Most talked about Fort Myers News-Press stories

Yes, honey, there is a black Santa Claus — As black Santa Claus whistled, hollered and called his reindeer by name, my 4-year-old daughter interrupted the story, "Santa is not black." We were reading, " 'Twas the Night B'fore Christmas: An African-American Version,'" among the few books I could find in the Lee County library with a Santa who was not white.

Southwest Florida: Same-sex marriage decision — The man he pledged his love to for 25 years is a picture in his pocket on the cusp of history. It's a commitment Allen Kavanaugh, 52, of Fort Myers carries solemnly, but shares tenderly. Kavanaugh's partner, Douglas Kuball, 56, died of a heart condition on Aug. 27. The U.S.
Dec 21, 2014

Southwest Florida reactions: Local same-sex couples hope Jan. 6 is a day for equality | via @thenewspress #swfl

Simmons pours in 37 as Montverde survives — Ben Simmons had a historic Classic performance, scoring 37 points and grabbing 18 rebounds in leading Montverde Academy, ranked No. 1 in USA Today's Super 25, to a narrow 62-59 victory over Alpharetta (Ga.) St. Francis in a quarterfinal game at the City of Palms Classic Saturday night.

Supt. Graham explains school choice to chamber members — With open enrollment for school choice right around the corner, Lee Schools officials attended the Chamber of Southwest Florida's luncheon Wednesday with the hopes of explaining what Superintendent Nancy Graham described as the "biggest mystery in the district." Graham said that every time she fully explains the school choice model to people, they always ask, "why does everybody say it's so bad?"

Antonio Blakeney sparks City of Palms Classic — Antonio Blakeney cannot miss. Well, sometimes the 6-foot-4 senior guard from Orlando Oak Ridge High School misses some shots. But in this particular shoot-around Thursday morning at the Fort Myers YMCA, one of the nation's consensus top 10 basketball players swished dozens of 3-pointers from an assortment of angles.

Nations Association Children's Christmas Party — Patricia Andres, 2, runs to catch up to her family after receiving a Christmas present during the Nations Association Children's Christmas Party at the Araba Shrine Temple in Fort Myers on Saturday.

Season preview: 'Mormon,' music fests and more — "The Book of Mormon" has broken sales records everywhere it's played, and the hit Broadway musical is doing the same thing here in Southwest Florida. So good luck getting that primo seat. Most tickets sold out weeks ago.

Lehigh man sentenced to 25 years for not disclosing he has HIV — A Lehigh Acres man arrested in 2013 has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for having sex with women without telling them he has HIV. The 20th Judicial Circuit Court said Tony Paulino, 57, was sentenced Friday to 25 years in prison and 5 years probation.
Dec 20, 2014

"Lehigh Acres man sentenced to 25 years for not disclosing he has HIV to sexual partners" | via @thenewspress #swfl

The story of a sea turtle named OB1 — As the research vessel approached White Horse Key in the Ten Thousand Islands Thursday, a juvenile Kemp's ridley sea turtle named OB1 started flapping its flippers on the deck. Wearing a recently attached satellite tag, OB1 seemed to know it would soon be released into its feeding grounds.

Supreme Court won't stop gay marriages in Florida — MIAMI (AP) - Same-sex weddings may soon begin in Florida after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block them. The court said Friday it wouldn't block the marriages. A federal judge previously declared Florida's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional and said same-sex marriage licenses could start being issued in the state after Jan.
Dec 19, 2014

Supreme Court won't stop same-sex marriages in Florida via @thenewspress @AP

Dec 19, 2014

So, how 'bout those Supremes? (To clarify, the ones who just refused to block same-sex marriage in Florida)…

Dec 19, 2014

Supreme Court won't stop gay marriages in Florida via @thenewspress

Body of missing kayaker found near Sanibel Causeway — A body has been found near the Sanibel Causeway, but has not yet been identified. A kayaker went missing in the area a week ago. The body was found around 2:44 p.m. by a Florida Fish and Wildlife officer, said FWC spokesman Gary Morse.
Dec 20, 2014

Body of missing kayaker found near Sanibel Causeway via @thenewspress

Top five things to do this weekend in SWFL — Don't know what to do this weekend? Here are five events you may want to check out. Cape Coral's Annual Holiday Boat-A-Long The Cape Coral tradition returns with about 100 lighted, decorated boats traveling along the canals of south Cape Coral. The parade starts at Four Freedoms Park.

City of Palms: Bentonville vs Wheeler — Scenes from Friday night's game between Bentonvillle and Wheeler High School at the City of Palms Tournament at Bishop Verot High School.
Dec 20, 2014

RT @thereal_kkrebs: GALLERY from last night's #CityofPalms game between Wheeler (61) and Bentonville (40) #SWFL

Dunk City: FGChristmasU!! — Scenes from Friday's FGCU's basketball games featuring fans, cheerleaders, coaches and mascots at Alico Arena in Fort Myers.

FGCU basketball: Eagles hold off Furman, 83-78 — The crowd-pleasing lobs and dunks were flowing freely once again in Alico Arena. But following another potentially disruptive suspension of a starter, FGCU did enough to hold off a seemingly overmatched opponent in an 83-78 defeat of Furman Friday night before a crowd of 4,251.
Dec 19, 2014

"We didnt really play our best. Furman played great. But we pulled it out. Thats all I worry about." - @BrettComer_0

Dec 19, 2014

"No matter if somebody's hurt, suspended, the next guy has to step up & play." -- @BrettComer_0.

Dec 19, 2014

RECAP: @FGCU_MBB 83, @FurmanHoops 78. W/quotes on #FGCU level of play, impact of Jones suspension, etc.

Basketball: FGCU senior Jamail Jones suspended again — It was only a week or so ago that FGCU starter Jamail Jones spoke of letting his teammates down because of a three-game suspension earlier this season. "That hit home more than anything," Jones said. Seemingly not enough.
Dec 19, 2014

STORY: "He's got to take care of his own business & we'll be there to help him." #FGCU AD Kavanagh on Jamail Jones.

City of Palms Classic tournament updates — The 42nd Annual Culligan City of Palms Classic kicks off Thursday, showcasing some of the nation's top high school basketball players. General admission tickets are $15 per day, except for Sunday, which is $10. A 6-day reserved seat pass is $110 while a 6-day general admission pass is $80.

Hammond Stadium set to be finished end of January — When fans file into Hammond Stadium in nine weeks, they essentially will be visiting a brand new ballpark. Almost everything about the stadium, originally opened in 1991, will seem different from two years ago. But the majority of the changes will have taken place in the seven months leading up to Feb.
Dec 19, 2014

Video tour and fresh details of new-look Hammond Stadium #MNTwins pitchers and catchers report Feb. 22.

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Ben Simmons aims for second City of Palms Classic MVP — When Ben Simmons saw LeBron James and other NBA stars wearing "I Can't Breathe" T-shirts earlier this month, the high school senior basketball player followed suit. "It kind of hit me, because my dad grew up in that same area," Simmons said of New York City, where over the summer an unarmed man named Eric Garner died after a police officer put him in a choke hold.
Dec 20, 2014

@EricPMusselman Just realized you are on LSU staff and get to coach this guy:

Dec 20, 2014

@hwashington324 Also, nice job in the game today with the threes at the right time. Here's my Ben Simmons profile:

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