Retired educators

The next Charlotte County Retired Educators Association meeting will be at 11 a.m. today at Perkins restaurant in Port Charlotte.

Audubon banquetThe Peace River Audubon Society will host its annual banquet at 5:30 p.m. March 19 at Twin Isles Country Club, 301 Madrid Blvd, Punta Gorda. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. This year’s speaker is Brad Cornell, Policy Director for Audubon of the Western Everglades and Florida Audubon with a talk titled: “Protection of the Florida Panther.” Reservations cost $38 per person and should be made by March 9 and $40 after that date. For more info: www.peaceriveraudubon.org or email banquet1@peaceriveraudubon.org or call 717-880-3341.

Free garden talksThe PGI Green Thumbs organization is sponsoring a series of informal garden talks on the third Friday of each month, January through April, from 9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. at the Punta Gorda Nature Park, at the corner of Bal Harbor Boulevard and Aqui Esta Drive. These are free and open to the public. Each talk will cover a different topic for gardeners to learn about and apply at home.

March 20: Bromeliads

April 17: Pruning Your Landscape

All talks will be led by experienced gardeners associated with the nonprofit Green Thumbs organization. Seating is limited, so consider bringing your own chair. For more information, contact Joyce Laubach at joycelaubach@hotmail.com or 484-535-0520.

Annual Peace River National Art FestivalThe Annual Peace River National Art Festival will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. March 21-22 in Laishley Park, Punta Gorda. The festival, hosted by the Visual Arts Center, is Charlotte County’s leading outdoor fine art event featuring 60-plus artists and their work in art glass, fiber arts, jewelry, leather goods, metalwork, oil paintings, photography, pottery, sculpture, abstracts and watercolor. There also will be a selection of tasty foods, wine and beer. Artists Lori Potts and Kathy Wood have been selected as this year’s Featured Artists. Their work will be featured at the festival and ahead of time at the Visual Arts Center, 210 Maud St., Punta Gorda.

DeSoto Pioneer Day

The DeSoto County Historical Society’s 16th Annual Pioneer Day and BBQ showcases the history and heritage of Southwest Florida from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. March 21 at Veterans Memorial Park, on State Road 70 just west of Arcadia. This year’s festival will commemorate the centennial anniversary of Arcadia General Hospital—now DeSoto Memorial Hospital. Fun for the whole family includes special and traditional Florida foods plus bodacious barbecue, demonstrations of old-fashioned skills and crafts, legendary characters, musical entertainment, live animals, Florida Cracker cow camp, whip crackers, Civil War weapons demonstrations, vintage automobiles and antique engines, Florida authors and artists, free “discover history” hands-on activities with old-fashioned games, fossil dig, etc. For information: 863-266-5774 or http://www.historicdesoto.org/pioneerday-1.html.

Snowbird Baseball Classic

The Snowbird Baseball Classic continues through March 22. In its 12th season, the tournament welcomes 21 NCAA Division I and 23 Division III schools. Games will be played at North Charlotte Regional Park, soon to be called Centennial Park (1185 O’Donnell Blvd, Port Charlotte), South County Regional Park (670 Cooper St., Punta Gorda), and CoolToday Park, the new spring training home of the Atlanta Braves (18800 S. West Villages Parkway, North Port in Sarasota County). A complete list of teams and the full schedule are available at www.snowbirdbaseball.info. Last year’s Snowbird Baseball Classic generated an estimated $13.3 million total economic impact. For additional information about the Snowbird Baseball Classic, contact Deanna Sandei with Snowbird Baseball at 708-220-2769 or deanna@snowbirdbaseball.com.

Quit smoking program

Bayfront Health Port Charlotte offers a free program, Tools to Quit: Free Help to Quit Smoking, at 2:30 p.m. March 23 in the hospital’s conference center, 2500 Harbor Blvd., Port Charlotte. Bayfront Health and Tobacco Free Florida offer free tools and services. Call 866-534-7909 to register.

Stress management

Bayfront Health is offering a free stress management class at 1:15 p.m. March 24 at Bayfront Health Wellness & Rehab Center, 733 E. Olympia Ave., Punta Gorda. Learn techniques to recognize, manage, overcome and cope. Call 941-637-2450 to register.

‘Side by Side’ documentary screening

The Mid-County Regional Library, 2050 Forrest Nelson Blvd., Port Charlotte, presents the screening of the documentary “Side by Side” 6 p.m. March 24. Meet documentary filmmaker Ron Taylor to discuss his film, a story about his son, Micah, a child with significant disabilities, and his family’s efforts to give him a quality life. The film shows Micah’s ups and downs, smiles and tears, setbacks and milestones. “Side by Side” will soon be released to television and education media. Taylor will be available for questions as well as feedback. This program is free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations needed. For information, contact Bill MacDonald at 941-613-3192 or Bill.MacDonald@CharlotteCountyFL.gov.

Sport court resurfacing

Multiple Charlotte County parks will be undergoing sport court resurfacing through March 31. Sport court amenities will be closed during this time. The parks being resurfaced are: Bissett Park basketball and tennis courts, 12455 Path Ave., Punta Gorda; Englewood East Park basketball courts, 11120 Sunnydale Ave., Englewood; Harold Avenue Regional Park basketball courts, 23400 Harold Ave., Port Charlotte. For information, contact Lacey Solomon at 941-613-3238 or Lacey.Solomon@CharlotteCountyFL.gov.

Friday fish fry

The Knights of Columbus-St. Charles will hold a Fish Fry every Friday through April 3 from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. in the Parish Center, 21505 Augusta Ave., Port Charlotte. Dinners are $10: fish (grouper) & chips, baked white fish dinner, combo dinner with fish and shrimp, and deep-fried shrimp. Dinners are served with French fries or mashed potatoes, green beans or corn, cole slaw, bread and dessert. There also is a baked Atlantic salmon dinner for $12 along with a special featured dinner. Macaroni and cheese and soups also will be available as well as bar drinks. For weekly specials or additional information, call Dave 404-944-9172.

East Charlotte Avenue closure

The city of Punta Gorda Wastewater Collection Division has started a Gravity Sewer Replacement Project on East Charlotte Avenue between Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd and Cooper Street. The project is estimated to take approximately two months to complete and will be done in three phases. During this time, sections of East Charlotte Avenue will be closed to traffic depending upon the phase:

Phase 1: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd to Milus Street

Phase 2: Milus Street to Mary Street

Phase 3: Mary Street to Booth Street

Motorists are encouraged to drive with extreme caution while in this area. For additional information on this project, please contact Bobby Legg, Jr, Wastewater Collections Supervisor, city of Punta Gorda Utilities Department at 941-575-5088 between the business hours of 7:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Nighttime Olean closures

Olean Boulevard, between U.S. 41 and Harbor Boulevard, will be closed nightly from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice. Aaron Street, between Harbor Boulevard to Olean Boulevard, will be closed nightly from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice. Traffic will use Brinson for the detour. The emergency room entrance for Fawcett Hospital will remain open for local traffic. This closure is required for construction of the Olean widening project and to prevent disruption to the local businesses. Detour signs will be in place directing traffic. Travelers are encouraged to choose an alternate route, such as Harbor Boulevard, when possible. The Public Works Department reminds motorists to remain alert at all times and to exercise caution when traveling in the vicinity of construction zones. For information on this project, visit www.CharlotteCountyFL.gov/Olean.

Pet licensing options

Charlotte County Animal Control is announcing several new ways to purchase your pet’s license tag. Effective March 2, all Charlotte County Tax Collector’s Offices will be offering animal tags at any of their locations in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Englewood and Murdock. Pet owners are required to have a current and verifiable rabies vaccine for each pet to utilize these services. Please do not bring pets to the office, but service animals are welcome.

Due to these expanded options available to pet owners, Animal Control will no longer offer pet tags from our main office at 26571 Airport Road in Punta Gorda.

Pet owners who currently use their veterinarian to obtain pet tags can continue to do so.

Visit www.CharlotteCountyfl.gov for additional options or contact Administrative Services Coordinator Tracie Baird at 941-833-5684 or Tracie.Baird@CharlotteCountyFL.gov for more information.

Garden Club offers scholarships

The Punta Gorda Garden Club announced it will offer several higher education scholarships amounting up to $2,500 each. Application forms are available in the guidance offices at Charlotte High, Port Charlotte High, Lemon Bay High, Charlotte Technical School, Community Christian School, Florida SouthWestern Collegiate High School, and the financial aid office of Florida SouthWestern State College, or at the club’s website, www.pggc.org (scholarship page.) Applicants must be graduating high school seniors, current college students or graduate students. Previous winners of a Garden Club Scholarship may also apply for continuing awards. Home-schooled students who meet the criteria are also eligible. A written essay and three letters of recommendation must be included with the application. Requirements include a B or higher grade average, proof of financial need, and a desire to major in agronomy, botany, conservation, ecology, environmental sciences, environmental engineering, forestry, horticulture, landscape design, plant pathology or related fields. Deadline for submission is April 1. For additional application information, contact the school counselors or aid officers or PGGC Scholarship Chair Terry Tunkavige at 941-286-9998 or terrytunk@embarqmail.com.

College scholarship opportunity for women

Each year, Punta Gorda Charter Chapter of ABWA provides Stephen Bufton Memorial Educational Scholarships (SBMEF) to female students who will be attending accredited U.S colleges, universities. Applicants must be citizens of the United States; residents of Charlotte County, who will be at least a college freshman in August of 2020 and who maintain at least a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The Chapter is offering three scholarships worth $2,000 each funded through the Stephen Bufton Memorial Educational Fund. Eligible women interested in applying for the scholarship should contact alexia@whitcoinsurance.com or 941-421-2977. Applications must be completed by April 30. A minimum of three eligible completed applications are required in order for the scholarship to be awarded.

Portion of Loveland Boulevard closed

Loveland Boulevard from Midas Court to Old Landfill Road and Olean Boulevard from Swanee Road to Loveland Boulevard in Port Charlotte will be closed until Tuesday, June 30. The Utilities Department reminds motorists to remain alert at all times and to exercise caution when traveling in the vicinity of construction zones. For information, contact Dean Campbell at 941-764-4364 or Dean.Campbell@CharlotteCountyFL.gov.

Visually Impaired Peer Group open to new members

The Visually Impaired Peer Group of Charlotte County welcomes anyone with any degree of visual impairment. The group meets Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wintergarden Presbyterian Church for socializing, activities and support. Coffee and snacks are provided. Once a month, the group meets in an area restaurant for lunch. On another Tuesday, there is a sing-along with entertainers. There are occasional speakers on topics associated with the difficulties of living with limited vision. Please call Gwen Aubrey, President, at 941-235-3509 for additional information. Transportation to the meetings is available.

Charlotte County seeks volunteers

The Charlotte County Human Services Department is seeking volunteers in a variety of divisions and programs that assist those in need, including veteran services, housing assistance, case management, senior services, utilities and electric bill relief, client intake and assessment and juvenile justice. The department’s mission is to connect people with resources. Human Services is also seeking volunteers to welcome clients to its office. Hours are part-time and flexible. For information, call 211 or 941-205-2161 or visit the office at 1050 Loveland Blvd., Port Charlotte.

Library mobile app available

Charlotte County Libraries and History Services are pleased to introduce BLUEcloud Mobile, a mobile library application. BLUECloud Mobile can be downloaded to your phone or tablet for 24/7 access to your library. Available for iOS and Android devices, BLUEcloud Mobile’s range of features and functionality make the app the go-to resource for library patrons. You can search for Charlotte County Library in your device’s app store. For more information, contact Chris Carbone at 941-613-3216 or Chris.Carbone@CharlotteCountyFL.gov.

Punta Gorda calendar change

Due to the overwhelming number of non-permitted event requests to be added to the Punta Gorda city calendar, the city has changed its policy on submitting calendar requests. If you would like to add an event to the city calendar, complete this form online: www.ci.punta-gorda.fl.us/i-want-to/register-for/community-events. There is currently no option to upload a file or picture. If an Event Permit Application has been submitted, then the event will automatically be added to the city calendar. Questions can be directed to the city’s Communications Manager Melissa Reichert at MReichert@cityofpuntagordafl.com.

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