As many of you know, our dear coworker Lynnea Laux passed away in March after battling cancer. So much can be said about Lynnea and all she gave to the Chamber, but I want to share a side many of you may not know. The Lynnea many of our members knew was always pleasant and willing to assist. Whether you had a phone interaction or she greeted you at one of the events, Lynnea was always accommodating, even in an email. That was the professional side of Lynnea. However, as coworkers we had the pleasure to know Lynnea on a personal level. Her heritage was of Ukrainian descent. When talking about her childhood, she would also quote her dear grandmother in the voice of the Saturday Night Live character Roseanne Roseannadanna. She loved "The Eagles" and would listen to their greatest hits daily on her drive to and from work. Lynnea also liked to give advice and always lent her ear to those who needed to talk.
As a tribute to her, I'd liked to share a story about the more personal side of Lynnea. It is about her previous career as a pediatric nurse. Lynnea was not a native of the Florida Keys — she was a Jersey Girl. But, in the '90s, she started visiting and absolutely loved our beautiful chain of Islands. Being fed up with the cold winters in New Jersey, she moved to Key Largo in 2005. In March of 2006, Lynnea saw an ad in the local newspaper for the position of Information Specialist at the Key Largo Chamber, and we had the good fortune of her applying. By profession, Lynnea was a registered nurse and had no experience whatsoever with a chamber, not even a Visitor Center. When I came to the Chamber and learned of her background, I often wondered why she would give up a nursing career. She often spoke of her days as a nurse, and I knew she specialized in pediatrics. So one day I asked, "why did you leave nursing?" And that day changed me forever. Around the age of 34, Lynnea started
college, earning her Associate of Science and Nursing diploma in 1985. Soon after that, she was hired as a Staff/ Charge Nurse and worked in Adult Neurosurgery. In 1986, Lynnea shifted her career to Pediatrics, where she became part of an Intensive Continued on page 3
In This Issue Welcome New Members PAGE 2 • Being a Chamber Member PAGE 4 • Members in Motion is Back PAGE 6 Chamber Virtual Luncheon PAGE 6 • Calendar PAGE 7 • SBA PPP Deadline Extended PAGE 8 Building Department Opens for In-Person Service PAGE 11
APRIL 2021 1
Welcome New Members!
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2 APRIL 2021
Remembering Lynnea, Con't
the sorrow in her eyes, and her unconditional love for the children were telling. That day, getting to know her personal story, I understood why she did not return to nursing. I learned a lot about Lynnea throughout the time we spent working together. She was a champion for the underdogs. She applauded those who returned to school to get their degrees. And, she wanted to see more opportunities for trade schools and educational opportunities in the Upper Keys. Her vision of education came to light when the College of the Florida Keys announced they would be our neighbors. Lynnea was ecstatic about the opportunities for young adults and even us older folks here in Key Largo. There are so many more stories to
share about Lynnea. I hope we will all get together and share them with each other one day. Her dedication to her job and this community leave a lasting mark we will always treasure. I leave you with this quote from her favorite band, "Put me on a highway; Show me a sign; Take it to the limit; One more time!"
Continued from page 1 Care Code/Transport Team. After moving to Bermuda for a year, Lynnea returned to the U.S. and went back to nursing, where she worked in Pediatric Patient Rehabilitation and Medical Daycare from 1993 – 2005. As I sat and listened to her, I heard some of the most heartbreaking stories. Lynnea took care of dying children, some of whom were born addicted to drugs. Several of the children were rehabilitated but left with permanent damage. Others were taken off life support, and Lynnea would hold them in her arms and rocked them until they passed. Her partner once told me she'd often called and said she'd be home late because she had to stay with one of the babies. The compassion in her voice,
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APRIL 2021 3
Benefits of Being a Chamber Member By Michelle McDaniel, Journalist Intern with the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce Hear it from our members' perspectives.
Dennis Caltagirone , Chairman of the Board, has been a chamber member for six years. The ongoing service that the Chamber brings to the business and professional community is what he values most about being a member. “We seem to be in the role where we have a voice that speaks on behalf of those who live here,” Caltagirone said. According to Caltagirone, there are many benefits to being a chamber member. Members constantly receive relevant and pertinent information on what goes on in the Keys, which is helpful at the business and governmental levels, said Caltagirone. In addition, the Chamber disseminates information and makes it readily available to its members on a constant basis. Being a member has also given him the opportunity to make close friends. The Key Largo Chamber of Commerce is a large, extended family of business owners, professionals and members of the non-profit community, said Caltagirone. “Those folks play a huge part in the quality of life here in the Keys and particularly the Upper Keys,” Caltagirone said. Caltagirone encourages people who may be interested in being a member to join for the networking benefits, the patronage of one anothers services as well as the support of one anothers events. “I’ve never felt more welcomed and a part of the community as I do living here and I think the chamber has a lot do with that feeling,” Caltagirone said. Captain Don Fanelli , District Commander for the Monroe County
participate more in the community and getting to know and interact with one another, said Fanelli. Getting to know people on a deeper level is what makes the Monroe County Sheriff ’s Office successful, said Fanelli. People are more likely to talk with you and discuss problems within the community. “There’s many problems nationwide with the law enforcement community,” Fanelli said. “I think the Monroe County Sheriff ’s Office, Sheriff Ramsay and his staff have done a phenomenal job in trying to be a part of the community.” Being a chamber member would help community members better understand why and how the sheriff ’s department conducts business, said Fanelli. This shared information helps to build a better relationship between community and law enforcement. In the past, the Monroe County Sheriff ’s Office has reached out to the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce to help give advisories about crime issues in the community. “The more people you reach out to, the more successful you can be,” Fanelli said.
Sheriff ’s Office and board of director has been a chamber member for approximately four years. Giving back to the community and being a part of the business community is what Fanelli values most about being a member. It allows him to work with citizens by helping them advance their potential within the community. “The Chamber years ago was just something to try to get information on where to go for vacations and it’s so much more nowadays than it used to be,” Fanelli said. According to Fanelli, today there are numerous benefits to being a chamber member. The chamber hosts meetings and anytime you need anything you can reach out to the chamber’s staff for help. They’re able to put out information via the monthly newsletter and by email. Benefits include being able to represent your agency and engage in social networking, said Fanelli. Social networking is a good way to see what successful business practices that other businesses in the community are using to make them successful. Further benefits are being able to
4 APRIL 2021
James W. Hendricks Jr. , president of the Key Largo Marine Tours has been a member of the chamber for 30 years! The overall exposure within the community is what Hendricks values most about being a member. When it comes to being a member, “there’s way more benefits than not,” said Hendricks. Being a member helps you to stay in touch with the community, know what’s going on and get exposure for your business. Hendricks benefits from the exposure that the visitor center gives him for his business. They help by calling and making reservations for his visitors. The brochure program that they put on the walls helps too, said Hendricks. Hendricks is the owner and manager of the African Queen, a historic steamboat featured in the 1951 film, The African Queen, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. The Chamber helped get the boat to London for a boat show by helping sponsoring Hendricks business. As a result, the Chamber’s efforts helped increase Keys tourism in Europe and benefited the community as a whole. “It seems like they always go out of their way to help me,” Hendricks said. Roberto Alonso , Chairman Elect and owner of Borland & Associates Insurance, has been a proud member for 17 years. According to Alonso, the first check he writes on the first of the year is to the Chamber to pay his dues. The comradery with fellow chamber members is what he values most about being a member. Benefits to being a member are having more access to our local and state government. Other benefits include networking and serving the interests of the business community and community at large, said Alonso. If you’re thinking about becoming a member, “it’s the best advertising and marketing value for your money,” said Alonso. You will get exposure for your
business in a small community where the base of your customers are located, he said. "In 2017 in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, member, and former board director, Marlen Weeks, was kind enough to lend us her event "A Night In Old Havana" for our Chairman's Gala event. Marlen, as the Gala Committee Chairperson, brilliantly led a group of very talented folks and was most instrumental for the success of the event.", said Alonso. The event was so successful that the Chamber was able to give back in the form of grants to the local businesses economically affected by the storm. The main goal that year for the event. According to Alonso, a significant amount of money was collected and disbursed to business members who needed it the most while waiting to settle
their insurance claims. Examples like these of the Chamber giving back to the community means a lot to Alonso". My Reflection: The Key Largo Chamber of Commerce seems to me like an organization that you’d want to have in your back pocket. I appreciated learning about how in the past the Chamber has helped businesses in times of need. After speaking with different members of the community, I got the feeling that the Keys is a close- knit community who are all supportive of one another. If I were ever to move to the area and start a business, I would apply to be a chamber member based on the positive responses I received from others. I believe that this would be a great way to establish a long-lasting relationship within the community.
APRIL 2021 5
Members in Motion is Back April 29
It's here!!! Our first in person event in over a year, our fabulous Members in Motion net- working event. Rest assured the staff at the venue, along with the Chamber are taking extra safety precautions. The event will be held outdoors, masks are recommended if social distancing can not be maintained, and sanitizing stations will be in place. at Playa Largo Resort & Spa The event is $10 for members with advance registration, and $15 at the door. Please visit our reservation system at https://bit.ly/3uv9NB1 Non-members are welcomed for an additional cost. Call the Chamber of details 305-451-1414.
Walk Through History HM69 Nike Hercules Missile Site Guided Virtual Tour Upcoming Chamber Luncheon
U N I T E D WA Y O F C O L L I E R A N D T H E K E Y S
NEED TAX HELP?
Join the Key Largo Chamber for a virtual tour of what remains from A-Battery, 2nd Battalion of the 52nd Air Defense Artillery Unit, strategically located right in our backyard. Step back in time to the Cold War Cuban Missile crisis with Army
Veteran SGT Richard Erschik walks us through the 13 day standoff in 1962 with the Soviet Union over the installation of nuclear armed missiles in Cuba.
If your household income was less than
$57,000 in 2020, we can help you
prepare & file Your Taxes for FREE!
HM69 NIKE MISSILE STIE Visual Tour via Zoom Thursday April 8—12:00 PM Presented by: Army Veteran, SGT Richard Erschik
FREE TAX HELP FOR MONROE COUNTY RESIDENTS.
United Way of Collier and the Keys will help you file your taxes
online. This is a completely safe way to file your taxes remotely and
easily, with the IRS-certified VITA assistance you trust.
Register today! Call Eileen at 305-451-1414 or our website: https://web.keylargochamber.org/events
Learn more at: www.KeysUnitedWay.org/vita
Questions: Contact us at VITA@keysunitedway.org or 305-563-1470
6 APRIL 2021
April 2021 For event details visit www.keylargochamber.org/calendar.cfm
Check out our event calendar on the chambers website for any updates…. www.keylargochamber.org 1 2 3
8 Chamber Lunch Virtual Tour Nike Hercules Missile Site 12:00 PM 11 Members Virt al Lunch with the TDC 12:00 PM
DAC 5 Meeting 10:00 AM REEF Virtual Field Trips Open House 8:00 PM
Keys History & Discovery Center Lecture Series 6:00 PM
BOCC Meeting 9:00 AM History of Dive Women in Maritime Archaeology 7:00 PM (zoom)
Spring Break Monroe County Schools
BOCC Meeting 9:00 AM
Spring Break Monroe County Schools
TDC Meeting 10:00 AM
29 Members in Motion Playa Largo 5:30 PM Check out our event calendar on the chambers website for any updates…. www.keylargochamber.org 30
TDC Meeting 10:00 AM
Key Largo Chamber of Commerce Trustees Key Largo Chamber of Co erce Trustees
APRIL 2021 7
SBA PPP Deadline Extended to May 31 Restaurant Relief Funds and more updates from the SBDC at FIU.
in the EIDL loan cap from $150,000 to $500,000. An excellent summary of the provisions and the benefits to small businesses is available via the U.S. Chamber of Commerce here: https://www.uschamber. com/co/start/strategy/federal-small- business-stimulus-aid-programs-guide. More information on the different SBA programs is also available via the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) website here: https://www.sba.gov/ funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief- option. The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) has another summary here on PPP changes for the self- employed: https://nase.org/covid-19 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Congress recently passed legislation to extend the deadline for the PPP program to May 31, 2021. The bill also gives the SBA an additional month,
through June 30th, to process any backlogged applications. You can visit the U.S. Treasury PPP website for more information, applications, and fact sheets https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/ cares/assistance-for-small-businesses A good PPP FAQ document is available here from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: https://www.uschamber.com/co/run/ business-financing/commonly-asked- questions-coronavirus-small-business- loans. Borrowers should start with their local bank or the bank that made their initial PPP loan. But if you need to find a new lender, you can review the list of PPP lenders here: https://www.sba.gov/ PaycheckProtection/find Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL): Congress extended the EIDL program through December 31, 2021, pending the availability of funds. These are working capital loans for financial obligations and
Due to the hardships that so many of our country’s small businesses are continuing to suffer, Congress recently passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to provide additional assistance to businesses impacted by the pandemic. The President signed ARPA into law in March 2021. In particular, the package included several changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), created a new $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund, and added additional funds to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) programs. There have also been recent administrative changes to relief programs such as an extension of the PPP program through May 31, 2021 and an increase
8 APRIL 2021
operating expenses that would have been covered had the pandemic not occurred. The current rate is 3.75 percent for businesses with up to a 30-year term. No pre-payment penalties or fees. Businesses can apply here for an EIDL loan: https:// covid19relief.sba.gov/#/ If you received an EIDL in 2020 and it was capped at $150,000, you may be eligible to receive additional funds from the SBA. SBA recently announced that, starting the week of April 6, 2021, they were raising the maximum loan amount to up to 24-months of economic injury up to $500,000. SBA will be contacting eligible borrowers via email with additional instructions. More information is available here: https://www.sba.gov/article/2021/mar/24/ sba-increase-lending-limit-covid-19- economic-injury-disaster-loans Targeted EIDL Advance: ARPA added another $15 billion to the Targeted EIDL Advance program (for $35 billion total). This program provides SBA grants of $10,000 to businesses in low-income areas. A priority will be given for businesses who did not receive the full grant last year or were declined for the grant. More information is available at: https://www. sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid- 19-relief-options/covid-19-economic- injury-disaster-loan Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) Program : The SVOG program provides grants for live venue-related businesses who were impacted by the pandemic. To be eligible you must have experienced at least a 25 percent drop in gross earned income and be one of the following entities: Live venue operators or promoters; Theatrical producers; Live performing arts organization operators; Museum operators; Motion picture theatre operators; Talent representatives and Zoos. Grants must be used for specific expenses such as payroll, rent, utilities, and PPE. The program will begin accepting applications on April 8, 2021 via this
full-time employees and less than $5 million in annual revenue. More information is available here: https://www. connect2capital.com/p/soar-fund/ In partnership with AEO, Fiserv has launched a Back2Business Grants for Small Business Program. This program will award up to $10,000 to Black- and minority-owned businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 and social unrest. More information is available here: https://aeoworks.org/fiserv/?utm_ medium=email&utm_source=Marketo Florida Emergency Bridge Loan Program: Businesses who received a Florida Bridge Loan last year have begun inquiring for updates as loans are due to be repaid soon. At this time, we have received no additional guidance from the State of Florida on possible deferments or extensions. That being said, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has recognized the difficult circumstances still faced by small businesses impacted by the pandemic and that due dates are fast approaching. It is our understanding that they have initiated a survey of bridge loan borrowers to receive feedback on their business and loan statuses. That survey and the business responses are expected to better inform the State of Florida in determining additional steps to possibly take. If you want to contact them directly for more information, you can reach DEO at: Email: EmergencyBridgeLoan@deo. myflorida.com / Phone: (833) 832-4494. You may also contact Florida SBDC at FIU to speak with an SBDC Finance Specialist. They can provide you with instructions on how to repay a bridge loan or guidance on long-term financing that may help you pay off the bridge loan. You can view recent FSBDC at FIU webinars and trainings, including recent COVID-19 webinars, on our YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/
portal: https://www.svograntportal.sba. gov/s/ Businesses should be aware that they must register with the System for Award Management (SAM) to apply for the SVOG program. Tutorials on registering on SAM are available here: SBA Tutorial: https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=y2t5queourQ. Additional program details are available here: https:// www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/ coronavirus-relief-options/shuttered- venue-operators-grant Restaurant Revitalization Fund: ARPA also included $28.6 billion for the SBA to make industry-focused grants for pandemic-related revenue loss. Grants are capped at up to $10 million per entity or $5 million per physical location. Eligible businesses include: Restaurants; Food stands/food carts; Food trucks; Caterers; Saloons/taverns; Inns; Bars/lounges and Brewpubs/Tasting Rooms/Taprooms. Ineligible businesses include those that have owners that operate more than 20 restaurants. Any restaurant or bar that is part of a publicly traded company or owned by a state or local government is also ineligible. The National Restaurant Association has a helpful fact sheet on the program here: https://restaurant.org/downloads/pdfs/ advocacy/understandingrrf The U.S. Chamber also has a guide to the program, including a webinar, that is available here: https://www.uschamber. com/co/run/business-financing/ restaurant-revitalization-fund-grants- guide Lastly, the Independent Restaurant Coalition has a number of webinars and resources available here: https://www. saverestaurants.com/resources/ National Grant and Loan Programs: The Southern Opportunity and Resilience (SOAR) Fund will be offering loans of up to $100,000 for eligible businesses. Eligible businesses include Florida- based businesses with fewer than 50
UCYXxvXf2QuS0Dso-i3xqd1w Call the Florida SBDC at FIU 305.522.1363 for assistance.
APRIL 2021 9
Dennis Caltagirone (2020 – 2022) Chairman Art By Lee 2020 Board of Directors
Roberto Alonso (2020 - 2022) Chairman Elect Borland & Associates Mark Charles (2020 - 2022) Immediate Past Chairman Bungalows Key Largo
Enrique“Henry”Menendez (2020 - 2022) HNO Productions Inc.
Don Fanelli (2020 - 2022) Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Blaine Vernicek (2021 - 2023) The Structure Group
Melissa Fernandez (2021 - 2023) J.A. LaRocco Enterprise Inc & All Keys Concrete, LLC
We are stronger together!
County Building Department to Open for In-Person Services on April 12
The Monroe County permitting offices will be replacing the permit drop-off/ pick-up and mail-in system with in- person permitting services, starting on Monday, April 12. The reopening plan of in-person intake and issuance will try to minimize delivery delays. COVID-19 precautions will be in place at all four permitting offices. Three offices have insufficient space and will be open with limits to maintain the Center for Disease Control (CDC) distancing guidelines. All customers must wear facial coverings in all offices. There are no restrictions on the number of permit applications a person can submit. Due to space limitations, meetings with plans examiners, inspectors, planners, and biologists will continue via phone, email, and Zoom. Please plan appropriately. Pre-COVID-19, staff tried to assist all customers who arrived before 3 p.m., but now all customers who arrive before or at 3 p.m. may not be served. Resulting from COVID-19, there may also be a backlog of dropped-off permit applications when we make this transition. Staff is working to eliminate the backlog. Date and time order may be disrupted until all backlogged drop-off applications are processed. “We are working very hard to alleviate the backlog, but the construction industry is very busy,” said Administrative Director of Permitting Ed Koconis. “As conditions change, we will continue to make changes to improve services proactively.” Key Largo: Two Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) at front counter 6 feet apart with the ability to do intake and issuance. There will be one line for customers with 6 feet of distance between customers. Those waiting can likely be accommodated indoors. Key Largo is the only office where
sufficient space will allow for a separate area outside of the permitting line to submit applications for Planning & Environmental Resources, including but not limited to variances, conditional uses, and ROGO applications. Submittal of these Planning & Environmental Resources applications will occur at a marked location in the lobby near the CSRs. Planning & Environmental Resources applications will then be sent to Marathon for processing. Marathon: Two CSRs at front counter 6 feet apart with the ability to do intake and issuance. Due to space limitations, there will be a sign indicating only two people at one time inside the permit lobby. There will be one line for customers with 6 feet of distance between customers. Waiting will likely occur indoors and outdoors. Planning & Environmental Resources applications will be accepted and processed upstairs in the Planning & Environmental Resources Department. Ocean Reef: While in the temporary trailer, drop-off will continue. When
the new building opens, one CSR at the front counter with customers 6 feet apart. Waiting will occur outside. Planning & Environmental Resources applications will be submitted in the same manner then sent to Marathon for processing. Stock Island: One CSR at the front counter with customers 6 feet apart. Waiting will occur outside the office in an indoor hallway. Planning & Environmental Resources applications will be submitted in the same manner then sent to Marathon for processing. Moving toward more efficiency, County staff will be seeking Board of County Commissioner approval to replace the outdated permitting software system with an online system for permitting, plans review, and inspections. The new system will allow staff to review the applications and plans simultaneously throughout the four permitting offices, lessening the 35-day-minimum plan review process. The earliest the system will go live is tentatively April 2022.
APRIL 2021 11
O P E
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305.852.2431 • www.FKEC.com
Key Largo Chamber of Commerce 106000 Overseas Highway
Key Largo, FL 33037 www.Keylargo.org
Mission Statement of the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce Creating a vibrant business and community environment