Monday, May 22, 2017

Katherine Avery - Drinking In The Park Good For City?

Commissioners Turned Politician? Should Alcohol Be Permitted In Parks?
Something I never thought I would see in the City of LaBelle Florida, was our voted in City Commissioners turn Politician. 

Recently they made a decision that many in this city did not ever want to see come to pass, drinking in our city park when we have family events. 

I cannot tell you how sick my heart feels over this and as a resident of LaBelle and one who knows what drinking can do to families. Also, knowing the problems that can come to family events with drinking involved. 

I thought our City Commissioners cared about what the community really wanted but in this case I was so wrong. Politicians on the other hand care about what they think is best and who cares about what the people want. I felt this was something that I needed to share, because LaBelle has always had so many wonderful, caring events for people that it’s a shame to go down this path. 

I am a Pastor’s wife and have talked with ladies that face sad problems because of drink. Think about it, Do we really want this at our family events? Is This The LaBelle you now want? I don’t feel our Commissioners are really politicians, they just forgot we are here too, with a voice that counts and shares their burden of this city.
Submitted by Katherine E. Avery

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Tammy Perkins Speaks May 28 At LaBelle Assembly

Tammy Perkins to Speak at LaBelle Assembly of God
Sunday May 28, 2017, in the 9:45 Early Worship Service 

Tammy earned state of  Florida teachers certificate from Florida South Western State College . Her Friends and co-workers  describe her  as very kind hearted, Compassionate, loving person that loves God.  Perkins’ sermon title  will be: The New Life IN Christ Jesus.   

Tammy is one and half years into a three year degree in Tampa’s “River Bible Institute”.  Every Thursday evening you will find Tammy Perkins in Jail at the Hendry County Jail ministering to the spiritual needs of the women that reside there.  She enjoys sharing the good news that, Jesus saves on a personal, one on one level. 

Tammy, will be sharing at 9:45 a.m in LaBelle Assembly of God. Located at 139 Fraser Avenue across from the Edward A. Upthegrove Elementary School. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

John Dankanich Dies At 47

John P. Dankanich, Jr., age 47, of LaBelle, passed away May 14, 2017 at home.
He was born Apr. 21, 1970 in Charleroi, PA, to the late John P. Dankanich, Sr. and Patricia Dankanich. He was a worked in maintenance for the City.
He is survived by sons: John P. Dankanich III of LaBelle, FL and Thomas J. Dankanich of Fort Myers, FL, mother: Patricia Dankanich, brother: Thomas C. Dankanich of Sanford, FL, fiancé, Darri J Brightshue of LaBelle, FL; grandchild, Lila T. Dankanich; stepchildren, Ashley, Kristina, Wayne, Jr., Patricia Jo Brightshue & Kalynn. He was preceded in death by his Father, John P. Dankanich, Sr., also surived by 4 cousins and a Aunt. In PA.
A gathering of friends and family will be held Saturday, May 20, 2017 from 12:00 - 2:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle. A celebration of life will immediately follow the gathering at 4017 Bishop Circle, LaBelle, FL.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be sent to American Heart Association, P.O. Box 21475, St. Petersburg, FL 33742
Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Black Bear Cautions Issued In Florida

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds the public to be aware that bears are becoming more active this time of year. There are important things people can do over the next few months to reduce negative interactions with Florida’s largest land mammal.

“Now is the time to expect bears to show up looking for food,” said Dave Telesco, who directs the FWC’s Bear Management Program. “If they can’t find food in your neighborhood, they’ll move on.”

With temperatures increasing, bears are out of their winter dens and are moving around in search of food. June also marks the beginning of black bear mating season in Florida. This causes bears to be more active as they search for potential mates.

Female bears that gave birth to cubs that were only 12 ounces at the end of January are beginning to move around more with their young, which may now be 5 to 10 pounds. As the cubs continue to grow, the family unit will roam and can be more visible to people.

While black bears generally are not aggressive, they have injured people in Florida. Never intentionally approach any bear. When walking dogs in bear country, keep them close to you – preferably on a non-retractable leash – and be aware of your surroundings. Dogs can trigger defensive behaviors from bears, especially females with cubs.

To keep bears away from your home and neighborhood, follow these simple tips:
  • Secure household garbage in a sturdy shed, garage or a wildlife-resistant container.
  • Put household garbage out on morning of pickup rather than the night before.
  • Secure commercial garbage in bear-resistant dumpsters.
  • Protect gardens, beehives, compost and livestock with electric fencing.
  • Encourage your homeowners association or local government to institute bylaws or ordinances to require trash be kept secure from bears.
  • Feed pets indoors or bring in dishes after feeding.
  • Clean grills and store them in a secure place.
  • Remove wildlife feeders or make them bear-resistant.
  • Pick ripe fruit from trees and remove fallen fruit from the ground.
It is illegal in Florida to intentionally feed bears or leave out food or garbage that will attract bears and cause human-bear conflicts.
As bears increase their movements this time of year, they also increase the number of roads they cross. For the safety of yourself and bears, remember to slow down when driving, particularly on rural highways at dawn or dusk. Watch for road signs identifying bear crossing areas. Each year in Florida, an average of 240 Florida bears are killed after being hit by vehicles.

Having conflicts with bears? Call one of the FWC’s five regional offices. Go to, and click on “Contact Regional offices to find the phone number for your region. If you feel threatened by a bear or want to report someone who is either harming bears or intentionally feeding them, call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Ligia And Kallitha Silva Die In Hendry Canal Crash

LABELLE, FL. -- Ligia Silva, 43 of LaBelle was traveling west on Sears Road five miles east of State Road 29 in a 2002 Ford Explorer Wednesday at 6:26 a.m. when she lost control and traveled off the roadway to the right, causing the SUV to overturn into a canal, the vehicle coming to final rest on its roof in the canal.

Silva and passenger Kallitha Silva, 14 died in the crash, said the FHP. Passenger Deborah Silva, 12 suffered minor injuries.

The crash remains under investigation.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Food Bag Program Sign Ups This Week

LABELLE, FL. -- Applications for free monthly food bags are taking place in Hendry and Glades County this week and next week.  30 pounds of canned food, milk and cheese are available monthly for seniors living in the two rural counties. The program is being cut back in coastal Lee, Charlotte and Collier county in favor of seniors living in more rural low income counties.

Starting in July, food will be available for an additional 800 people in Hendry and 300 in Glades county. Hope Health Centers with help from United Way will hand out the food bags each month in Hendry and Glades. If the quota of new clients is not met in those two counties the money not used for the program will be offered in other rural areas around the state.

To qualify for the free food program residents must live in Hendry or Glades counties, be 60 or older and have a gross income at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

Bring these items;
A photo ID (for example – driver’s license, state-issued ID, passport)
If photo ID does not list current address, you must also provide documentation of current address (for example, a lease or phone bill)

Enrollment dates:

May 16, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Nobles Senior Center, 475 East Cowboy Way

Moore Haven
May 18 & 25, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Hope Connections, 501 1st St.

May 23 & May 30
Hope Connections, 1200 South W.C. Owen Ave.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Tools For Caregivers Workshop June 1

The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida has recently partnered with Florida State University’s Geriatrics Department to implement the Powerful Tools for Caregivers workshops in Southwest Florida and the first workshop is to be held in Labelle beginning June 1 at the L.J. Nobles Senior Center on Cowboy Way in LaBelle.

The 6-week workshop will be held at Hope Connections on Thursdays, at 12:30 pm. The workshop is free to the public; however, preregistration is required by calling the Senior Helpline 1-866-413-5337

Mother's Day - Bill Neville

Commentary by T. W. Bill Neville

Having had the privilege of being born into a "State" of "INFANCY" on the day that always follows Labor Day and, the first day of school's start, i throw myself on the mercy and judgement of you, the "real" Supreme Court of all "things" concerning Mothers.

For the record, I was blessed from that first "spank" with a Mother that "made" me what I am today. When I was "blessed" with the acceptance of my marriage proposal, I was twice "blessed" by being "Mothered" not only by a devoted wife and Mother, but also a "SAINTED" Mother in law who was also my "best" friend. Contingent, but not necessarily relevant was that my birth date of September 6, 1928 was a "tad" ahead of President Franklin D. Roosevelt stating that December 07, 1941 was "A day that would go down in history as a day of INFAMY."

I was 13 at that time and, I always wondered why it had taken that long for FDR to make the distinction between my birth date and the Japanese attack on Perl harbor. After all, they only "missed" my birth date by 13 years and "one" day.

On an even more peculiar note is that I can't keep from associating the Smother's brother's with Mother's Day. I guess it is that during their comedy act they constantly made references to their Mother during their "smug", trite approach to the obscure, mannerlistic, manipulation of the "Maternal Honor" code?

Having lived with this realization, I want make it perfectly clear that by virtue of this article that If it was not for these three Mother's, I would and could "NEVER" have amounted to anything. My MOTHER for birthing & raising me. My MOTHER in Law for birthing, raising and enabling our marriage. My Sainted WIFE, and MOTHER of sixty six years, delivering our 5 sons. They, in turn brought into the Family, EIGHT beautiful "Mothers" of our ELEVEN Grands and SIX Great Grands. Long may these, and ALL Mothers, continue to be the "birthers" of ALL "Heaven" bound families.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Hiking Along The Tamiami Trail - Bob Kranich

Excerpts From A Walk Across Florida
I continued my hike long the Tamiami Trail. In the next couple of miles I counted 30 moccasins in and on the side of the canal along the north side of the road. There weren’t any gators, but these snakes were big, about the size of a man’s arm, short and fat. Some were sunning themselves on rocks and sticks and some were swimming on top of the thick weeds.

There is a misconception that every dark-colored snake one sees in the water is a poisonous moccasin. Not the case. There are more harmless water snakes than moccasins. An adult Cottonmouth Moccasin on average is between 20-48 inches long. Its body is very fat, and it has a short thick tail. Its head is distinctly broad and triangular shaped and much broader than the neck. Its pupil is vertical. Water snakes have a slender body, a long thin tail, a narrow head, and no neck, although a water snake can flatten its head out to look threatening, which will give it a triangular look.

Keep in mind that Cottonmouth bites can be very dangerous. They use a hemotoxic venom like copperheads and most rattlesnakes, which prevents the body’s blood supply from coagulating and therefore a victim may experience a large blood loss. Bleeding may be from every opening of the body. There is extreme pain and possible permanent tissue and muscle damage or even loss of limb. The good news, if there is any, is that at least half of all venomous snake bites turn out to be “dry bites.” This is a bite that doesn’t have any venom in it. It is possible that they may save their venom for something they want to eat. Just remember that even non-poisonous snakes can bite, so it is best to leave snakes alone…..

It was about 9 miles along the Trail to Monroe Station. Monroe Station opened in 1928. It was originally one of six stations built by Baron Collier every 10 to 12 miles along the most desolate part of the trail. They were to provide safety, comfort, supplies, gas, repairs and even a telephone. Collier planned these stations with husband-and-wife teams in mind. The wife pumped gas and took care of the commercial area, and the husband every hour would ride his Harley Davidson motorcycle the 5 to 6 miles each way from the station looking for motorists who needed help.

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

Thursday, May 11, 2017

"Tricky" Ad Brings Car And Truck Buyers To Walmart Tent Sale

LABELLE, FL. -- Walmart in LaBelle is hosting a six-day automobile tent sale event in their parking lot this week. Local residents received a card in the mail this week which induced many car and truck shoppers to visit Walmart in hopes of getting a deal on a used car, or at the least winning one of the "prizes" promised by the mailing if the card's lucky number matches prizes ranging from thousands of dollars down to a $5 Walmart gift card.

Maus Nissan of Crystal River garnered permission from the LaBelle city council to hold a week long used car sale in the Walmart parking lot this week and shoppers visiting the car sale found lots of used cars without posted prices, hovering salesmen, and a visible lack of notification about who is selling the cars. One salesman wasn't entirely clear in explaining who was running the sale, saying the company was out of Crystal River and they had dealerships all over Florida.

The city says Maus Nissan was the dealer given permission to sell cars this week at Walmart, although several names were given to the city during the application for the special event permission. David Maus owns Maus Nissan and several dealerships, including stores in Crystal River, Sanford, and New Port Richey.

The mailing to local residents turned out to be misleading unless you took time to read the fine print which disclaimed any realistically good chance of winning a big prize or getting great deal on a car. The numbers printed on each card may lead some to believe they've already won a big prize, but the only way of knowing what you've won is to match the number with those at the tent sale, which in virtually all cases will be a $5 gift card win.

So, be prepared to only get a $5 gift card if you visit for your prize. And if you want to buy a vehicle, be prepared for an $899 additional dealer fee above the price of the vehicle which is not posted. None of the hundreds of cars had prices posted on them, so be prepared for some negotiation on the car and any trade in.

The so-called "Cash For Clunkers" event alleges to give customers a $2,752.41 "down payment assistance" check as well as "guaranteed 100% Credit Approval!" All this is actually meaningless because prices are negotiable when buying as well as trading in. If you have bad credit and want "guaranteed" credit approval, you'll be expected to place a significant down payment or get a co-signer with good credit, and sometimes be switched to a vehicle where they can get a lender to approve a loan for that particular car. 

The sales person I talked to did not have a business card and although evasive about who was the dealership selling cars, let me go in a few minutes after I told him I bought a car a few months ago and wasn't interested in another one at this time.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pickett Family Tax Prep Companies Sued

Three related return preparers in South Florida prepare false tax returns for their customers, according to a new civil lawsuit filed by the Justice Department. The suit filed in the Southern District of Florida asks the court to permanently bar Fred Pickett Jr. and his children, Jalisa Steele and Fred Pickett III, from owning, operating, or franchising a tax return preparation business and preparing tax returns for others. 

According to the complaint, Pickett Jr., Steele, and Pickett III, all of Belle Glade, Florida, operate a tax return preparation business with several stores in South Florida under the names of Five Star Tax Services, Five Star Financial, and Millenium [sic] Tax Professionals. According to the complaint, the business has prepared over 8,000 returns since 2011 from the store locations in Belle Glade, Clewiston, Moore Haven, and La Belle, Florida.

The complaint alleges that by repeatedly underreporting tax liabilities and claiming bogus refunds on behalf of their customers, the defendants have caused the United States to lose substantial tax revenue. According to the complaint, the defendants misreport income, deductions, and credits on their customers’ tax returns by:

Fabricating businesses and business-related profits or losses;
Manipulating, maximizing, or falsely claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC);
Claiming false education credits;
Claiming spurious fuel tax credits;
Fabricating retirement account contributions and deductions; and
Failing to provide customers with complete copies of their tax returns.

One of the alleged examples of such conduct involves a married couple whose tax returns were prepared by Pickett Jr. According to the complaint, unbeknownst to the couple, Pickett Jr. reported a fake equipment business on their joint 2013 and 2014 tax returns, with combined losses that exceeded $90,000. These bogus losses, along with other retirement account-related fabrications, caused the couple to receive significantly inflated refunds each year, according to the complaint.

The complaint further alleges that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audited 55 tax returns prepared by the defendants. The IRS determined that each of these 55 tax returns resulted in a deficiency with an average tax deficiency of $5,891 per return and a total revenue loss of $323,986, according to the complaint.

Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS's Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2017 and taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant. The IRS has some tips on their website for choosing a tax preparer and has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers.

In the past decade, the Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of unscrupulous tax preparers. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department’s website. An alphabetical listing of persons enjoined from preparing returns and promoting tax schemes can be found on this page. If you believe that one of the enjoined persons or businesses may be violating an injunction, please contact the Tax Division with details.

Muse Wildfire Contained

Glades County Public Safety and Florida Forest Service responded to a wildfire May 10, 2017 at 11:30 am in the Muse Community off Kirby Thompson and Jack Branch Lane.

One unoccupied home, a shed and a pole barn were all saved by the quick response of county and state firefighters. The wildfire was contained at 2:44 pm.

This is the forth wildfire in Glades County for the month of May. County and State Firefighters have responded to 38 wildfires in Glades County since January 2017. The number one cause is equipment.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Virginia West Dies At 89

Virginia M West nee Phillips, 89 recently of Ortona born March 14, 1928 in Ohio, Illinois died May 7, 2017 in Fort Myers, Florida.

Married to Norman E. West on September 11, 1948 after a courtship at Illinois State University. They shared 69 happy years.

Virginia was the proud parent of four sons who survive her, Phillip (Susan), Kevin (Tammy), Marc (Patricia), and Eric (Dawn). Virginia was beloved by five grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

For many years Virginia taught in the elementary schools of Bensenville, Illinois. With her children grown she and Norman moved to Ortona, where for many years they enjoyed life on the water.

No services are planned. Friends and family may remember Virginia with a contribution to the charity of their choice.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Billy Flatwoods Murphy Headlines Museum Dinner

Billy Murphy, known to his FaceBook following as "Flatwoods Billy," will headline LaBelle Heritage Museum's Annual Potluck Covered Dish Installation of Officers on Friday, June 2, at Dallas B Townsend Agricultural Center, 1085 Pratt Boulevard. 

The doors will open at 5 o'clock to receive covered dishes which may include fried chicken, salads, casseroles and desserts to feed at least 8 people. The museum will be furnishing succulent roast pork, paper goods, and beverages. The free event is open but does require a ticket for admission.

Advance reservations will be required from museum members and supporters planning to attend this event as the maximum occupancy of the hall is 120. To make advance reservations go to . Once you are on the website, you will see "GET TICKETS HERE" immediately under JUNE 2nd and text describing the event. 

 This will take you to the Eventbrite site to make your reservations. If you have problems making reservations, please call (863)674-0034 for assistance. Reservations will be held until 6:15 p.m., 15 minutes after serving begins, before unclaimed seats are made available to the public.

Living With Panthers - Jayne Johnson At Audubon

Hendry-Glades Audubon is hosting 2 events on Monday May 15, at the Hendry County Extension Dallas Townsend Building located at 1085 Pratt Boulevard in LaBelle. At 6:30pm everyone is invited to the Annual HGAS Pot Luck Dinner and election of officers. If you plan to attend the dinner please bring a side dish or dessert to share. Tea, lemonade, and table service will be provided. 

 At 7pm an informative program “Living with Panthers” will be presented by Jayne Johnston, Panther Outreach Specialist, focusing on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

FWC created her role as a public safety measure since panther recovery is such a remarkable success story. With an increase in their population and the human population, FWC wants to ensure the safety of humans and panthers by spreading the word on what can be done to minimize interactions between the two. 

Jayne will include historical and biological information about panthers, their former and current range, impacts to their populations past present and future, and how to keep safe on the roads where most panthers are killed. She will also include very briefly information about interagency, public, and private partnerships and citizen science opportunities. 

 Jayne was born in NJ, but grew up in Florida since she was one and a half years old. She graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and is a certified interpretive guide with the National Association on interpretation. She has an interest in birds and involved in her spare time volunteering with Audubon. She is focused on informal environmental education through public outreach, guided hikes, and afterschool programs.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Obituaries - Wilmer Wiggins, James Schall

Wilmer J. "Jim" Wiggins, age 85, of Clewiston, went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on May 2, 2017 in Okeechobee. He was born Jan. 30, 1932 in Escambia County, FL, to the late Larence Wiggins and the late Ethel Wiggins.

Jim married Evelyn Timothy January 7, 1951 in Clewiston, FL. He served in the Army. He also worked briefly at US Sugar. Jim was owner-operator of Clewiston Tire Shop for many years where he worked alongside his wife Evelyn. He retired for 10 years, but then started Western Auto Parts which he operated for many years. Jim loved traveling in his RV and flying planes. Jim was a deacon and member at Evangel Assembly of God for many years. In recent years, he attended Clewiston Church of God. He will be greatly missed by his daughter and everyone who knew and loved him.

Survivors include his daughter: Melanie Wiggins, brothers: Doyle (Jimmie) Wiggins and Faye Kelting (Don) Chancey, sister: Jeanette Wiggins, nieces and nephews and many extended family members and dear close friends. He was preceded in death by his brother: Wayne Wiggins

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 10:00 am at Clewiston Church Of God, Clewiston with Pastor Josh Caraway and Pastor Bernard Brown officiating.

Interment will follow in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation will be Monday, May 8 from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

James Brion Schall, age 54, of LaBelle, passed away Sunday, April 30, 2017 in Lehigh Medical Center. He was born Jan. 6, 1963 in Rahway, NJ, to the late John H and Anne T. (Johnson) Schall. A custodian for Hendry County for years.

Survived by his Brother Robert T. (Janet) Schall of LaBelle, FL and his sisters: Diane E. (Donald) Orr of LaBelle, FL and Patricia (Irv) Brustein of PA, Also survived by Several Nieces And Nephews and friends. Services at the convenience of the family. Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

June 3 Emergency Management Event In Moore Haven

Join Glades County agencies June 3 at Moore Haven's park along the river for games, prizes, and with various organizations to answer questions you or your family may have about any disaster, emergency or services offered in Glades County.

Participating are Emergency Management, Department of Health, Fire Department, FDEM’s Professor Tinkermeister (interactive preparedness tool for youth), Florida Forest Service, National Weather Service – Miami, Department of Environmental Protection, Water Management, Moore Haven Mosquito Control, Free Car Seat Fitting, Florida Community Health Center- Blood Pressure and Glucose Check, Florida Fish and Wildlife, Glades County Property Appraiser, Glades County Supervisor of Elections, American Red Cross.

Free raffle at the top of every hour. Must be present to win.

Texting & Driving Simulator by AAA Fort Myers
Free Fire Extinguisher Class / Presentation,
CPR class in Library meeting room at 10:30am

Tina Pegler Visits LaBelle Kiwanis

The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle had a guest speaker on May 2, 2017; Tina Pegler with Learning For Life, is also the incoming president at the Lehigh Kiwanis club. Tina is an outgoing, energizing, passionate person. She wants to save as many kids as she can from falling through the cracks. She teachers kids that it's ok to be different.

She trains educators and business leaders about the Character Education Program for K-12th grade students in schools. She provided service to over 21,000 students in Lee County School District and Guadalupe Center in Immokalee. She is the director for Exploring, a career oriented program for High School Students from 14-20 years old.

Friday, April 28, 2017

State Road 80 Construction Starts Monday

The commencing of construction for four lanes for SR 80 from Dalton Lane to CR 833 begins on Monday, May 1, 2017.

Crews will widen approximately 11 miles of roadway from two to four lanes and add new turn lanes. Additional work includes repaving the current lanes of SR 80 and constructing ten new bridges. Three of them will require full demolition and removal of the existing bridges in order to construct the new ones. 

Work will also include improving drainage, adding curb and gutter, and installing LED lighting. Estimated project completion is summer 2020. The contractor is AJAX Paving Industries of Florida.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Special Olympics Walk/Run Saturday April 29

Law Enforcement's statewide benefit run for Special Olympics will take place on Saturday, April 29 at 11:00a at the Hendry LaBelle Civic Park. The run will begin at 11:00 am and walking is acceptable. The course is just under 2 miles and will begin at the park making its way down Jaycee Lions Drive to Main Street (heading south) to Cowboy Way and then returning to the park on Jaycee Lions Drive.

Law enforcement officers from over 300 Florida agencies (police departments, sheriff’s offices, Florida Department of Corrections, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Customs, Air Force Police and Marine Patrol) all participate in the state-wide torch run to benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Florida. 

Each year, over 5,000 officers carry the torch on a 1500-mile relay through 67 counties in Florida.

Funds are generated through contributions from individuals and businesses along the way and through sales of the popular Torch Run T-shirts and caps. The intrastate torch relay will start at the end of March and culminate at the Opening Ceremony of our Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games in May. Law Enforcement Officers from around the state join together to bring the Flame of Hope™ into the stadium.

Immediately following the run we invite everyone to come out and join in the “After Party” which will be a community, family oriented event with food trucks, bounce houses, pony rides, games, entertainment and community displays.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Johntavious Johnson Arrested In LaBelle

LABELLE, FL. -- At approximately 7:45 pm, Hendry Sheriff investigators took 21 year old Johntavious Johnson into custody at his mother's home at 391 Sabal Palm Court, LaBelle, Fl. 33935.. 

Hendry County Investigators were provided information, from the United States Marshal's Office - Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force, that Johnson had been hiding out in Fort Myers and had returned to his mother's home earlier in the evening. 

Hendry County Investigators, Deputies and United States Marshal's were able to take Johnson into custody without incident. 

Johnson was arrested on a Hendry County warrant on charges of Attempted Homicide and Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon. Johnson is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail without bond.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Justin Roadcap - Kiwanis Thrift Store Manager

The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle has hired Justin Roadcap as the new manager for the LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store.

Justin moved to LaBelle last July from Waynesboro, VA in the Shenandoah Valley to fulfill his role as the Associate Pastor at Bethel Holiness Church. He and his wife Cathy have four children (Caleb 13, Ethan 8, Josh 6, Faith 3.) 

Justin started managing the Kiwanis Thrift Store in February and he says that he loves being able to work with the community. Justin has a kind word for everyone and hopes folks will stop by the thrift store to say hello and to check out some of the specials at the store.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Rene Curtis Pratt Presents Bees At Garden Club Apr 24

LaBelle Garden Club will meet Monday, April 24th, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Dallas B. Townsend Agricultural Center at 1085 Pratt Blvd., Labelle.

Speaker: Rene Curtis Pratt of the Famous LaBelle Honey Store. Her presentation will be about Bees & Honey. Come join the fun – Bring friends & neighbors and your questions – pictures and plants to exchange.

Refreshments served, Anyone is welcome to bring a treat for refreshments.. Bring any recipes you would like to share too.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wanted: Johntavious Johnson - $1,000 Reward

Johntavious Lorenzo Johnson, 21 years of age is currently wanted in the shooting that took place Saturday morning, April 15, 2017 at approximately 1:00 am in LaBelle, Florida that left one teen in critical condition.

Deputies reported they found 18 year old Brady Walker lying on the pavement suffering from a gunshot wound.

Johnson is currently wanted on charges of Aggravated Battery and Attempted Homicide. Johnson is 5'5" and 160 lbs. He has a prior arrest record charged for fraud, concealed weapon, drugs, and loitering.

Anyone with any information regarding this shooting is asked to call the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office at 863-674-5600 or you may contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477), where you may become eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 if your tip leads to an arrest.

Medical Marijuana Scam Warning

The Florida Department of Health is urging Florida residents to use caution to avoid medical marijuana scams. Last week, it came to the department’s attention that there are businesses advertising free or reduced-cost access to medical marijuana and in some cases are asserting that they are the “Office of Compassionate Use” when soliciting credit card information. 

The department reports all incidents of potential fraud and scams to law enforcement, but wants to ensure residents are aware of what to avoid.

Below are tips to help protect you from scams involving medical marijuana:
The department’s Office of Compassionate Use is the only entity issuing identification cards for medical marijuana in Florida. No third party is authorized to process applications. Do not provide credit card information to any third party entity advertising the ability to obtain medical marijuana cards.
The department does not currently accept credit cards as a form of payment for an Office of Compassionate Use identification card. There is no need to ever provide your credit card information to the department’s Office of Compassionate Use.
There are seven dispensing organizations authorized to cultivate, process and dispense medical marijuana. These seven are the only businesses in Florida authorized to dispense medical marijuana to qualified patients and legal representatives.
The Office of Compassionate Use maintains a list of physicians who have completed the required 8 hour education course. To find a qualified ordering physician clickhere.

The department updates the Office of Compassionate Use webpage regularly with accurate information. Patients and legal representatives are encouraged to visit this webpage often.

To report scams to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services call 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352).

Damian Raheem, Sabrina Manzano Dead In Crash

IMMOKALEE, FL. -- Damian Raheem Rivera, 21 and Amy Sabrina Manzano, 24, both of Immokalee are dead after a chase by FHP at 11:56 pm Tuesday.

A 2001 Volvo was traveling north on New Market Road in Immokalee, towards the intersection of State Road 29 at a high rate of speed. A marked Collier County Sheriff’s Office was attempting to make a traffic stop and had the emergency equipment activated.

The Volvo failed to negotiate the curve in the roadway, causing it to exit the paved portion of the roadway. As a result, the front left collided with a tree on the northeast corner of State Road 29 and New Market Road. After impact, the rear of the vehicle rotated counterclockwise causing the right side to collide with a concrete power pole also on the northeast corner of the intersection. It came to final rest, right side against the power pole, facing east.

The driver and passenger were both pronounced deceased on scene by Collier County EMS personnel. The crash remains under investigation.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

LaBelle, Florida Obituaries

Linda Sue Miller, age 63, of LaBelle, born December 7, 1953 and passed away April 17, 2017. She was born to the late Merlyn and Dolores McMillan in Pontiac, IL. She had siblings Sandra Brittain, Masha Oliff, John McMillan and the late Warren McMillan. She moved to Fort Lauderdale as a young girl where she met her husband, Edward L. Miller and they were married June 27, 1970. They moved to LaBelle in 1980.

They had children Jeremiah, Cereese, Jamie and Tristan. Her family continued to grow with the addition of Jeremiah's wife, Tracy and grandchildren Blayne and Brett. The family was blessed again when Jamie married husband Caleb. More additions to the family are expected in the fall with more grandchildren from daughters, Tristan and Jamie. A great grandchild is expected to the family in October. She lived her life to the fullest and will be dearly missed.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Hilda Mae (Tillie) Patton, age 93, passed away Monday, April 17, 2017 in LaBelle, Florida. Tillie was born September 11, 1923, In Pahokee, Florida to the pioneer family of the late Gadson and Martha (Lanier) Curry. Tillie was a lifelong resident of LaBelle.

Survivors include her daughters: Vicki Patton Burke and Rhonda (Patrick) Langford of LaBelle. grandchildren: Scott (Susan) Wegscheid, Wendy (Wesley) O'Ferrell, Jada (Matthew) Fleming and Lori (Vince) Perkins, great grandchildren: Jacob (Rebecca) Parrish, Michael (Kimberly) Parrish, Christopher and Nicholas Wegscheid, Tyler, Abbie, and Macy O'Ferrell, Luke, Lance and Baylee Fleming, Jackson, Brody and Cameryn Perkins and great great grandchildren: Gavin, Christian, Emilee, Croix, Isabella and Owen Parrish.

Tillie was preceded in death by her husband: Jack M. Patton, parents: Gadson and Martha Lanier Curry, sisters: Vernell Curry and Betha Lee Johnson, brother: Odell Curry, grandson: David Wegscheid and great-grandson: Christian Wegscheid.

Funeral services will be as follows: visitation with family at Akin Davis Funeral Home in LaBelle on Wednesday April 19, 2017 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Funeral services will be at Akin Davis Funeral Home on Friday April 21, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. with Pastor Jay Goforth officiating. Interment will follow at Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle, FL immediately following service.

In lieu of flowers, of flowers, the family requests that you make a donation to the Alzheimer's Association in memory of Tillie Patton to help conquer this disease.

James David Whidden, age 69, of LaBelle
, passed away April 17, 2017 in Fort Myers.

David was born December 24, 1947 in Moore Haven to Calvin and Charlotte Clayton Whidden. He married Linda G. Herne; she survives. He enjoyed fishing, shooting, reading and spending time with his family. He served his country in the United States Marine Corps. He was a member and attended Healing Waters Church of LaBelle. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and brother who will be greatly missed by his entire family and close friends.

He also leaves behind his children; Matthew Whidden and his wife Miranda, Jason Whidden, and Jacob Whidden and his wife Susan, grandchildren; Cort Whidden and Ashton Powers, brothers; Jeff Wiggins, Jack Wiggins, Brett Whidden, sisters; Paige McCutcheon, Holly Whiddon, Gail Henderson and Virginia Arnold.

A memorial celebration of David's life will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Ortona Cemetery Pavilion. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are suggested to be given to Doc Keen Scholarship at Moore Haven High School or the Amy Lundy Scholarship at First Bank of Clewiston.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Catherine Dianne Edwards, age 66, of LaBelle, went to be with the Lord April 16, 2017.

She was born Jan. 5, 1951 in Fort Myers, FL, to the late Harry Lee Mottaz, Sr. and the late Catherine E. (Lippincott) Mottaz.

She is survived by her loving husband: Hosea Phillip Edwards, son: Eric (Bekki) Edwards,two daughters: Desiree (Jobby) Blevins and Kasey (James) Nipper, grandchildren: Adam Edwards, Tiffani Phillips, Renae Edwards, Timothy Edwards, Zechariah Edwards, Matthew Edwards, brother: Harry L. Mottaz, Jr. (Harriet) and many other family members and friends.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 11:00 am at First Baptist Church of Alva with Pastors/Clergy Robert Roper, Jim Lanier, Grant Gomez and Phillip Edwards officiating. Visitation will be Thursday 30 minutes prior to service at First Baptist Church of Alva. Interment will be in Alva Cemetery. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

James Vee Lofton Sr., age 76, passed away April 16, 2017, at the Lehigh Acres Hope Hospice facility.

Born December 24, 1940, in Fort Myers Lee Memorial Hospital, Jimmy Vee is the son of the late James Vivian Lofton and the late Ida Corine Forrey Lofton Kirby.

A five generation LaBelle native, a lifetime resident of Hendry County Jimmy Vee and his dad surveyed along most of the sectional boundary lines located within Hendry, Lee and Collier Counties over many years, including extensive boundary surveys on Marco Island, oil well fields located in Felda, and in the Everglades.

Before becoming sick, Jimmy Vee, also known as Pa, was an avid Hunter and fisherman and could be found in the early days of his youth raising and training bird dogs, hunting quail, dove, turkey and fishing on Lake Okeechobee, Pine Island or in the 10,000 Island with little Vee, and his close network of friends over the years and his little hunting and fishing partner, Max Thomas. The rest of the time Pa could be found in the woods, relaxing, hunting, and telling lots of old time woods and fishing stories with the best of friends and family members reminiscing the good-ole days solving most the world's problems around the camp fire.

After graduating from LaBelle High School, Class of 1959. Jimmy, joined the U.S. Army 97th Engineering Battalion (Construction), where he further broadened his surveying knowledge. After serving his country, he returned home from France in 1963 and honorably discharged in 1965. He continued to work as a land surveyor employed with Johnson Engineering founded in 1946 and starting a young family in Hendry County. In 2002, he retired from Johnson Engineering Inc. with 40 years of land surveying services.

Jimmy is preceded in death by his father James Vivian Lofton, mother Ida Corine Forrey Lofton Kirby and step father Henry Robert Kirby. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Martha Jo Moody Lofton; only child son, James Vee Lofton Jr. (Laura) and three grandchildren: Maura Lindsay, Madelyon Rae, and Max Thomas Lofton. He is survived by his brother Wayne Allen Lofton (Suzanne), his sister Martha Jayne Lofton Gourley. Jimmy Vee leaves behind many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A celebration of Jimmy's life will be held Saturday, April 22, 2017, at 11:00 am at First Baptist Church of LaBelle, 330 North Main Street, LaBelle Florida with Rev. Frank Deerey and Pastor Preston Long officiating.

In lieu of flowers, the family has designated Lehigh Acres Hope Hospice of Lee County, 1201 Wings Way, Lehigh Acres, FL 33936, or First Baptist Church of LaBelle, 330 North Main Street, LaBelle Florida 33935 in memory of James Vee Lofton Sr.

Margarita Lugo Awarded Scholarship To Maine Workshop

Congratulations to Hendry-Glades Audubon member, Margarita Lugo, for being awarded the National Audubon Society Derick Z. Jackson Diversity Scholarship to the Six-day ornithology and educator's summer workshop at Hog Island Audubon Camp, Sharing Nature: An Educator’s Week at Muscongus Bay, Maine. Muskingum Bay, Maine.

Margarita was presented with a check to help with transportation costs by Hendry-Glades Audubon and Dr. Marty Valiant.

photo: Margaret England, Margarita Lugo, Marty Valiant and Janet Falk.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Brady Walker Shot After 1 A.M Argument

LABELLE FL. -- Hendry Sheriff's office is looking for help for leads after a shooting in LaBelle, leaving Brady Walker in critical condition at the Shell gas station.

At approximately 1:02 am on Saturday morning April 15, 2017, Hendry County Deputies responded to the Shell Gas Station at 750 W. State Road 80.

Deputies reported that upon arrival they found 18-year old Brady Hamp Walker lying on the pavement suffering from a gunshot wound. Witnesses on scene reported that the victim became involved in an argument with another male, who shot him. The victim was immediately transported for medical care.

At this time, Investigators currently have a person of interest they are attempting to locate for questioning. One of the witnesses described the vehicle as a blue in color Ford Escort type vehicle.

At this time the victim is listed in critical condition. Investigators are continuing to follow up on all leads.

Anyone with any information regarding this shooting is asked to call the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office at 863-674-5600 or you may contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477), where you may become eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 if your tip leads to an arrest.

Photo courtesy HCSO

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Juan Monjaras Dead In Crash

Juan Carlos Monjaras, 42 of LaBelle died in an early morning crash Saturday on State Road 80 at Balsey Road in Alva in Lee county.

Monjaras in a 2007 Chevy Avalanche was westbound in the State Road 80 inside eastbound lane at 3:18 a.m.. Marc Thomas Heckler, 16 of Lehigh Acres was eastbound in the State Road 80 eastbound inside lane. The front of the Chevy collided with the front of Heckler's 2006 Toyota Tacoma. Both vehicles came to final rest near the area of collision.

Monjaras was pronounced deceased on scene by Lee County EMS personnel. Heckler had critical injuries and was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital. Charges are pending said the FHP.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Walk Across Florida - Tamiami Trail

Excerpts from Bob Kranich's A Walk Across Florida
I finally arrived at the Tamiami Trail. This road officially is the 260 miles of U.S. Highway 41 from Tampa to U.S. Route 1 in Miami. There is some controversy about just who suggested the name, Tamami Trail. Two different Tampa men claim this, but it is derived from “Tampa to Miami.” After Naples the trail becomes an east-west road crossing the Everglades and forms part of the north border of the Everglades National Park. The north-south portion was begun in 1915. This portion was on higher ground and included many rough roads already in existence. The east-west portion was begun in 1923 across the Big Cypress Swamp. At that time the Everglades had only ox paths and Seminole Indian trails in existence.

People said that it was impossible to run cars across the Everglades swamp! On April 1923 Dade County land developer Captain James Franklin Jaudin started out with ten “Model-T” vehicles, 28 men and two Seminole Indian guides to prove that it was possible. They called themselves the “Trailblazers.” They were successful, but it took them 23 days. Much longer than they thought!......

Of particular interest is the type of dredge used in building the Trail through the Everglades. The Bay City Walking Dredge sits on display in Collier Seminole State Park, which is 15 miles southeast of Naples on the Tamiami Trail. This machine was built in 1924 in Bay City, Michigan. It used pulleys and sheaves to move four wooden shoes and a central base forward in a walking motion that could cover five to ten feet at a time. The machine had a one-yard bucket, a 40–foot boom and was approximately 36 feet wide. Because of its width, it could straddle the canals it made.

In 1928 when the Tamiami Trail was completed it was considered a engineering marvel. However, it seems that no one had considered the potential damage that could be caused to the Everglades. The roadway and the canal became a dam to block the water flow from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades. This was very bad for the ecology of the region. Since that time, in 1990 and today, some canals have been filled, extra culverts under the highway have been built, and a few miles of the highway have been raised onto a bridge to allow additional natural water to flow into the Everglades.

There was a small store at the intersection of Turner River Road and the Tamiami Trail. I went in. I dropped my pack near the entrance and before I could turn around a guy says,

“Howdy, what can I do fer ya?”

He was the owner…..I bought a few snacks and a soda and asked him if I could look at the swamp vehicles outside.

“Them there’s called swamp buggies,” he said “and go right ahead, make yourself at home.”

I looked around outside at one of the swamp buggies as I drank my soda. It was a crazy looking contraption, with an old 4-cylinder Model A Ford engine and chassis. There were real big tires with large chains on the rear wheels. Then there was a raised-up seating area behind the driver’s seat…..

I then continued east on the Tamiami Trail.

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wesley Hansen Dies At 72

Wesley Lee Hansen, age 72, passed away April 9, 2017 at Hope Hospice. Born January 31, 1945 in Fort Myers at Lee Memorial Hospital, Wesley is the son of the late Carl William Hansen, Sr. and the late Mildred Burdette Hansen.

A true Florida Cracker; he was raised in Fort Myers, graduated from Fort Myers High School, and married his high school sweetheart – Deanna Sanders Hansen. Together, they raised a family and a bunch of orange groves.

Although LaBelle became their home, Wesley's love of Fort Myers and his attachment to his fishing buddies never let up. By sponsoring each year's Cracker Invitational fishing tournament, he and Sam Galloway kept the Tribe together. Never to be forgotten, Wesley made a positive impact on almost everyone.

An avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed teaching his children how to hunt and fish. Together, he and his family spent their summers fishing in Key West. His grandchildren were the light of his life and meant the world to him. Regardless of the type of day he may have had, their voices were enough to make his world a whole lot better.

Married for 49 years, he is survived by his wife, Deanna (Sanders) Hansen; two daughters, Leigh Franco (Matt) and Missy Hansen; a son, Wesley L. Hansen, Jr. (Dana); five grandchildren, Tyler Franco (Jennifer), Kyle Franco, Madison Franco, Alyssa Hansen, and Taylor Hansen; an aunt, Dorothy Wyatt; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Julius and Betty Sanders; sister-in-law Debbie Lawson and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, and his brother, Carl William Hansen, Jr.

Having never met a stranger he leaves behind many friends and others, including lifelong friends Sam Galloway, Jr., Ben Hill Griffin III, Don Davis, Bubba Gaston, and Joe D'Alessandro – each having a story to tell.

Funeral services will be held Friday, April 14, 2017 at 11:00 am at First Presbyterian Church, Fort Myers, with Rev. Paul DeJong and Pastor Preston Long officiating. Visitation will be Thursday from 6:00-8:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL and Friday, one hour prior to service at First Presbyterian Church, Fort Myers, FL. Interment will be in Fort Myers Memorial Gardens, Fort Myers.

In lieu of flowers, the family has designated Pace Center for Girls of Lee County, 3800 Evans Avenue, Fort Myers, FL 33901 or Hope Hospice in memory of Wesley Hansen.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home – LaBelle

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Take Your Trash To Transfer Stations Free April 17-22

Hendry County Special Districts will be hosting free waste amnesty days from April 17 to 22 from 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. in honor of Earth Day. Unincorporated residents with identification can bring accepted waste to the LaBelle Transfer station at 1280 Forestry Division Road or the Clewiston Transfer Station at 1350 Olympia Ave.

Hendry County will accept yard waste with the requirements that no single branch is larger than four feet long and four inches in diameter. Construction debris including lumber, shingles, drywall, glass, tile and wire will be accepted. Other acceptable waste includes white goods and furniture such as washers, stoves, water heaters, sofas, mattresses and chairs.

“Earth Day is all about promoting environmental awareness and boosting recycling efforts,” said County Administrator Charles Chapman. “Here in Hendry County, this is important to us so that we can continue to work together in keeping our communities clean and beautiful."

Amnesty days are part of an ongoing effort from Hendry County to provide opportunities to clean up properties and dispose of household waste at no cost to residents. This includes residents that live in outlying areas and have limited access to dispose of waste in the most environmentally conscious way. Residents with question can contact Hendry County Special Districts at 863-675-5252.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Charlie Ewell At Audubon April 17

On Monday April 17 at 7pm Charlie Ewell will present an informative program “Spring Bird Migration ” at the Hendry County Extension Dallas Townsend Building located at 1085 Pratt Boulevard in LaBelle. 

Charlie is High School Gifted Resource Specialist, Lee County (FL) School District. He is recognized in the birding community for his volunteer work Lee County Bird Patrol Coordinator, Birding Trip Leader, Reviewer for eBird, Christmas Bird Count Compiler , Volunteer Guide STA 5/6 trips, and is active in local and state birding organizations. 

For information about Hendry-Glades Audubon or STA 5/6 Bird Trips contact Butch Wilson 863-983-2870 or Margaret England 863-517-0202

Assembly Of God Invites All to Easter Musical

Easter Sunday April 16th, the community is invited to the musical, “The Spirit Says Arise' ”. This musical will be held at LaBelle Assembly of God. The time of the program is 11:00 a.m. 

The congregation will share is reading scriptures from the Book of Acts. Solos and duets will be sung through out these Bible verses. There will also be a men’s choir and a women’s choir. 

Some of the music will be, Come Alive, (Dry Bones), Love Crucified Arose, Rise Again, At Calvary, We Believe and others. Everyone is invited. 

LaBelle Assembly of God is located on Fraser Avenue across from The Edward Upthegrove Elementary School. For more information, call 675-0900 and ask for Kathy. Hope to see you there. Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Obituaries - Frankie Tiner, Mary Lee Nourse

Mary Lee Nourse (nee Knox), age 86, of LaBelle, Florida and formerly of Columbus, OH, passed away peacefully at her home in LaBelle, Florida on April 3, 2017.

Born April 4, 1930 in Middletown, Ohio. A life-long Roman Catholic, Mary Lee's childhood was spent in Middletown where she attended primary and secondary school. From a very young age she had an affinity for dancing; receiving formal instruction in Ballroom and Contemporary Dance. Regularly participating and succeeding in local and regional dance competitions.

She received a Bachelor of Arts in Business from the College of Mount Saint Joseph, Cincinnati, Ohio in 1952. After graduation she moved to Columbus, Ohio and was employed as a Buyer for Lazarus Department Stores. It was there she met her husband, Thomas R. Nourse. The couple was married on May 18, 1953 in Middletown, Ohio.

Mary Lee continued to work for Lazarus for several years. In 1964, as department head for the Toy Deparment, she delivered Lazarus's first ever million dollars in annual toy sales. She was the assistant store director for the then newly opened Lazarus Store at Westland Mall when she left the company to spend more time with her family.

Mary Lee was deeply involved in the activities of St. Cecelia Catholic Church, Parish and School in Columbus, Ohio. She was instrumental in starting the Parish Bingo and the Country Fair, fundraisers still held today. Her fundraising expertise was also provided to St. Charles Preparatory School. She was President of the Lincoln Village Women's Club and The Lincoln Village Resident's Association. Mary Lee was active in the business and social leadership at Oakhurst Country Club and the West Franklin County Republican Club.

Relocating to LaBelle, Florida in 1992 after Tom's retirement, Mary Lee became active in the Aqua Isles community and later in the renovation and opening of the Port LaBelle Golf Club & Hotel. When not working on her many interests, she enjoyed cruising throughout the Caribbean.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas and her younger brothers Thomas Paul and Richard. She is survived by her children: Jeffrey (Jo Ann), Ruthie (Mark) and Robert (Kathryn). Her grandchildren: Laura, Jennifer, James, Alexander and Elizabeth and great grandchildren: Madalyn, Lillian and Charlotte and many other family members and friends in Florida and Ohio.

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Frankie L Rimes Tiner, age 58, of LaBelle, passed away April 2, 2017 in Hope Healthcare in Lehigh Acres.

Frankie was born September 4, 1958 in Fort Myers, FL, to the late Delmar H. and the late Faye (Williams) Rimes. Frankie married Larry Tiner. Frankie enjoyed being with family and friends. She was a wonderful woman who will be greatly missed by everyone who loved and cared for her. She worked as the office manager for Immokalee Middle School for many years.

Frankie leaves behind her husband; Larry, sisters; Bonnie Starr and her husband Dusty, Lisa Rimes, one Aunt Laura June Wilson, many nieces, a nephew, many extended family members and close family friends.

A celebration of Frankie's life was held on Wednesday, Apr. 5, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. in the arena of LaBelle Rodeo Grounds with Pastor Frank Dana officiating. Interment was Thursday, Apr. 6, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. in Fort Denaud Cemetery. Donations can be made to Frankie's Kids Scholarship fund at Immokalee High School 701 Immokalee Dr., Immokalee, Florida 34142.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Wanted! Young Actors At Theatre

LABELLE, FL. -- Looking for young actors! The Firehouse Community Theatre, Inc. is looking for kids from 6 to 16 years of age to try out for the Children’s Summer Play: “Murder at Crooked House”.

Kristin Green will be the director. Two auditions are scheduled:

April 10, 2017 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and April 15, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Auditions will be held at the Firehouse Community Theatre, Inc., 241 North Bridge Street, LaBelle

Club Tours Port LaBelle Inn Gardens

LABELLE, FL. -- The LaBelle Garden Club met April 3rd at 6 p.m. at the Port LaBelle Inn for a tour of the St. Matthews garden and macadamia nut tree farm. 

The regular club meeting is to be delayed one week, since the LaBelle Garden Club and the community were invited to tour the vegetable gardens at the Port LaBelle Inn on Monday. 

The fruit & vegetable gardens are planted and maintained by the St Matthew’s rehab program at the Inn. Everyone will be treated to fresh, organic garden treats prepared by the kitchen crew.

The pubic and everyone were welcome to come to the Port LaBelle Inn to visit and pick vegetables from the garden.

Photo courtesy Nikki Yeager

Monday, April 03, 2017

Swing Into Spring With United Way

United Way of Hendry and Glades is getting ready to “Swing Into Spring,” at its annual fundraiser on April 29th. It will be held at RiverBend Motor Coach Resort, with an evening of great food, entertainment and live and silent auctions.

A dinner of prime rib will be served, with games and the live auction following the dinner. Auction prizes include: an Everglades adventure package, a two night stay at the ‘Tween Waters Resort on Captiva, a deluxe wine basket and much more.

Last year, the event raised approximately $14,000 for the United Way of Hendry and Glades. For additional information, sponsorships or tickets, contact Lisa Sands at (239) 433-7559. Tickets are $50 and must be purchased in advance.

The funds raised for the United Way go to help the 27 local United Way Partner Agencies including, Abuse Counseling and Treatment (ACT), Hope HealthCare Services, Harry Chapin Food Bank, The Salvation Army, and Children’s Advocacy Center. All funds raised in Hendry and Glades Counties support programs in Hendry and Glades.

Robert Cram Dies In ATV Crash

Robert Cram, 55 of Hendry county died in an ATV crash Sunday at 5:22 pm in Montura in rural Hendry county.

FHP investigators responded to a single vehicle, single occupant traffic crash resulting in one confirmed fatality in Hendry County. A four-wheeled ATV was traveling west on the south grass shoulder of Montura Avenue approaching the intersection of South Coral Street at moderate-to-
high speed.

The ATV ramped up a shallow grade approaching the cross street, became airborne, then overturned onto the roadway, arriving at final rest west of South Coral Street and south of Montura Avenue.

The operator of the ATV was not wearing a helmet and was pronounced deceased at the scene due to injuries received from this crash. Anybody with information about this crash is asked to contact FHP.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Obituaries - Bryan Herndon, Margaret Lessing

Bryan Craig Herndon age 29 of Alva, Florida passed away on March 27, 2017. He was born 4-16-87. He survived by his parents Susan and Gerald Herndon of Alva Florida

His son Kayden and the love of his life Rachel Naylor, his brothers Michael Herndon, Shannon, Darin, and Casey Watson, grandmother; Sylvia Hill of Labelle, many Aunts and Uncles, cousins and friends. Bryan loved hog hunting and catching that big Bass he never kept. Bryan spent his childhood racing BMX and loved the lifetime friendships he made.

He is preceded in death by his grandmother; Cecile (Shrimp) Wieland, grandfather; Benjamin Frazier, grandfather; Curtis Herndon

Celebration of Life will be Thursday March 30th at Alva Church of God. Visitation will at 3:00 services at 4:00. Graveside will follow the celebration.

In lieu of flowers donations, please contribute to a fund that has been set up at First Bank Fort Myers for his son Kayden. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Fort Myers.

Margaret Lessing, age 90, of LaBelle, passed away March 28, 2017 in Lehigh Acres.

She was born Dec. 1, 1926 in Bruceville, IN, to Steve and Anna (Sharkedy) Takash. She worked as a Title Clerk for many years. She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and sister. She will be greatly missed by her entire family.

She leaves behind her loving children; Brian Lessing and Carole Schroeder, grandchildren; Kenneth, Valarie, Joseph, several great grandchildren, sister; Anne McKinley and brother; Andy Takash.

A memorial service celebrating her life will be held at Christ the King Lutheran Church in LaBelle on April 8, 2017 with Pastor Nick presiding.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Speed Limit Increase From 30 To 50 MPH On CR830

HENDRY COUNTY, FL. -- The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners meeting held on Tuesday, March 28th at the LaBelle Commission Chambers.


· Speed Regulation on CR 830 & CR 830A: A request was made by Commissioner Wills to evaluate the speed on CR 830 and CR 830A in Felda for a possible speed increase. Staff conducted a speed analysis during a twenty-four hour period on January 19th and field inspection on March 20th. The existing posted speed limit on both road is thirty (30) miles per hour. The analysis was conducted at three locations on CR 830 and one location on CR 830A. Based on the analysis staff recommended the speed limit be increase to 50 miles per hour except in curves where it should be increased to 35 miles per hour. The Board approved the staff to increase the speed limits on CR 830 and CR 830A to 45 mph maximum with the speeds depicted in the map for curved areas and other areas of concern.


· Solid Waste MSBU: The County contract for the collection of disposal of solid waste and recyclable materials expires on September 30, 2017. The current contractor for solid waste is Progressive Waste Solutions. Per the contract, the duration of the franchise was for seven (7) years. The County has the option with the current contractor to renew the contract for additional seven years. The Board approved staff to work with Progressive Waste Solutions to renew the contract with amendments and bring those options back to the board at a future board meeting for final approval. Potential amendments could include pricing options for: larger recycling containers, two day a week trash pickup, and one day a week track pick up.

Glades County Message Alert System Now Active

Glades County, Fl— Glades County is now working with Everbridge, the worldwide leader in unified critical communications, to keep residents, staff and emergency personnel safe and informed with quick and reliable emergency notifications and public service announcements. The County will begin using Everbridge Resident Alerts to communicate with citizens and businesses during emergencies and other critical events. Residents are encouraged to register immediately to receive these alerts:

Glades County will use the Everbridge emergency notification system to alert residents about a variety of events, ranging from severe weather, fires, floods and other emergencies, to more routine announcements, such as road closures and water utility maintenance. Messages will be sent to residents on their preferred contact paths—cell phone, SMS, home phone, email, fax, pager and more—to ensure real-time access to potentially lifesaving information. Residents listed in the county E911 database have been automatically subscribed to alerts by phone, but Everbridge allows citizens to self-register, provide additional contact information or opt out.

Glades County is committed to ensuring public safety, community awareness and emergency response. To uphold this, when critical information and public service announcements are available, we will reach out to our residents as quickly and reliably as possible. AlertGlades allows the county to disseminate information across all types of devices, ensuring residents have access to real-time public information when they need it the most. Any weather alerts our citizens sign up for will automatically be received to them through the National Weather Service.

**All white and yellow page phone book numbers have already been added in the system.**

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Healthy Eating Taught To Students

A collaboration effort of the Florida Department of Health, Sodexo Food Services and Upthegrove Elementary School has resulted in the start of new healthy nutrition program. Student in grades Kindergarten and First Grade are being taught the importance of 5-2-1-0. Five fruits and vegetables a day, 2 hours or less of TV or Computer time, 1 hour each day of physical activities and 0 sugar sweeten drinks. Students will also learn about different types and preparation methods of fruits and vegetables. They will also lean about the fruits and vegetables that are locally grown here in Florida. Students will then be given an opportunity to try a wide variety of the fruits and vegetables during the program. In addition to trying the new foods the students will also have the opportunity to have the same foods to select from during school lunch.

According to studies by the Center for Disease Control, since 1980, the percentage of children who are overweight has more than doubled, while rates among adolescents have more than tripled. In recent years, several weight-related conditions that were observed primarily among adults have been increasingly diagnosed in young people. For example, 10 years ago type 2 diabetes was almost unknown among young people, but now accounts for nearly 50 percent of new cases of diabetes among children or adolescents. An estimated 61 percent of overweight young people have at least one additional risk factor for heart disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Being overweight as a student is also associated with social and psychological problems, such as discrimination and poor self-esteem.

It has been shown that, children and adolescents who are overweight are more likely to become overweight or obese adults. Obesity in adults is associated with increased risks of premature death, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, osteoarthritis, and many other health problems.

Pictured: Kevin Long, RN and School Health Nurse, from the Florida Department of Health presents the 5-2-1-0 Program to students at Upthegrove Elementary School

Students Present Talents At Festival

Drug Free Hendry County held their 5th annual Talent Show in Clewiston on March 17, 2017 as part of the Friday Night Sugar Festival. Both Hendry & Glades’ high schools hosted talent shows weeks prior, which served as an audition for Drug Free Hendry Talent Fest. 

The first, second, & third place winners from each school, LaBelle High School, Clewiston High School, & Moore Haven High School were invited to compete at the main stage on Friday, March 17, 2017. 

$500 were awarded to the first place winner of the Drug Free Talent Fest and he was invited to perform Saturdayat the Clewiston Sugar Festival on March 18, 2017.

This year’s first place winner for the Drug Free Hendry County Talent Fest was Isaiah Young of Clewiston High School, who performed a dance to “Rolodex.” Jaime Hingson from Moore Haven Junior Senior High won second place, who sang, “Rock me Mama like a Wagon Wheel” with her guitar, and third place winner was Isaac Cadena from LaBelle High School, who sang “Come Fly with Me”.

The participants included Isaac Hernandez & Keianna Summers, from Clewiston; Emily Schwarz, from LaBelle, and Araya Lennon & Lacy Green, from Moore Haven. All participants did an outstanding job and showed the community that they are living positive.

Drug Free Hendry is proud of all the contestants that participated and performed in the Drug Free Talent Fest and for the students’ decision to stay drug free.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Shirley Fielder Dies At 81

Shirley R. Fielder, age 81, of Clewiston, passed away March 23, 2017 in Fort Myers.

She was born Jan. 6, 1936 in Grady County, GA, to the late Daniel Stevens and the late Bernice Lee (Gainous) Royals. Shirley worked as Assistant Librarian at the Harry T. Vaughn Clewiston Public Library and was a member of First Baptist Church of Clewiston and Clewiston Garden Club. She was an avid reader & loved gardening.

Survivors include her son: Hinnard Raymond (Ray) Williams, Jr., (Marty), Pt. St. Lucie, daughters: Sherri Lynn Williams Green (Edward), Pelham, GA and Sandra Lee Williams Montgomery (Jim), Apopka, sister: Mary R. Culbreth (Tank), Pelham, GA, step children: Terrel (Anna) Fielder, Moore Haven, Lizann (Donnie) Shaw, Clewiston and Lynn (Sam) Briefman, Clewiston, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, aunts: Lillian Ferrell and Edna Barbee, both of Cairo, GA and nephew: John Neil Williams, Ellabell, GA.

She was also preceded in death by her husband: James A. Fielder, Jr., stepson: Robert Fielder and niece: Lisa Fender.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, March 30, 2017, 10:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Clewiston with Pastor Mike Brennan and Rev. Edward Green officiating. Interment will follow at Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven. Visitation will be Wednesday, March 29 from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in Clewiston.

Billy Murphy Tells Tales April 6

Billy Murphy, well-known spinner of tales about living in a Florida in a time not so long ago that many of us remember well but maybe not the way Billy does and tells what he remembers, will tell a tale or two about what it means to be a Florida Cracker at LaBelle Heritage Museum's Thursday, April 6, Program Meeting starting at 7 o'clock. 

 Billy grew up and went to school in Alva but now lives in LaBelle with his wife Lana, a member of both LaBelle's Rider Family and also Felda's Aylor Family.

Regulars and guests are asked to enter the 1911 William H. Poole Building from the back door as the front door will not be accessible due to the foundation stabilization, building renovation, restoration and new ADA handicap access made possible by our Special Category Historic Preservation Grant from the Florida Bureau of Historic Preservation. 

Kinfolk, neighbors and friends are used to coming in the back door and all are welcome at the program. LaBelle Heritage Museum is located at 360 North Bridge Street with parking available immediately across the street at Harold Curtis Honey Company courtesy of Rene Curtis Pratt. Be sure to tell Rene how much you appreciate her being such a good neighbor by providing extra parking whenever LaBelle Heritage Museum has an evening program.

County Seeking Media And Tourism Officer

Hendry County is seeking candidates who have a passion for the community. The CMT position’s primary goal is to communicate to our residents, media (traditional/social) and potential visitors about what is happening in our County. The successful candidate will possess leadership, storytelling/communication and common sense skills and abilities.

The CMT duties are apportioned with 50% of duties are to provide administrative and leadership support services to the Tourism Development Council. The remaining 50% provides community and media relations services for the County Administrator’s Office. Duties include the development and implementation of marketing and communications initiatives to encourage tourism in Hendry County, and provide information about Hendry County government to the public, county employees, and the media. This position interacts with a variety of local and regional organizations. This position serves as the official Public Information Officer and will be expected to respond- to and serve-in a declared emergency with media relations support. This position coordinates the fulfillment of public records requests. Lastly, this position provides support and interacts with the Hendry County legislative delegations and lobbying teams as needed.

Office Location: Primary office location is in the Administrative Office Complex at 640 South Main Street, LaBelle, Florida. Due to the nature of the position, some assignments may require work/service days out of the office. Expected percent of travel is less than 20%.

Office Hours: The position is salaried. Typical office working hours are 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Schedules are flexible due to the requirement to work nights and weekends as needed in the course of the duties assigned. The position is expected to attend all Board of County Commissioners meetings, workshops, special meetings and community events. The position also serves in the Emergency Operations Center during declared emergencies.

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in Communication, Marketing, Business and/or Public Administration or a comparable relevant field. A minimum of two years of experience in governmental, not-for-profit or private sector business performing comparable duties is desired. Graduate degrees are preferred, but not required. Possession of ICS/NIMS Public Information Officer certificates are preferred but not required.

Starting Salary: $36,000 annually plus full county benefits (Florida Retirement System, health, dental, vision, annual leave, sick leave, paid holidays, etc.).

How to Apply: Interested parties may apply by submitting a completed Hendry County Board of County Commissioner’s Job Application, cover letter, resume and no more than three (3) professional references to the Human Resources Office at 640 South Main Street, LaBelle, Florida 33935.