Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tim Holland Recovering From Motorcycle Crash

Kiwanis President in Motorcycle Accident

On June 10th Tim Holland was in a bad motorcycle accident. Tim has been the Kiwanis President for the LaBelle Club for almost a year and volunteers with many other community service projects. 

For years, he has been an active leader with the Boy Scouts of America and the Venture Crew. 

Over the summer, he was working at Camp La-No-Che as the Aquatics Director. He was following the camp staff van to lunch when a piece on his motorcycle broke. This caused him to lose control of his motorcycle. He was wearing his helmet but sustained severe injuries. 

Tim was airlifted to Central Regional Hospital where he was in ICU/Trauma for a week. 

Tim has had 3 surgeries so far, and still needs one more. He suffered many fractures, and had bleeding on the brain. Tim is home now, and following up with a neurologist. He has a long way to go to reach full recovery. His wife and kids have been taking care of him at home. 

Medical bills and not being able to work has caused a financial burden on this family. There are donation jars around LaBelle: Kiwanis Thrift Store, Beef O’Brady’s and Ace Hardware.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Summer Fossil Camp With Scott Perry

Scott Perry, Head Counselor of LaBelle's Summer Fossil Camps, says there are openings for boys and girls from the ages of 8 through 14 in this year's one week camps that meet at LaBelle Heritage Museum, Monday through Friday, starting at 8 o'clock for classroom instruction in hunting for and preserving prehistoric fossils that may be found in the LaBelle area before going in the "field" to find fossils that may range from ancients shark teeth to bones of prehistoric creatures such as mammoth and mastodon that once roamed the area. 

The young fossil hunters will learn that no dinosaur bones have ever been discovered in Florida as all of the peninsula was completely under water during the millions of years dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Campers can register at www.fossilcamp.wordpress.com or may contact Scott Perry at (409)0502-9029 for more information on the camps that will begin on Monday, July 24, and Monday, July 31.

Obituaries - Jeanie Perkins, Martha Gross, Andres Salabarria-Yera

Jeanie M. Perkins, age 70, of Clewiston, passed away July 7, 2017 in Lehigh Acres.

She was born Oct. 9, 1946 in Binghamton, NY, near the Pennsylvania- New York border. She was raised in Montrose, PA. After graduating from Montrose High School, Jeanie joined the Army for three years. In 2002 Jeanie graduated from Northwood University, Cumma Sum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Business at the age of 55. Jeanie enjoyed reading, cross-stitching and entertaining all her grandkids and great-grandkids.

Jeanie moved to Florida after getting out of the Army and went to work for A. Duda and Sons for 13 years, and then went on to work for US Sugar for 24 years. Jeanie was working for Glades Electric until she became too ill to continue working.

Jeanie was baptized in the Church of God in Clewiston and then again in 2009 at the First Christian Church in Clewiston when she rededicated her life to the Lord. Jeanie was active in Sunday school, Wednesday night bible study, vacation bible school and in recent years became SS Secretary and Secretary-Treasurer.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Samuel and Edna Shepherd; brother, Albert; sister, Louise and granddaughter, Tiffany Buckhanan.

She is survived by her husband of 31 years John Doug Perkins, sons: John Moran (Sheryl), Scott Perkins (Monica), grandchildren: J.D., Ashley, Amber, Tiffany, Rodney, Kobe, Christian and Kayson, great grandchildren: Paisley, Eli, Kyleigh, Kailynn, Kendra, Karson, Kaydence, brother: Chuck Shepherd, brother-in-law: Donnie Perkins, nephew: Sam Shepherd, nieces: Karen April Holgate and Kimberly Holgate and many friends.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 22, 2017 at 11:00 am at Community Christian Church, Clewiston with Jon Hantsbarger officiating. Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Andres G. Salabarria-Yera, age 78, of Clewiston, passed away July 10, 2017 at home.

He was born Jan. 7, 1939 in Santa Clara, Cuba, to the late Pablo Aba and Lugarda (Yera) Salabarria-Beltran. He was a carpenter for years in Cuba working for the government. Andres enjoyed fishing. He had a collection of fishing Poles.

Survivors include two sons: Oel (Betty) Salabarria-Salinas and Orlando Salabarria-Salanis both of Clewiston, and a Daughter Olga Lidia Salabarria of Cuba, Grandfather of Dayana and Dayan Lorenzo, Osmani, Thalia, Salabarria and Oel Salabarria, Jr. All in Cuba.

Visitation was Thursday July 13th from 04:00-08:00pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL. Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Martha Joe Gross, age 77, of Alva, passed away July 11, 2017 in Fort Myers. She was born Oct. 8, 1939 in Valdosta, GA, to the late Bryan and Mary Martha (Corbett) Harrison. Retired from the Collier County School district as a School Secretary.

Memorial services will be held Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 5:00 to 7 pm at Felda Baptist Church, Felda with Brother Dennis Norvell and Brother Homer Brewer officiating. Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

SR29 Widening Project Public Meeting Aug 8

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District One, is holding a public hearing about the improvements to State Road (SR) 29 from F Road to Cowboy Way in Hendry County. The hearing will be held on Tuesday, August 8, 2017, at the LaBelle Civic Center, 481 West Hickpochee Avenue in LaBelle, Florida. 

There will be an open house at 5 p.m. during which staff will be available to discuss the project and answer questions, followed by the formal hearing presentation at 6 p.m., after which participants may provide their verbal comments to all present.  People attending the hearing can review project displays and speak one-on-one with project team members about the proposed widening of SR 29.

The purpose of this hearing is to discuss the widening of SR 29 (approximately 5 miles) from a two-lane roadway to a four-lane divided roadway. This hearing will discuss changes to proposed median openings from the concept plans shown in the Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study. It will also discuss minor changes to proposed right-of-way requirements. 

Existing access to properties along SR 29 will change due to the addition of a median, a result of widening the road. These changes are presented in compliance with Section 335.199 Florida Statutes (Transportation projects modifying access to adjacent property).

The draft project documents and other information will be available for public view from July 18 through August 18, 2017 at the Barron Library, 461 North Main Street, in LaBelle, Florida. The library phone number is (863) 675-0833, and hours are Monday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.TuesdayWednesday, and Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hendry Commission Decisions July 11 Meeting

The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners workshop and regular meeting held on Tuesday, July 11 at the Commission Chamber in LaBelle, Florida.
·        Discussion of Possible Residential Rental Housing Pilot Program - The Board of County Commissioners was presented with a programmatic outline in follow up on direction given to staff on April 25, 2017.  The purpose of the outline was to highlight the potential program to provide staff with policies whereby a new permitting and inspection process would be engaged for residential rental housing units in Hendry County.  The initial problem to be addressed as discussed by the Board was the growing number of unsatisfactory rental units in the County that are becoming more and more prevalent as housing prices continue to rise.  Unsatisfactory in this case can be defined as units that are being utilized for rental housing that a) do not comply with the County’s Land Use Code or b) are non-compliant with the Florida Building Code.  The Board directed staff to table (postpone) further development of this pilot program until the County experiences greater successes in the standard code enforcement process.

·        Information Session about the Code Enforcement Process -  Discussion was had between County staff and the Board regarding the relative flow charts of various code enforcement violations and the time frame from the opening of a code case to closure.  Discussions by the Board included concerns of staffing levels to be able to address the code enforcement infractions occurring in the County.  For reference, Hendry County employs three code enforcement officers to cover all properties, including residential and commercial properties, located in unincorporated Hendry County.  The Board also shared concerns with how much time is being given to work with code offenders to cure their violations.  Staff has been very committed to work with land owners and giving them additional discretionary time above the statutory mandated and best management practice time frames.  The Board gave direction for staff to adhere to the code mandated timeframes  to increase the closure rates on code cases. The Board also asked that staff take a look at examples of various code infractions in each Board district., for the follow up workshop.  Staff is to review these cases, take photographs and bring back information on each code case and what is to be done to remedy them in accordance with the Florida Statute and/or county code. 
·        Update Progress Report of Crossroads Behavioral Health Center – Mr. Greg Finer, CEO of Crossroads Behavioral Health Center addressed the Board regarding his concerns about financial stability for State of Florida funds through the various regulatory agencies.  The concern is the rigorous amount of requirements built in to “draw-down” available state funds for services.  Crossroads is working through the processes, but is experiencing difficulty in receiving all of the funds that are allocated to them.  The Board has asked staff to work with Mr. Finer to see what can be done with the State to make the funding flow better and continue to support the establishment and future expansion of behavioral health services in Hendry County.
·        Adoption of Ordinance Revoking Ad Valorem Tax Abatement for ALTAIR Training Solutions, Inc. – In follow up to the approved direction of the Board at the June 13, 2017 meeting, the Board held a public hearing and approved the revocation of the ordinance affording ALTAIR Training Solutions, Inc. a tax abatement for five years.  Reasons for the revocation include failure to comply with new job creation requirements and reporting as required by the County’s agreement with ALTAIR and ordinance for the specific tax abatement. The Board approved the revocation following the public hearing unanimously.

·        Adoption of Amendments to Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Ordinance – In June 2017 the Board considered significant revisions to the process of considering Ad Valorem Tax Abatements.  The improved program includes a streamlining of the program responsibilities, the implementation of a scoring matrix for interested businesses that measures the anticipated benefits of their business to the County, and an independent review committee process to consider whether or not the applicant merits an economic development tax incentive.  Following the public hearing, the Board approved the amendments unanimously.

·        Consideration of Membership to Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council (SWFRPC) - The Board was presented background information and analysis on the recent events whereby Sarasota County, Lee County and Charlotte County have provided notice of intent to withdraw from the SWFRPC.  Membership in a regional planning council is mandated by Florida State statutes and the membership to the SWFRPC was determined by an inter-local agreement dated in the early 1970’s.  The Board directed staff to stay engaged with the SWFRPC for one more year and then to re-evaluate the value of the membership to this organization.

·        Local Vendor Preference Renewal – The Board reviewed a report provided by staff regarding the Local Vendor Preference Ordinance set to sunset in August 2017.  The Board determined with some minor adjustments to give additional purchasing discretion to staff in terms of choosing local vendors in the procurement process, renew the program and refresh the ordinance for another term.  The ordinance is set to come before the Board in August 2017 for public hearing and adoption.

·        Medical Marijuana Dispensaries’ and Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers – The Board voted unanimously to table this topic until August 22, 2017 for further discussion.  Commissioner Turner expressed intent to visit an operating facility to review its operations.  Commissioner Swindle had already visited a facility in Alachua County and expressed his perspective that the facility was highly regulated and well run.  The moratorium on medical marijuana facilities is still in place till November 2017. 

·        Update of Solid Waste Franchise Agreement. – At the June 13, 2017 meeting the Board directed to set the Truth in Millage at $240 with two day a week waste pick-up. The Board and staff are to negotiate with the Solid Waste hauler and seek out solutions which would help reduce costs to residents. Negotiations have continued and the current update is that service levels and programmatic features will remain the same as today’s services.  Additional information will be forthcoming at upcoming meetings in August along with budget discussion.