2017-04-20 / Top News


The Verandas ribbon-cutting. 
COURTESY PHOTO The Verandas ribbon-cutting. COURTESY PHOTO North Port has Great American Cleanup

On Saturday, April 22, the city of North Port will participate in the Great American Cleanup — the country's largest community improvement program that kicks off in more than 20,000 communities each spring. This national program engages 4 million volunteers who take action in their communities to create positive change and lasting impact. City employees along with local residents will join forces to help keep their community beautiful, focusing on city roadways.

Residents interested in attending the event should meet at 8 a.m. at North Port City Hall, 4970 City Hall Blvd. The cleanup effort is anticipated to take place until noon.

If you or someone you know would like to help out by volunteering for the Great American Cleanup, contact the Department of Public Works at 240-8050.

Civitan Club starting in Punta Gorda

The Charlotte Harbor Civitan Club — associated with Civitan International (www.civitan.org), an organization of volunteer service clubs around the world dedicated to helping people in their own communities — is looking for 20 men and women to help start and take leadership of this new club in Punta Gorda. There will be a meeting on Tuesday, April 25, at Jack’s on Marion, 201 W. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda. A social time opens at 5:30 p.m., with the meeting beginning at 6 p.m. If you plan to attend, RSVP to swflcivitan@gmail.com.

Arbor Day Expo

UF/IFAS Extension Charlotte County will be holding its annual Arbor Day Expo from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, April 28, at the Environmental Campus, 25550 Harbor View Road, Port Charlotte. This year’s Arbor Day Expo will feature plant vendors, a Master Gardener plant clinic, demonstrations providing tips on planting and pruning.

Admission is free, and there will be free trees given out to participants who take participate in the tree planting demo while supplies last.

For more information, call 764.4340 or visit www.charlotte.ifas.ufl.edu.

Public Safety Appreciation Night is April 28

The Charlotte County Sheriff ’s Explorers Post 29 and Do The Right Thing of Charlotte County Inc. invite the public to become a sponsor for its second annual Public Safety Appreciation Night in recognition of the county’s public safety personnel — CCSO, Punta Gorda Police Department, Punta Gorda Fire Department, Charlotte County Fire/EMS, Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Florida Department of Corrections — beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, April 28, at the Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center, 75 Taylor St., Punta Gorda. There will be a cocktail hour, dinner and a program honoring public safety personnel. The keynote speaker is Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.thankyoucharlotte.com. All proceeds will benefit the Charlotte County Sheriff's Explorer's Post 29 and Do The Right Thing of Charlotte County Inc. For questions or more information about sponsorships, contact Tony Pribble, sponsorship chair, at 626-8583 or Apribble@pgorda.us.

Kids’ fishing program offered

In partnership with the Fishermen’s Village, Anglers for Conservation is coordinating AFC’s Hook Kids on Fishing program from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 29, at Fishermen’s Village Center Court, 1200 W. Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda.

The conservation-minded Hook Kids on Fishing programs are taught by professional guides and knowledgeable anglers, who teach casting, fishing safety, knot tying, the tackle box, catch and release tactics, fishing habitat and conservation. A parent or guardian must accompany attendees.

Kids ages 6 to 16 are welcome, along with their parents. The first 80 kids registered may receive a free rod and reel. Registration is mandatory by calling Capt. Ralph Allen of Kingfisher Fleet at 639-2628.

Volunteers are needed and donations are greatly appreciated. If you’re interested in volunteering or sponsoring this event, contact Mike Conneen at mike@anglersforconservation.org or visit www.anglersforconservation.org.

Sheriff holds Junior Law Academy camp

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is kicking off its fifth Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Junior Law Academy Summer Camp for middle school students ages 11-14.

The camp is designed to give young people the opportunity to learn about the CCSO and its operations and to demonstrate the benefits of law enforcement and community policing in the county. During the course of the two-week program, school resource officers and other members of the CCSO will be interacting with the youth, soliciting their feedback and ideas through discussions of relevant issues. The camp will be based out of Murdock Middle School for classroom presentations, and the students will be taking field trips to tour different divisions of the CCSO, including the Charlotte County Jail, Charlotte County Courthouse, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center and the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office Crime Scene Unit.

The summer camp will run for two weeks, 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The first camp is June 5-16, followed by June 19-30 and July 17-28. Each camp will accommodate 25 students. The fee per child is $150 for the two weeks, which would cover the cost of two T-shirts and a couple of fun days, such as a pool party, trip to Don Pedro Island, bowling, movies, roller skating and a trip to Jump and Fun in Sarasota.

If you would like to become a community partner and sponsor a child for this program, contact DFC David W. Sonne, school resource officer, at 474-7702, ext. 3006 or e-mail david.sonne@ccso.org.

PGD passenger traffic still rising

The Charlotte County Airport Authority has announced that the total passenger count for the 12 months ending March 31 is 1,186,796. The Punta Gorda Airport passenger count for March 2017 was 141,802 — an increase in passenger traffic over March 2016 (121,695 passengers).

In March, there were 69,630 boarding passengers and 72,172 arriving passengers. This is the 41st consecutive month the airport has seen an increase in passenger traffic in year-over-year monthly traffic.

The Verandas opens in Punta Gorda

More than 100 residents, city leaders and government officials attended the recent ribbon-cutting ceremony of The Verandas Senior Apartment Homes.

This is the Punta Gorda Housing Authority’s newest affordable senior housing development, following the destruction of its units by Hurricane Charley 13 years ago.

Special guests included officials from partnering agencies, including the City of Punta Gorda, Charlotte County, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Florida Housing Finance Corp., Norstar Development USA, Bank of America, Banc of America Community Development Cooperation and the PGHA.

Situated at the corner of Airport Road and Cooper Street, The Verandas consists of two phases with 120 senior units of affordable housing, which are 100 percent occupied and were leased within 60 days. Its amenities include a dining room with full kitchen and screened outdoor lanai, resident library/ reading room, executive boardroom, fitness center, billiards and a craft room.

Funding for the $25 million project was provided through $3.55 million in insurance proceeds, RHF funds, other housing funds and $170,000 in SHIP funds committed by Charlotte County. Florida Housing Finance Corp. also allocated 9 percent low-income housing tax credits for PHA Revitalization of Affordable Housing Developments, and Bank of America provided a $14 million loan for construction.

The Verandas has received the Florida Green Home Certification, which creates socially sustainable affordable housing and integrates Universal Design principals. The buildings’ design is based on Spanish revival to further meld the project into the Punta Gorda community.

For more information, call 639-4344 or visit www.puntagordaha.org.

Memorial Day race seeking participants

The fourth annual Memorial Day Veterans 10k and 5k Race — which starts at 7 a.m. Monday, May 29, at Laishley Park in Punta Gorda — is looking for participants.

It’s Own Turn Inc., the race organizers, contributes 100 percent of the race proceeds to local veterans in need. This year, the organization is partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build a home for a veteran.

This is the first year for the race to have a virtual run. Anyone from all over the world can sign up to participate. Sign up to run, walk or volunteer at www.memorialdayrace.org and click on registration. ¦

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