Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dr. Travis Publishes Church And Teen Sex Study

Correlation Found On Church Attendance And Sexual Behavior
CLEWISTON, FL. -- Dr. Lasheba Travis recently received confirmation that her research on teen pregnancy prevention has been published through ProQuest, a research-based publishing company that connects people to reliable information. 

Photo: Dr. Travis at recent luncheon in LaBelle

Dr. Travis’s research is entitled “Teen Pregnancy Prevention in a Rural County,” which focused on the frequency of attendance in religious services in African American males ages 13 through 16 to determine if it was correlated to their behavior, behavioral intent, and decision-making toward abstinence. 

Her research found a correlation between the frequency of attending religious services and the behavior and decision-making toward abstinence, but there was no correlation with behavior intent.

To recognize her accomplishments, co-workers from the Hendry and Glades County Health Departments honored her with a tea/luncheon at the First Baptist Church in LaBelle. Attendees from Hendry, Glades, and Lee counties showed their support and showered her with cards and gifts. 

Dr Travis said, “I have many things to be grateful for. Firstly, I give God all the praise. Next, I am especially indebted to the Hendry County Recreation Board and Ramiro Rodriguez; Reverend Dwayne Brown, pastor of Mt Calvary Church in Clewiston; and Diane Brown and Valerie Nelson for their support and assistance in the accomplishment of my research. Lastly, I am grateful to my co-workers for honoring and celebrating my achievements.”

No Phones - No Electric For Millions

Widespread Outages Continue For Eight Million

After Hurricane Sandy passed, the trouble just began as New Yorkers and millions from the East Coast to the Midwest now cope with downed power lines, flooded streets, damaged homes and businesses, and inability to communicate by phone.

While power outages were concentrated in the Northeast as night time temperatures reach the 30s this weekend, businesses and homes as far away as Michigan and Ohio to the west, and North Carolina to the south, are all facing electric and communication problems.

The FCC has estimated about 25% of cell phone towers are out of service, spread among ten states, along with a quarter of cable services not working now. Land line phone service is affected by downed lines all through the affected areas.

While, cell tower sites are able to run for one or two days on batteries and generators, fuel must be delivered to keep the generators going. Some sites were flooded and can't operate even with generators.

The FCC recommends cell phone customers use text messaging while the cell sites are being brought back to service, saying "try a variety of communications services such as email, wireless and land line phone calls if one service is not working."

The FCC has published a tip sheet on how to communicate during an emergency including tips to wait for 10 seconds before redialing a number, and keeping calls short.

Normal phone service may not be back online for a week, some communication companies report.

Electric service will not be restored to millions for as long as a week.

Google's "Crisis Center" for Super Storm Sandy shows a zoomable map to see where electric is out and links to each electric company for map details on areas affected on the neighborhood scale.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Manhattan Under Water - NYC Powerless

850,000 Without Electric In NYC, 7.5 Million Powerless On East Coast

Hurricane Sandy plowed through New York City Monday night with 90 mph winds, turning off the lights for millions and leaving flooded streets all over the East Coast. 16 people have died as a result of the huge storm.

375,000 were ordered to evacuate lower Manhattan and other low lying parts of New York City.  Evacuations were ordered for 50,000 in Delaware and 30,000 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, while all 12 casinos were shut down.

Now an extratropical cyclone, the 900-mile wide mass of wind and water has now reached as far as Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois with wind, water, and snow.

Sea water cascaded into the giant construction hole at the World Trade Center. The NYU Medical Center was evacuated after generators failed. East Coast airports are closed as well as the New York Stock Exchange.

The only way in and out of Manhattan is via the Lincoln Tunnel as all other bridges and tunnels are closed. 13.8 feet tides were experienced last night in New York City, and some water seeped into the 108-year old MTA subway system stations and onto tracks. Seven subway tunnels were flooded.

A full moon 8-foot tide is expected this morning bringing more flood waters to low lying areas of the city.

In Moonachie, New Jersey in Bergen county, a levee broke about midnight, reportedly flooding the entire town and several communities nearby.

Hoboken, New Jersey is inaccessible due to flooding surrounding the city. Hoboken has many areas below or at sea level and subject to flooding during times of heavy rains coinciding with a high tide as experienced yesterday.

At Rockaway, New York about 50 homes were ablaze as 200 fire fighters attempted to wade through high water on streets to reach them.

On Monday afternoon, 14 sailors were rescued by the Coast Guard as the replica sailing ship Bounty sank after the crew abandoned ship. Crew member Claudene Christian was reported unresponsive when rescued and pronounced dead later at the hospital. The vessel's captain, 63-year old Robin Walbridge has not been found. The Bounty was enroute from Connecticut to St. Petersburg, Florida.

While most everything is shut down due to loss electric all over the East Coast, morning radio broadcasts are on the air from New York including the Elvis Duran Show, heard locally in Southwest Florida on WINK 96.9.

Vote Cannon Eley - Glades Commission

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Monday, October 29, 2012

42 Hendry Arrests In Felon Sweep

Florida Sheriffs Task Force Announces Latest Operation
LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with The Florida Sheriffs Task Force recently launched an initiative to remove felons from Florida’s streets. Operation: Felon Sweep focused on removing violent felons, felons with outstanding warrants, and sexual offenders and predators and the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office took an active role in this initiative and to lead the charge in Hendry County.

Total arrests and seizures for Hendry County:

42 felony arrests (19 Felony probable cause and 23 felony warrants), 6 misdemeanor charges, 3 aggravated battery, 1 aggravated assault, 3 child abuse 1 firearm offense, 0.57 grams of cocaine/crack, 45 mg morphine, 8 mg suboxone, $3,133.00 U.S. currency was seized, 20 sex offender/predator checks, and 1 sex offender arrest.

The Florida Sheriffs Task Force pools resources from the 67 Sheriffs’ Offices to address specific areas of concern. Past task forces have dealt with issues such as cyber sexual predators, prescription drug abuse and “deadbeat dads.”

Marijuana Growing At Hendry Ranch


LABELLE, FL. -- On October 26, 2012 Hendry County Deputies were called to assist Animal Control Officer Allen Pickles and FWC Officer Lilley. Pickles was at the residence of 290 B Road to investigate the well being of dogs on the property. Officer Pickles requested FWC Officer Lilley to meet him there for assistance due the large number of dogs on the property.

When Officer Pickles had gone around the back of the home to check on the animals there, both he and Officer Lilley met Jason Branch and Harold Thompson (photo right) coming out of a wooded area located behind the home. 

Ofc. Lilley was speaking with Thompson when he became argumentative with him; it was during this time that Branch fled the area on foot. Pickles continued to check for more dogs when he came across what he thought to be approximately 30 marijuana plants in a fenced in area of the back yard. 

Pickles then told FWC Officer Lilley of his findings. Lilley then requested that Hendry County Sheriffs’ Office respond to investigation their findings.

A short while later Deputies observed another male identified as 31 year old Ainsley Sheriff (photo left above) exiting the wooded area near the shed. Deputies ordered Ainsley Sheriff to walk toward them. Officer Lilley patted Sheriff down for officer safety and located a small amount of marijuana in his pocket. Sheriff was then taken into custody.

Hendry County Narcotics Investigators were called to the scene and located approximately 382 live growing Marijuana Plants, with a total weight of 123 pounds; of which 10 pounds of marijuana was ready for sale and packaged in gallon Ziploc bags and gallon size glass jars, three firearms and one large Winchester gun safe. The marijuana seized had a street value of $123,000.00.

Hendry County deputies arrested 31 year old Ainsley A. Sheriff and 20 year old Dale K. Thompson, Jr. both of LaBelle charging them with Trafficking in Marijuana, Cultivation of Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell, Possession of Marijuana over 220 grams and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

The 16 acre ranch is located south of LaBelle and according to property records owned as a homestead property by Thompson family.

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Velma Jean Broach, age 82, of Clewiston, passed away October 24, 2012 in LaBelle, FL. She was born Apr. 24, 1930 in Phillipstown, IL, to the late Alfred and the late Elsie (Robb) Smith.

Survivors include two daughters: Rena Blissett of Clewiston, FL, Barbara Cox Butler of Clewiston, step-daughter: Johnnie Luechers, two sisters Mary Jaques and Cecil Hock, two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were held Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 10:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Rev. Samuel Thomas Ph.D. officiating. Interment was Saturday, October 27, 2012 in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston.

Visitation was held Friday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Crisis Maps On Google - Hurricane Sandy

Google Offers Crisis Map With Up To Date Storm Info

Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall tonight on the East Coast of the United States. The storm system has the potential to be one of the worst storms the area has seen in decades.

The Google Crisis Response team has assembled a Hurricane Sandy map with clickable live updating to help you track the storm’s progress and provide updated emergency information.

Some are calling Sandy “Frankenstorm” due to its potential mix of both winter and tropical cyclone weather. And others are not exactly sure how the storm will affect their location. A quick look at the Google map page will provide detailed information and live weather and storm mapping and forecasts.

Candidate Kristina Kulpa Submits Qualifications

LABELLE, FL. -- Kristina Kulpa, Republican candidate for Hendry County Tax Appraiser has submitted for publication a letter of her qualifications and short biography. (The letter has been edited by Southwest Florida Online for length.)

A Florida resident since age one, Ms. Kulpa began her real estate career in 1978 with the Florida Department of Transportation, where she rose to the position of District Administrator of Outdoor Advertising. She was self-employed as an independent fee appraiser from 1986 to 1992 and 2009 to present with a stint as an appraiser for the Hendry County Property Appraiser’s Office in 1988-1989.

She was first elected as Hendry County Property Appraiser in 1992 and held this office for 4 consecutive terms.

She feels that in the current climate of economic turmoil, all elected officials have an obligation to exercise fiscal responsibility, ensure fairness in taxes and utilize foresight and planning to navigate the challenging times ahead.

Ms. Kulpa received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of South Florida and has attended the Florida State University, Center for Public Management where she is a candidate for the designation of Certified Public Manager. She is a graduate of the USF, Institute of Government and is a member of the USF, Executive Fellows Alumni Council.

Ms. Kulpa is licensed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations as a ‘Certified General Real Estate Appraiser’ and as a ‘Real Estate Broker.’ She is a designated “ASA” (Accredited Senior Appraiser in Ad Valorem) with the American Society of Appraisers and she is “IAAO Accredited” with the International Association of Assessing Officers. A minimum of 45 hours a year of continuing education in appraisal and real estate is mandatory to keep these licenses and certifications in good standing and Kristina is up to date.

She is a long standing member of the LaBelle Chamber of Commerce, the Clewiston Chamber of Commerce, the LaBelle Heritage Museum, the Clewiston Museum, the LaBelle Garden Club, the Barron Library, the Hendry County Economic Development Council, Inc., the American Business Woman’s Association, the Caloosa Federated Republican Women (past president), Hendry Republican Executive Committee (precinct and state committeewoman) and the LaBelle/Immokalee Rotary Clubs. Kristina has been awarded the distinguished “Paul Harris Fellowship Award” one of Rotary’s highest honors based  on service above self. Other community activities have included participation in various fundraisers throughout the years such as the armadillo races at the Swamp Cabbage Festival, elementary school spaghetti dinners and events held for college scholarships. Kristina Kulpa is an American Cancer Society Relay for Life sponsor and she serves on the Caloosa Humane Society Board and Boy Scouts of America SWFL Council.

Kristina Kulpa and her crop duster husband Steve Fletcher moved to LaBelle 34 years ago to pursue Steve’s career in agriculture and raise a family in a rural setting. They have two sons who are both Eagle Scouts; Walter Fletcher, graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in Business Real Estate/Finance and is currently working for the family business “Fletcher Flying Service” as COO and as Kristina’s Campaign Manager; Spencer Fletcher, a senior at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point N.Y. who was selected by his peers to be Regimental Staff Honor Board Chairman and also Senior Class President. He plans to continue his career as a military officer. or 863-517-1258.

Scary Tobacco Products At Your Store

Flavored Cigars, Pellets, Sticks And Strips Now Common To Lure Kids

LABELLE, FL. -- With cigarette smoking rates on the decline in the U.S., the tobacco industry insures its livelihood by creating products that attract a new generation of lifelong nicotine addicts, says anti-smoking group Tobacco Free Florida.

Tobacco products in flavors like kiwi-strawberry, chocolate and sour apple are increasingly available in communities throughout the U.S. and increasingly popular among youth. 

Types of flavored tobacco products include:

· Cigars, cigarillos and little cigars, which are being used at an increasing rate nationwide
· Smokeless tobacco like chew, dip and snus that have serious health risks and can contain more nicotine that cigarettes
· New smokeless tobacco products like orbs (dissolvable tobacco pellets), toothpick-like sticks, and dissolvable strips that resemble candy and mints in more than just flavor

Nearly nine out of 10 smokers start by age 18. Prevention is key in combating the tobacco epidemic say experts. They say parents should know about the dangers of these products so that they can educate their kids adding teens whose parents strongly disapprove of tobacco are less likely to take up tobacco.

LaBelle Heritage Museum Hears Cattle Talk

Cattle County To Hear Expert Speaker
LABELLE, FL. -- Lindsey Wiggins, Hendry County Extension Livestock Agent, is the featured speaker for the Thursday, November 1, program meeting of LaBelle Heritage Museum in the City of LaBelle Commission Chambers at 7:00 p.m. 

 Ms. Wiggins is no stranger to Hendry County as she is an alumna of the Clewiston High School FFA Chapter and a graduate of Edison State College. She received her BS in Agriculture from UF College of Agriculture with a major in Animal Husbsandry and a minor in Agricultural Business. 

Hendry county is one of the major cattle raising counties in Florida, and Captain F. A. Hendry, the "Cattle King of Southwest Florida" in the 19th Century, is the county's namesake

Refreshemnts will follow the program, and the meeting will close with announcements and a brief business meeting. A special program is in the works for the December LaBelle Heritage Museum meeting.

New Yorkers Ignoring Evacuation Warnings?

Fact Checking Hurricane Sandy

Subways and trains are not running, but low lying areas of New York still have businesses open and people still there, despite mandatory evacuation orders from city officials.

One of largest storms to hit the east coast is being described as "huge" and "messy." News broadcasters say the 1000 miles wide "big as Texas" huge storm is expected to slow down, creating opportunity of more damage and creating widespread power outages.

Up to a foot of rain. six to eight foot tides above normal. Up to 11 foot storm surge in Connecticut.

The National Hurricane Center says the odds of hurricane force winds of 74 mph are highest for Delaware but at only 40 percent. But, it's 90-100 percent chance of 50 mph winds hitting from northern Virginia to Connecticut. (See NHC map above).

Ocean City, Maryland has the highest probability of 34 knot winds today, figured by the NHC at 77 per cent chance. Areas north and and south get much lower probabilities. (see NHC discussion of wind probabilities) New York City has a 55 per cent chance of 34 knot winds today and Newark, NJ, 46 per cent.

The chances for a 2 foot storm surge is also 90-100% for the Virginia to Connecticut coast, says the NHC but a 80-90% chance of a 4 foot surge from New Jersey to New York City and 50-60% chance of a 6 foot surge.

Sandy is being compared to the "perfect" storm of 1991 when a tropical storm ran into a winter storm, and news outlets are calling Sandy the Super Storm or Frankenstorm.

Sandy will quickly be down graded to a tropical storm as it hits a blocking system that will stall the storm and then move it off to the north.

National Hurricane Center Graphics Page

Hendry-Glades Gas Prices Wildly Different

Why Is LaBelle The 'High Price Gas' Location Of Southwest Florida?

LABELLE, FL. -- Fuel prices in LaBelle were 30 cents higher than those in Fort Myers Sunday. While motorists in LaBelle lined up for $3.83 cent gas, stations in east Fort Myers were selling gas for $3.53.

East Fort Myers is only 30 miles from the LaBelle city limits.

Drive over to Clewiston, also 30 miles from LaBelle and prices were 20 cents lower than LaBelle's at $3.63. The Clewiston Hess station was pumping at $3.59.

Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 10.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.49/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has fallen 9.6 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 8.4 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 19.4 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 23.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 10.2 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"With Hurricane Sandy headed for East Coast, there are a number of uncertainties in regards to the impact at the pump for various fuels," said Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

17 Injured In Glades Church Bus Crash

17 Sent To Three Area Hospitals After Church Bus Overturns

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a single vehicle church bus crash on SR 27 and Lykes Road in Glades County.

Theodore Franklin Neal, 49 of Homestead, Fl. was driving a 2002 International passenger bus at 12:38 p.m. Saturday, traveling south on US 27 in the outside lane.  The bus was approaching slower moving traffic in the outside lane, and the driver then changed lanes to the inside lane, but this was just as the roadway began a right hand curve.

The bus then ran partially off the roadway on the left side at the beginning of the curve.  The driver then steered right and attempted to re-enter the inside lane, but lost control and traveled across the southbound inside and outside lanes while rotating counter-clockwise, ran off the roadway on the right side, and overturned onto its roof.

The bus was enroute to Florida City.

· 10 passengers were transported to Lake Placid Hospital with minor injuries
· 6 passengers and the bus driver were transported to Hendry Regional Hospital with minor injuries
· 1 passenger was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital with a serious non-life threatening injury

Serious injuries were reported for Bessie Mae Smith, 67 of Florida City.

Get Answers To Your Questions Hendry-Glades

Ask Your Questions - Get Some Answers

LABELLE, FL. -- Wondering about something and don't know where to find the answers? Here's where you can ask any question on most any subject.

For example, questions on politics, politicians, entertainment, news stories, government agencies, scams, crime, education, events, tourism, public safety, religion, social topics, etc.

Don Browne, publisher of Southwest Florida Online will try to investigate or find an answer to the questions asked. We'll then put them on the Southwest Florida Online news page or on a video broadcast on the questions page.

You may ask questions anonymously or with your name at this page. The questions asked can be rated by other readers to find the most popular questions.

Update: The first question asked was where are the early voting locations.

Voting is taking place at the Supervisor of Elections Office in LaBelle at the Courthouse and in Clewiston at 100 E. El Paso from October 27 to November 3rd from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In Glades county also from October 27 to November 3rd at the Supervisor's office from 8 until 2 on Saturday's and Sunday and 8 until 4 during the week.

Hendry Education Center Closing Doors

Education Center Of Southwest Florida Selling Off Assets After Losing Money

LABELLE, FL. -- According to Norman L. "Sonny" Hughes the 11-year old this month Education Center of Southwest Florida, Inc. is selling off it's home office and equipment located at 4930 South State Road 29, a few miles south of LaBelle on a parcel of Bob Paul, Inc. orange groves.

Hughes, the CEO of the non-profit said "The Education Center board decided this month to stop all operations due to lack of funding and activity. It was felt we could not come back to the community asking for financial support unless we could generate funding and activity that warrants that support."

In 2008 the Center filed with the IRS showing $428,563 income and $391,663 in expenses. But by 2011 and having lost money for several years they had 2 employees, and 16 volunteers and $15,144 in income and $22,886 in expenses.  $49.898 was their listed net assets. $6,860 was paid out in salaries.

Other directors shown on the 2011 tax return were Joe Flint, Wayne Aldrich, James Paul, Carson Turner, Sally Berg, Michael Jordan, and Courtney Curatalo, all reporting about 1 hour a week working for the Center.

Over the years, the center with the help of government grants has offered classes in the construction trades and computers. It has run fund raising events in the LaBelle area for many years.

Hughes said, "I, as the director, am busy trying to close everything out." On November 3rd they will have a yard sale to sell everything left including a trailer, sheds, office supplies and furniture, tools, computers, printers, a copying machine and more.

Current directors of the corporation according to the Florida Secretary of State's office are Geri Yoraschek, Anthony S. Royal, Janice Groves, and Julie Wilkins, all of LaBelle, and Joe Paterno of Naples.

Happy Campers In Hendry County

LABELLE, FL. -- Twenty-one adults with disabilities made lifelong friends during the inaugural session of Trailways Camp in LaBelle. The camp is a partnership between Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida and The Robert V. and Benjamin G. Miller Fund.

The session, which ran from October 22 through October 25, included fishing, campfire roasts, a visit by Special Equestrians, swimming, a talent show, a Halloween party, and more. The four-day camp was held at the Riverside Retreat Center in LaBelle.

The Trailways Camp mission is to remove the social isolation often felt by people with disabilities by providing opportunities for fun, friends and support. Through outdoor activities, group exercises, crafts, and more, campers have the opportunity to develop recreational skills and build relationships.

“Some of our campers rarely get a chance to experience anything like this. It offers them an opportunity to socialize and be active while also giving their caregivers respite,” says Kirsten O’Donnell, a Goodwill spokesperson. “Our campers truly enjoyed their stay at Trailways. This is a program we look forward to continuing.”

On Tuesday, Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (R-27) and several of her staff members stopped by to volunteer. They assisted campers on a hayride, served lunch, and helped participants paint pumpkins during a Halloween arts and crafts project.

“I don't believe there was a moment when a camper wasn't smiling,” says Benacquisto. “I applaud Goodwill for their diverse programs and their ability to enrich so many lives.”

Robin McLean For Glades Property Appraiser

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Clewiston's LeRoy Hare Dies At 90

Long Time Clewiston Businessman Dies

CLEWISTON, FL. -- LeRoy Hare, age 90, of Clewiston, passed away after an extended illness on October 24, 2012 in Clewiston. He was born Nov. 17, 1921 in Kingstree, SC, to the late R.M. Hare Sr. and the late Maude (Steed) Hare.

Mr. Hare married Sandra Erlene Peacock. He served during World War II in the Army Air Corps from 12/04/1942 to 10/19/1945 flying thirty missions over Germany including D-Day over Normandy.

Survivors include his wife of 45 years: Sandra Peacock Hare, Children: LeRoy (Angelica) Hare Jr. of Clewiston, Jennifer (Timothy) Potter Hoban of Mt. Dora and John M. (Christy) Potter of West Palm Beach, grandchildren: LeLani Sandra Hare of Clewiston, Christian Potter of West Palm Beach, Justin Potter of West Palm Beach, Matthew Hoban of Mt. Dora and Andrew Hoban of Mt. Dora.

Mr. Hare was president of Hare Lumber And Ready Mix, Inc., Okeechobee Landings RV Resort, Inc. and
partner in Easy Life Subdivision. He was also a co-owner of Twin Lakes Subdivision, Inc. in the 1980s.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, October 27, 2012, 2:00 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in Clewiston with Rev. Samuel Thomas Ph.D. officiating. Entombment will follow at Ridgelawn Cemetery in Clewiston. Visitation will be held for 30 minutes prior to the funeral service at the funeral home.

After the services, a reception will follow for family and friends at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Clewiston. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hope Hospice, 9470 HealthPark Cir, Ft. Myers, FL 33908 or Hendry Regional Medical Center Foundation, 544 West Sugarland Hwy., Clewiston, FL 33440

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Glades County Library News

New Fiber Optic Cable Provides Fast Internet - Mystery Lady Painting News

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The new fiber-optic cable has been installed and is currently up and running at the library. This cable speeds up the computers’ operations and provides clearer graphics for the computers. 

There is plenty of computer space at the library and each person is allotted two hours online. So if you want to use one of our library computers, all you need is a library card.

The Friends of the Library wish to remind you of the Art in the Park day on January 26, 2013. This event will have various art exhibits in the City Park as well as in the library. Refreshments will be available.

Once again, Glades County Public Library is hosting preschool story hour on Tuesdays at 10 AM. Interested parties must call ahead of time, as space is available but limited. Contact Mary Booher at the library desk or call her at 863-946-0744.

The next regular Friends of the Library meeting will be held on the third Monday in November 19 in the conference room of the library. The Friends of the Library organization is seeking new members. All those who are interested in the library or who are interested in the history of Glades County are welcome to come and join. 

 During the business meeting, activities are organized and make decisions made with regard to the events that will take place at the library. At each meeting there is usually a short but interesting presentation by a guest speaker in addition to refreshments. 

Now, about the “mystery lady of the Glades County Library,” we have still not determined how the painting of Lillian G. Magee came to be at the library, however we are reasonably sure that it is an authentic James C. Magee painting. 

 James C. Magee (1864-1924) was an American Impressionist artist. He was born in Brooklyn New York although the majority of his career was spent in Philadelphia. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1896 to 1902 and with Robert Henri in Paris, France. 

Though little is known of his career, McGee became an accomplished painter exhibiting widely at the major institutions of his day. Between 1919 and 1924, McGee’s work was accepted into shows at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (where he won several awards over the years and a gold medal in 1907), the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Academy of Design, the Society of Independent Artists, the Plastic Club and the Salons of America, to name just a few. 

Most of Magee’s paintings were landscapes.

The Glades County Library will be closed on Monday, November 12, 2012 in celebration Veterans Day.

Elusive Monkey Caught In St. Pete

Monkey Roamed Tampa Bay For Three Years
Staff with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have successfully captured the elusive rhesus macaque monkey that had been roaming the Tampa Bay area for nearly three years. 

On Wednesday, a team including FWC staff, a local veterinarian and wildlife trapper located the monkey at Country Club Way South and Fairway Avenue South in St. Petersburg and used a tranquilizer dart to temporarily immobilize it for transport.

“It’s important to remove exotic, invasive wildlife and other wildlife that poses a threat to people and the natural environment,” said Maj. Dennis Post, regional commander for the FWC’s Southwest Region. “There has already been one documented bite from this monkey.”

Rhesus macaques are powerful monkeys capable of seriously injuring an adult human. They also can carry the simian herpes-B virus, which can be transmitted to humans. Untreated scratches, bites or cuts from an infected animal could prove fatal.

The FWC says it’s also in the best interest of the monkey to be captured and removed.

“The urban environment of Tampa Bay is not the monkey’s natural habitat and posed a threat to its health,” Post said.

Rhesus macaques have a highly evolved society where the health and well-being of each individual is largely dependent on the cooperation of other troop members, especially for defense purposes.

The monkey will undergo veterinary evaluations and ultimately be placed in an appropriate facility where it can live safely among others of its kind.

Drummond Runs Against Hoots For Elections Office

Drummond Takes Questions Thursday On Live Broadcast

LABELLE, FL. -- Kevin Drummond, the Republican candidate for Hendry County's Supervisor of Elections  fielded questions Thursday morning a 9 a.m. on Southwest Florida Online and YouTube Live.

During the interview, Drummond said he has requested information from the Hendry Supervisor's Office but has yet to receive anything. Among the items requested were the names of the employees and poll workers and the daily absentee voter list. He submitted a written request to the LaBelle Election Office, addressed to Lucretia Strickland on September 21, for the names of the employees and paid poll workers.

Drummond is running against Brenda Hoots for the constitutional office held for many years by Lucretia Strickland who is retiring this year.

Drummond has earned a Master's Degree from Florida Gulf Coast University, and has worked with the Capital Police in Tallahassee, and the Florida Highway Patrol as an investigator.

The broadcast can be viewed at the top of this story, and on YouTube and Google Plus.

Note: A technical glitch caused a dropout of video for two minutes at 08:32. You may skip ahead to 10:39 to resume the interview.

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Frederick Morrow Loutsenhizer, Jr, age 55, of LaBelle, FL passed away October 17, 2012 in LaBelle. He was born May 11, 1957 in Wilkinsburg, PA, to the late Frederick M. Loutsenhizer and the late Wanda Nydia (Minear) Loutsenhizer. 

He was raised in Wisconsin and also lived in King Salmon, Alaska for a number of years. Frederick was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
Survivors include his sisters: Billie Lou (Peter) Stilphen of LaBelle and Bonnie Lee (Wayne) Krabbenhoft of Knoxville, TN. and lifelong friend: Charles Frederick Manwaring of LaBelle.

A memorial service will be held on a later date. Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Cannon Eley For Glades Commission

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Not Expected To Impact Hendry-Glades

Rain And Breezy Conditions - Possible 40 MPH Gusts
LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Emergency Management is currently monitoring Tropical Storm Sandy. At this time it is not expected to impact Hendry County Directly. However we could experience some rain an breezy conditions on Thursday afternoon through Friday afternoon. 

There is a 10% chance that Hendry County could experience some wind gusts up to 40 mph.

Sandy is currently moving toward the north at 14 mph and this general motion, with an increase in forward speed, is expected over the next 2 days before turning more northeast ahead of an approaching cold front.

The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center shows Sandy passing over Jamaica this afternoon, eastern Cuba late tonight and tomorrow morning, and then through the Bahamas Thursday night and Friday.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to 70 mph, and additional strengthening is forecast over the next 48 hours. Sandy is currently forecast to become a hurricane by the time it reaches Jamaica, but there is also a 67% chance Sandy remains a tropical storm.

Some weakening is expected beyond 72 hours as Sandy encounters increasing wind shear as it moves into the Bahamas. Sandy is then forecast to become post-tropical or a hybrid system by Sunday or Monday.

Toys For Tots - Hendry County

Letter From Joe Hosick, Coordinator For Toys For Tots

Hi Friends.

I'm Joe Hosick on behalf of the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. You might know me as the Director of the Hendry-Glades Behavioral Health Center. However, I am proud to say that I am also the local coordinator for this year’s Toys for Tots campaign. 

This holiday season the Behavioral Health Center is joining forces with the Salvation Army and United Way to bring the Marine Toys for Tots program to Hendry County and we are making our list to share the joy of Christmas with each of our many deserving children. 

We have placed our collection boxes in many locations throughout Hendry County. We are reaching out to local non-profit and charitable organizations and we are contacting families who need assistance and asking them to register beginning November 5th at the Salvation Army offices located in both LaBelle and Clewiston. 

But, we need your help too. A shiny new toy sends a message to a needy child that someone cares. That he or she has not been forgotten, that the magic of Christmas has not passed him or her by. Please, support the children, support the marines and support Toys 4 Tots. 

Purchase a new toy today and place it in one of our many collection boxes. Your gift will make an important difference in the life of a child this Christmas.

Google Street Cameras On Grand Canyon Trek

Street View Team Mapping Grand Canyon Trails

In a move to make Google Maps even more complete, the Google Street View team is collecting imagery from "a place no car, trike or snowmobile has ever been before," Google announced today.

This week, photos are being gathered from portions of the South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park, including the ridge, the famous Bright Angel Trail, South Kaibab Trail and more.

On its first official outing, the Street View team is using the Trekker, a wearable backpack with a camera system on top to traverse the Grand Canyon and capture 360-degree images of one of the most breathtaking natural landscapes on the planet.

The Trekker camera operator controls via an Android phone and automatically gathers photos as he walks, enabling the collection of high-quality imagery from places that are only accessible on foot.

These panoramic views will soon be live on Google Maps, giving everyone from real-life visitors to armchair travelers the opportunity to marvel at this majestic site from the comfort of their computers or mobile devices.

LaBelle, Fl. Street View of County Courthouse and  more Google "hidden tricks" 

Sexual Teen Photos Showing On Porn Sites

Warning About Sexting - Explicit Photos Being Harvested From Social Media

Young people are warned they may lose control over their sexually explicit images and videos once they are uploaded to social media,  sometimes then showing up on porn sites, says a new report from the UK.

The warning follows a study by the Internet Watch Foundation. It shows 88% of the self-generated, sexually explicit online images and videos of young people their analysts encountered had been taken from their original location and uploaded onto other websites.

These original sources are usually legitimate 3rd party services, such as social networking sites or webcam sites.

The study, which was carried out using data collected throughout September 2012 by IWF Internet Content Analysts, aimed to establish a snapshot of how many self-generated, sexually explicit images and videos of young people there are online.

It also sought to discover how much of this content was copied from its original source and put on other websites.

These parasite websites had often been created for the sole purpose of offering sexually explicit images and videos of young people and therefore contained large amounts of sexually explicit content. A parasite website is defined as a website created for the purpose of displaying sexual content (images and/or videos) which have apparently been taken/harvested from the website to which they were originally uploaded. 

In less than 48 working hours, IWF analysts encountered more than 12,000 such images and videos spread over 68 websites.

Most of the images and videos (88%) appeared on ‘parasite websites’, meaning they were taken from the original area where they were uploaded and made public on other websites.

Sarah Smith, IWF Technical Researcher, said: “During the course of our work we encounter large quantities of self-generated sexual content which has been copied from its original location and then uploaded elsewhere to form collections, but this is the first time we’ve been able to demonstrate the extent to which this occurs.”

Susie Hargreaves, CEO of the Internet Watch Foundation, said: “This research gives an unsettling indication of the number of images and videos on the internet featuring young people performing sexually explicit acts or posing.

“It also highlights the problem of control of these images - once an image has been copied onto a parasite website, it will no longer suffice to simply remove the image from the online account.

“We need young people to realise that once an image or a video has gone online, they may never be able to remove it entirely.”

David Wright, Director of UK Safer Internet Centre at SWGfL, said: “Much of the advice for children and young people is, quite rightly, to not ‘sext’. However this research, coupled with our experience, demonstrates that it is still not uncommon. We hope that our new resource will help and support those who have shared self-generated content to take positive action.”

The research did not attempt to discover if the person/people in the images had willingly taken part, or were coerced, or knew the images were going to be uploaded to the internet. It aimed to provide a snapshot of statistics about the amount of content that is currently in circulation on the internet.

Hendry Candidate Live Broadcast Thursday

Kevin Drummond Live On Southwest Florida Online

LABELLE, FL. -- Candidate for Hendry County, Florida Supervisor of Elections Kevin Drummond will appear on a live broadcast on YouTube and Southwest Florida Online Thursday morning at 9 a.m.

He has agreed to a live broadcast interview to take questions about his campaign to become the next Hendry County Elections Supervisor.

Mr. Drummond, a Republican candidate, was born and raised in Hendry County, earned a Master's Degree and then worked for the Florida Highway Patrol.  Drummond says his mission is to "promote registration of residents, educate the public on voter participation and maintain the database."

The broadcast can be viewed live starting at 9 a.m. Thursday, October 25th at the following three internet locations:
Southwest Florida Online:
Google Plus:

The recorded interview will be available at those web sites after the show as well.

All viewers are welcome to post comments and questions before, during and after the broadcast at any of the three broadcast locations above.

Invited guests may also invite others to the broadcast and are welcome to ask questions live during the show.

Contact me if you would like to be invited or to propose a question for Mr. Drummond. Add "don browne" to your Google+ circles to be invited as well.


All Hendry-Glades political candidates are invited to participate in a live broadcast interview.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hendry County Obituaries

Claude Bowman, age 75, of LaBelle, passed away October 18, 2012, in Hope Healthcare Services in Lehigh Acres.

He was born Aug. 28, 1937, in Cooks Springs, AL, to the late Fred and the late Eliza Irene (Dison) Bowman.

Survivors include three sons: David (Yvette) Bowman, Troy Bowman, and Allen Bowman,
one brother: Joe (Darcy) Bowman, and one sister: Bobbie (Boyd) Faye Gause, five grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.

He was nurseryman for many years. He served his country proudly in United States Air Force. He was a loving brother, father, grandfather and great grandfather.

A Graveside service was held Monday, October 22, 2012 at 11:00 am in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle with Chaplain Bob Moore officiating along with American Legion Post 130 providing military honors. Interment was in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle. Visitation was Monday 1 hour prior to service in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle, FL.

Bears Active In Florida This Winter

Why Bears Are Attracted To Florida Homes
Fall is an active time of year for Florida black bears as they stock up on calories for the coming winter. Though black bears don’t really need to put on pounds to survive Florida's usually mild winters, they behave as if they do need to – eating about three times as much as usual.

Because bears now are busy filling their bellies, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission asks people to be extra diligent in securing food sources around their homes and businesses that can attract bears and create problems.

“If you are a Florida black bear, raiding a garbage can to eat stale doughnuts and the leftovers from last night’s spaghetti may be more appealing than foraging in the woods for palmetto berries and acorns,” said David Telesco, the FWC’s bear management program coordinator. 

“Preventing bears’ access to food is the most important thing people can do to keep bears and other wild animals out of neighborhoods.”

In autumn, bears begin a natural process called hyperphagia, which means they are putting on fat for the winter. They will consume around 25,000 calories a day and eat almost anything that’s convenient. The easier a food item is to get, the more likely it is that a bear will take advantage of it – and a bear’s sense of smell is so keen it can detect food more than a mile away.

Bear-related calls to the FWC are up this year in many parts of the state. Since January in central and south Florida, the FWC has documented the highest number of calls per month on record for six of the past nine months. Calls in other parts of the state also are relatively high this year.

“Now more than ever we are relying on residents to keep bears from getting rewarded for being in neighborhoods,” Telesco said.

To keep bears away from your home and neighborhood, follow these tips:

- Feed your pets indoors or bring in dishes after feeding.
- Secure household garbage in a shed, garage or a wildlife-resistant container.
- Put household garbage out on the morning of pickup, not the night before.
- Secure commercial garbage in bear-resistant dumpsters consisting of metal lids or metal-reinforced plastic lids and lock bars.
- Clean grills and store them in a locked, secure place.
- Remove wildlife feeders or make them bear-resistant.
- Protect gardens, apiaries, compost and livestock with electric fencing.
- Pick ripe fruit from trees and remove fallen fruit from the ground.
- Encourage your homeowners association or local government to institute ordinances on keeping foods secure that would attract wildlife.

“Conflicts between Florida black bears and people are preventable,” said Telesco. “Most people who follow the FWC’s advice on how to bear-proof their homes and businesses don’t have conflicts with these large and powerful wild animals.”

Go to to learn more about living in bear country.

Photo credit: Greg Hume

Monday, October 22, 2012

Glades County Obituary

Helana S. Brown, age 65, of Moore Haven, passed away October 18, 2012 in Moore Haven, FL.
She was born Sep. 15, 1947 in Miami, FL, to the late Harvey Stanley and the late Juanita Gulledge. Helana enjoyed painting and drawing.

Survivors include son: Brian Brown, daughter: Shawn Martinez, brother: Harvey Stanley Gulledge, Jr., sister: Sharon Milam and two grandchildren.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Free Event At Clewiston Museum Tuesday

Hendry County's Clewiston Museum Showing Journey Stories

CLEWISTON, FL. -- The Smithsonian exhibit called “Journey Stories” is now on display at the Clewiston Museum. This wonderfully illustrated exhibit captures the history and mobility of our nation. 

The official Grand Opening of the Journey Stories exhibit will be celebrated Tuesday, October 23 at 7:00 p.m. Dr. Jessica Cattelino, Professor of Anthropology at University of California Los Angeles, will provide an informative presentation on water and its role in bringing pioneers to the Glades and how this interesting subject affects our lives even today. 

This subject matter will be the focus of her newest book and for which she spent about seven months in Clewiston collecting information for the work.

This event is free, so bring your family or friend and enjoy a night at the Clewiston Museum.

DUI Check Points In Hendry Thursday

FHP, DOT, And Sheriff Setting Up Traffic Stops

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Highway Patrol in conjunction with the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Compliance will conduct a comprehensive roadside safety checkpoint in Hendry County on October 26, 2012. 

The central focus of this checkpoint will be the apprehension of impaired drivers. The goals for this checkpoint are: 

- Deter DUI; thereby reducing the death, injury and property damage caused by alcohols and drug impaired drivers. 
- Intercept currently impaired drivers before a crash occurs. 
- Conduct the checkpoint with a minimal amount of intrusion and motorist inconvenience. 
- Ensure the safety of the motorists and officers. Driving under the influence (DUI) is a crime. 

The law enforcement community in Hendry County takes this crime seriously and has a zero tolerance policy for impaired drivers.

Hendry Bomb Threat Results In Evacuation

County Courthouse Evacuation Plan To Be Reviewed After Incident

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry County, Florida Courthouse was evacuated Monday, October 15th after a bomb threat.

A week later, Lupe Taylor, Hendry's Emergency Management Director said the only information she received was that  "a call came in as a Bomb threat to the Clerk’s office and the Sheriff’s office was called."

The call came in at 3:24 pm and it was cleared at 5:24 pm, she said. The Hendry Sheriff's office evacuated the building and did a search. A search resulted in nothing found, she said.

Agencies called to respond included the Hendry Sheriff’s Office, EMS, and the LaBelle Fire Department.

Emergency Management responded after hear the call on the radio, Taylor said.

She noted in a letter to the County officials, "Hendry County has a Courthouse Evacuation Plan and I will send you the document. This document needs to be updated and I am in the process of setting up a meeting to update it and planning an Exercise/Drill for the Courthouse and Administration building."

The Hendry Sheriff's office did not respond to a request for information.

Gas Lower Except In Hendry-Glades

Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 8.1 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.61/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has fallen 9.0 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.67/g, according to gasoline price website

In Hendry and Glades county, the lowest prices were $3.81.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 16.5 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 13.4 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 14.2 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 20.1 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"Only one other time in the last few years have we seen the national average drop so significantly in the course of just a week, and that other time was in May 2011," said Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan.

LaBelle Church Holding Harvest Festival

On Sunday evening October 28 at 6 p.m. the LaBelle Assembly of God is having a community wide Harvest Festival as an alternative to Halloween. This is a no charge event for the children and Adults of our community.

Free Hot Dogs, games, and lots of candy! Wear your favorite costume and enjoy an evening of family fun. Everyone welcome and everyone is a winner. The best games anywhere, The festival at LaBelle Assembly of God is helped by LaBelle Kiwanis Club and Disabled American Veterans.

This year's Festival chairman is Troy Avery. He is looking for volunteers to run the games, as a labor of love! Everyone Welcome, See you there. For More information Call 675-0900

Photo: Nevaeh Cochran, Karly Harn, Kayla Harn, Jessica Koff, Patrick Hyde, Claire Smith, Oscar Perez Jr., Brittany & Brandon Helmlinger, Jonathan Chezem and Chairman of the Harvest Festival, Troy Avery

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Naked Woman Shot By Police In Tampa Area

Inga Swanson Described As Armed And Naked

Two off-duty law enforcement officers reportedly were involved in shooting a naked woman Saturday afternoon in Hernando County, Florida.

Detective Rocky Howard, 31 of the Hernando Sheriff's office and William Mechler, 26 of the Tampa Police Department were at an informal gathering at a private residence in Spring Hill, Florida when they were approached by Inga Marie Swanson, 42, who was naked and acting "a little bit irrational," according to the Sheriff's office.

She was asked to leave and did so. At about 1:15 p.m. she came back and confronted the two law enforcement officers with a weapon, and one or both shot her. Swanson was described as an "irrational, armed and naked" woman. 

She was reportedly not part of the gathering or invited to it. There were a "handful" of people at the residence, Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis said. He would not reveal what kind of weapon was carried by the woman.

He said the two off-duty officers were "acquaintances."

"She was not in her right mind," the Sheriff said, and believed she was not targeting the two officers. "It was a very unusual situation they were confronted with," he said.  Both officers seems to doing well, he said, after talking to them.

It is not yet known who fired the weapon that killed Swanson. Both are on on paid administrative leaves. The Sheriff said his deputy should be back on duty within a few days "if every thing works out ok." 

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is handling the criminal investigation.

Robin McLean For Glades Property Appraiser

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Hendry-Glades Political Forum At Church

Candidates To Meet Port LaBelle Residents

LABELLE, FL. -- Birchwood Parkway Community Inc. is sponsoring a candidates' "meet and greet" on Tuesday October 30, 2012 starting at 7 PM.

The candidates will meet at 1098 Birchwood Parkway, the Church of the Good Shepherd, just south of SR 80 in Port LaBelle. 

The non-profit organization says it would like to focus on issues affecting Port LaBelle. The Birchwood Parkway Community group held a fund raising event July 28 to pay legal costs for fighting the proposed sports car track in Port LaBelle.  Local candidates had an opportunity to speak to local residents at that event. 

For more information please email Jack Zorn, President at or John Hollingsworth,Treasurer at or call 863-675-4311

Lorie Ward For Glades Property Appraiser

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hog Hunter Shoots Companion

Florida Man Shoots Friend Accidentally While Hunting Wild Hogs
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating a fatal hunting incident that occurred late Thursday in Martin County.

About 6:30 p.m. Thursday, two male acquaintances were hunting hogs on an undeveloped portion of the Bridgewater development north of Jupiter when one of the men apparently took a shot at what he thought was a hog. Sadly, it was his hunting partner.

The victim is Clinton Robert Haas (DOB 07/12/78) of Loxahatchee. The alleged shooter is Ernie Small Jr. (DOB 09/25/76) of West Palm Beach. The victim died at the scene.

“At this point in our investigation, this appears to be a terrible hunting accident,” said Capt. John Suggs, law enforcement supervisor for the FWC. “As with all hunting incidents, we will conduct a thorough investigation to find out how and why this hunting trip ended so tragically.”

The continuing investigation will look into numerous factors, including weather conditions, the types of firearms involved and the experience level of the hunters.

The FWC will release more information as the investigation progresses. Martin County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the initial shooting report but turned it over to the FWC, because it appears to be a hunting accident.

McLean For Glades Property Appraiser

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Hendry Road Construction Projects

SR 80: From CR 833 to east of US 27: Construction project --- Work expands two-miles of SR 80 to four lanes from County Road 833 to east of US 27. Crews are relocating utilities on the westbound shoulder. Crews are constructing ponds and building new bridges. No lane closures are expected at this time, but motorists should be aware of construction traffic along the roadway. Drivers should pay attention to traffic signs and barricades throughout the construction project, stay alert, and use caution in the work zone. Estimated completion is spring 2014. The contractor is C.W. Roberts Contracting, Inc.

SR 80: From CR 833 to east of US 27: Maintenance contract project --- Contractor’s crews will be finishing work in areas near the bridge about two miles west US 27. Nighttime/overnight lane closures will occur from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. beginning Tuesday night, October 23, through Wednesday morning, October 24, weather permitting. Motorists are reminded to be aware of workers and equipment in this area and to pay attention to traffic signs and barricades throughout the construction project. Please stay alert and use caution driving through the work zone.

SR 80/US 27: Intersection improvements: Construction project --- Crews are modifying the intersection with construction of an overpass for SR 80 traffic eastbound to US 27 northbound and for US 27 traffic northbound to SR 80 westbound. The project also realigns US 27. Crews also will widen approximately 3/4 mile of SR 80 to four lanes approaching the intersection, add a traffic signal at the overpass, and install lighting at the interchange. Work currently involves placing fill dirt, installing drainage, and constructing walls for the new overpass. Northbound traffic is shifted to the west onto new temporary lanes. This week there will be intermittent lane closures on SR 80 for installation of a drainage structure across SR 80. The speed limit on US 27 is 55 mph in the construction area. Motorists are advised to be aware of construction vehicles entering and leaving the work zone and to use caution driving in this area. Project completion is expected at the end of 2013. The contractor is Ajax Paving Industries of Florida, Inc.

SR 80: From Birchwood Parkway to Dalton Lane: Construction project --- Work begins to expand five miles of SR 80 to four lanes from Birchwood Parkway to Dalton Lane. Crews are placing construction signs and erosion control throughout the project. Crews are clearing vegetation on the south side of the right-of-way and construction of the box culvert near Cedarwood parkway is under construction. Motorists should expect some “fog smoke” over the next two weeks while crews burn piles of cleared vegetation. The speed limit from Birchwood Parkway to Cedarwood Parkway is 50 miles per hour. No lane closures are expected at this time, but motorists should be aware of construction traffic along the roadway. Drivers should pay attention to traffic signs and barricades throughout the construction project, stay alert, and use caution in the work zone. Estimated completion is summer 2014. The contractor is C.W. Roberts Contracting, Inc.

SR 29: From State Road 80 to County Road 731 (Whidden Road): Construction project --- Work is underway on this 1.4 mile resurfacing and improvement project. Crews will place new asphalt on SR 29, build sidewalk and replaces signals. In addition, bicycle/pedestrian railing will be installed on the bridge. Guardrail placement, drainage, milling and resurfacing and temporary barrier wall is being installed. Motorists can expect daytime lane closures from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are advised to be aware of construction vehicles entering and leaving the work zone and to use caution driving in this area. Project completion is expected in fall 2012. The contractor is Ajax Paving Industries of Florida, Inc.

Hendry-Glades Get Million For Boat Docks

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has announced the recipients for the 2012-2013 Florida Boating Improvement Program grants. Clewiston will be receiving over a half million dollars for marina and dock work.

Twenty-seven different grants, totaling $5.2 million, will be awarded throughout the state. Clewiston Marina Renovations, Phase II is getting over 10% of that amount, and scheduled to receive $586,362.

Last year the city received Marina Renovation money in the amount of $ 164,000.

Last year LaBelle received $426.114 for City Wharf Improvements and in 2008 received $165,000 for the  Barron Park Wharf.

The City of Moore Haven got $200,000 in 2008 for the Moore Haven Marina Boat Ramp and $197,000.00 for the Moore Haven docks.

“These grants for boat ramps will bring economic development opportunities across our state,” said Governor Rick Scott. “As the fishing capital of the world, Florida takes pride in the maintenance and quality of our boat ramps and facilities. They will provide a steady flow of tourism and recreation.”

In addition to patrolling Florida’s woods and waters to protect people and natural resources, the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement manages boating access.

“We administer grant programs for boating access and boating-related activities,” said Maj. Jack Daugherty, leader of the FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section. “The grants are awarded to eligible counties, municipalities and other state governmental entities to fund projects like boat ramp construction, channel marking and derelict vessel removal.”

Some of the areas selected, including Clewiston, Palatka and De Soto and Hamilton counties, have beendesignated Rural Areas of Critical Economic Concern by the governor. These areas have received substantial grants.

Specific projects planned for those areas include expanding dock and ramp space, constructing and improving restroom facilities, renovating and expanding marinas, improving access roads and parking lots and constructing facilities compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Funds for these grants are derived largely from the federal Sport Fish Restoration – Boat Access Program. Federal funds are collected when people buy fishing tackle and motor fuels, and from import duties on tackle and yachts. The money is returned to appropriate state agencies for research, management and development activities that deal with sport fish and boating access. Federal law requires 15 percent of these funds go to building and repairing boat ramps.

Hendry's 2nd Largest Oak Tree Falls

Giant Oak Splits In Night

LABELLE, FL. -- What has been labeled the second largest Oak tree in Hendry County, Florida split in two during the night leaving Springview Circle in Port LaBelle partially blocked.

The giant tree, probably several hundred years old was believed to be the second largest oak in the county as determined by the LaBelle Garden Club several years ago.

The tree had been carefully pruned every few years by an arborist and had also been reinforced with dacron ropes and slings to try to stabilize the weight of the huge limbs.

It's not yet know if any part of the fallen sections can be saved and how significantly the main portion of the giant tree might be damaged.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

The $249 Google Computer Introduced Today

Google Announces New Chromebook

In  a world where everybody should have a computer, the Google Chromebook announced today, might just bring us closer to that goal.

I've been using Google's first prototype called the CR-48 for several years and am pleased with it's unique features.  The models later manufactured for the public added a beefier CPU and some upgrades and now Google is looking to attract even more users with a very low price of $249 for the newest model manufactured by Samsung as "the computer for everyone" Google said today.

As a Google press release points: "Many people use the Chromebook today as the perfect additional computer for their home. For families, it’s easy to use and share: for kids doing homework on the couch, parents catching up on emails at the kitchen counter and grandparents staying connected on video chat. There’s no need to worry about security updates and maintenance is easy; all you need to do is charge the battery. It just works."

"It’s one of the lightest laptops on the market. You can easily carry it around all day—it’s 2.5 pounds, a mere 0.8 inches thick, with more than 6 hours of battery life for the typical user.

"Even with its compact design, it’s packed with performance—it boots up in less than 10 seconds and resumes instantly. High-resolution videos (in 1080p) are beautiful to watch and when using the touchpad, you’ll notice smooth scrolling due to a hardware-accelerated user interface. 

Sharing one computer is simple, as everyone can have separate accounts, and can use Google products live Gmail, Drive, Search, Maps, YouTube, Play, and Google+ Hangout seamlessly.

Starting today, the new Samsung Chromebook is available for pre-order online from Amazon, Best Buy, PC World and other retailers. Next week it will be available for sale from these same online retailers as well as the Google Play store. You can also buy them at over 500 Best Buy stores across the U.S and over 30 PC World and Currys stores in the U.K.

Specifications for new Chromebook

Getting Paid To Go To Church!

Churches Pay Worshipers To Attend

LABELLE, FL. -- With declining church attendance, some pastors are trying something different to get people in the door. They're pay them from $20 to $100 to visit.

In Southwest Florida, a new church will hold it's first service this Sunday and is offering $20 to the first 250 adults to attend.

The Wave of Grace Church is holding services at the Vineyard Elementary School in Naples. Pastor Luke Schouten figures it would cost just as much to mail out brochures as to give the money to folks attending the Church's first service this week.

Schouten guesses anyone who comes and takes the $20 may really need it. And he hope that some lives might be changed forever.

Photo: Paster Luke and wife Chris Schouten and family (courtesy RCA)

The Wave of Grace is part of a church building program on the Gulf Coast of Florida by the Reformed Church of America through a program called New Wave Planters. Several new churches have been sponsored from Naples to Tampa by RCA.

The RCA has North American beginnings going back to a worship service in 1628 in a room above a grist mill in what is now New York City. Today the RCA has about 1,000 churches and 170,000 members in  the United States and Canada.

A church in Alabama is taking a different philosophical look at the idea of giving money to church goers. The Cornerstone United Methodist in Auburn recently handed out $20,000 and asked members to do something nice for someone.

Rev. Rusty Hutson asked members to take an envelope out of the offering basket, each containing $20, $50, or $100 bills,  and give it to someone less fortunate. Hutson says he wants to spread the message of giving and peace. Generosity can change the world, he said.

Photo: Rev. Hutson, courtesy Cornerstone UMC

Hendry Appraiser Candidates' Homes Drop 44-55%

Hendry Property Appraiser's Home Value Down 44% In Four Years

LABELLE, FL. -- In the hotly contested race for Hendry Property Appraiser, incumbent Phil Pelletier says the county's valuation of the market value of challenger Kristina Kulpa home went down 55% since 2008, when Pelletier was elected to office, while his home value decreased by 44%.

Photo: Phil Pelletier's Fort Denaud Home

He says the "average" market value of all homes in Hendry dropped 48% in the years from 2008 to 2012. How true is this?

How Does Your Home Values Compare To Pelletier's and Kulpa's?

Pelletier says his 1,625 square foot 1995 home, on a .57 acre lot on Fort Denaud Road went down on the property appraiser's records from a valuation of $136,630 in 2008 to a $76,080 valuation this year. In comparison, Kulpa's went from a $373,340 value in 2008 down to $169,150 in 2012.

Pelletier says the total deduction resulting from the difference between 2008 and 2012 on his home was $60,660 and on Kulpa's home, $204,190 in the five year period, apparently trying to argue Kulpa got a bigger percentage deduction and percentage tax savings compared to his property.

His calculation of  "average" single family home values went from $150,350 in 2008 down to $72,043 in 2012, a drop he says of 48%.

Did The Average Home Owner See 45% Drops In Taxed Market Value?

Interestingly, Pelletier compared his 44% and Kulpa's 55% home market value drops to the "average of all homes from 2008 to 2012. But, comparing a real "average" home in Hendry other and Kulpa's and Pelletier's show a much different number.

What he didn't say was he used the "average" single family home market values on the Hendry tax rolls, and did not include manufactured homes (mobile home), which are the major type of housing unit in Hendry county.

The average home owner in Hendry, if  tax values are compared from 2008 to 2012 will find they didn't have anywhere near the percentage drop in assessments that both Pelletier and Kulpa had.  The average drop was more near 9%.

Pelletier's office explaining why the percentage drop in tax value of Pelletier and Kulpa's home had such high drops in assessed value was because their neighborhoods had higher extremes in value in the years of 2008-2012.

While homes in Clewiston's Harlem, didn't move much in value one way or the other during those years,  Port LaBelle new homes and lots had wild swings in value and subsequent large drops in the last five years. Mobile homes have lost about 25% due to market sales combined with larger depreciation than a conventional home.

The "bubble" in Hendry county real estate was considered to be around 2006, when home prices were the highest, and then declining steadily each year since then.

Hendry Obituaries

Enid Merle Laidlaw, age 97, of LaBelle, passed away October 11, 2012 in LaBelle.
She was born June 18, 1915 in Saint Catherine, Jamaica to the late Harold Frank Folkes and HIlda (Binloss) Folkes. 

Enid was a teacher for many years at a private elementary school in Jamaica. She loved taking care of children. She loved attending church and always participated in church work wherever she lived.

Survivors include her son: Owen Garth (Zona) Laidlaw of Pinehurst, NC daughters: Annette Nadine (Stafford) King of LaBelle and Dawn Marie (Paul) Da Silva of Pembroke Pines, grandchildren: Nicholas Laidlaw, Phillip Laidlaw, Stafford King, Anne-Marie King, Dwayne Da Silva and Jason Da Silva, seven great-grandchildren and nephew, Randolph Roy Folkes Jr.
She was preceded in death by her husband: Betram Leance Laidlaw, son: Lathan Carlesdale Laidlaw, sister: Ruby Campbell, grandson: Eugene King and niece: Joyce Roberts.

A private funeral service was held at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in LaBelle with Dr. Newton Hoilette officiating. Internment followed at Ft. Denaud Cemetery in LaBelle.

Billy Grahm Removes 'Cult' Label Of Mormons

Graham Family Meets With Romney Then Removes 'Cult' Page

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has removed a page from it's website labeling Mormons and some other religious groups as "cults."  Franklin and Billy Graham met with presidential candidate Mitt Romney just prior to the deletion of the web page.

(photo credit: Billy Graham Evangelistic Association)

The reference to Mormanism, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spiritists, Scientologists and others appeared on a section of the association's web page titled Looking For Answers - What is a Cult?

The now deleted web page proclaimed "A cult is any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith. It is very important that we recognize cults and avoid any involvement with them."

Among the "features" of cults its says, "They do not give Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, full recognition as the second Person of the Trinity, composed of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit." The Mormons do not believe in the Trinity.

Billy, now aged 93, and son Franklin Graham reportedly met with Romney at Billy Graham's mountaintop retreat in North Carolina October 11. Shortly after the meeting, the web page citing Mormonism as a cult was taken off line.

Ken Barun, chief of staff for the association made a press statement to CNN saying, "We removed the information from the website because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign."
Billy Graham Mormon Cult Page (as it appeared before being taken down)
What Do Mormons Believe? (analysis of Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints - LDS)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lake Waterway Lock Hours Changing

Hours to change on Okeechobee Waterway locks

LABELLE, FL. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has announced it will change the operating hours at locks on the Okeechobee Waterway in accordance with a national strategy to standardize lock operations.

The change is scheduled to take effect November 13, and will impact the following locks:
Moore Haven Lock on the west side of Lake Okeechobee
Ortona Lock near LaBelle
Port Mayaca Lock on the east side of Lake Okeechobee
St. Lucie Lock near Stuart
W.P. Franklin Lock near Fort Myers

The new operating hours at each of the five locks will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. The changes are part of a Corps plan to provide consistent levels of operating service for all locks across the nation. The operating hours are based on the number of lockages performed at each facility.

"These changes are part of a civil works transformation process that will allow the Corps to deliver the best possible products and services to the nation," said Lt. Col. Tom Greco, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida. "The objective of Civil Works transformation is to shape a sustainable portfolio of water resources infrastructure for the nation’s future."

Canaveral Lock near Port Canaveral is not impacted by these changes. It will continue to operate from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.

A Notice to Navigation has been issued on this subject. For more information on navigation notices concerning Canaveral Lock or the Okeechobee Waterway, please visit the following website:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

4 Women, 2 Men Arrested In Hendry Drug Bust

Large Bonds Set For Two - Pregnant Female Released After Arrest

LABELLE, FL. -- On October 9, 2012, after an extensive investigation, Hendry County Narcotics Investigators arrested 35 year old Marcellous Smith of 515 Sunset Drive, George Jones, 44 years of age, of 972 Fordson Ave., and Wendy Soucier, 44 years of age, of 801 Manatee Ave. on charges of Sale of Cocaine and Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell.

Smith (photo above) is charged with 10 counts of Sale of Cocaine within 1000’ of a Public Park and 10 counts of Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell within 1000’ of a Public Park. He is currently being held on $535,000.00 bond.

Jones is charged with 1 count of Sale of Cocaine within a 1000’ of a Public Park and one count of Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell within 1000’ of a Public Park. He is being held on $55,000.00 bond.

Soucier is charged with three counts of Sale of Cocaine within a 1000’ of a Public Park and three counts of Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell within 1000’ of a Public Park. She is being held on $165,000.00 bond.

On October 10, 2012 Narcotics Investigators arrested 31 year old Shilo Dickerson of 1036 Eden Drive, 22 year old Tiffany Elders of 1011 W. Dolly Street and Rachael Frederick 36, of 1101 Mohowk Ave.

Dickerson (left) was arrested and charged with three counts of Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, four counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell, one count of Sale of a Controlled Substance, three counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription and one count of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. She is currently being held on $231,000.00 bond.

Rachael Frederick was charged with one count of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell, one count of Sale of a Controlled Substance, and one count of Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription. She is being held on $49,500.00 bond.

Elders was charged with three counts Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, five counts Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell, two counts Sale of a Controlled Substance, five counts Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription, and two counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. It was determined by the Judge to release Elders with a court date as she is currently 8 months pregnant.

Hulk Hogan Sues Radio DJ And Wife

Publicity Stunt Over Sex Tape Or Real?

Former wrestler and TV reality show star Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea has filed suit against Tampa shock jock Todd Alan Clem, also known as Bubba "The Love Sponge" Clem and Clem's former wife Heather for the release of a sex tape showing Hogan having sex with Heather Clem.

A Federal suit against internet celebrity news site was also filed Monday. Gawker has the tape and published a story and edited portion of the video earlier this month.

A half-dozen year old explicit video showing Hogan having sex with Heather Clem at Bubba Clem's Tampa home was released in April of this year. published a one-minute edited segment of the 30-minute video on October 4th.

Update: On Wednesday, Clem and Howard Stern did a simulcast show on their respective morning radio programs. Clem told Stern that a video taping system had been installed in his Tampa home since about 2002 as a result of a child custody case he was in a the time.

Clem told Stern Wednesday that cameras were in all the rooms except the bathrooms and guest bedrooms. But, he said he wasn't familiar with the technical aspects and did not know how any video stored on the hard drive system were obtained by anyone. He said he never saw the video in question and said he never discussed with his former wife anything about Hogan's sex episode with Heather Clem. He said he has not spoken to Heather but did say he has texted Hogan recently to try to get Hogan to dismiss the law suit.

Clem repeatedly told Stern he never saw the video.  The tape reportedly had Clem indicating he could make a lot of money from the video. Clem repeatedly told Stern he was "validated" because if he had anything to do with releasing the video, he would have edited that out.

Hogan, now 59 years old is seen performing various sex acts with Bubba Clem's then wife, Heather about six years ago. At the time of the video, Hogan was going through marriage difficulties with his wife at the time, Linda.

Hogan claims that Clem approved of the get together. Clem also confirms that it was consensual among the three participants. Clem says he regrets it now and indicated he was going through some emotional problems at the time.

46-year old Clem, on his syndicated radio show Tuesday morning, claims Hogan had been asking Clem about having sex with Clem's wife prior to the incident and alleges Hogan "solicited sex."

Clem is not indicating how the tape was released but says all parties knew what was going on, and the sex event was consensual. He did deny that he or his former wife released the tape.

Hogan and Clem were best friends, according to Clem. Hogan was the "best man" at Clem's wedding. Clem says Hogan even used Clem's pre-nuptial agreement when marrying his current wife. Clem said he begged Hogan last week not to file a lawsuit, but to work together to find out who released it.

Hogan claims he was video taped secretly and has filed a civil suit against Clem and Clem's former wife for releasing the tape and a Federal suit against Allegedly, a criminal complaint has also been filed seeking to find out who released the tape and to establish whether it was secretly taped.

Bubba Clem's morning show is heard on WRXK 96 Rock in Fort Myers.

Explicit one-minute video and story on Warning: Video and story contains language and visual content offensive to some.