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Business Notes (8/6/14)

August 6, 2014
Lehigh Acres Citizen

County to remove derelict vessels from waterways

Lee County Natural Resources will begin a sweep of the county to remove abandoned vessels and clean up waterways.

The county has contracted to remove 16 vessels beginning this month. Work is expected to be completed within 30 days.

In the last 10 years, the county has resolved 637 abandoned vessel and derelict vessels, spending $1.5 million to remove them.

Many of the boats have been navigational and environmental hazards and require rapid deployment and removal. Others, which do not constitute an imminent threat, may sit for long periods of time, waiting for adequate funding sources to be procured.

County staff works to obtain grant funds for the removal, providing a tax savings to citizens. Since 1991, Lee County has received yearly grants allowing for removal of high priority vessels.

A derelict vessel is a boat that is no longer capable of navigating on its own. An abandoned vessel is a boat on or under the water that has not been tended for 30 days or more.

Once a boat has been identified as a possible derelict - or is suspected of being abandoned - by Lee County Natural Resources, then law enforcement begins an investigation, trying to contact the last known registered owner and have him or her remove the vessel.

If, however, officers are unable to find the owner and have them remove the vessel, it is turned over to the county for removal and proper disposal.

Governor appoints three to Housing Authority

Gov. Rick Scott announced one appointment and two reappointments to the Lee County Housing Authority.

Christine Rodriguez, 36, of Lehigh Acres, is the executive director of the Tri-County Apprenticeship Academy. She succeeds Cynthia Shafer and is appointed for a term beginning July 29 and ending May 12, 2016.

James Green, 72, of Alva, is the owner of Jim Green Realty. He is reappointed for a term beginning July 29 and ending May 12, 2018.

Robert Norris, 69, of Fort Myers, is retired. He is reappointed for a term beginning July 29 and ending May 12, 2016.

Assistance available for local businesses

The Export-Import Bank, responsible for distributing funds to increase exports throughout the country, is preparing to host the Lee County International Trade Solution Seminar.

Aimed at increasing awareness of funding opportunities and the import/export industry, the seminar will be held Aug. 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lee County Economic Development Office, at 2201 Second St., Fort Myers.

Open to the public, the event is being hosted by the Lee County Economic Development Office at the request of the Export-Import Bank and in conjunction with several agencies.

Local businesses that are interested in entering new markets or accessing international markets are encouraged to attend. Companies can meet representatives that can help local businesses prepare marketing plans and access trade assistance that can help connect them with resources in foreign countries.

Attending agencies include the Export-Import Bank, the U.S. Commercial Service, Small Business Administration, Enterprise Florida and Small Business Development Center at Florida Gulf Coast University, as well as the Lee County Economic Development Office.

The morning sessions will include presentations by representatives of federal, state and local agencies. There will also be allotted time in the afternoon for companies to schedule one-on-one meeting with the agencies.

Registration will be available through the Small Business Development Center and at:

For information, call (239) 338-3161 or visit:

Environmental funding award available

LCEC is accepting applications from organizations for an environmental funding award.

To apply, e-mail to receive an application.

The deadline for the 2014 application is Sept. 1.

Organizations must meet certain criteria to be considered for the award including being located within LCEC service territory, funding utilized for projects/programs related to the environment and the utility industry and having a demonstrated need for funds.

Horizon Foundation nears fundraising goal

The Horizon Foundation, which supports the efforts of the Horizon Council and Lee County Economic Development Office, is just shy of breaking its fundraising goal.

Having raised $387,545 to date, it has just $12,455 less than the goal set forth for the year and is asking for Lee County business and community support.

Last year, the foundation raised a record $385,000, which was $35,000 more than the goal. It set the goal for fundraising in 2014 even higher at $400,000.

The fundraising ends on Sept. 19 at the 23rd Annual Industry Appreciation Week luncheon, which will be held at the Harborside Event Center.

The majority of the fundraising goes directly to support the marketing and business assistance objectives of the Lee County Economic Development Office program.

To make a contribution, contact B. Pat O'Rourke at (239) 338-3161 or

For information about the Horizon Council, Horizon Foundation and Lee County Economic Development Office, visit: home/horizon-council.



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