Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Larry James Howard Dies At 75

Larry James Howard, age 75, of LaBelle, passed away November 22, 2016 in Lehigh Acres.

He was born June 18, 1941 in Alliance, OH, to the late Glenn and the late Lucille (Martin) Howard. Larry retired as a lineman after 38 years from Sprint/Century Link Phone Companies. Larry was active for over 16 years with the Lee County 4-H Program, he was a great man who will be missed greatly by his family and friends. Larry was Lee County Resident since 1959. Larry enjoyed spending time with his family and working with his adopted family – the Flints.

Survivors include his daughters; Jessica Griffin and her husband Nate of LaBelle, Beverly Howard, step-children; Cori and Buck Hendry, Tonya and Jeff Downs, Victor and Amanda Harrell, thirteen grandchildren and six great grandchildren, along with many extended family members and good friends.

Celebration of Larry's life will be held Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at 1:00 pm in Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Fort Myers, with Pastor Gary "Bronc" Flint officiating. Burial will be in Alva Cemetery immediately following the celebration. Pallbearers will be Ronnie Flint, Jeff Flint, Doc Sapp, Perry Sapp, Tony Flint and Houston Flint.

In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested donations in Larry's name be given to the Hendry County 4-H Program – P. O. Box 813 LaBelle, Florida 33975.

Johan Holder Arrested In Murder Case


CLEWISTON, FL. Tuesday at approximately 4:30 pm, Hendry County Sheriffs Investigators arrested and charged 20 year old Johan Wendon Holder of 8th Court in Clewiston in the shooting death of Anthony Holder.

On November 22, 2016 at approximately 11:00pm, Holder was found lying on the ground in the Harlem Gardens community of Clewiston suffering from a gunshot wound. Interviews and witness statements revealed that Johan Holder, (no relation), did shoot and kill Anthony Holder.

Johan Holder was located and placed under arrest for the charge of Premeditated Murder - 1st degree capital felony.

Johan Holder is being held in the Hendry County Jail without bond.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Wildfire Threat Growing With Lack Of Rainfall

The recent drying trend has led to extremely favorable conditions for wildfires. The Florida Forest Service wants to encourage residents who live near nature to make their home safer from wildfire danger.

“Without rainfall, the sun’s radiant heat has dried out the dead leaf litter, making the fuel susceptible to ignition,” states Melissa Yunas, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist with the Florida Forest Service. “Dead leaves, sticks and twigs can be kindling to a wildfire. In order to mitigate the risk, remove the dead leaf litter that has accumulated on or around your home. The goal is to limit the amount of flammable vegetation surrounding your home.”

“Another goal in wildfire home protection”, Yunas explains, “is to increase the moisture content of the live vegetation around your home.” Grass is vulnerable to the lack of rainfall and can die relatively quickly, then ignite instantly. Every year the Florida Forest Service suppresses wildfires caused by lawn mower blades striking rocks while simply mowing the lawn. In order to mitigate this risk, water plants, trees, and grass regularly to increase the moisture in the plants. Another tip is to mow before 10 a.m. and never when it’s windy or excessively dry.

By keeping your yard lean, clean, and green you can reduce your wildfire risk today. Call your local Florida Forest Service to find out what the experts know about the best way to make your home and neighborhood safer from wildfire. Together we can save homes and lives before a wildfire starts.

Gerald Edwards Held On Million Dollar Bond


CLEWISTON, FL. -- After following up on leads and speaking with witnesses on scene, Hendry County Investigators have arrested 26 year old Gerald Tyrone Edwards (photo left) and 27 year old Winston Trotman.

Neither man has been charged with the death of 28 year old Anthony Holder. Investigators are continuing to follow up any and all leads.

At this time both men are currently being held in the Hendry County Jail on charges of Crimes Against Person/Other Felony Commit Act Could Cause Death.

Edwards is currently being held on $1 million dollar bond. Trotman is being held on $600,000.00 bond.

Hendry County Sheriff’s Office continue to encourage anyone with any information to contact them at 863-674-5600 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477), where you may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 if your tip leads to an arrest.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Justin I Smith Graduates From Air Force Basic Training

U.S. Air Force Airman Justin I. Smith graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training also earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

Smith is the son of George M. Smith of Yoder, Ind., and Yvonne M. Heckert of Labelle, Fla., brother of Randall R. Izell of Bonita Springs, Fla., and Jared L. Smith of Woodburn, Ind., and grandson of Diane Hilton of Harlan, Ind.

He is a 2016 graduate of Estero High School, Estero, Fla.

Kiwanis Kids Shopping Day Dec 10

LABELLE, FL. -- Kiwanis Club of LaBelle presents: A Shopping Day- FOR KIDS, Kids from age 4 to 12 are invited!

Where: The Kiwanis Thrift Store, 155 S. Bridge Street, LaBelle
When: Saturday, December 10, 2016
Time: 8:30am – 10:00am

Please bring children ages 4-12 years to the Kiwanis Thrift Store to do their own Christmas Shopping for their parents and/or grandparents!
They can buy quality gifts for their family members on a friendly budget! Help the kids make a list and give them a little shopping allowance and they will be assisted by a Kiwanis member while the adults wait patiently outside. LaBelle High School Kiwanis Key Club and Kiwanis members will be wrapping each Christmas gift.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Glades Democrats Meet December 10

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Glades County Democrats will meet at the public library in Moore Haven at 10am on Saturday, December 10. All registered Democrats are invited to attend. Topics of discussion will include the recent election and planning for future Party activities. All registered Democrats are invited, so come and let your voice be heard.
 
First order of business at the meeting will be the election the county executive committee officers. Offices to be filled include: Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. Also to be elected are a State Committeeman and a State Committeewoman to represent Glades County to the Florida Democratic Party. To qualify for any of these positions, a registered Democrat must also have been elected or appointed to serve as the Democratic representative from their voting precinct. A description of each position is posted at www.GladesDemocrats.com and on the Glades DEC Facebook page.

To learn more about the Glades County Democratic Executive Committee or if you are interested in applying to serve as a precinct representative, please contact John Capece, DEC Vice Chair at 239-245-9954 orDEC@GladesDemocrats.com.

James McVay II Dies At 78

James R. McVay, II, age 78, of LaBelle, passed away November 25, 2016 in Lehigh Acres.

He was born Apr. 24, 1938 in Washington, PA, to the late James R. McVay and the late Laverne (Schnarre) Brown. He was a resident of LaBelle since 1972.

Survivors include his wife: Grace S. McVay, two sons: James Ray McVay, III and Billy McVay, brother: John McVay of Valencia, CA and grandchildren: Barry McVay, Becky McVay, Cathy McVay and James Ray McVay, IV.

Funeral services will held Tuesday, November 29, 2016, 11:00 am at Community Harvest Worship Center, LaBelle with Pastor L. W. Howard and Rev. Dennis Edgar officiating. Visitation will be held for 1 hour before the funeral service at Community Harvest Worship Center. Interment will follow in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Obituaries - Nanette Cypress, Sharon Leduc

Nanette Cypress, age 44, of Clewiston, passed away November 20, 2016 in Weston. She was born May 24, 1972 in Clewiston, FL, to the late Herbert Mills and the late Agnes Nanette (Billie) Cypress, Sr.

She is survived by her son: Herbert Cypress, daughters: Lucee Cypress and Brittany Huff, brothers: Robert Cypress, Sr. and Shane Cypress, and two sisters: Jeannette Cypress and Wanda Billie. She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, Herbert Cypress, Jr. and Aaron Cypress.

Funeral services were held Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 1:00 pm at Big Cypress First Baptist Church, Clewiston with Rev. Salaw Hummingbird and Rev. Paul Buster officiating.

Interment was in Big Cypress Cemetery, Big Cypress Reservation. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Sharon Ann Leduc, age 73, of LaBelle, passed away November 13, 2016 in Lehigh Acres. She was born July 26, 1943 in Long Island, NY, to the late Richard Henry Chapman and the late Lily Mae (Bryant) Ward.

Sharon lived in Miami for 20 years working as a registered nurse. Sharon and her husband then moved to LaBelle 11 years ago and she used her nursing skills to work as a hospice nurse for Hope Hospice. Sharon loved to travel with the family during the summer going to different places in the United States and Europe. She also enjoyed making quilts.

She is survived by her loving husband of 52 years, Alexander J Leduc, son: Alexander Leduc, Jr., daughters: Susan Monteiro (Dennis), Lily Leduc and Laura Leduc-Browning, ten grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made in her name to Hope Hospice, 9470 HealthPark Cir., Fort Myers, FL 33908.

Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Fire Engine In Crash Wednesday Morning

CLEWISTON, FL. -- A Ford Focus driven by Tracy Rounds, 41 of Clewiston and a Hendry County fire vehicle driven by William Hooker McDuffie, 73 of Moore Haven crashed Wednesday at 9:04 a.m. The incident involved several parked vehicles in Clewiston.

Vehicle 01 was southbound on County Road 832 (WC Owen Avenue). Vehicle 02, a Hendry county fire vehicle, was westbound on Ventura Avenue. Vehicle 02's emergency lights were activated. Both vehicle 01 and 02 were approaching the intersection of County Road 832 and Ventura Avenue.

Vehicles 03, 04, and 05 were properly parked in a lot at the southwest corner of the intersection. A commercial vehicle (westbound) came to a stop for the traffic device at the westbound Ventura Avenue and County Road 832 intersection. The westbound commercial vehicle obstructed the view of southbound traffic on County Road 832.

Driver 01 observed a green traffic indication and proceeded south into the intersection. Driver 02 swerved to avoid colliding with Vehicle 01. As a result, the left front of vehicle 01 struck the right front of vehicle 02 at the intersection. Collision impact redirected vehicle 01 in a southwesterly direction.

Vehicle 02 departed the roadway and continued southwest into the parking lot (southwest corner) . The front of Vehicle 02 then struck the left side of vehicle 03 and the right front of vehicle 04. Vehicle 02's impact with vehicle 04 caused vehicle 04 to rotate counterclockwise.

The left front of vehicle 02 then made contact with right side of vehicle 05.

Drivers 01 and 02 were transported to Hendry Regional Medical Center. Both drivers sustained minor injuries.

Anthony Holder Dead - 4 Others Shot In Clewiston

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Anthony Holder of Clewiston died Tuesday night, and four others in the Harlem community suffered from gunshot wounds, the Hendry Sheriff's office reports.

On November 22, 2016 at approximately 11:00 pm, Hendry County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a man lying on the ground in the Harlem Gardens community of Clewiston, Florida. Upon the arrival of deputies and emergency personnel, they found 28 year old Anthony Holder unresponsive. After being provided CPR and medical aid Holder succumbed to his injuries.

While deputies were on scene, they heard multiple gun shots coming from another area of the Harlem community and determined there were 4 other victims who were suffering from gunshot wounds. 

Investigators do not believe that the community is in danger. 

At this time Investigators have interviewed several individuals. Investigators have no motive for the shooting and are asking anyone with any information to call Det. J. Conyers at 863-674-5600 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477), where you may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 if your tip leads to an arrest.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Email Holiday Shopping Scams

Scammers are taking advantage of the holiday shopping rush with fake emails that appear to be confirming an order. The Better Business Bureau has issued a scam alert advising consumers to watch out for these emails as they begin their holiday shopping.

The scam works like this: You receive an email message that appears to be about a recent purchase you made online. The email seems to come from a major retailer-- Walmart, Home Depot and Target were among those named in the phone emails-- and says that your purchase is ready for pick up or has been shipped. Even if you don't remember ordering anything from the store, scammers apparently are counting on your curiosity being aroused. 

But the BBB warns not to give in to the temptation to click on the link to read the details of your order. If you do, you'll find that it isn't information about your “order.” It's really a virus that will download to your computer. Typically, these viruses phish for personal and bankininformation on your machine.
Here's the bureau's advice on how to spot and avoid an email scam:

- Watch for look-alike URLs. Be wary of sites that have the brand name as a subdomain of another URL (i.e. brandname.scamwebsite.com) or part of a longer URL (i.e. companynamecustomersupport.com.)

- Hover over URLs in emails to reveal their true destination. Scammers can make links appear to lead
to a legitimate website, when they really point to a scam site, like the examples above.

- Watch for typos and bad grammar. Scammers can easily copy a brand's logo and colors, but their poor writing usually gives the email away as a scam.

- Call the store. When in doubt, call the business's customer support line to check the legitimacy of the email. Be sure to find the phone number on your bill or by typing the company name into your browser directly. Don't rely on any information contained in the email you suspect is a scam.

If you feel you have been a victim of an internet or email scam, contact your local police department. Other sources of information and support are available by calling the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida’s Elder Helpline toll-free at 1-866- 413-5337, or the Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800- 962-2873 (1-800- 96ABUSE). Every five seconds a person over the age of 60 is abused in some way in the United States. Please use care, caution and vigilance to prevent abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Wanda Teems Bott Dies At 59

Wanda Teems Bott, 59 of LaBelle, Fl passed away November 18, 2016.

Born April 9, 1957 in Ocala, Florida. Daughter of the late Travis William Teems and Alice Marie Wright of Ocala, Florida.

Wanda is survived by a lot of loving family that include her husband, Robert Bott of LaBelle, Mother, Marie and Step-Father Hal Kriser of Ocala, Florida, close friend, Patricia Frickenschmidt of LaBelle, Florida, daughter, Tiffany Ward Boyce of Matthews, North Carolina, son Kent Bryant of Longmont, Colorado, sister Linda Nash and brother Robert Teems and a host of grandchildren and beloved friends.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to any Veterans Organization or Hospice. Wanda will be laid to rest in Ocala, Florida after a private ceremony. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Woody Hanson At Museum December 1

LABELLE, FL. -- Eminent Southwest Florida Historian Woodrow S. “Woody” Hanson will be the guest speaker at LaBelle Heritage Museum’s December Program Meeting at 7 o’clock on Thursday, December 1.

Hanson’s maternal area roots go back five generations to Manuel A. Gonzalez, who was the first civilian inhabitant of Fort Myers after the post was deactivated at the end of the Third Seminole War, and his great grandfather, London born Dr. William Hanson, settled in Fort Myers in 1884. 

His grandfather W. Stanley Hanson, dubbed “the White Medicine Man,” was a trusted advisor to the Seminoles in the Everglades and Big Cypress from the early part of the 20th century until his death in 1945. Hanson follows his father’s footsteps in the family real estate appraisal business but is also known as one of Southwest Florida’s most knowledgeable students of area history.

LaBelle Heritage Museum is located at 360 North Bridge Street in the “Downtown LaBelle Historic District.” Parking at the museum itself is limited; however, Rene Curtis Pratt of the Harold P. Curtis Honey Co., immediately across from the museum at 335 North Bridge Street, offers the use of the Curtis Honey House parking lot to attendees at museum evening programs.

Museum speaker programs are open to the public at no charge except for an occasional special program.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Humbug - Nonsense And Laughs At Theatre Dec. 8


LABELLE, FL. -- Humbug brings a great of deal of delicious nonsense and multitudes of laughs in this modern-day twist on Charles Dickens' most famous story, A Christmas Carol. Eleanor Scrooge is a ruthless and ambitious Wall Street executive who doesn’t particularly like Christmas but has an appetite for power. 

Locked in her office on a snowy Christmas Eve, Eleanor is determined to finish a corporate-takeover proposal until three "advisors" provide her with an eye-opening new appreciation for the holidays and the spirit of Christmas. Humbug is a play for all ages filled with lots of warmth and caring and upbeat Christmas carols! 

With a contemporary flair, it is a tale the whole family will enjoy! The play is directed by Mike Shough and will run Dec 8-9-10-11 and then Dec 15-16-17-18. Tickets are on sale now at the Firehouse Community Theatre. Show times are Thursday, Friday & Saturday at 7:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm.

Happy Thanking Day - Bill Neville

Commentary by T.W. Bill Neville

Having within meaningful recollection, realized that I have always looked forward to the Thanksgiving day holiday, I trust that I may share my recollections with you. 

Back in my subteen years, say 1928 thru 1940, we were always treated to a Thanksgiving day with my Father's family, in as much as my Mother was an orphan and none of her family was in touch with each other. This was still the case until 1941, when, during WW two, none of my Father's family hosted, and we were on our own, which, somehow or other, Mom always set a table of family favorites. 

Of course, the Turkey was the star attraction, stuffed with sage dressing, accompanied by the mashed potatoes CANDIED YAMS, giblet gravy, creamed corn, cranberry sauce, a tossed salad, home baked dinner rolls, and home baked pumpkin, and pecan pie. Some years, we even had homemade vanilla ice cream, with homemade chocolate sauce. 

My brother and I always shared the "wishbone", the breast, and grasped an end, made a silent wish, pulled, and whoever got the "long" half won his wish, got to "lick" the paddle, and the "short" end, had to turn the crank on the hand-powered, ice cream churn.

After we were married in 1949, it became a ritual of a "feast" at one of the in-law's homes at noon, followed by another "feast" at the other's home later in the day. These "rituals" existed until we relocated from Indiana to Buffalo, N.Y. in 1958 where we celebrated with a neighbor. 

By June of 1959 we were transferred to Wheaton, Il, within 150 miles of my wife's family in Indiana, and it was then, off to Grandmother Klein's house for that and Christmas, until we moved to Florida in 1993 By then, both of our parents were deceased and we then, worked out a plan whereby we alternate a trip to our Illinois families one year and our South Carolina families the next year. 

This plan also applies to the Christmas and New Years holidays, resulting in the fact that we have never had a Thanksgiving or Christmas in Florida.

With the death of my wife, the "ritual" now falls "souly" on my shoulders, and GOD willing, I'll be chugging up interstate 95 on the 23rd, come HELL or HIGH WATER! WHY? you might be saying, but, I believe in "Family" traditions and, "Aspire to inspire before I Expire!!"

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Democrats Meet Dec 3 At Big V

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Democrats will meet at the Big V Restaurant in LaBelle on Saturday, December 3, at 8:30 a.m. to elect county executive committee officers for the next four years. A county chair and vice chair, who must be of opposite sexes, a state committee man and woman, and a secretary-treasurer will be chosen from those local Democrats who qualified with the Hendry County Elections Office and were declared winners at the August Primary Election. 

Following the election of officers, the Hendry County DEC will adjourn its reorganization meeting and reconvene in a regular meeting to fill precinct committee vacancies and handle other matters. 

Hendry County Democrats interested in filling a precinct vacancy are asked to bring a Florida Driver License or other governmental photo ID with them to help in verifying eligibility. 

The meeting is open to all interested individuals with only registered Democrats living in Hendry County allowed to participate in discussion. 

Please contact the Big V Restaurant, (863) 675-2917, and leave word for Tina if you plan to attend; this will let her know if she needs to schedule extra servers.

Garden Club November 28 With Ron Baines

LABELLE, FL. -- The LaBelle Garden Club will meet Monday, November 28th 2016, at7 p.m. at the Dallas B. Townsend Agricultural Center in LaBelle at 1085 Pratt Blvd. Labelle. 

Ron Baines will give a talk on Florida Gardening. Refreshments served. 

Check out the website LabelleGardenClub.org, which is chock full of information on the unique conditions of gardening in LaBelle. For more information, call President Dave at 863-342-8233 or Nikki at 239-564-2005.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Job Training Event In Clewiston

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Glades area community members are invited to attend a free USA Jobs training event 6-7 p.m.Wed. Nov. 16 and Thurs. Nov. 17 to learn about how to apply for federal government positions using the www.usajobs.gov website. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers South Florida Operations Office hosts the events in the Clewiston High School Media Room to provide people living in local communities with the knowledge and skills to required to navigate the federal government hiring website/system, and ultimately apply for and track job openings for maintenance mechanic, heavy equipment Operator and other positions in Florida and around the world.

New Homes For Two Port LaBelle Families





LABELLE, FL.– Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties dedicated two homes sponsored by U.S. Sugar on Wednesday, in Port LaBelle.

Habitat officials handed over the keys to Devnish Seales, a single mother with a 10-year-old son, and Gabino Cisneros and Adriana Garcia, who have a 1-year-old child. Seales is a security guard who has been living in low-income housing in Clewiston. Cisneros and Garcia live in a cramped apartment and wanted a home for their child.

The homes are located at 5033 N. Obispo Circle and 5015 SE Tradewinds Circle, both in LaBelle. Through the help of volunteers and donations, the families now have affordable, stable places to live and raise their children.

“U.S. Sugar is thrilled to partner with this vital organization and help families achieve their dream of owning a home,’’ said Jennifer Black, community relations manager for U.S. Sugar. “We believe strongly that improving communities happens one house at a time, one family at a time, and we stand proudly with all our employees who volunteered their time to make these homes a reality.’’

These homes are the third and fourth homes U.S. Sugar has sponsored. In all, Habitat for Humanity has built 37 houses in Hendry County.

Photos: Devnish Seales receives the keys to her new house in LaBelle. Gabino Cisneros and Adriana Garcia, center celebrate their new home with U.S. Sugar employees Matt Kindermann and Jayla Lawson.

Obituaries - Helen Eberts, Mattie Watkins

Helen H. Eberts, age 97, of LaBelle, passed away peacefully on November 9, 2016.

She was born Sep. 9, 1919 in Bayonne, NJ, to the late James J. and the late Helen P. (Maloney) Herbert. She was preceded in death by her husband James Eberts.

Helen was a devoted mother and grandmother and was very proud of her family. She enjoyed family trips to the beach, swimming and reading. She had a wonderful sense of humor and a heart of gold.

She is survived by two loving sons: John B. McKenna, Kevin (Carol) McKenna and two loving grandchildren, Doug and Mike.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 10:00 am at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, LaBelle with Father Chester Domaszewicz officiating.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Mattie "Nanny" Watkins, age 85, of Lake Placid, FL formerly of Alva, FL passed away November 10, 2016. 

She was born on July 14th, 1931 in Yulee, FL to the late James P. and Mary Louise Blount Pendrey. While living in Lee County she was a 4-H leader for over 20 years, member of the Florida Cattlewomen's Association and worked for the Lee County School Board for many years as a bus driver and a cafeteria worker before retiring from Publix. 

She was "Nanny" to so many local families, helping to raise many of their children through 4-H or bus driving.

Children and survivors include: James "Bill" (Kristrun) Watkins, Vancouver, Washington, John Jay Watkins, Fort Myers, Florida, Steven Watkins (deceased) and Mary (Jack) Wiggins of Lake Placid, Florida. Seven grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, Brothers: J.W. (Carabelle) Pendrey, of Clayton, Georgia, Donald (Carol) Pendrey of Grand Ridge, Florida. Sisters: Marva Kerr of North Fort Myers, Florida, Helen Salmon of Naples, Florida, sister-in-law Jean Preston of Anthony, Florida, many nieces, nephews, cousins, and other extended family and friends.

She is preceded in death by her husband after 44 wonderful years of marriage: John C. Watkins, son: Steven Watkins, brother: Charlie Pendrey, parents: James and Louise Pendrey, and father and mother-in-law: Wilbur and Flora Watkins.

Visitation will be from 5-7 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2016 in Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle, funeral service will be held at 10:00 am Wednesday, November 16, 2016 in Alva United Methodist Church, 21440 Pearl Street, Alva, Florida with her granddaughter Rev. Sarah Watkins-Davis and Rev. Donald Rock officiating, interment will follow in Alva Cemetery.

George Wedgworth Dies At 88 - Sugar Industry Pioneer


BELLE GLADE, FL. -- Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida has announced the loss of its founder George H. Wedgworth, 88 who passed today.

"George left his mark on every facet of our business, Florida agriculture as a whole and the entire Glades community," said Cooperative President and CEO Tony Contreras. "He was a great friend, mentor, a true leader and a man of the highest integrity."

"His visionary business acumen helped lead the sugar industry's success in Florida and nationwide despite the threats on many fronts," said Cooperative Chairman of the Board John L. Hundley. "George was especially forward thinking when it came to environmental issues leading the sugar industry's environmental committee going back to the late 1960s in the protection of clean air, water, and the protection of our fertile soil."

Wedgworth touched the lives of many people through his active involvement in the community, his leadership and formation of many agricultural trade organizations. He was best known as the person bringing people together, building consensus and looking out for the greater good. 

He was the recipient of many awards and accolades for his contributions to agriculture, the sugar industry and the community including induction in The Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1994 and named Sugar Man of the Year in 2005.

Wedgworth formed the Cooperative in 1960 as a way to bring stability to Glades area vegetable growers' businesses. The first crop was grown in 1962 on 22,000 acres of land. He was at the helm of the organization for 50 years and grew the business to continue to increase the financial returns and stability to all 45 member-growers of the Cooperative. 

Today, the Cooperative processes sugarcane grown on 75,000 acres producing 4.2 million tons of cane yielding 482,000 tons of raw sugar and 25 million gallons of blackstrap molasses.

Through his forward thinking, Wedgworth partnered with Florida Crystals Corporation becoming vertically integrated in 1998. By having sugar refining assets he assured that the Cooperative's production had a secure place to be refined. This endeavor was a success and today the refining company, ASR Group International, expands across the globe and is the world's largest sugar refining company.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Gene McAvoy On Butterfly Gardening Nov 21

LABELLE, FL. -- Mark your calendars for the presentation “Gardening for Florida Butterflies” by Hendry County IFAS Extension Director, Gene McAvoy, on Monday November 21 at 7pm. 

This free program hosted by Hendry-Glades Audubon will be held at the Hendry County Extension Dallas Townsend Building at 1085 Pratt Blvd. In LaBelle. For information about Butterfly Gardening it is available at: http://hendry.ifas.ufl.edu .

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Two Die In Crash On State Road 29

Ira Hatchett and Carlene Williams died as a result of a crash in Collier county Tuesday at 8:52 a.m. south of Immokalee on State Road 29, four miles south of Farm Workers Road.

Ira W. Hatchett, 39 of Fort Myers was driving a 2009 Volkwagon Jetta northbound on State Road 29 in the northbound lane as Gabriel Cossio, 28 of Lehigh Acres was driving a 2016 Infiniti Q70 southbound on State Road 29 in the southbound lane.

For unknown reasons, Hatchett exited the paved portion of the roadway in a northeasterly direction and entered the grass shoulder and then over-corrected to the left and traveled in a northwesterly direction and re-entered the northbound lane of State Road 29. The vehicle continued to travel in a northwesterly direction and entered the southbound lane of State Road 29 and into the path of the Infiniti.

It's front struck the Infiniti's front. After impact, both vehicles came to final rest facing west on the west shoulder of State Road 29.

The passenger in the Volkswagon, Carlene L. Williams, 39 of Fort Myers was pronounced deceased at the scene of the crash. The driver, Hatchett was transported to Naples Community Hospital where he was later pronounced deceased. Cossio had serious injuries and was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital.

The crash is still under investigation.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Winners and Losers - Hendry/Glades County Elections

LABELLE, FL. -- There seemed to be not many surprises in the Hendry and Glades county election results as about two out of three registered voters cast their candidate and constitutional amendment selections for November 8.

Check the official Hendry and Glades Supervisor of Elections results pages for all the local, state and federal result details:

Hendry Results
Glades Results

Rock Aboujaoude At UN Climate Conference

LABELLE, FL. -- Rock Aboujaoude Jr., a University of Florida student from LaBelle, Florida, is helping represent U.S. university students at the U.N. climate change youth conference being held November 3-6 in Marrakech, Morocco.

Majoring in International Food and Resource Economics, Rock traveled to Marrakech where he is delivering talks on the climate change activities of U.S. students and NGO's.

The UN Conference of Youth (COY) is a meeting of mostly university students held every year during the week prior to the UN Conference of Parties (COP). Marrakech is the site of the 12th annual youth gathering and the 22nd Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

In November of 2015, more than 4000 university students attended the youth meeting in Paris prior to the historic conference that concluded the Paris Agreement on climate change agreement. The agreement negotiated last year in Paris officially came into force as international law on Friday, November 4, 2016, a year ahead of schedule.

The Morocco gathering will begin implementing the historic accord that seeks to avert the worst impacts of man-made climate change. COP22 is tasked with continuing the momentum of the Paris accord.

"I think people everywhere understand that we are decades behind in taking proper action on climate change. The current generation of students simply cannot wait any longer. We are here in Morocco to emphasize that point to the UN leaders and to organize actions of today's youth." said Aboujaoude.

Commenting on the selection of Morocco for this year's gathering, Aboujaoude said, "Last year in Paris I was impressed with the energy and activism of the European students and those who came from countries outside of Europe. Holding the gathering this year in Africa is symbolic of how people everywhere are and will be affected by climate change. We absolutely must work together to take on this challenge."

Two New Homes Dedicated November 16 By Habitat

LABELLE, FL. -- Habitat for Humanity and U.S. Sugar will dedicate two new homes next week in Port LaBelle.  The ceremony for Devnish Seales is Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at 5033 N. Obispo Circle, LaBelle, FL and for Gabino Cisneros & Adriana Garcia, Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at 11:30 a.m. at their new home at 5015 SE Tradewinds Circle, LaBelle, FL

As a non-profit Christian housing ministry, Habitat for Humanity hosts a brief ceremony; blessing each home before the partner family moves in. All are welcome to join the celebration, tour the home, meet the family and lay hands on the home as it is blessed. At this time, the keys are turned over to the family officially taking ownership. No RSVP is required.

Two Sentenced To Prison For Biofuel Fruad

NAPLES, FL. -- Thomas Davanzo, of Estero, Florida, and Robert Fedyna, of Naples, Florida, were sentenced to 121 months and 135 months in prison, respectively, for their participation in a multi-state scheme to defraud biofuel buyers and U.S. taxpayers by fraudulently selling biofuelcredits and fraudulently claiming tax credits. 

Both defendants were also ordered to forfeit ill-gotten gains from the conspiracy of over $46 million and other items to the government, including gold coins, jewelry and Rolex watches, thoroughbred horses, vehicles and properties.

Davanzo and Fedyna operated several shell companies that were used to facilitate the scheme. As part of the scheme, Davanzo and Fedyna operated entities that purported to purchase renewable fuel, on which credits had been claimed and which was ineligible for additional credits, produced by their co-conspirators at Gen-X Energy Group (Gen-X), headquartered in Pasco, Washington, and its subsidiary, Southern Resources and Commodities (SRC), located in Dublin, Georgia. They then used a series of false transactions to transform the fuel back into feedstock needed for the production of renewable fuel, and sold it back to Gen-X or SRC, allowing credits to be claimed again. This cycle was repeated multiple times.

In addition, both Davanzo and Fedyna laundered the proceeds of the scheme through various shell entities. Davanzo and Fedyna established bank accounts in the names of shell entities. Funds were cycled through these shell companies’ bank accounts to perpetuate the fraud scheme and conceal its proceeds.

Davanzo and Fedyna also directed and participated in the generation of false paperwork designed to create the fa├žade that the renewable identification number (or RIN, a serial number used to track renewable fuel credits) created and claimed by co-conspirators were legitimate. The paperwork included false invoices from Gen-X or SRC to shell entities, which purported to show sales of renewable fuel, false invoices from shell entities to Gen-X and SRC, which purported to show the purchase of feedstock and false bills of lading, which purported to show the transportation of fuel and feedstock by tanker truck.

From March 2013 to March 2014, the co-conspirators generated at least 60 million RINs that were based on fuel that was either never produced or was merely re-processed at the Gen-X or SRC facilities. The co-conspirators received at least $42 million from the sale of these fraudulent RINs to third parties. In addition, Gen-X received approximately $4,360,724.50 in false tax credits for this fuel.

Monday, November 07, 2016

The Cattle Drive - A Walk Across Florida

Excerpts from A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich
I had got a little bit past Lake Gentry when I came upon my next adventure…..

This day I saw my first cattle drive…..

Here came some cowboys driving a herd of Brahman cattle. One of them hollered over to me and asked me to please wait while they opened up a gate. The cows came out onto the road and headed south, the same way I was going. There were four cowboys driving about 150 cows. The back guy had a bull whip and was cracking it to keep them going. Even though I stayed over to the side of the road, the first two horses were spooked by me being there and the riders had a hard time holding them steady.

The introduction of cattle to Florida is a very interesting story. It seems that the first cattle and also horses were brought to north Florida by Spanish explorers in the early 1500’s. They were from the costal areas of Andalusia, Spain. The cattle were left behind to roam after the Spaniards were forced to flee to their ships by the Calusa Indians. These cattle were not Brahma. This original Spanish stock were small and adapted to the Florida heat, parasites and the relatively low-quality forage of the grasslands, swamps and forests…..

In the 1600’s the Spanish expanded their cattle production in Florida. This allowed them to export outside the country through the connections they had with Cuba. This trading with Cuba lasted for more than 300 years. Because of this a major commercial industry was started. It therefore was the first commercial industry to develop in the New World. It was the beginning of Florida’s agriculture industry.

The cattle that descended from these first Spanish animals were later called Florida “Cracker” cattle. It is believed that the name came from the Florida cowboys that herded the cows with their bull whips cracking in the air. In fact Florida had both the first cattle and cowboys in this new country!.....

As an interesting side note, the great western illustrator and artist of horses, cowboys and Indians, Frederick Remington, also wrote short stories. In the book, Crooked Trails which is a facsimile of his 1898 edition he wrote a story entitled “Cracker Cowboys of Florida.” In it he describes the cowboys after the cattle trade had all but disappeared from Cuba and there was just a little money to be made from Key West and some local settlements. These cowboys were of a “generally bedraggled appearance.” So he doesn't give the cracker cowboys very much credit at that time because his experience and love were naturally of the west. Even so, it is written with a local dialect and gives one insight into the life of the cowboys and the landscape of the times.

He was born in 1861 in Canton, New York. By 1890, Frederick Remington was the most respected illustrator in America. In June of 1898 with a commission from Harpers Weekly he traveled with the invasion troops during the Spanish American war from Florida to Cuba. While he was in Florida he was able to write one of his few non-western stories including some great illustrations depicting the Florida cowboy.

One thing unusual about the Florida Cracker cattle is that their horns point up rather than out like the Texas Longhorns. This may be an adaptation for moving about the low-lying tree branches and through the scrubby Florida land.

In the early 1900’s different types of Brahman cattle were imported from India. They were cross bred with the Florida cracker cattle and produced an excellent breed of larger beef animal which were even more productive. In 1965, to save the original Florida Cracker cattle from cross-breeding and extinction, the Florida Agriculture Commission solicited donations from owners of the original herds. A State-of-Florida herd of Cracker cattle and a breeders association were started.

I let the cattle herd get a long ways ahead of me before I started walking again.I had got a little bit past Lake Gentry when I came upon my next adventure…..

This day I saw my first cattle drive…..

Here came some cowboys driving a herd of Brahman cattle. One of them hollered over to me and asked me to please wait while they opened up a gate. The cows came out onto the road and headed south, the same way I was going. There were four cowboys driving about 150 cows. The back guy had a bull whip and was cracking it to keep them going. Even though I stayed over to the side of the road, the first two horses were spooked by me being there and the riders had a hard time holding them steady.

The introduction of cattle* to Florida is a very interesting story. It seems that the first cattle and also horses were brought to north Florida by Spanish explorers in the early 1500’s. They were from the costal areas of Andalusia, Spain. The cattle were left behind to roam after the Spaniards were forced to flee to their ships by the Calusa Indians. These cattle were not Brahma. This original Spanish stock were small and adapted to the Florida heat, parasites and the relatively low-quality forage of the grasslands, swamps and forests…..

In the 1600’s the Spanish expanded their cattle production in Florida. This allowed them to export outside the country through the connections they had with Cuba. This trading with Cuba lasted for more than 300 years. Because of this a major commercial industry was started. It therefore was the first commercial industry to develop in the New World. It was the beginning of Florida’s agriculture industry.

The cattle that descended from these first Spanish animals were later called Florida “Cracker” cattle.* It is believed that the name came from the Florida cowboys that herded the cows with their bull whips cracking in the air. In fact Florida had both the first cattle and cowboys in this new country!.....

As an interesting side note, the great western illustrator and artist of horses, cowboys and Indians, Frederick Remington, also wrote short stories. In the book, Crooked Trails* which is a facsimile of his 1898 edition he wrote a story entitled “Cracker Cowboys of Florida.” In it he describes the cowboys after the cattle trade had all but disappeared from Cuba and there was just a little money to be made from Key West and some local settlements. These cowboys were of a “generally bedraggled appearance.” So he doesn't give the cracker cowboys very much credit at that time because his experience and love were naturally of the west. Even so, it is written with a local dialect and gives one insight into the life of the cowboys and the landscape of the times.

He was born in 1861 in Canton, New York. By 1890, Frederick Remington* was the most respected illustrator in America. In June of 1898 with a commission from Harpers Weekly he traveled with the invasion troops during the Spanish American war from Florida to Cuba. While he was in Florida he was able to write one of his few non-western stories including some great illustrations depicting the Florida cowboy.

One thing unusual about the Florida Cracker cattle is that their horns point up rather than out like the Texas Longhorns. This may be an adaptation for moving about the low-lying tree branches and through the scrubby Florida land.

In the early 1900’s different types of Brahman cattle* were imported from India. They were cross bred with the Florida cracker cattle and produced an excellent breed of larger beef animal which were even more productive. In 1965, to save the original Florida Cracker cattle from cross-breeding and extinction, the Florida Agriculture Commission solicited donations from owners of the original herds. A State-of-Florida herd of Cracker cattle and a breeders association were started.

I let the cattle herd get a long ways ahead of me before I started walking again.

About the Author: After getting out of the Army Bob Kranich backpacked from the Georgia border to Key West in a 40 day adventure walk across Florida. His recently published book A Walk Across Florida is available from his website or Amazon.com

Sunday, November 06, 2016

John Leary Dead In Head On Crash

A Brandenton, Fl. man is dead and two passengers injured after an early Sunday morning head on crash in Lee county about 1:03 a.m..

Nathaniel Poore, 24 of Lehigh Acres in a 2008 Ford 150 truck was traveling east on SR-82 in the east bound lane east of Rue Lebeau Circle.

Ciara Leary, 16 of Brandenton in a 2006 Ford E350 was traveling west on SR-82 in the west bound lane.

For unknown reasons, Poore entered into the path of  Leary. Both trucks struck head-on.  Poore suffered serious injuries and was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital.

The passenger in the Ford 350 truck, John Joseph Leary, 50 of Bradenton was pronounced deceased on scene by Lehigh Acres EMS.

A second passenger Austin Shinkle, 19 of Brandenton had critical injuries and was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital.

The investigation is on-going and will be updated .

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Ronnie B. Billie Dies At 25

Ronnie B. Billie, Jr, age 25, of Clewiston, passed away November 2, 2016 in Clewiston. He was born Mar. 9, 1991 in Fort Myers, FL, to Ronnie B. Billie, Sr. and Almira Billie.

He is survived by his parents Ronnie B. Billie, Sr. and Almira Billie; brother: Chief Charlie Osceola; six sisters: Clea Correra, Cheyenne Billie, Winter Dawn Billie, Katherine Billie, Natasha Billie and Shawna Billie, grandmother, Louise Billie; grandmother, Alice Billie; aunt, Irene Jimmie; aunt, Lorraine Billie; uncle, John Billie, Jr.; aunt, Carol Osceola; girlfriend, Ariana Cypress. He was preceded in death by his sister: Kristina Billie; grandfather: John Billie, Sr.; great grandmothers: Barbara John and Alice Osceola, uncle: Gene Jimmie and nephews: Ryland Billie and Kymaini Bille.

A graveside service was held Friday, November 4, 2016 at 9:00 am at Big Cypress Cemetery, Big Cypress Reservation with Rev. Salaw Hummingbird officiating. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Nikki Yeager Honored At Kiwanis


LABELLE, FL. -- Past President of Kiwanis (2015-2016) Nikki Yeager was recently honored for her service and devotion to the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle. 

Nikki has been a strong force in the Kiwanis club for many years and this was actually her second time of serving as President of the club. Club members thanked her for her service by presenting her with a lovely Kiwanis bracelet. Nikki continues to be a valuable member of the club and volunteers countless hours to community projects.

Pictured left to right: Kiwanis Secretary Karan Roach, Kiwanis Immediate Past President Nikki Yeager, and Kiwanis Past President Mary Ruth Prouty. (Photo by Helen Mead)

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Obituaries - Buster Wilson, Linda Dubberly

Buster Wilson, age 86, of LaBelle, passed away October 30, 2016 in Lehigh Acres. He was born Mar. 29, 1930 in Clewiston, FL, to the late Samuel Joseph and the late Mattie Pearl (Davidson) Wilson.

Buster was a lifetime resident of Hendry County. He worked for US Sugar Corporation for many years until his retirement. He served in the United States Army from 1951 to 1952.

He is survived by his loving wife: Laura June (Rimes) Wilson; son: Thomas Bruce Wilson (Betty Jo); brother: Jay Wilson (Nita); grandchildren: Joseph Bruce Wilson (Kathy) and Kristen Lynn Pyle (Dathan); great grandchildren: Lexi Pyle, Brooklyn Pyle, Colton Pyle, Kinsley Wilson and Raylee Rudd. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Edward "Bunk" Wilson, Oscar Wilson and sister, Mattie Langford.

A graveside service will be held at 10:00 am at Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle with Pastor Frank Deerey officiating. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Linda Gwen Dubberly, age 66, of Clewiston, passed away October 29, 2016 in Clewiston. She was born Dec. 7, 1949 in Belle Glade, FL, to the late James and the late Dorothy (Walker) Warren.

She is survived by her husband: Samuel Dubberly; daughter: Samatha Dubberly of Winter Haven, FL brother: Jim Warren of Lula, GA and sister: Janet Sprague of Palm Beach Gardens, FL.

A memorial service wa held Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at 2:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Pastor Danny Ingram officiating.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Lynn Waddell Speaks At Heritage Museum Nov 9

LABELLE, FL. -- Lynn Waddell, Florida journalist and author of "Fringe Florida," will be LaBelle Heritage Museum's first 'Special Speaker' in this season's series of programs highlighting both well known and little known tales about Florida made possible by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council at 7 o'clock on the evening of Wednesday, November 9. 

 Ms. Waddell delights in uncovering interesting facts about Florida's sub-culture, writing about them for publication and also recounting tales about them to receptive audiences in appearances around Florida. The program is open to the public at no charge.

LaBelle Heritage Museum is located in the Downtown LaBelle Historic District at 360 North Bridge Street. Parking at the museum itself is limited; however, Rene Curtis Pratt has generously offered the use of Curtis Honey Company's parking lot immediately across from the museum at 355 North Bridge Street.

Three More Days For Farce of Nature


LABELLE, FL. -- You have four more days to see one of the funniest plays ever November 3rd through the 6th at the Firehouse Theatre! Farce of Nature tells the story of one day in the life of the Wilburn family, owners and proprietors of The Reel 'Em Inn, the finest little fishing lodge in the Ozarks. 

The show features an outrageous cast of characters and situations including gangsters, frustrated wives, cross-dressing, door slamming, and mad chases. Yet by the delightfully chaotic climax of the show, love blossoms, truths are revealed and the lives of all change in incredible and surprising ways.

Pictured: Trevor Battams and Jack Webb