Mediterranean fruit flies were found in the area, causing concern that last year's eradication program failed. The Agriculture Commission's plans to protect the citrus industry include releasing sterile medflies and spraying insecticide to contain the outbreak.
The Florida Center for Manufacturing Excellence is offering free fast-track training to help local manufacturers fill vacant technical jobs. So far, 59 people have signed up for courses such as welding, soldering and warehousing for entry-level jobs in Manatee and Sarasota counties.
FORT MYERS BEACH
The Lani Kai Island Resort spent more than $1 million on improvements, redoing all 100 rooms and adding a new lobby, restaurant and waterfall. It also gained Quality Inn and Suites franchise status.
The Philharmonic Center for the Performing Arts expects to build a $5 million, three-story art museum. Plans call for a 23,000-square-foot structure attached to the performance center. The museum will feature a 3,800-square-foot glass dome opening into the existing sculpture garden.
The Argus Foundation, a group of influential and conservative businessmen, along with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the Selby Foundation, the Sarasota Community Foundation and the Venice Foundation, will fund an "effectiveness audit" of the Sarasota school system and individual schools. The audit intends to show where the county's schools stand relative to national standards, then set goals.
Echelon International Corp. (NYSE-EIN) is planning a mixed-use complex in the Carillon corporate park with construction to begin in 1999. The project may also include a megaplex theater, extended-stay hotel, a bookstore and other retail outlets, offices and an athletic club. The complex will have about 100,000 square feet of space and parking for 4,000 vehicles.
JumboSports (NYSE: JSI) is opening new stores this summer in Daytona Beach and Brandon and closing two underperformers in Texas. Brandon will get a test-model 66,000-square-foot superstore with interactive sports activities and audio/ visual presentations.
Chemical company JLM Industries (Nasdaq: JLMI), which went public last July, has made three major acquisitions in recent months. The company bought Tolson Holding B.V., a Dutch chemical distribution and trading firm, to increase JLM's business in Asia and Europe. It also bought White Plains, N.Y.-based Browning Chemical Corp., a marketer of inorganic chemicals serving industrial and food processing markets. JLM also entered into a long-term agreement with St. Louis-based Solutia Inc. for chemicals from a new plant in Pensacola.