Lee County to host Roy Hobbs 2016 President’s Day Sunshine Classic

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Roy Hobbs 2 Lee County is hosting the 2016 Roy Hobbs Sunshine Classic at the Lee County Player Development Complex and historic Terry Park. The President’s Day 50+ and 60+ Divisions will take place Feb. 11 through Feb. 15, followed by Family Ties, Veterans 35+ and Masters 45+ Divisions Feb. 18 through Feb. 21.

Nearly 200 players and a dozen teams participate in divisions for the 50-and-over crowd and 60-and-over. Former Heisman Trophy winner and Boston College alum Doug Flutie played second base for the Americans squad in the 50-and-over division, which also featured former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee, who played for the Bahama Breeze in previous Sunshine Classics.

Last year’s tournament generated approximately $400,000 in direct spending for Lee County, including roughly 1,200 hotel room nights and $6,000 in resort tax collections, accordiRoy Hobbs 3ng to Jeff Mielke, executive director of Lee County Sports Development.

“We are very happy to be back in Lee County,” said Tom Giffen, president of Roy Hobbs Baseball. “We appreciate the hospitality in a community that has been incredibly welcoming and provided great venues and professional services from grounds crews to hotels to vendor services.”

Operated by Lee County Parks & Recreation, Lee County’s five county-owned baseball complexes play host to more than 200 days of amateur baseball tournaments a year when they aren’t being used for spring trainRoy Hobbs 1ing games. The estimated economic impact of these events is $50 million annually.

Named after fictional baseball hero Roy Hobbs as depicted in the book, “The Natural,” by Bernard Malmud, the Roy Hobbs Baseball’s annual Sunshine Classic in Fort Myers has expanded to include amateur player divisions for ages 18 and up, with divisions up to ages 75 and older.

Stevens Construction selected for Bonita Springs Utilities expansion

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Stevens Construction has been selected as the construction manager for an expansion of Bonita Springs Utilities, announced Mark Stevens, company president.

Stevens Construction has started the construction of a 19,000-square-foot, two-story building which will house a support staff facility with offices and conference rooms. Located at 11900 E Terry St., the project is slated for completion in fall of 2016.

The Stevens Construction team includes project manager, Mark Battaglia; project administrator, April Kelley and superintendent, Jamie Butdorf. Architectural services are provided by GMA Architects and Planners.

With offices in Fort Myers, Tampa and Orlando, Fla., Stevens Construction specializes in providing construction management, general contracting and consulting services to clients and design professionals. Other services include site and design team selection, budgeting, project scheduling, permitting, cost and quality control and warranty service. The company builds healthcare, commercial and hospitality facilities. For information, visit www.stevensconstructioninc.com or call 239-936-9006.

Matanzas on the Bay to offer Valentine’s Day specials, live performances

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Matanzas on the Bay on Fort Myers Beach will celebrate Valentine’s Day, Sunday, Feb. 14, by offering all-day specials and live performances for guests to enjoy.

Matanzas on the Bay’s Valentine’s Day menu features include 12-ounce Choice Angus Prime Rib of Beef for $26, Single Stuffed 4-ounce Cold Water Lobster Tail for $20 and Twin Stuffed 4-ounce Cold Water Lobster Tail for $30. Providing live music throughout the festivities, Gregg Watts will perform downstairs from noon to 4 p.m., and Wendell Ray will perform on the Upper Deck from 5 to 9 p.m.

“There is no better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day on Fort Myers Beach than by enjoying phenomenal food right on the water at Matanzas on the Bay,” said Glen Petrarca, general manager of Matanzas on the Bay. “Whether you wish to enjoy a romantic meal with a great view of the bay, or simply relax to the tune of live music, it is guaranteed to be a great time!”

Matanzas on the Bay is currently accepting limited reservations for Valentine’s Day, with room available for walk-in diners as well. Free car parking and boat dockage is also available for guests.

Matanzas on the Bay and Petey’s Upper Deck are best known for waterfront views, fresh seafood and old Florida ambience and is located at 416 Crescent St. on Fort Myers Beach on Estero Bay. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner daily, as well as caters to special occasions and private parties. As part of its commitment to use as many locally sourced products as possible, Matanzas on the Bay offers fresh produce in partnership with Oakes Farm, rum from the Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery and draft beer from Fort Myers Brewery. Its upstairs sports bar, Petey’s Upper Deck, is popularly known for its Dave’s Dockside Pizza, named the best pizza on Fort Myers Beach. The restaurant is located adjacent to the Matanzas Bayside Inn waterfront accommodations, just steps away from the Fort Myers Beach entertainment district. Free car parking and boat dockage is available. To book your party or for more information, call 239-463-3838 or visit www.MatanzasontheBay.com.

SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. reveals auction lots up for bid at 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest

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SAMSUNG CSCSWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. has revealed the selection of exclusive getaways, delectable wine and culinary offerings, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences to be auctioned off to the highest bidders during its annual signature event, the 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest. At the Live Auction, held Saturday, Feb. 27 at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club, guests will have the opportunity to raise their paddles for a chance to acquire phenomenal offerings, made possible through donations by trustees and friends of the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, as well as through the travel services of Preferred Travel of Naples, Inc. Nearly every lot will feature a selection of fine wine, generously provided by the organization’s trustees, donors and distinguished vintners.

One hundred percent of the live auction proceeds go directly to support SWFLChildren’s Charities, Inc. beneficiaries including Golisano Children’s Hospital and pediatric education programs at Florida SouthWestern State College and Florida Gulf Coast University. For a list of the auction lots that will be available for bid, visit www.swflwinefest.org.

With this year’s auction lots, bidders will have the opportunity to compete for a wide variety of experiences and opportunities as they enjoy Pass the Hatgourmet food and wine. Amongst the 40 auction lots up for bid, await a selection of luxurious travel packages that will allow the highest bidders to explore a handful of the most popular destinations in Australia, take a two-day sport fishing charter on the bright blue Costa Rican ocean waters or go on an adventurous Kenya and Tanzania safari through the wilderness, enjoying unparalleled views of the region’s most regal animals.

Those looking for once-in-a-lifetime experiences will encounter a variety of opportunities including the chance to own a piece of rock legend history, a signed bass guitar from AC/DC musician, Cliff Williams, one of his five working bases, serial number BOO8629, that was recently played in Australia as part of the band’s ongoing “Rock or Bust” tour. Adding to this rock star lot is a one-of-a-kind, custom AC/DC guitar pick pendant adorned with diamonds and gems, suspended from an original Williams’ bass guitar string that was played on tour, from international award-winning custom jewelry designer, Mark Loren. Auction-goers can also place a bid for the opportunity to experience greatness with tickets to the 2016 Ryder Cup golf tournament, the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 or a LuKenya & Tanzaniake Bryan concert with meet-and-greet passes to meet the award-winning country music singer.

A testament to its name, the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest will offer auction lots featuring exclusive wines from the nation’s most celebrated wineries and vineyards. During the Live Auction, bidders will have the opportunity to vie for some of the world’s finest wines, including the Fabulous Fifteen, a collection of wines that hold the coveted 100-point rating of international wine critic, Robert Parker. Wine lovers can also bid on the opportunity to expand their personal wine selection, or start a new collection with 96 bottles of fine wines paired with a custom wine closet designed just for the winning bidder. A variety of travel packages to renowned winery and vineyard destinations will be available, including a trip to Sonoma County for a stay at Benovia Winery, featuring wine tastings, dinner with renowned winemakers, a chance to golf with celebrities at the Schulz Celebrity Golf Classic and take a flight in a DC-3 airplane.2016 Child Artist - Avery McCaskill

Auction-goers interested in enjoying an exclusive evening of culinary distinction can bid on a James Beard House-style gourmet dining experience for 40 guests at Sea Salt Restaurant in Naples on Oct. 30, 2016, hosted by award-winning chefs. Additionally, with options for in-restaurant or in-home dining, bidders can compete for one-of-a-kind gastronomic experiences that will feature Southwest Florida’s talented chefs.

Every year, bidders give graciously to support pediatric health care in Southwest Florida. The “Child Artist” lot will allow guests to bid on a one-of-a-kind work of art created by 2016 Child Artist, Avery McCaskill, who is also a young patient of Golisano Children’s Hospital. “A Million Reasons to Give” will provide auction-goers the opportunity to help stock the new Golisano Children’s Hospital with tiny tools that enable pediatric surgeons to provide the highest level of surgical care for children, as well as important technology and equipment needed to ensure top quality care. During “Pass the Hat,” a top hat will be passed around the room, gathering unique and special items from guests in attendance. The contents will be donated to SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. beneficiaries as well.

The two-day 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest includes private Chef Vintner Dinners on Friday, Feb. 26 and The Grand Tasting and Live Auction on Saturday, Feb. 27 at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club.

The SWFL ChildrCosta Rica - Penny Perfecten’s Charities Inc.’s annual signature fundraiser, the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, has raised and donated $12.8 million over the past seven years, making it the most successful fundraising event in Lee County and one of the top-grossing wine fests in the country. The nonprofit, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. donates 100 percent of the event proceeds to three local beneficiaries. Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is the primary beneficiary of the event, and the money raised helps to fund the building of the new family-centered children’s hospital that will provide new and expanded medical services and subspecialty services to children from Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. In addition to providing funds for the new state-of-the-art Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. supports pediatric health care programs at Florida SouthWestern State College and Florida Gulf Coast University. For more information, visit www.swflwinefest.org.

Norman Love Confections appoints Ruth Cohen as chef manager of Artisan Gelato by Norman Love

Norman Love Confections has appointed Chef Ruth Cohen as chef manager of Artisan Gelato by Norman Love. In this position, Cohen will manage the daily chef operations withinRuth Cohen Artisan Gelato by Norman Love, upholding Norman Love Confections’ commitment to excellence and high-quality artisan products.

With more than 20 years in the culinary industry, Cohen has served as a chef in a variety of restaurants in Southwest Florida, across the U.S. and internationally and has returned to Southwest Florida to bring her culinary talents to the team at Artisan Gelato by Norman Love.

“It’s truly an honor to join the team at Norman Love Confections, renowned for using the finest, freshest products and nurturing creativity,” said Cohen. “At Artisan Gelato, sweet meets savory and I’m able to cross boundaries in a world that’s usually separated. It’s exciting to offer such a variety to customers and appeal to many palates.”

The gelateria, located adjacent to Norman Love Confections’ Fort Myers Chocolate Salon, serves rich handmade authentic Italian artisan gelato with a unique American twist from Norman Love. Artisan Gelato by Norman Love also offers an array of daily specials including fresh handmade French sweet or savory crepes, paninis, soups, salads and artisan pastries for guests to enjoy. Artisan Gelato by Norman Love’s award-winning chefs create everything fresh daily, using only the world’s finest ingredients.

Artisan Gelato by Norman Love, located at 11300 Lindbergh Blvd., Suite 112, is open Monday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Artisan Gelato by Norman Love’s fine gelato products are also served during regular store hours at the Naples Chocolate Salon, located at 3747 Tamiami Trail North, and the Estero Chocolate Salon, located near the north entrance to Miromar Outlets.

Founded in 2001 by Norman and Mary Love, Norman Love Confections creates and distributes handcrafted artisanal chocolates from its corporate headquarters at 11380 Lindbergh Blvd. in Fort Myers.  The award-winning Fort Myers-based chocolatier has been lauded more than a dozen times by a leading consumer ratings magazine, including recognition six times for producing the best ultra-premium chocolates in the nation. Forbes.com included Norman Love Confections BLACK line on its list of the nation’s top 10 truffles; The Huffington Post listed it among the six best U.S. destinations in its Chocolate Lover’s Travel Guide; and USA Today named Love as one of its top 10 entrepreneurs for 2014. Love has recently been named as the inaugural inductee of Dessert Professional Magazine’s Chocolatier Hall of Fame, partnered with local chefs to present a six-course meal at the James Beard House in New York and Norman Love Confections was ranked among the top 10 shops in the world for chocolate lovers by U.K. media outlet Daily Telegraph.

Norman Love Confections has Chocolate Salons in Fort Myers, Estero and Naples, and Artisan Gelato by Norman Love is next door to the Fort Myers salon, off Daniels Parkway east of I-75. Chocolates, gift baskets, sipping chocolate and Love’s book, “Artistry in Chocolate, A Story of Love,” also can be ordered online at www.normanloveconfections.com. In addition, Norman Love Confections chocolates and desserts are offered on 18 Princess Cruises’ ships through the “Chocolate Journeys” partnership and at independent retail locations throughout the U.S. For more information visit www.normanloveconfections.com or call 239-561-7215.

Eagle Award presented to Jeannie and Christopher Smith at Conservancy of Southwest Florida Annual Meeting

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida have awarded Jeannie and Christopher Smith the organization’s highest honor, the Eagle Award, for their valued contributions and commitment to the protection of Southwest Florida’s natural resources. The award was presented to the Smiths by Rob Moher, president of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and Lynn Slabaugh, chair of the Board of Directors, at the organization’s Annual Meeting at the Conservancy2016 Eagle Award Winners - Jeannie and Christopher Smith of Southwest Florida Nature Center. The Smiths’ passion for Florida’s environment, film and philanthropy has contributed greatly to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s ability to carry out its mission of protecting Southwest Florida’s unique natural environment and quality of life.

Smith is a name that is seen many places throughout the Conservancy of Southwest Florida property. The Christopher B. Smith Preserve, the seven-acre preserve managed by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, serves as a natural upland and scrub habitat that is home to more than 200 plant species, 70 gopher tortoises and hundreds of other animal species. The Smiths’ contribution ensured that the scrub habitat property would be forever preserved. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s Jeannie Meg Smith Theater represents another commitment that has allowed the Conservancy of Southwest Florida to utilize the power of film to showcase the Southwest Florida environment to the community.

The Smiths also enabled the Conservancy of Southwest Florida to create a new front entrance and establish its current address on Smith Preserve Way, and contributed greatly to the organization’s capital campaign, the largest conservation campaign in Florida. Jeannie Smith has also served as a board member for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and chair of Magic Under the Mangroves™ event, and has held an active role in the renovations of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center.

“We welcome Christopher and Jeannie Smith to our list of incredible honorees, and we thank these two for all they have done to support the Conservancy of Southwest Florida,” said Rob Moher, president and CEO of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “The Smiths’ love of nature and support of the Conservancy’s mission is always at the forefront of all that they do. For that, we are eternally grateful and honored to present this couple with the 2016 Eagle Award.”

About the Conservancy of Southwest Florida:

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is a not-for-profit environmental protection organization with a 50 year history focused on the issues impacting the water, land wildlife and future of Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Conservancy accomplishes this mission through the combined efforts of its experts in the areas of environmental science, policy, education and wildlife rehabilitation. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, world-class Nature Center and von Arx Wildlife Hospital are headquartered in Naples, Florida, 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. Learn more about the Conservancy’s work and how to support the quality of life in Southwest Florida www.conservancy.org.

New board chair and members elected at Conservancy of Southwest Florida Annual Meeting

Ken KrierThe Conservancy of Southwest Florida recently hosted the organization’s Annual Meeting at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center. During the meeting, Conservancy members elected Ken Krier as the new board chair along with seven new community and business leaders to serve four-year terms on the Board of Directors. Also during the annual meeting, the Conservancy honored outgoing board members for their service. The keynote address was presented by University of Florida professor, Jack Davis.

The seven new board members are William Boyajian, whose interest in environmental work began with the 2010 oil spill, and a world traveler who has seen firsthand the effects on countries by non-regulated industry and pollution; Phil Collins, grandson of Dellora and Lester Norris, founders of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, who has carried on the family tradition of philanthropic endeavors and preservation of the quality of life of the local community; Tom Moran, a 30-year resident of Naples who is passionate about the community where he is an active philanthropist and leader; Dave Rismiller, whose interest in environmental involvement was inspired by unsustainable development and protection of water quality for future generations; Sue Schulte, a major supporter and volunteer for the von Arx Wildlife Hospital; Sharon von Arx, an active supporter of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital through her time, leadership and philanthropy; and Karl Williams, a retired executive who has volunteered extensively at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and is president of the Volunteer Connection.

Davis, an author and editor of several books on Florida, presented from his award-winning biography “An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century,” which won the gold medal in nonfiction from the Florida Book Awards. His speech highlighted the life and legacy of environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and how her work has impacted the Everglades.

The Annual Meeting also featured speeches from Lynn Slabaugh, outgoing chair of the Board of Directors, and Rob Moher, president and CEO of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida regarding the organization’s accomplishments throughout the course of the past year, and provided an introduction for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s goals for 2016.

“There are three challenges facing the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this year: managing and shaping how growth unfolds in our region; protecting our water resources from a wide variety of threats including mining, development, new forms of oil drilling and agricultural pollution sources; and protecting our native wildlife, including our threatened and endangered species, to the best of our ability.” said Rob Moher, president and CEO of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “There are unlimited opportunities for our organization and community to make a difference, and we look forward to another successful year, and thank our board members and supporters, past and present, for all of their contributions to making our environment a better place for generations to come.”

For more information about the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Board of Directors, or to learn more about its members, visit www.Conservancy.org/about/board.

About the Conservancy of Southwest Florida:

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is a not-for-profit environmental protection organization with a 50 year history focused on the issues impacting the water, land wildlife and future of Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Conservancy accomplishes this mission through the combined efforts of its experts in the areas of environmental science, policy, education and wildlife rehabilitation. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, world-class Nature Center and von Arx Wildlife Hospital are headquartered in Naples, Florida, 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. Learn more about the Conservancy’s work and how to support the quality of life in Southwest Florida www.conservancy.org.

GMA Architects & Planners completes Moe Auditorium and Film Center

GMA Architects & Planners (GMA) announces the completion of the Moe Auditorium and Film Center for the Center for the Arts of Bonita SMoe Auditorium and Film Center 1prings.

In 2013, the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs purchased an existing church campus including a secondary youth activity structure. GMA has developed a phased conversion of the sanctuary and classroom building into a Center for the Performing Arts to provide a venue for theatric or musical programs and offer studio and teaching space.

The recently completed Moe Auditorium and Film Center project converted the youth center into a small “black box” venue for performing arts rehearsal and education, smaller performances and comedy club type productions. Activities in “The Moe,” as it is fondly called, range from Films for Film Lovers Foreign Film Series, Youth Theater Performance and Improv, to instruction for all ages in dance, theater and music.

Renovations and features include a wide variety of areas that will meet the needs of patrons who wish to enjoy music, dance, film and theater in this beautifully transformed building. A welcoming outdoor pre-function seating area features artistic décor and tropical landscape. The eye-catching new facade announces that something excitingMoe Auditorium and Film Center 2 is happening here. Guests access the center through a new covered entryway leading to the entirely upgraded lobby. Interior improvements include new finishes in main auditorium, modern audio/visual systems operated from a new sound booth, and updated staging, wings and backstage areas. The second floor mezzanine houses dedicated studios for dance instruction.

The facility renovations and initial productions have received critical acclaim from a public eager for this style of niche venue.

Ramon Acevedo, AIA was the Sr. Project Architect and Bob Schuerman did the contract administration.

For the past 35 years, GMA Architects & Planners (GMA) has been Southwest Florida’s leading architectural design firm. Earning recognition from the Florida Southwest American Institute of Architects, the Florida Home Builders Association and the Lee County Building Industry Association, the firm has provided award-winning architectural and interior design services for a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including several leading area developers. For more information, call 239-275-0225 or visit www.gmaarchitect.com.

 

Stevens Construction, Inc. launches new website

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Stevens Construction has launched a new website designed to provide education on the company’s construction management process and project experience with improved functionality and navigation, announced Mark Stevens, company president.

The enhanced corporate website of Stevens Construction (www.stevensconstructioninc.com) offers simple access to the company’s history, executive team biographies, project portfolio, client testimonials and recent news.  The website features a unique homepage design and intuitive navigation system compatible with all devices including mobile and tablets; creating a user-friendly experience for those seeking further information on Stevens Construction’s healthcare and commercial projects.

With offices in Fort Myers, Tampa and Orlando, Fla., Stevens Construction specializes in providing construction management, general contracting and consulting services to clients and design professionals. Other services include site and design team selection, budgeting, project scheduling, permitting, cost and quality control and warranty service. The company builds healthcare, commercial, public and hospitality facilities. For information, visit www.stevensconstructioninc.com or call 239-936-9006.

Tickets still available for The News-Press Market Watch 2016: The Truth About The Market

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Tickets are still available for The News-Press Market Watch 2016: The Truth About The Market, to be held Tuesday, Feb. 23 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Harborside Event Center in downtown Fort Myers. During the event, three local real estate experts will provide insight into the local residential, land and commercial real estate industries, addressing a range of topics, including home values, building permits and population growth, and explaining how these aspects coalesce to impact the big picture for Southwest Florida and individual homeowners and real estate professionals.

Individual tickets to The News-Press Market Watch 2016 event are available for $65 per person for general admission single tickets. Premium placement reserved tables for eight are $565 and reserved tables of 10 are $695. Tickets and table prices include admission for all presentations, the networking session and refreshments for attendees. A cash bar will be available. Registration for The News-Press Market Watch 2016 is available online at www.MarketWatch2016.com.

This year’s presenters are Denny Grimes, residential real estate expert and president of Denny Grimes & Company; Randy Thibaut, land sales and development expert and owner and founder of Land Solutions, Inc.; and Stan Stouder, CCIM, commercial real estate expert and founding partner with CRE Consultants. In addition to receiving valuable local market data and forecasts from well-known Southwest Florida real estate experts on commercial and residential real estate, all attendees will receive a comprehensive market data booklet with detailed market statistical information.

Event sponsors for The News-Press Market Watch 2016 include The News-Press as title sponsor; platinum sponsors Greater Fort Myers Board of Realtors and Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A.; gold sponsors Barraco and Associates, Gates Construction, Palm Printing, Priority Marketing and Roetzel & Andress; and silver sponsors Chapman Insurance, CRE Consultants, Land Solutions, Inc. and Law Offices of Kevin F. Jursinski & Associates. For additional inquiries, please email marketwatch@prioritymarketing.com or call 239-267-2638.