Mayor Anderson Honors Guy Whitesman with a Key to the City of Fort Myers

 Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., is pleased to announce that The Florida Bar Tax Section celebrated Guy E. Whitesman as the 2021-2022 Gerald T. Hart Outstanding Tax Attorney of the Year at a reception held Saturday evening, May 21. During the reception, City of Fort Myers Mayor Kevin B. Anderson honored Whitesman with a key to the city. The tradition of granting a key to the city dates back to medieval times, and it symbolizes the freedom of the recipient to enter and leave the city at will as a trusted friend of city residents. Whitesman was honored with a key to the City of Fort Myers for his outstanding contributions and dedication of service to the community.

Whitesman concentrates his practice in mergers and acquisitions, business organization operations and planning, taxation, estate planning and healthcare law. He is the past chair of both The Florida Bar’s Tax Law Section and Tax Law Certification Committee. He is also the immediate past chair of Henderson Franklin’s Business and Tax Department. Whitesman has been Board Certified in Tax Law since 1992.

Whitesman has received much recognition over the years, including being named to Florida Super Lawyers® Magazine every year since 2006, Best Lawyers in America every year since 2013, a Naples Illustrated “Top Lawyer,” and a Florida Trend “Legal Elite.” Best Lawyers in America also named Whitesman “2021 Corporate Law Lawyer of the Year in Fort Myers,” “2020 Trusts and Estates Lawyer of the Year in Fort Myers,” “2019 Tax Lawyer of the Year in Fort Myers,” and “2017 Corporate Lawyer of the Year in Fort Myers.”

Whitesman received his undergraduate (B.A.) and law degree (J.D.) from University of Michigan, and his Masters in Taxation (LL.M., Taxation) from the University of Florida. He can be reached at or by phone at 239-344-1180.

Henderson Franklin is one of the largest, locally-based law firms between Tampa and Miami with over 60 attorneys dedicated to providing a wide range of legal services in the areas of business and tax planning, estate planning, family law, business and civil litigation, eminent domain, intellectual property, workers’ compensation, employment law, real estate, and land use and environmental law. Since 1924, Henderson Franklin has been assisting clients to build their homes, businesses, and communities in Southwest Florida. Henderson Franklin operates offices in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Naples and Sarasota (by appointment). For more information on Whitesman or Henderson Franklin, please visit

Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A.

Gail Lamarche




  • Legal & Law

Mayor Cantrell Keeps NOLA Culture Alive with Family Gras, The Batistes & More

In advance of Mardi Gras, The Batistes, NOLA’s Royal Family of Music join in Family Gras Celebration with thanks to Mayor Cantrell and her Office of Cultural Economy, Keeping Music, NOLA’s Cuisine & Joy Flowing!

The Batistes & NOLA Mayor's Cultural Economy Team

The Batistes & NOLA Mayor’s Cultural Economy Team


And the beat goes on with Louisiana Hall of Famer, David Batiste on today, Saturday, February 19, 2022 in the line-up at Family Gras, a free music festival taking place  two weeks in advance of Fat Tuesday.

“As we always say ‘ music is healing’ and it’s great to be leading the way to getting back on track after two years of having the music scene in New Orleans impacted by the pandemic,” said David Batiste. “It’s great to be a part of a festival paying tribute to Allen Toussaint and on the same bill as Marie Osmond, Sister Sledge, Girl Named Tom, Ann Wilson of Heart and others including the Batiste Brothers working to safely bring back the music.

Family Gras, just a few minutes from downtown New Orleans, yearly has had crowds surpassing 80,000 people. Held from Friday, February 18, through Sunday, February 20, Family Gras includes national and Louisiana artists, interactive games, New Orleans cuisine, kids entertainment and more.

“It’s a family affair in more ways than one,” said Damon Batiste, New Orleans Cultural Ambassador and Founder of NOSACONN, Inc. (New Orleans South Africa Connection).  “My Dad’s Band, ‘David and the Gladiators’ and also my uncle Paul’s band, “The Batiste Brothers” are helping to bring back the fun and music. And above all, Mayor Cantrell and her Office of Cultural Economy are leading the way for New Orleans’ culture to take center stage in the nation and the world with our own unique NOLA Flava!”

Coming off a recent trip to South Africa (…) his 82nd trip to Africa, the younger Batiste, will soon be on his way back to Africa in March to solidify sister city relationships between New Orleans and Durban, South Africa and other sister cities.  “It’s like the original African beats of Congo Square inspire me to make the connection between the motherland and New Orleans.  Yes the beat goes on as I work not only on culture and arts but tourism and trade generating business,” added Batiste.

For more details about Family Gras click here. (…)



David Batiste, Musician & Louisiana Hall of Famer

Alana Harris, Deputy of Arts and Culture

Lisa Alexis, Director of Mayor’s Office of Culture Economy

Damon Batiste, Musician & Founder of NOSACONN~New Orleans-South Africa Connection

Bryon S. Cornelison, Deputy Director of Programs


Congratulations to Batiste’s NOLA Royal Family member Jon Batiste! Oscar, Golden Globe, Annie Award, NAACP Image, 11 Grammy Nominations:

Related NOLA RFM: Music is Healing:

Flagstaff Mayor Deasy, Tó Nizhóní Ání, Local Leaders Support Clean Transportation Investment

PHOENIXJuly 28, 2021PRLog(Flagstaff, AZ) — Flagstaff Mayor Paul Deasy and community leaders urged Arizona’s elected leaders in Washington to support federal investments in clean transportation infrastructure in Flagstaff, the Navajo Nation and Northern Arizona. The press conference was sponsored by Moms Clean Air Force Arizona and is part of a series of grassroots events coordinated by the Climate Action Campaign.

Speakers called for Congress to pass bold federal investments in clean transportation to support the expansion of electric buses and electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure in Flagstaff. This expansion will further boost the local economy while helping to clean up the air for northern parts of the state.

Flagstaff Mayor Paul Deasy said, “Cities like Flagstaff have already recognized the need to transition to a cleaner economy. We know that e-buses and clean transit infrastructure have immense potential, which is why we need federal action with robust investments to help our cities accelerate the expansion.”

Transportation accounts for the largest source of climate-harming carbon pollution in the United States. Modernizing Arizona’s transportation sector and investing in clean-transit buses are critical to combating climate change.

“In Arizona, wildfires and extreme heat make it crystal clear that we need urgent action on climate,” said Adrian Herder, media coordinator, Tó Nizhóní Ání. “We need to make a strong move toward clean energy, and we’re calling for our representatives in Washington to support bold and strong investments in that effort.”

“Extreme weather events like droughts and wildfires are a direct threat to our livelihoods,” said Jim Babbitt, retired businessman and Owner of Babbitt Ranches. “Urgent action on climate and funding for clean technology like electric vehicle infrastructure is necessary to secure the future viability of ranching.”

Investments in clean transportation and electric buses and vehicles are essential to meeting Flagstaff’s climate goals, reducing air pollution, improving public health, achieving environmental justice and spurring the economy. Arizona is home to a growing base of electric vehicle manufacturing, including right here in Flagstaff. Meaningful federal investments can spur the advancement of this industry, which leads to cleaner air, reduced fuel costs and more family-sustaining jobs for our communities.

Jack Fitchett, MPA, business attraction manager, City of Flagstaff said, “We have already had an EV manufacturer move into Flagstaff, so we are first hand proof that commitments to clean energy are a recipe for economic growth. With a strong infrastructure plan from Washington, we can bring new businesses and good jobs to Flagstaff and Arizona.”

Recent polling found that these investments are popular in Northern Arizona. Approximately 75% of voters in the 1st Congressional District support investments to rebuild roads and bridges and modernize public transportation to ensure it is cleaner and able to serve more people. In addition, 57% also support investments in electric vehicles and charging stations to reduce pollution and help more Americans buy clean cars.

“Understanding that climate change is the most immediate and existential environmental justice issue, we must move quickly in scaling up investments in and adoption of clean energy, electric vehicles and smart charging technology; building out EV infrastructure; and stimulating the market for EVs so that the up-front costs come down quickly,” said Dara Marks-Marino, Environmental Justice Analyst at WattTime. “Financial investment in EVs and clean energy will directly lead to job growth and economic development.”

Speakers thanked Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly and Congressman Tom O’Halleran for their climate leadership. They also urged continued support for clean energy growth and the expansion of the market for clean vehicles and buses in order to improve public health and create economic opportunity for all Arizonans.

For a video of the press conference, please visit [HERE (].

D.C. Mayor, Public Library, Public Schools, Pro Sports Teams, Leading Edtech Companies Come Together to Accelerate Literacy with Summer Reading Program

Many cities and states across America including Dallas, Memphis, San Jose, Nashville, Chicago have implemented a focus on high-impact learning as the key to unravel the learning loss due to the pandemic and inevitable summer slide. Though few are investing public funds and creating innovative initiatives to drive high-impact tutoring, a proven high-impact learning lever. 

To sign up, go to:

According to Annenberg Institute at Brown, DC is the leading city in how to effectively implement high-impact tutoring and leverage important partners in the effort. The DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has put aside $41M in the mayoral budget for high-impact tutoring as a critical lever to recover from immense learning loss caused by the pandemic.

With the emphasis from the mayor and the importance of reading recovery, the D.C. Public Library, D.C. Public Schools (DCPS), several D.C. Public Charter Schools, the Washington Football Team, Washington Nationals, D.C. United and learning technology companies HMH and Amira Learning announced today their participation in the D.C. Reads with Amira initiative, as part of the D.C. Public Library’s “Read20: Summer Challenge 2021”. The program provides all students throughout DCPS and several area charter networks entering the second through fifth grades access to Amira Learning’s first-of-its-kind personalized AI reading tutor for 10 weeks this summer.

The D.C. Reads with Amira program, part of the D.C. Public Library’s Summer Challenge 2021, aims to help learners accelerate literacy skills and increase access to reading practice as students and teachers work to reconnect and recover from the challenges brought on by the pandemic. As the Washington Post recently reported, the number of D.C. first and second graders reaching literacy targets has dropped this year, a pattern that is present nationwide as typical learning growth has been impacted in the wake of interrupted learning (PACE).   

“After a tough year, our students and families deserve a fun summer and the chance to be back together with their friends, coaches, camp counselors, teachers, and mentors,” said Mayor Bowser. “With the Summer Reading Challenge, the return of camps, and the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program, we’re offering a summer filled with opportunity for our young people. Our other focus remains to get all young people 12 and up vaccinated against COVID-19.”

Three Stories a Day, Three Times a Week

Research has shown that children who read with Amira frequently (around 45 minutes per week) have more than doubled their reading growth in just two months. From June 28-August 30, D.C. Reads with Amira is encouraging all students from participating schools to read with Amira for at least three stories a day, three times a week, for 10 weeks, which totals at least 72 stories for the duration of the program. 

“Reading is life’s most important skill. With the significant decline in reading and learning over the pandemic we’ve taken action with DC, the leader of high impact tutoring, to provide the tools and practice for students to become great readers,” said Mark Angel, CEO and Co-Founder of Amira Learning. “Amira uses AI to make practice fun and productive. Amira listens as a child reads aloud, then provides personalized tutoring and encouragement to build reading skills.” 

“As the largest K-12 learning technology company, HMH works with school districts nationwide and we are seeing firsthand the impact that our partnership with Amira is making each day—fueling literacy growth for students and supporting educators with meaningful insights and tools for differentiation, even amidst the challenges of the past year,” said Matthew Mugo Fields, General Manager and EVP, Supplemental and Intervention Solutions, HMH. “We’re excited to see our D.C. students dive into reading with Amira this summer and beyond.” 

The initiative falls under D.C.’s larger “Read20: Summer Challenge 2021” program focused on accelerating reading and learning among all students by reading 20 minutes a day. The goal of D.C. Reads with Amira is to encourage students to read as much as possible via access to Amira’s personalized AI reading tutor anytime and anywhere they have a basic internet connection, whether a student is at home or at school.

Participating students who read regularly with Amira throughout the summer will be eligible to receive recognition and prizes, including special opportunities from the Washington National Football Team, Washington Nationals, and D.C. United of Major League Soccer. Additional details on prizes will be announced in the coming weeks.

First-of-its-Kind AI Tutor Technology

Amira’s technology uses AI to listen to a child as they read and respond along the way.  When Amira identifies an opportunity to help build or reinforce a child’s foundational reading skills, Amira delivers personalized “micro-interventions” that were developed in partnership with many of the country’s top reading experts. Through its partnership with learning technology company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which reaches more than 90% of the country’s K-12 classrooms, Amira is already used in over 300 school districts across the U.S. 

To sign up and learn more about the “D.C. Reads With Amira” program, parents and students can visit 

About Amira Learning 

Founded by a team of former engineers and executives from Pearson, IBM, ACT, and Renaissance, and nested in 20 years of research from Carnegie Mellon, Amira Learning is on a mission to help close the 32 million person word gap in America by creating personalized and engaging reading experiences for children. 

 Amira Learning software is currently being used by over 300 school districts in 48 states, and 6 countries globally, through a partnership with learning technology company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  If you are a district administrator and would like to introduce Amira Learning into your classroom, visit In March, Amira Learning launched its brand new at-home app, Read with Amira. Right now, parents can accelerate their child’s reading journey for only $7.99 per month by visiting 

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (NASDAQ: HMHC) is a learning technology company committed to delivering connected solutions that engage learners, empower educators and improve student outcomes. As a leading provider of K–12 core curriculum, supplemental and intervention solutions and professional learning services, HMH partners with educators and school districts to uncover solutions that unlock students’ potential and extend teachers’ capabilities. HMH serves more than 50 million students and 3 million educators in 150 countries. For more information, visit