NAPLES — Were you out of town last week or too busy to follow all the local news?
Here is a look back at the week that was in Southwest Florida:
Construction of Collier County’s first long-term care hospital is to get underway next spring and take a year to complete.
Landmark Hospitals, a privately-held long-term care hospital company headquartered in Cape Girardeau, Mo., is to build the $22 million-plus hospital near Creekside Boulevard and Goodlette-Frank Road in North Naples.
Landmark had applied last year to the state Agency for Health Care Administration to build a 50-bed hospital for patients with complex medical needs.
The state rejected the application, and Landmark appealed to the Division of Administrative Hearings. A deal then was reached between Landmark and the state.
Landmark is buying 4½ acres northeast of Creekside Boulevard and Goodlette-Frank Road that is owned by Barron Collier Cos. The project will create 150 jobs.
Long-term care hospitals serve patients who have complex issues
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the Collier County Airport Authority has been awarded two grants for a total of about $8 million to rehabilitate the Immokalee and Marco Island airports.
The Immokalee Regional Airport received $6.6 million to rehabilitate the runway, and Marco Island Airport received $1.49 million to improve the main apron, according to a DOT notification.
The $6.6 million Immokalee runway work must be finished by September 2014. Other Immoklaee airport improvements include airfield lighting, grading and drainage, additional fencing, improvement of the taxiway connectors and decoupling the two runways.
The entire Immokalee Regional Airport project is estimated to cost $8 million, with county government investing $800,000.
Construction at the Marco Island Executive Airport would start when it wouldn’t affect the majority of seasonal customers.
After four months and nine noncompliant inspections, Collier County code enforcement officials agreed Flynt Sexy Gifts on Pine Ridge Road complies with the county’s 1991 sexually oriented business ordinance.
However, a Collier County judge then signed an order allowing store owner Jimmy Flynt’s landlord, Goodland Corners LLC, to evict him for nonpayment of rent.
Flynt, co-founder of Hustler, said he might appeal the ruling if they can’t resolve the dispute. He noted the lease was signed in August 2012 and construction delays and the landlord splitting the shop into two spaces led to interior shop construction delays and being unable to open until after season.
Collier County residents who intend to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act will have 55 different plans to choose from, state insurance officials said.
In Lee County, 42 plans will be offered, state officials say.
Only the Jacksonville-based Florida Blue and a subsidiary, Health Options, which offers health maintenance organizations (HMOs), will serve Collier as the “individual mandate” when the health reform law takes effect Jan. 1.
The federal government has been in charge of negotiating with insurance companies and setting up the online exchange for the state. The Florida Legislature in the spring opted not to handle setting up its own exchanges.
Heavy rains left some streets in Collier County under water, and county growth management officials said they have targeted dozens of areas that recently have flooded or experienced standing water in recent weeks.
Between Wednesday night and Thursday, the county identified flooding in four areas — Pine Ridge Estates, Forest Lakes, Quail Run and Golden Gate — and received more than 40 requests for road maintenance crews to respond to flood-related issues.
“It is a 25-year rain event,” said Connie Deane, a county government spokeswoman. “We have had an excessive amount of rain this rainy season, 60 percent more than normal, and Southwest Florida and Collier County is a very low-lying area. It takes a while (for the water) to dissipate.”
According to the South Florida Water Management District, 2.94 inches of rain fell in Naples during a 24-hour period ending early Thursday.
Patients at a Fort Myers mental health hospital told detectives sordid stories of sexual abuse by Benjamin Bland, leading to his arrest.
One woman said Bland, a medical technician at Park Royal Hospital, sexually battered her in a bathroom. Another said Bland coaxed her into a closet, then closed the door and forced her to touch his genitals.
Arrested Wednesday, the 44-year-old Fort Myers resident faces five sexual misconduct charges of an employee having sex with a patient in a mental health treatment center.
The five women made various allegations against Bland, with some saying they voluntarily engaged in sex acts and others accusing Bland of forcing himself on them. Any sex act with a patient is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, regardless of whether the patient consented.
Plans to drill an exploratory oil well in Golden Gate Estates gained approval Friday from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Residents living near the planned horizontal oil wells and opponents of the project reacted angrily as they learned of DEP’s approval from news reporters.
“It’s unconscionable to be doing this right next to people’s homes,” opponent Karen Dwyer said.
The project is planned by Texas-based Dan A. Hughes Co.
“The applicant has demonstrated that it will adhere to the department’s strict regulatory requirements, which ensure public safety and protection of our natural resources,” the DEP said in a statement. “DEP experts have spent months reviewing these permit applications to ensure compliance with Florida’s stringent standards and the law, which are protective of the environment and human health and safety.”
Collier County School District teachers will get a 7.2 percent retroactive raise.
“I’ll tell you, as of right now, this is the best settlement in the state. Hands down,” union Executive Director Jonathan Tuttle said Friday.
The 7.2 percent raise is expected to average about $3,550 per employee and some of the money will come from the governor’s across-the-board $2,500 raise. After being split between all instructional employees, building administrators, charter school teachers and having taxes taken out, the statewide “governor’s” raise amounts to $1,750, Tuttle said. That pay increase will be rolled into the raises Collier teachers see, not in addition to it.
The raise is retroactive to July 1, 2013.