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96-year-old Venice grandmother skydives in honor of late grandson

VENICE, Fla.– When 96-year-old Betty Weiblinger was asked recently about a dream she had yet to fulfill in her life, she didn’t have to do much thinking. Betty had always wanted to skydive.  Everyone in Betty’s Venice senior living community laughed at the idea, except for Tanja Kociski. “I had to do this for her,” Tanja, who serves as the healthy lifestyles director at Elmcroft of Bella Vita, said.   Tanja learned that Betty had plans to skydive for her 90th birthday with her grandson, Devin. Bad weather forced their trip to be canceled and...

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Fort Myers nurse gets surprise gift from coworkers after ALS diagnosis

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Jeff Bower had no clue what would be waiting for him when he arrived outside Gulf Coast Medical Center. It had been months since he entered the hospital’s Emergency Department as a seasonal nurse after he was diagnosed with ALS last year.  He was greeted by dozens of coworkers gathered together and cheering at his arrival.  “It’s better than Christmas and your birthday and everything put together because you just know you have everybody rooting for you,” Janah, Jeff’s wife and a fellow seasonal nurse at Gulf Coast said.  Gaby Foglia,...

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Before ‘American Idol,’ Estero’s Casey Bishop was sports bar karaoke sensation

FORT MYERS, Fla.– It’s rare that a memorable act comes from karaoke night at Shoeless Joe’s sports bar in Fort Myers. Nine years ago, a seven-year-old singer delivered a rousing performance. Her name was Casey Bishop.  Long before the Estero teen made a name for herself nationally as an “American Idol” finalist, Bishop performed karaoke across Southwest Florida hoping to catch her big break.  “We were eating dinner outside and I wanted to do it so badly,” Bishop said of her first time performing at Shoeless Joe’s. “I just...

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FGCU students crochet mats out of plastic bags for homeless

FORT MYERS, Fla. – A group of Florida Gulf Coast University students has turned thousands of old plastic bags into sleeping mats for the homeless.  The students’ efforts are part of the college’s University Colloquium course, which focuses on environmental and sustainability initiatives.  “With as many negative things we had happen with COVID, I think there have been a few positives that have come out of it as well,” Patty Krupp, the colloquium office manager, said of the project.  Plastic yarn or “plarn” was used as students crocheted...

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