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FGCU Women Win 15th Straight Game

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – In a rematch of last year’s lone Atlantic Sun loss, the FGCU women’s basketball team defeated Northern Kentucky University 67-46 Saturday night at the Bank of Kentucky Center. With the win, the Eagles improve to 20-2 on the season with a 7-0 mark in conference play. On the losing side of FGCU’s 15th-straight win, NKU falls to 13-9 with a 4-3 league record.

The Eagles and Norse battled for the lead in the first half with FGCU maintaining the advantage at the break. The home team cut the deficit to three points early in the second half but with a 21-4 run midway through the second stanza, the Eagles took hold of the game and cruised to a 21-point victory. The team saw four double-figure scorers and 10 3-pointers as the Eagles maintained the nation’s sixth-best win streak.

“I thought we played really unselfishly, offensively and defensively, tonight,” said head coach Karl Smesko of the win in the program’s 400th game. “We got some great production off our bench, especially from [Stephanie] Haas and saw a great game from Whitney [Knight].”

“Whitney is a great player and to get 1,000 points by her junior year shows what type of offensive player she is,” Smesko continued on Knight’s milestone. “She made a huge difference for us today. She got us started early with a couple threes and she made a difference on the defensive end as well. We’re really excited for her to reach this milestone and we’re happy it came in a hard-fought win.”

Whitney Knight (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds High School) led all players with 18 points and nine rebounds on the night. The redshirt-junior scored the team’s first 11 tallies and recorded her 1,000th career point in the win. Stephanie Haas (Avon Lake, Ohio/Magnificat High School) added 14 points and a career-high eight rebounds, while Kaneisha Atwater (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce-Westwood High School/VCU) and Jenna Cobb (New Holland, Ohio/Miami Trace High School/Butler) contributed 11 and 10, respectively. Atwater and DyTiesha Dunson (Albany, Ga./Westover High School) paced the squad with four assists each, with Knight leading on the defensive side with three blocks and three steals.

As a unit, the Eagles converted 39.3 percent of shot attempts from the field with 10 made 3-point shots. The Green and Blue held NKU to a 36.7 percent success rate and outrebounded the home team, 40-31.

With 1,000 points on the horizon, Knight started hot with back-to-back 3-pointers to open the game. After trailing 6-2, NKU responded with eight-straight points inside to take the lead and pushed FGCU into a five-minute scoring drought as the Eagles struggled to convert from the field.

With 12 minutes to play in the half, Knight hit the 1,000 point mark and cut the Eagle dry spell with a 3-pointer from the left side. Knight’s long shot was followed by another from Taylor Gradinjan (Cudahy, Wisc./Cudahy High School) as the Eagles reclaimed the lead at 14-10 midway through the half.

NKU added two shots from the free-throw line but the Green and Blue produced an eight-point run with long-range makes from Haas and Atwater and a layup from Dunson. The run gave FGCU a 10-point lead at 22-12 and pressured the home team into a timeout.

The Norse added a 3-pointer right out of the break but scoring slowed for both teams as FGCU held a 22-15 lead for nearly three minutes. FGCU held onto the lead through the end of the half despite the Norse cutting the deficit to six points in the final minute.

After a Dunson jumper at the buzzer, the Eagles went into the break with a 29-21 advantage.

The Norse increased their offensive intensity to start the second half and quickly cut the Eagle lead to just three points at 33-30 on a seven-point run.

Cobb cut the NKU run with a 3-pointer near the 16-minute mark before Haas increased the lead back to nine points with another three two minutes later. After trading baskets for the next five minutes, Cobb and Haas produced back-to-back layups to increase the advantage to 11 points and catapulted the Eagles into a 14-point run.

The run, which included buckets from Cobb, Haas and Atwater, pushed the Eagles to a game-high 60-37 lead with six minutes left to play. The Eagles maintained a 20-point advantage through the conclusion of the contest to escape with a win, avenging last year’s loss in Highland Heights.

With the 20th win of the season, the Eagles secured their 11th-straight 20+-win campaign and become the fifth team in all of NCAA Division I women’s basketball to hit the mark.

The team will resume action for the second half of the A-Sun slate with a road contest at Stetson Saturday, Feb. 7. The afternoon bout is slated for 1 p.m. and will be part of a men’s/women’s double header with the FGCU men’s program.

Courtesy: FGCU Athletic Department

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Eagles Win and Retire Sales Jersey

 FGCU men won their 5th straight on Saturday night over Northern Kentucky behind Brett Comer’s 24 points. FGCU also officially retired White Sox pitcher Chris Sale’s jersey and number. 

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Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team

 The U.S. Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team played an exhibition game at Swanson Stadium on Saturday. The game not only let’s the players do what they love most but it also raises money and gives back to the veterans of our U.S. armed forces. 

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Comer Plays For His Father

Brett Comer’s father Troy lost his battle to cancer just 6 weeks before Comer left his high school team to the State Championship game. Comer still plays for and with his father. Along with the help of his teammates. 

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Saturday 1-31 Sports

 A big day in sports around Southwest Florida featured a visit to Swanson Stadium by the Wounded Warrior Softball team, a preview of FGCU men’s and women’s basketball looking to extend their winning streaks, and a shot that one lucky fan should thank his lucky stars for at the Wasteland Management Open from Phoenix,AZ. 

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Suspect caught on camera installing skimming device on ATM

Lee County deputies are looking for a man who installed a high-tech skimming device on an ATM in Estero early Saturday morning.
On Saturday morning, SunTrust remote security specialists in Atlanta, Georgia notified deputies that an ATM machine may have been compromised at their branch in the 3501 Vanderburg Way.  
When detectives first arrived, they did not seen any visible signs of the ATM being tampered.  However, upon further inspection, they found a high-tech external skimmer and a separate pinhole recording device.  
Surveillance cameras near the ATM captured images of a bearded, white male installing the device just before 7 a.m.  Within minutes, the man removed a portion of the front of the ATM and place the skimming and recording device inside.  He then re-assembled the mechanism to give the appearance that ATM was fully functional.
“The individual who installed this device is clearly very well skilled in his trade,” said Trish Routte, Crime Stoppers Coordinator. “The installation was done quickly, and left no obvious signs that the machine had ever been tampered with. Had SunTrust security members not discovered the crime so quickly, there’s no telling how many customers would have had their personal banking information stolen.”

Detectives believe that the person who installed the device at the ATM is likely part of an enterprise that has installed other skimmers throughout the area. 

Anyone with information on the identity of the skimmer installer is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000. Tips may also be made online at www.swflcrimestoppers.org or by texting a tip to CRIMES (274637) Keyword: REWARD.
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Village of Estero holds forum for council candidates

Southwest Florida’s newest village is only a month old, and it still has no official government. 
On Saturday, hundreds of Estero residents packed a local church to learn more about the 13 candidates who want to be the first to sit on the new Village of Estero council. 
One by one 13 candidates laid out their vision while hundreds listened closely.
“To me, it’s critical to have the right people on the first board.  They are going to lay the foundation for the future of Estero.  I don’t want any amateur up there,” said Ester Fire Rescue commissioner Dick Schweers. 
For Estero Fire Rescue commissioner Dick Schweers, it’s the widening of Corkscrew Road and new traffic lights on US-41.  For Adele Amico, it’s something else. 
“Characteristics of our city manager, the individual candidates vision for the first two years of Estero, economic development,” said Estero resident Adele Amico.
Other issues include transparent government, small budget and staff, protecting Estero’s unique architecture and it’s projected future surplus. 
“The incorporation give us the opportunity to retain our dollars.  It’s estimated in the feasibility study that we would have $15 million in reserves within five years,” said Schweers.
But first the seven newly-elected council members must build a government. 
“We are starting from scratch.  We have nothing.  We don’t have a paper clip.  We don’t have a pencil.  We have no place to even have the first meeting yet,” said Nick Batos whose running unopposed for the Village of Estero council.
Thirteen candidates are running for seven slots in seven district.  Three district candidates will run unopposed. 
Elections will be held on March 3rd with the first meeting at Estero High School on March 17th.  Whoever wins will unofficially become the Village of Estero’s founding fathers.  
The following is a list of the 13 candidates running for the Village of Estero council: 
– District 1: William “Bill” Ribble
– District 2:  Howard Levitan
– District 3: Don Brown
                   David Levin
– District 4: Randall “Randy” Broderson
                   Katy Errington
– District 5: Jim Boesch
                   Gary Israel
   Adam Waszkowski 
– District 6: Nicholas “Nick” Batos 
– District 7: Frank Kupiec III 
   Jim Wilson 
   Walter Zalisko
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Repeat offender behind bars after robbing senior citizen

A convicted felon is back behind bars this afternoon, after robbing a senior citizen last night and getting into a physical altercation with the woman’s husband.

According to the victim, she and her husband were headed to their car in the Perkins parking lot, located at 14801 S. Tamiami Trail, Fort Myers, last night around 7:30 p.m. when a white male pushed the woman and grabbed her purse. 

When the suspect tried to run away, the victim’s husband attempted to get his wife’s purse back, at which point the robber assaulted the man. After a brief struggle, the suspect managed to flee the scene. 

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office was immediately contacted, and the K-9 Unit tracked the man to a nearby Home Depot, where he was last seen getting into an SUV. 

Detectives worked throughout the night to find the attacker, and this morning, detectives apprehended Charles Harner, DOB 4/15/77, and charged him with robbery by sudden snatching and battery on a person age 65 or older. He was booked into the Lee County Jail just before 11 a.m., where he is currently being held without bond.

To date, Harner has been arrested 17 times in Lee County on multiple counts of burglary, grand theft, battery, fraud, resisting arrest, larceny theft and a long list of probation violations. He’s also served three stints in state prison for roughly seven years of his life.

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Witness chases suspect after robbery at Bonita ATM

Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers is trying to identify the suspect who robbed a woman after she withdrew cash from a Bonita Springs ATM. 

According to detectives, the victim withdrew $200 at the Suncoast School Credit Union ATM on Chamber of Commerce Drive shortly after 2:30 p.m. on January 10th.  

As the victim walked back to her car, an unknown man grabbed the money from her hands and ran to a gray Toyota or Honda waiting nearby.  A witness to the crime chased after the suspect, but eventually lost him after he sped off behind the shopping center. 

The suspect is described as a light-skinned Hispanic male in his early 20s.  He’s approximately 5’8″ tall and weighs around 190 pounds.  He also has a short beard. 

Anyone with information on the identity and whereabouts of the suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000. Tips may also be made online at www.swflcrimestoppers.org or by texting a tip to CRIMES (274637) Keyword: REWARD.

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Suspect sought in overnight Fort Myers stabbing

Fort Myers Police are investigating a stabbing that sent one person to the hospital early Saturday morning. 
It happened in the 1800 block of Maravilla Avenue around midnight. 
Police tell us a man was stabbed in the arm and upper back.  He was taken to the hospital. 
Investigators are still looking for the suspect.