Thursday, November 30, 2017

Obituaries - Bobbie Kelley, Rebecca Skinner

Bobbie M. Kelley, 87, formerly of LaBelle, passed away on November 28, 2017. She was preceded in death by husband, James L. Kelley.

Survivors include her daughters, Phyllis (Bob) Miller of Young Harris, Ga., Barbara (Andy) Helm of Chattanooga, TN; brother, Dick Moody of Delray Beach, FL; grandchildren, Kelli (Charlie) Hofer of Gallatin, TN, Jason (Courtney) Miller of N. Myrtle Beach, SC., Carter and Keaton Helm of Chattanooga,TN; great grandchildren, Weston and Wyatt Hofer, Finn and Piper Miller; nieces, nephews, cousins, and a host of dear family and friends.

A funeral service will be held Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 11 A.M. at First Baptist Church of LaBelle with interment to follow in Fort Denaud Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Christ United Methodist Church, 8645 E. Brainerd Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37421

Visitation with the family will be Friday 6-8 P.M. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home and Saturday 10-11 A.M. service time at the church.

Rebecca S Skinner, age 64, of Alva
, passed away November 23, 2017under Hospice in Lehigh Acres, FL. She was born September 8, 1953 in Gary, IN, to the late Walter and Donna (Driver) Kleban.

She was preceded in death by her Brother, Terry Kleban (Angie) of Lakes of the Four Seasons.

Survivors include her Husband James, of Alva, FL, Sister of Dennis, Valparaiso IN, and Thomas Kleban (Kathy) of Valparaiso IN and three Nieces: Jennifer Bodinet (Jason), Ashley Kleban and Kristen Kleban.

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home- Fort Myers

FHP Corporal Joseph Bertrand Honored With Road Naming

FORT MYERS, FL -- On December 1, a portion of State Road (S.R.) 80 in Lee County will be renamed in remembrance of fallen Florida Highway Patrol Corporal Joseph R. Bertrand.

Corporal Bertrand was a member of the 8th Florida Highway Patrol Recruit Class and graduated on October 4, 1951. Corporal Bertrand was stationed in several areas throughout the state during his career to include Pahokee, Homestead, Miami, Pinellas Park and Fort Myers. Corporal Bertrand was shot by a violator on SR-80, while on a traffic stop conducting a DUI investigation on December 22, 1967. He was 46 years old at the time of his death.

“Corporal Bertrand served the residents and visitors of the State of Florida with great dedication as a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “It is a great honor to have a portion of the Highway named in his memory and for his dedicated service.

The ceremony for Corporal Bertrand will be held at the Florida Highway Patrol station at 10041 Daniels Parkway, Ft. Myers, Florida and will begin at 9 a.m.for the renaming of a portion of S.R. 80.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Chris McIntire Graduates From Air Force Basic Training

U.S. Air Force Airman Christopher A. McIntire graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

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

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

McIntire is the son of Beatrice Acosta and step-son of Enrique Acosta of Clewiston, Fla.

He is a 2017 graduate of Clewiston High School, Clewiston, Fla.

Dr. Jerry Jackson At Audubon Program December 18

Dr. Jerome “Jerry” Jackson will present “Soccer, Shopping Centers, and Florida's Loggerhead Shrikes: An Accidental Conservation Success Story” on Monday December 18 at 7pm. 

This free program open to this public will be hosted by Hendry-Glades Audubon at the Hendry County Extension Dallas Townsend Building at 1085 Pratt Blvd. In LaBelle.

Dr. Jerome “Jerry A. Jackson is recognized as the world's expert on the ivory-billed woodpecker. The winner of the 2004 Chandler Robbins Education and Conservation Award from the American Birding Association, Jackson is the former Whitaker Eminent Scholar in Science at Florida Gulf Coast University. Dr. Jackson takes you through your backyard, and Southwest Florida’s beaches, swamps and preserves to learn about “The Wild Things” on his daily public radio program.

In this presentation, he will introduce the behavior and ecology of Loggerhead Shrikes whose populations in Florida appear to be doing well, while those elsewhere are declining and endangered. What factors have influenced their success here? How can we build on these successes to further help this fascinating species?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

$3.2 Million Airport Building Underway

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County staff and elected officials along with contractors and consultants broke ground for the new terminal building at the Labelle Municipal Airport on Tuesday, November 21.

The project, which is fully funded by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), will result in the first newly built Hendry County government building since 2008.

“Hendry County is grateful to the FDOT and Federal Aviation Administration for funding the design, permitting and construction of the LaBelle Airport Terminal,” says Tommy Vaughan, Hendry County Airports Manager. “Those two governmental entities funded 100% of the project costs for the terminal.”

County leaders believe that the new and improved facility will lead to an increase in air traffic and a boost for the local economy.

“Hendry County airports already have the lowest fuel prices in the State of Florida,” stated County Administrator, Charles Chapman. “With great restaurants and an up and coming downtown district, the new terminal building will bring even more appeal to the City of LaBelle and Hendry County as a whole.”

The small, general aviation airport currently sees an estimated 16,000 take offs and landings and houses 75 aircraft on over 160 acres.

The current terminal is outdated with only 400 square feet of space and is not easily accessible from major roads. .

The new terminal building area is 6,240 square feet and will consist of a pilot lounge, shower & restroom, office space, and will eventually include a restaurant.

The design and permitting costs for the new terminal were $266,590, construction costs are approximately $2,691,049, totaling in the amount of $3,190,720.

Contractors for the project are Owen Ames Kimball Company (OAK) and consultants are AECOM and Rock Enterprises.

Projected completion date for the terminal and infrastructure project is August of 2018.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Fisheating Creek Trail Association Meet Thursday

LABELLE, FL. -- Join us for this week’s events with the Fisheating Creek Florida Trail Association Sub-Chapter on Thursday November 30 at 7 pm at Carlson United Methodist Church in the Annex (House behind church facing Riverview Drive) at 310 Campbell Street LaBelle, FL 33935 for an exciting program at the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon by Mary Giddens. 

On Saturday December 2 there will be a Full Moon Hike at STA 5/6, part of the Florida National Scenic Trail. Carpool from Barron Park, LaBelle at 3:30 pm or meet at STA 5/6 Public Access Parking Lot at 5 pm.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Walking The Florida Keys - Bob Kranich

Excerpt from A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich

A few miles farther I came to the Snake Creek Bridge. This was a bridge similar to one I would be crossing over many times the rest of the way to Key West. It was very narrow and when a car approached me, I  had to step up onto the concrete ledge on the side and frantically hold on to the rail. Since the rail was low when I stood up on it, I once almost lost my balance towards the water. I was sure that it would be real difficult to swim with the pack I had on. For that reason I always loosened my hip belt and dropped my pack onto my shoulders when crossing a bridge. This kept my center of gravity low…

I was now on Small Windley Key, and before I knew it I was crossing another bridge and was on Upper Matecumbe Key. In about a mile I arrived in Islamorada. There along the road at mile marker 81.5 was the Florida Keys Memorial (Hurricane Monument). This was a memorial to the local civilians and WWI American veterans lost during the 1935 hurricane. 

This hurricane was ferocious, the strongest hurricane ever on record to assault the United States. It came ashore on Labor Day, September 2, 1935 with 200+ mile per hour winds and a 12 to 20 foot surge. The storm devastated a large part of the upper and middle Keys with the worst destruction in the mile post 60 to 80 area.
The unemployed veterans had been sent there by the Government’s Works Progress Administration, WPA. Their job was a work project during the Great Depression to build the overseas highway and bridges. There were 600 or more men working in these particular camps, but many were on holiday at that time. This storm killed more than 400 people, wiped out buildings, ruined the land, and destroyed the Florida East Coast Railway in the Keys.

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

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Obituaries-Serrano, Howard, Woodward

William David Woodward, age 62, of LaBelle, passed away November 22, 2017 in LaBelle.

He was born Apr. 16, 1955 in Lake Worth, FL, to the late James Alton and the late Edna Mae (Howell) Woodward. Mr. Woodward married Beverly Fonda Hodges.

Survivors include his wife: Beverly Fonda Woodward, one son: Robert D Woodward and one daughter: Jennifer D Oakes one brother: Jonathan Blake Haynes of WI and three sisters: Vera Mae Armstrong of West Palm Beach, FL, Adrenna Danielle Randolph of LaBelle, FL and Nancy Darlene Cashatt of LaBelle, FL, Grandsons, Wyatt Oakes and Landon Oakes

Mr. Woodward was preceded in death by both of his parents, brothers; Kenny and James Woodward and one sister; Shirley Turlington.

Celebration of his life will be held Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 11:00 am at Community Harvest Worship Center, LaBelle with Pastor L. W. Howard officiating. Visitation will be Wednesday from 1 hour prior to service at Community Harvest Worship Center, LaBelle, FL. Interment will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Cary "Carl" Howard of Fort Myers, Florida, passed away on November 20, 2017 at Hope Hospice House in Cape Coral, Florida.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, November 27, 2017 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in LaBelle, with Pastor Rankin McGougan officiating where visitation will be one hour before the service. Burial will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery in LaBelle. In lieu of flowers, the family suggest donations be given to Hope Hospice.

Carl was born in Mount Vernon, Arkansas, on February 9, 1932. He graduated from LaBelle High School and married his high school sweetheart and continued on to pursue a career as a civil engineer.

Carl was married to June (Nobles) Howard on July 24, 1950. They were married for 65 years before June's passing in December of 2015.

Carl worked as a surveyor, then a civil engineer for the State of Florida and several engineering firms for over 50 years, until finally retiring. He enjoyed building and flying radio-controlled airplanes and helicopters and was an avid golfer. He was also actively involved in his church serving as an elder and deacon for many years.

Carl is survived by his two sons; Michale and Timothy, five grandchildren, six great grandchildren and numerous other family and friends. Carl is preceded in death by his loving wife, June, son; William "Cary", granddaughter; Rachel Howard, and parents William and Flora Howard.

Jose Serrano, age 63, of LaBelle, passed away November 19, 2017 in Boynton Beach.

He was born June 12, 1954 inPuerto Rico. to the late Chejo and Maria (Santiago) Serrano. Survivors include his wife: Brunilda, daughter: Stephanie Serrano, mother Maria (Santiago) Serrano, two sisters: Sonia Serrano and Jeanette Garcia. Memorial Services are pending.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Three Dead In Head On Morning Crash

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- A 2007 Ford Expedition was southbound on SR-29 north of Chaparral Avenue as a 1999 International truck driven by Manuel Rodriquez, 31 of Immokalee was northbound on SR-29 north of Chaparral Avenue at 5:35 a.m. Wednesday.

The Ford crossed into the northbound travel lane, and the front struck the front of the truck. After impact, both vehicles were redirected to the northwest and caught fire.

Dead is the driver of the Ford along with the driver of the truck and passenger J. Nickolas Rodriquez, 71. Three passengers in the truck had serious injuries: Gloria Rodriguez, 62; Alfredo Rodriquez, 41 and Jeanette Alvarado, 29.

The Ford came to final rest facing northwest on the west shoulder of SR-29 and the truck came to final rest facing northwest on the west shoulder of SR-29 south of it.

The occupants of the Ford were able to exit or be removed from the vehicle before it became fully involved.

The driver of the truck remained entrapped within the vehicle. The identification of the driver of the Ford is pending.

UPDATE: On November 28, the FHP has identified the driver in the Ford as Louis Angel Pena, 22 of Sebring, Fl.

Editorial - Workplace Sexual Harassment

In light of the #MeToo campaign and all the allegations against prominent figures, sexual harassment is on the forefront of headlines across the nation.  Whether it’s a Hollywood executive, an all-star sports figure or eminent politician, the issue of unlawful harassment continues to show its pervasive face across our contemporary world. Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace is very real, and it happens every day.

In its most fundamental definition, sexual harassment is unwelcome behavior that happens to workers because of their sex. It occurs when a person’s submission to or rejection of sexual advances is used as the basis for employment decisions about him or her, or submission to sexual advances is made a condition of his or her employment (quid pro quo harassment). It may also occur when sexual conduct or gender-based hostility is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment (hostile work environment
harassment). Regardless of the intent, sexual harassment in the workplace should never be tolerated.  Fortunately, there are remedies.

As the agency charged with shining a light on discrimination in the State of Florida, the Florida Commission on Human Relations is committed to eradicating all forms of harassment that can impact each and every one of us. The Commission offers trainings to businesses, agencies and individuals, teaching them how to avoid creating or permitting a working environment where sexual harassment exists.

I encourage all employers and employees to become aware of the issue of sexual harassment and carefully address inappropriate behavior. Remember, you do not have to keep it to yourself. If you think you are a victim of sexual harassment, you can file a complaint with the Commission by visiting our website at, or by contacting us directly at (850)488-7082.

By knowing what to do and who to call, business owners, managers and employees can assist the Commission in its goal to shine a light on sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination in the workplace.

Michelle Wilson, Executive Director
Florida Commission on Human Relations

Three Dead In Head On Crash

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- As of 5:48 am Wednesday, the Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a Ford SUV versus Box Truck head on crash on State Road 29 and Chaparral Avenue in Moore Haven.

Between the two vehicles there were multiple occupants, three of which are confirmed deceased and several transported to three local area hospitals. State Road 29 in this vicinity is currently closed. Glades County Sheriff's Office. and DOT are providing traffic control for Northbount SR-29 at CR 78 and Southbound SR-29 at CR 74.

More detailed information will be provided later today.

Holiday Haircuts At World Class Barbershop

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 for the holidays for an expert trim or haircut.

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.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

FGCU Nursing Students Travel To LaBelle

LABELLE, FL. -- Eight Florida Gulf Coast University Nursing students completed a semester of "Thursday's in Public Health". They traveled from their Lee County Campus every Thursday to LaBelle where they learned about all aspects of Public Health.

For several months, the students shadowed the departments at FDOH Hendry (School Health, Environmental Health, Preparedness, Migrant Health, Women's Health, Immunizations, Epi, etc.) They also had the opportunity to visit the Shelters in Hendry County immediately after Hurricane Irma. On Thursday, Nov 16th, the students toured the Hendry County Emergency Operations Center.

Pictured: Brenda Barnes from FDOH Hendry/Glades and Brian Newhouse-Emergency Management Director for Hendry County along with the FGCU Nursing Students.

Winter Wonderettes On Stage

The second play of the Firehouse Community Theatre’s 25th anniversary season continues with the musical/comedy The Marvelous Wonderettes - Winter Wonderettes created by Roger Bean.

This production will run for 8 shows December 7th - 17th. This seasonal celebration finds the girls entertaining at the annual Harper’s Hardware Holiday Party. When Santa turns up missing, the girls use their talent and creative ingenuity to save the holiday. Featuring great 60’s versions of holiday classics such as “Santa Clause is Coming to Town,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Run, Rudolph, Run” and many other Christmas favorites.

For tickets and more infomation for all shows call (863) 675-3066 and leave a message. If you would like to choose your seats please visit our web site at

Pictured (left to right) Ashley Curry, Loralei Weber, Jamie Bartley, Brittany Morrison

Monday, November 20, 2017

Kathleen Crawford Dies At 57

Kathleen Gail Crawford, age 57, of Clewiston, passed away November 16, 2017 in Clewiston. She was born March 24, 1960 in Johnstown, PA, to Robert and Shirley (Wyatt) Nuttall.

Survivors include her husband: Terry G. Crawford Jr., two sons: Martin Crawford and Casey Crawford, mother Shirley (Wyatt) Nuttall, three brothers: Ken Nuttall, David Nuttall and Dale Nuttall,

Memorial Service is pending. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Holiday Picture Taking At Church On Sunday

LABELLE, FL. -- Christmas pictures this weekend as Mary Robinson  will be firing up  her Canon Camera and be taking Christmas pictures both individual and family November 26th with retakes December 3rd at the LaBelle Assembly of God in LaBelle

You will receive an e-mail copy and the pastor will give you a 4x6 print.. Pictures will be taken after the 11:00 a.m. service at no cost. LaBelle Assembly is located on Fraser Avenue across from the Edward  A Upthegrove Elementary School. For more information call 675-0900 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Susan Kelsoe Dies At 62

Susan La'Raye Kelsoe, age 62, of Clewiston, passed away November 14, 2017 at Hendry Regional Medical Center.

She was born June 30, 1955 in Clewiston, FL, to the late Byrl Dean and Gloria Maureen (Platt) Ingram Sister of the Late Frank "Bubby" Ingram and a Great Grand Son Samuel Vaughn .

She worked for with her husband in the produce business as the Controller since 1999. Survivors include her husband: Lee A "Leon" Kelsoe, two sons: Lee Kelsoe and Neal Varnum, and one daughter: Jessica (Eric Crain) Kelsoe, Also survived by 8 grandchildren: Brittney Proffit, Meagan, & Corey Kelsoe, Laice, Lauryn, Leeana Varnum, Caylin Dupree and Kendal Smith, also 7 great grandchildren and A Sister Connie Ingram of Clewiston.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 11:00 am at First United Methodist Church, 331 W Osceola Ave. Clewiston with Pastor R. Rod Ruby officiating.

Interment will follow in Ridgelawn Cemetery. Visitation will be Monday, November 20, from 6:00-8:00pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home.

Kiwanis Tree Sale And Kids Shopping Day Coming

 LABELLE, FL. -- The Kiwanis Key Club Students of LaBelle High School and the Kiwanis Builders Club Students of West Glades School will have their annual Christmas tree sale fundraiser starting the day after Thanksgiving! Trees sales will continue until they are all sold.
Your purchase helps to support the leadership development of the students of our local Key Club and Builders Club.
Stop by the LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store to choose the perfect tree for your family and don’t wait too long…the trees go fast!  The LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store is located at 155 S. Bridge Street in LaBelle. Trees will be priced according to size.

Kids' shopping day will be 8:00 til 10 Saturday December 9 for ages 4 to 12 at the Thrift Store.

Debris Pickup Through November 19

LABELLE, FL.-- Contractors will be completing their final pick-up of woody debris Sunday, November 19.  Residents still needing woody debris picked up need to have all debris placed within 6 feet of the curb in a 35 gallon can, plastic bags or tied in bundles not to exceed 40 pounds. Items tied in bundles are not to exceed 4 feet in length and 4 inches in diameter.

Alternative pick-up options are available for a fee.

Residents who place woody debris out for pick-up after Sunday will need to check with their franchise hauler regarding pick-up requirements.

Contractors will continue pick-up of construction and demolition debris until further notice.

For questions regarding debris pick-up in Hendry County, please call (863) 675-5222.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Key Power Driving School - Fraudulent Testing

LABELLE,FL. -- The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has issued a final order terminating its agreement with Key Power Driving & Traffic School, Inc.naming contract signers Dwayne House and Felix “Walter” Mir as operating a third-party commercial driver license (CDL) testing company with locations in Miami and LaBelle conducting fraudulent testing of commercial truck drivers at the two schools. 

House is a prominent real estate owner and developer in Hendry County 

During an investigation into third-party CDL testing sites in Florida, the department found that Key Power Driving School’s practices posed an immediate, serious danger to public health, safety and welfare.

Individuals tested by Key Power on or after January 1, 2017, will be notified by the department that they must be retested by a compliant third-party CDL testing administrator. If individuals fail to be retested within 60 days of receiving the notification, their CDL will be cancelled.

During the investigation, conducted in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the department learned that Key Power violated its agreement with the state and conducted fraudulent testing activities such as omitting vital portions of the required three-part skills test and manipulating testing data on CDL skills test score sheets. With department representatives on-site, the pass rate for tests dropped significantly, from 60 to just 11 percent, which is a key indicator that Key Power may have given passing scores to individuals who had not taken the test, not completed mandatory portions of the test or had not performed required driving maneuvers.

“The correlation between DHSMV presence at testing sites and extreme pass-rate fluctuation indicates rampant manipulation of information and data,” stated Robert Kynoch, Director of Motorist Services. “The department is committed to ensuring that Florida’s commercial drivers are properly trained and tested and will not tolerate any disregard for public safety.”

“Driving a commercial vehicle is a tremendous responsibility and privilege, and the proper administration of knowledge and skills testing for drivers is critical to maintaining safety on Florida roads,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “The revocation of DHSMV’s agreement with Key Power demonstrates our commitment to ensuring appropriate testing standards are maintained in the pursuit of A Safer Florida.”

DHSMV is responsible for compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations and Florida Statutes and does so by monitoring all third-party administrators and third-party testers who administer the CDL skills test to more than 500,000 CDL drivers in Florida. DHSMV maintains agreements with more than 150 private and governmental third-party CDL testing administrators throughout the state. Anyone with information about fraudulent or unsafe practices conducted by any third-party CDL testing site in Florida should immediately contact the CDL Help Desk at (850) 617-2606.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Obituaries - Eplin, Ethridge, Clark

Ann E Eplin, age 89, of LaBelle, passed away November 15, 2017 in Lehigh Acres. She was born July 11, 1928 in Printer, WV, to the late Kenna Ray and the late Etta (Nelson) Byrnside.

Survivors include two sons: Don Eplin and Jerry Eplin, and three daughters: Brenda Williams, Judy Van Natter and Ruby Eplin, Great-Grandchildren, Many; Great-Great Grandchildren, Many; 15 grandchildren. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Patricia Ethridge 82 of Clewiston died Monday 11-13-17 at Hospice of Palm Beach County, born March 16, 1935 in Long Island New York to Mary Walton and Patrick Wade, married to Walter Ethridge Feb, 14. 

She was a kindergarten teacher and mother of six. She loved spending time with her family and friends. 

She is survived by her sons Ernie B. Gurganious of Grand Junction CO. Walter C. Gurganious of Clewiston Fl. Daughters Janet L. Blair of Clewiston Fl. Tina M. and son in law John Jensen of Lakeland Fl. Angela M. Sutton of Clewiston Fl. Patricia has 21 grandchildren and 31 great grandchildren. 

She is proceeded in death by her parents, husband Walter Ethridge, and two sisters and a brother. Daughter; Debra Todd, granddaughter; Debra M. Carithers, grandson; Charlie C. (Gator) Kellar Jr., great grandson; Dustin C. Patterson and three son in laws; Larry A. Todd, Paul D. Sutton, and Ronald Blair.

A grave side service will be held at Ridgelawn Cemetery. Wed. Nov. 22 at 1:30p.m. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Ray Parker Clark, age 76 passed away at his home with his three children and wife by his side on November 8, 2017 in Clewiston, Fl. He was born in Winter Haven, FL, to Jack R and Coley (Bowers) Clark. 

The family moved to Clewiston when he was in the fourth grade. He married Marion Gale Bembry in 1963. He went to work for United States Sugar Corporation after he graduated from High School until 1973 at which time he went to work for Evercane Sugar Refinery. He retired from Evercane Refinery in 2000. Ray was a dedicated fan of the Clewiston Tigers and rarely missed a Clewiston Tiger game. He coached Pop Warner football in Clewiston for 15 years.

In later years after retirement he enjoyed spending time at his beloved campground, "the RiverBend Campground” in Hiawassee, Ga. He will be forever remembered as a quiet man who led by example. He was a loving caring husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother and uncle who will be greatly missed by his entire family and all of his friends.

His is survived by his very loving wife of fifty four years, Marion Gale Clark of Clewiston, children: Stephen Clark, Shawn Grooms and Carson Clark, brother: Pat Clark, sister, Sharon Coots and her husband Raymond. Four grandchildren, Erica and Micah Grooms, Caela and Alyssa Clark and six great grandchildren. He also had several nieces and nephews that he loved very much.

Ray was preceded in death by his parents Jack and Coley Clark and one brother: Michael Clark.

A memorial celebration of Ray’s life was held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 11, 2017 in Evangel Assembly of God Church. Cremation arrangements were handled by Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Clewiston.

Emergency Rental Assistance Extended

 If you are a homeowner or renter getting rental assistance from FEMA and still have a need for that funding and are eligible for it, you should complete and submit an application for Continued Rental Assistance. FEMA may provide up to two months of initial rental assistance for eligible applicants.
You may qualify for continued assistance if you:
  •   Demonstrate your disaster-related financial need; and
  •   Show you are developing a longer-term or permanent housing plan or demonstrate progress toward one. A contractor’s estimate of repairs can point to progress.
    A permanent housing plan is one that would put you back into permanent safe, sanitary and functional housing within a reasonable time frame. You must continue to work toward obtaining permanent housing to remain eligible for Continued Rental Assistance.
    You must document your need to continue rental assistance by providing:
  •   A copy of your current lease;
  •   Receipts showing the proper use of federal disaster housing assistance;
  •   Current household income status; and
  •   Any household financial obligations you may have.
    Extensions on rental assistance may be granted for three-month periods, up to a maximum of 18 months from the date of the presidential disaster declaration: Sept. 10, 2017.
    If your FEMA Verified Loss exceeds the amount of initial Rental Assistance award you received, the application to request Continued Temporary Rental Assistance will be mailed to you after you receive your initial rental assistance award.
    If your FEMA Verified Loss does not exceed the initial Rental Assistance award, you will need to call the FEMA Helpline800-621-3362 for voice, 711 and Video Relay Service (VRS); if you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585and ask for an application for
Continued Temporary Rental Assistance. You also may visit a disaster recovery center. To find one near you or call the FEMA Helpline. DRC information is also available on the FEMA Mobile App.
You will need to call the FEMA Helpline as listed above and ask for an application for Continued Temporary Rental Assistance.
Your request will be evaluated to determine if you are eligible for the extension, but there is no guarantee of rental assistance past the first two months.
For more recovery information, visit, or follow us @FEMARegion4 on Twitter and on FEMA’s Facebook page.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Disaster Recovery Center Opens In Clewiston

CLEWISTON, FL. -- A Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) opens Tuesday, November 14, for five days in Clewiston to help Florida storm survivors. Disaster Recovery Centers offer in-person support to individuals and small business owners. Recovery specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the State of Florida are available to provide assistance to anyone filling out their applications or updating their status. Voluntary organizations are available and offer a variety of services to help survivors recover.

The State of Florida does not offer Food For Florida (Disaster SNAP/D-SNAP) at DRCs. A list of Food for Florida sites is available online.

The DRC is at the following address:

Clewiston (Hendry County)
The John Boy Auditorium - Beardsley Room
1200 S WC Owen Ave.
Clewiston, FL 33440

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Western Union Paying Millions To Fraud Victims

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced today that the United States has begun the remission compensation process to provide recovery for Western Union Company (Western Union) fraud victims from the $586 million civil forfeiture.

As part of agreements with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed earlier this year in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Western Union, a global money services business headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, agreed to forfeit $586 million. According to admissions contained in the deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) and the accompanying statement of facts, between 2004 and 2012, Western Union processed hundreds of thousands of transactions for Western Union agents and others involved in an international consumer fraud scheme. As part of the scheme, the perpetrators of fraud schemes contacted victims in the United States and falsely posed as family members in need or promised prizes or job opportunities. Victims were then directed to send money through Western Union to purportedly help their relative or claim their prize. Various Western Union agents were complicit in these fraud schemes, often processing the fraud payments in return for a cut of the fraud proceeds.

Through the remission process, victims of fraud who sent a money transfer through Western Union between Jan. 1, 2004, and Jan. 19, 2017, may be eligible for compensation for their losses. The Department of Justice will send petitions for remission to over 500,000 potential victims. These petitions will provide information and instructions regarding making a claim for compensation online or through the mail. Individuals who believe they may be victims but who do not receive a petition may obtain a petition form online at is external). The deadline for filing a petition is Feb. 12, 2018.

“Knowing that its agents were involved in fraudulent schemes – and knowing that it had a legal obligation to detect and report this criminal conduct to the authorities – Western Union failed to act, leading to massive victim losses,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco. “Returning forfeited funds to these victims and other victims of crime is one of the Department’s highest priorities. I want to commend our prosecutors, the FTC, and our law enforcement agent partners for their hard work that led to vindicating the rights of these victims.”

“American consumers lost money while Western Union looked the other way,” said Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen of the FTC. “We’re pleased to start the process that will get that money back into consumers’ rightful hands.”

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has been at the forefront of protecting consumers from fraud schemes for many years,” said Inspector in Charge Daniel B. Brubaker of the United States Postal Inspection Service’s Philadelphia Division. “While enforcing the laws that protect the innocent victims of these crimes, we are honored and take pleasure in returning the proceeds of international mass marketing fraud activity to their rightful owners, the victims, whenever possible. We would like to thank the victims who reported the fraudulent activity and worked with us during the investigation. We would also like to thank our law enforcement and regulatory investigative partners, particularly the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the Department of Justice’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and the FTC for their contributions to this collaborative effort.”

More information regarding the remission process, including eligibility criteria, updates, and frequently asked questions is available at is external) or by calling (844) 319-2124. Gilardi & Co. LLC is serving as the remission administrator in this matter. Neither Gilardi & Co., LLC nor DOJ will ask for any payment in order to participate in this remission process. For more information on how to protect yourself from fraud, please visit or

Sandy Woodall And Mary Giddens Galapagos Islands

LABELLE, FL. -- Take a virtual trip to “The Galapagos “as Sandy Woodall and Mary Giddens share their recent trip to these incredible islands on Monday November 20 at 7pm. You will have an opportunity to learn about the amazing birds, mammals, and landscape of the Galapagos Islands.  

This free program open to this public will be hosted by Hendry-Glades Audubon at the Hendry County Extension Dallas Townsend Building at 1085 Pratt Blvd. In LaBelle

Friday, November 10, 2017

Thomas Gray Dies at 80

Thomas Copland Gray, age 80, of Clewiston, passed away November 3, 2017 at home.

He was born November. 22, 1936 in Central City, PA, to the late Stephen and Mary (Gray) Balough. He served in the Navy and later on in life was the tax collector for Pinellas County .

Survivors include his wife: Mary M (Morlock) Gray, one son: Thomas Charles Gray and one daughter: Kimberly Gray Lankford, Brother: Inez Pool, Bonnie Lepro and Connie McGoughlin,

Memorial services were held Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 5:00 pm at Turning Point Church Of God, Clewiston with Pastor Troy Ezell officiating. Military Honors will be held prior.

Cremations Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Construction Debris Pickup Begin This Week

LaBelle, Fla. – Contractors will begin pick up of construction and demolition debris in Hendry County Thursday, November 9 in Clewiston and Monday, November 12 in LaBelle.

The contractors will start in Harlem then make their way to Hookers Point and the City of Clewiston before heading west into Mid-County. Mid-County includes the communities of Montura Ranch Estates, Ladeca, Pioneer and the Leon-Dennis Subdivision (Al Don Farming Road).

If you are located in these areas, please have all construction and demolition debris stacked by the road and ready for pickup.

Construction and demolition debris includes building materials, drywall, lumber, carpet, and plumbing.

Information regarding pickup schedules will be shared with the public as it becomes available.

For questions regarding debris pick-up in Hendry County, please call (863) 675-5222.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Harry Coverston Discusses Religion December 7

Dr. Harry Coverston, a designated scholar for the Florida Humanities Council in its Civic Reflections Program, will discuss the paths that four of the major religions in the United States take in their attempt to answer humanity's enduring questions in "Many Paths, One Destination". 

 Dr. Coverston, a fifth generation Floridian and fourth generation educator, quips that with great grandparents named "Reed" and "Wright" it was almost preordained that he end up in the classroom. A practicing Episcopal priest and lecturer in religious studies, the humanities, and the philosophy of law throughout Florida, Coverston describes himself as a recovering attorney as he spent a number of years as a Florida Public Defender before returning to his first love, the classroom. 

 He is no stranger to Southwest Florida as his father, the late Sam Coverston, was Vocational Agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor at LaBelle High School in the 1950s as well as serving on the LaBelle City Commission before returning to his family's ancestral hometown Bushnell. 

 The program will be held at LaBelle's Dallas B. Townsend Agricultural Center, 1085 Pratt Boulevard, LaBelle 3935, at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 7. The public is welcome, and there is no admission charge. 

 Advance tickets available at are required since many attendees come from out of town. More information on this program is available at with the date and "Many Paths" listed in the search. Call (863)674-0034 and leave your name and telephone number for assistance in making reservations.

Walk Across Florida-Finally The Keys!

Excerpts from A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich
I crossed the bridge over Tavernier Creek Waterway. I was now on Plantation Key. In 1871 an article written in Harper’s Monthly Magazine reported that since Plantation Key had very good soil it was able to have large trees and a plantation of coconut palms and pineapples. This is the reason for the name Plantation. Plantation Key once had a large Indian mound on it—meaning that it must have supported a group of natives for a long time but the ravages of time and development have obliterated it. This Key was also one of only two island locations other than Key West that had a boat building operation on it in the early 1900’s.

As I walked along I saw that there were lots of small shops, motels and boat-bait-fishing marinas. Everyone was looking at me so I waved. It was lots of fun!

On the left side on the road I saw a sign, Coral Shores School. A man on the side of the school with a bunch of kids around him saw me and waved me over. He said that his name was David Monroe and he was the DCT vocational teacher. (The Diversified Career Technology program was for students in 9-12th grades. It gave them an opportunity to receive on-the-job training through the cooperative efforts of employers in the business/industry community.) He was interested in hiking and asked if I would talk to his kids on the subject. It sounded real interesting to me, and I sure didn’t have anything else to do. So I held a class right there on the spot.

The topics included gear, trip planning, map reading, food and supplies. I showed them my sketches, told them what I was doing and described some of my adventures. Then, as to be expected, every one of them wanted to try on the pack.

After I finished the class and everyone had the chance to try on the pack, I bid farewell.

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

Monday, November 06, 2017

Veteran's Day Hendry County

LABELLE, FL. -- Friday, November 10th at 9 a.m. at LaBelle High School, the National Honor Society presents the Annual Veterans Day Ceremony Tribute.  Veterans, family & friends are invited to attend at the LaBelle HS Auditorium. Followed by Breakfast served by the FFA students.

Veteran's Day: Saturday, 11/11/17 at 11:11 a.m. will be the Annual Veteran's Day Ceremony held at the LaBelle Veteran's Park on corner of SR80 & Main St, followed by lunch at the VFW.

Everyone is welcome to come honor our Veterans

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Woman Injured By Driver With Suspended License

CLEWISTON FL. -- A 2011 Kia Sorento driven by Melvin Thomas, 76 of Clewiston was traveling west on Harlem Academy Avenue, east of 11th Street at 9:45 p.m. Saturday.

Eura Lewis, 76 of Moore Haven was walking north across Harlem Academy Avenue and entered into the path of the car. The front of the car collided with Lewis and she was pushed westward onto the pavement. No skid marks were observed in the roadway. Lewis was not walking in a designated marked/unmarked crosswalk or intersection.

Charges to the driver were driving with suspended license (habitual) and causing serious bodily injury.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Greg Asbed - McAruthur 'Genius' Grant Recipient

LABELLE, FL. -- Greg Asbed, of LaBelle is the recipient of one of this year's McAruthur Foundation Grants. He  is a human rights strategist developing a new model—worker-driven social responsibility—for improving conditions for low-wage workers within the twenty-first-century labor market.

Worker driven social responsibility emerged from the decades-long work of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an organization co-founded by Asbed, with Lucas Benitez and Laura Germino, in 1993 to redress injustices in the Florida tomato industry, including forced labor, sexual assault, and wage theft. 

Asbed was a principal architect of the coalition's Fair Food Program (FFP), a mechanism by which the purchasing power of consumers and large food companies is tapped to compel growers to improve farmworkers' working conditions. Growers agree to adhere to a code of conduct in the treatment of workers, and workers are educated (by other workers) about their rights and responsibilities. Purchasers have a zero-tolerance policy for abuses by their suppliers and also agree to pay a penny-per-pound premium that goes directly into growers' payrolls as a line-item bonus on workers' paychecks. 

Asbed helped devise the Fair Foods Standards Council, an independent monitoring organization, to ensure compliance through regular audits and complaint investigations. Since 2010, the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange and over a dozen purchasers, including Walmart, have signed on to the Fair Food Program. With the success of the FFP in the tomato industry, Asbed envisioned the potential for wider economic and social change, and together with colleagues, he designed the WSR framework.

Asbed's expertise is being sought by international organizations for the development of customized variants of the WSR model to address such issues as child labor in Africa and gender-based violence in domestic work settings in Mexico.

The MacArthur Fellowship is a "no strings attached" award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments of $31,250 over five years.

Veteran's Day At Ortona Pavilon

ORTONA, FL. -- The Veterans Day Ceremony will be held at the Ortona Cemetery Pavilion on Saturday, November 11 at 11:00 am. 

The speaker will be George Powell from Okeechobee, music will be sung by Meagan Seiler and Rylee Patterson. 

There will be snacks provided by David and Gail Williams and desert is donated by Susan and Butch Jones. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come.

Glades Hurricane Debris Pickups Now Completed

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Irma made landfall September 10th causing widespread damage to Glades County. The debris company had two local contractors hauling debris since October 2nd (32 days of continuous hauling). They made two sweeps throughout the entire county for debris and vegetative pickup and one pass of C&D or construction debris. 

Monitors have reported that green limbs are now being placed on the roadside for pickup and this is not hurricane related debris. Glades County has completed picking up all hurricane related debris as of today. 

Please do not place any other debris out for pickup, you will now be responsible for removing and disposing of any yard debris & C&D debris.