Saturday, December 31, 2016

Cornelius Cypress Dies At 46

Cornelius T. Cypress, age 46, of Hollywood, passed away December 22, 2016 in Pembroke Pines. He was born Dec. 11, 1970 in Clewiston, FL.

He is survived by his son: Colby Cypress, daughter: Courtney Cypress, mother: Lydia Cypress, brother: Tyrone Cypress and sisters: Candy Cypress, Cathy Cypress and Lydia Cypress. He was preceded in death by his son, Alexander B. Cypress

Funeral services was held Saturday, December 24, 2016 at 10:00 am at Big Cypress First Baptist Church, Clewiston with Rev. Paul Buster officiating. Interment was Saturday, December 24, 2016 in Big Cypress Cemetery, Big Cypress Reservation.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Photo Of The Week - Galloping Great Weather

LABELLE, FL. -- Even the horses and cattle are enjoying the great weather in Southwest Florida at this Glades county ranch this holiday week. Photo by Barbara Whelan

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Kids Go Shopping With Sheriff Whidden

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden, members of the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with Clewiston and LaBelle Wal-Mart, helped children in need experience the joy of Christmas shopping this year. Elementary and middle school age children enjoyed the opportunity to go Christmas shopping with Sheriff’s Deputies serving Hendry County.

On December 14 and December 17 43 children from LaBelle and Clewiston area participated in the “Shop with A Cop” program. This event partnered Hendry County School Resource Officers and Deputies with a child so they could select gifts for themselves and/or family members for Christmas. The children who participated were selected with the assistance of their SRO and their school Administration.

Sheriff Steve Whidden said, “I am excited to have this for our children this year. I am surprised by the unselfish nature of the children who participated in Shop with A Cop”, he continued.

The “Shop with a Cop” event was made possible through many generous donations and services provided by community partners.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Eve Service At LaBelle Church

Soloist Jacqueline Wilkins.


The members and friends of LaBelle Assembly of God invite the community to a Christmas Eve service at 7:00 p.m. this Saturday evening There will be Candle-lighting and Communion,  a time to remember Christ’s birth this Christmas season, and a book for kids and adults to use the following morning.

There will be a special solo by LaBelle High school senor Jacqueline Wilkins.

LaBelle Assembly of God is located across from the Edward A. Upthegrove Elementary school on Fraser Avenue for more information call 675-0900 or email at

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Charlie Brown The Musical Starts Jan 12

LABELLE, FL. -- The Firehouse Community Theatre Presents: “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, The Musical”

Get ready to enjoy your favorite characters of the Peanuts gang as Charles Schulz’s beloved comic comes to life in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, The Musical”. 

The sweet, joyful innocence of the Peanuts gang is maintained, but a new playfulness is revealed. Who is your favorite character? Bossy Lucy? Piano prodigy Schroeder? Perfectionist Sally? Blanket-toting Linus?, Loveable Snoopy? Or “blockhead” himself, Charlie Brown? No matter who your favorite character is, this musical will bring happiness to “kids of all ages”.
Books, Music & Lyrics by Clark Gesner and directed by Maureen Doucette. The play run January 12-13-14-15 and then January 19-20-21-22, 2017.

Pictured left to right (foreground) Isaac Cadena, Ashley Curry, Jeni Dyess, Larry Luckey, Timmy Smith, Emily Schwarz. left (background) John Wall - Music Director, (Not pictured) - Maureen Doucette - Director.

Walk Across Florida - Lake Okeechobee

Excepts from Bob Kranich's A Walk Across Florida

The '58 Chevy Ride Around Okeechobee City
I walked the three miles through the town of Okeechobee and came to the lake. I crossed over Highway 78 and then over the Hover Dike. There was a picnic and camping area right next to the lake…..

A family came over and said that I could use their campfire because they were going and were done with It. I moved over to their site and sat there by the fire.

Then here came three boys in a white 58 Chevy. They stopped, stayed in their vehicle and hollered to me as their two exhaust straight pipes roared….ah..thoomp, ah..thromp.

“What-sha-do’n? We saw you walking through town,” they hollered, “we’ll be right back.” Off they went roaring and spinning donuts in the sand...and then sure enough, shortly they came back and brought me a coke and a snack. We sat around the campfire and talked.

Then they said, “Hey Bob we’ll show you around the whole town.” It seemed like an interesting endeavor, so I cleaned up my camp, secured my pack and we all jumped in their Chevy.

We drove back over the levy and into Okeechobee. They showed me the old school house, a railroad grade and the railroad station. The railroad is now the Seaboard Air Line running from northwest to southeast. The Flagler Florida East Coast Railway is not active in Okeechobee any more. It does intersect and cross the Seaboard Air Line on the northeast side of the lake and then go south along the east side.

“Hey, let’s take Bob over to the cattle auction,” one of the guys said, and that is what they did. We parked and went inside. The auction pit had some selling activity going on and we watched for a while. There was a large scale next to it, I guess for weighing those large cows.

Today Okeechobee City* is a town which has a lot to do with the local cattle business. It supports dairy farmers, cattle ranchers, naturally tourists, and now the Florida Trail biker/hikers. Of course it wasn’t always this way. Back 2 to 3,000 years ago native villages began to appear in the Okeechobee area. Mounds have been found and some excavated in various areas around and about Lake Okeechobee, and one has been found near Okeechobee City. The first white settlers arrived in the Okeechobee City area about the time of the canal dredging in the late 1800’s.They settled along Taylor Creek…..

It was getting late so the boys took me back to the lake and my campsite. We sat around and talked for quite a while. As they were leaving they told me why they liked to spin donuts.

“Yea, when the tourists pack in on the beach during fishing season, we like to come down in the evening and spin donuts to scare them Yankees off!”

This having been said, they took their leave in their Chevy with sand flying in a double-donut spin.

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

Friday, December 16, 2016

Frederick Ralph Smith Dies At 80

Fredrick Ralph Smith, age 80, of Fort Myers, passed away December 13, 2016 in Fort Myers. He was born August 23, 1936 in Grafton, OH, to the late Joseph C. Smith and Bessie (Gray) Smith. He grew up in Elyria, Ohio and graduated from Elyria Catholic High School in 1954.

Fred moved to Fort Myers in 1977 to escape the snowy winters and establish his successful family business that continues today, Fred's Award World. Fred was active in the Fort Myers Community serving for decades in various organizations including:

Rotary Club of East Fort Myers since 1978 He received The Paul Harris Fellowship along with recognition for 33 years of perfect attendance.

Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair Board and received Hall of Fame Award for his many years of dedicated service, devotion, and commitment.

Fred had an unwavering Faith in God and the Catholic Church. He was a Eucharistic minister at Saint Vincent DePaul and very active in the church. He was active in the Knights of Columbus and was awarded an honorary lifetime membership.

Fred had a love for life and a sense of humor that most were exposed to and some understood. Fred loved all children and the energy they shared. He worked as Santa's helper for more than 35 years bringing joy to young and old alike. Fred enjoyed the Gulf Coast Symphony and its education programs. He was a long-time season subscriber.

He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years: Betty Lou Smith, daughter: Theresa Layman (Scott), son: Walter Smith (Sheila), grandchildren: Alyssa Smith and Allison Smith, brother: Joseph "Chuck" Smith, sister: Marianna Pihlblad (Tom), He was preceded in death by his brother, Edward Thomas Smith.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday, December 19, 2016 at 9:00 am at Saint Vincent De Paul Catholic Church, Fort Myers. Visitation will be Sunday from 1-3 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Fort Myers, FL.

In lieu of flowers the family asks you donate in Fred's honor to one of the following charities:

Prosthetic Limbs for Children sponsored by Fort Myers Inner Wheel Club. Contributions or requests for information to: Fort Myers Inner Wheel Foundation, 2971 Styles Road, Alva, FL 33920. (

Music Works! Program for kid's musical education sponsored by the Gulf Coast Symphony. To donate call the Symphony office at 239-277-1700, or send donation to Gulf Coast Symphony/MusicWorks! Program PO Box 60878 Fort Myers, FL 33906.

Workshop Focuses On Annual Sugar Cane Burns

BELLE GLADE, FL. -- More than 30 residents of Lake Okeechobee’s Glades Communities gathered for the "Stop The Burn!Go Green Harvest! Community Workshop," on December 3, in Belle Glade. Leaders of the Stop Sugar Field Burning Campaign team, based in South Bay and Belle Glade, gave a series of presentations about their campaign to end the harmful, outdated practice of pre-harvest sugarcane burning and switch to the burn-free, modern alternative of "green harvesting."

First, workshop host and local team member Steve Messam pointed out that the Stop Sugar Field Burning Campaign is not about bashing the sugar industry, but rather influencing it to become a better neighbor to the Glades communities. He emphasized that a good neighbor does not dump its trash in the form of smoke and ash on their neighbors’ property and expect them to deal with the cleanup and health consequences.

Campaign team leader Shanique Scott next presented the negative health effects associated with exposure to sugar cane burning emissions. Studies from other parts of the world have concluded that sugar cane burning contributes to respiratory disease and even cancer. When Ms. Scott asked how many residents and their families personally suffered from respiratory issues such as asthma, the majority of the attendees raised their hands. Ms. Scott also spoke from personal experience about how doctors often recommend to Glades community residents that they move away because the smoke during sugarcane burning season aggravates their respiratory conditions.

Photo: Kina Phillips presenting at the Workshop

Kina Phillips, another local campaign team leader gave a presentation on the environmental injustice of sugar burning. She described the discriminatory nature the of industry's voluntary burn protocols: The protocols prevent sugarcane burning on days when winds blow toward the more affluent residents of eastern Palm Beach County, but provide no such protections when the winds blow toward the poorer, predominantly African American Glades communities in Western Palm Beach County. She highlighted how Glades residents suffer the most from the effects of sugarcane burning while receiving the least amount of protection.

Shane Slocum And Baby Injured In Crash

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- A 2012 Toyota Camry driven by Shane Slocum, 30 was traveling north on County Road 721 about 3:09 p.m. Thursday, towards Bullhead Grade as the driver failed to maintain control of the vehicle. it traveled off the roadway towards the west shoulder and entered the shoulder, the vehicle's front struck a tree as the vehicle continued to travel north on the shoulder.

Slocum and passenger Samuel Andrew Slocum, age 1 were both critically injured and transported to St. Mary's Hospital.

The FHP has charged Slocum with careless driving.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Obituaries - Helen Corbitt Campbell, Patricia Mace

Helen Louise Corbitt Campbell, age 76, of Buckhead Ridge, passed away December 4, 2016 in Buckhead Ridge.

She was born Apr. 17, 1940 in Lee County, FL, to the late James A and Hazel L. (Myers) Corbitt. She married Jimmy Reed Campbell; he preceded her in death on September 3, 2014. Helen worked for Monroe County Government for a few years, and later in life she was a homemaker. She enjoyed looking for and reading recipes.

Survivors include her son; Jimmy Reed Campbell, II and his wife Kimberly of Chelsea, Alabama, Stephanie Kandessi of Cape Coral, brothers; James A. Corbitt, Jr and Jack D. Corbitt. Six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Patricia Sue Mace, age 76, of LaBelle, passed away December 12, 2016 in LaBelle.

She was born Dec. 10, 1940 in North Vernon, Indiana, to the late Benjamin and the late Evelyn (Locke) Deppe. Patricia married Robert Mace on April the 23rd 1960 in North Vernon Ind. Patricia and Robert were members of the First Christian Church of LaBelle. Patricia enjoyed scrap booking, computer games, reading, listening to gospel music, and having her family around. Patricia was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother who will be greatly missed by everyone who loved and knew her.

Patricia is survived by her loving husband of 56 years, Robert Mace of LaBelle, daughters Robin Richardson and husband Bob of LaBelle, FL, Tracy Murphy and husband Mike of LaBelle, FL, Jennifer Bentle and husband Gary's of Moores Hill, Indiana, sons Robert Mace, Jr of Arcadia, Scott Mace and his wife Tricia of LaBelle, and Tim Mace and his wife Odette of LaBelle. Patricia has 10 loving grandchildren and 5 wonderful great grandchildren. Sisters Janet Jones and her husband Darrel of Bluffton IN, Alice Munford, Lou Lynn and her husband Bob of North Vernon, IN, one brother, Gilbert Deppe of Columbus, GA, one brother-in-law, Jim Mace of Labelle, FL, and numerous nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Patricia's life will be held at 4:00 p.m. Friday, December 16, 2016 in First Christian Church of LaBelle with Pastor Bill Maddox, Jr. officiating.

Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

America's Favorite Dad - Alan Thicke Dies At 69

America's favorite Dad from the TV series Growing Pains, Alan Thicke dies at age 69 of a heart attack. One of his last series was on featuring his wife and youngest son and the misadventures of California life.

Thicke is the father of pop singer Robin Thicke, 39.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Steam Locomotive Returns To Clewiston's U.S. Sugar Corp.

CLEWISTON, Fl – U.S. Sugar today welcomed home the return of Engine No. 148, a steam locomotive it used in the 1950s to haul sugarcane from the fields to its mill.

U.S. Sugar re-acquired the steam engine from a private owner and plans to spend the next year or more restoring the retired Florida East Coast engine. Eventually, U.S. Sugar hopes to make the engine operational and add vintage passenger cars for offering public train rides.

“This steam locomotive is part of our history, and we wanted to bring it home,’’ said Judy Sanchez, senior director of corporate communications and public affairs for U.S. Sugar, during a welcoming home celebration in Clewiston. “We intend to restore Engine No. 148 to its former glory.’’

The engine was shipped via rail from Colorado to Clewiston, where a team of about two dozen U.S. Sugar mechanics and others will inspect the engine and perform an engineering study. U.S. Sugar plans to return the 97-year-old engine to operating condition after its decades-long retirement.

“These engines helped fuel Florida and its growth. To be able to save such an important piece of our past is an incredible opportunity that will benefit generations to come,’’ said Seth Bramson, company historian for the Florida East Coast Railway, the only rail system along the east coast of Florida, which dates back to Henry M. Flagler. “This is an indication of the caring and interest of this company in honoring its past and the state’s great history.’’

Founded in 1931, U.S. Sugar has long used railroad as an efficient means for transporting goods throughout the region and beyond. It’s the only sugarcane farming company in the continental United States that transports all of its cane to a sugar factory by railroad, which saves on fuel and reduces truck traffic and fossil fuel emissions. Its South Central Florida Express transports sugar, citrus products, fertilizer, farm equipment and other agricultural freight year-round. Its Sugarcane Train hauls sugarcane from the fields to the mills during harvest season. In all, the company operates a dozen locomotives and 800 rail cars over 300 miles of track.

Deputy Sergeant Robert Archer Arrested On Perjury Charges

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff Whidden announced today that Hendry County Sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Archer, 37 was arrested and booked by FDLE, into the Hendry County Jail on three misdemeanor counts of Perjury When Not In An Official Proceeding and one count of Official Misconduct in Public Agency, which is a felony.

Reportedly, Archer was previously involved in a search warrant for a mobile home which led to drug related charges against the occupant, but a judge had reportedly not signed the warrant. Archer is represented by Naples attorney Lee Hollander.

This development results in Sgt. Archer’s change in status with HCSO to Administrative Leave without Pay pending the outcome of the charges. 

Once the court case is disposed of HCSO will conduct an internal investigation into the allegations to determine any policy violations and disciplinary actions warranted.

Sgt. Archer maintains his innocence and should be afforded the same constitutional rights as any other citizen; that he is innocent until proven guilty, said the Sheriff's department.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Moo-ry Christmas Greetings

LABELLE, FL. -- Christmas wreath on a Glades county ranch gate celebrates the holiday season in a very special way.

Photo courtesy: Barbara Whelan

Chrystal Rodriquez At Kiwanis

LABELLE, FL. -- Kiwanis Club of LaBelle welcomed guest speaker Crystal Rodriquez, 1st-5th grade ESE Educator.

She spoke to the Kiwanis group about Farm Share, Ed Upthegrove Elementary Annual Reading Event during Literacy Week; and Special Olympics Florida Polar Plunge.

Pictured: Kiwanis Club of LaBelle 2016-2017 President Tim Holland and Crystal Rodriguez, ESE Educator. Photo by Helen Mead.

Captaiin Kat Britt Speaking At Audubon Dec 19

LABELLE, FL. -- Mark your calendars for a lively presentation by Everglades Holiday Park Captain “Kat” Britt on Monday December 19 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.

Captain “Kat” has been employed at Holiday Park for over 30 years. She has been a gator farmer, gator wrestler, is an artist and animal lover. He hobbies include art, horseback riding and rescuing animals.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Rebecca Drury Injured In Crash

LABELLE,FL. -- Rebecca Drury was seriously injured in a crash Wednesday in Hendry county.

A 1999 Chevy Venture, driven by Rebecca Lynn Drury, 36 of LaBelle  was southbound on State Road 29 (Bridge Street) near Oklahoma St. Thursday at 2:14 p.m.. A 2008 Nissan Altima driven by Sandra G. Moore, 55 of Illinois was northbound on State Road 29. The Chevy crossed the centerline and the front collided with the front of the Nissan in the northbound lane. Post collision, both vehicles came to rest in the northbound lane of State Road 29. 

Both drivers and a passenger in the Nisaan were transported by Hendry County EMS to Lehigh Regional Medical Center. Drury is in stable condition. Both  Moore and the passenger were treated and released.

Drury was charges with failure to maintain single lane.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

The Tired Snowman

LABELLE, FL. -- Seen on Bridge Street in LaBelle this week.

A "tired" snowman in front of Randy's Garage.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Sandra Glass Dies At 73

Sandra R. Glass, age 73, of Clewiston, passed away December 1, 2016 in Sarasota. She was born June 24, 1943 in Henderson, KY, to the late Jesse Reeder and the late Hazel Marie (Wotring) Reeder.

She is survived by her son: Alfie M. Tounjian (Tommie Jo), daughter: Toni M. McDaniel (Bobby), grandchildren, David Pavey, Candace Miller, Devon Tounjian and great grandchildren , Blake Pavey, Emmett Pavey and baby Miller.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 11:00 am at Saint Margaret's Catholic Church, Clewiston with Father Jiobani Batista officiating. Interment will be in Lee Memorial Park Cemetery, Fort Myers.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Saint Margaret's Catholic Church, 208 North Dean Duff Ave., Clewiston, FL 33440 or the Salvation Army.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Lawyer Contests Florida Presidential Election Vote

On Friday, December 2, 2016, Florida joined the list of states where voters have contested the results of the presidential election and requested a hand recount of the paper ballots. Filed in the 2nd Circuit Court in Leon County, FL, by attorneys from Clint Curtis & Associates, the complaint asserts that if the presidential votes had been counted properly, Hillary Clinton would have prevailed in Florida and received its twenty-nine Electoral Votes. 

In support of this contention, the lawsuit makes a number of allegations that call into question the integrity of the vote count—malfunctioning of election voting equipment, legal voters being turned away at the polls, requested absentee ballots that were never mailed, and even Donald Trump’s assertion that tens of thousands of illegal votes were counted. The allegations are supported both by voter complaints and by affidavits by some of the nation’s leading computer scientists with expertise in electronic voting systems.

The complaint states that large and persistent disparities between official results and projections by opinion polling, exit polls, and predictive turnout models also cast suspicion on the reliability of the results. Going into Election Day, all these sources confidently predicted that Hillary Clinton would win Florida by a margin of approximately half-a-million votes. Real-time estimates based on actual turnout continued to project Clinton as the winner throughout the day on Election Day. These kinds of disparities have historically been cited to challenge the results of elections—both here in the U.S. and abroad.

The complaint also asserts that the number of uncounted, or invalid, votes in Florida’s 2016 presidential race more than doubled compared to 2008 and 2012, based on official reports by the Florida Dept. of State. More than 160,000 Florida voters in 2016 did not have their vote in the presidential race counted. Election experts consider such excessive invalid vote rates as markers for election problems, such as equipment malfunctions, human error, or possible tampering.

Even more startling was the revelation that one of Florida’s main election vendors was attacked by hackers prior to the election. This vendor provides election services, including the electronic voter identification system, voter database management, and turnout reporting, to 63 of Florida’s 67 counties. The complaint asks that the voter databases and electronic poll books be impounded to preserve evidence.

The complaint was filed Friday, Dec. 2, by attorney Sylvain R. Robitaille, the managing Florida partner of Clint Curtis & Associates, (407) 384-3120,

Monday, December 05, 2016

Tina Jim Dies At 47

Tina L. Jim, age 47, of Clewiston, passed away December 1, 2016 in Ruskin. She was born Dec. 24, 1968 in Clewiston, FL, to Louis Dixie Jim, Sr. and the late Ruth (Osceola) Jim.

She is survived by her daughter: Jade Jim, father: Louis Dixie Jim, Sr., brother: Charlie Cypress three sisters: Rosie Jim, Jennifer Jim and Kaniah Jim, grandchildren, Jaiden Washington, Jaiven Washington, Cyrus Washington, Ka'Jax Casius, Jada Casius; aunt, Mabel Jim; aunt, Violet Jim; uncle, Stevie Jim; uncle, Noah Jim and cousin, Lenny Jim. She was preceded in death by her mother, Ruth Osceola Jim, sister, Penny Lee Jimmie and brother, Louis Dixie Jim, Jr.

A graveside service was held Saturday, December 3, 2016 at 10:00 am at Big Cypress Cemetery, Big Cypress Reservation with Dr. Arlen J. Payne officiating. Visitation was held one hour prior to service at Big Cypress Cemetery, Big Cypress Reservation, FL.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

David Keith Akins Dies At 59

David Keith Akins, age 59, of Moore Haven, passed away December 1, 2016 in Clewiston.

He was born Sep. 4, 1957 in Clewiston, FL, to the late Jack Swan and the late Doris Evelyn (Williams) Akins. He served in the United States Army from 15 Jan 76 to 12 Jan 79. He worked for Glades Gas for a couple years, then worked along his best friend, Wayne Pullen, who owns Pullen Air Conditioning as an installer and repairman.

David leaves behind his loving sister; Aletris Farnam and her husband Carl of Moore Haven, brother; Michael Stinson and his wife Barbara of Newell, Alabama, aunt; Mabel Teal of Moore Haven and uncle; Bill Varnadoe of Okeechobee. David was loving, caring man who will be missed dearly by his family and close friends.

Celebration of David's life will be held in Ortona Cemetery's Pavilion at 11 a.m. December 5 where Pastor Charley Watts will officiate, and visitation will be one hour before also held at the cemetery,

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Christmas Programs At Assembly Of God

LABELLE, FL. --  December 18th, LaBelle Assembly of God will have a day of Christmas events. At 9:45 a.m. Pastor Avery will have Christmas Message. David Miller Jr. Will have a solo, and Kathy Avery will lead worship in all the excitement of the Christmas Season.

On December 18th at 11:00 a.m the musical, “The Baby That Brought Amazing Grace” by Katherine Avery will be presented at, LaBelle Assembly of God. This shows the amazing love God has for this world and God’s great humility coming to this world as a helpless little baby. God becoming one of us to show us by His great example how to live in a world that needs love so badly. 

The youth will be a part of this program as Joseph & Mary come to the front to kneel at the manger. Shepherds coming to bow at the birth of this baby. Some of the songs will be, “We Are The Reason, ” “Silent Night,” “The King Is coming,” “O Holy Night, “How Great Thou Art” and more. 

The last event is Christmas Caroling at 6:00 p.m. we will go to areas and sing Christmas music we will meet at LaBelle Assembly, dress warm. We load up on a long flatbed trailer.

LaBelle Assembly Of God is located at 135 Fraser Avene across from the Edward Upthegrove Elementary school. For more information call 675 - 0900.  

Everyone is welcome to all or any of the events.

Pictured cast of Christmas Musical “The baby That Brought Amazing Grace”
Top row left to Right: Clifford Avery, David Miller, Julie Wilkins, Henry Avery, Richard Robinson Jonathan Chezim , Brandon Helmlinger,
Second row: Jean Gery, Kathy Avery, Jacqueline Wilkins, Kitty Bryce, Michael Millan, Maria Millan
First row: Oscar Chezim Patrick Hyde, not pictured David Miller Jr. And Wayne Wilkins.

Photograph by Mary Robinson

Friday, December 02, 2016

Video - Santa's Christmas Parade

LABELLE, FL. -- LaBelle, Florida Annual Christmas Parade up Main Street to Barron Park, December 2, 2016. Horses, Tractors, Fire Truck, and Santa celebrate the beginning of the season in LaBelle along the Caloosahatchee River.

Christmas Parade December 2

LABELLE, FL. -- The annual Santa's Christmas Parade weaves it's way up Main Street tonight, December 2 beginning around 5:30, starting at the General Market parking lot and ending at Barron Park on the river.

Video: Recent year's Christmas parade and activities at Barron Park
Photo: Santa at this year's parade, Dec. 2, 2016

Drone For Christmas? - Watch These FAA Tips

If you’re one of the lucky people who gets a drone for a holiday gift, the FAA wants you to know how to fly it safely. The agency has released a new video reminding everyone of the rules and regulations that safe drone pilots must follow, including a required registration with the FAA.

The video stresses that whether you fly your drone for recreation or business, safety is everybody’s responsibility. And that means following the rules:

Don’t fly over people and respect the privacy of anyone on the ground.
Don’t fly near other aircraft or in restricted airspace, such as “No Drone Zones.”

The video also tells you how to get the FAA’s B4UFLY smartphone app that provides the latest information about airspace restrictions wherever you intend to fly your drone. The bottom line: Safe flying is what smart drone pilots do.

Whisper Creek RV Park Under New Owners

LABELLE, FL. -- Fortune Real Estate announced the completion of its sale of Whisper Creek RV Resort in LaBelle, FL to Inspire Communities. 

Now in its 25th season of operation, Whisper Creek RV Resort is a four-star, 55+ recreational vehicle resort consisting of 477 sites in Glades county. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Fortune Real Estate negotiated the sale on behalf of the family of Whisper Creek’s original developer including Rhonda Allison who will continue to serve as the resort’s Community Manager. 

Lee Meekoms of Parkbridge Capital Group, LLC, and Loraine Leithiser of Florida Choice Realty, Inc. represented Inspire Communities.

“We are pleased to announce the completion of the sale of one of the area’s premier RV resort, Whisper Creek, to Inspire Communities, a leading owner and operator of manufactured home communities nationwide. We look forward to working with Erik Rollain and the entire Inspire Communities team again on future acquisitions,” stated Rob Smith, Fortune Real Estates’ lead broker on the acquisition.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Trace Atkins Headlines Sugar Festival

CLEWISTON, FL. – The Clewiston Sugar Festival has announced country music star Trace Adkins will headline the 2017 festival, a free, family-friendly event held annually in America’s sweetest town. 

Adkins will be joined by other musical guests Tracy Lawrence, Parmalee, Runaway June and JJ McCoy.

The daylong event will be held Saturday, March 18, at Civic Park, on U.S. Hwy 27 in Clewiston. Admission to the event and musical performances is free.

Now in its 31st year, the Clewiston Sugar Festival celebrates the region’s annual sugarcane harvest and the importance of sugarcane in Glades-area communities and Florida’s agricultural industry. The presenting sponsor is U.S. Sugar, a Florida pioneer in the sustainable farming and processing of sugarcane, citrus and sweet corn.

“We’re really excited about this year’s lineup and look forward to celebrating our sugarcane harvest season with the entire community,’’ said Judy Sanchez, senior director of corporate communications and public affairs for U.S. Sugar. “We work hard all year round to bring in top musical talent that all ages can enjoy.’’

Adkins is best known for his hit songs You’re Gonna Miss This, Ladies Love Country Boys, Songs About Me, and many others. He also has appeared on TV shows, including NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice. Lawrence has produced several No. 1 country music hits, such as Sticks and Stones, Alibis and Can’t Break it to My Heart.

The Clewiston Sugar Festival will feature a variety of delicious food vendors, arts and craft booths, an antique car show, tractor displays and a kids’ park with games and inflatable jump houses.

“We’re thrilled to welcome such big names and encourage everyone to mark their calendars and come to Clewiston on March 18th,’’ said Hillary Hyslope, executive director of the Clewiston Chamber of Commerce, which is helping to organize the event. “This is our time to shine and show the world why Clewiston is the sweetest town in America.’’

This year’s musical lineup builds on the success of last year’s festival, which included performances by Gary Allan, Chase Bryant and Eric Paslay. Over the years, the Clewiston Sugar Festival has hosted many up-and-coming artists who have gone on to become some of country music’s biggest names, including Blake Shelton, Kenny Chesney, Brantley Gilbert and Miranda Lambert.

Bob Kranich - The Long Legged Girl Strumming A Guitar

Excerpts from A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich
When I got to Highway 60, I had wanted to cross over and continue on. My map showed the road/trail/railroad grade straight as an arrow for at least 25 additional miles. It would have been much better than going on Highway 60 to 441. But it was not going to happened. I guess the Lord had other things in store for me. As it was, the extension of the Peavine Trail was blocked by a gate with a sign fact, demanding:


Some rancher must have owned all of this land. Just when I was beginning to like the Peavine Trail. After all,it did have the convenience of no cars.

I packed up and had to face the inevitable, on to Highway 441 heading due south. I was sorry that so much of Florida was fenced. That is why today it is a blessing that the Florida Trail is developed. I would have liked one that day. There was lots of traffic for this two-lane road, both big trucks and cars……

I was walking on the left, facing traffic, like one is supposed to for safety’s sake. A group of young people in a car came towards me from the south and threw up the peace sign. I returned it, and lo-and-behold they stopped, turned around, came back, stopped, got out and crossed over. There were three of them, two boys and a girl. Naturally my attention was first turned toward the female. She was dressed in tight blue jeans and a tie-died shirt. She was the most talkative.

“Boy, you look great! I mean it! Real boss!”

I didn’t know what to do at first. They looked like mild hippie types. No long hair. The bigger boy was barefooted, decent haircut, with a long-sleeved white shirt and blue jeans. The younger boy had a crazy hat and wanted to swap his love button for one of the blue jay feathers I had in my hat. We consummated the trade.

“Let’s jam!” she says.

The older boy crossed over to the car and got her guitar, a twelve string, no less! Here we are, a beautiful, long-legged girl strumming a twelve string guitar, all sitting along Highway 441, out in the middle of nowhere, along the side of this busy two-lane highway (cars and trucks blasting by, both ways) , in the grass, in the sun! What a jam! She was a gifted singer, really knew her folk songs of the day. We kept this up for about half an hour. After the singing, we exchanged addresses, talked some, and then they were gone. A high point of my day.

I never would have been able to do that in the backcountry on the trail, I thought to myself, What an experience! I just never knew what was coming next!

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