Saturday, March 28, 2015

Getting Ready For Hurricane Season

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry County Hurricane Expo was held Saturday, May 28, 2015 at the Barron Library in LaBelle from 10am to 1pm.

Several Agencies and Community Partners provided preparedness information and demonstrations. The Kiwanis Key Club (LaBelle High School Students) provided a bounce house and refreshments for the attendees.

It’s never too early to start preparing for Hurricane Season, which officially starts June 1st.

Photo: Brenda Barnes (right) of the Hendry-Glades Health Department demonstrates water safety and storm flooding health hazards

Friday, March 27, 2015

Obituaries - Marcos Alvarez, Cecilia Braunstein

Marcos Juvencio Alvarez, age 87, of Clewiston, passed away March 25, 2015 in Clewiston.

He was born June 18, 1927 in Yara, Oriente, Cuba to the late Pedro and the late Matilda (Guerero) Alvarez Garcia. Mr. Alvarez married Candida Rosa Milanes. He worked for Okeelanta Sugar for many years.

Survivors include his wife: Candida Rosa Alvarez, sons; Marcos, Jr and Pedro Alvarez, two grandchildren and one great grandchild, one brother; Oracio Alvarez.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 11:30 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Minister Steve Hildebrand officiating. Interment will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation will be Friday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Cecilia Braunstein, age 75, a resident of Montura Ranch Estates since 1982, passed away March 25, 2015 in Montura Ranch Estates, Clewiston. 

She was born July 22, 1939 in Barranquilla,Colombia, SA to the late Jose Angulo and the late Consuelo Miret.

Survivors include her son: Ricardo Ortiz, daughters: Martha Ortiz and Yvette Ortiz-Carrillo, brothers: Eduardo Angulo, Ramiro Angulo, Carlos Arturo Angulo, Jairo Angulo, sisters: Graciela Duncan, Sofia Saja, Rosita Libre De Marulanda, grandchildren: Stephanie Wilson; Rick Anthony Ortiz; Jan Michael Ortiz; Amanda Ortiz; Alejandro Carrillo; Clarisa Carrillo, Elisa Carrillo and great-grandchildren: Andreas Wilson, Eric Wilson, Mark Wilson, Carter Wilson and Micah Ortiz.

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

FTC Gets Tough On Car Dealer Scams

The Federal Trade Commission and 32 law enforcement partners today announced the results of Operation Ruse Control, a nationwide and cross-border crackdown to protect consumers when purchasing or leasing a car, encompassing 252 enforcement actions. The six new FTC cases include more than $2.6 million in monetary judgments.

“For most people, buying a car is one of the largest purchases they’ll make,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Car ads must be truthful, loan terms must be clear, and dealer practices must be honest. That’s why our partners are working together to crack down on deceptive marketing about car sales, leasing and financing.”

Cases Involving Vehicle Purchase Add-Ons
For the first time since receiving expanded authority over auto dealers under the Dodd-Frank Act, the FTC has taken two auto enforcement actions involving add-ons, which is the practice of a dealer or other third party adding to the vehicle sales, lease, or finance agreement charges for other products or services. A few examples include extended warranties, payment programs, guaranteed automobile protection (commonly called GAP or GAP insurance), credit life insurance, road service, theft protection, and undercoating.

National Payment Network, Inc. (NPN): The FTC charged that NPN, headquartered in San Mateo, Calif., allegedly violated the FTC Act by deceptively pitching consumers an auto payment program – both online and through a network of authorized auto dealers -- that it claimed would save consumers money. NPN failed to disclose that the significant fees it charged for the service often cancelled out any actual savings. The fees to enroll in NPN’s program averaged $775 on a standard five-year auto loan.

Matt Blatt Inc. and Glassboro Imports, LLC (Matt Blatt dealerships): In a related case, the FTC alleged that Matt Blatt dealerships, with multiple locations in New Jersey, violated the FTC Act by failing to disclose or adequately disclose the fees associated with NPN’s add-on service and that many consumers would not save money overall due to the program’s significant fees. Matt Blatt dealerships received a commission for each of the more than 1,000 consumers they enrolled.

NPN and Matt Blatt dealerships have agreed to settle the FTC charges, and under proposed consent orders are prohibited from misrepresenting that a payment program will save consumers money, unless the amount of savings is greater than the total amount of fees and costs charged in connection with the program. They also are prohibited from misrepresenting that the payment programs or their associated fees will improve, repair or otherwise affect a consumer’s credit record.

NPN will refund more than $1.5 million to consumers, and waive another $949,000 in fees to current customers during the fee waiver period. Matt Blatt dealerships also will pay $184,000 to the FTC as part of the settlement.

Cases Involving Deceptive Advertising
Three auto dealers, Cory Fairbanks Mazda of Longwood, Fla., Jim Burke Nissan of Birmingham, Ala., and Ross Nissan of El Monte, Calif., have agreed to settle charges that they ran deceptive ads that violated the FTC Act, and also violated the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and/or Consumer Leasing Act (CLA). According to the FTC complaints, ads touted sales, lease or financing options that seemed attractive but were cancelled out by fine-print disclaimers. In other instances, the disclaimers did not disclose relevant terms, such as required down payments.

All of the financing offers, lease payments, and $0 down references in this ad are completely undermined by the fine print, which requires $3,000 down for all deals.

The proposed settlements in these actions prohibit the defendants from misrepresenting the purchase cost or any other material fact about the price, sale, financing or leasing of a vehicle. Jim Burke Nissan and Cory Fairbanks Mazda are also prohibited from representing that a discount, rebate, bonus, incentive or price is available unless it is available to all consumers or all qualifications and restrictions are clearly and conspicuously disclosed.
The Commission votes to issue the three administrative complaints and accept the proposed consent orders were 5-0. The agreements will be subject to public comment for 30 days, beginning today and continuing through April 27, 2015, after which the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent orders final. Submit a comment electronically:
Cory Fairbanks Mazda

Auto Loan Modification Case
At the FTC’s request, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida temporarily halted the practices of Regency Financial Services of Lake Worth, Fla., and its CEO Ivan Levy, who allegedly charged consumers upfront fees to negotiate an auto loan modification on their behalf, but then often provided nothing in return. The court also froze defendants’ assets, and last month entered a Stipulated Preliminary Injunction Order. The FTC’s lawsuit filed on Jan. 26, 2015 is ongoing, and the Commission is seeking a permanent injunction to stop defendants’ deceptive practices and to return ill-gotten gains to consumers.

According to the FTC’s complaint, defendants violated the FTC Act and Telemarketing Sales Rule by misrepresenting that they would obtain auto loan modifications for consumers and provide full refunds if they failed to do so.

This operation follows the FTC’s sweep against 10 auto dealers announced in January 2014, and is part of the agency’s ongoing effort to protect consumers purchasing and financing a new vehicle.

Consumers in the market for a new or used vehicle should read the FTC’s new blog post, Add-On Auto Finance Plan Gets a “D” for Deception, along with Are Car Ads Taking You for a Ride? and Buying and Owning a Car. Businesses can check out new guidance in the FTC’s blog post: Operation Ruse Control: 6 Tips If Cars Are Up Your Alley.

Worden Carlson Dies At 85

Worden T. Carlson, age 85, of LaBelle, passed away March 24, 2015 at home in LaBelle, FL.

He was born Dec. 25, 1929 in Miami, FL, to the late Shim Carlson and the late Mary Trigg (Newman) Carlson. He was preceded in death by his son, Steven Carlson.

Ward served in the U.S. Army for 8 years in both World War II and the Korean War. He started and operated Carlson Fence Co in Miami for 39 years then retired to LaBelle 16 years ago. He was a life member of Miami Lakes Lions Club.

Survivors include his wife of 26 years: Virginia L. Gibson, son: Keith Murrah, sister: Charlotte Carlson, brothers: Tom and Gordie Carlson, step children: Kenneth Gibson, Mark Davis and Ron Davis & spouses: Gina, Penny and Adriana, six grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. Ward was always there for his family and friends.

A memorial gathering honoring his life will be held Tuesday, March 31, 2015, 1:00 p.m. at Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in LaBelle with Rev. Alan H. Kelmereit officiating. Inurnment will take place at South Florida National Cemetery, Lake Worth, FL.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Miami Lakes Lions Club in Miami. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Health Of The Nation's Counties - New Ratings Published

Hendry And Glades - A Great Place To Live But Big Health Problems Surface In Report

LABELLE, FL. -- The sixth annual nationwide county health rankings has been released by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and for many counties, especially the poorer and more rural ones, results are a mixture of good news and bad.

Hendry county's overall health rankings fell about in the middle of all Florida counties at number 30 of 67 counties, in what the report calls "Health Outcomes" which includes length of life and and quality of life.  Glades county came in slightly higher at 25.

"Health Factors", including health behaviors, clinical care, and social and economics factor brought Hendry county to the bottom of the county list. DUI deaths, drinking, smoking, and obesity rang clear as problems in Hendry, while lack of doctors and dentists, and high amounts of the uninsured brought the county to the bottom.

On the bright side, the physical environment factors of Hendry and Glades county, including lack of air pollution, good drinking water, no long commutes to work, and lack of severe housing problems, brought Hendry to the top at number 3 in the state and Glades to number 2.

The top three counties overall in the state were reported as St. Johns, Collier, and Martin.

The Florida Department of Health and the local Hendry-Glades Health departments issued statements today saying:

“Health has no boundaries,” said Pat Dobbins, administrator and health officer of the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties. “This report reflects county level rankings, but we realize that to promote health and preventative care, it truly involves many partners including governmental agencies, educational departments, businesses, civic organizations, as well as private citizens in the community. This report helps our communities to see where we live, work, learn and play can have an effect on our overall health.”

"These rankings are a snapshot of the health of counties across the country and they emphasize that health is not a singular effort but a combined work in progress across all community partners. The department works in collaboration with local governments, non-profit organizations, health care facilities, business groups, schools, faith-based organizations and many other stakeholders to improve the health of all people in Hendry and Glades Counties. These rankings use data related to physical environments, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care."

See the Hendry and Glades Health Ratings from new report