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Portrait of Lee County trailblazer to be unveiled

Picture of namesake to grace Melvin Morgan Constitutional Complex in Fort Myers  FORT MYERS, Fla. (Jan. 11, 2018) – One of the faces of Lee County history will soon appear in the building named in her honor. Administrators of the Melvin Morgan Constitutional Complex, along with Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann, will unveil a portrait…

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Portrait of Lee County trailblazer to be unveiled

Picture of namesake to grace Melvin Morgan Constitutional Complex in Fort Myers
 FORT MYERS, Fla. (Jan. 11, 2018) – One of the faces of Lee County history will soon appear in the building named in her honor. Administrators of the Melvin Morgan Constitutional Complex, along with Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann, will unveil a portrait of Melvin Morgan during a public ceremony at noon Friday, Jan. 12 on the third floor of the complex at 2480 Thompson St., Fort Myers.
Morgan is the only African American person ever to serve on the Lee County Commission. She was appointed in 1983 by Gov. Bob Graham, at the recommendation of Mann, to serve out the term of Fred Bartleson, who had resigned for health reasons.
The Dunbar native and longtime Lee County schoolteacher made a strong impression, building a reputation for being pleasant but firm and committed to fairness, justice and helping others. She brought experience as a mediator during the desegregation of Lee County schools. Morgan was the 1954 Dunbar High School salutatorian and later taught at the school. She was one of the first teachers to voluntarily leave her post to teach at an all- white elementary school.
In 1984, she returned to the school system, where she remained until her retirement in 1997. In 2013, the commission renamed the building that had been known as the Lee County Constitutional Complex after her.
A reception will be held in Morgan’s honor Friday at the unveiling, including a brief program with refreshments served to all in attendance.
About Lee County Tax Collector
Lee County Tax Collector (LCTC) exists to serve the citizens of Lee County. The office takes pride in organizational excellence and offering exemplary customer service, and operates by the credo of “We’ve got your back.” LCTC operates LeeTC.com, the official interactive website of the tax collector that allows county residents to quickly and easily take care of motor vehicle and vessel registration, pay property taxes, make appointment for concealed weapon permits and more. The agency operates six service centers open daily throughout the county to provide efficient, convenient services. LCTC works to provide innovative and quality service that supports the growth and sustainability of the community. For more information, visit LeeTC.com or follow Lee County Tax Collector on social media.

Second Saturday Divorce Workshop

Host: Anthony J Leopizzi, Verita Wealth Advisory Group Date and time: Saturday, January 13th, 10:00am-2:00PM Location: Florida Gulf Coast University, Cohen Center 162. 11090 FGCU Blvd North, Fort Myers, FL 33965 Description: SSW is three hour FREE in-person workshop where attendees can become educated regarding divorce in a private, relaxed environment. These workshops are headed…

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Second Saturday Divorce Workshop

Host: Anthony J Leopizzi, Verita Wealth Advisory Group
Date and time: Saturday, January 13th, 10:00am-2:00PM
Location: Florida Gulf Coast University, Cohen Center 162. 11090 FGCU Blvd North, Fort Myers, FL 33965
Description: SSW is three hour FREE in-person workshop where attendees can become educated regarding divorce in a private, relaxed environment. These workshops are headed by three divorce professionals- an attorney, mental health professional and financial professional. During our 3 hour presentation you can begin to get your questions answered regarding the legal, financial, and family aspects of divorce. Regardless of where you are in the divorce process- either contemplating a separation, in the middle of a divorce action and feel you need unbiased information, or considering a change of divorce process, we can help you feel more confident and secure in your decisions.

Celebrate Thomas Edison's 171st Birthday at Edison & Ford Winter Estates

FORT MYERS, Fla. (January 10, 2018) -- The public is invited to celebrate Thomas Edison's 171st birthday on February 9 at 10 a.m. at Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Birthday festivities include photo opportunities with "Thomas" and "Mina," students from the Edison Park Creative and Expressive Arts School will perform, author Nancy Hamilton will be available to sign her new book "100…

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Celebrate Thomas Edison's 171st Birthday at Edison & Ford Winter Estates

FORT MYERS, Fla. (January 10, 2018) — The public is invited to celebrate Thomas Edison’s 171st birthday on February 9 at 10 a.m. at Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Birthday festivities include photo opportunities with “Thomas” and “Mina,” students from the Edison Park Creative and Expressive Arts School will perform, author Nancy Hamilton will be available to sign her new book “100 Things to do in Fort Myers & Sanibel Before You Die,” everyone in attendance will sing happy birthday and cake will be served.
Each year, the famous inventor is honored for his contributions to society, including his most notable inventions of the incandescent light bulb, motion picture camera and the phonograph.
Hamilton’s book, which features Edison & Ford Winter Estates, will be available for purchase and signing.
Visitors will learn about Thomas Edison’s and Henry Ford’s innovations during tours of the site that include the two inventor’s winter homes; the museum filled with inventions and artifacts; the botanic laboratory, where Edison tested more than 17,000 different plant varieties; and more than 20 acres of botanical gardens with ninety-year-old trees and plants from around the world. The site is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The birthday party is a free public event with limited seating (does not include tours of the homes, museum or lab). For more information, visit EdisonFordWinterEstates.org or call 239-334-7419.

FSW Offers Free Admission to First Responders for Jan. 13 Men’s Basketball Game

January 5, 2018 – FORT MYERS, FL – Florida SouthWestern State College will pay tribute to local first responders on Saturday, Jan. 13 during the FSW men’s basketball game. All first responders and their immediate families will get a free ticket to the game (up to four tickets per family). Game time is 4 p.m.…

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FSW Offers Free Admission to First Responders for Jan. 13 Men’s Basketball Game

January 5, 2018 – FORT MYERS, FL – Florida SouthWestern State College will pay tribute to local first responders on Saturday, Jan. 13 during the FSW men’s basketball game. All first responders and their immediate families will get a free ticket to the game (up to four tickets per family). Game time is 4 p.m. at FSW’s Suncoast Credit Union Arena. The nationally-ranked FSW men’s team will take on cross-state rival St. Petersburg College.
“We all know the sacrifices that our police, fire and EMT professionals made during Irma that kept us all safe, but they put their lives on the line day in and day out,” said Joe Turner, Director of Institutional Promotions and Development. “This will give them a chance to unwind with their family and enjoy a basketball game. It’s our way of saying thank you for what they do for our community.”
First responders will need to show proper identification at the box office to obtain their tickets. For more information, please call (239) 489-9432. For more information about FSW Athletics, visit FSWBUCS.com.

World premiere musical tribute to Cole Porter, NIGHT AND DAY, extended two weeks to March 11!

FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Repertory Theatre extends the world premiere of “Night and Day: Love Lost and Found through the Eyes of Cole Porter” through March 11, 2018, in the ArtStage Studio Theatre. “Night and Day” features 36 of the most beloved songs our time such as "Anything Goes," "You're the Top," "I've Got…

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World premiere musical tribute to Cole Porter, NIGHT AND DAY, extended two weeks to March 11!

FORT MYERS, FL – Florida Repertory Theatre extends the world premiere of “Night and Day: Love Lost and Found through the Eyes of Cole Porter” through March 11, 2018, in the ArtStage Studio Theatre.
“Night and Day” features 36 of the most beloved songs our time such as “Anything Goes,” “You’re the Top,” “I’ve Got You Under my Skin,” and the title song, “Night and Day.” Priced at $55 for regular performances and $35 for previews, tickets are available at www.FloridaRep.org and through the box office at 239-332-4488. Seating is limited in the intimate 115-seat venue, and tickets are selling fast.
Conceived and directed by Florida Rep Founder and Producing Artistic Director, Robert Cacioppo, “Night and Day” is a thrilling and glamorous revue that tells a story of love lost and love found with only Cole Porter’s masterful lyrics and iconic music. Made famous on film, Broadway, and a recording career that spanned decades, Porter’s songs are some of the most beloved of the 20th century, and in “Night and Day” they’re used to tell the story of two couples finding falling in – and out – of love.
“Night and Day” features an all-star cast of top musical theatre talent, all making their Florida Rep debuts: Dan Fenaughty, Travis Kent, Larissa Klinger, and Jennifer Lorae. Fenaughty was last seen in Riverside Theatre’s “Mame” and the national tour of “The 39 Steps,” and Kent recently appeared on Broadway in Seth Rudetsky’s “Disaster!” Klinger comes to Fort Myers after a recent world tour entertaining our troops with the USO Show Troupe and the national tour of “The 39 Steps,” while Lorae joins the cast after recent runs Off-Broadway and in major regional theatres across the country. Paul Gary, a performance intern here at Florida Rep, makes his ArtStage debut as The Butler.
Robert Cacioppo (“Too Marvelous for Words,” “Fascinatin’ Gershwin”) leads an expert creative team, including musical director and arranger Victoria Casella (“Fascinatin’ Gershwin”); ensemble member, choreographer, and co-creator Arthur D’Alessio (“Too Marvelous for Words”);  set designer Jordan Moore (“Shear Madness”); costume designer Charlene Gross (“Outside Mullingar”); sound designer John Kiselica (“Disgraced”); and ensemble manager Amy Massari (“Sylvia”).
New for the 2017-2018 Season, weeknight performances (Tues.-Thurs.) begin at 7PM. Weekend evening performances remain at 8PM and matinees on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday are still set for the popular 2PM curtain time.
“Night and Day” is generously sponsored by Sam Galloway Family of Dealerships and Finemark National Bank and Trust.
IF YOU GO:
“Night and Day” is now playing in the ArtStage Studio Theatre through March 11, 2018. Performances are Tuesday-Saturday at 7pm with 2PM matinees on Thursday, Sunday, and selected Saturdays.
Priced at $55 and $35 for previews, single tickets are now on sale through the box office at 239-332-4488 and online at www.floridarep.org. Subscriptions for the 2017-2018 season offer the best seats and the biggest savings, and packages start as low as $150 for 6 plays.
Florida Repertory Theatre performs in the Historic Arcade Theatre and the ArtStage Studio Theatre on Bay St. between Jackson & Hendry with limited free parking in the Fort Myers River District. Visit Florida Rep online at FloridaRep.org, and by following the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

FSW’s Critical Thinking Lectures Series Kicks Off Spring Schedule with “Critical Issues in Law Enforcement: Past, Present and Future”

JANUARY 8, 2018 – FORT MYERS, FLA. – Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) begins its spring schedule of the Critical Thinking Lecture Series with a panel discussion, “Critical Issues in Law Enforcement: Past, Present and Future,” at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 25, at the FSW Thomas Edison Campus, Building U-102, Fort Myers. Additionally, the…

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FSW’s Critical Thinking Lectures Series Kicks Off Spring Schedule with “Critical Issues in Law Enforcement: Past, Present and Future”

JANUARY 8, 2018 – FORT MYERS, FLA. – Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) begins its spring schedule of the Critical Thinking Lecture Series with a panel discussion, “Critical Issues in Law Enforcement: Past, Present and Future,” at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 25, at the FSW Thomas Edison Campus, Building U-102, Fort Myers. Additionally, the presentation can be viewed digitally at the FSW Charlotte Campus, Building O, Room 117; the FSW Collier Campus, Building M, Room 201; and the FSW Hendry/Glades Curtis Center, Building A, Room 106.
The panel will feature Chief Derrick Diggs of the Fort Myers Police Department and Undersheriff Carmine Marceno of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
Fort Myers Police Chief Derrick Diggs began his career with the Fort Myers Police Department in 2016. He is a 37-year veteran of the Toledo Police Department in Ohio. He served as a Toledo Police Department police patrolman, police lieutenant, police captain and deputy chief of police before becoming chief of police in 2011. During his tenure as Toledo police chief, he brought intelligence-led and data-driven policing initiatives to the department, leading the department into the 21st century and reducing reported crimes by 27 percent and burglaries by 36 percent. Chief Diggs has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Toledo, and he is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
Undersheriff Carmine Marceno began his career at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in 2013 as a lieutenant in the Public Services Division after a distinguished law enforcement career in Suffolk County, N.Y. beginning in 1996. He joined the Collier County Sheriff’s Office in 2003 as a patrol deputy and worked with numerous units within the agency, transitioning to a larger public liaison role in community policing. After public services, Undersheriff Marceno became executive officer to Sheriff Mike Scott and assumed supervisory responsibilities for day-to-day operations as a member of the command staff. In March 2017, Undersheriff Marceno graduated from the FBI National Academy and is on track to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
The FSW Critical Thinking Lecture Series features community leaders who discuss how they use critical thinking skills in their profession or focus on critical topics from their area of career or academic interest. The series is free and open to the public, and presentations run January-April. A full schedule can be viewed at www.fsw.edu/ctls.
For more information on the FSW Critical Thinking Lecture Series, contact Whitney Rhyne, director, Strategic Initiatives, at (239) 433-6943 or Whitney.Rhyne@fsw.edu.

Karen Anderson chairs Dress for Success SW Florida women’s employment program

Local program highlights mentorship and community partnerships FORT MYERS, Fla., January 5, 2018 --Dress for Success SW Florida is pleased to announce that the successful Women Empowered Through Employment Series (WETES) will resume this year. Introduced in 2017, this original program provides mentors for women and builds awareness in the community, and strives to create…

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Karen Anderson chairs Dress for Success SW Florida women’s employment program

Local program highlights mentorship and community partnerships
FORT MYERS, Fla., January 5, 2018 –Dress for Success SW Florida is pleased to announce that the successful Women Empowered Through Employment Series (WETES) will resume this year. Introduced in 2017, this original program provides mentors for women and builds awareness in the community, and strives to create partnerships with other nonprofits. The six week program kicks off with an orientation on January 10 and will be held each following Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through February 21st at the Dress for Success SW Florida location in Fort Myers. WETES is open to eligible women in Southwest Florida at no cost.
Karen Anderson, President of the Board of Directors for Dress for Success of SW Florida, is the chairperson for this exciting program. WETES is a program designed to not only provide participants with practical tools for finding employment, but it also provides them with the opportunity to build relationships with other women and mentors who have shared experiences,” said Anderson. “Many of those relationships last far beyond the program.”
WETES is an employer-driven program designed by Dress for Success SW Florida for unemployed and under-employed women seeking jobs and new careers. The program aims to educate women through a variety of targeted career growth sessions including dressing for success, interview skills, and resume writing. Courses are led by area employers to share real world experience. Participating businesses include: Chico’s FAS, Inc., FGCU, First Florida Integrity Bank, Hertz, Image Matters, Lee Health, LeeSar, Shell Point Retirement Community, and Walmart.
Anderson will present a workshop on interview skills on February 7 as part of the program.  She is Vice President, HR & Technology/Corporate Compliance Office at Shell Point Retirement Community.
About Dress for Success SW Florida
Founded by Barbara Dell in 2010, Dress for Success SW Florida is responsible for both Lee and Collier counties. The mission of Dress for Success SW Florida is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support, and career development tools to help them thrive in work and in life.  The non-profit helps women achieve self-defined financial and professional success. Dress for Success SW Florida serves job-ready women by referral only. For more information, visit www.dfsswflorida.org or call 239-689-4992. Dress for Success SW Florida is located at 12995 S. Cleveland Ave., Suite 153, Fort Myers, FL  33907.

Crime, romance, nonfiction and new location coming to the Southwest Florida Reading Festival

Fort Myers, FL, Jan. 10, 2018 – More than a dozen acclaimed and best-selling authors are coming to Fort Myers to meet fans and talk about their books at the 19th annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival on Saturday, March 3, at the Fort Myers Regional Library, 2450 First St., downtown Fort Myers. The Reading Festival…

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Crime, romance, nonfiction and new location coming to the Southwest Florida Reading Festival

Fort Myers, FL, Jan. 10, 2018 – More than a dozen acclaimed and best-selling authors are coming to Fort Myers to meet fans and talk about their books at the 19th annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival on Saturday, March 3, at the Fort Myers Regional Library, 2450 First St., downtown Fort Myers.
The Reading Festival attracts popular authors for adults and children from across the country. The festival this year will relocate to the Fort Myers Regional Library due to construction surrounding the Harborside Event Center. The move also will tie the event more closely to library services and the library’s mission of promoting reading and life-long learning.
The festival is a daylong event filled with author presentations, lively activities for children, the latest library technology, book signings and a free book for every child.
The Reading Festival is the largest one-day reading festival in Florida and has been designated a “Top 20 Event in the Southeast” for the month of March by the Southeast Tourism Society.
“The festival invites popular authors to participate by sharing their real life experiences, thought processes and the evolution of their characters,” said Lee County Library System Director Mindi Simon. “It is fascinating to hear how they craft their page-turner plots and tie all the details together.”
The festival kicks-off Friday evening, March 2, with the Evening with the Authors event at the Fort Myers Regional Library, at which authors meet and mingle with attendees. Among the award-winning authors scheduled to attend the events include adult authors Scott Turow and J.T. Ellison and children’s author Michael Hall. The complete list of authors can be found at www.ReadFest.org.
The Reading Festival is free and community-supported through donations, sponsorships and grants. To help ensure the continuation of this free community event visit www.readfest.org to make a secure online donation.  Author information, directions to the event and more, is available at www.readfest.org or by calling 239-479-4636.
ABOUT THE SOUTHWEST FLORIDA READING FESTIVAL
Lee County Library System produces the Southwest Florida Reading Festival to inform the community about the resources and services available at their local Lee County libraries and to remind them that these resources and services are free with a library card. The Reading Festival is free and features a variety of activities for all ages and presentations by best-selling authors. Some of the authors who have attended in the past include Sue Monk Kidd, Susan Mallery, R.L. Stine, Janet Evanovich, Nelson DeMille, Erik Larson, Jeff Lindsay and hundreds more.
The Reading Festival’s objectives are to promote reading and literacy, increase awareness of the library’s programs and resources and foster partnerships between the Lee County Library System and the community. The Reading Festival aims to build a literate community by encouraging children to develop an interest in reading independently, which fosters an increase in vocabulary and improved writing skills. For more information go to www.ReadFest.org.

DARCI LYNNE WINNER ON ‘AMERICA’S GOT TALENT’ SATURDAY, MAY 5 at 7:00PM

TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY, JANUARY 12 AT 10AM (Fort Myers) - Ventriloquist, Darci Lynne will perform at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at FSW on Saturday, May 5 at 7:00PM. Tickets go on sale Friday, January 12 at 10AM at the Box Office, online at www.bbmannpah.com or call 239-481-4849. Darci Lynne is the…

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DARCI LYNNE WINNER ON ‘AMERICA’S GOT TALENT’ SATURDAY, MAY 5 at 7:00PM

TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY, JANUARY 12 AT 10AM
(Fort Myers) – Ventriloquist, Darci Lynne will perform at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at FSW on Saturday, May 5 at 7:00PM. Tickets go on sale Friday, January 12 at 10AM at the Box Office, online at www.bbmannpah.com or call 239-481-4849.
Darci Lynne is the youngest contestant to ever win “America’s Got Talent.” Following AGT, she sold out her headlining show in six minutes, having to add more shows. She is a young ventriloquist who is inspiring the next generation to keep it alive.
Growing up in Oklahoma, Darci has always been close to her family and relies on their support and encouragement. In her younger years, she had a timid demeanor that she was able to overcome through talent-based pageants. She was soon introduced to the art of ventriloquism and decided to try it out for herself. After only having her first puppet for two weeks, Darci was determined to audition for her first talent show never knowing it would lead her to audition for the biggest talent show on earth.
Darci dazzles the audience, leaving them with smiles on their faces. She is so grateful to her mentor Gary Owen and her vocal coach Tiana Plemons for all they have done for her. During her “America’s Got Talent” audition she received the golden buzzer sending her straight to the Quarterfinals. Her winning final performance has over 21M views on AGT’s YouTube, more than any other finals performance on the show.
Performance Date:          Saturday, May 5 – 7:00PM*
Ticket Prices:                     $99.50* (VIP Meet & Greet)       $49.75*                $39.75*                $29.75*
*All shows, dates, times and ticket prices are subject to change.

HENDERSON FRANKLIN NAMES O’BRIEN STOCKHOLDER

Fort Myers, Florida — The law firm of Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., is pleased to announce that Attorney Christina (“Christy”) O’Brien has been elected stockholder. O’Brien joined the firm in 2013. She concentrates her practice solely in the family law arena, handling matters of divorce and dissolution of marriage, custody, paternity, child support,…

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HENDERSON FRANKLIN NAMES O’BRIEN STOCKHOLDER

Fort Myers, Florida — The law firm of Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., is pleased to announce that Attorney Christina (“Christy”) O’Brien has been elected stockholder.
O’Brien joined the firm in 2013. She concentrates her practice solely in the family law arena, handling matters of divorce and dissolution of marriage, custody, paternity, child support, domestic violence injunctions, post-judgment modifications and dependency issues.
O’Brien serves on Board of Directors for the Coalition for a Drug-Free Southwest Florida and Fort Myers American Little League. She previously served on the Board of Directors for the Association of Family Law Professionals, Family Resource Center of Southwest Florida, and Lee County Legal Aid Society.
O’Brien is active in the Family Section of the Florida Bar and is a member of the Domestic Violence, CLE, and Rules and Forms Committees. She is also a member of the Lee County Bar Association, the Association of Family Law Professionals, and the Lee County Association of Women Lawyers. O’Brien is also a member of the Fort Myers Track Club.
O’Brien received her undergraduate degree (cum laude) from the University of Tampa (1996) and her law degree from Florida State University (2000). She can be reached at 239.344.1279 or via email at christina.obrien@henlaw.com.
Henderson Franklin is the largest, locally-based law firm between Tampa and Miami with over 55 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 Sanibel Island. For more information on O’Brien, please visit www.henlaw.com.