Thursday, March 31, 2011

LaBelle Home Sales This Week

Five Homes Sold This Week

LABELLE, FL. -- From 3/22/2011 to 3/29/2011, there were five homes sold in the LaBelle area for an average price of $47,200. The sales this week included:

1)$74,000 onCherry Ln
2)$58,000 onEvans Rd
3)$25,000 onSchooner Dr
4)$49,000 onE Sunflower Cir
5)$30,000 onN Edgewater Cir

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Health Rankings In Hendry-Glades - Could Be Way Better

Annual Health Check-Up Highlights Healthiest and Least Healthy Counties In Every State

County Health Rankings Show That There Is More to Health Than Health Care

How healthy is your county? A new set of reports released today rank the health of nearly every county in the nation and show that much of what affects health occurs outside of the doctor's office. For the second year, the County Health Rankings confirm the critical role that factors such as education, jobs, income, and environment play in how healthy people are and how long they live. This year, the Rankings allow people in more than 3,000 counties and the District of Columbia to compare the overall health of their counties against other counties in their state, and also compare their performance on specific health factors against national benchmarks of top-performing counties.

Hendry county ranks 39th out of 67 Florida counties in Health Outcomes with a 22% of residents in poor or fair health. The study cites Hendry's lack of primary health providers, high number of uninsured,  obesity, motor vehicle death rate, excessive drinking, sexually transmitted infections, and high teen birth rates as health behaviors and clinical factors contributing to the county's poor health ratings.

Hendry's low educational graduation rates, high unemployment, children in poverty, and high violent crime rates, and lack access to recreational facilities are cited as further factors.

Glades county ranks 58th in the state and factors cited included high premature death, 21% in poor or fair health, uninsured, low educational graduation rates, children in poverty, lack of access to recreational facilities.

Published on-line at by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Rankings help counties understand what influences how healthy residents are and how long they will live. The Rankings look at a variety of measures that affect health such as the rate of people dying before age 75, high school graduation rates, access to healthier foods, air pollution levels, income, and rates of smoking, obesity and teen births.

The Rankings, based on the latest data available for each county, is the only tool of its kind that measures the overall health of each county in all 50 states on the multiple factors that influence health. It includes snapshots of nearly every county with a color-coded map that compares each county's overall health with other counties in each of the 50 states. People can compare how their county is doing in areas like diabetes screening rates or number of uninsured adults to national benchmarks.

Each county's rank reveals a pattern of strengths and weaknesses. And, the Rankings reveal that all counties have areas where they can improve, even those that are the healthiest. Some highlights of what counties look like nationally:

  • People are nearly twice as likely to be in fair or poor health in the unhealthiest counties;
  • Unhealthy counties have significantly lower high school graduation rates;
  • Unhealthy counties have more than twice as many children in poverty;
  • Unhealthy counties have much fewer grocery stores or farmer's markets; and
  • Unhealthy counties have much higher rates of unemployment

"The Rankings really show us with solid data that there is a lot more to health than health care. Where we live, learn, work and play affect our health, and we need to use the information from the Rankings to shine a spotlight on where we need to improve so we can take action to address our problems," said Patrick Remington, MD, MPH, director of the County Health Rankings project and Associate Dean for Public Health at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Like last year's Rankings, researchers used five measures to assess the level of overall health or "health outcomes" by county: the rate of people dying before age 75; the percentage of people who reported being in fair or poor health; the number of days in poor mental health; and the rate of low-birthweight infants. Researchers then looked at factors that affect people's health within four categories: health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment.

As a result of the Rankings, several communities already have begun to take action, such as passing smoke free laws, boosting educational opportunities for young children, or pushing for healthier grocery stores and farmer's markets. For example, in Wyandotte County, KS, Mayor Joe Reardon, after seeing his state's low rank in a County Health Rankings report, worked with other local stakeholders to create a Healthy Communities initiative. He says theRankings were a wake-up call that forced him to focus not only on just health care but on the overall health of his community, including the social and economic factors.

"It's hard to lead a healthy life if you don't live in a healthy community," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A. president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "The County Health Rankings are an annual check-up for communities to know how healthy they are and where they can improve. We hope that policymakers, businesses, educators, public health departments and community residents will use the Rankings to develop solutions to help people live healthier lives."

To help counties like Wyandotte translate the Rankings into action, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey today said the Foundation was launching a new program to help communities improve the health of their residents. Under this new program—part of an initiative called Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health—RWJF will provide grants to up to 14 communities around the country to strengthen broad-based community efforts to improve health.

In addition, to further illustrate the connection between social factors and health, the Foundation along with the Virginia Commonwealth University's Center on Human Needs today unveiled the County Health Calculator( The County Health Calculator is a new interactive online app that shows people how much higher levels of education and income influence premature death rates in a county.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hendry Homicide Info Wanted

Did You See Or Hear Anything?

On Friday, March 25, 2011, Hendry County Deputies were dispatched to the Twin Lakes Mobile Home area southeast of Clewiston in response to the report of a man lying in the roadway.

When deputies arrived on scene a Hispanic male was located on the road with an apparent gunshot wound.

Deputies continue to investigate and follow up on all leads. Investigators are asking anyone who may have any information contact Det. Sgt. Mike McVey at 863-674-5660 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). You may remain anonymous.

Monday, March 28, 2011

State Employee Pay - No Secrets Anymore

What Florida State Employees Get Paid

LABELLE, FL. -- Florida Governor Rick Scott has ordered all state employee salaries be listed publicly on the internet. A quick look for locally employed state workers in Hendry county found some surprises.

If you know a name, you can search the database for the salary, date of hire and organize the results by agency, or highest or lowest salaries. The state's highest paid employee appears to be Commissioner of Education Eric Smith at $275,000.

The Hendry Health Department, one of the largest state agencies in Hendry and Glades county has the salaries for the highest paid administrators as follows:

Hendry/Glades Health Department Administrator Patricia Dobbins, R.N., $96,000; Assistant Community Health Nursing Director, Patti Brownlee, $76,151; Brian Prowant, Environmental Health Manager, $65,000; Operations and Management Consultant Judy Paskvan, $55,664.

Local elected officials listed include Hendry County Judge Jim Sloan at $134,280, and Circuit Judge Nicholas Thompson earning $142,177.

The 20th Judicial Circuit Assistant State Attorney in LaBelle, Hamid Hunter earns $84,013.

Engineering Specialist Supervisor John Anderson at LaBelle's Dept. of Transportation Office earns $56,305 and Engineer Specialist Steve McCormick at $41,919.

Want to find more? Call the state agency and ask for names of the employee and then search the website database.

And Governor Scott's salary? 12 cents a year, as listed on the website.

Here's where to look up any state government employee's salary:

Florida Gas Prices Up Again!

Gas Prices Up 27% Since Last Year

Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have risen 2.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.57/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 3.4 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.56/g, according to gasoline price website

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 76.3 cents per gallon or 27% higher than the same day one year ago and are 16.9 cents per gallon or 5% higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 21.5 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 76.5 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

Glades County Crash Kills One

One Dead In Teen Crash

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- A crash Sunday March 27th took the life of a 19-year old at State Road 78 and Glades county road 78A. 

Justin Wade Wiggins, 18 of Moore Haven was traveling east on State Road 78 just east of County Road 78A (Ortona Road SW). as 19-year old Darlene Falkenhan of Mount Wolf, PA. was traveling west on State Road 78 as Wiggins attempted to overtake another vehicle in a no passing zone. 

Wiggins's 2010 Chevy Tahoe entered into the direct path of Falkenhan's 1999 Saturn Ion. D01 of V01 attempted to change back into the eastbound lane but was unable to, due to traffic. He continued to travel east in the westbound travel lane. As a result, the front portion of the truck struck the front portion of the car. 

After impact both vehicles came to final rest on the north shoulder. Due to the injuries sustained in this crash, Falkenhan was pronounced deceased on scene.

Update: On August 3, 2011 Wiggins was charged with vehicular homicide and arrested  His next court hearing is scheduled for August 27, 2013 at 1 p.m.

On April 3, 2012 Wiggins was arrested in Glades county charged with two counts of dealing in stolen property. He was released from jail on August 6, 2012. His next hearing is July 17, 2013.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pythons Still Roaming Everglades

Six Snakes Removed Last Week

IMMOKALEE, FL. -- As part of the ongoing effort to protect native wildlife from invasive species, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has removed six pythons in the last week in areas where they have not previously been found, including areas deep in the heart of the Everglades and north of Alligator Alley.


"The prolonged cold temperatures over recent winters and the declining water levels of the dry season apparently have not hindered the population of pythons invading the area," said SFWMD Director of Vegetation and Land Management Dan Thayer. "The invasive Australian melaleuca tree survives a variety of conditions throughout the Everglades. In this way, Burmese pythons are the melaleuca of the reptile world. They appear to prosper regardless of extreme conditions, whether it's cold, wet, dry, or hot."


The discovery of dead pythons following the record-low freezes of 2009-2010 gave scientists an indication that the snakes may not survive in the weather extremes for which South Florida is known. That view was not supported this year as a gritty population of pythons has continued to breed.


So far this year, 26 pythons have been captured in joint efforts between the District and partner agencies.  The latest python discoveries come just a few weeks before the height of python mating season when their numbers are expected to increase.  While most catches are the Burmese python, the Northern African python has also emerged as a growing threat in the last year.


The District manages more than 674,000 acres of land and one of the missions of the agency is to maintain and restore the natural habitat. The Burmese python, which can grow to 6 to 8 feet in their first year of life, is a top predator that is known to prey upon more than 20 native Florida species – notably, the white tailed deer, the American alligator, bobcat and numerous wading birds common to the Everglades.  The rapidly breeding pythons also threaten Florida's investment in restoring the Everglades.


The python was likely introduced to the Everglades by accidental or intentional releases by pet owners.   In July 2010, with support from the District, the State of Florida banned new ownership of Burmese pythons and six other giant constrictors as pets.

Since 2000, the District, Everglades National Park and other partner agencies, have removed 1,360 Burmese pythons from the Everglades. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Burmese python population estimates range from 5,000 to more than 100,000 in the Everglades.


"Almost nothing stops them. It tells us they're tough and rugged," said Thayer. "The survival of an invasive species often depends on its ability to endure extremes.  The Burmese python is overcoming a wide range of conditions in Florida, including extreme colds and a water shortage."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Labor Department Watching Florida Farmers

Investigators Watching For Farm Labor Law Violators

IMMOKAKEE, FL. -- This coming spring, Wage and Hour Division investigators will make unannounced visits to farms in South Florida to ensure that employers are following federal labor laws. Over the past year, investigators have been meeting with farm groups to inform them of their responsibilities regarding agricultural employees.

"Each employer is also responsible for ensuring workers' health and safety," added Secretary Solis. "Workers should not have to lose their lives or risk their health while working to provide for their families."

The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division is reminding agricultural workers in South Florida that their rights are protected by the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act's Field Sanitation Standard. Virtually all employees engaged in agriculture are covered by federal law because they produce goods for interstate commerce.

"The Labor Department is committed to enforcing labor standards that protect and enhance the welfare of the nation's farmworkers," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Through outreach, we are spreading the word to farm labor contractors and growers that they must pay their workers the wages they have earned."

The FLSA sets standards for minimum wage, overtime payments and limitations on child labor. The law allows, with restrictions, the employment of farmworkers between ages 12 and 16. There are no restrictions on workers age 16 and older employed in farm jobs. The FLSA prohibits the employment of most individuals under age 16 in hazardous occupations. Youths of any age may work at any time and perform any job on a farm owned or operated by their parents. Otherwise, individuals under age 12 may not be employed in farm activities.

LaBelle Home Sales This Week

Home Inventory Slowly Being Absorbed - Prices At Decade Lows

LABELLE, FL. -- From 3/15/2011 to 3/22/2011, there were 10 homes sold in the LaBelle area for an average price of $54,000. As is the case in every neighborhood, Port LaBelle, Hendry county's largest subdivision is seeing prices as low as were found in the 1990s. Most of the homes are bank owned and may have needed repairs.

1)$47,000 onCaloosa Ter
2)$245,000 onCaloosa Estates Dr
3)$38,000 onEuclid Pl
4)$34,000 onNiles St
5)$67,000 onOdessa Cir
6)$21,000 onRainbow Cir
7)$25,000 onRobb Rd
8)$17,000 onSchool Cir
9)$14,000 onS Oak St
10)$32,000 onW Palomar Cir

Spring Arrives At Fisheating Creek, Florida

Flowers Along Scenic Creek Bloom - Spring Birds Sing

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Spring has arrived and a perfect place to enjoy a scenic wonder of Florida is a visit to Fisheating Creek in southern Glades county.

(Click video above to play)

Lilly plants with purple blooms are growing wildly along the creek hiking trails, while birds can be heard singing, especially in the cool morning time. Cypress trees and the famous cypress knees can be seen at every turn along the trail.

The spring is the perfect time of year for exploring Fisheating Creek by foot because the water level is still low, awaiting the summer rains which sometimes widen the creek five-fold.

Access to free hiking trails and canoe launching is available in Palmdale east of U.S. 27 or at the Fisheating Creek State Park on U.S. 27 which has a small admission charge with campsites and a small store available.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

$5000 Reward For Info On Dead Collier Panther

Wanted - Panther Killer Info

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are asking anyone with information about a dead   Florida panther found Feb. 23, 2011 in the Golden Gate Estates area of Naples, Fla. in Collier County to call the FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).  Information leading to an arrest and/or conviction could result in a $5,000 reward.

Officials believe the animal was killed intentionally.  "Foul play is suspected in this death, but we can't reveal too much as this is an open case," said Andrew Aloise, Resident Agent in Charge of Law Enforcement for the FWS in Florida.  "We and the FWC encourage anyone with information to come forward."

There are only about 100-160 adult Florida panthers left in south Florida. The Florida panther is protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), which currently lists the species as "endangered."  This means the Florida panther is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.  The ESA makes it unlawful for a person to take a listed animal without a permit.  Take is defined as "to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect or attempt to engage in any such conduct." 

If convicted criminally, the federal penalty is up to one year of imprisonment, $100,000 fine per individual or $200,000 per organization.  In addition, State of Florida Statute 372.0725 makes it a third degree felony to kill or wound any species designated as endangered or threatened.  The state penalty is up to five years in jail and/or up to a $5,000 fine.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Free TV - Cut Your Cable Costs

Free TV - How To Save Hundreds Of Dollars

LABELLE, FL. -- Tired of paying for TV each month? Cable and Satellite companies generally raise their subscription fees about 5% or so each year. Here are tips on how to eliminate monthly cable or satellite bills.

Not only can you view network TV over the air free with a digital antenna, you can now see all the major network shows on the web sites of each network. CBS, NBC, ABC, Comedy Central, and MTV now have most shows on their websites.

With a computer and high speed internet service you can most likely eliminate any cable tv or satellite subscriptions. Here's what's available now for free, and more will be coming over time. offers a selection of shows, movies, and clips from Fox, NBC Universal, ABC, PBS, MGM, and Lionsgate.

Comcast's, CBS's, and include shows from CBS, ABC, Fox, WB, MTV and more. has MTV, BET, and Paramount. has Sony Pictures and original content. has network and classic tv programs, while has live sports.

Another big advantage is watching news coverage on the internet. You have the ability to get the latest breaking news directly from the country of origin, faster, and usually without any commercials.

For example, the recent Japan earthquake is being covered much better by NHK World TV from Japan than CNN or any U.S. news channel. And all without commercials.

Check out the coverage coming directly from Japan with TV video at: or by radio (audio) at:

You may want to consider "firing" your cable or satellite TV provider and getting your news and entertainment direct and free over your computer, saving hundreds of dollars in subscription fees yearly.

Try it and see if it's worth cutting free from cable and satellite services.

Update: Be aware that there are services online selling subscriptions to their service, advertising the ability to watch premium tv and movies for free. These are all scams, as they are violating copyright laws and do not have permission from the networks to rebroadcast programming and charge a fee for it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

LaBelle's College Offering Continuing Education

Practical Nursing And Electrician Training Beginning

LABELLE, FL. --  On Thursday March 24th, 2011 from 5 to 7 p.m,. Edison State College will be holding an open house to allow the public to come to the campus and find out about vocational programs beginning this fall.
The College has partnered with High Tech Central to offer a Licensed Electrician program as well as a Licensed Practical Nurse Program (LPN). Both programs have financial aid available to those who qualify.

There will be a presentation, and staff as well as High Tech Central will be onsite to answer questions and take enrollments. This is a great opportunity for people in the community to develop new skills or enhance existing skill sets and Edison State College wants to make sure that everything possible will be done to help the Hendry-Glades community.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hendry Health Department "Kicking Butts"

Kick Butts Day Scheduled March 23 Against "Big Tobacco"

LABELLE, FL. -- Tobacco Free Hendry County, Hendry County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) and Tobacco Free Florida are joining the fight against candy-flavored tobacco products as part of Kick Butts Day 2011, a national day of activism that empowers youth to speak up and take action against Big Tobacco.


Studies of youth expectations around flavored tobacco products, like bidis and hookahs, have found that young smokers report choosing flavored products over cigarettes because they "taste better" and are perceived to be "safer."  In observance of Kick Butts Day on March 23, SWAT and Tobacco Free Hendry County wants community members to know the truth about candy-flavored tobacco products – which are as addictive and carry similar health risks as regular tobacco products.


"We know that the tobacco industry is spending a lot to advertise these candy-flavored products that we see at convenience stores around our schools and neighborhoods," said Melissa Franco, Clewiston High School SWAT.   "We want to inform other kids that these products are just as dangerous and addictive as cigarettes."


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that in 2004 a study found that 22.8 percent of 17-year-old smokers reported using flavored cigarettes over the past month – compared to just 6.7 percent of smokers over the age of 25. 


In September 2009, an FDA ban on flavored cigarettes went into effect under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.  Menthol cigarettes and flavored tobacco products other than cigarettes were exempt; although, the FDA is currently examining options to regulate these products.


A poll conducted in March 2008 found that one in five youngsters between the ages of 12 and 17 had seen flavored tobacco products or ads, while only one in 10 adults reported having seen them. Young people are much more likely to use flavored tobacco products than adults, and tobacco industry documents show that companies have designed flavored products with kids in mind. 


"Parents need to be aware of how common the use of candy-flavored tobacco products is among young people, and should talk to their kids about the dangers of trying these products," said  Jeni Dyess, Tobacco Free Hendry County Chair.  "Candy and fruit flavors mask the bad taste of tobacco, making it easier for kids to start using tobacco products. Once they start using one tobacco product, however, they are more likely to experiment with others."


Tobacco Free Florida offers a number of free resources to help smokers and smokeless tobacco users quit.

  • Phone: Call the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW to speak with a Quit Coach who will help assess the user's addiction and create a personalized quit plan.
  • Online: Enroll in online counseling with the Florida Quitline, where each user can create a personalized, web-based quit plan. Visit to enroll.
  • In-person: Visit the Florida Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Network's website,, or contact Angelica Pena at 863-902-3019, to sign up for Quit Smoking Now group class.


Tobacco Free Hendry County will conduct its monthly meeting on March 22, 2011 starting at 4:00 pm at Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church in LaBelle.  The Drug Free Hendry County Coalition will meet immediately following this meeting in the same location.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hendry Sheriff Sings In The Park

Whidden Sings For The Community at Park Fun Day

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden and members of the Sheriff's Community Policing Unit hosted a community fun day, Saturday, March 19 at the LaBelle Civic Park on Jaycee Lions Drive in LaBelle.

(CLICK on video to play)

There was free food and live entertainment with Sheriff Whidden and the Florida Cracker Boys Band, Nashville Recording Artist Chris MacArthur, and local singer Carolyn Ford.

Joining the band was Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Cameron playing drums. Monroe County Sheriff Robert Peryam joined in the festivities as a spectator in the audience. Hendry Sheriff's Deputy Bonnie Weaver volunteered her time to give pony rides to the kids.

Sport activities planned for the day included soccer, basketball and volley ball as well as pony rides for the kids.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hendry Prison Closing This Summer

Prison To Be Closed By June - Prisoners To Be Moved

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Department of Corrections announced its prison consolidation plan today, including the Hendry Correctional Institution, located south of LaBelle, claiming the closures will save $30.8 million annually overall and result in a $25 million reduction in further costs. 

This plan will not result in the early release of inmates, says the department. For the first time in years, the Department says it has a surplus of beds allowing the Agency to move inmates to other facilities as they continue to serve their full prison terms.

The Department will close three prisons, two boot camp programs and a road prison. Employees will be afforded the opportunity to fill vacancies at other facilities. The bulk of the cost savings will be generated through employee attrition.

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Edwin Buss said "The facilities to be closed are older and require more resources to operate than newer institutions. Additionally, this initiative will provide the Department with an opportunity to consolidate program resources which will allow for seamless delivery of evidence based programs aimed to reduce recidivism."

The Department will close the Brevard Correctional Institution (CI) in Cocoa, Hendry CI in Immokalee, Hillsborough CI in Riverview, Tallahassee Road Prison in Tallahassee, Lowell CI Boot Camp and Sumter Boot Camp. Additionally the Department will move close management inmates out of Charlotte CI in Punta Gorda to three other prisons.

The phase out plan will begin immediately with a target completion date of June 30, 2011.

LaBelle's Edison State Adds New Building

Introducing the Edison State College Center for Workforce and Innovation


LABELLE, FL. -- Edison State College, Hendry/Glades Center will soon open the Edison State College Center for Workforce and Innovation. The new center will be located in a recently acquired building adjacent to the college and will house several new career-related partnerships and services. Together, the programs offer "one stop" career-counseling, training, and educational opportunities for the Hendry and Glades communities.


Florida Works, a division of the Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board, will open a Career Center to provide career service counseling for both Edison State students and community members. Counseling will be enhanced by the Goodwill Industries job-link program. 


Innovation partners are expected to move into the building this summer. The Hendry County Biofuels Research Center, funded by a federal grant from the US Department of Energy, will involve researchers from both the University of Florida and Edison State College.  The grant brings innovative biofuels research to Hendry County and enables Edison State College faculty to work with researchers to design an integrated biofuels curriculum for the college.


Also this summer, the Farmworker Jobs and Education (FJEP) will relocate to the ESC Center for Workforce and Innovation, assisting migrant and seasonal farm workers in educational opportunities. Vocational training is also in the works. Edison State is currently partnering with Lee County High-tech Central to bring vocational courses offering electricity certification and a Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN).  An open house to will be held on campus March 24 from 4:30 - 7 PM for potential students.

The Edison State College Center for Workforce and Innovation is located in the Cowboy Way Commercial Park at 921 Anvil Road, one block west of the campus entrance.  It is scheduled to open on April 1.


The new building is one of several the ESC Hendry/Glades Center will be opening in the coming months. The college has also acquired four new portable classrooms. The expansion adds a total of 9000 square feet of office and classrooms to the ESC Hendry/Glades Center.


Edison State College purchased the Labelle Community Christian School campus in 2009 and began offering classes in the fall of that year. Steady growth has led to the renovation of the original 28,000 square foot facility which consists of two large classroom buildings on 19 acres on the east side of Labelle.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

NCAA Basketball Tickets For Sale (Advertisement)

Tournament Tickets For Sale

All three sessions of the NCAA 2nd and 3rd round men's Division I college basketball tournament at St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa Florida on March 17 and March 19, 2011. Three 2-ticket strips for all 6 games. Selling one or all six tickets for best offer.

Section 302, Row N, Seats 1 and 2. (Ticket retail price is $77 each times 6 tickets or $462)

Thursday 3/17 Session 1: West Virginia v TBA, Kentucky v Princeton,
Thursday 3/17 Session 2: Florida vs UC-Santa Barbara, UCLA v Michigan State.
Saturday 3/19 Winner of Session 1 vs Winner of Session 2.

See for tournament info.

CASH ONLY. Pick up in Port LaBelle, Florida (30 miles east of Ft. Myers on State Road 80)
Phone (863) 800-0010 or email:

Sheriff's Fun Day At LaBelle Park

Food, Music, And Sports

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden and members of the Sheriff's Community Policing Unit will be hosting a community fun day, Saturday, March 19 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Sheriff Whidden and his Community Policing Unit would like to invite everyone to come out to LaBelle Civic Park, located at 100 Jaycee Lions Drive and join in a fun and entertaining day free of charge.

There will be free food, while it lasts, live entertainment with Sheriff Steve Whidden and the Florida Cracker Boys Band, Nashville Recording Artist Chris MacArthur, local singer, Carolyn Ford and others.

Sport activities such as soccer, basketball and volley ball are planned as well as pony rides and more.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan Live TV Coverage - Drama Increases

Live Broadcasting by Ustream

More Problems Encountered At Power Sites - Recovery Continues

Follow live news coverage 24/7 direct from NHK World TV in Japan. English translation of all live Japanese news coverage of the earthquake and power plant recovery operations.

The broadcasts are live, including news conferences by government officials, and power company representatives.

Note that Japan local time is 13 hours ahead of our Eastern Daylight time. For example when it is 12 noon here, it is 1 a.m. the next day in Japan. So, when a time is mentioned on the broadcast, subtract 13 hours to determine when an event happened at our local Florida time

In The Service - Jessica Agee

Army Pvt. Jessica M. Agee has graduated from Basic Combat Training at
Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army
mission and received instruction and training exercises in drill and
ceremonies, Army history, core values and traditions, military
courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, rifle
marksmanship, weapons use, map reading and land navigation, foot
marches, armed and unarmed combat, and field maneuvers and tactics.

She is the daughter of Melissa Agee of Allen Road, Clewiston, Fla.
Agee graduated in 2010 from Clewiston High School.

Hendry Gasoline Prices Still Increasing?

Hendry Prices Among Highest In Area

LABELLE, FL. -- Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have risen 1.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.56/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 3.8 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.53/g, according to gasoline price website

LaBelle's Shell Station in LaBelle is at $3.579, the lowest in west Hendry, and highest at $3.669 at Circle K on State Road 29 South. In Clewiston $3.649 was lowest in east Hendry and $3.709 at Shell, the highest.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 74.7 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 44.8 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 40.5 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 74.5 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Off The Beaten Track - Port LaBelle, Florida

Port LaBelle's Marina, Hotel And Lakes

LABELLE, FL. -- One of Port LaBelle's most scenic areas might be along the Caloosahatchee River where the marina and hotel are situated.

Take a short video tour of the rural acreage around the area, just east of the city of LaBelle.

(click on video to play)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Boil Water Notice Issued For LaBelle

LABELLE, FL. -- A precautionary boil water notice has been issued for the City of LaBelle water service area.

All City of LaBelle water users are advised to bring drinking water to a rolling boil for at least one minute prior to consumption. As an alternative bottled water may be used.

The notice is necessary due to loss of water pressure when electrical service was interrupted between the hours of 5 and 6 am this morning, March 10, 2011.

This notice is effective immediately and will remain in effect until a notice is issued lifting the boil water action. For further information please call Joseph Thomas at 863-675-4684.

Update: The boil water notice has been lifted for the City of LaBelle water service area. This notice was effective at 11:28 am Saturday. For further information please call Joseph Thomas.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Collier's Lake Trafford Getting More Fish

FWC To Stock Lake Trafford With 50,000 Bass

IMMOKEALEE, FL. -- Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will stock approximately 50,000 Florida largemouth bass fingerlings in Lake Trafford, the largest lake south of Lake Okeechobee, Wednesday and Thursday, March 9 and 10.

The fingerlings are from the Florida Bass Conservation Center in Richloam.  New and enhanced technology in nutrition and disease control have resulted in these fish being approximately 4 inches long, as opposed to the previous standard of 1-1½ inches long. By stocking larger fish, the FWC hopes more will survive to harvestable size.

Over the past several years, the lake has been the focus of a multi-agency restoration project. The lake was dredged of millions of cubic yards of muck that had triggered algal blooms and fish kills.            

Already, water clarity, native vegetation and the number of small fish have improved. Largemouth bass fingerlings stocked last year are growing well. Anglers seeking crappie are catching and releasing the bass.

"We are working to re-establish a self-sustaining, healthy fish population in the lake," said FWC freshwater fisheries administrator Barron Moody. 

"We anticipate that our past and present stocking efforts will bring about the return of largemouth bass fishing to the lake."  

To protect the fish from premature harvest, a special regulation on Lake Trafford prohibits the harvest of any largemouth bass shorter than 18 inches. Complete freshwater fishing regulations can be found online at

Monday, March 07, 2011

Hendry-Glades Meetings And Events

-An evening with award winning author Charles Sobczak at the LaBelle Beef O 'Brady's located at Lee Street and Highway 80 (2 blocks east of the Hendry County Courthouse) on Monday March 14th. Beef's Meeting Room will be open at 5:30 p.m. for dinner and fellowship before the program. The free program hosted by Hendry-Glades Audubon will begin at 7:00 p.m. Charles Sobczak lives and writes on Sanibel Island, Florida. Some of his fiction and non-fiction titles include: Six Mornings on Sanibel, Way Under Contract, a Florida Story, Alligators and Sharks & Panthers: Deadly Encounters with Florida's Top Predator-Man. . His latest work, Living Sanibel - a Nature Guide to Sanibel & Captiva Islands, was released in Feb. of 2010. A portion of sales for books purchased at the presentation will be donated to Hendry-Glades Audubon.

-Food safety classes for field and packinghouse workers on Friday March 11 at the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center at 2686 SR 29 N, Immokalee. These classes will provide a basic overview of fruit and vegetable food safety, including sources of contamination, worker health and hygiene and procedures to help ensure a safe food supply. These classes will meet the training requirements for workers for the state T-GAPs program for tomatoes as well as food safety audit training requirements. Companies will be provided with documentation of training for food safety audits.

There will be two sessions from 10:00 AM to 11:30 in English and from 1:30 to 3:00 in Spanish. Classes will limited to 75 per class and registration will be on a first come/first served basis.

To register, please call Debra Cabrera at 863-674-4092 or email

-The 2011 Big “O” Birding Festival, March 23-26 originating in Clewiston, FL. Scheduled tours for the four-day event include Devils Garden Bird Park, Gatorama, Sunrise & Sunset photo tours on Lake Okeechobee, Dinner Island, STA-5, Witherspoon Mine Mitigation Wetland, Fisheating Creek, Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum’s Boardwalk and more.

Dr. Ken Meyers is an authority on the species and will be the closing banquet’s keynote speaker, as well as one of the festival’s tour guides. Other tour guides and speakers include John J. Lopinot, Paddy Cunningham, Gene McAvoy, Dan Irizarry, David Simpson, Mark & Selena Kiser, Margaret England, Butch Wilson, Dr. Paul Grey, Larry Luckey, Bob Montanaro, Kim Willis, Jody Foster, Janet Papinaw and Mark Renz. for available tours and seminars.

-Coby Wilkins farewell concert March 13th 6:p.m. at LaBelle Assembly of God. Coby joined the United States Army and will leaving this Monday for Fort Knox for basic training. The full list of team members are Coby Wilkins Vocalist, Daniel Rodriguez vocalist, David Miller on guitar, Montana Wilkins on the keyboard. Coby Wilkins is a member of LaBelle fire department, and has worked at heartland building company, is a member of LaBelle’s Gathering of Christian Men and he is a graduate of LaBelle high school.

-Ah-Tah-Thiki Seminole Museum – in collaboration with LaBelle Heritage Museum, Clewiston Museum, and Edison State College – is presenting a special community outreach program at Edison State College's Hendry-Glades Center on March 17 at 6:30 p.m. The refreshments
prepared by Cracker Cookin' & Caterin' are courtesy of Riverside Real Estate. Inc. The program is open to the public.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Hendry Glades Community Heath Fair

Nova University Provides Free Health Check Ups

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Sunday was a big day at Clewiston's Hendry Regional Medical Center, hosting the Hendry-Glades Community Health Fair.

Hundreds of area residents came to take advantage of free medical examinations and referrals provided by doctors and students at Nova Southeastern University from it's Health Professions Division. About 200 from the university volunteered their time in Clewiston Sunday, and at Belle Glade's Health Fair Saturday.

Health and safety exhibits were on the hospital grounds under tents, sponsored by the Everglades Area Health Education Center, Ace Homecare, Hendry Regional Medical Center, Hendry/Glades Health Departments, Lake Okeechobee Rural Health Network, Nova's American Medical Student Association, Lions Club of Clewiston, and the Kiwanis of Clewiston helped with food. Many local medical professionals and community leaders were also on hand for the event.

(Click On Video For Health Fair Scenes)

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Flora And Ella's New Lease On Life?

New Restaurant At Historic Flora And Ella's?

LABELLE, FL. -- If plans go forward there may be a new operation at the landmark Flora and Ella Restaurant in LaBelle. The proposal is for a new tenant to lease the building from the property owner, Fred J. Burson, Trustee. The Bonita Bay Group has decided not to continue renting the property.

Sherry Mazzarello said on a Facebook page March 4th that "I would like to announce that "Flora & Ella's" will NOT be closing. My Husband Danny and I will be leasing the Restaurant and though we would like to keep the name. We are not sure if that will be possible, But we will still be serving the "Home Cooked Southern Food" with a touch of "Italian Cuisine" And of course we will still have those "Famous Pies" along with a "Fresh Bakery" with a variety of fresh baked goods!"

Husband Daniel Mazzarello, aka Norberto Daniel Mazzarello, according to state records and corporate web searches, is doing retail business as "Izabella's Bakery" in Hialeah, Fl. since October 21, 2009, with four employees with estimated annual sales of $120,000, but has a business mailing address on Evan's Road in LaBelle.

Update January 31, 2012:  The Mazzarello's got the keys to the "Country Place Restaurant And Bakery," an unregistered fictitious name, on April 3rd. It opened for business July 9, owned by A Country Place LLC, whose owners were Carlos LaBeau, Pedro Alvarez, and Antonio Coletta, all of Miami .

The restaurant shut it's doors December 16th after being sued by the building owner for eviction.

A new corporation, The Heart Of LaBelle LLC, owned by two men from Miami, and business partners with the original Country Place LLC owners, is now leasing the restaurant building, and operating as The Front Porch Restaurant, an unregistered fictitious name.  The Florida Secretary of State's office has no record of that restaurant name, neither does the Division of Hotels and Restaurants.

The corporation is at this time improperly operating under the previous restaurant license, according to the Division of Hotels and Restaurants, and will have to transfer the license to the new corporation and be inspected.

Moore Haven - Chalo Nitka Festival Parade!

Moore Haven Parade A Big Hit For Spectators

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Glades County's Chalo Nitka Festival and Frontier Days are off with a bang, the annual Saturday morning parade weaving through the streets of Moore Haven to the rodeo grounds, delighting happy viewers.

(Click on video to see parade entries)

The annual festival features music, arts and crafts, entertainment, rodeo, and the parade each year on the 1st Saturday each March, with a youth livestock show and auction during the week before the Saturday parade day.
The Chalo Nitka is one of Florida's oldest continuous festivals, dating back to 1949 when the celebration started commemorating the completion of the paving of Main Street (now called Avenue J) in Moore Haven.
Chalo Nitka means "The Day of the Big Bass" in the Seminole Indian language. The festival continues Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m. featuring live Spanish music, alligator wrestling, and midway rides.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Ag Secretary Addresses Tampa Meeting

TAMPA, Fla., March 4, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack gave
the keynote address today to an audience of more than 4,500 farmers
and commodity group representatives during the General Session of the
16th Annual Commodity Classic in Tampa, Fla. In his remarks, the
Secretary commended American farmers, ranchers and producers for
helping to lead the United States' economic recovery by shattering
agricultural trade records, creating jobs at home and ensuring
affordable food for U.S. families.

"We are all fortunate to be living through one of the most productive
eras in history for U.S. agriculture," said Vilsack. "American farmers
and ranchers are seeing record sales of farm goods abroad and looking
forward to some of the best net incomes in decades. U.S. agricultural
exports for fiscal 2011 are on course to shatter previous records and
enjoy a record $47.5 billion trade surplus. This record productivity
is creating employment across a variety of sectors, including
transportation and storage. Moreover, because American agriculture
produces 86 percent of the food we consume, our families spend less at
the grocery store compared to consumers in much of the rest of the
world. As producers of high-quality products and conscientious
stewards of our lands, American farmers and ranchers deserve our

In calendar year 2010, U.S. exports of corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum
and related products, including animal feed, garnered sales of $44.7
billion. Total exports for calendar year 2010 were $115.8 billion.

As part of his message to the audience, Vilsack also stressed the
importance of agriculture to the nation's economic resurgence and job
growth. U.S. agriculture and related industries account for one in 12
jobs nationwide. Exports of U.S. farm goods – which were recently
projected to smash previous records by $20 billion – create additional
jobs: Every $1 billion in farm exports supports roughly 8,000 jobs in
the United States. Farm exports alone will support more than 1 million
jobs in 2011.

The Secretary also thanked the farmer-heavy crowd for helping to meet
President Obama's challenge to double U.S. exports and create several
million new jobs by 2014. The Secretary challenged producer groups, as
well as USDA staff, to continue to reach out to small- and medium-
sized producers with guidance and assistance on breaking into export
markets. In 2010, the President laid out his challenge to all sectors
of the economy with his National Export Initiative (NEI), a program
intended to coordinate federal efforts to expand export opportunities.
Despite the recent export gains, Vilsack pointed out that only 1
percent of U.S. companies export, and yet 95 percent of the world's
consumers live outside the borders of the United States.

"We can do better to reach those consumers," Vilsack said.

The Secretary suggested that the trade agreements now before the U.S.
Congress would help to increase farm exports, support job creation,
and bolster the American economy. Currently, the Obama administration
is working to move forward on proposed U.S. trade agreements with
South Korea, then Panama and Colombia – nations with 100 million
consumers. USDA expects the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement to expand U.S.
agricultural exports to Korea by $1.9 billion, bringing about 15,000
new jobs to agriculture-related industries. Successful ratification of
all three trade agreements would bring billions of dollars to U.S.
agriculture, Vilsack said, thereby benefitting the American economy as
a whole.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

LaBelle Woman Arrested - Burglary, Theft

Brenda Albritton - Arrested Again

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Detective Sergeant Michael McVey arrested and charged 54-year old Brenda Price Albritton on charges of Burglary, Petit Theft, and Criminal Mischief charges February 26, 2011.

In the past month local businesses in the City of LaBelle have been burglarized where money was taken from the cash register and damages to the buildings sustained from the forced entry. However, Saturday morning, February 26, Investigator Michael McVey was able to locate and arrest Albritton charging her with several counts of burglary and theft.

After investigating reports of the burglaries, Investigator McVey viewed video surveillance from some of the businesses and was able to positively identify the suspect as Brenda Albritton.

Brenda Price Albritton was arrested and charged with Burglary to an Unoccupied Structure, Petit Theft, and Criminal Mischief. Albritton is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail on $18,000 bond.

Albritton worked for LaBelle Animal Rescue, and is a twice convicted thief, the latest conviction on January 19, 2011

LaBelle Teacher Arrested On Child Cruelty Charges

Two Victims Claim Child Abuse

LABELLE, FL. -- A LaBelle resident, a teacher in the Lee County Schools, was arrested twice on child abuse charges after two incident reports were made alleging child cruelty.

Crystal Sueann Chance, 36 was arrested and taken to the Hendry County jail on child cruelty charges. According to one of two arrest reports, an alleged 17-year old victim came to the Sheriff's office on February 20th to report Chance chased her with a mop, accusing the victim of making charges on a credit card without permission. The report claims Chance pinned her to a bed, sitting on her chest and pressing against her face, striking her and placing her in a headlock.

The victim claimed that she had been struck by Chance a month ago as well, and another incident in December where she was locked out of the house for 3 days, without shoes or jacket, but didn't want to report it because she didn't want to cause trouble with Chance's job, a teacher in Lee County.

Allegations were also reported that on February 14th she was struck by Chance with a wood cup holder. Chance told Hendry Detective Sgt. Louis Morales that she never struck the victim and that the victim "had been a rebellious runaway"

A second arrest resulted after an incident allegedly occurred at the Davis-Pratt sports field in LaBelle on February 22. Sgt. Joshua Woods reports that witnesses say Chance pulled an alleged victim into the dugout during a softball practice, pushing them to the ground, taking cleats off their feet, and taking a bat bag, that Chance claimed was taken without her permission.

Chance told investigators that she asked for the items and they were given, without incident. Chance was arrested for child abuse.

Arraignment will be before Judge Nicholas Thompson March 29th at 8:30 a.m.

Chance is also a party to a court petition to determine paternity filed in January, and a case against her by Target National Bank, also filed in January.