Stevens Construction completes Unity of Fort Myers

Stevens Construction has completed construction of a new addition to the campus of Unity of Fort Myers, announced Mark Stevens, company president.

Unity of Fort Myers - Interior

Stevens Construction added a 7,060-square-foot building, which houses a 400-seat sanctuary, a dais, bridal suite, restrooms and lobby. Construction occurred while the church remained in operation.

The construction team included project manager, Mark Battaglia; superintendent, Brian Oliver, and project administrator, April Kelley. The design services were provided by Christopher J. Lee Architects, Inc.

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 or call 239-936-9006.

Tickets, sponsorships still available for May 3 Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida’s 2016 Business Hall of Fame, Lee County

Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida has announced that tickets and sponsorships are still available for the upcoming 2016 Business Hall of Fame, Lee County, to be held on Tuesday, May 3 with a cocktail reception at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Bonita Springs.

Junior AchievemeGary Aubuchonnt of Southwest Florida’s Business Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who serve as role models for youth through their professional accomplishments and commitment to the community. During the event, Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida will induct Gary Aubuchon, president of Aubuchon Team of Companies, and Steve Marino, president and CEO of Home-Tech Consolidated, Inc., into its Business Hall of Fame, Lee County. Aubuchon and Marino will join a distinguished group of individuals who have been inducted into the Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida Business Hall of Fame since it was founded in 1999.

Business sponsorships are still available and include entrance to the event with premium diamond sponsorships at $10,000, platinum level sponsorships for $8,000 and gold level sponsorships for $5,500. These levels include eight seats, with an additional two seats reserved for students. Additional sponsorships available are silver sponsor level for $2,000, which includes eigh Steve Marinot seats with two additional seats for students, and bronze sponsor level for $1,000, which includes four seats at a reserved table. Individual seats are also available for $250 each.

Sponsors also are needed to support student admission, which is $125 per ticket. Junior Achievement students attending the event will have an opportunity to practice their etiquette skills while interacting with local professionals. Additionally, full-page and half-page advertisements are available in the event program book for $1,000 and $500 respectively. To reserve tables, individual tickets or to become a sponsor, call the Junior Achievement office at 239-225-2590 or visit Proceeds benefit local Junior Achievement programs.

About Junior Achievement USA® (JA):

Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA of Southwest Florida programs are delivered to students in Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties by corporate and community volunteers, and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches more than 4.6 million students per year in 113 markets across the United States, with an additional 5.6 million students served by operations in 118 other countries worldwide. Junior Achievement USA is a member of JA Worldwide. Visit for more information. For more information about JA of Southwest Florida visit, call 239-225-2590 or

Matanzas on the Bay hosts FGCU Spearfishing Pelagic Rodeo March 18-20

MATMatanzas on the Bay on Fort Myers Beach will host the FGCU Spearfishing Pelagic Rodeo March 18-20. The freediving-only spearfishing tournament is open to the public and will offer raffles and prizes, featuring spearfishing gear, merchandise and gift certificates. Registration is $200 per team, with no more than five divers to a team. Offering 100 percent payout, cash prizes will be awarded to the biggest fish for each category as well as the top three overall winning teams. Funds raised from the raffle and any donations will benefit the FGCU Spearfishing sports club to support future club functions.

In an effort to promote safe and responsible freediving, the tournament will offer local spearfishermen the opportunity to test their skills while enjoying the sport of spearfishing. The tournament will begin Friday, March 18 at 7 p.m. with a captains’ meet at Bass Pro Shops. Shooting Day will take place Saturday, March 19 from dawn to dusk, and divers will compete within the Gulf waters stretching between Marco Island and Venice. Tournament categories including amberjack, cobia, permit, African pompano, barracuda, king fish and snapper. The tournament will conclude Sunday, March 20 with a weigh-in ceremony at Matanzas on the Bay at 1 p.m.

For more information, or to register for the tournament, visit, or contact Cade Stokes by emailing or calling 863-634-8226. Registration ends March 14.

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

Discovery Senior Living breaks ground on its new independent-living community at Discovery Village At The Forum

Discovery Village At The Forum

Discovery Senior Living began its expansion of Discovery Village At The Forum with a groundbreaking ceremony on Jan. 21 for its new, state-of-the-art independent-living community.

“The Discovery Village At The Forum independent-living community will offer adults the opportunity to stay active and remain independent as they age, while enjoying the resort-style luxuries that are offered by Discovery Senior Living communities,” said Thomas J. Harrison, CEO and co-founder of Discovery Senior Living. “We pride ourselves in offering all-inclusive services for our residents, and we are excited to expand Discovery Village At The Forum by now offering luxury independent living.” Discovery Village At The Forum is located at 2625 Forum Blvd., near Interstate 75 and Colonial Blvd., just south of S.R. 82 in Fort Myers.

The expansion of Discovery Village At The Forum will include 176 independent-living apartment homes and 24 signature condos. Senior adults that are in need of higher levels of care have the opportunity to reside at its neighboring all-inclusive assisted living and memory care community.

Residents of the new apartment homes will enjoy the luxuries of the Grande Clubhouse, which will include a grand dining room and a private dining room; a grand ballroom; social areas; game and activity rooms; a bar and lounge; a state-of-the-art movie theater; a wellness center; a senior-equipped fitness center; an outdoor heated pool; a professional beauty salon and barber shop; a library and media center; and an outdoor entertainment area.

The 24 signature condos have an additional clubhouse that residents will delight in. It will feature a grand social room with spacious kitchen, which can be utilized for special occasions, including parties and family gatherings. In addition, the clubhouse includes its own outdoor pool and entertainment area.

Construction of Discovery Village At The Forum will create jobs for an estimated 150 workers during the construction of the 204,000-square-foot community. The almost $50 million community is expected to be complete by summer 2017. Discovery Village At The Forum will create approximately 80 new jobs for the community once development is complete.

Discovery Village At The Forum is the design creation of Architectural Concepts Inc. (ACI) of Largo, under the leadership of founding partner Bo Russ. ACI provides architectural services to clients throughout the U.S., Bermuda and New Zealand, specializing in senior-building design.

Wegman Design Group’s design principal, Lori Wegman, provided the creative and strategic interior design solutions. Wegman’s professionals have been providing innovative design since its startup in 2001.

The Henning Group is the general building construction management firm in charge of construction. The Iowa-based firm is one of the largest general construction companies in North America and does business internationally.

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is the construction financing partner.

About Discovery Senior Living

Discovery Senior Living, a family of companies founded by Thomas J. Harrison and Richard J. Hutchinson, includes: Discovery Management Group, Discovery Development Group, Discovery Realty Group, and Discovery At Home, a Medicare-certified home healthcare company. For more than 25 years, the award-winning management group has been developing, building, marketing and operating upscale, luxury senior-living communities across the United States. With a flourishing portfolio of more than 5,200 homes for seniors with an additional 500 under construction, caring for almost 5,500 residents, Discovery Senior Living has become a recognized industry leader in creating world-class resort-style communities. The corporate office is located at 3301 Bonita Beach Rd., Suite 113, Bonita Springs, Florida 34134. For more information, visit

PierSide Grill and Famous Blowfish Bar to serve as hole sponsor for Putt & Pub Crawl

PierSide Grill and Famous Blowfish Bar will once again serve as a hole sponsor for the Putt & Pub Crawl taking place on Saturday, Jan. 16, with its course open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Fort Myers Beach. In addition to creating one of nine unique putting greens that will be located throughout the town of Fort Myers Beach, the restaurant will also donate all proceeds from extra sales to benefit this year’s supported organization, Fort Myers Beach Elementary School Parent Teacher OrPierSide Grill - Putt  Pub Crawlganization (PTO).

“We are excited to once again participate in the Putt & Pub Crawl and help support the Fort Myers Beach Elementary School PTO,” said Martin York, managing partner of PierSide Grill and Famous Blowfish Bar. “This is a fun way for the community to support a wonderful local organization, and we look forward to joining in on the fun.”

The Putt & Pub Crawl event is organized by Lahaina Realty. Registration for a four-person team is $200, and includes a nine-hole course, drink specials, raffles, a dinner following the competition and more. For more information, or to register your team, contact Lahaina Realty by calling 239-463-0000 or visiting 6035 Estero Blvd. on Fort Myers Beach.

Located on Fort Myers Beach directly next to the public pier in Times Square, PierSide Grill and Famous Blowfish Bar is a family-friendly restaurant featuring award-winning food, drinks and sunsets. Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., PierSide Grill and Famous Blowfish Bar serves lunch and dinner daily, and happy hour from 3 – 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, visit

Builders Care and Lennar Homes unveil new home for U.S. Air Force Veteran, her disabled daughter and family in time for the holidays

The Lee BIA Builders Care and Lennar Homes unveiled a new home for the Smith family in Cape Coral, completed in just 18 days, in time for ChristmasPicture 1- Charyse Smith with daughter, Kayla. Over 150 Lennar associates, along with more than 100 other local business and community partners donated their time, services and building materials to build a brand new house, from start to finish, in time for the Smith family to spend the holidays in their new home. The home site, located in a Southwest Cape Coral neighborhood within a mile of Kayla’s school, Patriot Elementary, was donated by Carney PrPicture 2- Charyse Smithoperties and Investment Group.

Brad and Charyse Smith saw their dream come true of owning a home accessible for their daughter with special needs, Kayla and their son Logan. The “home that love built for Kayla” is the 251st Builders Care project since the nonprofit organization’s inception in 2005.

Grammy award-winner Alicia Keys kicked off the unveiling with special video-taped message for Kayla: “Keep shining… you’re beautiful.” At the close of the ceremony, local deputies surprised Kayla and her family with another celebrity message. Basketball great Shaquille O’Neal sent a special recorded message to the family, sending his love to Kayla from “Uncle” Shaq, with special wishes for their first holiday in their new home.

Kayla is 100 percent dependent on her family for daily care because she was born with life threatening issues that resulted in permanent brain damage and the diagnosis of Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy.Picture 4- Kayla with Hello Kitty

“It’s so not real,” said Charyse. “I keep looking around thinking I’ll see the family that the home is for! Thank you doesn’t begin to cover what we are feeling right now, I am grateful to God for choosing me to be Kayla’s mom and this means the world to us. You will forever be in our hearts.”

Fred Barry, past President of Builders Care and a founding board member, said Builders Care is so grateful to the community for joining forces, building a home in 18 days and giving the Smith family peace of mind. The Smith home is 2,032 square feet under air and features three large bedrooms and three bathrooms. The home has been adapted to include wide hallways, doors and open spaces to maneuver a wheel chair for Kayla.

Inside their home, personal touches can be seen in every room. There are pictures of the family, a framed poem that expresses the gift she has in Kayla, and presents under the Christmas tree, including a brand new bicycle for son Logan. Kayla also received an enormous framed Hello Kitty, created by a Lennar employee, now hanging in her new room. On their new living room couch sits a giant stuffed Teddy Bear, to which Kayla exclaimed “unbelievablPicture 5- Smith Family Living Roome!”

“The community effort is overwhelming, it’s beyond belief for our family,” said Chuck Smith, Brad’s father. “I had never heard of Builders Care and it is amazing to see how they can work together and overcome challenges, this is evidence of God’s grace.”

Darin McMurray, Division President at Lennar, thanked Builders Care for giving everyone the opportunity to do something special in the community.

“We gave the family a timeline of early January, but our hope was always to get them in by Christmas. We like to under-promise and over-deliver! But truly, this home wouldn’t have been ready without the support of the entire building community and the businesses that pitched in to help,” said McMPicture 3- James Falpo, Jason Vancleave, Bill Doherty,Arthur Richardson, Ted Allen, Rick Rigoniurray.

Lee BIA Builders Care is the nonprofit charitable arm of the Lee Building Industry Association (BIA). Its objective is to provide emergency repairs and construction services to elderly, disabled and economically disadvantaged people who are unable to obtain home repairs through traditional means. To date, Lee BIA Builders Care has put nearly $3.7 Million in construction services back into the community at no cost to homeowners in need.  Builders Care enlists the volunteer services of Lee BIA members and leverages grants and donated materials to provide construction and remodeling services to qualified homeowners throughout Lee County. Major supporters include:  Lennar Homes, Land Solutions, Inc., Carney Properties and Investment GroPicture 6- Kayla with teddy bearup, the City of Cape Coral, Ken Sneeden & Associates and Priority Marketing of Southwest Florida.

Builders Care is headquartered at the Lee BIA offices at 10501 Six Mile Cypress Pkwy., Suite 118 in Fort Myers. The Building Industry Association ( ) is a 50-year-old association affiliated with National Home Builders Association and Florida Home Builders Association to serve the local building and related industries to strengthen our community by advancing a professional building industry through advocacy, education and services. Donations can be made online at, or to the Builders Care general fund at BB&T Page Field branch at 4959 South Cleveland Ave. in Fort Myers. For more information, visit  Picture 7-Charyse Smith with Lennar crew in front of home



Cruise and Discover Matlacha Island Saturday, Nov. 21 aboard Pure Florida’s M/V Edison Explorer

thumbnail (2)Pure Florida invites guests aboard the M/V Edison Explorer to Discover Matlacha Island during a special cruise to Pine Island on Saturday, Nov. 21, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The day begins with a narrated cruise along the Caloosahatchee River and includes a guided tour of Matlacha Island. An old Florida fishing village, Matlacha Island is considered a “hidden gem” and is home to bright-colored art galleries, island boutiques, seafood restaurants and more.

During the Dthumbnail (1)iscover Matlacha Island Cruise excursion, guests will have the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of Southwest Florida along the Caloosahatchee River and on the island of Matlacha. Upon arriving to the island, guests will be taken on a Taste of Matlacha Walking Tour, guided by True Tours, learning about the island’s unique history and enjoying a sampling of signature delicacies. Upon conclusion of the tour, guests may enjoy lunch at their leisure and visit the nearby shops and galleries. Local attractions include the Lovegrove Gallery & Gardens, where guests can tour the whimsical gardens and meet well-known Matlacha Island artist, Leoma Lovegrove. Following exploration, passengers can enjoy a peaceful return cruise on the thumbnailM/V Edison Explorer.

Discover Matlacha Island Cruise tours are guided by Coast Guard-certified captains, also master naturalists, and highlight the history of the Caloosahatchee River and Matlacha Island. Registration for the tour is $64 per person. Lunch can be included for an additional charge of $16 per person. The M/V Edison Explorer departs from The Marina at Edison Ford, located at 2360 W. First St. in Fort Myers.

A complimentary bottle of water will be provided, and additional refreshments are available for purchase. Passengers are welcome to bring snacks aboard. Reservations are required. For more information, or to book your ticket, call 239-919-2965, email or visit the Pure Florida website at 

About Pure Florida

In 2009, father-and-son duo Captains Lance and Harry Julian acquired the Naples-based Double Sunshine and Lady Brett fishing vessel, and have grown the company to include 19 vessels and two locations providing a variety of unique eco-excursions for its visitors that incorporate maritime history, tourism, sightseeing and entertainment. With locations in Naples and Fort Myers, the water attraction company offers sunset and specialty cruises as well as boat and Jet Ski rentals, fishing charters, group events and educational field trips for schools and students. In addition to Pure Florida, the founders are also partners in Marine Team International and Pure Image Productions, providing professional marine consulting, television and video production and photography services. With a long history in maritime productions, Lance and Harry Julian have helped to create some of the most memorable water scenes in film production, with credits including “Titanic” and “Waterworld,” and television credits such as the reality show, “Survivor.” As the fifth and sixth generation working within the maritime industry, Lance and Harry Julian enjoy sharing their passion and expertise with fellow adventurers in the Southwest Florida area. For more information, visit or call its Naples location at 239-263-4949 or its Fort Myers location at 239-919-2965.

Norman Love Confections offers sweet way to celebrate season of giving with Thanksgiving pies and desserts

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Norman Love Confections invites Southwest Florida to give thanks with love during the Thanksgiving holiday. A limited number of freshly baked holiday pies and desserts from Norman Love Confections are available during the Thanksgiving season and include Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Chocolate Pecan Tart with Chocolate Cream, Apple Pie with Streusel Topping, Cream Cheese Mousse with Pumpkin Brulee and Spice Cake and Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce. Pies can be topped with Norman Love Confections Artisan Gelato, or accompanied by the chocolatier’s gourmet chocolate gift boxes and gift baskets.

Thanksgiving pies and d2015 Thanksgiving Pieesserts can be preordered by calling 239-561-7215 or 866-515-2121 and will be available for pick-up from Nov. 13 to Nov. 25 at Norman Love Confections’ three chocolate salons in Fort Myers, Estero and Naples. The last date to preorder for Thanksgiving is Nov. 23 at noon, after which only limited quantities will be available for purchase in stores.

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. 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.

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 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 or call 239-561-7215.

PierSide Grill and Famous Blowfish Bar introduces new menu

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PierSide Grill and Famous Blowfish Bar on Fort Myers Beach has introduced its new menu, featuring delicious appetizers, lunch, dinner and side options.

The new methumbnailnu features tasty appetizers, such as Con Queso Dip, a bubbling hot blended cheese dish with chopped spinach, diced pimentos and jalapeño; and Gator Tail, hand-trimmed, tenderized and lightly breaded, served with spicy gator sauce. Lunch and dinner menus additionally offer The Guacamole, a half-pound choice Angus, char-broiled and topped with jalapeño pepper cheese and guacamole, with a side of Pico D Gallo. A new dinner option features a jambalaya style dish of Shrimp N Grits with peppers, onions, celery, tomato and a blend of spices, served on a bed of thumbnail (1)homemade grits with a touch of jalapeño. Additional revisions to the PierSide Grill and Famous Blowfish Bar menu includes Mango Ceviche, a dish of gulf shrimp and bay scallops blended with mango, red onion, tomato, jalapeño, cilantro, fresh lemon and lime juice, served with fresh fried tortilla chips; Loaded Cheese Fries, topped with Con Queso Dip, bacon bits, diced tomato and shredded cheddar; and PierSide Pasta Salad, tri-color pasta tossed with olive oil, red onion, fresh basil, garlic and gorgonzola cheese; and the addition of Jalapeño Grits as a dinner side option.

“The menu at Pthumbnail (2)ierSide Grill and Famous Blowfish Bar will feature a wide range of new options, along with unique twists on long-time customer favorites,” said Martin York, managing partner of PierSide Grill and Famous Blowfish Bar. “We truly value our wonderful customers and we look forward to offering these new, exciting and delicious dining options for them to enjoy.”

Located on Fort Myers Beach directly next to the public pier in Times Square, PierSide Grill and Famous Blowfish Bar is a family-friendly restaurant featuring award-winning food, drinks and sunsets. Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., PierSide Grill and Famous Blowfish Bar serves lunch and dinner daily, and happy hour from 3 – 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, visit

Jason’s Deli of Southwest Florida to host job fair at new Gulf Coast Landings location Nov. 14

Jason's Deli Now Hiring

Southwest’s Florida newest Jason’s Deli location is now hiring and will host a job fair on Saturday, Nov. 14 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jason’s Deli of Southwest Florida invites prospective employees to complete applications and participate in on-site interviews at its soon-to-open Gulf Coast Landings restaurant, located at 16451 Corporate Commerce Way in Fort Myers.

Jason’s Deli of Southwest Florida is seeking customer service specialists, back-of-house food prep and catering production, salad bar attendees, dining room attendees and delivery drivers. The restaurant offers flexible work schedules for full- or part-time positions, competitive wages and benefits, meal discounts and holds the highest personal standards for its employees.

To be interviewed for a position at Jason’s Deli of Southwest Florida, please visit the Gulf Coast Landings restaurant location during the allocated job fair timeframe. Those unable to attend the job fair can apply at any Jason’s Deli location in Naples, Fort Myers and Cape Coral.

About Jason’s Deli

A family-owned deli restaurant chain, Jason’s Deli was founded in Beaumont, Texas, in 1976 by Joe Tortorice Jr. and now has more than 250 locations in 29 states. In 2005, Jason’s Deli was the first major restaurant concept to ban artificial trans fats in the U.S. and later became the first to eliminate high-fructose corn syrup. At Jason’s Deli, regardless if you want gluten-sensitive menu items or vegetarian options, healthy kids’ meals, or if you would like to build your own salad at their famous salad bar, you will be delighted by the bigger choices of better food, from healthy to indulgent. Jason’s Deli locations of Southwest Florida are Fort Myers: 13550 Reflections Parkway at Cypress Lake Drive; Naples: 2700 Immokalee Road; Cape Coral: 2311 Santa Barbara Blvd.; Port Charlotte: 1100 El Jobean Road; and Sarasota: 5231 University Parkway. For information, visit or call 985-7215.