Bill Gunnin

Bill Gunnin

The North Port Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Cowork Hive of North Port, will host a series of debates for North Port City and Sarasota County Commission candidates.

The North Port Commission debate will 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, July 7, for District 1 and 2 seats. The Sarasota County Debate will be 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 9 for the District 5 seat.

Both debates will be shown live on the North Port Area Chamber’s Facebook page. Candidates will provide opening and closing statements, and will answer questions submitted by the chamber’s Government Relations Committee.

Candidates include:

• North Port Commissioner, District 1:

David Iannotti

Richard Suggs

Nicholas Trolli

• North Port Commissioner, District 2:

Cheryl Cook

Barbara Langdon

Jacqueline Moore

• Sarasota County Commissioner, District 5:

Ron Cutsinger

Christopher Hanks

Alice White

Board of Directors Ballots

We are officially announcing our 2020-2021 board of directors election ballot. There are 12 nominees seeking to join the board beginning Oct. 1. Chamber members may vote for five people to fill the vacancies, then return the ballot by mail, fax, e-mail or in person to the chamber office by 5 p.m. Friday, July 17.

Each board member must serve a minimum three-year term with the option to be included on the ballot for a second three-year term. The five nominees who receive the most votes will be selected to fill the vacancies. Nominees are:

• Dale Barghausen, Walmart store 3387

• Kristin Cawthorne, Stitching Solutions

• Kim French, Willis Smith Construction

• Kristen Gentry, Encompass Medical LLC

• Tony Gustitus, Rhonda Gustitus Team-Keller Williams Realty

• Carole Holden, Gelmtree Advertising

• Sharon Matthews, Allstate Insurance-Steve Matthews Agency

• Kim Moreland, EXIT King Realty

• Craig Olson, Edward Jones

• Lorsi Pizza, Lightspeed Voice

• Ed Rinkewich, Dream Vacations-Ed & Robin Rinkewich

• Debbie Snowden, Coldwell Banker Sunstar Realty

Fourth of July Fireworks

The city of North Port invites the community to unite and enjoy a special fireworks display, presented by American Irrigation. You can view on livestream on the Parks & Recreation Facebook page, Listeners can also enjoy the show by tuning in to WKDW 97.5 FM.

To adhere to CDC guidelines, the annual Freedom Festival will be a drive-in fireworks show, launched from North Port High School, 6400 Price Blvd. Attendees may park in high school lots, or across the street at Heron Creek Middle School and Butler Park. You must register for a parking pass to get into one of these lots. Register at As of Tuesday, about 75% of the parking passes had been issued.

Here is more information:

• Parking will open at 8 p.m. to accommodate the 9 p.m. fireworks show start. The display is expected to end around 9:30 p.m.

• Park in every other parking space.

• No tailgating, alcohol, personal fireworks, or sparklers.

• No RVs, trailers or commercial vehicles.

• The high school stadium, and all green spaces surrounding the three parking areas will remain closed to the public.

• Restroom and hand-washing facilities will be available at all lots.

Free Face Masks

Stop by our office, 1337 N. Sumter Blvd., from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays to get up to five free reusable cloth face masks.

We will be closed on Friday, in observance of Independence Day.

Summer “BILL”board Campaign

Our “BILL”board campaign is starting off to a smashing success for the chamber and its participating partners. Each day, I wear different business attire that has been provided by various business partners that request to have their business or organization promoted through this campaign. During the day, I will email a promotional flyer about their business or organization, post the promotional flyer and conduct a live posting on the chamber’s Facebook page. This program is free to all chamber businesses, and dates are still available.

This week, I’d like to thank Richard’s West Coast Cleaning, AAA Auto Club Group Port Charlotte, Coastal Quality Landscape, and Sign Shark, Inc.

New members

We would like to welcome Change Consulting Solutions LLC, Cocoa Yoga Café, Keller Williams Island Life Real Estate-BH Henry Group, and The Tree Store LLC as new members of the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce.

Bill Gunnin is executive director of the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce and can be reached at 941-564-3040 or, or visit


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