Sunday, November 29, 2015

James Patterson Dies At 85

James M. "Sam" Patterson, age 85, of LaBelle, passed away November 26, 2015 in LaBelle. He was born May 30, 1930 in Ocoee, FL, to the late Leonard and the late Lou (Fulford) Patterson.

He served in the U.S. Army. After completing his duty with the Army, he joined the Forestry Service as a Ranger and served from 1954 through 1964. At that time, he joined Alico and was an asset to the company until he retired in 1995.

Sam's priorities in life were his beloved family, wife Joann of 61 years, son Len (Janie), his daughter Jan (Greg), his granddaughters, Jennifer and Haley and sister Dorothy Russo.

He will forever be remembered for his love of family and his love of the outdoors, hunting, fishing and golfing. He was a man of great character, honor, loyalty and respected by all.

He was a man of great faith, serving as an elder, trustee and Chairman of the Board and a member of the Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11:30 am at Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church, LaBelle, with Pastor Peggy Benson and Pastor W.T. Maddox, Jr. officiating. Visitation will be on hour prior to service at Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church. Interment will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle.

Donations may be made to Hope Healthcare Services, 9470 Health Park Cir., Fort Myers, FL 33908 or Alzheimers Association of Fort Myers, 12468 Brantley Commons Ct., Fort Myers, FL 33907.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Tai Chi Quan Class Graduates - New Class Begins Jan 5

LABELLE, FL. -- The latest class of tai chi quan students received their certificates of completion Tuesday morning at the Hope Center. Offered throughout the year at the L.J. Nobles Senior Center on Cowboy way, participants practiced 12 weeks of exercise to enable strengthening of muscles and improving balance skills to prevent falls.

The 12-week course is sponsored by the Florida Department of Health through the Area Agency On Aging and Hope Healthcare.

The next class will begin January 5, 2016. Those interested can call AAA of Southwest Florida at 866-413-5337 to register. There is no cost. Participants must be available to attend all 25 sessions on Tuesday and Thursday in LaBelle at 10 a.m.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Obituaries - Kariann Priestly, Christopher Buster

Kariann Elaine Priestly, age 50, of Clewiston, passed away November 18, 2015 in Clewiston.

She was born Dec. 30, 1964 in Detroit, MI, to the late Darrell Glen and the late Mary (Purcer) Priestly.

She is survived by her life partner, Harry Tommie, daughter: Jessica Preistly and two grandchildren.

A graveside service was held Monday, November 23, 2015 at 1:00 pm at Big Cypress Cemetery, Big Cypress Reservation with Dr. Arlen J. Payne officiating. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Christopher Buster, age 51, of Clewiston, passed away November 21, 2015 in Clewiston. He was born May 15, 1964 in Fort Lauderdale, FL, to the late George and Sally (Buster) Billie.

He is survived by his mother, Sally (Buster) Billie, four sisters: Louise G. Osceola, Agnes Billie Motlow, Darlene Buster Primeaux, Diane Buster and many other family members and friends.

A graveside service was held Monday, November 23, 2015 at 9:00 am at Big Cypress Cemetery, Big Cypress Reservation with Rev. Paul Buster officiating. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree

Frostproof, Fla. – A timeless Christmas family tradition of selecting a Christmas tree comes alive at Lake Wales Ridge State Forest. Explore a beautiful state forest, select a sand pine tree from the Arbuckle Tract and harvest your own Florida Christmas tree for ten dollars.

“You will need to bring your own hand saw and recommend gloves,” states District Manager Kawika Bailey, Florida Forest Service. “We invite you to meet our State Forest representative at the McLean Cabin prior to cutting your tree to ensure you obtain a special permit, adhere to tree size limitations and specific cutting locations.”

There are natural areas of scrub and sandhill ecosystems that contain dense sand pine saplings on the Lakes Wales Ridge State Forest and for five years the Annual Sand Pine Christmas Tree Sale has helped to thin out some of these stands on the Arbuckle tract. As part of management within these ecosystems, sand pine removal is desired in order to help maintain these ecosystems by not allowing sand pines to dominate these ecosystems.

Tree thinning is a term foresters apply to the removal of some trees from a stand to give others more room to grow. Trees spaced closely together compete for sunlight, water and nutrients. As these trees grow, each places increasing demands upon the site’s resources. The larger trees simply need more water, nutrients and sunlight than they did when smaller. Eventually, the site reaches a point where it can no longer support all of the young forest’s trees; weak trees die from resource limitations.

“You can help create a healthy forest and take home your own Florida Christmas tree,” explains Kawika.

Please contact Lakes Wales Ridge State Forest for select dates and times

Lake Wales Ridge State Forest
(863) 589-0545
851 CR 630 East
Frostproof, FL 33843

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Museum Monthly Meeting Featuring Tour Of Pioneer Aiken House

LABELLE, FL. -- Patricia Newell Johnson will present a short slide presentation at LaBelle Heritage Museum's 7 p.m. Thursday, December 3rd program meeting of moving and setting up the H A Rider House and Law Office from its location on the corner of Hickpochee Avenue and Lee Street when Clewiston National Bank now Seacoast National Bank first donated the buildings to the fledgling local museum to its move to a temporary location on South Lee Street made available by the Board of County Commissioners to their final home as an integral part of the LaBelle Heritage Museum Complex at 360 North Bridge Street in the Downtown LaBelle Historic District.

Following the short program, members and guests will be invited to take a short tour of the house built in 1905 by pioneer blacksmith George Aiken that also served as home to both Paul Eddy, editor of LaBelle's first weekly newspaper "The Caloosahatchee Current" as well as being Hendry County's first School Superintendent, and E. M. Cornette, one of Hendry County's early County Judges, before it became the longtime home of H. A. Rider and his family. Rider served as County Attorney, County Judge and Mayor of LaBelle during his 40-odd years in LaBelle and still has descendants living here.

Museum Vice-President Keitha Daniels has been instrumental in the current renovation and restoration project in the Aiken-Rider House along with decorating it for the Christmas Holidays and the December 12th Festivities in the Downtown LaBelle Historic District culminating with the Lighted Boat Parade sponsored by the museum.

Parking at LaBelle Heritage Museum itself is limited. However, Rene Curtis Pratt at Harold P. Curtis Honey Co. immediately across North Bridge Street from the museum has graciously volunteered the use of the Honey House's parking lot to LHM members and guests for its evening programs.

Eric Smikle Dies At 85

Eric Smikle, age 85, of LaBelle, passed away November 16, 2015 in LaBelle.

He was born Jan. 1, 1930 in Mandeviile, Jamaica, West Indies to the late Albert and the late Isadora (Williams) Smikle. He has lived in Florida since 2010 and also resided in New York from 1974 to 2010, in London from 1956 to 1974 and in Jamaica from 1930 to 1956.

Survivors include his sons: Jason Smikle and Steven Smikle, daughters: Vivienne Smikle and Yvonne Smikle, sister: Amy Smikle, grandsons: Brian Dacosta, Jason Smikle, Jr., Warren Smikle, Trevor Smikle, Austin Smikle, granddaughters: Peterkay Smith, Xiomara Cardenas-Smikle, Dallas Smikle, Jordan Smikle, six great-grandchildren, sister in law, Mervel Smikle; nephews: Ian Smikle; Brian Smikle; Raymond Smikle and Joseph Williams and niece: Bridgette Williams and daughter-in-law, Calara Cardenas.

He also was preceded in death by his brothers: Richard Smikle, James Williams and Arnold Jones, nephew, Olive Jones and niece, Sissy Jones.

A memorial service was held Saturday, November 21, 2015 at 11:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in LaBelle.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Tracy Miller Wins At Social

Tracy Miller won a Cappuccino Machine at the recent Kiwanis and Chamber of Commerce Social at the Kiwanis Thrift Store in LaBelle.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Obituaries - Brianne Kirschner, Eula Johnson

Brianne M Kirschner, age 34, of Clewiston, passed away November 13, 2015 in Wellington. She was born Sep. 2, 1981 in Homer, LA.

She is survived by her husband: Matthew C. Kirschner, son: Matthew Craig Kirschner,Jr and three daughters: Rachael Nichol, Shauna Peacock, Heaven Peacock, mother: Jessica. She was preceded in death by her sister Penny.

Memorial services will be held Saturday, November 21, 2015 at 11:00 am at New Harvest Church, Clewiston.

Eula Vivian Johnson, age 75, of South Bay, passed away November 15, 2015, in Lakeside Medical Center in Belle Glade, Florida.

She was born March 22, 1940, in Mitchell County, NC, to the late Braxton and the late Decima (Meredith) McKinney. Mrs. Johnson married Charles Johnson. Mrs. Johnson worked as an Agricultural Research Technician for many years before retiring.

Survivors include her husband: Charles Johnson one sister: Gladys Saxon, three brothers: Norris McKinney, Wade McKinney, Wayne McKinney and several nieces and nephews and friends.

A Graveside service was held Thursday, November 19, 2015 at 2:00 pm at Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston with Rev. Rod Ruby officiating. Interment was in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston.

Tracy Martinez Arrested - Allegedly Using 47 Food Stamp Cards

LABELLE, FL. -- After a lengthy investigation, Hendry County Investigators arrested 53 year old Eugene “Tracy” Martinez on Charges of Fraud and Theft.

The six month investigation revealed that Martinez utilized and trafficked 47 different EBT Food Stamp cards over a period of one year.

An investigation into Martinez phone records disclosed he would call the automated EBT number on the card to check the balance on the associated cards and within a couple of days there would be a large transaction. The phone records belonging to Martinez indicated that a second call would be made to ensure that the there was a zero balance. This pattern occurred every month on all 47 cards for a year.

During the course of the investigation it was established that Martinez trafficked in EBT cards by purchasing them from the registered card holder for pennies on the dollar and then sold them to a third party for at a higher rate. Martinez also utilizied several of the EBT cards to complete purchases himself and at times used two different EBT cards to complete the transaction.

The Food Stamp office provided to Hendry County Investigators a list of transactions for each card. Investigators used this report, phone bills, and witness statements and began contacting locations where the EBT cards were used. They began collecting videos and photographs and were able to positively identified Martinez from the images captured on film.

Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden said, “There is definitely a flaw in the welfare system. When it's that easy for people who are living off of your tax dollars to scam the system, something needs to be changed. There has been $60,000 scammed in our small town alone. I can't imagine how much is being scammed nationwide."

At this time it is thought that Martinez may be responsible for upwards of $60,000 in Public Assistance Fraud.

On November 16, 2015 Eugene “Tracy” Martinez, was placed under arrest on charges of Fraud, Grand Theft and Petit Theft. Martinez was released from the Hendry County Jail, Monday, November 16, 2015 on $11,500.00. It is anticipated there will be additional charges.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Red Cross Training Day December 5

LABELLE, FL. -- The American Red Cross will be teaching a day-long training that will cover an orientation to the organization during the first half and an introduction to sheltering fundamentals for the second half. Lunch will be provided.

Please RSVP by registering in Volunteer Connection or

Time: 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Saturday, December 5th, 2015. Call Amy at 863-674-5400 if you need help registering for this class.

Please sign-up no later than November 26, 2015, as a minimum of 25 registrations must be received by this date to confirm the class will be held.

Should you have any questions regarding the local jurisdiction or directions to the facility please contact Brian Newhouse at, or (863) 674-5404.

Harris Segal Welcomes New Kiwanis Member Kelly Bruckler

LABELLE, FL. -- The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle recent had a visit by the Kiwanis Division 19 Lt. Governor Harris Segal. He gave an overview of the Kiwanis goals for the next year and helped the LaBelle Kiwanis Club welcome a new member; Kelly Bruckler. Kelly has been around LaBelle for over a year and is active with the Firehouse Community Theatre.

Pictured: Nikki Yeager, President of Kiwanis Club, Harris Segal-Lt. Governor for Kiwanis Division 19 and Kelly Bruckler, newest LaBelle Kiwanis Member

Rolande Alcina Seriously Injured In Crash

LABELLE, FL. -- Rolande Alcina, 59 of Port St. Lucie was seriously injured in a crash while riding as a passenger Tuesday afternoon at 2:19 p.m. in Hendry County.

A 2014 Hyundai Accent was southbound on Birchwood Parkway in Port LaBelle at the intersection of State Road 80.

A 2014 Honda Accent driven by Lasundra Scheibner, 45 of Loxahatchee was westbound on State Road 80 just east of Birchwood Parkway.

The driver of the Hyundai, Elmira Pierre, 62 of West Palm Beach failed to yield the right of way to the Honda as the Hyundai entered SR 80. As a result, the Hyundai was struck by the Honda.

Alcina was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital for treatment of injuries. Pierre was cited for failure to yield right of way and had minor injuries and transported to Lehigh Regional Hospital.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Obituaries - Taylor, Hooks, Murphy

Herbert O'Neil Taylor, age 82, of Lake Placid, passed away November 14, 2015 in Lake Placid.

He was born Aug. 21, 1933 in Bartow, FL, to the late Herbert Cleo and Patricia Ruth (Barfield) Taylor. Mr. Taylor married Grace Ball. He worked as a farm manager for many years. He was a member of Moore Haven United Methodist Church.

Herbert was a loving and loyal husband to Grace, a loving father to his three daughters, and a loving grandfather to his precious grandchildren and great grandchild.

Survivors include his loving wife of 59 years: Grace Taylor, three daughters: Sheree Humphries, April (Malcolm) Etherton, Alison (Kenny) Bowers, one brother; Glenn Taylor and one sister; Audrey Whidden, granddaughters, Shelley Humphries-Jones (Jordan), Jodi (Patric) Etherton, Savannah Bowers, grandsons; Kenny Bowers, Waylon Bowers, Great granddaughters, Kaelyn, Leighla, and Tylee Jones and great grandson Xavier.

A celebration of Neill's Life will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, November 20, 2015 at the Pavilion in Ortona Cemetery with Pastor Charley Watts officiating. Burial will follow immediately in Ortona Cemetery. In Lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to any local FFA Chapter or 4-H Club.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston

Audie Flanders Hooks, Jr., age 93, of Clewiston, passed away November 15, 2015 in Loxahatchee.

He was born Jan. 16, 1922 in Swainsboro, GA, to Audie Flanders and Iva (Christian) Hooks, Sr.

He married Nell Latham in 1948. He served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II, was a member of Saint Martin Episcopal Church in Clewiston for many years. He owned and operated Bembry Motors for several years. He was a Clewiston City Commissioner in the 80s. He was a long time member of the Clewiston Elks Lodge # 1853.

He leaves behind his loving wife of 67 years; Nell Hooks of Clewiston, daughter; Jonell Biuso and her husband Dr. Joseph Biuso of Rome, Georgia, son; Ronald Hooks and his wife Pam of Canton, Georgia, sister; Jackie Rush of Miami, Florida, five grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Audie was preceded in death by his son; Donald Hooks and his brother; James Hooks.

A celebration of Life for Audie will be held at Saint Martin Episcopal Church on Friday, November 20, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. Burial will follow in Ridgelawn Cemetery. Visitation will be held Thursday, November 19, 2015 from 5-7 p.m. in Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Clewiston.

Alma Gwendolyn Murphy, age 93, of Alva, passed away November 16, 2015 in Fort Myers.

She was born Oct. 22, 1922 in Alva, FL, to the late James Fred and the late Eddie Pearl (Fussell) Dyess.

She is survived by her children: Jo Kennedy (Jerry), Norman Murphy (Carol), Jim Murphy (Sandy), Kay Hass (Jim), John W. Murphy and many grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Clyde Murphy and daughter, Joy Murphy Norris.

A graveside service will be held Friday, November 20, 2015 at 2:00 pm at Alva Cemetery, Alva with Rev. Dennis Edgar officiating. Visitation will be Thursday from 06:00-08:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Fort Myers, FL.

Shingles - A Concern As We Age

Usually thought of as a childhood disease, chickenpox can have lasting effects well into adulthood because the virus remains inactive in the body even after recovery. Years after you have had the chickenpox, the virus can reappear in the form of shingles. Shingles is a painful rash that develops on one side of the face or body and symptoms can last for several weeks.

According to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 1 out of 3 people in America will develop shingles during their lifetime. Your risk increases as you get older. About half of all cases occur in men and women that are 60 years old or older. It is recommended that people 60 years of age or older to get vaccinated against this painful disease.

For people who have had chickenpox, shingles is not contagious. However, someone who has not had chickenpox and who has direct contact with the shingles rash could contract chickenpox, not shingles.

One of the first symptoms of shingles is pain, which can sometimes be mistaken for other issues (depending on the location of the pain). Typically, a rash appears after the onset of pain, but some people may experience the discomfort of shingles without developing a rash.

Other signs of shingles may include:
· Burning, numbness, tingling or sensitivity to touch
· Fluid-filled blisters
· Itching
· Fever or chills
· Headache
· Upset Stomach

There is no cure for shingles, but there are a variety of treatment options that can make symptoms less serious. Pain medicine may help relieve the pain caused by shingles. Wet compresses, calamine lotion, and colloidal oatmeal baths may also help relieve some of the itching, but please visit your healthcare provider promptly if you have symptoms of shingles. This is especially important if you experience pain or rash around the eye, if you are 70 years or older, if you or someone in your family has a weakened immune system or if the rash is widespread and painful.

Some people experience complications from shingles if they do not receive the right treatment. Shingles around the eye can cause painful infections and vision loss. The disease can also damage nerve fibers causing pain even after the disease is gone. If shingles blisters are not treated properly they can become infected.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you suspect shingles. For more information, visit the CDC website at:

- submitted by Brenda Barnes, Communications Office, Hendry-Glades Health Department

Monday, November 16, 2015

Faydra Stratton Speaking At Carlson Memorial

Faydra Stratton will speak November 20 at Carlson Memorial Church.

Christmas Tree Sale Starts November 27

The Annual Christmas Tree Sale starts the day after Thanksgiving in LaBelle this year.

Kiwanis Kids Shopping Day December 12

It's the annual shopping day for kids at Kiwanis, December 12.

Community Events This Month In LaBelle

LABELLE, FL. -- Chamber of Commerce Business Card Exchange: Being hosted by Kiwanis Club of LaBelle at the Kiwanis Thrift Store at 155 S Bridge Street from 5:30-7 p.m. on Thursday, November 19th. Come enjoy visiting, snacks & a door prize or two....Meet Chamber members, Kiwanis members, officers and the store manager too..

Praise to God Night: Friday, November 20th at 7 p.m., Faydra Stratton of the Missionary Flights International will bring the message of God's Grace and Blessings being shared by missionaries. It will be at the Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church and being hosted by the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle. Come enjoy faith, fellowship, refreshments and some 'good ole' gospel singing'.

Christmas trees are here! Kiwanis Key Club Students of LaBelle High School & Kiwanis Builders Club Students of West Glades School

Christmas trees are here! The Kiwanis Key Club Students of LaBelle High School and the Kiwanis Builders Club Students of West Glades School will have their annual Christmas tree sale fundraiser starting the day after Thanksgiving! Trees sales will continue until they are all sold!

Kid's CHRISTMAS Shopping at Kiwanis Thrift Store
Saturday, December 12th from 8:30 - 10 a.m. bring your children and/or grandchildren ages 4-10 years old to the Kiwanis Thrift Store to do their own Christmas Shopping for their parents/grandparents. Give them their shopping allowance and they will be assisted by a Kiwanis member while mom, dad or guardian patiently wait on the porch visiting and enjoying coffee and juice. The Kiwanis high school Key Club members will be wrapping Christmas presents. We are hoping Mrs. Claus will be able to make a surprise visit. The Thrift Store will open for regular shopping at 10 a.m. For more information call the Thrift Store at 863-675-4043.

Celebration of Life for Millard Wagnon: Wednesday, November 25th from 10a.m. - 3 p.m. Millard's family will be at the American Legion to visit with the many friends of his. There will be a luncheon at 11:30 followed by a Memorial Service at 1 p.m.

Beatriz Perez Arrested At 'Puppy Mill'

Sheriff - "We Have No Tolerance For Animal Cruelty In This County"
CLEWISTON, FL. -- The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) Field Investigations and Response team is assisting at the request of the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office with the removal, evidence collection, sheltering and medical care of approximately 100 dogs from a substandard, unlicensed breeding facility located at 166 Avenue Del Club in Clewiston. 

The owners of the facility, Beatriz Perez, age 46, and Alexei Fernandez, age 47 were arrested Monday morning on cruelty-related charges.

“We have no tolerance for animal cruelty in this county,” said Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden. “Hopefully this case will send a message and prevent similar situations.”

An investigation of the facility began after several complaints were made by individuals in the community.

The dogs, small and large breeds including Siberian Huskies, Chihuahuas and Poodles were discovered living in crowded, filthy pens, many with little protection from the elements. Many dogs had no access to clean drinking water or food and were suffering from various medical conditions, including skin and eye disease and severe dental issues. 

The ASPCA believes the facility to be a puppy mill, a large-scale breeding operation, where profit is given priority over the well-being of the animals.

The dogs were being sold to pet stores in the Miami-Dade area. 

Beatriz aka Betty Perez has a history of arrests in Hendry county including a 2014 stay in jail for probation violation, 2013 for trespassing, and in 2009 for driving with a suspended license and contempt of court. 

“This is a tragic situation we see all too often,” said Tim Rickey, vice president of ASPCA Field Investigation and Response. “Puppy mills are a widespread issue across Florida and around the country. Many people are unaware that most puppies sold at pet stores come from puppy mills, and that buying pet store puppies indirectly supports these facilities. While the puppies are sold for profit, their parents are kept at these mills for years, subjected to incessant breeding and a very poor quality of life. Our goal is to remove these dogs from a life of neglect, help them become healthy and eventually find them safe and loving homes.”

The dogs are being transported to a temporary shelter in an undisclosed location, where they will receive medical care from ASPCA veterinarians. The ASPCA will continue to care for the dogs at the temporary shelter until custody of the dogs is determined by the court. Additionally, the ASPCA’s Legal Advocacy department is providing ongoing legal support for the criminal case.

Clewiston Animal Control, Texas Humane Heroes (Leander, Texas) and the Humane Society of Broward County (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) are also assisting with the seizure and sheltering operation.

Florida is among a minority of states with no laws regulating the use of dogs for commercial breeding. The ASPCA says state also perpetuates puppy mill cruelty nationally by allowing its pet stores to sell dogs from some of the worst breeders around the country. The ASPCA’s national “No Pet Store Puppies” campaign seeks to raise awareness about the connection between puppy mills and pet stores to end the demand for puppy mill dogs. 

The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team has rescued dogs from puppy mills across the nation. The ASPCA’s Government Relations department has been active in promoting legislation at both the state and federal levels to strengthen regulations and raise minimum standards of care for dogs in puppy mills.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Community Thanksgiving Service November 24

LABELLE, FL. -- LaBelle Evangelical Minister’s Association will hold it's Community Thanksgiving Service on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Roman Catholic Church on South Bridge Street in LaBelle.

Marie Rucelin Hits Tree, Flips Car With Child Aboard

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Marie Rucelin, 4 of Immokalee and a 7-year old child survived a crash into a tree Sunday morning in rural Hendry county with only minor injuries.

Her 1998 Ford Explorer was traveling eastbound on County Road 846 at 7:52 a.m. when Rucelin failed to negotiate a curve, and the SUV then began to traveling partially in the eastbound lane and partially on the south grassy shoulder.

Rucelin over corrected and the vehicle reentered the roadway. She then lost control as the front of the Ford began to yaw to the left, then crossed the centerline of the roadway and continued in a northeasterly direction onto the westbound grassy shoulder.

The front of the vehicle struck a tree. Collision impact caused it to be propelled back in a counterclockwise direction. Post collision, it came to final rest overturned onto it's left side.

Rucelin and 7-year old Wisfransley Sterling were transported by EMS to Hendry Regional Medical Center in Clewiston with minor injuries. The driver was charged with careless driving by the FHP.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Personal Robot 'Pepper' Responds To Emotions

It may not be very long before personal robots in the home may be commonplace. Pepper, a personal robot from Japan listens to your voice and analyzes your body language and can modify his language or his gestures to adapt to the given situation.

Aldebaran created Pepper for SoftBank Mobile, the largest mobile phone and telecom company in Japan, where the robot welcomes customers in more than 2,600 Softbank stores.

Pepper, at 61 pounds and four foot tall has a screen on his chest where he shows his emotions and what's happening in his inner world, A 3D camera perceives his surroundings and human activity up to 10 feet away. 1,000 robots sold out in September when Softbank made them available to the public.

Link: How Pepper Works

Willard Sands Dies At 68

Willard W. Sands, age 68, of Alva, passed away November 10, 2015 in Lehigh Acres. He was born March 22, 1947 in Alva, FL, to the late William Wyatt and the late Laura Dean (Carter) Sands.

He was born and raised in Alva, Florida. He loved hunting and fishing. He was a loving brother, father, grandfather and uncle.

He is survived by his children: Ronda Perry (Carl), Kimberly Browning (Clay) Daniel Sands, Shane M. Sands (Kelly),four sisters: Evelyn Tuffree (David), Loretta Koepke (Fred), JoAnn Brewer (Max), Janice Humphries (Joe), grandchildren, Ashley Jones, Amy Perry, Bailey Browning, Kodie Richardson, Shane Sands, Jr., Ross Perry, Reese Sands, Wyatt Browning, Blake Sands; great grandchildren: Emerson and Lily. He was preceded in death by his sister, Carolynn Route.

A graveside service will be held Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 10:00 am at Alva Cemetery, Alva with Pastor Charley Watts officiating.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Colbert On 'What Is Art? What Is Porn?'

Late Show host Stephen Colbert this week makes some interesting and hilarious observations on just why and what type of nudity in art is allowed on network television. Not only do censors put time limits on showing of nudes in art, abstract portrayals of nudity also comes into sometimes obscure judgment.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Joe Pepe, John Ahern, Marueen Ungarean Appointed To Board

LABELLE, FL. -- The Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida has added three new members to their board of directors. All three have extensive roots in the region and are dedicated to improving educational opportunities for children.
Joseph Pepe, Ed.D., is the interim health department administrator for Hendry and Glades counties and a professor at Barry University. He has also served as the executive vice president of administration at Hodges University. He says, “It is my personal belief that a better educated and healthier community will be happier and more productive.”
John Ahern is the chairman of the Glades County Board of County Commissioners for District 4. He also spent 28 years in Moore Haven city government.
Maureen Ungarean, Ed.D., is the director of early learning with Collier County Public Schools. She has 20 years of experience in the field of education. She says she hopes to continue to help improve kindergarten readiness in the four-county area served by the ELC.
“The Coalition board reflects the diverse demographics of our service delivery area,” said Susan Block, CEO of the ELC. “We welcome Dr. Pepe, Mr. Ahern, and Dr. Ungarean and their expertise to a strong group of community leaders.”

Obituaries - Ralson, Billie, Ferrara, Gallagher

Doris Rebecca Ralston, age 74, of Clewiston, passed away November 10, 2015 in Atlantis.

She was born Apr. 11, 1941 in Lykesland, S. C, to the late Trez and Sarah Belle (Shirah) Neely. She worked for many years as a sales associate for Clewiston Wal-Mart. She preceded in death by her first husband, Foster Melvin Lumpkin, Sr. and her second husband, George A. Ralston, Jr.

She is survived by her three sons; Foster M. "Me;" Lumpkin, Jr. and his wife Sissie, George A. "Sonny" Ralston, III and his wife Michelle and Darren Lumpkin and his wife Nancy, eight grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.

Visitation will be 6-8 p.m. Friday, November 13, 2015 in Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Clewiston. Graveside service and visitation will be Sunday, November 15, 2015 at Myrtle Hill Cemetery; visitation will start at 2 pm. She will be laid to rest next to her husband, George A. Ralston, Jr.

George Billie, age 88, of Clewiston, passed away November 9, 2015 at his home. He was born July 27, 1927 in Collier County, FL, to the late Concho and the late Addie (Buster) Billie.

He is survived by his wife: Sally Buster Billie, children: Louise G. Osceola, Agnes Billie Motlow, Darlene Primax, Diane Buster and Christopher Buster and sister: Rosa Billie.

A graveside service will be held Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 9:00 am at Big Cypress Cemetery, Big Cypress Reservation with Rev. Paul Buster officiating. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Carl L. Ferrara, age 73, of Clewiston, passed away November 7, 2015 in Clewiston.

He was born July 6, 1942, in Murray, KY, to the late Carl and Ann (Foley) Ferrara. He worked for many years as a commercial fisherman.

Carl is survived by his life-time companion; Rita Long, sons; Carl Ferrara, Clay Ferrara and Clint Ferrara, and five grandchildren.

A gathering of his friends will be held at a later date. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Caroline A. (Stenborg) Gallagher, age 75, of Clewiston, passed away November 6, 2015 at her home surrounded by family.

She was born Jan. 26, 1940 in Winthrop, MA, to the late Bernard and Mary (Conti) McGovern. She was a graduate of Medford High School. In her earlier years, she worked as a school bus driver and later became a CNA, helping the elderly. She spent her retirement years being a homemaker. She loved knitting, crocheting, and cross-stitching.

She is survived by her husband; John Gallagher of Clewiston, FL, her sister; Julia Neirinchkx and her husband Thomas of The Villages, FL. Four children; Robin Hoopes and her husband Tracy of Clewiston, FL, Robert Stenborg and his wife Vikki of Jacksonville, FL, Cheryl Kittle and her husband Danny of Boynton Beach, FL, Julie Kurtz and her partner Harold "Dave" Robinson of Plantation, FL. Four grandchildren; Matthew, Christopher, Ryan and Jose "Sparky"; many nieces and nephews; and a great amount of extended family (too many to name), however, very special to her.

Caroline was preceded in death by her first husband; Iver Stenborg and one brother, Bernard McGovern.

A memorial service celebrating her life will be held 11 am Saturday, November 21, 2015 in Clewiston First United Methodist Church with Pastor Jeff Smith officiating. Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Spiritual Care, Understanding Alzheimer's And More November 20

LABELLE, FL. -- Hope HealthCare Services invites the public to an afternoon of informative, educational and inspirational presentations at “A Day of Learning: How Hope Helps Connect Our Community.”

Hope Connections Manager Kristina Rodriquez will present an overview of Hope’s programs and volunteer opportunities in the LaBelle community.

Hope’s Spiritual Care Counselor Jonathan Scalone, MA, DMin., retired Lt. Col. U.S. Air Force, will lead a discussion about veterans and the causes, recognition and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder in “Delayed Onset PTSD: The Legacy of War.”

Hope Volunteer Orientation Team member and Certified Alzheimer Educator Patty Sullivan, RN, will present “Understanding Alzheimer’s,” including information about early warning signs and caregiver support.

Each presentation will be followed by a Q&A session. Refreshments will be served.

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 20 from 1 to 4 p.m.
WHERE: Hope Connections
Hope HealthCare Services
475 East Cowboy Way
LaBelle, FL

INFO: There is no cost to attend, however seating is limited and reservations are recommended. Please call 863-675-1576.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Obituaries - John Beavers, Ruby Spence

John Henry Beavers, age 87 died October 30, 2015. John was born Feb. 7, 1928 in Elmo, TX, to James Otto Beavers and Zetta (English) Beavers.

John was in the Banking and County Supply Industry for 50 years. He was in sales and was an Assistant Vice President for The Geo. D. Barnard Co in St. Louis. He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy serving during the Korean Conflict. John lived in LaBelle since 1979 moving from Miami. He was a member of Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church.

Survivors include his wife: Esther (Hill) Beavers, son: John Hill Beavers (Linda) of Riverview, FL, grandchildren: Daniel of Lynchburg, VA and Jessica of Riverview, FL, two brothers: Louis and Lloyd of Dallas, TX, two special sister-in-law's: Mildred Hill Lewis of Fort Myers and Joyce Beavers of Lake Forest, CA, also many very special nieces and nephews. Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by a son, Robert James Beavers, five brothers and two sisters and a special sister-in-law, Dorothy Hill Risher.

A Celebration of John's Life will be held Tuesday, November 24, 2015 at 2:00 pm at Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church, LaBelle with Pastor Peggy Benson officiating.

Memorials may be sent to Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church, 310 Campbell St., LaBelle, FL 33935 or Hope Hospice, 9470 HealthPark Cir., Fort Myers, FL 33908

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Ruby Carene Spence, age 93, of Clewiston, passed away October 25, 2015 in Clewiston.

She was born May 7, 1922 in English, WV, to the late Tivis and the late Bessie (Davidson) Ward.

She is survived by son: Gary Spence, sister: Betty Wezik, brother: Donald Ward and her loving grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her son, Frank Spence, sister, Martha Robbings, sister, Shirley Buchanan

Funeral services were held Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 11:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle. Interment was Thursday, October 29, 2015 in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation was Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL.

Breeana Koetting Dies In Crash

LABELLE, FL. -- Blanche Nicole Bauer, 25 of Naples is in serious condition after Breeana Koetting, 25 of Naples died in a Glades county crash Saturday afternoon at 4:35 p.m.

A 2006 Nissan Altima driven by Bauer was southbound on SR-29, just south of SR-78 as a 2004 Dodge Dakota driven by Jesus Silvas, 58 of Okeechobee was northbound on SR-29, approaching SR-78.

Blanche Bauer failed to maintain control of of the Nissan which rotated across the center line into the northbound lane. The front of the Dodge struck the right side of the Nissan. The Nissan was redirected onto the east grass shoulder, where it came to final rest, facing west. The truck rotated clockwise and came to final rest blocking the northbound lane, facing east.

Koetting was declared dead and Bauer was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital. Silvas was taken to Lehigh Regional Hospital with minor injuries.

Bauer was cited for driving too fast for conditions.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Kiwanis Hosts Guest Speaker Dr. Joseph Pepe

LABELLE, FL. -- Kiwanis Club of LaBelle learns about Public Health as Joseph D. Pepe, Ed D., MSA; the Interim Health Officer/Administrator for the Florida Department of Health in Hendry & Glades Counties spoke at a recent meeting for the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle.

Joe gave a very informative Power Point presentation about the role of Public Health, the various programs at the Health Department, the Public Health System and some Public Health initiatives such as the Healthiest Weight Initiative.
Additionally, he discussed the community partnerships that have been developed and their focus on helping residents in Hendry & Glades Counties become healthier. 

Obituaries - Cheryl Byers, Norma Diaz

Cheryl Byers born in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua on January 10, 1949. After a long illness with Cancer she passed away on November 1, 2015 at Memorial West Hospital in Miramar. She was surrounded by family and friends. 
She leaves behind her children their spouses, and grandchildren, along with her siblings, Rosita (nee Filiponi) Morales, Gene Filiponi, Clarence and Frank Saunders, and a host of nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her husband, Captain Vandon Byers, of the Nicaraguan National Forces.
Ms. B graduated from El Colegio Bautista in Nicaragua in 1967. Following her graduation, she attended the Universidad National Autonoma de Nicaragua where she graduated with a degree in English. In 1970 she married, then Lieutenant Vandon Byers, with whom she had three children, Larry, Indira (nee Byers) Nicholas, and Alberto (Tat) Byers. She taught English at the high school level.

As her new life began in the United States, Ms. B worked at the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Services (HRS) from 1980 to 1988. She was able to obtain her university transcripts processed and approved by the Department of Education in Florida, and began working at Clewiston Middle School in 1988, as an ESE teacher. She retired in 2013. She was a representative with the Teacher's Union in Florida.

Ms. B was baptized and raised Moravian in Nicaragua. One she began living in the states, she was a member of Community Presbyterian in Clewiston. In the mid 80s she began a new spiritual journey and became a born again Christian. She became of member of Evangel Assembly of God Church.
The viewing for Ms. B will be held at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in Clewiston on Friday, November 7 from 6-8 pm. A service celebrating Ms. B will be 11 a.m. Saturday, November 7, 2015 at Real Life Church located at 953 West Sugarland Highway.

Norma Diaz, age 71, of LaBelle, passed away November 3, 2015 in Lehigh Acres. She was born Dec. 10, 1943 in Habana, Cuba to the late Adolfo and the late Tomasa (Alvarez) Prieto.

Survivors include her son: Manuel (Kelli) Diaz of Newark, OH, daughter: Odalys (Jose) Garcia of LaBelle, brothers: Adolfo Prieto and Freddy Prieto of Miami, sisters: Margot Prieto and Mercedes Prieto of Miami and grandchildren: Austin, Jose, Normy, Lauren and Kami.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Manuel Diaz, Jr.

Funeral services will be held Nov. 5, 2015 at 5:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle with Father Chester Domaszewicz officiating. Visitation was from 3:30-5:00 p.m. before the funeral at the funeral home.

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Kiwanis Kids Day Full Of Fun

LABELLE, FL. -- The LaBelle Kiwanis Kids Day had gorgeous weather, great entertainment, plenty of games and lots of smiles as kids, parents and even pets filled up the Barron Park on Saturday, October 31st. 

Gavin Price did a wonderful job at singing the National Anthem and Natalie Welky (Middle School Talent Show Winner) showed off her vocal talents to the crowd. The Showtime Cloggers presented some “foot-stomping” clogging routines and the crowd heard some great music from Sheriff Whidden and his Posse Band. Tricycles were raffled off and Brandon Rodriguez and Madison Sexton (above) were the lucky winners.

The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle has sponsored the Annual Kiwanis Kid’s Day event for almost 30 years.  Kiwanis would like to extend a huge thank-you to all of the volunteers, community partners and agencies that participated, and thanks to the parents and family members that brought their kids out to enjoy a fun-filled day in LaBelle.

Firehouse Theatre Kicks Off With Luau Party

LABELLE, FL. -- A 'Premier Season Party' was held Hawaiian Luau Style at the Firehouse Community Theatre on Thursday October, 29 from 6pm to 8pm. Friends mingled and enjoyed a feast on tropical food. The food was catered by Matt Germain.

Some wore Hawaiian shirts, and a few dared to wear a grass skirt and coconuts.  Great music was provided by “The Walker Experience.”. The Firehouse Theatre would like to express a huge thank you to the corporate sponsors and season ticket holders, The season kicks off with a hilarious comedy "Beer for Breakfast" playing now,

Pictured: Jeni Dyess, Bob & Deb Speckin, and Cindy Shough.