Gulfshore Business Daily: October 1

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Polk Collier Connector (WINK Drone)
Lead Photo: Promenade at Bonita Bay to Host Farmers’ Market. Details below.


Video courtesy of WINK News


A treasured museum that has been a lifeline for local veterans plans to close today, but part of it will continue to serve the community. Southwest Florida Military Museum & Library in Cape Coral couldn’t overcome the financial impacts of the pandemic to stay open. After 12 years, founders Ralph Santillo and Nick Napolitano are packing up. From military uniforms to model planes, everything must go before November when they have to be out of the building. Santillo told WINK News that he hopes to bring the museum back in another form and the museum’s foundation will continue to operate as well.

Polk Collier Connector (WINK Drone)


The Southwest-Central Florida Connector task force responsible for developing a toll road between Collier County and Polk County is asking for public input. The task force plans to submit a plan to the governor and lawmakers by November. To comment on the draft task force report, click here. Because the land the toll road would go through includes habitats for 12 threatened and endangered species, including the Florida panther, top concerns include the environment and supporting growth in local communities, WINK News reports.
Video courtesy of WINK News


Collier County Public Schools announced this week that more fans are allowed in the stands during football and volleyball games. Each football player and cheerleader will be allowed to invite two members from their household to both home and away games, something parents and athletes have been wanting. More people are also allowed inside gyms for volleyball games. Students are also happy to hear masks can be removed in physical education classes and other outdoor time such as recess. Inside schools, masks will still be required and social distancing will remain in order, WINK News reports.


The Charlotte County Airport Authority recently broke ground on the first phase of Punta Gorda Airport’s Aviation Expansion Area, called PGD AviEx. The property is strategically located between Tampa and Miami in a Foreign Trade Zone at a small-hub commercial airport with utilities available and two direct connections to Interstate 75. PGD AviEx is the largely undeveloped tract of land parallel to Challenger Road where the Florida International Air Show was based the last few years. The runway-adjacent area is planned to become a hub for general aviation (GA) activities to flourish, as well as a prime spot for onsite flight schools, avionics and aircraft maintenance services, and related training programs to expand. A total of $18 million in Airport Authority projects will be constructed in several phases, according to a news release. The first phase that broke ground is a 650,000-square-foot ramp, or aircraft parking area, and the extension of Taxiway E. Construction on the second phase is expected to begin in late 2020 and includes the GA Center (including FBO operations), associated access roads and parking, and the site work for 10 larger hangars. These larger hangars, along with a new row of 24 T-Hangar units, will likely to be constructed during the third phase in 2021. Learn more at

Kim Johnson


The national law firm of Quarles & Brady has announced an evolution in its leadership structure. Naples-based attorney Kim Johnson has ended her term as firm chair. When Johnson became the firm’s chair in 2013, she was one of only eight women to ever lead a national law firm. She will continue to focus on her estate, trust and wealth preservation practice. Meanwhile, Mike Aldana, managing partner for Quarles & Brady since 2018, will continue in that role and take on the internal responsibilities handled by the firm’s chair in the past, and Brad Vynalek becomes president, a new role designed to allow him to focus on strategic client growth and innovative client collaborations. Founded in 1892, Quarles & Brady is a full-service AmLaw 200 firm with approximately 475 attorneys offering an array of legal services to clients through 10 offices across the U.S.

Tracy Connelly


The Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), founders of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, has appointed Tracy A. Connelly as its chief development officer. In this role, Connelly will enhance the nonprofit organization’s philanthropy in the areas of major giving, planned giving and endowments. Connelly most recently served as vice president of development for the Guadalupe Center in Immokalee, where he helped establish the Rosemary and Walter Blankley Scholarship Endowment Campaign and launched “Guadalupe 2020 & Beyond,” a comprehensive campaign to build two new Early Learning campuses and establish operating reserves and an endowment. Prior to that, he was system director of gift planning for Lee Health Foundation, where he worked on the $100 million capital campaign to build the new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. Connelly graduated from Western Michigan University where he began his philanthropy career in 1987 as assistant director of alumni relations. He later worked at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business as director of corporate and foundation relations. Connelly currently serves on the board of Collier-Lee Chapter of The Association of Fundraising Professionals, which honored him in 2018 with its “Outstanding Fundraising Executive of the Year” award. He also is a member of the Estate Planning Council of Naples and a graduate of Leadership Collier. Connelly became a Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) in 2018.


Promenade at Bonita Bay will welcome Local Roots LLC back to Bonita Springs for its eighth seasonal farmers’ market. Starting this Saturday,  the “green” outdoor attraction will be open to the public every Saturday, from 8 a.m. to noon through April 24, 2021. Local farmers, producers and vendors sell prepared foods and drinks for breakfast and lunch, as well as fresh produce, plants, baked goods, and more. New vendors include Bettina’s Tea, Blaze Bees Company, Blended Juices and Smoothies, Daily Delice, Elderberry Elixir, Flying Eagle Kombucha, K-9 Kitchen, Pepper Street Studio, Pickle in Paradise, The Traveling Salad Bar, and Twila Mae’s Chicken Salad.  For more information, visit


United Way names 2020-2021 campaign chairs

United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee has announced the 2020-2021 United Way Campaign Chairs: Karen Ryan and Bob Beville. The goal for this year’s campaign has been set at $10.8 million. Last year’s campaign raised $10.785 million for the communities of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee counties. The theme of this year’s campaign is “Rise to the Challenge.” Ryan has been involved in United Way for 25 years in various capacities including board member, campaign cabinet, allocations leader, LCEC campaign chair, and fun-maker. Beville is celebrating his 40th year at Waterman Broadcasting and has pledged to be an integral part of the campaign. The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee has raised and distributed over $188 million since it was established in 1957. For more information, visit

Clips for Cancer raises $170,000 for Barbara’s Friends

Throughout September, child advocates and supporters of Barbara’s Friends allowed local childhood cancer survivors to shave their heads to raise awareness and support for Barbara’s Friends, the cancer fund for Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. In all, $170,000 was raised during the event that this year went virtual. In addition to raising money for the 25th year of Barbara’s Friends, Clips for Cancer raises awareness about the challenges of childhood cancer, including going bald, a frequent side-effect of cancer treatments. Proceeds provide equipment, staffing and services to support lifesaving cancer care for children in our region at Golisano Children’s Hospital, one of nine centers in the state to offer a complete pediatric hematology/oncology program. The final event of the month-long series featured cancer survivor Mackenzie Hummer shaving the head of Armando Llechu, chief officer, hospital operations and women’s and children’s services at Lee Health. For more information, visit

Dairy Queen’s national ‘Round-Up for the Kids’ campaign kicks off Oct. 1-31

Throughout the month of October, you can Round Up your purchase at a participating Dairy Queen or DQ Grill & Chill in Bonita Springs, Estero, Sanibel, Punta Gorda, Naples, Port Charlotte, Fort Myers and Cape Coral to help local patients and their families at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. The funds that a participating DQ partner raises will help ensure that Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida has the tools and resources necessary to provide the best care available throughout Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry counties, according to a news release.

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