Gulfshore Business Daily: October 8

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John Brunner


Lee County Commissioners voted Tuesday to approve a settlement agreement with the agricultural company FFD that would eliminate mining as a possible land use on a 5,200-acre parcel in southeast Lee County. The agreement now sets in motion a three-hearing process at which citizens can provide public comment – one before the hearing examiner and two before county commissioners. Dates are to be determined. The settlement, which has been the subject of negotiation for more than three years, conveys the company’s mining rights to the county in perpetuity. The property is in the county’s Density Reduction Groundwater Resource (DR/GR) area. The agreement means a minimum of 65% of the property shall be devoted to open space, of which 2,916 acres must be placed in a conservation easement at no cost to the county. The owner would also be responsible for restoring natural flow ways for water through nearby environmental areas.

Video courtesy of WINK News


Encompass Health has placed land under contract and plans to build a freestanding, 40-bed, inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Cape Coral. The hospital at the southwest corner of Pine Island Road and Pondella Road is expected to be named Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Cape Coral. The hospital will care for patients recovering from debilitating illnesses and injuries, including strokes and other neurological disorders, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputations and complex orthopedic conditions. The hospital will provide physical, occupational and speech therapies that aim to restore functional ability and quality of life and 24–hour care by registered nurses. Encompass Health hasn’t released an opening date, WINK News reports.


The Lee County Library System reopened five branches and the Talking Books Library lobby on Tuesday. Now open are Captiva Memorial Library, 11560 Chapin Lane; Dunbar-Jupiter Hammon Public Library, 3095 Blount St., Fort Myers; Johann Fust Community Library, 1040 West 10th St., Boca Grande; Pine Island Public Library, 10701 Russell Road, Bokeelia; Riverdale Branch Library, 2421 Buckingham Road, Fort Myers. The hours at these five locations will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Curbside pickup will continue at all library locations and be expanded to Tuesday through Saturday at the newly opened locations. Seven other branches from Cape Coral to Lehigh and North Fort Myers to Bonita Springs are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.


The majority of small- to mid-size business owners in Florida—85%—say they are prepared for another wave of COVID-19 according to a survey conducted by Comcast Business. The survey found that Florida small- to mid-size business owners are more confident about their pandemic preparations than American business owners in general. Data from the recent survey shows 78% of small- to mid-size business owners across the country feel ready for a second wave of the coronavirus. Research also reveals that Florida small- to mid-size business owners appear to be using the pandemic to learn new ways to innovate, adapt and future-proof their businesses, with 93% responding they consider themselves more tech-savvy after introducing new technology processes into their operations. Once again, the response from Florida business owners was higher than the overall response, with only 79% of U.S. business owners saying they are feeling more tech-savvy. Unfortunately, 97% of Florida small- to mid-size business owners have already been impacted or expect to lose revenue this year because of COVID-19, compared to 86% of small- to mid-size business owners across the country. The results presented of this study were compiled from research conducted among Comcast Business customers. For more details, click here.


NeoGenomics recently committed to investing $75,000 to cultivate a partnership with the FutureMakers Coalition and support their process for systems change along the cradle-to-career pathway to meet their goal of 55% of the region’s workforce holding the credentials needed to fill in-demand jobs and earn a living wage. NeoGenomics is a leader in oncology diagnostic services with locations around the world, is publicly-traded on NASDAQ, and is headquartered in Fort Myers. This funding leverages the coalition’s Lumina and Kresge foundations national designation of FutureMakers Coalition-Southwest Florida as a Talent Hub, according to a news release. NeoGenomics has 1,800 employees in 12 locations around the world and currently employs about 120 doctors of medicine and doctors of philosophy. The company plans to add over 300 jobs in Southwest Florida over the next three years as they continue to grow, says Douglas M. VanOort, chairman and CEO.


Fresh fish is ready to be reeled in again on an island oasis at Park Shore Resort in Naples. Hogfish Harry’s Restaurant & Bar will replace Island Gypsy Poolside Cafe there at the end of the month. The venue’s same owners and culinary director, who also have Island Gypsy in Isles of Capri, are rebranding and completely overhauling the restaurant inside and out. Seafood will dominate the new menu, which will spotlight hogfish, a mild, white Gulf catch that looks like a razorback but is said to be sweeter than grouper. The new ocean-to-table menu will include handhelds and shareables as well as entrees, appetizers, soups, salads and desserts. Expect classic seafood dishes such as chowder and lobster rolls, as well as signature lunch and dinner items. Hogfish Harry’s, 600 Neapolitan Way, will be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily starting Oct. 29. For more information call 239-776-7623 or go to


As a result of the recent closing of Centennial Park, the River District Farmers Market in Fort Myers is moving to Broadway Avenue between Main and Second streets in the heart of downtown. The market will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Thursday. Parking is on the street or the nearby parking garage.


Cypress at Home, a provider serving older adults in Southwest Florida, is expanding its service line offerings through the acquisition of the skilled home health service operations of All About Home Care Inc.  All About Home Care Inc. is accredited by Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP) and has been providing skilled home health services to the community for the past 13 years.  These services include post-hospital care, in-home monitoring services, infusion, social services, wound care, skilled nursing care, clinical case management, and rehabilitation services. Adding skilled home health services to Cypress at Home will create one seamless approach to care that supports aging-in-place for older adults. This new service line will be known as Home Health by Cypress at Home and will be supported by the Cypress at Home Medical Director Dr. Bob Rahmanian.


Naples Center for Functional Medicine has expanded its IV therapy services to include FastVitaminIV, a proprietary blend of 19 health-promoting vitamins, minerals and amino acids. FastVitaminIV is administered intravenously for about one minute, much faster than traditional IV drips. Patients report improved moods, boosted energy levels, elevated concentration and focus, better sleep and an overall improved sense of well-being, according to a news release. Additional benefits may include improved athletic performance and recovery, relief for hangovers and migraines, and anti-aging properties. Naples Center for Functional Medicine offers IV therapy as an adjunctive medical service. For more information, visit



John Brunner

Naples Classical Academy announces Brunner as founding principal

Naples Classical Academy, a new tuition-free classical curriculum K-12 charter school, has selected John Brunner as the school’s founding principal. With more than 20 years of education experience, Brunner brings a broad range of experiences and insights to the position. As part of the hiring process, Brunner went through an extensive interview process with Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative team and received their approval. Naples Classical Academy plans to use the Hillsdale College K-12 Curriculum. Brunner has previous experience launching and leading a classical school in a hybrid format, which integrated home education with in-classroom classical education experience. He holds a master’s degree in education leadership from Florida Gulf Coast University and a bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University. A veteran, Brunner served in the U.S. Navy and Ohio National Guard. The next available parent information meeting will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 at Veterans Community Park. Interested parents should RSVP online at Currently under development, Naples Classical Academy will be located at 10270 Immokalee Road, just east of Collier Boulevard in North Naples. For more information, visit Naples Classical Academy at

Richard Garner

Garner joins BSU board of directors

The Bonita Springs Utilities Inc. board of directors selected Richard Garner to fill the vacant director seat left by the passing of Frank Liles Jr., who served on the board since 1986. Garner will serve as director until the 2021 annual election, the first election following the vacancy. A Bonita Springs resident for 30 years, Garner is a retired banking executive and real estate professional. He was president and CEO of First National Bank of Bonita Springs, now First National Bank of Florida; founding chairman and CEO of CNL Bank of Southwest Florida, now Valley National Bank; and founding chairman & CEO of Southern Community Bank of Southwest Florida, now Fifth Third Bank. Garner has served as chairman of the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce, now SWFL Inc., as well as president and treasurer of the chamber’s foundation. A dedicated community volunteer, he has held leadership positions with numerous local organizations, including The Speakers Assembly of Southwest Florida; Bonita Springs Fire Control and Rescue District Firefighter Pension Fund; The SKY Family YMCA Bonita Springs, YMCA Naples; and the Rotary Club of Bonita Springs.

Kimberly N. Rubino

Farr Law Firm hires Rubino as an associate attorney

Farr Law Firm has added Kimberly N. Rubino as an associate attorney in the Punta Gorda office. Rubino is the newest member of the firm’s experienced litigation team. Rubino grew up in Ft. Lauderdale and moved to Charlotte County in middle school. Growing up with a disabled sister who required the use of the legal system inspired her to go into the field of law, she says. Prior to joining the Farr Law Firm, Rubino was an assistant state attorney for the 20th Judicial Circuit in Fort Myers and Port Charlotte. Rubino earned her Juris Doctor degree from the Stetson University College of Law in 2017. In 2014, she received her Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from Florida International University.  

Sara Dickson

Wilderness Country Club names new head golf pro

Wilderness Country Club has appointed Sara Dickson as its new head golf professional. In this role, Dickson is responsible for overseeing the club’s golf operations and facilities and ensuring outstanding experiences for members. Dickson is in her 11th year as a PGA Professional and 16th year in the golf business. Most recently, she was the 2015 Metropolitan PGA Women’s Player of the Year and the 2017 Metropolitan PGA Assistant Professional of the Year. Dickson is an AimPoint Green-Reading Instructor and was included in the 2018-19 Golf Digest Best Young Teachers in America and 2017-18 and 2019-20 Golf Digest Best Teacher by State lists. Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, Dickson graduated from Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina, with a business administration degree and concentration in PGA golf management. While there, she was an ESPN Magazine Academic All-American on the 2nd NCAA III National Championship Women’s Golf Team. Upon graduation, Dickson pursued working as a club professional including at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts and Royal Poinciana Golf Club in Naples.

Sandra Evans

Evans promoted to human resources director for Stevens Construction

Sandra Evans has been promoted to human resources director for Stevens Construction. Evans leads human resource initiatives for all three Stevens Construction office locations in Fort Myers, Tampa and Orlando, managing the recruiting, onboarding, benefit plans, open enrollment process, training and wellness programs. A member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), Evans has earned her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification from the HR Certification Institute, which demonstrates her proficiency of human resource management including laws and regulations. Evans is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in human resource management from Colorado State Global University. 



Photo Credit: via North Collier Fire Control & Rescue District.

North Collier fire commissioners donate October salaries to provide free COVID-19 antibody testing

North Collier fire commissioners are donating their salaries for the month of October to make it possible to offer free COVID-19 antibody testing to the public as it did in August. According to the fire district, North Collier Fire Control & Rescue District is the only fire department in Florida that has entered into a public-private partnership to provide free antibody testing to the public, WINK News reports. NCH will have its bloodmobile on site for those who do not qualify to donate plasma but still wish to support the effort by donating blood. The event is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or until tests run out) Oct. 16-17 at North Collier Fire Control & Rescue District Station 45, 1885 Veterans Park Drive, North Naples. Prior registration suggested; visit and click on the Antibody Test Registration link on the home page.

SLH Medical Supply is giving businesses $100 in free PPE

For a limited time, Safety Life and Health Medical Supply (SLH) will donate $100 worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) to any business who visits the Collier County Medical Society (CCMS) PPE Online Store to claim their supplies. To claim the $100 in free PPE, businesses should click here and shop for PPE and safety supplies. During checkout, use code: “colliercms” then choose “business type.” Supplies include masks, gowns, sanitizer, bouffant caps, booties, and more. Clear, transparent masks are also now available, for those who need their expressions and speech to be seen. This program of $100 of protective equipment for free is designed to right-size businesses’ PPE purchases and help smaller organizations find a supplier that will sell them smaller quantities that make sense for their staff and for their budget. On any additional sales, SLH will also donate 10% back to CCMS. Be sure to use code: “colliercms” at checkout then choose business type. For more COVID-19 resources, visit


Shell Factory & Nature Park presents free anti-bullying event on Oct. 17

The Shell Factory & Nature Park will host the CrocaGator National Bullying Prevention Month Event to encourage children to speak up, reach out, and be a friend. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 17, kids receive free admission to the Nature Center. They must be accompanied by an adult. Activities for school-age guests include tie-dying a CrocaGator shirt, sidewalk chalking and poster signing anti-bully pledges, taking pictures with and receiving autographs from CrocaGator Sonny, free cotton candy while supplies last, a Free Anti-Bullying bracelet with a secret message, viewing a plant project donated by World Farms in Naples, face painting, a book reading of “You’re a Bullied CrocaGator,” meeting the “You’re a Bullied CrocaGator” author Kenny Rager, and discounts from The Shell Factory throughout the day. For more information, visit

Butch Moore, Marshall Crosby, and Matt Verrecchia

Golf tournament raises $50,000 for The Heights Foundation’s programs

The Heights Foundation’s fifth annual benefit golf tournament “Swing Fore The Kids” at Old Corkscrew Golf Club raised $50,000 for The Heights Foundation’s programs. The programs work to build strong, self-sufficient families in the Harlem Heights neighborhood of Fort Myers. The event included lunch, after golf hors d’oeuvres, auction and awards. Sponsors included Five County Insurance as presenting sponsor and Entech. Marshall Crosby, Mike Claman, Butch Moore and Matt Verrecchia were the flight one winners. Doug Johnson, Ryan Atwood, Ryan Smith and Steve Palmer were the flight two winners. For more information, visit

Naples Senior Center awarded Moorings Park Foundation grant

Naples Senior Center, a nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive programs and social services for seniors, has been awarded a $75,000 grant from Moorings Park Foundation. These funds will be used for a multi-faceted support program for caregivers of family members with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia to connect with one another, receive group support, socialization and education. The Naples Senior Center is the only human services agency of its kind, providing one-stop-shop services addressing the emotional and social needs of seniors in Collier and southern Lee counties, according to a news release.

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