Thursday, July 31, 2014

Langford Ford Dealership To Be Sold To Competitor

"Y'all Spoken Here" Tagline As Famous As The Langford Kids

LABELLE, FL. -- Many decades of Langford Ford customers will be greeted with a new owner after the end of August at the Ford dealership at 851 South Main Street in LaBelle.

Doug Plattner, of Plattner's LaBelle Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Ram will soon officially take over LaBelle's landmark Ford dealership.

Plattner will now own both new car dealerships in western Hendry county and sell both Ford products and Chrysler. He also owns many new car dealerships around Florida including Southwest Florida dealership in Belle Glade and one in Arcadia.

Pat Langford, growing up working at the local dealership, and Hendry School Board member said the just completed sales contact calls for no changes in personnel for the first 90 days of Plattner's ownership.

Langford hopes for continued success for the dealership under the new ownership. The Langford children were famous for years as the cute kids featured in all the dealership advertising.

Langford Ford has enjoyed a good relationship with it's customers and excellent reviews of customer's buying experiences are found online including: "I am happy to say they had the best price around, the sales people were friendly and informative but definitely not pushy," said Stacy Tollison.

Randy Parrish said, "I never feel any pressure to buy when dealing with Langford Ford and always feel that I am getting a fair deal."

Langford Ford has been under the leadership of corporate officers Paul and Patrick Langford for many years and featured ads promising no "dealer fees" added to car prices. (Plattner's dealerships always add a dealer fee of many hundreds of dollars to each new or used car price.)

In recent months, Langford has discontinued advertising in the local newspaper, while Plattner has placed full page ads for it's two dealerships.

Free Hunting Course Next Week

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will host a free hunter safety course on Aug. 9 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. in Hendry County.

Participants must successfully complete the online portion of the course prior to attending and bring the final Web report to the FWC class on Aug. 9, a Saturday. The form does not have to be notarized.

Students will learn about several topics, including hunting laws, safe gun handling and hunter ethics/responsibility, before taking the final test. The course also includes live-firing instruction on a shooting range.

The class will be held at the Hendry County Sheriff's Office Shooting Range, between Clewiston and La Belle. The address is 700 Witt Road, near the Pioneer Plantation Community.

Participants can sign up at or by calling the FWC’s South Region Office at 561-625-5122. Links to the online part of the course and a statewide schedule of hunter safety classes are available at

Parents or legal guardians must accompany children under 16 years of age to all classes. To participate in live-fire exercises, children under 18 years old must present a parental release form signed by a parent or legal guardian.

Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975, must pass an approved hunter safety course and have a hunting license to hunt alone (unsupervised).

Obituaries - Strait, Wooten, Oney

Roberta D Strait, age 80, of LaBelle, passed away July 30, 2014 in LaBelle.

She was born Jan. 11, 1934 in Marion County, Alabama, to the late Ottis and the late Pauline (Godsey) Johns. She worked for many years at Berry's Grove.

Survivors include one son: Donnie Sprouse of LaBelle, FL and one daughter: Debora Devisme and husband Thomas of LaBelle, Florida, ten grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Carvel L. Strait, Sons; David Wayne Strait and Ricky Joe Strait.

She was a very loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother and will be missed by all of her family and friends.

Life Celebration service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, August 2, 2014, in Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, with Pastor Roger Bradley officiating. Visitation will be from 1 pm to the service also at the funeral home. Burial will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery.

Stanley Gene Wooten, age 64, of LaBelle, passed away July 28, 2014 in LaBelle. He was born Aug. 10, 1949 in Arcadia, FL, to the late Raymond R. and the late Lillian R. (Brown) Wooten.

Gene owned and operated Wooten's Everglades Airboat Tours for many years. He also raised many different animals native to Florida, including several Florida panthers.

He is survived by his loving wife: Iris Lynn (Harris) Wooten, daughter: Shelley Lynn Wooten-Gericke, grandchildren, Tyler Gene Wooten, Gena Lynn Wooten, Autumn Hope Gericke and brother: Richard Wooten. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Raymond Willard Wooten.

Funeral services will be held Friday, August 1, 2014 at 11:00 am at Eastside Baptist Church, LaBelle with Pastor Jeremy Howell officiating. Visitation will be Friday from 1 hour prior to service at Eastside Baptist Church, LaBelle, FL. Interment will be at 3:00 pm in Joshua Creek Cemetery, Arcadia.

Cloyd Oral Oney, age 65, of LaBelle, passed away July 21, 2014 in Bay Pines VA Hospital. He was born August 19, 1948 in Willard, OH, to the late Charles Chester and the late Mary Ruth (Price) Oney. 

He served in the Army from December 11, 1967 to December 2, 1969.

He is survived by his sister Linda G. Smith (Dana). He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister.

One Dead - Driver Charged With DUI Manslaughter

Driver Hits Two Pedestrians - One Dies Of Injuries

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL. -- A pedestrian was killed and another critically injured as a man charged with driving under the influence is alleged to be at fault.

Christopher Allen Best, 25 of Port Charlotte was northbound in a 1999 Oldsmobile on US-41 in the inside lane approaching the intersection of Melbourne Street. Alexander Velez, 34 of Punta Gorda was stopped in the inside lane ahead of Best, performing road maintenance work. 

Velez's vehicle was equipped with an amber arrow board and amber flashing overhead led lighting. But Best failed to observe the flashing right arrow and struck two pedestrians working in the roadway behind Velez's vehicle. The front of Best's vehicle then struck the rear of the second one. 

Both pedestrians were pinned between the two vehicle, Best's vehicle one rotated clockwise 45 degrees and came to an uncontrolled stop in the inside lane facing northeast. The pedestrians came to final rest in the inside lane in front of  the Oldsmobile. The second vehicle was pushed forward and came to an uncontrolled stop in the inside lane faced northwest.

Dead is Jemel Gardener, 39 of Lehigh Acres. Critically injured was Mark Andrew Caton, 22 of Punta Gorda. 

Best had minor injuries as did his passenger, 6-year old Cayden Allen Best. Chris Best is charged with DUI manslaughter, DUI property damage, and DUI serious bodily injury.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Politicians And Government Officials Break Ground On New Facility

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Glades County officials held a ground-breaking ceremony for the soon-to-be construction site of the Glades County career training facility and the construction site of Glades County Emergency Operations Center. Both are located in the County’s Industrial Park located on the northwest corner of the intersection of US 27 and SR 78.

Glades County Commission Chairman Donna Storter Long welcomed all and introduced special guests. State elected officials and Agency Directors were recognized for their efforts in obtaining funding from the legislature, and Chairman Storter Long especially thanked her fellow Commissioners Paul Beck and Tim Stanley and County Manager Paul Carlisle for their willingness to go to Tallahassee and their effective efforts.

Special guest Jesse Panuccio, Gov. Scott’s Director of Economic Opportunity, briefly addressed the crowd on his agency’s participation, eagerness, and willingness to help with the projects including development of the training center.

Senator Denise Grimsley who formerly represented Glades County in the House of Representatives, commented on her determination to help Glades County from the first visit she made here eight years ago when Health Dept. Director Pat Dobbins led her on a tour of the then decrepit facility that housed the Health Dept; Senator Grimsley expressed her delight in helping get the new medical center just east of this construction site that was funded by state grants; she assured the guests that she will continue to serve Glades County even though we are not in her senate district.

Senator Bill Galvano addressed the crowd noting his pleasure serving Glades County as our state senator and urged us to continue contacting him when we need help.

Representative Cary Pigman spoke of his gladness in assisting the process of procuring funding for both these projects and noted that Glades County is well represented in Tallahassee.

Gina Reynolds, Executive Director of FHREDI, gave comments from Senator Negron, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senator Grimsley, Senator Galvano, Representative Pigman, and Senator Negron were the key players in obtaining the funding thru the legislature. Also instrumental in working with CAS Governmental Services in Tallahassee were Gina Reynolds, and Commissioners Paul Beck and Tim Stanley and County Manager Paul Carlisle.

Also recognized were other elected Glades officials in attendance including Tax Collector Gail Jones, Moore Haven City Councilman John Ahern, Glades District School Superintendent Scott Bass, and members of the Glades County Economic Development Council.

Glades County Public Safety Director Bob Jones and Emergency Management Director Angie Colegrove were so pleased to participate in the event as they have worked for 18 years planning for this day when a new, modern, even futuristic Emergency Operations Center will commence construction. The current EOC is a small office in the courthouse. The new facility will provide room for training, electronic communications, storage for supplies needed during emergency events, as well as provide bays for fire trucks and ambulances with area for the EMS station staff. According to Bob Jones, “This facility will serve the needs of Glades County for the next 50-60 years.”

Tommy Perry, President of Glades County Economic Development Council was pleased to attend as EDC has been involved with the training center as part of their efforts to promote development of the logistics and manufacturing site near the training center. Mr. Perry commented, “The EDC is excited to see the training center break ground as it will provide training for companies seeking a highly educated workforce as well as providing specialized training for logistics and manufacturing employees. This facility will enhance EDC’S ability to compete and lure logistics and manufacturing companies to Glades County.”

Other guests included Fred Edman of Wright Construction who is the contractor for the EOC building, Gary Ritter of South Florida Water Management District who provided 90% of the material for the site work for the EOC and Hendry County Commissioner Janet Taylor.

Following the groundbreaking ceremony, the crowd moved to Moore Haven’s Chalo Nitka fairgrounds for a delicious BBQ luncheon prepared by County Manager Paul Carlisle provided by Dale Milita of CAS Governmental Services and Jeff Sabin of Waste Management and served by County staff Terri Anascavage, Bob Jones, Angie Colegrove, Inga Williams, Mike Ashworth, and also helping were Doug Manke and Addison Anascavage. Photos provided by Matt Howard of Johnson Engineering.

Shovels were wielded by Jesse Panuccio, Director of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Commissioner Tim Stanley,Commissioner Russell Echols, Rep. Cary Pigman, Commissioner Paul Beck, Sen. Denise Grimsley, Sen. Bill Galvano, Commissioner Donna Storter Long, FHREDI Exec Dir. Gina Reynolds, Commissioner Crystal Drake, County Manager Paul Carlisle