Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hendry Residents Face Rising Taxes And Costs

The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting held on Tuesday, June 13 at Clewiston City Hall.
·         RFQ #2017-13 – Construction Management Services for Historic and Non-Historic Projects in Hendry County – The Board approved to move forward with Construction Management Services contract. This contract is mainly for the Old Hendry County Courthouse repairs. Work on the non-historic surroundings of courthouse are currently under construction. Once the current project is completed, the needed historic renovations will be assessed for cost.
·         Adoption of Ordinance Requiring Connection to the Port LaBelle Utility System – The Board approved an ordinance requiring all landowners in Port LaBelle to connect to the water system. The ordinance also requires landowners whose property abuts a wastewater collection line to connect to the wastewater system.
·         Possible Closure of Offices on Monday, July 3, 2017 – The Board voted to close County offices on Monday, July 3, 2017 in honor of Fourth of July holiday.  This vote for closure applies only to July 3 of this year. Offices will be closed 7/3 and 7/4.

·         Resolution Authorizing the Submission of a Grant Application to FL Department of State - The Board adopted a resolution approving the submission of a grant application to the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources (DHR) for $500,000 for Façade Preservation activities at the Old Hendry County Courthouse.  The Board also made the commitment for the required 10% local match (cash and in-kind services).  The DHR offers assistance to county governments through competitive grants to construct, repair and maintain historic properties, contingent upon an annual appropriation by the Florida Legislature.  The Old Courthouse was completed in 1927 and is considered the most significant and prominent historic structure in Hendry County.

·         ALTAIR Training Solutions, Inc. – Notice of Significant Default under Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption – The Board motioned to schedule a public hearing to revoke ALTAIR’s tax exempt status.  The company failed to meet job creation criteria required to qualify for the exemption along with their failure to pay regular taxes since 2014.

·         Update of Solid Waste Franchise Agreement. – Update of Solid Waste Franchise Agreement - The Board directed the Truth in Millage rate set at $240 with two day a week waste pick-up. The Board and staff are to negotiate with the Solid Waste hauler and seek out solutions which would help reduce costs to residents.

·         Fire MSBU TRIM Rates – The Board approved a recommendation to increase East Fire MSBU rates by 35% for TRIM notices.  The increase is due to the implementation of a bill passed by the State Legislature in 2016 exempting properties with an agricultural designation from fire assessments.  Additional funding requirements over the last few years are also needed to operate the fire MSBU. 

Ruby Garcia Speaks At Kiwanis On Crime Prevention

Hendry County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Specialist Ruby Garcia spoke to Kiwanis members how together we can and will succeed in making our community safe.

Pictured: Past Kiwanis President Nikki Yeager and Ruby Garcia

Photo by: Helen Mead

Hands On CPR Saves Lives Says Kevin Long, RN

Kevin Long, RN for the Florida Department of Health in Hendry County presented "Hands Only CPR" to Kiwanis Members at the June 20th meeting,

Photo by: Helen Mead
Pictured: Kevin Long, RN and Past Kiwanis President Nikki Yeager

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Apply For Free Food - Deadline June 30

Seniors, 60 or older in Hendry and Glades counties interested in applying for Commondity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) can come to or call any of Hope Connections locations in LaBelle, Moore Haven, or Clewiston during business hours for monthly free food of about 35 pounds of healthy vegetables, fruit, juice, dairy and protein. They may also sign up by contacting or visiting any of other community churches and local agencies

Hope Connections:

• LaBelle: Nobles Senior Center, 475 East Cowboy Way. Phone: 863-675- 1576
• Moore Haven: 501 1st St. Phone. 863-946- 0366
• Clewiston:1200 South W.C. Owen Ave. Phone: 863-983- 8942

Other agencies

Senior's in Hendry or Glades counties can register at Good Shepherd Church 1098 Collingswood Pkwy LaBelle for food distribution registration on Thursday June 22nd or Thursday June 29th. Church office 863-675-0385

 Catholic Charities of Hendry/Glades, 208 North Deanne Duff St., Clewiston. Phone: 239-672-6119
 Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist church, Della Tobias Ave., Clewiston. Phone: 863-983-8313.
 Serving With Love Ministries, 330 S. Estribo St., Clewiston. Phone: 863-254- 7794 or 863-228-6479.
 Feeding with Hope (formerly Iglesia Nueva TV), 217 East Aztec Ave., Clewiston. Phone:863-983- 1070
 Lighthouse Apostolic Church, 911 Evercane Road, Clewiston. Phone: 863-599- 9333
 First United Methodist Church, 300 Avenue L., Moore Haven. Phone: 863-227- 4647
 Goodwill Industries, 1150 US-27, Moore Haven. Phone: 863-946- 0572
 Living Waters Fellowship, 600 Avenue F, Moore Haven. Phone: 863-509- 9116.

Seniors may also call Annie Noel, CSFP coordinator at the Harry Chapin Food Bank, 239-334- 7007, ext. 143 or email:

Friday, June 16, 2017

Southwest Florida Online Sponsors

Thanks to the Southwest Florida Online sponsors for bringing our local news the last many years.

Alden A. Rumfelt, Attorney At Law135 Riverbend Drive
LaBelle, Fl 33935
Phone (863) 673-0251 email


Clewiston Pawn, Inc.202 E. Ventura Avenue
Clewiston, Fl. 33440
(863) 983-7330

Kiwanis Club Of LaBelle 
The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle is proud to sponsor three Service Leadership Programs

Website for Kiwanis:

KEY Club LaBelle High School- Sponsor, Tracy Nobles
Builder's Club West Glades School - Sponsor, Doreen Backes
AKTION Club LaBelle - Sponsor, Martha Stephens

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Walking The Tamiami Trail - Bob Kranich

Excerpts from A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich

I continued walking along the Tamiami Trail and came to a man working on his car engine in a roadside park. The next thing I knew I was sitting down at a picnic table with his entire family, wife and three young children, just talking. They gave me some water because they said they had a lot with them. They were hauling the water to their house because their well had been condemned. It continually amazed me just how much people would help and be just down-right friendly.
    I looked around and decided I would spend the night there at the roadside. I worked up a real crazy method to tie my hammock to the two end posts of a cast concrete picnic shelter. I was hanging way up in the air over the picnic table. That evening the mosquitoes were the worst that they had ever been. Another thanks to my mosquito net hat. It was getting hot in my sleeping bag when I slept at night, but I couldn’t sleep outside of it because the mosquitoes would carry me off!
    In the morning I decided to get an early start. I could see by the passing cars that there were a lot of weekend travelers and pleasure-seekers on the road. I came to a family and some of their friends who were fishing in the canal.
    We got to talking for quite a long time. The one lady insisted that I was getting paid to take this trip and that she would see me pretty soon on TV! It went something like this:
    A very large lady and the most vocal of the group, “I know that you aren’t just doing this for the fun, Nooo I’m going to see you on TV.”
    “No mam, I’m just hiking for the fun of it.”
    Ha...Ha...Ho…Ho, I’ll bet so… How much are they paying you?”
You are going to be on TV, I know I’m right, I’ll bet I’m right!” They all said, “Yea, Yea.”
    “Did they tell you what station you will be on? What time?”
    “M’am, I’ve got to go, but honestly, I’m just a hiker on a trip.”
    “Well bye and good luck, we will be looking for you on TV.”

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

Glades Property Appraiser Map Improvements


One of the greatest features available from the Glades County Property Appraiser's online site is the Glades County aerial GIS map. The map is a great tool for identifying property ownership, addresses, roads, highways, railroads, lots, blocks, and property dimensions.

In an effort to provide even more information, Lori Ward, Glades County Property Appraiser has recently added a Hydrology, Conservation Easement, Subdivision, Condo, and a Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation Boundary Layer.

To view the map, from the Home Page click on the tab marked “GIS Map”, located on the left side of the page. You can then select the desired layer by clicking on the box just to the left of the word describing the layer. For example, if you want to see the all of the rivers, creeks, sloughs, branches and canals (Hydrology Layer), you would click the box to the left of “Glades Hydrology”.

Visit the website (, and Ms. Ward says if you need help with the website, give her a call and she will be more than happy to walk you through it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Obituary - Carlota Morrell

Carlota Toñarely Fernandez-Morrell
Carlota Morrell was born November 4, 1919 in Havana, Cuba, to Jose Ramon and Carmen Toñarely.  She graduated from the American Dominican Academy in Havana.  She had attended dance academies in Havana and New York City, focusing on tap and Spanish folk dancing.  She was an exchange student at Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas, before returning to Havana to further her education and to teach kindergarten.
She married Alberto Fernandez-Morrell in June 1943 and raised their family, with homes in Havana and on the family farming and ranching operation near Esmeralda, Camaguey Province.  In 1960, they came to the US and established residence in Pahokee.  While in Pahokee, she assisted with Mrs. Blakey’s Kindergarten. In 1963, the family moved to Clewiston. 
Carlota opened Morrell’s Platyme Kindergarten in 1963 and operated it until her retirement in 1985.  During those years, she helped prepare hundreds for schooling.  She also taught tap dancing in Clewiston and LaBelle.  She had a lifetime-long love for teaching children.
Carlota died peacefully at 97 on June 6, 2017.  She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Alberto, and brothers Luis, Enrique, Ramon and Fernando Toñarely.  She is survived by her children Carlota Francis-Barwick (Jeff), Alberto (Sandra), Armando (Patsy) of Mayking, KY, Luisa Jenkins (Michael) of Tonawanda, NY, Serafina Marcone (Victor) of Northport, and Alfonso (Laina) of Canton, GA.  She is survived by 17 grandchildren, and 22 great grandchildren.
A memorial funeral Mass will be conducted at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 1 at St. Margaret Catholic Church in Clewiston.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the St. Margaret Catholic Church Building Maintenance Fund. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Hector Placencia Dies At 71

Hector Placencia, age 71, of Clewiston, passed away June 10, 2017 in Boynton Beach.
He was born Dec. 9, 1945 in Kendallville, Indiana, to Andres H and Petra (Jalomo) Placencia. Mrs. Placencia married Yolanda Quesada. He was a parishioner of St. Margaret Catholic Church for many years. He worked for many years as head custodian for Hendry County Schools in Clewiston. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend who will be greatly missed by everyone who knew and loved him.
He leaves behind his loving wife; Yolanda Placencia of Clewiston, sons; Hector Placencia and his fiancé Ashley, Adrian Placencia, Michael Placencia and his wife Farah, one granddaughter; Noelia Placencia, along with many nieces' nephews and extended family members.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 11:00 am at Saint Margaret's Catholic Church, Clewiston, with Father Jiobani Batista presiding. Interment will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation is Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Kiwanis Adult Scholarship Applications Open

The LaBelle Kiwanis Club is accepting applications for adult scholarships through July 5, 2017. The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle believes in education and awards annual scholarships to adult students which are selected by the club's scholarship committee. 

Applicants will be contacted and interviews will be scheduled. Recipients should be announced by the end of July. 

The scholarships are designed to recognize and support exceptional students looking to achieve higher education. The scholarships are applied towards the student's tuition.
Applications can be picked up at the Kiwanis Thrift Store which is located at 155 S. Bridge Streetor print out the application from the LaBelle Kiwanis Website at: .
Return completed applications to LaBelle CPA Office at 14 West Washington, LaBelle (Across from Post Office) or mail to PO Box 2161, LaBelle, FL 33975 to the attention of "Scholarship Committee"

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Margie Henry Dies At 89

Margie Mae Henry, age 89, of Moore Haven, passed away June 4, 2017 in LaBelle.
She was born Apr. 12, 1928 in Point Pleasant, WV, to Dana Earl and Orga Myrle (Wears) Cooley. She worked for many years as telephone operator for the State of Ohio. She married Walter Henry; he preceded her in death on November 25, 2012. She was a very religious woman, who loved her church family greatly. She attended faithfully Pioneer Baptist Church. She was a loving and caring wife, mother, and friend to all. She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew and loved her.
Survivors include her loving daughter; Margie Nicolette "Nikki" Henry of LaBelle, Florida and her church family.
Celebration of Mrs. Henry's life was held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, June 8, 2017 in Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, Florida. Burial will be next to her husband in Sarasota National Cemetery.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Burn Ban Lifted In Hendry

On behalf of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners, Mr. Charles Chapman, the Hendry County Administrator, has authorized the county wide burn ban to be lifted effective Friday, June 9th, 2017, at 8:00 AM. 

 All applicable laws and ordinances with regards to burning will be back in effect at that time. The original county wide burn ban was put into effect by the Hendry County BOCC on January 9th, 2017 as a result of dry conditions and numerous large wildfires within Hendry County and the surrounding area. 

 Recent rains have alleviated the drought conditions somewhat, thereby allowing the ban to be lifted.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Governor Scott Vetoes Major Agriculture Program Funding

Gov. Rick Scott has vetoed more than $6 million worth of University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences projects that may curtail its ability and potential to deliver science-based solutions to Florida residents and the agriculture and natural resources industries.

Gene McAvoy, Hendry County Extension Director reports the following funding has been cut from the budget by Gov. Scott.

The vetoes include:

New funding:

•  Tropical Research & Education Center upgrades -- $750,000

Existing programs:

•   4-H State Funding -- $1,000,000
•   Florida Horticulture Research, Science, & Education -- $1,450,000
•   Tropical Aquaculture Lab (TAL) -- $778,987
•   FL Agriculture Initiative -- $125,000
•   Bok Tower Educational Initiative -- $2,000,000
•   Geomatics Education -- $636,120

The Governor vetoed funding for programs that have long been in the state budget. Except for the TREC proposal, these are recurring dollars that have supported faculty, staff and operations for years.

These vetoes will inflict immediate damage to the agricultural industry, says McAvoy. Overall  these  cuts  will limit UF/IFAS’ ability  to  serve  Florida  residents and  its  agriculture and natural resources  industries.

These  budget cuts impact the ability to offer  opportunities in the classroom,  discover knowledge through  innovative research and  share those  solutions with the public. They impact 35 existing faculty positions, staff funding support and program support.

Florida 4-H State Funding
The governor vetoed funding that supports numerous 4-H faculty, regional specialized agents and   programming. This will ripple across a state where the program prepares more than 200,000 youth for high-tech, STEM careers.

4 H is delivered through land-grant universities by Cooperative Extension—a community of more than 100 public universities across the nation that provides experiences where young people learn by doing.

Florida has a vibrant program with more than 200,000 Florida youth in 4-H through UF/IFAS Extension.  It involves 16,000 volunteers whose 650,000 hours of service equate to a $13.8 million economic impact annually.

The program educates children in all 67 counties and Seminole Tribe in STEM, citizenship/leadership, entrepreneurship, and healthy living to help them grow into contributing members of society and the workforce.

The loss of youth development faculty will translate into fewer traditional clubs, such as those in livestock, equine, veterinary science, biotechnology, raising and training animals, forestry, citizenship, and leadership. In addition, there will be fewer of the newer types of clubs that engage students in robotics, rocketry, computer science and electrical engineering. These clubs teach problem solving and creative and critical thinking, and they build excitement for engineering and technology.

Scott vetoed funding for the Center for Landscape Ecology and Conservation, a direct hit to Florida’s ornamental plant industry, which relies on science from the center that it cannot get at such a great value from any other source.

The CLCE has a primary objective to save water in the landscape and provide information on water quality issues associated with landscapes through research and Extension efforts. Strong partnerships with DEP, industry organizations, utilities, and governmental agencies provide a multi-prong approach to saving water and protecting water quality.

•       The Green Industries-Best Management Practices program has trained 44,061 and certified 37,857 landscape professionals through nearly 1,600 classes in Florida.
•       In 2015, an estimated 187,586,461 gallons of water was saved in Florida through a direct impact from the center’s major Extension programs. This is enough water to supply the annual indoor water needs of nearly 3,000 homes.
•       More than 4,500 Florida Master Gardener volunteers in 60 Florida Counties donated $9.3 million in volunteer time in areas of horticulture and water conservation education. The Florida Master Gardener Program trained 660 new volunteers in 2016.

It also  threatens the  Center  for Public Issues Education   that provides  valuable  research and   professional development  for   agriculture and natural  resources   industries across the state  supporting their competitiveness and  contributing to the  state’s economy.

Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory:
This veto eliminates most funding for the TAL in Ruskin. It is the only research and development support for an industry with an annual farm gate value of $27 million and that employs thousands of people. Florida accounts for 95 percent of U.S. production of aquarium fish.

The UF/IFAS Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory (TAL), provides research, Extension, education, and graduate student education focused on the state’s unique tropical fish industry. Tropical fish account for the largest segment of Florida’s aquaculture industry.

The aquaculture industry has the highest per-acre value and the highest economic multiplier factor of any agricultural commodity.

Program focus areas include new species development, non-native aquatic species management, aquatic animal disease diagnostics, restoration aquaculture, management of aquatic materials application, and general production management. Working closely with industry, state, and federal agencies, the TAL provides science-based information used to make management and regulatory decisions.

The TAL has a full-service disease diagnostic lab that provides treatment and prevention recommendations, trains students and conducts educational programs.

Yet another veto gut the geomatics education program. There is a critical shortage of professionals who can gather, analyze and interpret mapping and surveying data. More than half of graduates with this kind of education own their own companies. And they stay in Florida and contribute to our economy.

Established in 1973 at the University of Florida at the behest of the surveying profession in Florida, the geomatics program is the only full-service geomatics program in the southeast United States, and it is viewed as a program of regional, national, and international impact. The program has developed national recognition through its research program, faculty publications, and faculty participation at national meetings.

Geomatics/surveying has had a critical shortage of professionals for at least a decade.  In order to meet the increasing demand for professionals, the UF/IFAS Geomatics Education initiative expanded the existing bachelor’s program for statewide delivery and developed an online geomatics certificate as a route to licensure for individuals holding bachelor’s degrees in other disciplines.

Florida Ag Initiative
Vetoed funding for the Florida Agriculture Initiative will mean fewer high school students engaged in agriculture and natural resources studies for an industry with a critical deficit in the numbers of university students entering its professions.

The Florida Youth Institute uses the Florida Agriculture Initiative funding to inform and inspire high school students to consider careers in agriculture and natural resources. The Florida Youth Institute in Agriculture and Natural Resources (FYI) is a centerpiece of this effort. It’s a week-long residential immersion program for rising 11th and 12th graders from across the state. The mission of FYI is to engage youth with faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and professionals in current agricultural and natural resource issues and areas of interest that match industry needs.

Bok Tower Educational Initiative
Also affected is the mission of the UF/IFAS Extension and Bok Tower Gardens Partnership to enrich communities through experiential education that promotes a connection to nature and healthy living. The partnership works to improve community health across Polk County and the Central and South Florida region by mitigating health risk factors and fostering a sense of community and civic responsibility through hands-on learning for youth and adults. The work of the partnership couples the research-based expertise of the University of Florida and Extension’s intentional outreach of educational and conservation programs, along with world-class facilities and natural settings, at Bok Tower Gardens.

Amazon Gives Discount To Food Stamp Recipients And Others

Amazon today announced customers participating in a growing list of government assistance programs can now access Amazon Prime at a discounted monthly price. 
Currently, customers who have a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card qualify for the discounted membership. Membership includes Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Reading, Prime Photos and unlimited fast, free shipping for $5.99 per month for one year, with the ability to cancel anytime. Customers can learn more or sign up for a 30-day free trial at
In addition to unlimited fast, free two-day shipping on more than 50 million eligible items, Prime members also receive unlimited access to the following benefits at no additional cost:
  • Prime Video: Unlimited access to tens of thousands of movies and TV shows
  • Prime Music: More than two million songs and thousands of playlists and stations
  • Prime Photos: Unlimited photo storage to preserve family memories
  • Prime Reading: A rotating selection of free e-books and magazines
  • Audible Channels for Prime: Premium original podcasts, audio series and audiobooks exclusively from Audible
  • Kindle First: A free pre-release e-book each month
  • Twitch Prime: In-game loot on Twitch and 20 percent off pre-release digital games
  • Early Access: Exclusive early access to select Lightning Deals
  • Savings: Discounts on select products including 20 percent off diaper subscriptions
  • Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery: One million products, order by noon and get them today in eligible zip codes
  • Prime Now: Free two-hour delivery on tens of thousands of items in eligible zip codes
At launch, customers will need to qualify with a valid EBT card. An EBT card is commonly used to disburse funds for several government assistance programs including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC). EBT cannot be used to pay for membership. Customers can qualify every 12 months up to 4 times. Amazon will add other ways to qualify in the future for customers participating in government assistance programs that do not utilize EBT. 
There is no annual commitment and members can cancel anytime. Customers can learn more or sign up for a 30-day free trial at

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Obituaries- William Pelham, Caroline Keen, Fred Mitchell

William C. Pelham, Sr., age 90, of Clewiston, passed away May 31, 2017 in Clewiston.
He was born Dec. 11, 1926 in Washington County, FL, to the late James Arthur and the late Evelyn Lavata (Varnum) Pelham.
Survivors include two sons: Curtis I. Pelham of Clewiston, FL and Wilburn R. Pelham of Clewiston, FL,
He was preceded in death by his Son, William C. "Bo" Pelham, and Daughter, Waynette Harris
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at 11:00 am., With calling 1 hour before at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Henry Pelham officiating.,
Interment will be Wednesday, June 7, 2017 in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston at the convenience of the family. Visitation will be Wednesday from at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.
Caroline Joyce Keen, age 86, of Pelham, passed away May 28, 2017 in Pelham, Georgia.
She was born on November 08, 1930 in Arcadia, Florida to William J. and Essie Sapp Robison. She married Melvin Keen, he preceded in her death on June 28, 2015. She was a loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother and sister. Caroline was the lunchroom manager at Clewiston High School for many years.
She leaves behind her daughter; Donna Keen of Atlanta, Georgia, son; Cecil Keen and his wife Debbie of Baconton, Georgia, granddaughters; Tara and Tammy, great grandchildren; Chelsa, Jake, Emily, Chance, Hayley, Alexis.
Celebration of Life was held Friday, June 2, 2017 at 10:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Rocky Bratcher officiating. Interment was Friday, June 2, 2017 in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Arcadia. Visitation was Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.
Fred Wilson Mitchell, age 82, of Clewiston, passed away May 26, 2017 in West Palm Beach.
He was born Feb. 7, 1935 in Alabama to the late Arnton Jefferson Mitchell and the late Eula Mae (Greggs) Mitchell. He was preceded in death by his wife, Gracie Lambert Mitchell in 2011.
He was survived by his brother: Samuel W. Mitchell, sister: Diane Byars and a host of other family members that loved and cared for Fred.
A memorial service will be held for Fred and Gracie on Saturday, June 10, 2017, 1:00 pm at Clewiston Pentecostal Holiness Church, Clewiston with Brother Tommy and Brother Troy officiating.
Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Four Sheriff's Officers Receive Honors

On June 1, 2017, Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden and the Hendry County Sheriff's Office, honored officers who have gone above and beyond the normal, everyday call of duty during the Quarterly Award Ceremony.

Sgt. C. Green and Deputy M. Cano received a Unit Citation Award involving the shooting of a fellow officer.

“Their team effort under demanding conditions involving the shooting of a fellow officer, including maintaining a crowd control and the crime scene along with other law enforcement members who in support of the agency operations, distinguished themselves to effectuate the protection of Life and Property for the citizens of Hendry County.”

Deputy J. Moorehead will be receiving a Purple Heart Medal, “For his service in harm's way and wounds received in the line of duty while serving the citizens of Hendry County”. (not pictured)

Sgt. A. Taylor received a Life Saving Citation, “For Outstanding performance, in the saving of a human life on March 26, 2017, by observing and responding to a fellow officer in distress.  Upon noticing that the follow officer was in a dire situation Sgt. Taylor swiftly proceeded to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on him; dislodging the obstruction in the other officer’s throat, allowing him to breath…” 

Sheriff Whidden said, “I am very proud of our personnel. Their exceptional professionalism and devotion to duty reflect upon highly upon them and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the Law Enforcement profession”.

Department Of Health, Emergency Preparadness At Family Day Glades

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The Florida Department of Health, Emergency Preparedness, Healthy Families and Healthy Start were represented at the Glades County All Hazards/Family Day on Saturday, June 3rd in Moore Haven.

Information was distributed on the following: Public Health Preparedness, Environmental Health, Zika, Healthy Families, Healthy Start Car seat fittings, Drowning Prevention, and safe walking/ safe biking.

Photo: Bob Kosiba, Brenda Barnes

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Trail Association Hiker Events For June

Fisheating Creek Florida Trail Association Sub-Chapter  invites hikers and families to participate in the upcoming June events. 

June 3: National Trails Day Forester Lead Hike:  Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest 9am-noon Meet at Twin Mills Grade Trail or carpool @8am from Barron Park 360 N. Bridge St., 33935, LaBelle (at Bridge) ($2 per person Day Use Fee)

June 4:  Clip and Walk Paradise Lake Trail (5:00pm in the Hammock starting at the Parking Lot) Fisheating Creek WMA, Palmdale on Highway 27 at 27/29 intersection on east side of highway Bring loppers and pruning saws. 

June 22: Final Planning meeting for Camping trip 7:00pm at Carlson United Methodist Church 310 Campbell St., LaBelle 

June 23-25:  Brownville Park Overnight Camping 1885 NE Brownville StArcadia, FL 34266-2618 

RSVP Margaret England  or 863-517-0202

Letter To City Commissioners - Cliffford Avery

Dear LaBelle City Commission:
It has been brought to my attention through a front page article in the Caloosa  Belle and a number of our local community members that our commission has voted  3/2 to approve selling alcoholic drinks in Barron Park. I am asking you to reconsider this decision.  I have come love LaBelle in the 40 plus years I have been allowed too served here. And know you deeply care and serve LaBelle too! We are small, by other cities standards, but this community is different in the fact that we care and help each other. Detrimental things  happen when alcohol is added to events. 

A.A. Saint Matthews House, Teen Challenge, Mothers Against Drunk Divers and many other  rehabilitation centers exist because there is real danger.  As a community we do not want to show our weakness but, honestly alcohol costs our community too much in deaths and injuries. All we need to do is visit our cemetery to see the toll on our youth and families. 

I am a tax payer. Other ministers live in tax exempt church owned housing. I do not.  My home is in the city.  I am  deeply concerned about the health of this community as I know you are.

Some years ago I was heading out to a commission meeting. I was complaining to one of the commissions about “having to attend.”  They said “You don’t have to be here that’s why you elected me to represent you.”  I believe this is still true.  Please, reconsider this vote to preserve the long-standing heritage of an alcohol free Park. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration. 

Your fellow community servant 

Clifford D. Avery, pastor

Sign Up For Senior Food Program By June 30

Rick, 71, sat behind the steering wheel of his car, breathing with the help of oxygen from a tube attached to his nose. His was part of a long line of vehicles wrapped around the parking lot at Hope Connections in LaBelle, all bearing seniors who waited patiently for their monthly distribution of food from the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

Rick has emphysema and other respiratory problems. “I get Social Security – I don’t get much,” he said. “I have to pay my car insurance and rent out there, and water, and light.” The bills come first, he said. “Then there’s what I got left. That’s what I go on.”

Rick gets help from CSFP, which provides about 30 to 35 pounds of nutritious food once per month to eligible seniors age 60 and older. The program is run by the state Agriculture Department and operated by the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida.

The food bank has received the go-ahead from the state to expand the program in Hendry and Glades
counties only. There is a catch - 1,450 more seniors must register by July 1, or the food bank risks losing the additional funds for expansion.

Seniors with lower incomes may have multiple health problems and difficulty making ends meet.

Throughout the morning, the seniors kept coming. Those who receive CSFP from Hope Connections
have already met eligibility requirements and registered for the program. To qualify, an applicant must be at least 60 years old and earn a gross income at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty line. For example, a two-person household with an annual gross income of $21,112 would qualify.

The seniors sign in and show their IDs. Since most have low mobility, they return to their vehicles and wait in line. Volunteers load the cars, one by one.  The healthy food seniors receive aims to keep them from having to make hard choices like eating or paying bills.

“It helps me immensely,” said Denise, 71, of the CSFP program. “I’m a widow. I’m on a fixed income.” The food she gets for one month can last her almost to the next month, “because there’s just me,” she said. “Financially, I can’t afford to go out shopping.”

The fact that the food bank is seeking to sign up seniors so the CSFP program can expand in Hendry and Glades is “wonderful,” Denise said. “You have so many people here in LaBelle that don’t come forward. Talking to people, they don’t want to come out and I don’t understand why they don’t want to come out,” she said. “I learned by coming out.”

“Duke,” 75, was a saltwater fisherman in Barbados before coming to the area more than 40 years ago. Now he’s retired from working in the irrigation and chemical areas of the citrus industry. He relies on the CSFP senior food program to get by. He also delivers CSFP to seven other people in the community. “I do that because a lot of people, they don’t have transportation,” he said. “Some are unable to get here.” Other volunteers deliver CSFP to about 60 other clients who can’t get to the once-monthly distribution.

Seniors in Hendry and Glades counties interested in applying for CSFP can come to or call any of Hope Connections locations in LaBelle, Moore Haven, or Clewiston during business hours. They may also sign up by contacting or visiting any of eight other agencies

Hope Connections:

• LaBelle: Nobles Senior Center, 475 East Cowboy Way. Phone: 863-675- 1576
• Moore Haven: 501 1st St. Phone. 863-946- 0366
• Clewiston:1200 South W.C. Owen Ave. Phone: 863-983- 8942

Other agencies

 Catholic Charities of Hendry/Glades, 208 North Deanne Duff St., Clewiston. Phone: 239-672-6119
 Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist church, Della Tobias Ave., Clewiston. Phone: 863-983-8313.
 Serving With Love Ministries, 330 S. Estribo St., Clewiston. Phone: 863-254- 7794 or 863-228-6479.
 Feeding with Hope (formerly Iglesia Nueva TV), 217 East Aztec Ave., Clewiston. Phone:863-983- 1070
 Lighthouse Apostolic Church, 911 Evercane Road, Clewiston. Phone: 863-599- 9333
 First United Methodist Church, 300 Avenue L., Moore Haven. Phone: 863-227- 4647
 Goodwill Industries, 1150 US-27, Moore Haven. Phone: 863-946- 0572
 Living Waters Fellowship, 600 Avenue F, Moore Haven. Phone: 863-509- 9116.

Seniors may also call Annie Noel, CSFP coordinator at the Harry Chapin Food Bank, 239-334- 7007,
ext. 143 or email:

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Hilda Ibietatorremendia Dies At 84

Hilda R Ibietatorremendia, age 84, of Clewiston, passed away May 30, 2017 in Miami Beach.
She was born Nov. 19, 1932 in Moron Camaguey, Cuba to late Juan and Sara (Reyes) Ramos. She married Lazaro Ibietatorremendia and he preceded her in death on December 7, 2014. Hilda and Lazaro immigrated from Cuba in 1960 and been a resident of Clewiston since 1962. She was a parishioner of Saint Margaret Catholic Church. She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother who will be greatly missed by her entire family.
Survivors include her son; Juan J. Ibietatorremendia of Coral Gables, Florida, one sister; Gladys Gomez of Miami, Florida, grandchildren; Gabrielle Ibietatorremendia of Moore Haven, Florida, Juan Alejandro Ibietatorremendia of Clewiston, Florida, Emmanuel Ibietatorremendia of Lake Placid, Florida, Sarah Ibietatorremendia of Clewiston, Angela Ibietatorremendia of Bristol, Florida. Great grandchildren; Avah Ibietatorremendia, Stetson Ibietatorremendia both of Lake Placid, Florida and Saralyn Ibietatorremendia of Bristol, Florida.
Hilda was also preceded in death by her son, Anibal Ibietatorremendia.
Mass of Christian Burial was held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday in St. Margaret Catholic Church with Father Rafael Gonzalez presiding. Visitation was held from 6-8 pm Wednesday in Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston. Burial in Ridgelawn Cemetery. .

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Obituaries - Jose Ramirez Jr., Maria Martinez

Jose R Ramirez, Jr, age 98, of LaBelle, passed away May 16, 2017 in LaBelle. He was born Apr. 8, 1919 in Puerto Rico, to Jose R and Juana (Gonzalez) Ramirez.

He is survived by his wife: Mary Marzan Ramirez, sons: Hector Ramierz and Irving Ramirez. Visitation was Friday from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL.

Maria De Las Mercedes Montejo Martinez, age 93, of LaBelle, passed away May 15, 2017 in LaBelle. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Walking The Tamiami Trail - Bob Kranich

Excerpts from A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich
I could see Monroe Station in the distance across the road on the south side. As I was approaching the drive and preparing to cross I saw that there was what appeared to be a Seminole Miccosukee Indian settlement back behind the trees and brush on my side.

There were a lot of different chickees of all sizes. In the 1920’s many of the Miccosukee Indians started living along the Tamiami trail. Because of this, they were able to get jobs helping to build the road.

I crossed over and walked into the wide dirt and gravel drive. On the right a road was entering the Tamiami Trail from the south. It was then that I realized that it was the intersection of the original Tamiami Trail which went through Monroe County, the Loop Road. 

I could see over on the far side of the cleared property lots and lots of swamp buggies. There were all kinds and sizes. I could see some tow cars, trucks and even some campers. There must have been at least 60 or more vehicles parked there.

I walked inside and came face to face with Mr. Dixie Webb himself! A legend in his own time. I really didn’t know just who I was talking to!

“Well look what we have here,” he said, “What are you doin’, and where did you come from?”

Hey, this guy looked like Buffalo Bill, with old cowboy-type hat, thick white hair down to his shoulders and a big white beard. He appeared to be 65 plus years, a real character.

“Just hiking from Georgia to Key West,” I said.

“ Well, glad to have you with us, young feller. Can I get you anything?”

“Thanks,” I said, “I’ll just look around.”

“If you don’t see it or we don’t have it, we’ll bring it in for you by alligator or dugout canoe,” he exclaimed.

I looked around. This sure was a wild place. They had all kinds of odds and ends, from a stuffed tusk-bearing, ferocious looking wild swamp hog to a sign stating:


I bought a Pepsi and a moon pie, and then hollered good bye to a flamboyant man in an unorthodox place! He was already talking to a tourist couple that had just come in.

The entire place was a “Legend in its own time!

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