers under new safety guidelines on Tuesday, Nov. 17. Anyone visiting the office will be required to wear a face mask, maintain six feet distance from others, and go through a temperature and health screening. Appointments are not needed to record documents, but they are required to apply for a passport. To schedule an appointment for passport services, customers can call 239-533-5007. Marriage licenses and ceremonies continue to be provided by appointment via video conference at LeeClerk.org.
FGCU INSTRUCTOR WINS AWARD FOR VECTRA DIGITAL AI CASE STUDY
Florida Gulf Coast University Management Instructor Dr. Chrissann Ruehle has won the Best Student-Authored Case Study Award from the North American Case Research Association (NACRA) for work based on her partnership with Vectra Digital. Her case study, “Vectra Digital: Capturing Artificial Intelligence Value After Adoption,” was presented to a NACRA roundtable in October. Ruehle’s case study will be adjusted based upon feedback from the IT roundtable and submitted for publication to the Case Research Journal (CRJ). At the heart of her case study is Fort Myers-based Vectra Digital’s proprietary artificial intelligence tool that manages digital accounts and budgets 24 hours a day. Ruehle’s case study highlights Vectra Digital’s founding, its AI introduction and development, barriers to AI adoption, ethical issues encountered, and future plans for the AI tool. The study is part of her dissertation “Understanding the Complex Ethical Landscape of Artificial Intelligence Adoptions.”
MEETINGS & EVENTS
Better Together hosting virtual job fair Thursday
Better Together is partnering with Covenant Church of Naples to host a virtual job fair for Southwest Florida residents. Taking place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19, the virtual job fair will connect hundreds of people in Southwest Florida with dozens of employers that need to fill a variety of job opportunities. To prepare for the job fair, participants can also participate in free one-on-one job coaching sessions held through today, connecting virtually with trained volunteer job coaches to review resumes and interviewing skills. The virtual job fair is part of Better Together’s Better Jobs Program. Job seekers can register for the virtual event here.
Limited tickets available for SWFL Inc.’s holiday party
SWFL Inc. is more than halfway sold out of tickets for the Dec. 9 Holiday Party at The Colony Golf & Country Club. Tickets for this year’s celebration are $65 and include valet service, a holiday cocktail, and appetizers and desserts at The Colony’s indoor and outdoor venue. The main event at this year’s festivities will be the gift raffle, made up of deluxe donated items from businesses across the region. No tickets will be sold at the door. To attend the Dec. 9 Holiday Party, register here. For sponsorships or raffle donations, contact Christleen Knaub at Christleen@SWFLinc.com.
IN THE KNOW
Connor & Gaskins Unlimited celebrates 10 years of business
Connor & Gaskins Unlimited (CGU) is celebrating 10 years of business. In 2010, Barry Connor and Craig Gaskins established the Naples-based general contracting company. What started out as a two-man business in an 800-square-foot office space has developed into a 52-employee company and now encompasses over 20,000 square feet. With a growing demand for residential projects, Connor and Gaskins brought on Jon Lawrence to lead the CGU Homes team in 2016. Upcoming projects for CGU including the Bayshore Wine Venue, the Naples Bay Club, multiple single-family home construction projects and condo renovations.
Adams joins ROOF Lee County Board of Trustees
Heather Adams of Cape Coral has joined Residential Options of Florida (ROOF) Lee County Board of Trustees. Adams serves as the vice president of operations for Cushman & Wakefield. She brings over 15 years of experience in commercial and residential real estate. The Lee County Board of Trustees provides direction, oversight, and resources for ROOF’s activities in Lee County. All trustees are responsible to attend monthly board of trustees meetings, actively support the fundraising activities of ROOF, and inform others about the work ROOF is doing in the community. Adams will use her expertise to guide the board of trustees in providing recommendations to the statewide board of directors, who oversee all statewide activities. She has already fostered sponsorship donations including a $1,000 sponsorship donation from Cushman & Wakefield.
The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association launches online auction
The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association is hosting an online auction called “Love Local” to support local businesses and ProStart culinary and hospitality schools and students. The auction starts today and runs through Dec. 3. There are more than 70 items to bid on from restaurant gift certificates to hotel accommodations. For more information, visit here.
Organizations to distribute holiday meals
Boys & Girls Club of Collier County will be preparing and distributing over 300 Thanksgiving meals to Club families this holiday season. With donations to its annual turkey drive, club staff and volunteers will distribute Thanksgiving meals this Thursday evening at the Nichols Club in Naples and Friday evening at the Bolch Club in Immokalee. Capital Wealth Advisors, 15 community partners and 100 volunteers gathered on Monday to assemble more than 2,000 Hope for the Holidays meal boxes that each include a frozen turkey, side items, pumpkin pie, and a dozen eggs by Eggland’s Best. The meal boxes will be distributed by St. Matthew’s House to low-income families, those with disabilities, senior citizens and veterans from Thursday through Monday, Nov. 23 at various locations. Food distribution locations and times are available by texting SMHFOOD to 51555. St. Matthew’s House also will host its annual Thanksgiving Day dinner for shelter residents and others in need.
John R. Wood Properties launches Naples Cheer Program for the holidays
In addition to collecting donations, John R. Wood Properties and its 650 associates have “adopted” 75 children and 50 senior citizens and will provide gift cards for them as part of its “Naples Cheer Program” in partnership with the Salvation Army. Due to COVID-19, the Salvation Army is only able to accept monetary donations. Instead of purchasing toys to donate, John R. Wood Properties employees are making monetary contributions to adopt a child or senior citizen for $55 each. Gift cards will be distributed in time for the holidays. The donation drive concludes on Friday, Dec. 4. Contributions may be made at any John R. Wood Properties office.
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