Hazel Olive, 85, Fort Myers, Fla., formerly of Indianola

Hazel Olive of Fort Myers, Florida, formerly of Indianola, passed away Jan. 10, 2018. Hazel was born March 23, 1932.Hazel married the late George Ross Olive July 22, 1951, and is survived by four children, Yavonne Shufelt of Fort Myers, Fla., Gary (Mary) Olive of Indianola, Vickie Lawrence of Fort Myers, Fla., and Ted Olive of Des Moines.Hazel had 12 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.A graveside burial will be held at a later date. Continue Reading

Sand for Fort Myers residents available to combat Irma; Cape Coral not providing sandbags

Sand for sandbags is available for Fort Myers residents while Cape Coral will not provide either sand or bags for its residents.Free self-service sand is available at two locations for Fort Myers residents and business owners in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. One site is at 2300 Peck St., in front of the former Atlantic Coast Line train station, near the Intersection of Central Avenue and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and at Fire Station No. 5, 9700 Treeline Ave., south of Pelican Preserve Blvd.). More: Hurricane Irma as it relates to Southwest Florida: What we know now More: Hurricane Irma: Electric utilities preparing for storm's arrival Fort Myers ran out of sand bags less than an hour after the sites were opened, however residents who have their own bags will be able to fill them at the above locations. Residents will also need to provide their own shovel to fill the bags. There is a limit of 20 bags per vehicle.A Cape Coral Fire Department spokeswoman said the city would not provide sand or sandbags."Scientific research has proven that sandbags are ineffective at protecting homes from storm surge and that several hundred would be required to protect just one home or business from low-level flooding," said Andrea Schuch, public education specialist/public information officer, Cape Coral Fire Department, in a prepared release. More: Hurricane Irma update: Winds increase to 185 mph People can pick up sand at various locations. People should bring shovels and their own bags. If sandbags cannot be found, other items such as pillow cases, garbage bags and rolled tarps can be used. Here is an updated list as of Wednesday afternoon: Lee County locations:5850 BUCKINGHAM RD., LEHIGH12345 PALM BEACH BLVD., FORT MYERS2660 STYLES RD., ALVA5700 PINE ISLAND RD., BOKEELIA17350 NALLE RD., NORTH FORT MYERS11901 REGIONAL LN., FORT MYERS1280 BARRETT RD. NORTH FORT MYERS2900 TRAIL DAIRY CIR., NORTH FORT MYERS FD8013 Continue Reading

Hurricane Irma aftermath: First flights to RSW airport in Fort Myers might resume tonight

For more coverage of Hurricane Irma and the storm's aftermath visit: news-press.com/hurricane. Southwest Florida International Airport weathered Hurricane Irma well, and is cleared for takeoffs and landings.Delta aims to be the first airline back, with three flights Tuesday night, and a full local schedule on Wednesday.And, airport leaders expect most of the big carriers to follow by late morning or early afternoon Wednesday, with about 80 percent of service resuming by Thursday.“Heading into the weekend, things look good for a full flight schedule at RSW," said Victoria Moreland, local airport spokeswoman. More: Irma update: Trash, yard debris pickup starting to resume; chainsaws available More: Hurricane Irma update: Water service restored, roads clear on Sanibel How quickly flights return depends in part on how quickly area hotels have rooms for airline crews to spend the night.Carriers typically contract with hotels for regular service; however, Moreland heard that some of those lodgings are without power.“We’re heard from multiple airlines that were concerned with finding rooms for their crews,” Moreland said.In Charlotte County, Punta Gorda Airport is open. Its website said Allegiant Air will resume operation there on Wednesday.Flights will take awhile to resume because carriers cleared airports from the region before Irma’s arrival was imminent. More: Inside a Cape Coral shelter during Hurricane Irma: Monkeys, iguanas and 3,000 paper fans More: Hurricane Irma update: Lee County slowly returning to normal, two days after the storm “You’re talking about millions of dollars for each aircraft. They’re not going to keep those valuable assets where there might be bad weather conditions,” Moreland said, adding that during winter blizzards, airlines park their jets here.She confirmed the south Fort Myers airport lost its regular electrical power Continue Reading

Prep football: Immokalee wears out South Fort Myers late in battle of district champs

South Fort Myers at Immokalee lived up to the high school football hype Friday night. For three quarters, anyway. As both coaches promised, their district championship teams held absolutely nothing back even though both teams splash into the playoffs -- Class 5A for Immokalee and Class 7A for South Fort Myers. In a game loaded with talented seniors, it was a sophomore who made the biggest difference as Immokalee quarterback RJ Rosales led the Indians to an eventual 55-23 rout with five touchdown tosses and several crucial double-digit yardage runs. South Fort Myers coach Brian Conn, whose team finished the regular season 5-4, was awful impressed."The first time I saw him play in person was on a Tuesday night at Cypress (Lake)," Conn said. "Without looking at the program, I could've sworn he would be a senior with the way he controls the offense."The score is a bit deceptive as Class 7A South Fort Myers trailed just 34-23 with 11:16 left to play before the bottom fell out thanks to the eighth-ranked Class 5A Indians, who finished the regular season at 9-0. "We wore down a little bit in the end and made some mistakes," Conn said. "They have some guys that make it look like a video game at times. We know they can score. We needed to score a few more than we did tonight, but overall I was happy with the way the guys fought tonight."Second-year Immokalee coach Rodelin Anthony said pulling away is the Indians' thing. "That's how we do it," Anthony said. "We condition and we work hard and understand what kind of ball we play. We keep it up, keep our momentum going. We're a tough team. We believe that and we can hang our hat on that."All Florida teams learn their playoffs draws Sunday. Immokalee has only gone undefeated in a regular season twice. In 2000, the Indians made the state semifinals after doing it. In 2006, the undefeated Indians weren't eligible for the playoffs. Rosales was 14 of 17 for 215 yards and had no interceptions Continue Reading

FHP identifies Fort Myers man killed while walking across I-75 in Lee County

Authorities on Thursday identified a Fort Myers pedestrian who died after a car hit him as he walked across Interstate 75 in Lee County last month.David Youngblood Jr., 56, was standing on the inside paved shoulder along lanes for northbound traffic near Daniels Parkway about 8 p.m. Oct. 26 when he "began to cross all lanes of traffic," according to a Florida Highway Patrol report.Youngblood "entered directly in the path" of a 2007 Lincoln driven in the outside lane by Antonio Salazar, 63, of Lehigh Acres, and was hit by the car's front right side, the report states.Youngblood landed on the outside paved shoulder and the Lincoln  stopped on the same shoulder, troopers said.The incident is under investigation.  Continue Reading

Chicago set to perform concert this fall in Fort Myers

Chicago will perform this fall in Fort Myers.The classic rock band will play a concert at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29, at Suncoast Credit Union Arena at Florida SouthWestern State College.Tickets range from $38 to $118, excluding fees, and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall box office, online at www.bbmannpah.com or call 239-481-4849.  More:  Chicago bringing 45 years of rock to Barbara B. Mann on Thursday “This will be the first concert at the new arena,” said Scott Saxon, General Manager of the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at FSW.“We are extremely excited to showcase this brand new facility to the audiences of Southwest Florida. Chicago is a legendary band and the perfect concert to christen the Florida SouthWestern State College facility.”Chicago last performed in Fort Myers in 2012. The band formed in the Windy City in 1968 and soon thereafter moved to Los Angeles. Its hits have included "Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is," The band's lineup has changed over the years and has had its share of ups and downs. Lead guitarist Terry Kath — revered by Jimmy Hendrix — died from a gun accident in 1978. It nearly caused the band to break up, even more so than the 1985 departure of singer Peter Cetera, who moved on to a solo career.Walt Parazaider, the band's saxphone player and an original member, said it began humbly in 1967, when six guys sat around a table and made a pledge: "Let's make the best band we possibly can.""I had the idea, 'Why don't we become the Beatles with horns?" he told the Daily News in 2012. "And when you're young and stupid, why not shoot for something big?'"Parazaider acknowledged the city of Chicago has been home to big names in music, including Styx and, later, the Smashing Pumpkins. But for their band in the late 1960s, few opportunities existed."We just went out to California to see if we could Continue Reading

Halloween events tonight in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Naples, SWFL

Ready to get scared? Here are some of the spookiest events happening in Southwest Florida this month: ONGOINGGreenwell’s Haunted Hike The 26th annual scarefest features 16 terrifying scenes in the woods. Enter at your own risk. 7:30-11 p.m. (event starts at dark). Oct. 27, 28, 30 and 31. $13 general admission, $20 FastPass ticket. Parking is $2. Mike Greenwell’s Bat-A-Ball & Family Fun Park, 35 N.E. Pine Island Road, Cape Coral. 574-4386 or greenwellsfamilyfunpark.comFort Myers Fall Festival at the Farm This kid-friendly event features hayrides (including a haunted one), a petting zoo with farm animals, vendors, music and a pumpkin patch. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Southern Fresh Farms, 8500 Penzance Blvd., Fort Myers. 768-0309 or southernfresh.farm MORE:  SWFL LIVE!: Chicago, Pop Evil, Newsboys and more bands in Fort Myers, Cape Coral area in OctoberSpooktacular Halloween cruises Salty Sam’s Pirate Cruise celebrates Halloween all month long with themed cruises, costume contests, games, spooky stories, prizes and more. The cruises include family-friendly offerings, a murder-mystery cruise and a masquerade-ball cruise celebrating the birth of “Captain Redrum.” $25-$40. The Pieces of Eight pirate ship departs from Salty Sam’s Marina, 2500 Main St., Fort Myers Beach. 765-7272 or floridapiratecruise.comFall and Halloween Festival This daily festival features rides, a huge pumpkin patch, games, family activities, the "Halloween Express" train and a collection of creative scarecrows entered into the festival's annual "Scarecrows in the Park" contest. 6-9 p.m. today through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free admission, but some activities and rides cost extra ($2-$14, depending on the activity). Parking is $1 per hour or $5 all day. Lakes Regional Park, 7330 Gladiolus Drive, south Fort Myers. 533-7575 or leeparks.orgHaunted Walk This 33rd annual Haunted Walk brings fear Continue Reading

Fall openings: New restaurants spring up in Naples, Fort Myers, Cape Coral

In the topsy-turvy world that is the local dining scene, a reversal of seasons only makes sense. Spring is when restaurants close, when those that didn't capture the bounty of our tourist-heavy winter months wither away and lock their doors. Fall is the time of hope and rebirth, as new restaurants burst through trying to snag their piece of the high-season pie.And this fall is certainly bursting. "It's as good a time as any," said Greg Gebhard, co-owner of Nice Guys Pizza in south Cape Coral and a partner in nearby Danger, Danger which plans to open by December. "We've still been slammed (at Nice Guys), so the goal here is to make sure everything's bangin' and just right before opening."Fall in Southwest Florida is a sweet spot for restaurant newcomers — slow enough for new servers and cooks to learn, but busy enough to keep them paid. More:Dining and restaurants Also:  Stone crab season off to solid start in Southwest FloridaAccording to 2015 data compiled for the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau, October to December were the rebound months where visitor spending jumped from a mere $490 million over the summer to a healthier $664 million. In January to March of that year, visitors spent $1.12 billion. Hurricane Irma has, of course, put her twist on things, forcing delays for many by stretching contractors and construction crews thin. "It pushed us back a few weeks, for sure," Sal Basile, owner of the forthcoming Saucy Meatball in Gateway said, "but we're getting there. It's coming together."More than 35 new restaurants plan to open throughout Lee and northern Collier counties between now and the end of the year, with even more having opened since September.More: Sails Restaurant to launch at Fifth and Third in Naples More:  Kitchen opens in downtown Naples Here's a look at who's who:Fall's restaurant bountyNorth NaplesCasamigos: Continue Reading

Fort Myers composer William Dawson Jr. has the pen, but the songs are already there

William Dawson Jr. is fumbling toward nirvana. The concert pianist and music school teacher has found the career of his dreams — composing — at age 73. "I'm getting married at age 73," the North Fort Myers resident said impishly. "I've finally found my true love."That love gets a public ceremony Tuesday, Aug. 15, in a world premiere of Florida poet laureate Peter Meinke's poetry set to Dawson's music at Naples United Church of Christ (see information box). The audience will be hearing the first concert dominated by Dawson's songs; it is part of the Naples-based Grand Piano Series organized by Milana Strezeva."This is a really big step for me," Dawson asserted. That is despite the fact Dawson has already written a 20-minute orchestral score on the historic Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. It was sponsored by the Mexican government and performed at the site by an international orchestra. His soaring 150th Psalm was commissioned and recorded by the Southwest Florida Symphonic Chorus in 2008.His "River Suite," arrangements of tunes like "Suwanee River," is becoming a vocal concert staple."I'm doing this backwards," Dawson fretted. But happily. Artists he respects will give this intimate music its first public reading: concert pianist Richard Bosworth, Gulfshore Opera founder and soprano Steffanie Pearce, soprano Nadia Marshall and baritone Christopher Holloway.Meinke, who has written 18 books of poetry and short stories, will read from his works and Bosworth will play an additional solo, Ravel's "Ondine," based on poetry by Aloysius Bertrand. Dawson admits, a bit sheepishly, that he has put more time into composing than into marketing his works.He's still known as a pianist; as late as last year he performed around Florida with two Southwest Florida Symphony members as the Gulfshore Trio. He's also known as a veteran teacher who helped found the New Continue Reading

Fort Myers taxi company owner earns acclaim from industry peers worldwide

A Fort Myers-based taxicab operator who's built her company from a fleet of seven taxis in 1993 to more than 200 vehicles has earned top honors from her industry.Judy Griffin, president of Southwest Florida Transportation Group Inc., will accept the Taxicab Operator of the Year award Monday at the annual convention for the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association in Denver. The non-profit trade association has members worldwide and includes 1,000 taxicab companies, executive sedan and limousine services, airport shuttle fleets, non-emergency medical transportation companies, paratransit services, and other industry vendors.“I was floored,” Griffin said, recalling how she first learned of the recognition.Griffin’s active in the association, with nine years’ service on the board of directors.She’s also connected to her community through memberships in area chambers of commerce, the Businesspeople United for Political Action Committee, several business clubs for women and through faith-based philanthropy.Over the years, she’s steered her company through big industry-wide changes, including the adoption of mobile apps, websites, GPS-based dispatching – and competition from such transportation network companies as Uber and Lyft.Her company is the parent for local operations of Bluebird Taxi, Yellow Cab, Checker Transportation, Naples Taxi Service, a car rental business and several other spinoffs.The quickest way to reach a cab company in Southwest Florida, she said, is to "download our free 275-TAXI app."Griffin's business also is one of three local companies that formed the MBA Airport Transportation partnership that, along with Majestic Transportation and Apple Transportation, provides on-demand service at Southwest Florida International Airport.MBA has done “an admirable job. Their operations at the airport have grown over the years,” said Al Gulamali, director of operations and Continue Reading