Friday, 01 June 2007 01:00
After more than half a century the Admiral Lehigh golf course is closed and the resort will soon face a wrecking ball…but first people will get a chance to bid on its contents.
The City of Lehigh Acres literally grew up around the hotel and golf course. Potential real estate buyers from around the world stayed at the hotel in the 1950’s and 60’s while shopping for a new place to call home in sunny Florida.
Jim Davis is one of two auctioneers who’ll be calling the 3-day sale. He says he expects the event to draw a big crowd.
“People love it. People come for entertainment, honestly they do. And they’ll buy the strangest things, but they love it. And we have a crowd that follows us for our home auctions that we have at houses for estate sales, we’ll see the same people over and over again.”
The course’s cart barn has been converted into a giant storage shed filled with…well, lots of hotel stuff. TV’s and coffee pots by the score are lined up next to stacks of dozens of the same framed golf prints awaiting new homes.
The future of the land the golf course and hotel sit on is uncertain. There’s an effort to keep some or all of it as green space, but it is worth much more if developed.
The auction kicks off at 10 am Friday and continues over the weekend.
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 01:00
Roughly three thousand people turned out during the fourth annual Asia Fest recently in Fort Myers. WGCU’s Luis Hernandez was there and has this video postcard.
Friday, 25 May 2007 01:00
So far this year in Lee County there are no tragic stories to tell about children drowning. That's signifcant considering southwest Florida generally ranks as one of the top counties in the state for drowning deaths of children under 14. Parents just don't think it can happen to their kids, said a Health Department official during a recent 'safe pool party' in Fort Myers. WGCU's Luis Hernandez was there and has this report.
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 01:00
Nominations are being accepted for the first annual Rose of Care Award. The program is sponsored by the women’s service organization Hadassah and is aimed at recognizing Lee County registered nurses who go above and beyond the call of duty. Linda Sweet chairs the program. She says nurses are unsung heroes.
“they’re the first to go and help in national emergencies – we have many local nurses and we’re getting wonderful stories in that go to different countries to third world countries to help out during summer vacation – it’s a much bigger profession than its ever been"
The program is modeled on the Golden Apple Awards for teachers. The recipient of the Rose of Care Award and 3 runners-up will be announced in October. The award includes an expense paid trip to the Hadassah Hospital in Israel. The nomination period runs through May 30. Applications are at Publix Supermarkets and on-line at Roseofcare.org.
Friday, 20 April 2007 01:00
Fort Myers’ most famous attraction’s gotten a major face lift and is ready to show it Friday night.
The event is called an “Incandescent Evening”…and it’s celebrating the restorations to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. The restorations started five years ago and cost roughly ten million dollars. President of the estate, Chris Pendleton says Thomas Edison’s home now looks much like it did when the inventor was in residence.
“It’s a chance to wet your whistle about what’s ahead…the restoration and the transfer to private management, they’re all part of transforming us to a different type of cultural institution. We’re now a totally different place and we want everyone now to come out and sample it.”
All the free tickets to Friday night’s gala are gone – about two thousand visitors are expected on the grounds for the evening festivities.
Thursday, 05 April 2007 01:00
The search for a new president at Florida Gulf Coast University moved a step forward this morning.
The university’s ‘Presidential Search & Screen Committee’ has unanimously selected Greenwood & Associates from among 3 finalists to help the 8-year-old university find a new president.
The Miramar Beach-based firm specializes in finding university presidents - most recently at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Chair of the search committee – Dr. Peg Gray-Vickrey – says Greenwood had everything they were looking for.
“Has this executive search firm been successful in presidential searches? What are their references from other institutions that have gone through presidential searches? They look at does the person understand how unique the state of Florida is in regard to our Sunshine Laws?”
Gray-Vickrey says the three people from Greenwood who’ll be working specifically on FGCU’s search are all themselves former university presidents – and so have extensive networks to tap into.
“They know individuals who would be perfect for a position who might be, and are, very content at their current job, but they know that this might be a real gem of a position for them. So they start using their contacts and their networks to let individuals know about the position.”
Greenwood & Associates won’t make recommendations – but will help find people to go into the applicant pool. Gray-Vickrey says they mostly help with marketing – and that they’ll send representatives to campus later this month to help the university determine what exactly it’s looking for in a president. She says the goal is to have a new leader in place by year’s end.
The cost to hire an executive search firm like Greenwood & Associates? Roughly a third of the new president’s first year salary… about 85-thousand dollars.
Wednesday, 04 April 2007 01:00
Southwest Florida continues to grow in popularity as is apparent by the number of people traveling through Southwest Florida International Airport.
February 2007 will go down as a record breaking month. It is the busiest February in the airports 23-year history with more than 841-thousand passengers. And that follows a record breaking January. As airport officials await March’s numbers, spokeswoman Barbara-Anne Urritia says the recent growth of the terminal is helping Southwest International compete with the other airports across the state.
“Obviously it is Orlando and Miami and then Tampa, but I think we are between the fourth and the fifth spot in the state and we continue to grow and now with our new terminal we really feel like we are in a good position to continue that growth.”
Urritia says March is historically the airport’s busiest month. The passenger count at Southwest Florida International Airport is among the top 50 in the nation.
Friday, 30 March 2007 01:00
Thursday, 29 March 2007 01:00
An Associated Press story Thursday claimed authorities are quote- “quietly wondering whether a serial killer might be at work” in Fort Myers.
An ecologist stumbled across several human skeletons in a wooded area off Martin Luther King Boulevard in east Fort Myers late last week. Investigators have since discovered eight bodies in all. They’re all adult – and none were wearing any clothing or jewelry.
Fort Myers Police Department spokeswoman - Shelly Flynn – says the investigation is still in the recovery phase, so it’s way too early to even begin to speculate about how the bodies got there.
“We can’t discredit any theory at this point. The bones are going to take extensive examination before we can figure out exactly what happened. And there are a lot of theories out there. The AP reporter threw out serial killer…but we’ve heard funeral home dumping, we’ve heard Indian burial ground – and it’s just too early to know the facts.”
A group of about 20 forensics experts from around the state – and several local archeologists – are working this week to recover all the bones.
Flynn says they’ll first go to the Fort Myers Medical Examiner’s office for examination – then up to the University of Florida in Gainesville for further study.
Monday, 12 March 2007 00:00
Officials at Southwest Florida International Airport want to know how much local demand there is for flights to destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean. So they’re conducting a local survey to find out.
The survey is the first step in determining whether southwest Florida has enough demand to support non-stop flights to destinations like Puerto Rico and Mexico.
Data from this survey will help airport consultants decide whether to move ahead with an in-depth economic impact study for Latin American and Caribbean markets.
Barbara-Anne Urrutia is PR Manager for the Lee County Port Authority.
“We just know based on talking to people and being told things in the community that people keep asking about service to Puerto Rico…service to Mexico. So we’re hoping that now that everyone’s talking it’ll actually turn into action, and maybe we can use that to our benefit so we can get some good service here.”
Urrutia says they’ll use data to try and convince airlines to add non-stop service out of RSW.
She says they did similar surveys for the U.K. and German markets. The German markets won.
The survey is available online at the Southwest Florida International Airport website.
Airport officials want to know how much demand there is for non-stop flights out of Southwest Florida International Airport to destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America.
So they’ve released a survey seeking that information.
PR Manager for the Lee County Port Authority - Barbara-Anne Urrutia – says the survey’s needed because it’s basically impossible to get what’s called the ‘through’ data…in other words where travelers go after the first leg of their trip.
“We can only get our end of it and beyond that we don’t really know where people are traveling or where they end up. So it’s really hard to get that kind of data…it’s very proprietary among airlines. So that’s why we’re trying to get our own data to show airlines, because it is hard to share information like that.”
Urrutia says if they get at least a thousand responses…and it shows solid demand…their consultants will go ahead with a more in depth economic impact study of Latin American & Caribbean market demand.
She says they’ll then use all this data to try to convince airlines to add non-stop service from Fort Myers to destinations like Mexico and Puerto Rico.