Thursday, October 31, 2013

One Dead In School Bus - Mini Van Crash

NAPLES, FL. -- The driver of a Honda Odyssey minivan was killed Thursday afternoon in a crash with a school bus.

A 2007 Bluebird school bus, driven by Pierre Andre Borgela, 48 was traveling northbound on Everglades Blvd approaching the intersection of 27th Ave NE.

A 2000 Honda minivan, driven by Josefina Tavarez Cabrera, 56 was traveling westbound on 27th Ave NE approaching the intersection of Everglades Blvd. when for unknown reason the minivan traveled off the roadway and onto the northeast grass shoulder where it then struck a fence.

After colliding with the fence it continued onto Everglades Blvd and struck the right side of the school bus. Both vehicles rotated clockwise up onto the east shoulder of Everglades Blvd, where both vehicles came to final rest facing east.

It is unknown if alcohol was related in the case of deceased driver Cabrera,  reported FHP Trooper Adam Rivera and homicide investigator Cpl. Juan Quintana..

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Gullermo P. Sordo Cenuda, age 63, of Clewiston, passed away October 26, 2013 in Clewiston.

He was born June 10, 1950 in La-Villa, Cuba to the late Iris and the late Otmara Luis (Cenuda) Sordo Gonzalez.

Survivors include one son: Gullermo P. Sordo, Jr, long time companion, Lourdes Alvarez; step son, Arsenio Fernandez; step daughters, Lourdes Sanchez; Mercedes Herrera;, Christie Alvarez; step son, Jerry Alvarez; Grandchildren, Gina Fernandez, Stephanie Herrera, Alex Moreno, Natalie Herrera, Gisel Fernandez, Rolando Perez, Daniel Moreno, Adam Fernandez, Anthony Fernandez, Julian Caballero, Melissa Sanchez, Brianna Sanchez, Jason Diaz, Christopher Diaz, Joseph Diaz; Great Grandchildren, Marco Colon, Jr and Giana Colon

Funeral liturgy will be held Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 11:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Father Jiobani Batista presiding. Interment Thursday, October 31, 2013 in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation was Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL

James V. Wells, age 82, of Clewiston, passed away October 28, 2013 in Clewiston.

He was born Mar. 27, 1931 in Winchester, KY, to the late Cash and the late Zona (Lawson) Wells. Mr. Wells married Betty Allin.

He worked at later owned and operated several area service stations then he enjoyed working at Angler Marina and then Roland Martin Marina. He was an avid fisherman.

He never met a stranger in people. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and numerous other family members and friends.

He is survived by his loving wife, children; Michael and wife Jodie and Jim and wife Mary, and grandchildren; Cody and wife Alicia, Jason and wife Fay, Matt, William, and Julia and husband Jacob, Tyler and Madelyn.

Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 a.m. at Church of God of Clewiston Friday, November 1, 2013, with Pastor Gary Folds. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Boys' Bass Jr or Elks Lodge of Clewiston.

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston

Maria Luz Rodriguez, age 86, of Clewiston, passed away October 29, 2013 in Clewiston.

She was born Jan. 26, 1927 in Mexico to the late Juan and the late Emedia (Aguilera) Mendoza.

Survivors include six sons: Martin Rodriguez, Fermin Rodriguez, Jose Rodriguez, Luis Rodriguez, Juan Rodriguez, Socorro Rodriguez and two daughters: M. Carmen Rodriguez, Maria Rodriguez, many grandchildren and many great grandchildren.

She was an active parishioner of Saint Margaret's Catholic Church.

Funeral liturgy will be held Friday, November 1, 2013 at 11:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Father Jiobani Batista presiding. Interment will be Friday, November 1, 2013 in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation with rosary service will be Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Michael Stottlemyer Dies At 69

Michael Henry Stottlemyer, 69, died Saturday, October 26, at his home in Alva, Florida. Born July 11, 1944, in Kirksville, Missouri, he was the only child of Franklin and Helen Stottlemyer. He spent his formative years in Washington D. C. In his teenage years the family moved to Silver Spring, Maryland where he lived until his retirement. He was a graduate of Montgomery Blair High School and Montgomery College and served two years in the US Army Signal Corps during the Vietnam War, stationed in France and Germany.

Mike retired from Verizon Telephone Company, working as a COT for 38 years. His last 12 years included working with the US Government's intra-phone system located just off the Washington Mall.

In his youth, Mike was a member of Ski Club of Washington D.C. and the Washington Skeet Shooting Association, where he excelled in both sports. He traveled the world bringing home many awards.

After retiring to the Fort Myers area, he served on the boards of both Alva Inc. and Bay Shore Community Association, often representing these organizations and various other causes at meetings of the Lee County Commission. He also served as the poll tabulator during elections in Precinct #1 (Alva).

Among his memberships were the Caloosa Sports Shooters, the Fort Myers Coin Club, the American Numismatic Association, Friends of Florida Folk, and the Will McLean Foundation.

An avid lifetime fisherman, Mike tipped his rod often in the waters of the Gulf, Pine Island Sound and the Caloosahatchee River near Franklin Lock.

A world traveler who never met a stranger, Mike had enjoyed a trip to Alaska in July and a trip to the Snake River/Glacier/Yellowstone areas in September.

A life-long member of the Lutheran Church, Mike is survived by his fiancée, Sally Settle Barrow, as well as several cousins.

Visitation will be held at 5:00 P.M. on Thursday, October 31 at the Akin-Davis Funeral Home 13932 Palm Beach Ave. Ft. Myers. Services will follow at 6:00 P.M. Burial will be at St. Paul's Lutheran Church Cemetery in Utica, Maryland at a later date.

Those wishing to remember Mike with a memorial gift are invited to consider the Animal Refuge Center, Inc. P.O Box 6642, Fort Myers, FL 33911; or the Alva United Methodist Church, 21440 Pearl Street, Alva, FL 33920.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Is Your Weight Killing You?

LABELLE, FL. -- Medical experts agree that overweight and obese Americans are slowly killing themselves, creating opportunities for disease to conquer over what should be a normal healthy body.

With the coming holidays and the temptations to eat sugary, fatty carbohydrates, and larger amounts of food and eat more frequently, anyone who wants to keep their health or create a more healthy life and body can start by finding out what your BMI is right now.

The "body mass index" is a standardized system to determine if for your height and weight you are underweight, normal, overweight, or obese

Just enter your height and weight below and follow the links shown for more information about getting yourself healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.



Monkey Black Market Operation Shut Down

FWC Shuts Down Illegal Miami Monkey Market 

After two months of investigation, a black-market monkey operation in northwest Miami was closed down by a team of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission  officers and investigators.

Jorge A. Garcia (DOB 10/28/58) had been operating a business breeding and selling several species of monkeys.“This business has been operating for seven years,” said Capt. David Dipre, area investigations supervisor for the FWC. “We have been looking into it and were, fortunately, able to shut it down.”

Anyone wishing to possess, exhibit or sell monkeys in Florida must be properly licensed. This ensures that the animals are treated humanely and kept in healthy conditions, and that all humans interacting with the animals remain safe.

“This business was not only selling the monkeys without a license, but selling them to unlicensed individuals as well,” Dipre said. “So, people were receiving these animals without the proper training and knowledge to care for them. Also, the buyers were violating the law themselves, perhaps unknowingly.”

Twenty-eight monkeys, as well as other wildlife, were seized and placed in licensed facilities.

The people running the operation face charges of possession of wildlife without a permit, sale of wildlife without a permit, sale or transfer of wildlife to an unlicensed person, caging violations and records-keeping violations. These could lead to fines and/or jail time.

If you know of or suspect any similar violations, please report them to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline by calling 888-404-3922 or texting Tip@MyFWC.com.

For more information on legally and responsibily owning captive wildlife, please visit MyFWC.com/Wildlife.

Senator Seeks Probe Into Florida's Failed Unemployment Website

Florida's New Unemployment Website Delaying Funds To The Jobless
Senator Bill Nelson is calling for a federal investigation into problems plaguing Florida’s new website for handling unemployment benefits/ The website launched last week and has been causing problems for the 235,000 jobless currently seeking help and benefits in Florida.

After noting the frustration of Floridians trying to apply for unemployment benefits, Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Florida, has asked the Department of Labor to investigate and make sure the state quickly fixes what has gone wrong with its Department of Economic Opportunity’s new $63 million website for people to apply for unemployment compensation. 

It is the Labor Department that oversees programs to help American workers.

As reported by major Florida news outlets, the website that Gov. Rick Scott's administration launched last week has caused delays and frustrations among people trying to get help with unemployment benefits.

Today, Nelson asked Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez to have his department step in and investigate.

“While states administer their own unemployment compensation program … they do so under the Department of Labor which oversees many of the programs our nation has for American workers, including unemployment benefits,” Nelson wrote in a letter to Perez. "The main purpose behind this federal-state program is to help stabilize the economy during recessions. But it certainly won't be of much help in my state if those who have lost their jobs face protracted delays in seeking or receiving benefits."

Technical problems have reportedly frustrated many unemployed trying to use the CONNECT system featured on the website – right above a picture of the governor.

A spokeswoman in the Scott administration has publicly acknowledged “some users have encountered delays and problems accessing the system.’’

Florida’s CONNECT system was developed by Deloitte Consulting, which has had problems in recent years with technology contracts in California, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. Deloitte is represented in Tallahassee by high-powered lobbyist Brian Ballard, who also lobbies for US Sugar and several Palm Beach County cities, reported the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

While The Palm Beach Post reported that lots of Floridians are posting online tales of frustration, it’s not known how many may be experiencing protracted delays in seeking unemployment help.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

High School Student Rewarded For Honesty



Found Wallet Brings Reward To Finder

OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- At a recent powder puff football game at Okeechobee High School, senior Erin Hudson found a wallet. Ms. Hudson promptly turned it over to a school administrator. The school administrator, along with Sgt. Mark Roberts, School Resource Deputy Supervisor, counted the money and was quite surprised to find the wallet contained a large sum of money.

Sgt. Roberts stated, “I was quite astonished that there was actually cash still in the wallet. In a time when many could have and would have kept the property (cash) for personal gain, Erin showed her honesty and integrity in returning the lost wallet to school administration where it could be returned to its rightful owner. It’s without question, that Erin brings great honor and respect to herself by her actions and to all who had anything to do with her upbringing of such deep convictions of honesty and integrity.”

Sgt Roberts nominated Erin for a “Just-Us Citation Random Acts of Kindness Award”. The Just-Us Citation Program is an Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office sponsored program where School Resource Deputies recognize school aged youth for noteworthy achievements and contributions to their school and community.

On October 29, 2013, Erin was presented the award by Sheriff Paul C. May and Undersheriff Noel Stephen. Also pictured are Sgt. Mark Roberts and Okeechobee High School Principal Toni Weirsma. In addition to receiving a plaque, Erin also received one hundred dollars.

Sheriff Paul May said, “Whenever one of our young people do something wrong it is in the newspaper and on the radio and everyone hears about it. Whenever they do something right, you very seldom hear about it. This young lady returned this wallet with everything in it because it was the right thing to do. The vast majority of our young people in Okeechobee do the right thing every day and we are very proud of them. I want to take this opportunity to thank her for setting an example for all of us to follow.”

Sheriff Warns About Sex Offenders On Halloween

Florida's Registered Offenders Have Increased By 74% Says Sheriff
OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- Where are sex offenders on Halloween? Worried about your kids knocking on doors of sex offenders while trick or treating? Okeechobee County currently has one juvenile offender, 77 offenders and six predators that register with the Sheriff’s Office. 

Florida's number of registered sex offenders is rising dramatically. While the U.S. has seen a 23 percent overall increase in the number of registered sex offenders in the past five years, Florida has seen a whopping 74 percent increase.

Restrictions can vary from case to case, depending on court-ordered probation requirements and the crimes committed. Some offenders and predators have no restrictions. But, for the most part, offenders and predators aren't allowed to put up Halloween decorations, or in any way entice kids to come to their doors. 

"The overall focus is to keep children safe, especially on a night when there's so many of them outdoors," says Okeechobee Sheriff Paul May.
To search your neighborhood, check out the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Florida Sexual Offenders and Predators website, fdle.state.fl.us. The website allows users to find any sex offenders and predators living within a five-mile radius of a particular address in Florida. 

When you search the state database, you have several options. If you are looking for a particular person, you can type in as much or as little information as you know. In most cases, you will want to do a very broad search. Simply typing your ZIP code into the search tool will give you a list (with photos if they are available) of every registered sex offender who shares your ZIP code. 

Further down on the database search form, you will find the option to search within a one mile radius of an address you choose.

Typing in your address will build a map that pinpoints the home (and in some cases, the work address) of every registered sex offender within a mile of your home.

Sheriff May said, “In this day and time, we must use good common sense. Parents go with your children, watch what they collect at houses. If suspicious, throw it away but the most important thing is watch your children at all times.”

The Sheriff’s Office would ask that all Trick-or-Treaters be done by 9:00 p.m.

Truck Hits Cow On Highway

SEBRING, FL. -- An early morning encounter with a cow on the highway left a truck driver with minor injuries Wednesday morning.

The Florida Highway Patrol says Denroy Nelson, 50 of West Palm Beach, Fl. was traveling west on SR 70 near Highland County Road 721-S approaching a cow in the roadway. Nelson, driving a semi was unable to see the cow due to a lack of roadway lighting and the cow being black in color. 

The front of the vehicle collided with the cow. After impact the cow came to final rest on the north shoulder of SR 70, partially under the guard rail.
The truck traveled onto the north shoulder and collided with the guard rail, coming to final rest jackknifed in a ditch on the north side of SR 70, reported FHP Trooper John N. Paikai.

Nelson had minor injuries and was taken to Florida Hospital of Lake Placid.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Woman Shooting At Cats Complaint Said

Scary Situation As Deputies Face Woman Holding Pistol
OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- An Okeechobee woman was arrested after a complaint of shooting at cats, leading to two Sheriff's Deputies facing the woman who held a semi-automatic pistol pointing at them.

On 10/25/13, deputies responded to 2566 Hwy. 98 North, Okeechobee, Florida. The complainant advised that a neighbor was shooting stray cats. Deputies approached the residence and knocked. A female voice asked “Who is it?”.

Deputy Collier advised the female “Sheriff’s Office.” She would not open the door. Deputy Collier and Deputy Lamb approached the rear of the residence, while back-up Deputy John Hazy stayed at the front door.

The door then flew open and Stallworth walked out of the front door with a black semi-automatic pistol pointed at Deputy Hazy, and blurted out an obscenity at the deputies. At this time, all three deputies drew their side arms and ordered Stallworth to drop the weapon. Stallworth looked at the officers and then tossed the gun inside the residence.

Stallworth was placed under arrest, without further incident.

Catrela Denise Stallworth, age 33, 2566 Hwy. 98 North, Apt. 5, Okeechobee, Florida, was charged with Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon on Law Enforcement Officer

Bond: The subject was released after posting $7,500 bond

Sheriff Paul C. May said of this arrest, “This is about as close as it could be to an Officer being shot or having to shoot someone. I am very glad that neither one happened and I am glad no one got hurt.”

No further information to be released at this time, said Michele Bell, PIO.

Gas Prices Falling Again

Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 5.0 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.26/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 8,237 gas outlets in Florida. This compares with the national average that has fallen 5.9 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.30/gallon.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 22.6 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 6.4 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 13.3 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 26.4 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

"Last week saw new downward momentum in crude prices- after staying above $100/bbl for 111 days since early July, crude prices fell below $100 and just days ago closed as low as $96/bbl," said Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "In turn, the sudden drops in crude prices have pushed gasoline futures down as well, with motorists on the winning side of this all. The national average has picked up some steam on it's downward trend and in some areas of the U.S., the wholesale price of gasoline is nearing yearly lows, which is adding up to significant savings for motorists. Americans are spending over $100 million per day less on gasoline than they did a year ago, and I'm willing to bet if every motorist used the GasBuddy app, the savings would be twice as significant," DeHaan said.

Two Arrests On I-75 For Transporting Cocaine

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL. -- Two travelers on I-75 in Charlotte County were arrested Sunday afternoon about 5:35 p.m. and charged with trafficking in cocaine after the drug was found in the car's spare tire compartment.

Warren Davis, 35 was driving a 20013 Nissan rental car traveling northbound on I-75. Mr. Davis was occupying the inside lane and only driving 55 miles per hour. A traffic stop was initiated at the 150 mile marker in Charlotte County.

Shawnbria Williams, 25 occupied the right front passenger seat. The trooper immediately noticed the odor of burnt marijuana coming from the interior of the Nissan and noticed other indicators of criminal activity.

Ms. Williams provided the trooper with a false name and later recanted her story. A search of the
Nissan revealed two one-gallon size zip lock bags containing two kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride in the trunk, which was hidden in the spare tire compartment.

The suspects were booked into the Charlotte County Jail with no bond.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Memories Of The Past At Museum Meeting

LABELLE, FL. -- LaBelle native Robert Ernest Hollingsworth will recount his memories of his grandfather Robert Waldron at the November 7 program meeting of the LaBelle Heritage Museum at LaBelle City Hall, 481 West Hickpochee Avenue, at 7 o'clock in the evening. 

Mr. Waldron was a member of well-known Southwest Florida pioneer family who moved to LaBelle at an early age. He and his wife Catherine had three daughters, Margaret, Virginia, and Roberta, all now deceased, and their five grandsons all attended school in LaBelle. 

Rob Waldron, an entrepreneur and local businessman, is remembered by many old timers as the owner of the Courtview Restaurant, the Waldron Hotel, and the builder operator of the LaBelle Motel as well as for his construction and farming activities over the years.

The meeting is open to the public and anyone interested in knowing more about LaBelle and our heritage is welcome. Refreshments will be served following the program. LaBelle Heritage Museum schedules monthly program meetings on the firstThursday of the month from September through May that remind those who have made their homes here for a lifetime what made LaBelle the community it was as well as opening a window to our heritage to new residents and visitors alike.

Alcohol Related Motorcycle Crash Sends Two To Hospital

Critical Injury After Early Morning Harley Crash

FORT MYERS, FL. -- The Florida Highway Patrol says a fatality is possible after an alcohol related motorcycle crash this morning at 4:48 a.m. between a 2012 Harley Davidson motorcycle carrying one passenger and a BMW automobile.

Jeromy Robert Boutwell, 36, of Fort Myers and a passenger was traveling on the Harley eastbound on County Road-865 (Six Mile Cypress) just west of State Road-739 (Metro Parkway) in the inside lane. 

Lanorris Denard Merricks, 26 of Fort Myers, driving a 2003 BMW was stopped in the inside lane of Six Mile Cypress for the red traffic signal at the intersection of eastbound Six Mile Cypress and State Road-739.
For unknown reasons Boutwell failed to observe the stopped car ahead. The front portion of the motorcycle struck the rear portion of the BMW.

The Harley came to final rest facing east on its left side in the inside lane of County Road-865 just west of Metro Parkway. The BMW came to final rest in the area of the inside lane at the intersection of County Road-865 and Metro Parkway facing east.

Boutwell was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital with serious injuries. His unidentified 36-year old passenger was taken to Lee Memorial with critical injuries. The FHP indicated alcohol was involved in the crash.

Merricks and two passengers aged 26 and 3 suffered no injuries. The FHP found no alcohol was involved with the car driver.

Charges are pending said FHP Trooper C. Vazquez and homicide investigator Corporal G. Kantor.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Milton Joseph McMurdy, age 65, of Clewiston, passed away October 24, 2013 in Clewiston.

Milton was born Aug. 3, 1948 in West Palm Beach, FL, to the late John C and Anna (Andelfinger) McMurdy. Mr. McMurdy married Glenda Marie Ward. Milton worked as a Correctional Officer for the State of Florida. Milton proudly served in the United States Navy.

Milton is survived by his mother, Anna McMurdy, wife Glenda Marie, children; Harold, Jennie, Diana, Maggie, Linda, Henry, brother; John and wife Sandra, and ten grandchildren, and many other family members and friends.

He was a loving son, brother, husband, father and grandfather and will be missed greatly by all of his family and friends.

A memorial mass will be held at a later date with inurnment of cremains in Boca Raton Cemetery in Boca Raton. In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to the family of Milton.

Cremation arrangements are being handled by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Flu Shots Offered At Hope Connections In November

LABELLE, FL. -- Hope Connections will be hosting flu shot clinics for the senior communities of Hendry and Glades Counties. All seniors wishing to receive a flu shot who have Medicare may attend the flu shot clinic.

They must bring their Medicare cards with them to the clinic so their Medicare benefit can be utilized to receive the shot. We are providing this service at the following locations:

Moorehaven- Hope Connections
Date: Nov. 15th
Time 10:00a.m.-3:00p.m.
Address: 501 1st Street, Moorehaven FL 33471

Labelle- Hope Connections
Date: Nov. 22nd
Time 10:00a.m.-3:00p.m.
Address: 475 East Cowboy Way, Labelle FL 33935

Former Firefighter Inmate Attempts Escape From Jail Vehicle

Timothy Alexander, Jr. Facing Charges of Attempted Escape
LABELLE, FL. -- Timothy Eugene Alexander, Jr. is facing additional charges of Attempted Escape and Criminal Mischief after breaking out the window of a Hendry Count Jail transport vehicle.

Alexander, a former Lee county firefighter and party bus operator was earlier this month arrested for sexual battery on a minor and later for arson.

On Thursday morning, shortly after midnight Hendry County Inmate, Timothy E. Alexander, Jr. was transported to a nearby hospital after complaining of being in need of medical attention.

After being examined by hospital staff, Alexander's medical needs were attended to, he was discharged and told he would be returning to the Hendry County Jail. Alexander became uncooperative and Hendry Jail personnel requested assistance from Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Lee County Deputies arrived on scene and assisted  the Hendry County Jail deputy in escorting Alexander back to and safely securing him inside the jail transport vehicle.

The Hendry County Jail personnel requested assistance from Lee County Sheriff’s Office a second time, when Alexander became unruly in the back of the HCSO transport vehicle. Alexander was shouting and began striking and punching the rear side window with his hands and kicking it with his feet eventually breaking the window. 

Alexander then reached through the broken window attempting to open the door from the outside.

The Hendry County Transport Officer was able to safely stop the vehicle and kept Alexander from escaping.

At approximately 4:00 pm, Thursday afternoon, Circuit Judge Donald H. Mason ordered Alexander held in the Hendry County Jail on a no bond.

Two Jail Guards Arrested - Sheriff "Very Disappointed"

Officers Charged With Lying And Drug Smuggling In Jail 
LABELLE, FL. -- On Wednesday, October 23, 2013 Hendry County Sheriff's Correctional Officer, 33 year old, Joshua Jeffrey Boone was arrested on charges of Perjury after it was discovered that he had been untruthful during an investigation into alleged criminal activity.

Boone was placed on Administrative Leave without pay until the completion of the investigation. Boone was released from the Hendry County jail Wednesday on $3,500 bond.

In the early morning hours of Thursday, October 24, 2013, Hendry County Correctional Officer, 27 year old Peter Thornton, was arrested and charged with Introduction of Contraband to a Detention Facility (prescription pills) and Conspiracy to Introduce Contraband into a Detention Facility.

Thornton was placed on Administrative Leave without pay until the completion of the investigation.

Thornton was released Thursday on $4,500 bond.

Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden said, "We are very disappointed in the actions of both of these deputies. The behavior reported cannot be tolerated and we will continue to investigate the allegations filed against both officers."


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Truck Swerves To Avoid School Bus - Hits Three Children

WAUCHULA, FL. -- A driver of a 2000 Ford F-250 has been charged after hitting three school children waiting to board a school bus.

A Ford pickup driven by Louis Edward Stephen, 69 of Bowling Green, FL was traveling eastbound on SR 62 as a Hardee County school bus was stopped in the eastbound lane of SR 62 and was picking up children with the red lights flashing and stop signs extended.

The driver of the pickup stated that he did not realize the flashing lights were from a school bus but thought they were the red flashing lights at US 17. Once the driver realized that the lights were on a school
bus he was not able to stop.

To avoid a rear end collision he swerved towards the right in an attempt to avoid the bus.

The pickup traveled toward the south shoulder of SR 62 striking three children which were in the process of getting on the school bus. Two of the three children were transported to Florida Hospital in Wauchula and
one was air lifted to Tampa General with critical injuries, reported Florida Highway Patrol Trooper J.A. Irizarry.

In critical condition is Caylin Morgan Skipper, age 9; Savannah Keishawna Williams, age 6 with minor injuries, and Alexis Albivter-Martinez, age 8 with minor injuries. All were taken to Florida Hospital at Wauchula.

The driver was cited with failure to stop for a school bus.

Florida Tries To Stop Marijuana Use Initiative

State Files Lengthy Argument With Court To Stop Marijuana Vote

The Florida Attorney General’s Office today petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for an advisory opinion on the validity of a proposed constitutional amendment regarding medical marijuana. 

The Attorney General Pam Bondi argues that Florida law requires "proposals be presented fairly and accurately. The petition filed by the Attorney General’s Office outlines concerns that the medical marijuana proposal does not meet this legal standard."

Bondi says the ballot title and summary by John Morgan, chairman of the People United For Medical Marijuana misleads voters on the scope of the proposed Florida constitutional amendment. Bondi says the language of the document would allow physicians to prescribe marijuana, not only for debilitating diseases but also for any health condition that the doctor felt the use for would outweigh the potential health risks of using marijuana. 

Bondi also argues that the petition leads voters to believe that using marijuana does not conflict with Federal law, because it does not bring up the topic at all.

To view the petition follow this link: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/JMEE-9CSKYH/$file/Petition.pdf

Dallas Townsend Named To Agriculture Hall Of Fame

LABELLE, Fl. -- Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Foundation have announced four honorees who will be inducted into the Florida Agriculture Hall of Fame for 2014.

Among the four named is Hendry County's Dallas Townsend, retired Director of the University of Florida Hendry County Extension Office. Dallas Townsend served 39 years as an extension agent in Southwest Florida and was instrumental in working with IFAS and the agriculture industry to bring more research capacity to the area through the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center. His involvement with youth and 4-H is legendary, coaching more than a dozen 4-H teams and thousands of 4-H youth.

The award winners will be honored on Feb. 11, 2014 at the Ag Hall of Fame Dinner at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Monserrate Ortiz Rios, age 77, of Clewiston, passed away October 9, 2013 in Clewiston.

He was born Nov. 22, 1935 in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico to the late Felipe and the late Paula (Rios) Ortiz. Mr. Ortiz Rios married Elida Gonzalez.

Survivors include his wife: Elida (Gonzalez) Ortiz Rios, eight sons: Monserrate Ortiz, Jr, David Ortiz, Gil Ortiz, Lucas Ortiz, Daniel Ortiz, Marcos Ortiz, Jose Ortiz, Pablo Ortiz and two daughters: Lillian Catala, Maria Ghaneayem, forty-seven grandchildren and numerous other family members and friends.

Funeral service was held Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 10:00 am at Iglesia Camino A La Gloria A.G., Clewiston with Pastor Orlando Posadas officiating. Interment was Tuesday, October 22, 2013 in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation was Monday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Michael Swindle Takes Resigned County Commissioner's Seat

New Commissioner Appointed By Governor To Take Vacant Seat

LABELLE, FL. -- Florida Governor Rick Scott has announced the appointment of Michael Anthony Swindle to the Board of Commissioners of Hendry County.

Swindle, 44, of Clewiston, is an agriscience instructor at Glades Day School. He was previously the territory sales manager of Vermeer Southeast. Swindle received his associate's degree from Santa Fe Community College and his bachelor's degree from the University of Florida. 

He fills a vacant seat created by the resignation of Al Perry and is appointed for a term beginning October 23, 2013, and ending November 18, 2014. Al Perry resigned after a conflict of interest after having served as the Clewiston City Manager at the same time serving as an elected Hendry Commissioner.

Swindle is on the the board of the Hendry-Glades Farm Bureau and is an FAA licensed airplane pilot. He is a co-owner of Swindle Farms, LLC and Rich And Sisters, LLC. He has worked for the Hendry County School Board and sued them in 2010 over a contract dispute. The suit was dismissed in 2012.

As an agricultural operator he is one of 237 Clewiston farmers who have received U.S.Department of Agriculture subsidies over the years. His government subsidies totaled $136,539. He received disaster subsidies in 2004 and 2007 totaling $135,930 and $609 in 2007 for a conservation subsidy. The disaster subsidies covered hurricane damage for his nursery and specialty crops.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Former Fireman Arrested On Arson Charge

Timothy Alexander, Jr. Arrested On Arson Warrant
LABELLE, FL. -- On Tuesday, October 21, 2013, Hendry County Investigators assisted the State Fire Marshal’s Office in arresting 31 year old Timothy Alexander, Jr. on Arson charges, stemming from a vehicle fire in March 2013.

Alexander is a former firefighter and was recently arrested on sexual battery charges after a 16 year old female alleged he forced her to have sex on a party bus owned by Alexander.

It was reported that on March 24, 2013, Hendry County Deputies responded to a report of a vehicle that was fully engulfed in flames. After further examination of the fire, the incident was turned over to the State Fire Marshal’s Office for follow up investigation.

Timothy Alexander, Jr. is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail on $200,000.00 bond.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Two Pedestrians Dead After Crash

FORT MYERS, FL. -- An 87-year old male from Greeenville, Rhode Island and his 81-year old wife were killed early Tuesday morning crossing a Fort Myers intersection.

Konstantinos Georgiadis, 67 of Fort Myers was traveling south on Winkler Road in a 2007 Toyota Solara at 7:03 a.m. approaching the intersection of Harbour Club Road as the two pedestrians, Paul McGinn and Theresea McGinn were walking across the street in a west direction within the intersection of Winkler Road and Harbour Club Road.

For unknown reasons the couple failed to see the car and walked into it's path. The front portion struck the right side of both people. Both struck the hood and windshield and they came to final rest facing south on Winkler Road.

The 87 year old man came to final rest on the sidewalk which parallels the west side of Winkler Rd. and his wife came to final rest in the southbound lane of Winkler Rd and immediately south of the vehicle according to Florida Highway Patrol Trooper. Kenite Webb and homicide investigator Cpl. John Benton.

Mr. McGinn was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital and Mrs. McGinn died on the scene.

Identities of the victims were pending notification of kin and released about 4:30 p.m. by the FHP. The investigation is ongoing said the FHP.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Lloyd G. Hendry Dies At 90

Lloyd G. Hendry died October 17, 2013. He was born in Fort Myers on December 12, 1922, to Fred Earl and Bertha Gould Hendry, the 6th of their 9 children, and was the great grandchild of Captain Francis Asbury Hendry, one of the pioneers of Southwest Florida, after whom Hendry county was named.  

He attended public schools in Lee County, graduating from Fort Myers High School in 1940.
 
Lloyd attended Florida Southern College in Lakeland, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1944 in absentia while serving in the US Navy. He attended a work-study scholarship and felt honored to help construct the buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
 
The US Navy send him to V-12 College at the University of Miami where he graduated first in his class. He was then sent to Midshipmen’s School at Columbia in New York City, then to Naval Aircraft Recognition School at Ohio State University. 

While at Ohio State he met Jody Tharp and his life was changed forever.
He continued to serve in the US Navy as a Lt (J.G.), acting as an instructor at the Officers Naval Training School and then aboard the USS Nashville.
After WWII, he returned to Florida and attended Law School at the University of Florida. Upon graduation, he was hired by Henderson, Franklin, Starnes and Holt, a new law firm in Fort Myers.
With the war over and his law career begun, he married Jody Tharp on September 2, 1950, bringing her to Fort Myers, and IT was changed forever.
Lloyd was associated with Henderson, Franklin, Starnes and Holt for over 30 years. In 1979, he opened his own firm with his daughter Mary Christine Hendry Sonne. A few years later he was joined by his son Harry Orrin Hendry and the three of them practiced law in Fort Myers for over 20 more years. The firm continues with Harry Orrin Hendry today.
Lloyd was a member of First United Methodist Church, his great grandfather Francis Asbury Hendry having donated the land for the church in the 1870s. He served his church in many capacities, on every committee, teaching Sunday School and heading numerous financial drives, usually with Jody as his co-chair.
Lloyd was well known for his civic activities, serving on numerous boards, committees, associations and organizations, giving back to the community he loved so much. 

He served as General Counsel and member of the Boards of Directors of Alico, Inc. and First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Fort Myers; was a member of the Board of Directors of Lee County Mosquito and Hyacinth Control; and General Counsel and Trustee of the Edith Collier Sproul Trust.
Lloyd was instrumental in the formation of the Salvation Army in Fort Myers and was a life member of its Advisory Board.
He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Florida Southern College from 1983 to 1998, when he was elected Trustee Emeritus.
Lloyd loved his farm on the Orange River and he and Jody graciously shared it with large numbers of friends on many occasions. Their annual Easter Party and Annual Hendry Family Reunion were treasured moments in their lives.
Lloyd is survived by his wife of 63 years, Jody Tharp Hendry, his son Harry Orrin (Hank) Hendry (Laurel), his daughter Mary Christine (Peach) Sonne (Ken), three grandsons, Alex Sonne, James Sonne (Stephanie), Daniel Hendry, and granddaughter Elizabeth (Betsy) Hendry, and a great-granddaughter Hannah Hendry.
Lloyd is also survived by a brother, W. E. Hendry of North Carolina.
His funeral service will be held at the First United Methodist Church of Fort Myers on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 11:00 A.M. A reception will following in the Life Enrichment Center.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Fort Myers, the Salvation Army or the FA Hendry Family Scholarship at Edison State College.

Free Tai Ji Quan Class Enrolling For October 29 Start


Tai Chi Course Enrolling For Free Classes

LABELLE, FL. -- Enrollment has opened for a free twice-weekly course in Tai Ji Quan "Moving For Better Balance" at the L.J. Nobles Senior Center in LaBelle. Shown above are graduates of a LaBelle class earlier this year.

The course is based on traditional Chinese exercise and promotes better balance, and strength. It is designed for older adults with classes on Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. beginning October 29. The course is free and sponsored by Hope Connections in LaBelle. 

Tai Ji Quan is also commonly referred to as "Tai Chi Chuan " or "Tai Ji" and has been a traditional exercise for health and balance for hundreds of years.

Tai Ji Quan For Better Balance was developed by Dr. Fuzhong Li, of the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene, Oregon and has been recognized by the Center For Disease Control as an effective exercise course for preventing falls in older adults.

Dr. Li was recently in Fort Myers giving a training course for Tai Ji Quan teachers. Among those from Southwest Florida completing the two-day course were Mary Bartoshuk and Don Browne, both of LaBelle.

Enrollment is limited to space available. Contact Mary (email) or call Hope Connections at  (863) 675-1446.

Update: The next free beginning class for ages 60 and above, sponsored by Southwest Senior Services will begin January 7, 2014 at 10 a.m. (twice weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays) at the L.J. Nobles Senior Center in LaBelle. Registration required and space is limited. Call Hope Connections at (863) 675-1446.

Lower Gas Prices Seen

Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have risen 4.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.32/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 8,237 gas outlets in Florida. This compares with the national average that has fallen 0.8 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.36/gallon.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 29.2 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 7.4 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 13.7 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 31.2 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

"As the cooler temperatures continue to invade the U.S., gasoline prices continue to cool off as well, with the national average declining for yet another week," said analyst Patrick DeHaan. "Oil prices were within an arms reach of dropping under $100/bbl last week, but haven't yet crossed that line just yet. Meanwhile, gasoline prices have slowed their descent, with the national average moving just slightly lower over the last seven days. The cities that had seen average gasoline prices under $3/gal have dried up, yet eighteen states still have at least one station selling gasoline under that level. The bad news? Oil and gasoline futures may be more volatile this week as the Fed shutdown is over, and the Energy Information Administration releases data about supply and demand for the last two weeks. Should that data be surprising, it may have an impact on the direction of gasoline prices in the days ahead," DeHaan said.

Moore Haven Lock Changes Operating Hours

Corps announces operations changes at Moore Haven Lock
MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has announced changes in operations at the Moore Haven Lock that will take effect next week.

The changes affect lock operations on Wednesdays and Thursday in Moore Haven. The locks will open at 8 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. Lockages will only take place every two hours, at 8 a.m.,10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. with the final lockage at 5 p.m. The locks will continue to operate from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.the other five days of the week. The changes will take effective on Oct. 23.

"This adjustment is being made to accommodate a change in the staffing pattern at Moore Haven Lock," said Tim Murphy, Assistant Chief of Jacksonville District’s Operations Division. "Our intent is to implement this change in a manner that causes the least inconvenience to those who navigate through the Moore Haven Lock."

Moore Haven Lock was constructed in 1935 for navigation and flood control purposes. It is the third lock from the west on the 152-mile Okeechobee Waterway, which allows safe passage of vessels from the Gulf of Mexico at Fort Myers to the Atlantic Ocean near Stuart. It is located in Moore Haven on the western side of Lake Okeechobee.

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

http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Navigation/NoticestoNavigation.aspx

Sunday, October 20, 2013

All Food Stamp Benefits Cut On November 1

Decrease In Food Assistance Benefits For Next 12 Months Will Surprise Recipients

LABELLE, FL. -- Beginning November 1, 2013 every household receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance under the SNAP program (formerly called food stamps) will see a 5.5%  decrease in the amount credited to their EBT cards each month for the next 12 months.

47 million Americans, one in seven, rely on SNAP to meet their basic nutritional needs, receiving food assistance benefits monthly of less than $2 per meal per person depending on family size.

The cut in assistance will be the equivalent of taking away 21 meals per month for a family of four, or 16 meals for a family of three, based on calculations using the $1.70 to $2 per meal provided for in the governments calculated Thrifty Food Plan.

The program cuts will affect 22 million children in 2014 (10 million who live in “deep poverty,” with family incomes below half of the poverty line) and 9 million people who are elderly or have a serious disability.
For households of four, the cut will amount to $36 less each month. For three-member families, $29; two-member families, $20; and single member households $11 less each month. For one and two-member households with qualifying incomes the minimum amount paid by the state will be lowered from $16 to $15.

Single member households with a minimal net income formerly received a maximum of $200 each month towards food purchases. For the next 12 month they will receive benefits of $189, or 5.5% less than previous months.  That is about $2.10 per meal.

The maximum allowable benefit for a family of four (assuming a very low net family income after subtracting housing and utility costs) is now $632 monthly or about $1.75 per meal per person. For a family of three the maximum possible amount is now $497 or about $1.84 per meal. And a family of two can receive a maximum of $347 or about $1.93 per meal.

There has been some concern that the states around the country will not be fully prepared for the benefit cuts, how they will provide information about the upcoming benefit reduction to participating households and other stakeholders as well as how to manage increased client inquiries when the cut takes effect.

Most states don't provide a direct way  to contact the agency and talk to someone personally, further complicating the issue when clients notice a reduction in their benefits on November 1.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Alico Selling Controlling Interest To Investment Company

LABELLE, FL. -- 734 Agriculture, LLC and Alico, Inc. announced Friday that 734 Agriculture, a private investment company owned and controlled by Remy W. Trafelet and George R. Brokaw, in partnership with Arlon Group, a global food and agriculture investment firm founded by Continental Grain Company, have entered into definitive agreements under which an affiliate of 734 Agriculture will acquire approximately 50.5 percent of Alico's outstanding voting stock from Atlantic Blue Group, a family owned holding company.

The all cash transaction values the majority stake in Alico at $37 per share, for a total purchase price of $137.8 million. The transaction is scheduled to close during the fourth calendar quarter of 2013, subject to limited customary closing conditions.

Based in Fort Myers, Florida, Alico is an agribusiness and land management company. Its principal lines of business are citrus groves, improved farmland including sugar cane, cattle ranching and resource conservation. The company is one of the largest private landowners in Florida, owning approximately 130,800 acres in five counties (Alachua, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Polk). It is a leading citrus grower in Florida with approximately 11,000 producing acres.

Upon close of the transaction, Clay G. Wilson, a third generation citrus grower associated with the citrus industry for more than 28 years, is expected to replace JD Alexander as Chief Executive Officer of Alico. Mr. Wilson currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of 734 Citrus Holdings, LLC and Silver Nip Citrus, companies also owned and controlled by 734 Agriculture.

The Alico board of directors is expected to comprise eight members after close of the transaction – including Mr. Wilson, Mr. Trafelet, Mr. Brokaw and Ben Fishman, Managing Principal of Arlon Group. In addition, Henry (Hank) Slack, former CEO of Minorco, former Executive Director of Anglo American PLC, and former Chairman of Terra Industries, is expected to assume the role of Chairman of the Board of Alico after closing. Ramon Rodriguez, current Chairman of the Board of Alico, is expected to remain a member of the board. 734 Agriculture and Arlon intend that at least a majority of the board of directors will continue to be independent based on NASDAQ listing criteria.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hunting Season Extended After Parks Reopen

LABELLE, FL. -- The National Park Service at Big Cypress National Preserve and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have worked cooperatively to modify the hunting seasons within the Big Cypress Wildlife Management Area. This modification will help make up for hunting days missed due to the recent federal government shutdown.

After consultation with the NPS, the FWC has issued an executive order that will extend the archery and muzzleloading gun hunts in the WMA.

“This cooperative effort between the Preserve and the Commission highlights the strong partnership between the two agencies,” said Big Cypress National Preserve Superintendent Pedro Ramos.

The order, issued Friday, Oct. 18, will add an additional six days of archery hunting and five days of muzzleloading gun hunting. The archery hunt will run from Oct. 31 through Nov. 5. in all units of the WMA. The muzzeloading gun hunt will run from Nov. 6 through Nov. 10 in all units except Deep Lake. There is no quota for either of these extended hunt seasons.

The current muzzleloading gun season will continue as scheduled, ending on Oct. 27.

“We are pleased that our partners at the National Park Service have helped us extend the hunting season to make up for the time lost while the Preserve was closed,” said FWC South Regional Director Chuck Collins. “We hope that hunters are able to get out and enjoy these opportunities.”

The shutdown, from Oct. 1-16, reduced the archery season by six days and the muzzleloading season by five days.

Regulations specific to the wildlife management areas can be viewed at MyFWC.com/Hunting. If you have additional questions, please call the FWC’s South Regional Office at 561-625-5122.

Community Fall Harvest Festival October 27

LABELLE, FL. -- On Sunday evening October 27 at 6 p.m. 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 people of LaBelle Assembly of God are sponsored 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.

LaBelle Assembly of God is located at 123 Fraser Ave. across from the Ed­ward Upthegrove Elementary School.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Campers Happy As Parks Re-Open

CLEWISTON, FL. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District has reopened all of the campgrounds and day-use parks along the Okeechobee Waterway, after the government shutdown forced them to close down temporarily on Oct. 9.

"We know that this is a time of year when many vacationing families are using or planning to use Corps recreation facilities, and we are happy to reopen them for public use," said Lt. Col. Thomas Greco, deputy district commander for south Florida.

"We did the best we could to keep the Corps-managed campgrounds and recreation areas open to the public for as long as possible. It was unfortunate that we had to close the parks due to a lapse in federal appropriations and we are glad to be back in operation," said Adam Tarplee, the acting assistant chief of the South Florida Operations Office in Clewiston. "The Corps regrets the inconvenience and impact the closure had on the many customers who have been looking forward to visiting the district's parks, and our hard-working park attendants and volunteers too."

All of the campgrounds along the Okeechobee Waterway have reopened, including St. Lucie South Campground in Stuart (772-287-1382), Ortona South Campground near Moore Haven (863-675-8400) and W.P. Franklin Campground North in Alva (239-694-8770).

All of the recreation parks are also open, including the Clewiston Visitor Center, W.P. Franklin South Recreation Area in Alva, St. Lucie Visitor Center and St. Lucie South Recreation Area in Stuart and Ortona North Recreation Area in Moore Haven.
The Recreation.gov website, where campers can make reservations at Corps campgrounds nationwide, is also back up and operational. Reservations can also be made by calling 1-877-444-6777.

Motorcyclist Dies After Buzzard Strikes Helmet

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- A Thursday morning crash at about 10:28 a.m. has left a motorcyclist dead after a freak encounter with a buzzard.

A 2013 BMW motorcycle was northbound on CR-731 approximately ½ mile north of CR-74 in Glades County, Florida when a buzzard flew from the east shoulder directly into the path of the cyclist and struck the operator in the helmet.

The motorcycle exited the roadway onto the east shoulder into a ditch, struck a fence and overturned. The operator, Douglas James Winfield, 49 of Cape Coral, Florida was ejected and came to rest approximately 40 feet east of the roadway faced northeast.

The cycle came to rest approximately 20 feet north of the operator on its left side faced northwest, reported FHP Corporal Andrew Close, the accident investigator.

Female Motorcyclist Dead After Crash

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL. -- A female motorcyclist died after a crash in Charlotte County at 10:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Lisa Bauman, 47 of Englewood was northbound on CR 775 (Placida Road) in the inside lane approaching the intersection of Palm Manor/Merchants Crossing.

Driving a 2003 Harely, she failed to negotiate the right curve and struck the raised concrete median where it overturned and ejected the operator onto the roadway. The operator separated from the cycle and tumbled to rest in the intersection of Placida Road and Palm Plaza.

The cycle slid to a stop and came to rest on its right side in the northbound lanes of Placida Road facing east.

Bauman was transported to Englewood Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

FHP Cpl. A.J. Close said she was not wearing a helmet, and a blood alcohol test is pending.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sheriff's Office Offers Real-Time Alerts

LABELLE, FL. -- Beginning last January 15, 2013, the Hendry County Sheriff's Office started using a new means of real time communication called Nixle. Nixle allows Hendry County Sheriff's Office to create and publish messages to individuals who subscribe via cell phone, text messages or e-mails.

Whether it's alerting subscribers about a missing child, crime suspect or a major traffic accident, information is received in real-time - when it matters most.

Hendry County Sheriff's Office has been using the Nixle communications for the last nine months to alert subscribers of missing persons, to include a recent silver alert.

Residents of Hendry County and neighboring communities can immediately begin receiving pertinent information via text message, e-mail and the web, whether is the Nixle web page or Hendry County Sheriff's Office Facebook page. 

Interested individuals can sign up at www.nixle.com or send a text message to 888777 with Hendry SO or the zip code that applies to the geographical location they wish to receive notifications for.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Thelma Elizabeth Sirmans Auman, 91, died in Glen Burnie, Maryland, October 14, 2013. She was the granddaughter of John Hamilton and Mary Ellen Pettus Magill, Hendry County, Florida pioneers.

Thelma was born in Batson,Texas August 29, 1922, to Scranton “Doc” Sirmans and Sybil Mary Magill and was the niece of Mattie Thomas. She was the wife of Robert Luther Auman and mother of Kathryn Auman (George) Epple, David Auman (Cynthia) and Joy Ellen Auman who, predeceased her.

Thelma graduated from LaBelle High School, Florida State Women’s College (FSU) with a degree in biology and earned her teaching certificate from Towson University. She taught school at Glen Burnie Elementary and Van Bokkelen Elementary School near Ft. Meade, FL. .

Later in life, she volunteered at BWMC Auxiliary, and Anne Arundel County Free School, the oldest school in Anne Arundel County. Thelma was also a member of the Anne Arundel Retired School Personnel Association in which she was a member of their chorus and was a photographer for their newsletter. She enjoyed, travel, photography, computers, history, music and playing the piano.

Thelma is further survived by her sister Alma (Bob) Sheppard of Demopolis, Alabama, and cousins, Dr.Wilbur Thomas of Vila Rica, GA, Michael L Thomas (Janet) of Orlando, Patricia Thomas Reeves and Jessica (Randy) Hines of Tampa, Terry Menges Hamilton Wollin (Indian Rocks Beach, FL,) and Donald Browne, Labelle .

Graveside services will be on October 18, 1PM at Meadowridge Memorial Park,7250 Washington Blvd. Elkridge, MD.

Richard H. "Dick" Gibson, age 60, passed away at home in Alva, Florida, October 10, 2013, from cancer. He was born August 27, 1953 in Youngstown, Ohio. He was the son of Bob and Cynthia Gibson.

Dick grew up in Bowling Green and was a graduate of BGHS, class of 1971, where he played football and baseball. He attended Ball State Univ. where he played football. Dick managed a family-owned business on Sanibel Island for many years, later was a farm manager of a cattle ranch in Ocala, then moved back to Ft. Myers working as a carpenter.

Gibby was an outdoorsman who loved hunting and fishing. He will be remembered as a kind and caring person who was always there to help someone in need. He faced his illness in the same manner he faced life - with a strong determination to overcome the challenge and an incredible faith in God.

He is survived by his wife, Marcia (Amos) Gibson; children Jessie and Tanner; parents Robert and Cynthia Gibson of Ft. Myers; brothers Doug Gibson St. Augustine, Fl, and Dave Gibson, Ft. Myers, Fl.

A memorial service and celebration of life will be held November 2nd at 11:00 a.m. at Countryside Wesleyan Church, 17750 Palm Beach Blvd., Alva, FL 33920.

Gas Prices Steady This Week

Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 0.8 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.27/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 8,237 gas outlets in Florida. This compares with the national average that has fallen 1.4 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.37/gallon.

In Hendry And Glades county, prices as usual were about 15 cents higher than Florida averages.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 42.6 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 18.5 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 17.9 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 40.7 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

"The national average has seen the pace of decline slow quite a bit in the last few days," said GasBuddy.com Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "While gasoline prices continue to drop at a slow pace, they remain a whopping 40-cents per gallon under prices a year ago. With the Fed shutdown continuing, we also will be seeing less data made available this week as it is the first week that we're not expecting the government to release a weekly report on changes in supply and demand, meaning traders will be somewhat blinded when it comes to trading futures, which could add to volatility," DeHaan said.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Scarecrow - Food For Thought



"The Scarecrow," a much buzzed about game, short film, and project that educates people about sustainable, healthy eating choices by giving viewers a glimpse into a dystopian future of processed foods and animal confinement. 

Users are empowered to join the Scarecrow in his mission to create a healthier, happier and more delicious world for all.

The song "Pure Imagination" performed by Grammy Award®--winning artist Fiona Apple. Game downloadable at scarecrowgame.com

What You Need To Know About Obamacare - It's Not For Everyone

Who Is Eligible For Affordable Health Care? Not Everyone.

Not everyone will be able to get low cost insurance under the Affordable Health Care Act. Families with incomes under the poverty level in many states will not be helped at all.

In states where the governors have chosen to decline expanded Medicaid, low-income individuals are not entitled to any subsidy, but will not have to pay a penalty for having no insurance.

Most of those low income families will not chose to decline health insurance because the marketplace policies will not be affordable, in most cases being several thousands of dollars a year, with no credits available for them to subsidize the cost.

Individuals already on Medicare can not buy insurance through the new insurance marketplace, and accordingly are not able to get any subsidy through tax credits either.

Obamacare expands Medicaid to many low-income adults, including adults without dependent children, except in the more than two dozen states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid. Florida's Governor Rick Scott elected to not expand Medicare for it's residents, so low-income families will not receive any tax credits to lower insurance costs.

In states that expanded Medicaid, some may qualify for Medicaid as a single individual if earnings are less than about $16,000 a year with little assets, while other family sizes can qualify at higher incomes. In states that did not expand, you may have few or no options for affordable coverage. In that case, you will not have to pay a penalty for not having coverage.

In states that did not expand Medicaid, you may be able to get tax credits to help pay for coverage in the new marketplaces but your annual income must be between about $11,500 and $46,000 for a single person, or between about $19,500 and $78,000 for a family of three.

You can find out whether you are eligible for federal assistance that will lower the premiums you pay by using the Kaiser Family Foundation’s online calculator to get an estimate of the premiums and subsidies that may be available.

The federal government has set up a toll-free 24-hour hotline at 1-800-318-2596 to handle consumers’ questions. To find out more about Obamacare, visit www.healthcare.gov.

-Some information in this story from the Kaiser Family Foundation

Thursday, October 10, 2013

New Florida Salmonellosis Cases From Chicken Meat

The Florida Department of Health has been notified that three additional cases of salmonellosis in Florida residents are linked to Foster Farms chicken by DNA fingerprinting, bringing the total to four cases in Florida. 

Three cases reside in Miami-Dade County and the fourth case was reported in Brevard County. These results are based on current information and may be adjusted as new information becomes available. The Department is working together with the CDC and USDA in the ongoing investigation.

“Individuals who have eaten the suspect chicken and experience symptoms like diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps should seek medical attention,” said Dr. Anna Marie Likos, Division of Disease Control and Health Protection Director and State Epidemiologist. “The Department will continue to monitor the situation and inform the public as new information becomes available.”
Consumers who believe they have been sickened by eating contaminated chicken should contact their local health department and provide any available information about the chicken. Consumers who have purchased any samples from the problematic plant numbers P6137, P6137A, and P7632 should dispose of the chicken in order to protect themselves and their families.

Salmonellosis is an infection with Salmonella, a group of bacteria (germs) that can cause illness in humans. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Salmonella infections usually resolve in 5-7 days and often do not require treatment other than oral fluids. Persons with severe diarrhea may require rehydration with intravenous fluids. Antibiotics are not usually necessary unless the infection spreads outside of the intestines.

What can you do to prevent salmonellosis?
Cook poultry, meats (including ground meats) and eggs thoroughly. Using a meat thermometer is the only way to be sure you have cooked meat to a proper temperature. If you are served undercooked meat, poultry or eggs in a restaurant, don't hesitate to send it back to the kitchen for further cooking.
Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces and utensils with soap and water immediately after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry.
Use one cutting board for raw animal proteins and another for other foods to avoid cross-contamination.
Be particularly careful with foods prepared for infants, elderly, and immunocompromised. Do not work with raw poultry or meat and handle an infant (e.g., feed, change diaper) at the same time.

Two Arrested On Party Bus Sex Charges

Party Bus Owner And 2nd Man Charged With Sexual Battery

LABELLE, FL. -- On Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 31 year old Timothy Eugene Alexander, Jr., was arrested by Lee County Sheriff’s Office on a warrant from Hendry County on charges of Sexual Battery.

On the same day, Glades County Sheriff’s Office arrested a second subject, 18 year old Joshua Dale Bryan of 1000 County Road Line Trailer Park, in Glades County on charges of Sexual Battery.

On Tuesday, October 1, 2013, a 16 year old female victim along with family members,came to the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office to report she had been invited to attend a party on Timothy Alexander’s Limousine Party Bus and had been forced to have sex with Alexander and Bryan. Bryan is reportedly a cousin of Alexander.

At the end of the evening, the party bus parked at a private residence in Hendry County where the passengers got off the bus and began to socialize in the yard and in the home. After nearly everyone had left the bus, the 16 year old victim and Bryan were left on the bus alone. Alexander, who had also remained on the bus, approached the victim and had forcible sex with the 16 year old.

Investigation reportedly said drugs including meth and cocaine were in the party bus.

On Monday, October 7, 2013, Hendry County Investigators filed for and received an arrest warrant for Timothy Eugene Alexander, Jr. and Joshua Dale Bryan on charges of Sexual Battery. Alexander is currently being held in the Lee County Jail on $100,000.00 bond. Bryan is in Hendry county's jail on $100,000.00 bond.

Update: Alexander appeared before Hendry County Judge James Sloan Friday morning, and Sloan raised the bond from $100,000 to $150,000, the Judge noting Alexander's previous arrest history. At approximately 10:30 p.m. Friday night Alexander was released from jail on a $150,000 bond. As a condition of his release he is wearing a GPS tracking device. 18 year old Joshua Dale Bryan is still in custody at the Hendry County Jail.

Alexander was a firefighter with the South Trail Fire Department and reportedly was fired from the position only hours after his arrest.

(The Lee county jail booking photograph of Tim Alexander, Jr. is not available due to Florida Statutes which protect the identity of certified firefighters)

Alexander in addition to his firefighting job, owns Alexander Limousines And Party Buses, Inc with an address listed at a home he owns at 450 South Davis Street in LaBelle, Florida according to state and county records. He was a co-owner of Active Fire Training, Inc. until it was dissolved in 2010.

He had been arrested September 9th, 2013 in Lee County on a charge of domestic battery by strangulation and also on April 10th, 2013 charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill.

Bryan had previously been arrested in Henry County May 7, 2013 on prowling/loitering charges, and violation of probation.

Update: On October 22 Joshua D. Bryan, 18, was released on $100,000.00 bond. At approximately 9:30 am. Bryan was released with a GPS tracking device attached to him as a special condition of his release. Additional conditions required by the courts are no contact with victim.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Henry-Glades Obituaries

Vadasz, Lurah Marvine, 94, passed away Sunday, October 6th, 2013 at Hospice of the Palm Beaches. Marvine was born to Marvin and Nina Fender in Peach Orchard, Arkansas on March 7, 1919.

Marvine lived most of her adult life in South Bay, FL and most recently in Clewiston, FL. She was employed in the payroll departments of Graber Farms, Pioneer Growers Cooperative, South Bay Growers, and Billy Rogers Farms, from where she retired after 18 years. 

She was a member of Community United Methodist Church in Belle Glade for over 60 years. She was very active with the Methodist Women, participating in their famous bazaars for which she baked delicious goodies and provided hundreds of canned goods.
Marvine is survived by daughters Karen Corbin-Wheeler (Mike) of Belle Glade, and Karol Stewart (Jerry) of Royal Palm Beach; grandchildren Micah Kelly (John) of Lodi, CA and Courtney Courson (Gary) of West Palm Beach; great-grandchildren Chase and Chandler Courson, and Corbin Kelly; step-grandchildren Justin and Michael Kelly.
Marvine was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Owen, and husband Alfred, to whom she was married for 68 years.
Services will be Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 11:00 AM with visitation at 10:00 AM in Akin-Davis Funeral Home in Clewiston, FL. Burial will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery in Clewiston. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Florida United Methodist Children's Home P.O. Box 6299, Deltona, FL 32728-9988.

Four Businesses Caught In Underage Alcohol/Tobacco Sting

OKEECHOBEE, FL -- Four Okeechobee business employees were issued summons Monday for selling alcohol or tobacco to an underage person as part of an Okeechobee Narcotics Task Force sting operation.

Alcohol compliance checks were conducted at multiple establishments, where an underage person was sent into stores with instructions to attempt to purchase alcohol or tobacco products.

People who sold were issued summons to appear in court and citations were issued by the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office.

Businesses where alcohol was sold to an underage person were: Dollar General, Hwy. 70 West; LaFiesta, 1774 Hwy. 70 West; and Town Star, Hwy. 98/Hwy.70 West.

The business where tobacco was sold to an underage person was: Sunoco, S. Parrott Avenue.

Sheriff Paul May said of the operation, “We do these alcohol compliance checks periodically to make sure the merchants, who sell alcohol and tobacco, check I.D.’s if there’s any chance the buyer is under age.

The vast majority of places we checked did ask for I.D. and refused to sell to minors and we thank these merchants for doing their part. I’m sure the four merchants that we cited will ask for I.D. in the future and that is all we ask.

Together with the parents, merchants and the Sheriff’s Office working together, hopefully we can keep alcohol and tobacco use by minors to a minimum. We will continue to conduct these operations from time to time.”

Seven More Meth Arrests In Okeechobee

OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- On October 7, 2013, members of the Okeechobee County Narcotics Task Force, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, served search warrants at a residence located at 2828 NW 46 Avenue, Okeechobee, Florida, and a residence located at 3573 NW 24 Avenue, Okeechobee, Florida. The street value of the drugs confiscated is $258,000.00.

Arrested were:

Julio Cesar Luna, DOB: 2/24/85, Bond $1,350,500.00, Conspiracy to Traffick in Methamphetamine,Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 Grams or More, Use of Structure for Purpose of Trafficking Methamphetamine, Four counts-Trafficking Methamphetamine, Sale of Methamphetamine, and Possession of Methamphetamine With Intent To Sell

Oscar Segura, DOB: 2/13/92, Bond $950,000.00, Conspiracy to Traffick in Methamphetamine, Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 Grams or More, Use of Structure for Purpose of Trafficking Methamphetamine, Sale of Methamphetamine, and Possession of Methamphetamine With Intent to Sell

Adolfo Ayala Jr., DOB: 5/18/91, Bond $750,000.00, Conspiracy to Traffick in Methamphetamine, Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 Grams or More, and Use of Structure for Purpose of Trafficking Methamphetamine

Raul Aaron Rios, DOB: 10/28/87, Conspiracy to Traffick in Methamphetamine, Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 Grams or More, and Use of Structure for Purpose of Trafficking Methamphetamine, Bond $750,000.00

Mike Lewis Ramirez, DOB: 2/8/87, Conspiracy to Traffick in Methamphetamine, Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 Grams or More, and Use of Structure for Purpose of Trafficking Methamphetamine. Bond $750,000.00

Edgar Sanchez Segura, DOB: 1/7/87, Conspiracy to Traffick in Methamphetamine, Trafficking Methamphetamine, 400 Grams or More, and Use of Structure for Purpose of Trafficking Methamphetamine. Bond $750,000.00

Jonna Leigh Kimla, DOB: 12/14/88, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Controlled Substance To Wit: Hydromorphone, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Bond $65,000.00

Sheriff Paul May stated, “I’m very proud of the Narcotics Task Force, Special Response Team(SRT), and the many deputies that helped with this investigation. We intercepted this shipment before it could be distributed to our citizens. All the officers on this case did an outstanding job.”

No further information to be released at this time. This is an ongoing investigation said Public Information Officer Michele Bell.

Crazy Clown And Other Synthetic Drugs Outlawed

Attorney General Pam Bondi today filed an emergency rule outlawing four new synthetic drugs, including one called “Crazy Clown.” The emergency rule designates these new synthetic drugs as Schedule I of controlled substances, making it a third-degree felony for an individual to “sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver" these drugs. Synthetic drugs can cause psychotic episodes, hallucinations, seizures, paranoia, tremors, and more. Attorney General Bondi will work with the Florida Legislature during the 2014 legislative session to permanently ban these drugs.

“I will remain vigilant in my efforts to keep these drugs off store shelves and will continue to outlaw emergent synthetic drug compounds. These drugs pose a serious threat to Floridians, particularly our youth,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “I thank the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their continued partnership in the fight against synthetic drugs.”

“While synthetic drugs are marketed as safe alternatives to illegal drugs, make no mistake; these synthetics are dangerous,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey. “Adding these four new concoctions to Florida’s schedule 1 drug list strengthens our fight. We will continue our efforts with Attorney General Bondi to identify illegal chemicals and react swiftly.”

Attorney General Bondi temporarily banned the following synthetic compounds today:

· B-PINACA
· AB-FUBINACA
· ADB-PINACA
· Fluoro ABDICA

According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network report, more than 11,000 emergency room visits nationwide involved a synthetic cannabinoid product in 2010. Seventy-five percent of these visits were from people ranging in age from 12 to 29. Alarmingly, the majority of those people were between 12 and 17.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Gas Falling Steadily In Price At Pump

Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 4.0 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.28/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 8,237 gas outlets in Florida. This compares with the national average that has fallen 4.2 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.38/gallon.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 37.9 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 24.3 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 21.4 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 41.9 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

"The national average has continued its decline which has been continuing for 34 consecutive days," said analyst Patrick DeHaan. "And the odds are very good that prices will continue to decline in most areas in the week ahead. Perhaps most notable at this point of decline is how much cheaper gas prices stand versus the same date last year, with motorists realizing prices that are 50 cents or more lower. Much of the difference can be blamed on more active Atlantic waters last year that brought more storms than what we've seen this year," DeHaan said.

Florida Campgrounds And Parks Close

Government Budget Uncertainty Causes Park Closures This Week

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will close all of its campgrounds and day-use parks at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The district previously announced it intended to keep these areas open as long as possible. However, support to recreation areas can no longer be sustained as the district progresses through its orderly shutdown.

The Corps said it sincerely regrets the inconvenience and impact this decision may have on customers who have been looking forward to visiting the district's parks and campgrounds.

"We know that this is a time of year when many vacationing families are using or planning to use Corps recreation facilities, and we will reopen them for public use as quickly as possible," said Lt. Col. Thomas Greco, deputy district commander for south Florida.

Customers on site prior to the closure going into effect will be required to vacate campgrounds and parks not later than noon on Wednesday, Oct. 9. Customers required to vacate campsites early will receive a partial refund for any unused portion of their reservations. 

Customers may elect to leave reservations open for possible use after the shutdown is lifted. 

To request a refund please contact the reservation customer service at 1-888-448-1474 (TDD 1-877-833-6777). If the customer chooses to do nothing, the reservation service will automatically cancel reservations after their departure date during the shutdown period.

The following south Florida campgrounds will remain closed until further notice: St. Lucie South Campground in Stuart (772-287-1382), Ortona South Campground near Moore Haven (863-675-8400) and W.P. Franklin Campground North in Alva (239-694-8770).

In Southwest Florida the following recreation parks will remain closed until further notice: Clewiston Visitor Center, W.P. Franklin South Recreation Area in Alva, St. Lucie Visitor Center and St. Lucie South Recreation Area in Stuart, Ortona North Recreation Area in Moore Haven.

Only staff essential to public health and safety, including lock and dam operations and emergency response readiness, and the staff essential to management of ongoing construction projects, will continue to work.

Free Hunter Gun Course This Month

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will host a free hunter safety course on Oct. 19 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Hendry County.

Participants must successfully complete the online portion of the course prior to attending and bring the final Web report to the FWC course on Oct. 19. It does not have to be notarized.

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

The class is at the Hendry County Sheriff's Office Shooting Range between Clewiston and LaBelle, 0.7 mile down Witt Road off State Road 80, 9 miles west of U.S. 27. Take the first road east of the Pioneer Shell Gas Station.

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



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



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

Friday, October 04, 2013

See A Bear? - Florida Officials Want To Know


Wildlife Commission Wants To Track Bear Sightings
As bears become more active in fall, more people are also going outdoors for hunting, fishing, hiking, biking and wildlife viewing and the Florida Wildlife Commission is asking the public to report their sightings of Florida black bears or their tracks to a new Web page: https://public.myfwc.com/fwri/blackbear/. Biologists are especially interested in sightings of a female bear with cubs.

The bear sightings Web page will help biologists update the map of where bears live in Florida. However, the Web page is only for sharing bear location information. FWC regional offices remain the places for people to call for advice on how to resolve human-bear conflicts.

The Web page has the option for people to upload photos of bears or their tracks. But please do not approach bears to take photos of them, says the FWC. Black bears are generally not aggressive, but approaching them can make them defensive. 

Adult males typically weigh 250 to 400 pounds and can be as large as 600 pounds. Extra caution is appropriate when a mother bear and her cubs are sighted. Photos from game cameras are welcome.

“We know about prime bear habitats such as the Apalachicola National Forest, Ocala National Forest and Big Cypress National Preserve. While bear subpopulations are mainly centered on large public lands, bears also occur elsewhere, and those locations have been underreported,” said FWC bear research biologist Brian Scheick. 

“Our bear range data is 11 years old, and we are excited about getting the public’s help in identifying all the places where bears now live in Florida.

“What we learn from the new bear sightings Web page will inform the FWC’s efforts to document bear distribution and help with future bear management decisions,” Scheick said

In fall, the world is an all-you-can-eat buffet for Florida black bears. Programmed to pack in extra calories before winter, bears can smell food a mile away and will eat almost anything. Bears may decide an overflowing trash can is easier pickings than searching for acorns and berries.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reminds the public this is a critical time of year to properly store garbage, pet food and birdseed to keep bears out of places where people live and work. During the fall, bears with big appetites are less likely to linger in neighborhoods if people don’t give them access to food.

“People can prevent problems with Florida black bears by safely securing garbage, putting out garbage cans the morning of pickup rather than the night before, and using bear-resistant garbage cans or dumpsters.” said David Telesco, the FWC’s bear management coordinator.

Surveys of Florida communities with access to bear-resistant trash cans or dumpsters show the overwhelming majority are pleased with the results.

“The FWC is committed to helping the public keep bears out of garbage and out of neighborhoods,” said Telesco. “Now, we’re asking the public to help us better understand the range of the Florida black bear in the wild.”

The black bear is a conservation success story in Florida, with the population growing from as few as 300 bears in the 1970s to an estimated population of more than 3,000 today.

Go online to learn how bear-resistant trash cans work and what to do if you encounter a black bear at MyFWC.com/Bear.

Kids Day At Park Scheduled October 19

LABELLE, FL. -- Kiwanis Club of LaBelle will present Kiwanis Kid’s Day on Saturday, October 19th in the Barron Park. The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle has sponsored this event for over 20 years.

Kids can jump in bounce houses, play games, get a stuffed animal, and eat popcorn and sno-cones. The Showtime Cloggers will show off their talents and Mary the clown will give out free candy and free smiles. 

Everyone is encouraged to dance and have a great time! There will also be lots of non-profit agencies, businesses and community partners set up in the Barron Park to provide fun things and educational information for kids and their families.