Lead Photo: Habitat for Humanity homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Details below.
COLLIER COUNTY COMMISSIONERS APPROVE REVISED ORDER EXTENDING MASK MANDATE SIX MONTHS
Commissioners approved an executive order Thursday that extends the Collier County mask mandate for nearly six months because of the pandemic. The order requires cloth coverings of one’s nose and mouth in public buildings and business establishments in the unincorporated areas of the county until April 13, the end of the season. During the meeting, commissioners Burt Saunders, Andy Solis and Penny Taylor wore face masks, telegraphing the 3-2 vote. Commissioners Donna Fiala and Bill McDaniel, who did not wear masks on the dais, voted against extending the mandate. Of the roughly 50 citizens who spoke in person or remotely about the issue during Thursday afternoon’s more than four-hour special meeting, about 30 were against extending the order, while 20 were for it. Saunders, Solis and Taylor said the hundreds of emails they each recently received overwhelmingly favored continuing the mandate. The revised order, maintained through county code enforcement complaints, will apply when social distancing is not possible. There are some exceptions; for instance, the requirement does not apply to restaurant patrons while seated at a table, gym patrons while working out, or by people getting haircuts if wearing a face-covering interferes with service. Also, masks are not required for children under the age of 9 or anyone who has breathing difficulties.
Video courtesy WINK News
SNOWBIRDS NOT SHYING FROM SWFL; BUSINESSES LOOK FORWARD TO BOOST
Many are noticing longer commutes as snowbirds begin to make their way to Southwest Florida. In looking at the impact the pandemic could have on the busy season in the region, WINK News this week noticed more traffic with more out-of-state license plates than usual. Many seasonal residents are migrating south on schedule as usual. Extra seasonal sales are something local businesses welcome, especially after a hard hit this spring.
FGCU NAMED AMONG TOP ‘GREEN’ SCHOOLS
Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) is one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges or universities, according to The Princeton Review. Coming in at No. 32, FGCU was the only school in Florida to make the “Top 50 Green Colleges” list, outranking Virginia Tech, Michigan State University, Emerson College, New York University and Arizona State University, among others. Outside of the top 50 ranked colleges and universities, an additional 366 are featured in “The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: 2021 Edition. Educational initiatives, such as University Colloquium, introduce students to the complexities of developing the sustainable societal patterns each will face as they launch their careers. Beyond University Colloquium, approximately 30 percent of FGCU’s classes have sustainability embedded in them. That effort is further developed through the Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum (ISAC) Academy. For more information about FGCU’s initiatives, visit fgcu.edu.
Video courtesy of WINK News
NAPLES BANS GAS-POWERED LEAF BLOWERS IN CITY
Naples City Council has approved an ordinance to ban gas-powered leaf blowers in the city. One year from now, only electric or battery-powered leaf blowers at 65 decibels or less will be allowed within city limits. A vacuum cleaner or blow-dryer are usually about 70 decibels. Violating the new ban could result in a $100 fine for a first offense and a $500 fine for each additional offense, WINK News reports.
TAQUERIA AND CANTINA LAUNCHES AT COURTHOUSE SHADOWS IN EAST NAPLES
La Herradura Doble taqueria and cantina launched last weekend in Courthouse Shadows on U.S. 41 East in East Naples. The new Mexican restaurant and bar replace Crooked Shillelagh Celtic Kitchen + Drinkery in a freestanding building across from the Collier County Government Center. La Herradura Doble, Spanish for The Double Horseshoe, has been a longtime dream for proprietor Andres Pimentel of Naples. Raised in Michoacán, Mexico, Pimentel’s mother taught him how to make tamales and other authentic family recipes celebrating their heritage. He perfected the art of tacos — the centerpiece of La Herradura Doble’s menu. The cantina, an indoor-outdoor double horseshoe-shaped bar, has domestic and imported Mexican beers as well as Margaritas, cocktails, sangria and wine. La Herradura Doble, 3340 Tamiami Trail E., is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily for dining in, takeout and delivery. For more information call 239-529-6075 or go to laherraduradoble.com.
LAKE PARK DINER IN NAPLES ADDING INDOOR, OUTDOOR SEATING
Naples City Council on Wednesday approved the request to expand outdoor dining at Lake Park Diner at 944 Seventh Ave. N. in Naples. The local restaurant also was approved in August for an indoor, air-conditioned dining space. The diner temporarily closed Monday as construction began on the addition. The remodeled restaurant is scheduled to reopen on Oct. 31. The new indoor dining space will have 40 seats in a 761-square-foot addition near the southern end of the existing 1,544-square-foot restaurant, which has only offered outdoor seating since it opened last October. The diner has been approved for more than 90 exterior seats, which are mostly just west of the restaurant.
BECK COMPANIES ACQUIRES HOME SERVICE CONTRACTOR
Beck Cos. has acquired ASAP Heating & Cooling & Home Services Inc., a home service contractor providing services in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, and Sarasota counties. ASAP Heating & Cooling & Home Services specializes in air-conditioning, heating, duct cleaning and air quality. It will operate under its existing name as a division of Beck Cos. Headquartered in Fort Myers, with a satellite office in LaBelle, Beck Cos. is a full-service firm that specializes in commercial and residential construction, air-conditioning and heating (HVAC), plumbing, electrical, roofing and real estate services. With the addition of 14 vehicles to their fleet and 18 new employees, this acquisition complements Beck Cos.’ corporate portfolio, adding an additional $3 million in revenue, according to a news release. “We are actively growing and are seeking HVAC companies to acquire,” said Derek Beck, owner of Beck Cos. For more information, visit BetterWithBeck.com.
DDWS TO LAUNCH NATURE STORE2 ON SANIBEL
With the reopening date of the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center still uncertain, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) has decided to launch a second Refuge Nature Store off-campus on Sanibel Island. The opening of Nature Store2 is slated for mid-November at 2250 Periwinkle Way in Sanibel Square. By beefing up its new ShopDingDarling.com online store, DDWS has been able to keep staff employed and some cash flowing into coffers. The success of the online store, however, has outgrown the storage and fulfillment space at the flagship store, which is one main reason for launching Nature Store2. The new, 1,500-square-foot store will feature a monitor streaming images of the wildlife, scenery, and available activities at the refuge. Although it will carry some of the same popular items available at the flagship store and ShopDingDarling.com, it will be more art-oriented. Nature Store2, like its mother store, will carry nature-specific items, sustainable gifts, and educational merchandise, much of it made in the U.S. and by locals.
MEETINGS & EVENTS
Annual Industry Appreciation Awards postponed until spring
After conducting a survey of local business leaders, the Horizon Council, Horizon Foundation and Lee County Economic Development Office have made the decision to postpone the 2020 Industry Appreciation Awards luncheon and move the flagship event to the second quarter of 2021. The survey showed that the majority of the Lee County business community preferred to postpone the event rather than attend physically or virtually in October 2020. The date and location of the 2021 Industry Appreciation Awards will be announced in the weeks ahead.
FGCU Board of Trustees, Audit and Compliance Committee to meet virtually
The Audit and Compliance Committee of the Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) Board of Trustees will meet virtually at 1 p.m. on Oct. 28. All public comments on action items must be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 5 p.m. on Oct. 27. Comments will be read into the record during the virtual meeting. The full FGCU Board of Trustees meets virtually at 9 a.m. on, Oct. 29. All public comments on action items must be sent by email to email@example.com no later than 5 p.m. on Oct. 28. Comments will be read into the record during the virtual meeting. Due to social distancing requirements for COVID-19, meetings are available to the public for viewing via webcast at fgcu.edu/boardcast The agenda packets for the meetings can be viewed here for the Audit and Compliance Committee and here for the FGCU Board of Trustees.
IN THE KNOW
Hope Healthcare physicians accepted to The Florida House Call Project
Hope Healthcare Chief of Medical Services Dr. Luis Cortes and Associate Medical Director Dr. Sheeja Kanacheril have been accepted to The Florida House Call Project, a Home Centered Care Institute program designed to expand the national footprint of home-based primary care to high need areas. As Home Centered Care Champions, Cortes and Kanacheril will help grow the workforce of trained and qualified house call providers serving Florida’s aging, medically complex patients and develop a foundation for statewide research in Florida and for future national research aimed at strengthening the field and practice of home-centered care. For more information, visit HopeHCS.org.
Dr. David Linz joins Moorings Park
Dr. David R. Linz of the NCH Physician Group on Marco Island, has been named site lead physician at Moorings Park’s Center for Healthy Living. Linz graduated summa cum laude from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. After earning his Doctor of Medicine degree from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, he served his internship and residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh. Linz currently serves as chief medical informatics officer for NCH Healthcare Systems. He is also a core faculty member of NCH Healthcare System’s Internal Medicine Residency program and holds academic appointments with the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, and the University of Central Florida.
Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts expands team
Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts (SCBR), a hospitality marketing and management organization, has added and promoted two key members. Laurie Rutherford has been hired as human resources director. Rutherford brings almost 25 years of experience in human resources within the hospitality industry. Most recently, she served 14 years as vice president and human resources director at staySky Hotels, Resort & Vacation Clubs. Aleksandra “Ola” Smolnicka-Dos Santos has been promoted to director of finance for Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts. Across 16 years with the corporation, she has served in a variety of areas from guest relations to finance to human resources. She is a graduate of the University of Administration and Business, and the Academy of Finance, both in Poland.
PBS Contractors welcomes director of marketing
PBS Contractors welcomes team Kathy Smart to the team as the new director of marketing. Hailing from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Smart brings over 30 years of marketing and sales experience to the team. Working in such industries as healthcare, media and event and conference production, Smart has successfully launched and built brands and audiences across North America and the globe, according to a news release. For more details, visit pbscontractors.com.
Pushing the Envelope hires digital marketing assistant
Pushing the Envelope Inc., a strategic marketing communication firm based in Fort Myers, welcomes Alicia Gilbert as its digital marketing assistant. In her role, Gilbert is responsible for assisting in the development of social media campaigns and plans, as well as the production of social media content, email marketing efforts, mobile marketing (SMS), and online reputation management services for the agency’s varied clientele. She works directly with the digital marketing specialist and other team members to execute social media and other digital initiatives. Gilbert holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Indiana University and a Master of Science in communication from Florida International University. She brings more than three years of marketing and sales experience to the role, in addition to experience creating content for online platforms. Prior to joining Pushing the Envelope, Gilbert worked as an English instructor with the Abu Dhabi Education Council.
P.J. Scheiner recognized by select trial lawyer association
Preston J. “P.J.” Scheiner, an attorney with Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, has been invited to become a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Scheiner is one of only 300 attorneys across the U.S. invited to join the organization this year. An invitation-only organization, ABOTA is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges dedicated to preserving and promoting the civil jury trial right provided by the 7th Amendment. Membership currently consists of more than 7,600 lawyers and judges nationwide. To be eligible for membership, attorneys must have at least five years of active experience as trial lawyers, have tried at least ten civil jury trials to conclusion, and possess additional litigation experience. Members must also exhibit the virtues of civility, integrity, and professionalism. Scheiner joined Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner in 2007 and, working side-by-side with his father Bruce, has helped build it into one of the largest legal practices in Southwest Florida with a team of over 50 professionals.
Southwest Florida Community Foundation donors provide $200,000 immigration program grant to Legal Aid Service of Collier County
With the support of national funders, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation recently awarded Legal Aid Service of Collier County (LASCC) a $200,000 grant for the expansion of its Immigration Legal Services and Empowerment Project. The grant will fund to build, sustain, and expand LASCC’s ability to provide vital immigration legal services and the capacity to more comprehensively address emergent crises and opportunities in the region and meet the evolving legal needs of immigrants in the Southwest Florida community. As part of the funding, LASCC will provide comprehensive direct legal services to Collier County residents on a wide spectrum of immigration law issues. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation encourages individuals and businesses to join and invest in this immigration program, which is designed to increase the quality of life in sustainable and equitable ways for immigrants and refugees in Southwest Florida. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (239) 333-GIVE.
New Habitat neighborhood planned in Bonita Springs
Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties and the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation (RMSFF) have launched a $175,000 challenge grant to fund the development of an affordable twin villa neighborhood in Bonita Springs. The “challenge” structure of this grant includes a call to action that is intended to inspire philanthropists, businesses and community members to join RMSFF in supporting Habitat’s project, by making their own fully tax-deductible, charitable contributions. The goal is to raise an additional $175,000 to match the grant by April 30, 2021. Funds raised through the RMSFF challenge grant will be used to develop land, which Habitat for Humanity purchased on Carolina Street last month, into buildable lots that will hold 14 critically needed homes for low-income families in need of a hand up. For more information on Habitat neighborhoods or to donate to the campaign, contact Vince Modarelli at 239.800.5205 or visit Habitat4Humanity.org.
Child’s Path receives $35,000 grant from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation
The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation has awarded Child’s Path a $35,000 grant to help the organization provide partial scholarships to the children of low-income, working parents who struggle to afford childcare. These scholarships give at-risk and underserved children access to high-quality early education, which prepares them for kindergarten and later academic success. Child’s Path operates four early childhood development centers in Collier County, and more than 75% of the 300 children enrolled receive the scholarships this grant helps to fund. To learn more about Child’s Path, visit childspath.org.
Leadership Lee County online silent auction opens in Fort Myers
The Leadership Lee County class had planned a gala event, Leadership Royale, enlisting sponsors and soliciting donations to help fund counseling services in Southwest Florida. Due to COVID-19, the event was canceled. Event sponsors are now donating their sponsorship funds, and items donated for the event are being sold in a silent auction. These items include hotel stays, river cruises, restaurant certificates, and a shooting experience. The auction, hosted on Facebook under the page name Leadership Royale 2020 Silent Auction, is now open until 8 p.m. on Oct. 29. Proceeds will benefit the Florida Gulf Coast University Community Counseling Center (FGCU CCC) and Valerie’s House. For more information, click here.
Youth Haven Inc. announces holiday opportunities
Youth Haven Inc. has launched its holiday opportunities for 2020. As Southwest Florida’s only emergency and residential shelter for boys and girls ages 6-19 who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment, or are homeless, Youth Haven relies on community support in order to help them achieve their goals. The community can contribute to the organization this season by hosting a holiday donation drive at their business or organization and receive gift tags with requested gifts listed; purchase an item from Youth Haven’s wish list; or donate supplies, such as wrapping paper, bows, scissors, tape, and batteries. Youth Haven can only accept new, unused, and unwrapped gifts. To arrange a gift delivery, call 239-774-2904. The cut-off date for the gift drive is Dec. 18. For more information, contact Laura Lafakis at email@example.com.