Gulfshore Business Daily: November 3

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LeeCARES logo. Photo via WINK News
Lead Photo: Hodges University launches an aviation degree. Details below.

 

POLLS OPEN UNTIL 7 P.M. TODAY FOR ELECTION DAY

Polls will be open for Election Day today from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Decisions today will decide races for U.S. president, members of the U.S. and Florida House, county commissioners and many other local political contests. Florida also has six constitutional amendments on the ballot. Voters today must vote at their own precincts. For more information about the general election in Lee County, go to Lee.Vote; in Collier County, go to CollierVotes.com
 

LeeCARES logo. Photo via WINK News

LEECARES BEGINS SECOND ROUND OF UTILITIES ASSISTANCE

LeeCARES began its second round of assistance for utilities on Monday. The county online application process for round 2 will end Nov. 27, followed by a third round of applications that will occur Nov. 30 through Dec. 11. LeeCARES programs were extended to assist residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including new rounds of utility payment assistance, expanded childcare assistance and more funding for area food banks, WINK News reports.
 
Video courtesy of WINK News

THOUSANDS OF LOCAL STUDENTS RETURN TO CLASSROOMS

Thousands of students headed back to school Monday for in-person learning. At least 10,000 students in Lee County and more than 5,000 in Collier County were expected to transition from distance learning to on-campus classes this week. Lee County Schools representatives say more students in the classroom will make it harder to social distance, but mask-wearing, one-way hallways, grab-and-go lunches and seating assignments both on the bus and in the classroom are here to stay. The district says all these precautions are working, and all of the coronavirus cases have come from off-campus. Students still in Lee Home Connect or virtual school will have another opportunity to join the classroom after the holidays, WINK News reports.
 

CHARLOTTE COUNTY LAUNCHES EVICTION DIVERSION PROGRAM

The Charlotte CARES Act Eviction Diversion program, designed to prevent mass evictions across Charlotte County, launched Monday. Residents who applied for CARES Act funding and were approved but still face hardship, namely eviction, can register for up to an additional $5,000 funding through this program. Landlords must agree not to seek eviction for nonpayment once they receive a receipt for past due rent. They also must waive any fines and fees that exceed the maximum award of $5,000. CARES Act funding must be used to pay past-due rent related to the economic impacts of COVID-19 for clients and landlords alike. The program runs until Monday, Nov. 16, WINK News reports.
 
Video courtesy of WINK News

ARAMARK PLANS TO LAY OFF 118 EMPLOYEES AT JETBLUE PARK IN FORT MYERS

Aramark, which helps staff workers in JetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, plans to lay off 118 people, the company reports. Most of the employees whose jobs are at risk work in the stands at the ballpark, the spring training home for the Boston Red Sox. Aramark sent a notice to Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity that it will have to lay off employees after JetBlue Park told Aramark it would only need their services in a limited capacity because of the pandemic. The company says all affected employees have been notified, WINK News reports
 

LSI COMPANIES INC. RELEASES Q3 REAL ESTATE MARKET REPORT

Lee County’s total recorded deed transactions amounted to $1.2 billion in August, trailing only Palm Beach, Dade, Broward, and Orange counties, according to the LSI Companies Inc. Q3 market report for residential and commercial real estate in Southwest Florida. In Southwest Florida, 18,700-plus residential permits were pulled in the past 12 months ending September. This is the highest permit volume since 2006 the market report shows. Babcock Ranch pulled 529 residential permits in the past 12 months; The Place at Corkscrew pulled 345 permits in the past 12 months. Additionally, Cape Coral makes up more than 20% of all new single-family homes permitted in Southwest Florida, according to the report. Additionally, highlights show that Publix-anchored shopping centers are under construction in Collier and Charlotte counties, and Alico Road corridor construction continues with more warehouse space and an approximately 60,000-square-foot Scotlynn office headquarters. For the commercial report, click here. For the residential report, click here.
 

HODGES UNIVERSITY LAUNCHES AVIATION DEGREE

Hodges University has launched a bachelor’s degree concentration in aviation. Formally named the Bachelor in Science degree in interdisciplinary studies in aviation, it opens a pathway for students interested in becoming a commercial pilot. Hodges University is partnering with Part 141 Flight schools in Florida and around the country. Students can take their classes on campus or online while in flight school. Ultimately, they can complete their degree and obtain their private pilot through commercial licenses in less than three years. For more information, click here.
 

IN THE KNOW

 

Guadalupe Center breaks ground on van Otterloo Family Campus for Learning

Guadalupe Center broke ground Oct. 30 for a new educational campus that will create lasting, transformational change for students in Immokalee. The van Otterloo Family Campus for Learning will feature two academic buildings with multiple classrooms, a library, learning lab, cafeteria and kitchen, playground, administrative offices, mentor lounges, commons areas, a medical and dental suite, outdoor gardens and a student wall of fame. The campus at 3655 Westclox St. will accommodate up to 154 students in Guadalupe Center’s Early Childhood Education Program, as well as 125 high school students in the college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program. Guadalupe Center named the new Immokalee campus in honor of Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo, whose generous $5 million matching gift helped launch the project and inspired others to give. Within the campus, Brynne & Bob Coletti Hall will be the new home for the Tutor Corps Program. Barron Collier Companies donated 9.5 acres for the new campus, which is expected to be complete in late 2021. Project partners include Heatherwood Construction, David Corban Architects and Peninsula Engineering.
 

PNC Bank is opening in the former Preston’s Steakhouse building.

PNC Bank planning new branch office in Naples

The little building in Naples that was home to Preston’s Steakhouse for more than 20 years is being converted into a PNC Bank branch targeted to open in February 2021. The new location at 109 Ninth St. S. will be the fifth branch in Collier County for PNC, which has offices in Naples, East Naples and North Naples as well as ATMs inside many area 7-Eleven stores. The size of the 1,759-square-foot former steakhouse on a third of an acre on the southeast corner of U.S. 41 and First Avenue South has been reduced by 57 square feet and exterior improvements include new finishes and updated doors, windows and awnings, said architect Matthew Kragh of MHK Architecture and Planning. Before it became a chic restaurant in 1997, the 60-year-old building was a gas station and car wash. The commercial property was purchased for $1.75 million in February by Atlanta-based developer Street Side Retail. The transaction was negotiated by David J. Stevens of Investment Properties Corporation (IPC) of Naples.
 

Snead Eye Group doctors

Snead Eye Group opens new Bonita Springs location

Dr. Brad A. Snead, medical director of Snead Eye Group, announces the grand opening of the new Bonita Springs location at 28420 Bonita Crossing Blvd., Suite 120, just south of Bonita Beach Road. The new, modern 2,000-square-foot facility is furnished with state-of-the-art equipment for the diagnosis and management of all aspects of eye care including cataracts, glaucoma, eyelid abnormalities, and dry eye. In addition to comprehensive eye examinations, this location also has a full-service optical department with the latest eyewear trends. Snead Eye Group has added four new board-certified optometrists, Dr. Len Brown, Dr. Allison Coll, Dr. Salvatore DeCanio, and Dr. Kate Maloney. 
 

Shane Sindledecker

Sindledecker promoted to special projects manager at Stevens Construction

Stevens Construction has promoted Shane Sindledecker to special projects manager. A Stevens Construction team member since 2018, Sindledecker is responsible for the financial components of Stevens Construction’s special projects team, including preparing budgets, schedule of values and monthly fee projections. Additionally, Sindledecker manages all subcontractor relations, negotiating contracts, creating project schedules and ensuring quality control. Sindledecker brings 15 years of construction experience and has earned multiple construction safety certifications such as OSHA-10 Hour, CPR and ICRA Fundamentals. He previously served as superintendent leading site supervision for projects such as Legacy Dental Studio, Bonita Springs Utilities Operations Service Center and Elmquist Eye Group. Stevens Construction launched a special projects division in 2018 to serve projects ranging from $300,000 and under. For information, visit stevensconstructioninc.com.
 

CHARITABLE NOTES

 

‘Saving Estero Bay’ virtual event benefits water quality efforts

Calusa Waterkeeper will host “Saving Estero Bay,” an online benefit at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 14. The event will be broadcast on Facebook Live. Estero Bay was Florida’s first State Aquatic Preserve, and this year marks the 30th anniversary of the designation of the Estero Bay tributaries as Outstanding Florida Waters. Estero Bay is a verified impaired waterway, and all of its tributaries have segments that are impaired in various contexts, according to a news release. Calusa Waterkeeper is a nonprofit organization focused on improving the quality of water in the region through public policy, advocacy, community education. The Saving Estero Bay event will directly benefit these programs. The highlight of the evening will be the world premiere of Calusa Waterkeeper’s documentary, “Eternal Vigilance: Fighting to Restore the Estero Bay Tributaries.” Admission to the online benefit and documentary premiere is free, however online registration is requested on the event webpage at CalusaWaterkeeper.org/estero.
 

DeRomo’s partners with Café of Life for Thanksgiving fundraiser

DeRomo’s Gourmet Market & Restaurant has started collecting funds to purchase turkeys on behalf of Café of Life. The Thanksgiving drive runs through Nov. 22. This initiative reflects Café of Life’s mission to meet the basic needs of the less fortunate via nutritional and supplemental assistance while preserving each client’s dignity. Director of Operations Stephen Schmitt asks all participants to mail monetary donations to DeRomo’s Gourmet Market & Restaurant (26811 S Bay Drive, Suite 140 & 148, Bonita Springs, FL 34134). Checks should be made out to DeRomo’s and indicate ‘Café of Life – Thanksgiving’ in the memo. Donations can also be given to a cashier upon checking out during DeRomo’s current hours of business. For more information, call DeRomo’s at 239-325-3583 or visit DeRomos.com.
 
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