Wednesday, October 21, 2020

There’s More to the Story

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Smith is Florida’s Resource Manager of the Year

Kathleen Smith, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), has been honored with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Resource Manager of the Year award for her work at the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed Wildlife and Environmental Area in southwest Florida over the past six years.

The award, presented to her at the Governor and Cabinet’s Aug. 14 meeting in Tallahassee, recognizes outstanding resource management achievements by the hundreds of resource managers who protect state properties.

Smith was recognized for her passion and commitment to conserving wildlife while working in partnership with the South Florida Water Management District that co-manages this WEA, which is in Lee and Collier counties. One focus has been work on the federally endangered Florida b

onneted bat. Smith has shared 240,000 acoustic bat call signatures she collected, and then analyzed the data used to develop monitoring and permitting protocols for this rare native species.


Girls on the Run

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Girls on the Run, a national character development program for girls ages 8-13, is pleased to announce that the Girls on the Run of Collier County council has merged with the Girls on the Run of Southwest Florida council. The merger of these two non-profit organizations has created a stronger council through the combination of resources and leadership.

Girls on the Run provides a 10-week character development program led by trained volunteer coaches who guide and mentor girls through a curriculum focused on teamwork, community service and self-respect. The goal of the program is for participants to develop a stronger sense of identity, greater acceptance of themselves and others, and healthier habits through food choices and exercise.

Girls on the Run of Southwest Florida will serve at least 432 students in the fall. Nearly 40% of these children will receive a full or partial scholarship to participate. The Girls on the Run curriculum is available as a volunteer-led, after-school program at elementary schools, middle schools and centers in Collier, Lee, Charlotte and DeSoto Counties. Fall enrollment for most sites will begin in August.

Programming is made possible through the support of the following annual sponsors: United Healthcare, Build, Beverly Brennan, BKS Yoga, Carolina Catering, Dr. Kelly Malinoski, ML Meade, Suzanne Klym, Neopolitan Family.

For information about enrollment, becoming a coach, volunteering, or sponsoring the program, please contact Davina.Hartsfield@girlsontherun.org or visit www.gotrswfl.org.


FWC Receives ‘BearWise’ Applications

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will be providing up to $500,000 in BearWise funding to local governments to help reduce human-bear conflicts. The funding helps offset some of the costs for residents and businesses to acquire bear-resistant trash cans and dumpsters.

Eight counties and two cities have applied for the BearWise funds: Collier, Lake, Marion, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Seminole, Volusia and Walton counties, and the cities of Apopka in Lake County and Mount Dora in Orange County. Their requests total $935,181.

Last year, the FWC distributed over $500,000 in BearWise funding to seven counties and two homeowner’s associations. The funds were used to purchase almost 3,000 bear-resistant trash cans, 3,800 sets of hardware to secure regular trash cans, and to modify 54 dumpsters to keep bears out. A total of 66 percent of last year’s funding was provided to communities with BearWise ordinances.

The FWC plans to announce the funding awards by October 2018.

For more information on Florida black bears, including how to reduce conflicts with them, visitMyFWC.com/Bear and click on Live BearWise, watch the BearWise Communities video and read the brochure, A Guide to Living in Bear Country.


Tracking Red Tide at Our Beaches

Want to go to the beach, but worried about red tide? Making a decision about which beach to go to just got easier. The Collier County Pollution Control Section, Parks & Recreation Division, and Mote Marine Laboratory (Mote) are pleased to announce a partnership to provide up-to-date beach conditions for residents and visitors alike. The collaboration allowed for adding four Collier County beaches to Mote’s Beach Conditions Reporting System (BCRS).

Florida red tides are very patchy in nature and can affect beaches differently on any given day. Red tide can impact one beach and not another beach only a couple miles away. Now visitors and residents can make informed choices about which beach they want to visit by using the Beach Conditions Reporting Systems smartphone app to see the most recent beach conditions.

The BCRS (www.visitbeaches.org) provides daily updates on conditions like wave height, wind direction, surf conditions, presence of seaweed or dead fish, and respiratory irritation due to red tide. Collier beaches that were just added to the BCRS network are South Marco, Seagate, Vanderbilt and Barefoot beaches.

On the beach, trained county staff and volunteers will report specific observations and photos to document current conditions. Their findings are processed and distributed through Mote’s laboratory, which collects and manages several kinds of environmental data to support marine science, ecosystem health and public outreach. This data is also used by several agencies to forecast the movement and potential impacts of Florida red tides.

Making an informed choice about going to the beach is now in the palm of your hand. Check out the Beach Conditions Reporting System at www.visitbeaches.org and download the app today.


Schulberg Executive Director Calusa Waterkeepers

Calusa Waterkeeper (CWK) has named noted community organizer and international media specialist, K.C. Schulberg, to the post of Executive Director, effective immediately.

Schulberg, whose background merges film, television, marketing and fundraising with hands on civic engagement and community organizing, will bring a new global set of tools to Calusa Waterkeeper’s important mission: to Protect and Preserve the Caloosahatchee River from Lake Okeechobee to the Coastal Waters.

Following years of advocacy and education on the issue of Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) that currently plague our area waterways, CWK has emerged as a leading voice on this issue and “Waterkeeper” John Cassani, has become the go-to source for credible science-based news on this crisis. The appointment of Schulberg at this juncture will help CWK fulfill its mandate to become a leading organization working towards the restoration of the Caloosahatchee River all the way from Lake Okeechobee to its coastal estuaries in Captiva, Sanibel, Cape Coral and Ft. Myers.

Reached for comment, KC Schulberg said: “I first fell in love with this ecosystem when my father and uncle produced America’s first ecology-themed motion picture, called “Wind Across the Everglades,” starring Oscar-winner Christopher Plummer for Warner Brothers in 1957. Now I have come full circle and am honored to join the CWK team in their efforts to rescue the Caloosahatchee and draw national attention to the remarkable beauty of Southwest Florida’s waterways and estuaries while we work to restore them to their once pristine glory.”

Schulberg’s first task, which blends his environmental advocacy and film background, will be to promote an August 14th screening of the award-winning documentary film, TOXIC PUZZLE, directed by Bo Landin and narrated by Harrison Ford, at the Broadway Palms Theatre in Fort Myers. The movie graphically demonstrates the alarming correlation between the cyanobacteria in HABs and neurological diseases, like ALS and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Directly following the screening, an esteemed group of panelists, including, Dr. James Metcalf, Dr. Larry Brand, Dr. Walter Bradley along with “Waterkeeper” John Cassani will conduct a discussion on the health risks associated with the algae bloom crisis. Proceeds from the screening will be split between non-profits, Calusa Waterkeeper and Captains for Clean Water.


Naples Trust Portfolio Review

U.S. stock markets continued to move modestly higher during the second quarter of 2018 despite pockets of volatility along the way. As is often the case, broader market measures of performance do not always capture the underlying details of what moves markets – particularly over short periods of time. For example, the U.S. stock market continues to be led by growth stocks, while dividend-paying companies have largely lagged this year. As interest rates rise (even modestly), the relative value of dividend-paying companies diminishes somewhat in favor of bonds now yielding modestly more.

However, we fully expect these pricing issues to be short-lived since the fundamentals of dividend payers remain fully intact. Moreover, there is ample evidence that dividend-paying companies outperform non dividend-paying companies over the long term. It remains appropriate for the majority of our clients to maintain a balance between growth and income within their portfolios – with the understanding that certain segments of their portfolio will out/under perform at different times. Of course, everything we do from an investment standpoint remains custom-tailored to your individual needs and goals.

We have been pleased with the earnings results of the companies we follow so far this year. Fourth- and first-quarter results have been quite strong. Considering we remain optimistic about broader U.S. economic growth, it stands to reason that companies should continue to post solid results through the end of the year, particularly when you add in the benefits of corporate tax reform.

On June 13th, the Federal Reserve Board announced their decision to raise the federal funds rate by another 0.25%.

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