Saturday, August 30, 2014

Woman Critically Injured In Crash Into Signs

LEHIGH ACRES, FL. -- A 2006 Mercury Villager was traveling westbound on SR- 82 west of Jaguar Blvd. and traveled off the road onto the north shoulder Saturday at 3:15 p.m.. The driver Karen A. Luh, 55 of Lehigh Acres attempted to correct her steering and over corrected, entered back onto westbound SR 82 and lost control.

The mini-van traveled off the roadway onto the north shoulder. The front struck two warning signs on the shoulder, entered grass and rotated counterclockwise and then overturned several times on the north shoulder.

It came to final rest in the area of the trees upright facing eastbound. The driver was ejected from the vehicle and taken to Lee Memorial Hospital. Charges are pending investigation. She was not wearing a seatbelt.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Don't Fall For This 'Jury Duty' Scam

An old scam, commonly known as the Jury Duty Scam, has been recirculating around Florida recently and has already defrauded consumers of thousands of dollars. Any caller asking for personal information should automatically be a red flag as potential fraud. Follow these tips to avoid becoming a victim.

How The Scam Works

Consumers receive a phone call from an individual identifying themselves as an officer of the court. The "officer" says that an arrest warrant has been issued for failure to appear for jury duty. They state that in order to resolve the issue, information for "verification purposes" is needed. This information may include your date of birth, Social Security number and even a credit card number to pay the fine. Other instances include the scammer asking for payment of a fee, typically through a prepaid debit card or a Green Dot Money Pack card, to settle the outstanding warrant.

Some consumers fall victim to this fraud and before they realized what happened, the scammer opens new accounts and credit cards and is able to access personal banking and financial information.

Avoid Becoming Victim
Court workers never request payments from jurors over the telephone, nor do they ask for personal information, such as Social Security or credit card numbers. If a consumer is unable to fulfill jury duty, they are typically asked to provide an explanation or directed to appear in court.

Never give out personal information when answering an unsolicited phone call.

If a consumer is contacted by someone requesting payments for failing to report for jury duty, hang up the phone, it's a scam.

Anyone receiving this type of call should immediately contact the local law enforcement agency and the clerk's office at the nearest district court to notify them of this scam.

Jane Velez-Mitchell And Sen. Dwight Bullard Fight Monkey Breeders

Secret Company Plans Giant Monkey Breeding Plant In Rural Hendry County

LABELLE, FL. --  Despite warnings from environmentalists, State Senator Dwight Bullard and TV host Jane Velez-Mitchell, Hendry County officials seem unable or unwilling to question the safety of a breeding facility for 3,200 Macaque monkeys at a site called Oak Creek Hammock in western Hendry County just blocks from rural homes south of State Road 80 and Townsend Canal Road.

A mystery company variously calling itself "Primera" and "SoFlo Ag" with no publicly listed phone number, address or names of company representatives has gained governmental permissions to build a breeding facility in western Hendry county, just east of the Lee county line and near homes in the rural community near Bedman Creek.

In a recent broadcast by Jane Velez-Mitchell, Florida Senator Dwight Bullard called for a look into the breeding facility over worries about the environmental compatibility of plans to house in Hendry county, and eventually sell to laboratories thousands of monkeys. Bullard is on the Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation.

Previous Southwest Florida Online Story On "Primera" Monkey Breeding Site In Hendry County



Free Classes For Pre-Diabetics

LABELLE, FL. -- Several months ago, celebrity chef Paula Deen admitted that she’d been diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. Almost immediately, search volume for the word “diabetes” on Google jumped 60 percent. A few weeks later, “30 Rock” star Alec Baldwin announced that he’d been diagnosed with “pre-diabetes” — meaning he was likely to get the disease unless he changed his eating and exercise habits. It often takes a celebrity to raise the public’s awareness about an issue.

While these “endorsements” are welcome, it’s going to take far more than an occasional high-profile diagnosis to cope with the massive — and almost entirely preventable — diabetes epidemic sweeping our country. It’s going to take a sustained public education campaign on the scale of anti-smoking efforts from decades past.

Make no mistake, when it comes to public-health issues, it doesn’t get much worse than diabetes. In Florida, about 7 percent of the state now has diabetes; many more have pre-diabetes, meaning they are on course to get it. Nationwide, nearly 26 million people have type-2 diabetes, often called adult-onset diabetes. And another 79 million have pre-diabetes. Worse, there are about 7 million Americans who don’t even know they have it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and these numbers are growing fast.

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower limb amputations and new cases of blindness among adults, and it’s a major cause of heart disease and stroke. The dollar costs are just as staggering. According to a 2009 study, type-2 diabetes costs the health care system $160 billion a year. One in ten health care dollars goes to treat diabetes, as does one-third of Medicare’s budget.

The most troubling thing about this epidemic is that it was mostly avoidable. Diabetes has risen because of the dramatic rise in obesity in the U.S. Scientific literature is now clear on the connection between type-2 diabetes and obesity. Today more than one in three U.S. adults are obese (more than double the number in 1990). In Hendry County, the obesity rate is 38% percent and in Glades County it is 39.6% (the State of Florida the rate is 27.2%).

Instead of treating the cause, patients are given many drugs to treat not just their diabetes, but the high blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease and other ailments that obesity causes. So what can be done to reverse course? Here are some suggestions:

· Combating the diabetes epidemic means getting everyone better educated about the enormity of the risk. Do you think anyone would be indifferent to their weight if they knew it could cost them one of their legs or their eyesight?

· Better screening is needed. The longer diabetes goes undetected and unmanaged, the more likely it will cause serious complications. The American Diabetes Association has a test that simply asks eight basic questions to assess a person’s diabetes risk. (You can find the test at www.diabetes.org). There is also a quick test to see if you are at risk of pre-diabetes atwww.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention .

· Better health habits are mandatory. Modest changes in weight (losing just 5 to 7 percent of body weight is a benchmark for clinically meaningful weight loss — so someone weighing 200 pounds gets there by losing 10 to 14 pounds) and moderate physical activity (as little as three 10-minute activity sessions daily) not only can help prevent diabetes, but can help better manage it if you already have it therefore cutting down on the drugs needed and the complications.

There is a proven way that helps reduce diabetes risk. A class is being offered by a partnership with the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties and Hendry Regional Medical Center for pre-diabetics. It is a set of free one-hour classes. Call Mary Ruth Prouty at (863) 674-4041 ext.135 or call Angelica Pena (863) 983-1123 to learn more. The classes start on September 9th in LaBelle and in Clewiston. Call now and make the change to help turn the tide on this epidemic and most importantly reduce your risk of diabetes.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Man Dies After Crashing Into School Bus

FORT MYERS, FL. -- A 68-year old Fort Myers man died of injuries this afternoon after crashing into a school bus occupied with 32 high school students.

Robert H. Frost, in a 2003 Toyota Highlander, hit the rear of the bus while the bus was stopped on US41 near Fork Road at 1:53 p.m. Thursday.

Eight students were taken to Lee Memorial Hospital with minor injuries. The bus driver, Victoria G. Strickland, 54 Cape Coral, Florida had minor injuries.

A third car, stopped ahead of the bus was involved but the driver and passenger had no injuries.

Vehicle Owners To Save Money September 1

Floridians will save approximately $17 to $25 when renewing their vehicle registrations starting September 1, depending on the size of vehicle. The fee reductions were proposed by Florida Governor Scott earlier this year as part of the It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget, and were approved by the Florida Legislature during the 2014 legislative session. 

While the reductions will save Floridians millions of dollars each year, it will not affect the level of service provided by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, said the Governor's office.

Governor Scott said, “This year, we set out to cut many taxes and fees on Florida families, and starting next week we are rolling back many of the 2009 tax increases on annual motor vehicle registrations. This fee cut will result in an annual savings of about $25 per typical motor vehicle. Families deserve to keep more of their hard earned money, and we will now be able to save Floridians $400 million, because it’s their money!”

“The reduction in vehicle registration fees will benefit both individuals, as well as the Florida business community,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “There are more than 14 million registered vehicles here in Florida that are covered by these fee reductions and that is a lot of savings for the people of Florida.”

The following are examples of the savings on vehicle registration fees as a result of the reductions:

Type of Vehicle Reduction

Motorcycles $17.05

Autos/Trucks under 2,500 lbs $18.55

Autos/Trucks between 2,500-3,500 lbs $21.55

Autos/Truck more than 3,500 lbs $25.05

The reductions will apply to vehicle registrations renewed on or after September 1, 2014.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hendry Voters - No Surprises With 15% Participating

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry county voters took to the polls, with results showing no real surprises, 15% of 16,536 voters cast ballots .

For Governor, Rick Scott was the overwhelming Republican choice with 88% of the votes and Charlies Christ on the Democratic side with 58%..

Alcee Hasting (Dem) garnered 68% for his Congressional Seat. Geirge Sheldon (Dem) took Attorney General for the Democrats with 52%.

For Circuit Court Judge leaders were Mary Evans for Group 3, and Amy Hawthorne, Group 16.

School Board District 4 went to Stephanie Busin, and John Basquin, District 5.

David Moore Dies At 71

David W. Moore, age 71, of Belle Glade, passed away August 23, 2014 in Loxahatchee. He was born Sep. 28, 1942 in Lawton, OK, to the late William Howard and the late Margaret (Boren) Moore.

He is survived by two sons: Darryl W. Moore, Arnold W. Moore (Angie), two sisters: Monica Bryson, Sharon Whitaker, grandchildren, Christina Moore, Joshua Moore, Courtney Moore, Kelsie Moore; great grandchildren, Alisya Mata, Adrian Mata, Jr., Joshua Moore, Jr. and Kimberly Moore. He was preceded in death by his brother Jeff Cobb.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 11:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, with Pastor Gary Corley officiating. Interment will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation was from 6:00 - 8:00 pm, Monday, August 25, 2014.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Death On I-75 - Driver Runs Into Pole

NAPLES, FL. -- Melani Dietrich, 22 of Naples is dead after a crash Monday afternoon about 4 p.m.

Her 2005 Mini Cooper was northbound in the inside (left) lane of I-75 in the area of the 102 milepost. According to witnesses, it made a steady veer to the right across the roadway and onto the shoulder.

It continued this path until the front struck a concrete camera pole on the shoulder.

The driver took no evasive action prior to impact with the pole. The driver was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Timothy Givenni Dies At 56

Timothy J Givenni, age 56, of Moore Haven, formally of Smyrna, Massachusetts passed away August 21, 2014 in Clewiston.

He was born July 17, 1958 in Easton, Massachusetts. He was adopted and raised by Carroll and Rita (Collison) Caldwell. He worked in the construction field for many years.

He is survived by his parents, three grandchildren and many other family members.

Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston

1,547 Panther Sightings Helping Wildlife Biologists


A total of 1,547 Florida panther sightings were reported by the public as of June 2014, of which 275 have been verified as panthers based on photos of the animal or its footprints, helping wildlife biologists in their study of habitats.

This includes the first verification of a panther sighted near the Green Swamp north of Interstate 4 in central Florida. Primarily, the verified panther sightings are in southwest Florida.

Based on two years of online public reporting of panther sightings and nearly one year of online reports of bear sightings, biologists know more about what areas of Florida provide viable habitat for these species.

When someone catches sight of a panther or black bear and reports it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the agency’s biologists may use that sighting to help research and manage those species.

Already, the public’s willingness to report where they see panthers and black bears in Florida is having a positive impact on what is known about where these large mammals live and reproduce in the state.

There also were a total of 2,257 Florida black bear sighting reports as of June 2014, with more than 500 of those reports containing uploaded photographs. Sightings of bears were reported in 59 of the state’s 67 counties.

The FWC continues collection of panther sightings at MyFWC.com/PantherSightings, and bear sightings at MyFWC.com/BearSightings. Here people can find information about the animals, including how to identify them, what to do or not do if they see one, and a Google map making it easy to pinpoint the sighting location.

“Someone’s excitement about seeing a Florida panther or black bear may translate into important scientific information if that sighting is reported to the FWC,” said Carol Knox, the FWC’s Imperiled Species Management section leader. “The FWC is pleased that so many people are making the effort to be citizen scientists and sharing their sightings of panthers and bears. By doing so, they are contributing to conservation of Florida’s largest land mammals.”

Soon, cooler weather will be on the way and more people will be resuming their outdoor pursuits.

“We hope people going outdoors to hunt, hike or pursue other recreational activities remember to share their bear sightings with us, particularly if it is a mother bear with cubs,” said FWC bear biologist Brian Scheick.

For a list of the many FWC wildlife sightings, surveys and hotlines in which citizen scientists are invited to participate, go to MyFWC.com/get-involved/citizen-science/.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Expanded Museum Complex Opens September 4

LAELLE, FL. -- LaBelle Heritage Museum will open its 2014/2015 Program Year on Thursday, September 4, with an open house marking the addition of the 1905 H A Rider home and Judge Rider's 1935 law office to the 1911 William Hardy Poole store and residence at the museum's expanded complex in the Downtown LaBelle Historic District, 360 North Bridge Street. 

 The public is welcome to the LHM Open House from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; children under the age of 12 years should be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult.

Hosts and hostesses will be available to accept membership renewals, sign up new members, enroll prospective volunteers, and answer questions or refer them to museum personnel who should be able to find the correct answers.
Refreshments will be served in the patio behind the two story Poole building following a short opening ceremony. Parking is available at Harold P. Curtis Honey Co., 335 North Bridge Street, immediately across the street from LaBelle Heritage Museum.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Obituaries - Brown, Seay, Sanner, Stiles

Betty Jo Hobby Brown, age 74, of LaBelle, passed away August 15, 2014 in Cape Coral. She was born Sep. 29, 1939 in Fort Myers, FL, to the late William Delbert and the late Buena Maye (Carson) Gilmore. Betty Jo was a lifelong resident of the area and graduated from Fort Myers High School. She attended First Christian Church in LaBelle.

Survivors include her son: Duane Gerald (Tracie) Hobby of LaBelle, daughter: Cynthia Exum of Illinois, brother: David (Cathy) Keen of Matlacha, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces & nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband: Kenny Brown and sisters: Louise Plunkett and Carolyn Gurri.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, August 23, 2014, 10:00 am at First Christian Church, LaBelle with Pastor W. T. Maddox Jr. officiating. Interment will follow in Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven. Visitation will be Friday from 5-7 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL. Memorial donations can be made to First Christian Church in LaBelle.

Bobby Wilbur Seay, age 72, of LaBelle, passed away August 16, 2014 in Lehigh Acres.

He was born Aug. 7, 1942 in Sumter County, FL, to the late Henry and the late Nellie (Woodard) Seay. Mr. Seay married Gloria Balliet; she survives. He served his country in the United States Army. He worked as a heavy equipment operator for over 30 years. He was a member of both the American Legion Post # 130 and VFW Post #10100 in LaBelle.

He also leaves behind his children; James and wife Sunni, Patricia and husband Scott, Bobbi, Linda and Norma, eleven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

A Memorial service honoring his life will be held on Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 12 noon in the American Legion Post #130 in LaBelle. Cremation arrangements are being handled by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Abbie J. Sanner, age 89, of LaBelle, passed away August 14, 2014 in Lehigh Acres.

She was born Mar. 16, 1925, in Upper Turkeyfoot, PA, to the late P.A. and the late Carrie (Kregar) Kreger. She was preceded in death by her husband: William H. Sanner.

She was a loving mother and grandmother who will be greatly missed by her family.

Survivors include her daughter: Carol S. Hochard of LaBelle, FL Grandson, Quincy (Kim) Hochard; Great-Grandchildren, Madelyn Rose Hochard and Jack William Hochard. 

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle

Linda Sue Gann Stiles, age 64, of Clewiston, was reunited with her husband in Heaven on August 14, 2014.

Linda was born in Perry, Florida on December 23, 1949, to John and Annie Hudson Gann. She worked for many years for the Hendry County Sheriff Office as the Head Secretary of the Criminal Division of Investigation. She married Edward Kenneth Stiles. She attended the Evangel Assembly of God Church.

She was a loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother and sister who will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.

She leaves behind her loving children; Daniel Westberry, Shelley Stiles and Michelle Westberry, grandchildren; Bradley, Chandler and his wife Alicia Stiles, Riley Westberry, Kiszka Westberry and Olivia Barber, brother; Dennis Gann and his wife Nell, sisters; Sandra and her husband James Ingram, Caroline and her husband Brad Keller, Rebecca and her husband Bill Young.

Linda was preceded in death by her parents, husband, one baby brother; David Gann.

A memorial service was held on Monday, August 18, 2014 at 11:00 am in Evangel Assembly of God Church where Pastor Gary Corley officiated. Inurnment will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, Linda wanted donations in her honor to be made to the Zola Levitt Ministries P.O. Box 12268 Dallas, Texas 75225-0268

Vann Ellison of St. Matthews House Speaks

LABELE, FL. -- Vann Ellison, President/CEO for the St. Matthew’s House was recently a guest speaker for the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle to talk about services that will be provided in LaBelle. 

(photo: Arlene Bettencourt-President of the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle and Vann Ellison )

St. Matthew’s House us comprised of three primary missions: Homeless Shelters, Feeding Ministries, and Substance Abuse Programs. Currently, they operate a 114-bed shelter in Naples and a 44-bed shelter in Immokalee with facilities housing men, women, and families. 

Their program is a structured recovery program where residents must adhere to covenants which prohibit drug or alcohol use, requires them to do daily chores, and requires them to work with case managers on pre-agreed upon plans for transition to independence. 

Their Feeding Ministries Program offers direct assistance to provide emergency groceries up to twice monthly for families at or below the poverty line with small children or elderly in the household. They distributed over 8,000 bags of groceries in 2013 and their soup kitchen has served two meals per day for the past 25 years.

(Editor's note): Ellison's organization recently bought the Port LaBelle Inn in a cash deal with the previous owner and will be housing recovering drug and alcohol abusers at the 50 room facility. The liquor license was transferred to a company owned by Ellison. The bar has now been closed at the restaurant and it is now advertising an alcohol-free restaurant. The group applied to the county for zoning permission to operate a substance abuse program but was turned down.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Obituaries - Mary White, Rosie Taylor

Mary Grace White, age 89, of Fort Myers, passed away August 15, 2014 in Fort Myers. She was born Nov. 4, 1924 in Jay, FL, to the late John Ocie Price and the late Cora Gertrude (Tisdale) Price. She was a lifelong resident of Hendry County and Owner/Manager White's Restaurant for twenty-five years.

She was a member of the First Baptist Church for fifty years and was very active with Sunday school. Her hobbies included hunting, fishing, reading, art and floral arranging.

Survivors include her children: daughter, Marcia Fennen of Fort Myers and sons: Michael White (B.J.) of Davie, Mark White (Patsy) of LaBelle, ten grandchildren: Maura (Kory), Marcy, Michael (Lauri), Margaret (Ron), Alex and Marissa; Edythe (Ron), Emily (Gene); and Angela and Truitte III (Tanya); twenty-six great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.

She also has two surviving sisters: Jean Swindle of LaBelle and Evelyn Rhymes of Pahokee.

Grace was preceded in death by her husband, Truitte M. White, Sr., two brothers and three sisters.

Funeral services were held Monday, August 18, 2014 at 11:00 am at First Baptist Church Of LaBelle, LaBelle with Rev. Frank Deerey Jr. officiating. Visitation was Monday from 1 hour prior to service at First Baptist Church Of LaBelle, LaBelle, FL.

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Rosie F. Taylor, age 85, of Fort Myers, passed away August 15, 2014 in Fort Myers. She was born Mar. 17, 1929 in Maysville, KY, to the late Benny and the late Mary (Vermillion) Howard.

She is survived by her son: Walter Taylor (Betty), daughters: Sandra Gouley (John), Jennie Taylor, brother: John Sparks, sisters: Wanda Day, Mary Lou, six grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Walter Glendon Taylor

Funeral services will be held Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 11:00 am at Alva United Methodist Church, Alva, with Rev. Ralph P. Cotten officiating. Interment will be in Alva Cemetery, Alva.
Visitation will be Thursday 1 hour prior to service at Alva United Methodist Church, Alva,

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Paul Donnelly Dies At 75

Paul O Donnelly, age 75, of Clewiston, passed away after a lengthy illness at Kingshouse in LaBelle. 

Paul was born in Charleston, South Carolina on November 02, 1938 to the late Roland and Ruth Lincoln Donnelly. He enlisted in the Coast Guard at the age of 17 and served from 1955-1959; he moved to Florida and operated the A&W Restaurant in Clewiston for many years, then later he opened the Donnelly's Restaurant and ran this restaurant until his retirement in 1997. 

He met and married Betty Crawford in July 14, 1983; she survives. 

He also leaves behind his loving children; Steven Donnelly and his wife Celeste of New Jersey, James Donnelly of South Carolina, Wade Blair of Naples, Florida and Denisa Donnelly of Texas; his seven grandchildren, one brother and three sisters. 

There are no local services planned, however there will be a memorial service in South Carolina at a later date. Local cremation arrangements are being handled by Akin-Davis Funeral Home-Clewiston. 

Man On Bicycle Dead After Crash

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Gordon Witt, 53 of Moore Haven died of injuries after failing to yield to traffic and being struck by a one-ton truck Friday afternoon on State Road 78 at County Road 721.

Witt was riding a bicycle on SR78 about 2:45 p.m. and attempted a crossing of the street, but failed to yield to a 2005 Ford F-350 driven by Alonza Crenshaw, 56 of Clewiston.

Witt was pronounced dead on the scene.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Early Morning Serious Injury On US27

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- An 89-year old Bristol, TN. man is in serious condition after a crash Friday morning about 3:20 a.m., caused by careless driving says the Florida Highway Patrol.

Calvin Roard was driving a 2014 Dodge Ram pickup truck with a towed trailer northbound on US 27 at Glades County Road 733. Suddenly, the front of the truck began to turn sharply to the right when Roard then lost control and the towed trailed departed the roadway.

The truck continued northeast on the northbound grassy shoulder of US 27 as the truck and towed trailer came to partial rest in a water filled ditch.

Roark was transported to by Glades County EMS to Lake Placid. Roark is in stable condition.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

U.S. Sugar Wants Control Of Huge Land Area To Write It's Own Rules?

Giant Master Plan Sought By Sugar Producer

CLEWISTON, FL. --  U.S. Sugar Corp. of Clewiston is asking to get approval from government agencies for a huge 66 year master plan including over 43,313 acres of land it owns with a portion owned by another large agricultural company, Hilliard Brothers.

The companies went before the Hendry Local Planning Agency Tuesday night asking for approval to "master plan" over 43,000 acres of land in eastern Hendry county for "smart growth over the next 66 years, until 2080.

The pie-in-the-sky plan calls for 18,000 housing units and 25 million square feet of non-residential industrial and office buildings, plus agricultural land, green belts, all surrounding the proposed Airglades International Airport, that U.S. Sugar and Hilliard are trying to buy from Hendry County.

The real thought behind the giant plan said part of the submitted written application to Hendry County is to "complement the expansion of the Airglades International Airport." U.S. Sugar and Hilliard joined forces several years ago to buy the now public Airglades Airport located between LaBelle and Clewiston.

The so-called Airglades International Airport idea has been sold to county and government officials over the last several years as a reliever to air cargo operations at Miami Intercantional Airport. Supposedly, a large portion of the imported flower trade can be moved from Miami to the Clewiston airport.

Hendry county government has contributed considerable funds and efforts to make U.S. Sugar and Hilliard's proposed purchase possible, and try to lobby for Federal Aviation Adminisstion approval.

Observers point out the county's sales price is probably way less than actual market value of the airport and it's current infrastructure, while an FAA approval to allow privatization of the county airport may not be very likely notwithstanding the money and effort poured into the project already.

But, given any eventual government blessing to the 43,313 acre master plan, and a sale of the Airglades Airport to the venture of the two agricultural companies, U.S. Sugar and Hilliard would control a substantial portion of Hendry county and theoretically be able write their own rules for the proposed huge industrial, office and housing sector in Hendry county.

In the application, a proposed "Employment Center" is a focal point of the project, with 30 to 80% of the land proposed for industrial use. 10 to 80% is proposed for offices, and 20 to 70% for urban mixed residential use. 10% is proposed for multi-family apartments with six to 21 units per acre.

U.S. Sugar and Hilliard are calling for, among other things, to be exempt from a current zoning requirement called the Gateway Overlay Corridor, regulating development of land along State Road 80 from Lee county to West Palm Beach county, so they will be able call their own shots as far as zoning and building rules.

What Up In The Future For U.S. Sugar?

In news this week U.S. Sugar has agreed to purchase acreage and assets of real estate company Knight Management, Inc. of Belle Glade, currently producing sugar cane and vegetables, including over a million boxes of corn this season.

A press release said, "“United States Sugar Corporation and Knight Management, Inc. have entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement whereby U.S. Sugar will purchase the assets of the Knight organizations. It is anticipated by the parties that a closing will be conducted either in late summer or early fall 2014. The terms and conditions of the Purchase and Sale Agreement are subject to a Confidentiality Agreement. In the interim, all business operations will be conducted as normal.”

U.S. Sugar purchased A. Duda & Sons' sugar cane business in Belle Glade two years ago for $150 million, two years before that sold 26,800 acres to the South Florida Water Management District for $197 million, or $7,350 per acre.

It may be guessed that the company will ultimately propose giant land master plans to Palm Beach County similar to that lined up for Hendry county, as well as sell off unneeded lands to government agencies for a nice profit.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Jesse Korff Pleads Guilty To Producing Deadly Toxins

19-Year Old Admits Sold Toxins Over The Internet, Conspiracy To Murder

LABELLE, FL. -- A LaBelle, Florida man today admitted producing and selling potentially deadly toxins ricin and abrin for use as weapons and conspiring to kill a woman in the United Kingdom, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Jesse William Korff, 19, of LaBelle, Florida, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with five counts of developing, producing, transferring and possessing toxins, five counts of smuggling toxins and one count of conspiring to kill a person in a foreign country.

Korff was arrested in the small rural community of Muse, near LaBelle, Fl. on Jan. 18, 2014, following a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) and the FBI.

“Jesse Korff admitted producing and selling potentially deadly toxins to strangers over the Internet,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said. “Working in the shadows of a secretive computer network favored by cybercriminals, he peddled his poison on a virtual black market of illegal and dangerous goods. Today he admitted he was in the midst of aiding an overseas customer in an attempted murder. Thankfully, an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a buyer was able get Korff off the street before he could conclude the transaction.”

“HSI has worked tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to shutter underground websites such as BMR and arrest those responsible for reckless and dangerous illegal activity,” Andrew McLees, special agent in charge of HSI Newark, said. “Anyone involved in the sale of toxins designed for use in chemical terrorism must be stopped, and this guilty plea shows HSI’s commitment to stopping individuals who show callous disregard for public safety in the interest of making a buck.”

“The overriding focus of the FBI’s WMD Directorate, and the primary focus of the FBI’s overall efforts is prevention,” Aaron T. Ford, Special Agent in Charge of FBI, Newark, said. “To keep the threat posed by Korff from becoming a reality, the FBI leveraged subject matter experts to include WMD coordinators, special agent bomb technicians, hazardous evidence response teams, surveillance and computer forensics personnel to disrupt the activities of Korff. The intensive three-day search, evidence collection, analysis and investigation uncovered an international nexus to Korff. Working through FBI legal attach├ęs, information gleaned from the investigation was communicated to foreign law enforcement partners to disrupt international subjects.”

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

In April 2013 HSI special agents began investigating illicit sales activity on an underground Internet marketplace known as “Black Market Reloaded” (BMR). The website provided a platform for vendors and buyers to conduct anonymous online transactions involving biological agents, toxins, firearms, ammunition, explosives, narcotics and counterfeit items.

From August 2013 through January 2014 Korff maintained a seller’s profile on BMR under the screen name “Snowman840.” He advertised the sale of deadly toxins and provided his prospective purchasers with information about quantities necessary to kill a person of a given weight, along with instructions on how to secretly administer the toxin to avoid suspicion. Korff sold ricin and abrin to international purchasers in India, Austria, Denmark and England. He smuggled the toxins from Florida to the international purchasers by concealing the toxins in packages sent through the U.S. Postal Service.

In December 2013 Korff provided a quantity of abrin to a purchaser in London who claimed she intended to kill her mother. After the purchaser’s receipt and administration of the initial dose, which she claimed was ineffective, Korff agreed to provide a second quantity of the toxin in order to assist the purchaser in the implementation of the murder plot.

Before Korff had an opportunity to smuggle the second dose of abrin to the London purchaser, a federal undercover agent contacted Korff through BMR and negotiated the sale of two liquid doses of abrin. Korff told the buyer about his delivery methods—concealing vials in a carved-out and re-melted candle—and discussed how much abrin was needed to kill a person of a particular weight and how best to administer the toxin. Korff also assured the buyer that a victim’s death would appear to be similar to a bad case of the flu.

Following Korff’s arrest, FBI agents searched Korff’s property over three days and recovered several computers, castor beans, rosary peas, capsules, vials, jars, syringes, filters, respirators and other items commonly utilized in the manufacture, production, sale, packaging, and shipping of toxins and chemical substances. Among the items recovered was a liquid dose of abrin that Korff had intended to ship to the London purchaser.

The toxin and murder conspiracy charges to which Korff pleaded guilty carry a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. The smuggling charges carry a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 21, 2014.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of HSI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge McLees in Newark, New Jersey; special agents of the FBI in Newark, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ford; and FBI special agents under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Paul Wysopal, Tampa Division, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked HSI in Ft. Myers, Florida, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan McCormick, for their work. The U.S. Attorney also thanked the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, including the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Glades County, Henry County and Lee County, Florida, sheriff’s offices for their assistance. Vital support was provided by the Justice Department’s National Security Division Counterterrorism Section and FBI WMD Directorate in Washington, the FBI Laboratory Division, the DHS National Bioforensic Analysis Center; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida; and the London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), SO15 Counter Terrorism Command, under the direction of Commander Duncan Ball.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis C. Carletta of the U.S. Attorney’s Office National Security Unit in Newark.

Previous Story On Korff's Arrest By FBI - Teen Arrested In Muse

Fruits And Vegetables At Library


LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Department of Health in Hendry County facilitated a “Fruits/Veggies & Get Moving!” presentation at the Barron Library in LaBelle. 

Bianca Ross read a cute story to the kids about trying new vegetables. Mary Ruth Prouty presented a question/answer session with the kids about fruits and vegetables (Socorro Balderas and Dawn Long helped distribute little prizes to the kids who answered correctly). 

Afterwards, everyone was directed outside for a physical activity game using “exercise dice” that gave the kids (and adults) an opportunity to do some exercises. 

After the activity, the Barron Library provided healthy snacks for the kids (Fruits and Vegetables). The summer reading event and summer activities are sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle. (Mary Ruth Prouty is also a member of the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle)

Photo: Mary Ruth Prouty asking the kids questions about fruits and vegetables. Socorro Balderas and Dawn Long helped to distribute little prizes (Sunglasses and sun visors) to the kids that answered correctly.

Monday, August 11, 2014

US Sugar And Hilliard Brothers Seeking Large Land Master Plan

43,313 Acre Giant Master Plan Proposed By Agricultural Companies

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Two of Southwest Florida's larges agricultural enterprises, U.S. Sugar and Hilliard Brothers are combining forces to try to persuade Hendry County officials of the benefits of the largest Master Planning of land ever in Hendry county.

The two companies are seeking to get 43,313 acres owned by the two under jurisdiction of a sector plan, otherwise known as a master plan under a law passed in Florida in 2011, Section 163,3245 of the Florida Statutes.

The broadly spread out mostly sugar cane and pasture lands are located in eastern Hendry county both west and south of the city of Clewiston

Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 7207 on June 2, 2011, which is the bill that makes the largest number of changes to Florida’s growth management statutes (and administrative rules) ever. This bill, with several others, makes the broadest and most significant changes to Florida’s growth management/planning/land development statutes seen in over twenty-five years.

The sector plan application was made to the county planning and zoning department in January 2014, and the first official public hearing on the massive proposal will be Wednesday, August 13, 2014 before the volunteer Local Planning Agency at the Hendry Courthouse, hearing arguments and then deciding to recommend or not to the Hendry Board of Commissioners who will hear the issue at their public meeting on August 26,  at 5:05 p.m. in Commission Chambers.

Trouble And Objections Ahead?

There appeared to be several either clever tactics or mistakes by US Sugar and Hilliard in it's required notice to land owners abutting the 43,313 acres. Notices by certified mail were mailed at the last minute and there may be many who were not notified in time to protect their rights at the public hearings or the opportunity to opt out of the master plan if allowed. 

Public notices in newspapers also show conflicting locations for the public hearings. Notices mailed to land owners show a meeting August 26 in LaBelle, while newspaper notices say the meeting is in Clewiston. 

The notices mailed also do not give any details whatsoever about what a sector plan is or what US Sugar and Hilliard plan to do, other than an enclosed map of the "Sugar Hill Sector Plan."

Yoshie Hajek Dies At 89

Yoshie Otsuki Hajek, 89, of Clewiston, FL passed away on August 9, 2014.  Yoshie was born in Tokyo, Japan on August 12, 1924 and moved to Florida with her husband, Frank Hajek and daughter, Anna in 1971. She was preceded in death by her husband, Frank.

She is survived by her daughter Anna Alvarez, son-in-law, Benny Alvarez, and son Tadao Otsuki. She is also survived by four granddaughters, Emi, Nami, Tessa and Tiffany and one great granddaughter, Mako.

The family wishes to give a very special thanks to all those who provided her care at Palm Terrace and Hendry Regional Medical Center. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 23, 2014 at Pioneer Baptist Church at 3 pm.

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

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Obituary - Timothy Stahl

Timothy Martin Stahl, age 30, of Clewiston, passed away August 6, 2014 in Clewiston.

He was born Dec. 24, 1983, in Pahokee, FL, to Martin and Ellen (Parham) Stahl.

Survivors include his loving parents, Martin and Ellen Stahl, his precious daughter Madisyn Riley Stahl and many other family members and friends.

He was a heavy equipment operator for Southern Gardens.

Memorial service celebrating his life will be held on Monday, August 11, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. with Rev. Dale Stahl officiating, visitation 30 minutes before the memorial service at the church.

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

Adelaida Ortega Dies At 109

Adelaida Suarez Ortega, age 109, of Clewiston, passed away August 5, 2014 in Clewiston.

She was born July 14, 1905 in Santa Clara, Cuba, to the late Bonifacio and the late Jenoveba (Torrez) Suarez. She was a member of Saint Margaret Catholic Church in Clewiston.

Survivors include two sons: Gerardo Ortega, Quirino Ortega both of Clewiston and five daughters: Marta and Husband Alberto Palau of Miami, Ana and Husband Eulogio Machado of Clewiston, Zenaida and Husband Argelio Jimenez of Miami, Deisy and Husband Nelson Rojas of Clewiston, Maria and Husband Martin Cuellar of Clewiston; twenty-nine grandchildren. forty- nine great grandchildren and many other family members.

The family of Adelaida would like to thank Yuneisy Arcia and her husband for the wonderful care they gave her.

Funeral service celebrating her life was held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 9, 2014 in Akin-Davis Funeral Home in Clewiston, where Father Jiobani Batista officiated. Visitation was held from 6-10 p.m. on Friday evening in the funeral home. Burial took place in Ridgelawn Cemetery.

Weekend Panorama - Ortona Cemetery, Florida


MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Panoramic photograph of the Ortona Cemetery in Glades county, Fl. The site of where ancient Native Americans lived and many Native Americans from the Seminole Tribe of Florida are now interred.

The Larry Luckey Indian Mound Park is adjacent to the cemetery and features hiking trails among the ancient oaks and mounds.

Click on photo controls or use keyboard arrows to move around the cemetery for a 360 degree view.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Evans Speaks At Kiwanis

LABELLE, FL. -- Mary Evans was recently a guest speaker for the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle. Mary spoke on behalf of the Florida Bar about Merit Retention of Florida Justices and Judges.

She was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2003 and is also a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator. She has served the Lee County Bar Association in several capacities and is The Lee County Bar’s immediate Past President. 

She has also served the Florida bar in various capacities including being a participant in the Florida Bar’s speaker bureau program. The Speakers Bureau exists to promote among Florida citizens an understanding of our constitutionally based system of government, knowledge about the justice system and an appreciation of the role lawyers play to protect the rights of all.

Photo: Arlene Bettancourt, Kiwanis President and Mary Evans

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Disbarred Lawyer To Jail In Fraud Scheme

Former Attorney To Pay $14.4 Million In Restitution, Six Years In Prison
A disbarred Fort Myers, Florida attorney was sentenced in federal court in Tampa, Florida today to serve 70 months in prison in connection with her role in an elaborate $28.3 million Medicare fraud scheme involving false claims for physical and occupational therapy services.

Margarita Grishkoff, 60, of Charlotte, North Carolina, formerly of southwest Florida, pleaded guilty on Jan. 24, 2014, to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. In addition to serving a prison term of 70 months, 

Grishkoff was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $14,424,856 in restitution, jointly and severally with her co-conspirators.

Grishkoff admitted as part of her guilty plea that she and her co-conspirators submitted approximately $28.3 million in fraudulent reimbursement claims to Medicare through physical therapy clinics throughout Florida from 2005 through 2009. Medicare paid approximately $14.4 million on those claims.

According to court documents, Grishkoff, a former attorney who was disbarred in Florida in 1997, was vice president and director for a Delaware holding company known as Ulysses Acquisitions Inc. Through Ulysses Acquisitions, Grishkoff purchased comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facilities and outpatient physical therapy providers, including West Coast Rehab Inc. in Fort Myers, Florida; Rehab Dynamics Inc. in Venice, Florida; Polk Rehabilitation Inc. in Lake Wales, Florida and Renew Therapy Center of Port St. Lucie LLC in Port St. Lucie, Florida, to gain control of these clinics’ Medicare provider numbers.

Grishkoff and her co-conspirators paid kickbacks to patient recruiters and clinic owners to obtain identifying information of Medicare beneficiaries and physicians. Grishkoff and her co-conspirators then used this information to create and submit false claims to Medicare through the clinics Ulysses Acquisitions purchased. These claims sought reimbursement for therapy services that were not legitimately prescribed and not actually provided.

Also according to court documents, Grishkoff and her co-conspirators used the clinics they controlled to submit false reimbursement claims to Medicare on behalf of clinics owned by others, in exchange for a percentage of the Medicare reimbursement received. These Miami-based therapy clinics included Hallandale Rehabilitation Inc., Tropical Physical Therapy Corporation, American Wellness Centers Inc. and West Regional Center Inc. Grishkoff and her co-conspirators kept approximately 20 percent of the money Medicare paid on these claims and paid the other 80 percent of the fraud proceeds to the co-conspirator clinic owners.

Grishkoff further admitted that after falsely billing Medicare through Ulysses Acquisitions, and in order to disassociate herself from the clinics, Grishkoff and her co-conspirators arranged sham sales of the clinics to nominee or straw owners, all of whom were recent immigrants to the United States with no background or experience in the health care industry.

Body Of 14-Year Old Boy Identified

George Owen Smith, a 14-year-old sent to the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in 1940 never to be seen alive by his family again, has been positively identified through a DNA match and will be the first remains exhumed from 55 unmarked graves by University of South Florida researchers to be returned to his family.

Smith, whose body was found in a hastily buried grave wrapped only in a burial shroud, was positively matched with DNA collected from his sister, Ovell Krell of Polk County. Researchers are continuing to work to identify the other remains recovered from the unmarked cemetery at the former Florida reform school in Marianna.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection along with the Florida Cabinet this week extended the permit for research work to continue on the Dozier site until Aug. 5, 2015. Researchers will look for other possible remains, piece together answers on the identities of those buried there, and work with cabinet member and Florida CFO Jeff Atwater to develop plans for the reburial of anyone unidentified.

The positive identification was made through a DNA sample collected from Krell and matched at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, which had extracted DNA from a skeletal analysis. The DNA matching services are supported by the Office of Justice Programs at the National Institute of Justice. The Dozier excavations are supported with funding by the State of Florida.

“We may never know the full circumstances of what happened to Owen or why his case was handled the way it was,” said Erin Kimmerle, the lead researcher in the project and an associate professor of anthropology at USF. “But we do know that he now will be buried under his own name and beside family members who longed for answers.

“After all these years, this child will be afforded dignity that is every human being’s right - the right to be buried under their own name and to have their existence recognized.”

Additionally, researchers will continue to search for victims of a 1914 fire at the school which is believed to have killed 10 boys. During their excavation of the unmarked burial ground known as Boot Hill, the researchers found evidence of burned remains but did not locate all of the presumed victims of the 1914 fire.

Since 2011, USF researchers have been searching for records and the identities of scores of boys buried at the school. The remains were excavated from 55 grave shafts at the site.

Researchers continue to work with UNTHSC, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to locate possible next of kin to collect reference samples for identification.

The identification of Smith’s remains is an important breakthrough in the project, and for his family finally provides at least one answer to many questions that have gone unanswered for 73 years.

Smith had been sent to Dozier in 1940. His mother, Frances Smith, wrote to the school's superintendent, Millard Davidson, in December of 1940 asking about her son only to receive a letter back saying no one knew where he was.

In January 1941, his family was told he was found dead under a house after escaping from the school. The family traveled to Marianna to claim his body, but when they arrived were led to a freshly-covered grave with no marker. Krell has said her mother never accepted that her son was dead and spent the last decades of her life waiting for him to return home.

DNA continues to be collected by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. All sets of remains recovered from the Dozier site have been sent to UNTHSC, where there are currently 9 viable family reference samples for comparison. Over the next year, efforts will be focused on also trying to locate additional families. Each set of remains has now been assigned a unique identification number so that in the event family members come forward in the future, a match can still be made.

-press release from University of South Florida

Art Wall Painted Over By Authorities?


Students' Painted Mural Project Gone

LABELLE, FL. -- A large painted mural on the Upthegrove Elementary School has been painted over after LaBelle High School art students spent months planning and painting says a parent. 

Margie Phipps reported about the mural on her Facebook page this week and said, "I am so upset and LaBelle parents you should be too!"

Phipps says Art Club students spent a lot time on the project and they never even got a chance to finish it because someone ordered it painted over.

Phipps said, "For the High School students that participated it was a chance to better their community and build their own self confidence. For the elementary students who would pass it every day it would be an inspiration to do more, that one day they could contribute to such a project. Now only a white wall remains... Who ever said we need more white walls to brighten up the community and inspire minds to dream?"

The Florida mural scene was on the school's wall facing Main Street.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Ortona Locks Panoramic 360 Degree River View



LABELLE, FL. -- A 360 degree panoramic view of the Caloosahatchee River at the Ortona Locks in Glades County, Florida. The lock allows boat to travel between Lake Okeechobee and the Gulf of Mexico at Fort Myers.

Click on the photo controls or use computer arrow keys to view the panorama in 360 degrees.

Opal Ophelia Royal Hancock Dies At 95

Opal Ophelia Royal Hancock, age 95, of Clewiston, passed away August 4, 2014 in Clewiston. She was born June 30, 1919 in Crosland, Colquitt County, Georgia to the late Charlie J. Royal and the late Zollie Loretta (Taylor) Royal.

She was the youngest of nine children. She had five brothers and three sisters, all of whom predeceased her: brothers: Bernard Royal, Valdosta, GA, Whipple Royal, Miami, FL, Charlie Royal, Jacksonville, FL, Clarence Royal and Stuart Royal, Valdosta, GA, sisters: Blonnie Royal Burks, Valdosta, GA, Annie Royal Murphy, Moultrie, GA, Ona Mae Eaton, Bowling Green, KY.
Opal was married Sept. 28, 1940 to Cluie Hancock from Moultrie, GA. He preceded her in death August 4, 1989. She had no children.
Opal was active in the community and received the following honors. 1997 - the first "Golden Heart Award" from Clewiston Chamber of Commerce, 1998-"Woman of the Year" award from Business and Professional Women, 2000-"Women of Accomplishment" award from Palm Beach Community College, 2000-"Citizen of the Year" award from the Clewiston Chamber of Commerce, 2004-honored with clock dedication in Clewiston. The Clock is located on the corner of Ventura Av. and Central Avenue, 2005-"Distinguished Service" award for the Toys for Tots from Hendry County Sheriff's Dept., 2007-2nd Runner-Up for "Ms. Senior Citizen Beauty Queen", 2012-Caloosa Federated Republican Women "Director Emeritus Award" and 2014-Sugar Festival Honoree. 

Her efforts have certainly left their mark and few cities have been blessed with a Goodwill Ambassador the likes of Opal Royal Hancock.
She was a member of the Retired Ladies of US Sugar Corp, Evangel Assembly of God, Honorary Member of Clewiston Chamber of Commerce, National Autumn Leaf Collectors Club, Madame Alexander Doll Club, Ladies of the Lake USA, Clewiston Museum, Friends of Animal, Hallmark Collector's Society, Historical Society, Sesquicentennial Society Board Member and WIFE: Women Involved in Farm Economics. 

Opal was an original partner of Clewiston Florist which was established in 1967 with Frances Baldree Deese.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, August 7, 2014, 3:00 pm at Evangel Assembly of God in Clewiston with Rev. John Hicks officiating. Interment will follow in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. 

Visitation will be Thursday from 1-3p.m. at Evangel Assembly Of God. 

Memorial donations can be made to Hendry Regional Medical Center Foundation, Clewiston Museum or Clewiston Christian School.

Obituaries - John Bruner, Carl Dishman

John A. Bruner, age 55, of LaBelle, passed away August 3, 2014 in Fort Myers. He was born September 22, 1958 in Sanford, FL, to John J. and the late Linda Ann (Dampier) Bruner.

He was raised in LaBelle and graduated from LaBelle High School. He was a member of the First Christian Church of LaBelle. He owned and operated an auto restoration shop in North LaBelle at the time of his passing.

He is survived by his father: John J. Bruner, son: Wyatt A. Bruner, brother: Ernie Ellis, sister: Delsena Christine Smith, nieces: Paige and Jessie, great niece: Nevaeh and great nephew: Wyndell. He was preceded in death by his mother Linda Ann Bruner.

Funeral services will be held Friday, August 8, 2014 at 10:00 am at First Christian Church, LaBelle with Pastor W. T. Maddox Jr. officiating. Interment will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle. Visitation will be Thursday from 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL.

US Army Veteran Carl Ray Dishman, age 72, of Clewiston, passed away August 2, 2014 in West Palm Beach. He was born Oct. 7, 1941 in Livingston, TN, to the late Earlin and the late Susie (McDonald) Dishman.

Survivors include his daughter: Carla (Todd) Dishman Wheeler, Clewiston, brother: James (Connie) Dishman of Auburndale, sisters: Jerelene (Frank) Towe of Winter Haven, Betty (Otis deceased) Phillips of Lake Wales, Mary Ruth (Robert) Ledbetter of Tennessee and granddaughter: Victoria Wheeler of Clewiston.

A private family memorial will be held on a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to support the Fisher House 7305 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL 33410.

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Ila Stapleton Dies At 85

ALVA, FL. -- Ila P. Stapleton, age 85, of Alva, passed away August 1, 2014 in Lehigh Acres.

She was born May 11, 1929 in Fristoe, MO, to the late David and the late Rosa Pearl (Nowlin) Phillips. She worked as a cashier for Publix Grocery Store for 34 years. She was a long time member of Alva United Methodist Church.

Survivors include two sons: Phillip (Linda) Stapleton, Mike Stapleton and three daughters: Susan Hernandez, Julie (Chester) Sampson, Patricia (George) Salg, sister-in-law Edna Phillips, grandchildren; Cindy Ray Young, Travis DeVaney, April Luettich, Jason Flatch, Tara Polk, Justin Stapleton, Brian Sampson, Brandi Sampson, David Clark, Richele Wyatt, Maranda Steed and eighteen great grandchildren.

Funeral services celebrating her life will be 10 am, Tuesday, August 5, 2014 in Alva United Methodist Church, where Pastor Ralph Cotton will officiate. Pallbearers will be; Travis DeVaney, Wayne Luettich, Brian Sampson, JB Bake, David Clark, Jeremie Wyatt, Justin Stapleton and Austin Young. 

Visitation will be held Monday evening, August 4, 2014 from 6-8 p.m. in Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Fort Myers Shores. Burial will be in Alva Cemetery.