Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Raising 14 Head Of Cattle On Only 14 Acres

Substantia Micro Ranch
Conservation on small acres produces big results

GAINESVILLE, Fla. Aug. 23, 2017--You won’t see this cowboy rope calves, brand steers or ride into the sunset on a cattle drive. But Barry Viljoen has big plans for his tiny ranch in Clermont, Fla., where he manages 14 head of cattle on just 14 acres. A half hour west of Orlando, Mr. Viljoen is making a living on his small-scale suburban operation by breeding and raising high-value Wagyu cattle mixed with Brangus. And he is doing it sustainably, moving two groups of cattle sometimes as many as two or three times a day.

Every day, a single line of cows follow Mr. Viljoen down a path cutting his property in half, leading to one of the 14 one-acre sections of pasture. Portable electric fencing subdivides each into one-fifth acre paddocks. He varies the size of the paddock and the length of time the cows graze depending on the season and the herd weight. His herd weight is approximately 7,000-8,000 pounds, with his medium-framed cows weighing approximately 1000 pounds each. Even during winter when the cattle are eating hay, they still get to graze a few hours a day on stockpiled pasture.

“It’s all about intensively managing the grazing,” Mr. Viljoen said. During winter he supplements their diet with a grain mix to help them produce more milk. “Wagyu cattle are notorious for low milk production.”

After they graze, Mr. Viljoen leads them back to their pen. Each has its own personality.  “Sparky, the full-blood Wagyu bull is quite a character. Some people have a bull dog, and Sparky is mine,” he said.  Sunshine, a full-blood Wagyu cow, is the friendliest of them all, quick to approach strangers and give them a lick on the hand. Buffy is the ugly one and 13 is somewhat skittish, but she produces fast-growing cows with long bodies. Hoppy, one of four bull calves, is a handful. “He is a hooligan, but also the smartest, always in trouble, with the others following,” Mr. Viljoen said. He doesn’t name the ones he sells. 

“A handclap means come my way – and I never clap my hands unless it has to do with eating. Cattle have no desire to follow you unless they know there is food at the other end,” he said. He never raises his voice. One stern word, “back,” is sufficient. When they are restless, he holds their ears to calm them down, a trick he learned from an old timer in Missouri.  “My cows are so well behaved, the gates to my pastures are just two electric wires across the entrance,” he said.

Mr. Viljoen’s approach to raising cattle completely changed after reading Mary Temple Grandin in 2013. An animal science professor at Colorado State University, she is an advocate for the humane treatment of livestock and an expert on livestock grazing behavior. As a famous autism spokesperson, her first-hand experience has influenced her work developing livestock handling practices.  When cattle are stressed, it increases cortisol in their bodies, which toughens the meat, Mr. Viljoen explained.  But he is also concerned about safety, and calm animals aren’t as dangerous. “I have developed a reputation for selling docile bulls, and that is why I am able to sell them before they are born and at the time of weaning,” he said.

The herd consists of full-blood Wagyu, Wagyu/Brangus and two Brangus cows. He is slowly rotating out the cows until he has a herd of full-blood Wagyu. He sells full-blood Wagyu bulls and steers for beef.  “Grass fed beef is the current rage, and I don’t have the acreage to finish my steers on grass, so I send them to the ‘fattening farm’ at seven months where they are grown until 18 months and delivered directly to the butcher,” he said.

“Consider that the average small commercial operation requires two to three acres per cow/calf compared to my one acre per cow/calf:  where I use 14 acres of pasture for my one bull and 13 cows, a conventional cattle operation requires at least 26 acres of pasture,” Mr. Viljoen said. He grosses approximately $3,000 per steer sold as quarters of beef after paying to have them fattened. “Assume I sell 13 steers in a year at about $3,000 each, my gross income is $39,000. The commercial operation that sells 13 seven-month old steers at a sale barn for about $1,200 each grosses $15,600 only,” he said. The commercial operation uses 54 acres for one bull and 32 cow/calf pairs to produce $39,000. And because Mr. Viljoen’s operation is small, his expenses are less.  

“My beef is flavorful and extremely tender with abundant intermuscular fat in the meat. I use no antibiotics or growth hormones on my cattle,” he said.

Mr. Viljoen cleared the former tree farm 2012. “The property had enormous soil erosion, and I was able to reclaim the land,” he said. His first stop was to USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service in Tavares, Fla. District conservationist Suzy Daubert and range conservationist Pete Deal made a site visit. “We didn’t think it could ever work, there was no pasture. But he did. He made it a success,” Ms. Daubert said. They helped him identify natural resource concerns, develop a conservation plan and navigate the application process for financial assistance to apply conservation practices. The first year he built interior fence, splitting the property in two for grazing management, which he further divided into one-acre pastures. He installed water troughs. The second year he built a compost facility that he plans to use to fertilize the high tunnel he will build next year to raise produce to sell. He is growing plots of pollinators for his vegetables.

Next, he will plant fruit and nut trees to create Silvopasture. Between it all, he expects to earn a steady revenue from Substantia Micro Ranch. The former mechanical engineer said he could have retired and watched TV in his air-conditioned condo, but that would have started him down the slippery slope of ill health. “Since I started farming I have lost 25 pounds, eat like a horse and sleep so well dieting and gyms are no longer part of my vocabulary,” he said.

Note: Florida ranked 10th in beef cows and 18th in total cattle nationally. All cattle and calves on Florida farms and ranches as of January, 2016, totaled 1.69 million head, up 10,000 from 2015. The three top-ranking cattle-producing counties are Okeechobee, Highlands and Osceola. Beef cows in Florida were 915,000 head, up 9,000 head from 2015. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Hurricane Andrew - 25 Years Ago This Week


National Weather Service's 25th anniversary video of Hurricane Andrew that hit South Florida August 24, 1992.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Theatre Open Auditions Sept. 9

The LaBelle Firehouse Community Theatre is holding open auditions for its upcoming 25th season. Have you ever thought about performing on stage or helping behind the scenes? The time is NOW!
 
The theatre needs actors and actresses from 6 years old to 106 years "young" and additionally, the theatre needs volunteers to help with lighting, sound, props, costumes and back-stage.
 

Open auditions for the Firehouse Theatre’s 25th Season will be held Saturday, September 9th from 10am to noon at the Firehouse Theatre (241 North Bridge Street).

Obituaries - Ed Langdale, Joyce Snell

Oscar "Eddie" Edward Langdale, age 81, of Belle Glade, passed away August 20, 2017 in West Palm Beach. He was born Nov. 5, 1935 in Moore Haven, FL, to Oscar I. Langdale and Levey Lucille (Morris) Langdale. He was a self-employed contractor for years. Eddie started Langdale Dragline service in 1954 at the age of 19 in Delray Beach Fl. But soon after he moved back to the Glades at the height of developing of farmland. He developed digging canals, built roads on the farms in Palm Beach, Hendry and Glades counties. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Belle Glade, Fl.

He is preceded in death by his parents, brothers: James I., Ray Donald and Roy Langdale and a brother in law he considered a brother: Roy C. Lee.

Eddie is survived by his wife of 64 years Mary R. (Lee) Langdale, daughter: Susan Langdale (Jimmy) Forrester, son: Michael E. (Mercedes) Langdale, granddaughter: Patricia Forrester (Rodney) Yount, grandson: James V. (Julie) Forrester III, great-grandson: Jonathon Bailey Hedrick, five great-granddaughters: Hannah Hedrick, Katelyn, Jessica Lee Forrester and Madison Forrester and Hailey Yount and a brother in law he considered a brother: Billy Jack Lee.

The funeral service will be held Thursday, August 24, 2017, 11:00 a.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in Clewiston with Mr. Steve Weeks officiating. Interment will follow at Ortona Cemetery

Joyce Marie Snell, age 88, of LaBelle, passed away August 19, 2017 in Oakbrook of LaBelle.

She was born Sep. 21, 1928 in Moore Haven, FL, to Alice Marie (Tilden). She married James Henry Snell, he preceded her in death on May 19, 1973. Joyce worked for over 30 years as a manager for Handy Food Stores. She attended Palmdale Baptist Church for many years. She was a loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother who will be greatly missed by her entire family.

Joyce is survived by her children; Linda Crawford and Sandra Hayes both of LaBelle, Jimmy Snell of Ocala and David Snell of Palmdale, she is also survived by nine grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

Celebration of Joyce's life will be held at 11 am Wednesday, August 23, 2017 in Ortona Cemetery Pavilion. Burial will follow after the celebration also in Ortona Cemetery.

Celebration arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Hiking The Florida Keys - A Walk Across Florida

Excerpts From A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich
I checked my map and looked south down the highway towards the Keys. I could expect a raised causeway, about 10 miles of Everglades swamp, and 10 miles of mangroves. It looked like the mangroves would be high on each side, so I couldn’t expect much breeze. The raised causeway is what Flagler’s two dredges built. The railroad was built on it where the highway is now. In April of 1905 two of Flagler’s huge traveling dredges set out from what now is the Florida City area, south heading for Cross Key to Jewfish Creek. The dredges worked side by side with the marked right-of-way in the middle. They piled up the fill between them making a canal on each side and the raised causeway in the center.

As the dredges moved along, rock was brought in and spread on top of the causeway and then tracks laid…..

Why build a railroad to Key West? One may ask.

There were a few reasons. We would be able to trade with Cuba. The Spanish American War with Spain was over, thus the Panama Canal could be completed. Key West, which was then the largest city in Florida with approximately 20,000 inhabitants, had a very nice economy and a natural deep-water harbor. That harbor and its location in the Caribbean would make it an obvious choice for trade from the Panama Canal and the Caribbean nations.

I started off with Australian pines lining the road on both sides. It was a narrow two-lane road so I was on the left side facing traffic. The Sunday traffic was fierce and heavy, but most of it was coming from behind me going to the beaches. Some kids went by in an open flatbed truck playing drums and mariachis. I got hot and stopped to cool off in the canal. I saw a big bass dart away and then some small minnows nibbled on my feet. Since I had left the Australian pines behind me there was no shade, so I just sat there and evaporated off.

All day, as I hiked along, I had to wave back at people. I guessed they didn’t see many hikers. When there was a break in the mangroves, I could feel an occasional breeze as well as a salt smell in the air, not entirely ocean, still some Everglades memories. I tried to get a photo of the ospreys which had some nests on the poles along the highway, but they seemed to scare easily and stayed away. This was sure a long straight stretch. The side of the road was marl and rough coral rocks, really putting my boot soles to the test. I almost felt like I would flake out! Then up ahead I saw a rise in the road. I figured that it must be a Florida flood control canal. It was at least a mile or so away but I poured on the speed and moved out with a last thrust of energy.

It was nice under the bridge, real cool with the breeze moving up the canal. I lay down like I was about to die. After a nice rest I ate my meager rations and drank some old canal water. I was back out on the highway, and in a couple of miles I came to a marina. I stopped for snacks and some fresh water. I had a long talk with some people who had seen me in the morning, on their way out to the beaches. I guessed that is why so many people waved at me the next five miles. They had seen me in the morning when they were driving out to have some fun and relaxation. Here it was late in the afternoon, and this guy is still hiking in the sun!

The traffic coming back from the Keys towards me was solid. Sometimes it stopped, bumper to bumper. Everyone was waving and hollering at me, actually encouraging me. It was like I was a one-man parade and they were all bystanders waving, hollering and whooping. What a time! The enthusiasm just carried me along.

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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

United Way Opens New Office

Moore Haven, FL  – United Way of Hendry and Glades celebrated the opening of a United Way House in Moore Haven with a ribbon cutting and open house on July 28th. The Moore Haven United Way House is located at 200 Second Street.

United Way Houses bring services to the communities where they are needed. The Moore Haven United Way House provides space for agencies to assist clients, making multiple resources available to residents in one location. Hope Connections is the lead partner agency for the United Way House.

“By partnering with United Way, Hope Connections can better serve our most vulnerable seniors in Hendry and Glades counties,” said Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope Healthcare. “Last year, Hope provided more than 24,000 meals through home delivery and at Hope Care Centers like the one in the new Moore Haven House.”

With the addition of the Moore Haven House, there are a total of 19 United Way Houses throughout Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee Counties.

Over 80 people attended the ribbon cutting, and many toured the facility. Speakers included: Representative Cary Pigman and Glades County Manager Paul Carlisle. Additional speakers were Matt Hudson, Hope Healthcare Vice-President; Cliff Smith, President of the United Way; and Lisa Sands, Manager of the LaBelle United Way House.

Cliff Smith welcomed the crowd and thanked many people for their attendance including the Glades County Commissioners, School Board Members, School Superintendent Scott Bass, and United Way Partner Agency representatives. “Having a United Way House in Moore Haven is a priority for United Way, and we are thrilled that we are cutting the ribbon today on this new location,” said Smith.

“The idea behind the United Way Houses is that agencies can come together and offer their services to the community under one roof, and create an environment of collaboration and partnership. Last year, our 19 houses served over 310,000 individuals in our communities and this House will bring an increase in the numbers of families who are helped here in Moore Haven,” he concluded.

Lisa Sands presented special Community Partnership Awards to thank those involved in making the House a reality including: the Glades County Commissioners and County Manager Paul Carlisle; Shannon Hall of the Glades Electric Charitable Trust; Tommy Perry of Johnson-Prewitt; Micki Morgan of Clyde Johnson Contracting; and United Way Allocations Team Leader Scott Bass. Arlene Bettencourt, a former United Way employee, received special recognition for advocating bringing services to Moore Haven for many years.

A local network of 27 United Way Partner Agencies will receive funds from the United Way of Hendry and Glades fundraising campaign. All money raised in the United Way campaign stays in the local community to help support the local human service network. These agencies include: Abuse Counseling and Treatment (ACT), The Salvation Army, Harry Chapin Food Bank, RCMA, Children’s Advocacy Center, Child Care of Southwest Florida, Healthy Families, and many others.

In addition to raising funds for human service organizations in our community, the United Way promotes partnerships and collaborations among agencies, helping them to work together focusing on issues and solutions that continue to improve lives.

Seniors Get Food Help In Hendry/Glades







Eligible seniors have four new enrollment dates to sign up for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) at Hope Connections. Qualified low-income seniors can sign up for the monthly distribution of 30 to 35 pounds of nutritious food on these dates and times:

 Aug. 22 and Aug. 28: Clewiston, 9 a.m. to noon, 1200 S WC Owen Ave. Phone: 863-983- 8942

 Aug: 25 and Aug. 30: Moore Haven, 9 a.m. to noon, 200 Second St. Phone: 863-946- 0366.

The CSFP program, run by the state agriculture department and operated by the Harry Chapin Food
Bank of Southwest Florida, is expanding in Hendry and Glades counties. The Harry Chapin Food Bank is seeking to increase the number of clients who participate in CSFP from 296 to 1,450.

They include clients like John, 71, who doesn’t have a car and can’t always get a ride to Hope Connections to pick up his CSFP food. But he manages to improvise. For the last CSFP distribution, John drove his riding lawn mower to Hope Connections, about a mile away from his home.

He’s done that several times so he can pick up the food he needs, John said. “It helps me a lot. I can get the juice. I love the juice. Everything they give me helps me.” The food package includes fruits, vegetables, cheese, milk, peanut butter/dry beans, potatoes/grains and more.

The lawn mower John drives is partially melted on one side. It had been in a fire, but he got a good deal on it and knew how to fix it, he said. “I’m not too good at making it, but I do the best I can.”

He was very grateful and happy" said Kristina Rodriguez, Hope Connections manager. "We are always humbled and proud to serve each day...but he reminds us ten-fold why rural programs matter when we meet seniors like him."

To qualify for CSFP, 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 $21,172 would qualify.

The CSFP expansion is needed, said Samira Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope Connections, which has offices in LaBelle, Moore Haven and Clewiston. “Since we’ve worked here in Hendry and Glades for so many years, we know there’s real need and limited resources. We have people on all kinds of waiting lists for our different services. Somehow Hendry and Glades are often forgotten - the people of Hendry and Glades.”

The healthy food seniors receive aims to keep them from having to make hard choices like eating or
paying bills or buying medicine. So far, Harry Chapin Food Bank has signed up 1,102 clients for Hendry and Glades counties, with 348 needed.

The breakdown is:

 879 clients for Hendry County, with 161 needed

 223 clients in Glades County, with 187 needed

Seniors in Hendry and Glades counties interestet in applying for CSFP can also go to the Hope
Connections location in LaBelle at the Nobles Senior Center, 475 East Cowboy Way, during business
hours. Phone: 863-675-1576

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ryan Kinsey Dies In Motorcycle Crash Incident

Ryan J. Kinsey, 28 of El Paso, TX died after a hit and run crash Tuesday night at 11:47 p.m. in Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida.

A 2013 Harley Davidson Motorcycle was traveling northbound on US 41 (SR45) south of Cedar Creek Dr. when Kinsey fell off the bike onto the roadway and came to final rest in the right lane of US 41.

The motorcycle came to final rest north in the right lane of US 41 north of Kinsey. A Ford Taurus was traveling northbound in the right lane of US 41 approaching Cedar Creek Dr. and collided with Kinsey and continued traveling northbound on US 41 in an unknown direction.

It was described as Tan or Grey Ford Taurus. This crash remains under investigation

How To Protect Eyes During The Florida Solar Eclipse


On Monday, August 21, Florida will experience a partial solar eclipse, and the Florida Department of Health reminds all Floridians to enjoy this rare event safely by following simple precautions and using proper protection. Severe retinal damage can occur from looking directly at the sun.

"The solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime event that I'm sure many of us will want to experience,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary Dr. Celeste Philip. "I look forward to viewing the eclipse safely using approved solar eclipse glasses, and I encourage all of Florida's residents and visitors to practice caution while driving or walking outdoors during the period of darkness.”

Because Florida will not experience a total solar eclipse, it will not be safe the view the eclipse without the use of special solar filters like eclipse glasses. Sunglasses are not eclipse glasses. Not all glasses that market themselves as "eclipse glasses” are safe. Approved glasses have filters that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for safety. A list of vendors for approved eclipse glasses can be viewed on the American Astronomical Society (AAS) website. During the eclipse, be sure to take breaks and avoid staring at the sun for long periods of time, even with eclipse glasses.

Take simple precautions to protect your vision before, during and after the solar eclipse:
Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter;
Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device;
Always supervise children using solar filters; and
Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.

You can read more about solar eclipse safety on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Eclipse 101 website.

World Class Barbershop Of LaBelle

World Class Barbershop Of LaBelle, owned by Hugo Vargas, invites area residents and visitors to visit the barber shop located at 216 South Main Street in LaBelle.

Among services Hugo and his barbers offer are regular & scissor cuts, flat tops, shaves, and hair styling for all ages.  

World Class Barbershop is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 am until 5 pm and Saturday from 7 am until 2 pm. 

Phone: (863) 674-1775

World Class Barbershop is a sponsor of Southwest Florida Online.

Jenaro Deleon Dies At 84

Jenaro Vasquez Deleon, age 84, of LaBelle, passed away August 9, 2017 in LaBelle. He was born Jan. 28, 1933 in Junco, Puerto Rico to the late Marcelino and (Vasquez) Deleon.
Survivors include four sons: Marcelino (Sara) Deleon, Tony (Mary) Deleon, Abel (Sandy) Deleon and Genaro Deleon, Jr., and two daughters: Lydia Faz of LaBelle, FL and Sanaida Martinez,
Brother of one sister: two Brothers numerous grandchildren and nieces and nephews,
Funeral services were held Friday, August 11, 2017 at 11:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle with Pastor David Deleon and Juan Velasquez officiating. Interment was in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle. Visitation was Thursday from 6-8 p.m. August 8 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL.

Monday, August 14, 2017

What's Happening At Hendry Commission

The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) regular meeting held on Tuesday, August 8 at the Commission Chamber in Clewiston City Hall in Clewiston, Florida.
BIDS
·         Bid #2017-15 – LaBelle Airport - Construction of Terminal Building & Infrastructure – The board voted to accept the low bid from Owens Ames Kimball for $2,320,418.58 to construct the Labelle Airport terminal building and infrastructure. The project is funded 100% by the Florida Department of Transportation.


·         Review of Lobbying Services Contract - The Board voted unanimously to hire Gray Robinson with a 1-year contract of $60,000. At the end of the year, the Board will review the experience with Gray Robinson and decide if they want to negotiate a new agreement for the 2019 legislative season.

CONSENT AGENDA

·         Contract With Johnson Engineering, Inc. for W.C. Owen Avenue from Georgia Avenue to US 271 - The Board voted to accept the contract staff negotiated with Johnson Engineering, Inc. for design and permitting services to resurface W. C. Owen Avenue. The Contract is for the design and permitting phase services in the amount of $155,201.48.

·         Contract with Johnson Engineering, Inc. for Fort Denaud Road from Fort Denaud Bridgeway to Huggetts Road - The Board voted to accept the contract Staff negotiated with Johnson Engineering, Inc. for design and permitting services to resurface Fort Denaud Road from Fort Denaud Bridgeway to Huggetts Road. The Contract is for the design and permitting phase services in the amount of $197,609.86.

·         Facilities Policy – The Board moved to adopt a county facility policy that would properly and consistently regulate the use and rental of county facilities. County facilities under this policy include facilities that are overseen by BOCC staff. An application consistent with this policy is being developed and will apply to all facilities. The application will be made available online.

STAFF REPORTS

·         Approve the Submission of a Grant Application to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity “Public Infrastructure Grant” for the Construction of the Waste Water Force Main from Airglades Airport to the Clewiston Waste Water Treatment Plant and Authorize Signature Authority - The board authorized staff to submit an application to the Department of Economic Opportunity for funding of the Force Main project contingent upon approval from the city of Clewiston. If a partnership is struck between the City of Clewiston and the County, the grant as will be for $8 million of the $85 million available. The County’s portion of the project on its own is $5.5 million.

·         Election of Commissioners – In follow up to the approval of the straw ballot provision from the last general election in November 2016, the Board approved seeking outside council through the services of Sniffen & Spellman, P.A. on the issue of possibly changing the method of election of County Commissioners from single-member districts to at-large.

AGENDA ADDITIONS

·         Local Agency Program (LAP) Agreement for design, construction, and Construction Engineering and Inspection (CEI) services for a sidewalk along Old CR 78 from CR 78 East to SR 29 in the amount of$324,657 - The Board voted to execute the Amendment to the Local Agency Program Agreement, subject to County Attorney approval. The LAP Agreement consists of funding in the amount of $62,099 for design, $206,998 for construction, and $55,560 for CEI services. It is anticipated that these funds will fully fund the project.

Joe Davidson Takes New Commanding Officer Role

Navy Cmdr. Joseph O. Davidson of Clewiston, Fla., assumed command of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Seven Nine as the Commanding Officer during a ceremony held at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif. Davidson relieved outgoing Commander Marc Cantu.

Davidson has served in the Navy for more than 18 years and accumulated more than 2,500 hours of helicopter flight experience as an airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operator. He has won the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals, and various unit commendations.

Davidson is the son of Gail Davidson of Clewiston, Fla.

He graduated in 1999 from the University of Florida.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Elvia Cardenas Seriously Injured In Crash

Ruben Dario Restrepo 69, of LaBelle was traveling southbound on Eucalyptus Boulevard in a 1980 GMC pickup as Elvia Cardenas, 38 of LaBelle was eastbound on County Road 80A/ Cowboy Way in a 2003 Ford Escape at 8:27 a.m. Friday.

Restrepo came to a stop sign at the intersection of southbound Eucalyptus Boulevard and County Road 80A. and failed to yield to coming eastbound traffic on County Road 80A.

He then proceeded south into the intersection. As a result, the left front Cardenas' vehicle struck the right front of the truck at the intersection.

Collision impact then redirected the truck in a southeasterly direction. Both vehicles came to
rest on the westbound grassy shoulder of County Road 80A (east of the intersection).

Cardenas was later transported by Hendry County EMS to Lehigh Regional Medical Center for serious injuries. Restrepo had no injuries and was cited for failure to yield right of way.

Museum Coordinating Festival Pioneer Family Selections

Joe Thomas, current president of LaBelle Heritage Museum and a three-time past chairman of LaBelle’s Swamp Cabbage Festival, says it is not too early to start thinking about the 2018 Swamp Cabbage Festival Pioneer Family. LaBelle Heritage Museum will be presenting a list of “Pioneer Families” to the Swamp Cabbage Festival Committee at its October meeting for selection as the 2018 LaBelle Swamp Cabbage Festival Pioneer Family at the November meeting.

The criteria are the family has to have lived in the “LaBelle Community” for at least 50 years and still have direct descendants generally recognized as being members of the LaBelle Community.   This means the family chosen as 2018 Swamp Cabbage Festival Pioneer Family must have been living in the LaBelle Community by November 1967 at the absolute latest to be eligible for consideration by the Swamp Cabbage Festival Committee.   There are families whose LaBelle “roots” go back before the creation of Hendry County in 1923 who have not been honored let alone even been nominated as Swamp Cabbage Festival Pioneer Family, and LaBelle Heritage Museum will be presenting some of them for consideration along with relative “newcomers” to the ranks of Pioneer Families who have just become eligible for consideration.

Thomas adds, “In all fairness, if an area family has already been honored as Pioneer Family through great great grandparents or other direct ancestors living in our area, they should not be selected again through a more recent family member let alone even be nominated.” The 50 year minimum residency is a concrete requirement; what constitutes being a member of the LaBelle Area Community is a judgment call to be decided on an individual basis when all of the “facts” are presented.

Letters of nomination should be presented to LaBelle Heritage Museum either by dropping them off at the museum itself at 360 North Bridge Street, mailing them to LaBelle Heritage Museum, P O Box 2846, LaBelle, FL 33975, or e-mailing them to info@labelleheritagemuseum.org no later than Friday, September 15, to give time to verify information before presenting the nominations to the Swamp Cabbage Festival Committee at its October meeting.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Harry Chapin Food Bank - Free Food For Seniors

The Harry Chapin Food Bank is signing up seniors in Glades and Hendry County that may qualify for a federal supplemental food program (Commodity Supplemental Food Program – CSFP). Eligible seniors must be residents of Hendry or Glades County, 60 years or older and meet federal poverty guidelines. Food; vegetables, fruit, beans, and cheese monthly is available for 275 more seniors in Glades and 200 more seniors in Hendry Counties at this time.

A deadline of September 30 is slated to reach Harry Chapin's goal, or risk losing the food allotment. 

If you would like more detailed information, please feel free to call 239-334-7007 x.143, or email at anoel@harrychapinfoodbank.org.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Obituaries-Graf, Penton, Stewart, Briede

James V Graf, age 88, of LaBelle, passed away August 7, 2017 in LaBelle.
He was born July 9, 1929 in Elmira, NY, Son of late George and Alice Olga (Parsons) Graf.
Survivors include his wife: Florence Inez (Centers) Graf, one son: Michael (Darlene) Graf of Texas and three daughters: Carol (Paul) Kraft of LaBelle, Cheryl (Late Bob) Walker of CA. and Kathleen Graf, of N.Y.., Also Survived by 2 step-children Vonda Saunders of Lehigh Acres, Jeffery (Janis) Brewster of LaBelle. Pre-deceased by Minnie Orcutt Graf, Vicki Brewster & James E. Graf. Also survived by eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Jim had a quest for life and demonstrated this through his love for his wife, family and friends.
Jim was a jokester who loved to laugh and making others laugh. In his younger years he loved camping with his family. He enjoyed sitting by the campfire, telling jokes, roasting hotdogs and marshmallows. In his later years he loved going on cruises, and the highlight of his day was meeting friends each morning at a local restaurant for coffee and helping to solve the problems of the world. Jim truly loved his 35 brand new cars that he owned during his lifetime. His motto to his children was, "Do what is right for you!" He will be missed so much by his family and friends
Cremation arrangements by the Aiken-Davis Funeral Home
On August 6, 2017, Jeremy Penton, at only 17, was tragically taken from his loving and close-knit family and friends. Jeremy was born on May 25, 2000. Immediate family members include his mother, Cherie Penton; sister, Alyssa Penton; brother, Joshua Penton, and father, Daniel Penton. Paternal grandparents include Pablo and Caridad Penton, and his maternal grandparents are Butch and Glenda Wilson. Other extended family members include uncles, aunts, and cousins.
Jeremy grew up in Clewiston where his passion for fishing developed into an impressive talent. He first started fishing local community canals. One of his favorite spots was the "White Bridge" located at the end of Royal Palm Avenue, within walking distance from home. A hot summer day at the bridge always called for a break with plenty of McDonalds' hamburgers and ice cold tea for him and his fishing buddies.
Later, Jeremy's fishing exploits included boat trips on Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades. His love of fishing would expand to coastal, salt water bays on both the east and west coasts. People were always amazed at his angler abilities, as they watched him tirelessly catch fish for hours without taking a break. His family will forever treasure the photos that captured those special moments with Jeremy's big smile and trophy-sized fish.
Jeremy was a prankster at heart, who loved to play jokes on family and friends when they least expected it. He loved the outdoors, so one never knew what kind of Florida critter he would capture and bring home. The solitude he found in the outdoors, so befitted his personality. He was a person of few words who spent countless nights on his back porch, browsing through social media and You-Tube and calling friends.
Like many other teenagers of today, Jeremy struggled to find his way in a challenging world. In his struggles, we, his family, overlooked his imperfections and, with love, saw only his perfection. Jeremy's young life was cut short by the endless violence and lawlessness that so dominates our society today. Our hearts ache, knowing he will never have the opportunity to plan a career, meet and marry that special woman, or father children for us to love and spoil. Our family suffers deeply at Jeremy's loss because he was senselessly murdered and ruthlessly taken from us. His life is gone, but he will always continue to live in our hearts; his memories will sustain and comfort us. Jeremy, we will never forget you – your loving family will hold you in our hearts forever.
Celebration of Jeremy's life will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, August 10, 2017 in Clewiston Church of God, where Pastor Ray Dick will officiate. Visitation was held on Wednesday, August 9, 2017 from 6-8 pm in Akin-Davis Funeral Home. Burial will take place in Ridgelawn Cemetery.
Celebration arrangements being handled by Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Clewiston.
Harold Glenn Stewart, 87, passed away on Thursday, August 3, 2017 in LaBelle, FL. Glenn was born on September 18, 1929 in Ft Myers, FL to Herbert R. and Gladys L. Stewart. He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Wilton "Bill" Stewart and Gerald Stewart; by his wives, Mary E. Stewart and Edna Y. Stewart, and a son, Michael S. Stewart.
He is survived by a daughter, Mary Whitley, granddaughter, Amanda Whitley, and great-granddaughter, Cherokee Whitley of Wichita Falls, TX; a sister Inez S. Adkins of Palm Beach Gardens, FL; a step-son Gene Yarbrough of Sacramento, CA; six nieces; five nephews, and numerous other cousins and friends.
Glenn graduated from LaBelle High School in 1948 and lived a full and rewarding life. He was a flight line engineer, an instructor (training over 50 pilots, many who later became airline pilots), and went into the Air Force from March 1951 to November 1952. As a pilot, he delivered airplanes to South America, Argentina, and Mexico, and flew senators and governors throughout Florida. After moving to Tennessee in 1972, he dabbled in ranching, owned a dry cleaning business, managed two theaters, and did some construction work. Upon returning to Florida in 1988, he managed an orange grove and became a security guard. Then in 2012, he decided to venture into a new career called retirement.
Glenn's other passions were reading, dreaming about taking a sailboat ride to Puerto Rico, talking about his flying days, watching movies, and just taking it easy.
A Celebration of Life memorial service will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 12, 2017 at The Grace Building at Caloosa Baptist Church, 550 West Hickpoochee Av., LaBelle, Florida with Ray Harn officiating. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Glenn's name to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.
George James Briede, age 100, of Lehigh Acres, passed away August 2, 2017 in Fort Myers.
He was born July 10, 1917 in Chicago, IL, to the late Arthur Henry Briede and Agnes Josephine (Motyka) Briede. He served during World War II in the Marine Corps. He lived in Lehigh Acres from 1961 to 1977 and was a Publisher of the Lehigh Acres News during that time. George was a longtime resident of LaBelle from 1982 to 2000. He was a member and co-founder of the American Legion Post #130, LaBelle, D.A.V. Post #144 Labelle and the V.F.W. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge and Shriners.
He was preceded in death by his wife's', Martha J. Puletti Briede, Alta Breide, Adele Struckmeier Briede and Jo Williams-Briede. A daughter, Georgia L. Walker and grandson, Richard R. Kornmann, Jr. Survivors include son: James A. Briede of Tallahassee, FL and daughter JoAnn Pietron of Winchester VA, seven grandchildren, twelve great grandchildren, three great-great grandchildren, step children: Paul Puletti, John B. Puletti and Michael Puletti all of LaBelle and Eleanor Neal of Fort Myers.
Memorial Services will be held at a later date. No Viewing at George's request. Contributions can be made in George's name to Labelle American Legion or the V.F.W. or to the American Cancer Society in Georgia L. Walker and Richard R. Kornmann, Jr.
Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Jeremy Daniel Penton Murdered In Clewiston

On August 6, 2017, at approximately 2:39am, Hendry County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the area of Twin Lakes Subdivision, Clewiston, Florida, in reference to a young male lying on the ground.

Upon deputy’s arrival, they were able to identify the victim as 17 years old, Jeremy Daniel Penton of Clewiston. At this time it is unknown what may have led to the killing of Penton.

Anyone with any information regarding this homicide is asked to call the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, Investigator Vernon Speak, at (863) 674-5600 or (863)-805-5000; or you may contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-(TIPS)(8477), where you may become eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.00 if your tip leads to an arrest.


Update: Family members have gone into the Twin Lakes Subdivision and have been handing out flyers asking for assistance from residents in finding out who killed their grandson.

At this time there is a $10,000.00 reward for the arrest and conviction of the person(s) involved in the killing of 17 year old Jeremy Penton.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Lily Paniagua Honored By MADD



Florida Department of Health in Hendry County (FDOH-Hendry) and Drug Free Hendry County (DFHC) and one of their Live Positive 863 students were honored for their achievement for the prevention of underage drinking at the 2017 Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Statewide Law Enforcement Recognition Ceremony. 

DFHC was nominated as a community group and their Live Positive 863 student, Lily Paniagua, was nominated as an individual for the category of underage drinking prevention. 

Drug Free Hendry was nominated for the social norms campaign, Live Positive 863, which highlights high school students in both Hendry and Glades Counties, who live a positive life without any alcohol, substance abuse, or tobacco use.  Live Positive 863 is designed to be a peer to peer mentoring campaign which allows students to share their story on how they are able to deal with daily pressures. These students are hand selected after a thorough search to verify that they are not promoting any negative behaviors and are a leader within their school and community. 

After being chosen, the students participate in a photo shoot that typically highlights one of his or her favorite activities. The best photo is used on posters that are then displayed in all middle and high schools around Hendry and Glades Counties.

On the poster, students see a Live Positive 863 member, the school that they represent and a fun quote that amplifies living alcohol and drug free. Live Positive 863 members are also featured on Drug Free Hendry County’s webpage and social media accounts. Students involved in the Live Positive 863 Campaign become local celebrities and role models who prove that alcohol and drugs are not needed to have fun. 

FDOH Hendry/Glades and Drug Free Hendry continues to dedicate itself to making sure teens are not making poor choices, are living positively, and staying drug free.  For more information about this campaign, please contact Luci Cisnero at the Florida Department of Health in Hendry County 863-674-4041 ext. 6032 or visit www.LivePostive863.com

Photo left to right: David Pinsker-MADD Florida State Executive Director, Luci Cisnero, Lily Paniagua- Live Positive 863 student, Melissa Franco- Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Coordinator for FDOH Hendry, Crystal Gomez- Tobacco Prevention Specialist for FDOH-Hendry and Kelsey Kraft-Miss Florida


Glades Tax Notices Ready To Mail Next Week

Lorie Ward, Glades County Property Appraiser – Irma Palma, Mapper – Venisha Lewis, Tangible Personal Property Clerk - Carmen Whitney, Exemption Specialist – Trish Coleman, Deed & Sales Analyst – Marina Langdale, Chief Deputy Property Appraiser – Bradley Smith, Field Appraiser - Ragen Mathis, Sr. Field Appraiser
 
The Glades Count Property Appraisers office staff have successfully completed the 2017 Glades County Tax Assessment Rolls, and have received approval from the Florida Department of Revenue. The Department of Revenues’ approval assures that the property tax assessment rolls comply with all statutory and regulatory requirements.

Now that the tax roll has been approved, on August 14th, 2017, the office will be mailing your “Notice of Proposed Property Taxes and Proposed or Adopted Non-Ad Valorem Assessments.” Please contact the office if you do not receive your notice.

Three Lay People Preach This Month


Each year,  Pastor Avery and Kathy of the LaBelle Assembly of God step down from the platform and let the women and men of the church step-up and share the Word of God in their individual ways from their: Certified Public Accountant, Public School teacher or a City commissioner. 

Julie Wilkins, wears many hats here in LaBelle: City Commissioner, Church Board member, Wife, mother and Realtor just to name a few of the positions she daily fits into her schedule. Julie will be teaching in the Wednesday Bible study at 7:00 p.m.    

David Miller is a Certified Public Accountant with offices in LaBelle and Clewiston  He brings balance to the pulpit. He says“As I reflect back I realize that the time away from God served to ultimately strengthen my faith and humble me to the realization that I need God everyday. I often wonder how I would have found the Lord if I had not grown up in a Christian home. I worry about the children who do not have Christian leadership during their early years.” David will be sharing the 11:00 am worship service on  Sunday August 13th and the 9:45 am service on August 20th.

Tammy Perkins earned her A. A. degree at Florida South Western State College.  And her state of  Florida teachers certificate from Barry University along with her B.A. degree .  Her Friends and co-workers  describe her  as very kind hearted, Compassionate, loving person that loves God.  Miss Perkins’ is a new Hendry county teacher for LaBelle Middle school in the the sixth grade. Tammy, will be sharing the 9:45 am worship service on  Sunday August 13th and the 11:00 am service on August 20th.

LaBelle Assembly of God. Located at 135 Fraser Avenue across from the Edward A. Upthegrove Elementary School.  For more information call 863-675-0900

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Keeping Love Alive Forever - 5 Keys

How To Keep Your Relationship Alive And Flourishing
by Mark Werling

Here are the 5 most important keys of all time enabling partners to stay in love together forever. Follow these simple "Be" ideas and relationships will flourish:

1. Be kind at all times to one another, be kind in secret and be kind in person.

2. Believe your partner at all times has your best interest and happiness in mind.

3. Be compassionate towards your and the partner's imperfections and hurts.

4. Be content with yourself and your partner - live your life to reflect that attitude.

5. Be of sound mind, body, and spirit - live a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

Should you not be able to follow one or more of the keys, seek counseling or study the area of concern online. There is plenty of information and help available to those seeking a permanent love partnership.

Mark Werling, teacher, philosopher, and thinker has over 50 years of relationship experience. Send your relationship question to the editor @donbrowne on Twitter for Mr. Werling's response, or post a comment.

Obituaries-Dowhen, Barquero, Risley, Grambo

Travis William "Terry" Dowhen, almost 90 years old, of Moore Haven, passed away July 29, 2017 in Fort Myers.
Terry was born Nov. 4, 1927 in Milwaukee, WI, to the late Travis C. and the late Clara (Topel) Dowhen. Terry was raised by his mother Clara and step father; Emery Novotny. He married Dolores Ann "Dolly" Casper, she preceded him in death on February 20, 2009. He proudly served his country in the United States Navy. He built his first boat of many in the 70s. Left Milwaukee shortly after and settled in Turkey Creek to live. He worked as a journeyman electrician for a few years. He worked as a master tradesman for many years. A lifelong sailor, he loved being on his boat whenever he could. He and Dolly traveled frequently on their boat, making a 13 month trip once from here to the Bahamas and back. He worked as an auxiliary deputy for Glades County Sheriff Department, last working this past Chalo Nitka Festival. The three loves of his later life were being an auxiliary deputy, boating, singing karaoke at the American Legion, Moose and the VFW in LaBelle. He was a huge supporter of the Caloosa Humane Society and its first executive director. He and his companion Marie-Louise Kussmann would visit frequently to the Caloosa Humane Society to visit with the animals and the people.
Terry is survived by his son; Dennis and his wife Beth of West Allis, Wisconsin, grandchildren; Kristin, Travis R. and Jeff Dowhen. Longtime companion Marie-Louise Kussmann of Moore Haven.
There is a memorial gathering planned for later this year. Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.
Felix Enrique Barboza Barquero, age 81, of Clewiston, passed away July 31, 2017 in Clewiston.
He was born Nov. 20, 1935 in Nicaragua to the late Arturo and the late Guillermina (Barquero) Barboza. Felix married Yolanda Fuentes. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend who will be greatly missed by everyone who knew and loved him.
Survivors include his wife: Yolanda (Fuentes) Barboza, son; Abigail, daughter; Geraldine and three grandchildren, and many extended family members.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, August 3, 2017 at 6:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Visitation will be Thursday from 5-6 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.
Carolyn Ann Risley, age 72, of LaBelle, passed away August 1, 2017 in Fort Myers.
She was born May 7, 1945 in , KY, to the late Elliott Tyler Williams and the late Kathleen Williams. Carolyn was loving, caring and always put the needs of others before her own.
Survivors include her son: James Timothy (Rebecca) Weathington of LaBelle, grandson: Tyler (Christian) Weathington, granddaughter: Lindsey Weathington and her children; great-granddaughter: Michelle Weathington and great-grandson: Tyler Weathington, Jr. She was also preceded in death by her husband: Joseph Roland Risley , III and son: Joseph "Jody" Roland Risley, IV.
A graveside funeral service will be held Friday, August 4, 2017, 9:30 am at Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle with Pastor W.T. Maddox, Jr. officiating. Interment will follow in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.
Judith M. Grambo, age 84, of LaBelle, passed away August 3, 2017 in Lehigh Acres.
A memorial service will be held on a later date in Nov. 2017. Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.