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Lehigh chamber hosts Fall-Fest meet-and greet

By Staff | Nov 7, 2019

Members of the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District. PHOTO PROVIDED

The Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce held its first Fall-Fest Meet and Greet (Oktoberfest) last Friday. The networking event was held at EmJay’s Tavern & Grill and featured German food and beverages and a fully orchestrated German Band.

According to the event’s coordinator, Mike Welch, Chamber Chairman – Board of Directors, the evening provided chamber members the opportunity to reconnect and celebrate an eventful year.

“It is great to see the chamber awakening with renewed energy and enthusiasm as we approach 2020,” Welch said.

Members in attendance included representatives from FGUA, Lehigh Community Services, Synovus Bank, Bowers Accounting, and Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District’s, fire personnel, executive staff and Chief Robert Dilallo and wife Julie Dilallo.

The evening also provided a chance for local leaders, businesses and residents to meet special guest Florida House of Representatives, Ray Rodrigues. Rodrigues currently holds the House District 76 seat, which includes southern and coastal Lee County, including Bonita Springs, Fort Myers Beach, and Sanibel.

Representative for House District 76 Ray Rodrigues with the band. PHOTO PROVIDED

During his term Rodrigues has placed great importance on the water quality issue.

“Water quality is my No. 1 goal. Especially important in our district is the water issue and releases from Lake Okeechobee,” Rodrigues said. “Agriculture interests that back-pump into Lake ‘O’ are contributing to the problem.”

“There was a hold on back-pumping into the lake for a full year, and limited releases this summer. While these releases do not cause red tide, they do contribute to the problem,” Rodrigues said.

Rodrigues plans to run in the upcoming elections for Senate District Seat 27, a position currently held by Lizbeth Benacquisto who has served as a member of the Florida State Senate since 2010 and is term limited out. The 27th District encompasses parts of Lee County including Cape Coral, portions of Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres.

Rodrigues said that his top goal, if elected, will remain working to and improve and uphold the area’s water quality.

Chief Robert Diallo with his wife Julie and Administration Secretary Anita Kummer with husband Richard. PHOTO PROVIDED

“In 2018 we were literally at Ground Zero with the red tide and the toxic blue-green algae outbreak. We felt the impact more than almost any other part of the state,” Rodrigues said.

If elected to the senate, Lehigh Acres will be a primary focus of Rodrigues, since portions of the unincorporated area fall within the 27th district.

According to Rodrigues, Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District’s station 106 ranks high on his list.

“I really feel that this is an important issue for Lehigh – its fire department. There is a real need for the building of an additional fire station in order to provide the necessary services to the area. While I am a proponent of limited government, we also have a responsibility to ensure the public’s safety. Within public safety is the requirement for adequate police and fire protection services,” Rodrigues said.

Rodrigues said that if elected to the seat, his first step would be to speak with local officials and the residents of Lehigh Acres to find out the most pressing issues and needs.

David Deetscreek and members of Bowers Accounting. PHOTO PROVIDED

For more information on the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce call 239-369-3322 or visit www.lehighacreschamber.org or www.facebook.com/ lehighchamber/