Sunday, December 31, 2017

Obituaries - William Cobey, Hellen Ahern

William (Bill) Lawrence Cobey, Sr., 77, of Alva, Florida and West Winfield, New York, lost his courageous battle to cancer and passed away peacefully on Friday, December 29, 2017 at his home. 

Bill was born July 23, 1940 in Milton, New York to William and Estelle (Secor) Cobey. He graduated from Cornwall High School and went to work for the Cornwall Press. Bill was employed as a computer programmer and manager for International Business Machines (IBM) for 29 years. After retiring from IBM, Bill wanted to work outdoors and became the groundskeeper for Storm King Arts Center, one of the world's leading sculpture parks, in Mountainville, New York. 

Bill enjoyed hunting, fishing, bowling, gardening and watching sports; especially, his beloved New York Giants and New York Yankees. He was a great cook! Bill helped host spaghetti nights at his park. He was always leaving people wanting more of his spaghetti sauce, pasta fagioli and linguine and white clam sauce. Spending time with his family and friends gave him much pleasure. 

Bill is survived by partner Christina Baldino, his three children, William L Cobey, Jr. (Tracey) of West Hurley, NY, Rhonda Hoag (Jeffrey) of Monkton, VT and Danielle Wall of Wellington, FL.; seven grandchildren, Brenden and Kerri Hoag, Kaitlynn, Anthony and Alexander Cobey, Andersen and Domenic Wall; his brother James (Patricia) Cobey, his sister Judith Prena, his sister-in-law Joanne Cobey as well as many nieces, nephews, friends and extended family. Bill was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Bruce Cobey and Gary Cobey and his sister Diane Cobey.

Hellen Hasley Ahern, 91
, passed away December 28, 2017 at her home in Alva, Florida. She was born December 23, 1926 to John Hasley and Margaret Fichter Hasley. Hellen's family has lived on the same property in Alva since the 1800s. 

She married Bernard E. Ahern November 22, 1950. She began teaching in Moore Haven, FL in 1950. She taught in Moore Haven until she and Bernie moved back to their property in Alva in 1967. She continued teaching in Lee County until her retirement in 1977. They made their home on the family homestead property until Bernie's death in 2015.

Hellen graduated Valedictorian from Alva High School in 1944. She moved to Tallahassee where she attended Florida State College for Women, now Florida State University, and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Education. She went on to receive her Master's Degree from Colorado State University. She taught 30 years in the Glades and Lee County School Districts.

Hellen was predeceased by her husband of 64 years, Bernie Ahern, brother Peter Hasley, sisters Margaret Hasley Griffin and Kitty Hasley Phillips.

She is survived by her brother Walter (Chub) Hasley and wife Ann Hasley, son Robert (Martha) Ahern, granddaughter Christy Ahern-Liscum, grandson Robbie (Kell) Ahern, granddaughter Elaine (Beau) Langley, nine great-grandchildren Katie (Joey) Gottleib, Erin Cable, Leah Cable, Caralynn Liscum, Kelsey (Ethan) Warren, Chloe' Ahern, Collin Ahern, Logan Langley and Jillian Langley and 4 great-great grandchildren.

A memorial celebration of Hellen's life will be Thursday, January 4, 2018 at 1:00 PM at the Alva United Methodist Church (21440 Pearl Street, Alva, FL 33920) with family visitation one hour prior to service.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Sales Position Open At Ag-Tronix

Ag-Tronix is a water management specialist company that is seeking a salesperson to join our team. Our rapid expansion has created an opening on our sales team to build on our success, win new accounts and expand our business with existing customers. This position requires some previous Ag background, mechanical knowledge and ability to interact with a variety of personalities in the Florida farm economy.  Working knowledge of irrigation is required and turf is a plus.  Your daily tasks will need to be well organized and still maintain the flexibility to respond to challenges as they come up.

The ideal candidate should have:
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong negotiating, persuading, problem solving and follow-through skills.
  • The ability to work in a team-based environment
  • The ability to create and maintain strong customer relationships
  • Detail oriented
  • Understanding of irrigation systems

Duties include:
  • Personally contacts and secures new business accounts/customers
  • Develop and deliver sales quotes
  • Must Must Must be Customer focused - if our growers are successful then we are as well
  • Willingness to educate the customer, spend time with them to allow them to grasp concepts
  • Promotes products and services to existing/potential customers and assists them in selecting those best suited to their needs
  • Be focused on providing value for the grower, become a resource

Drivers License record is also required. Please email resumes to Lindseyf@ag-tronix.com or fax to 239-658-2474.

Dr. Larry Mormino At Museum Program January 10

LaBelle Heritage Museum is pleased to announce Gary R. Mormino, award winning historian and past director of the Florida Studies Program at the University of South Florida, will present how Florida changed from the smallest state in the South at the beginning of World War II to a Sunbelt Mega State by the end of the war at the museum's 7 p.m., Wednesday, January 10, 2018, meeting -- made possible by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council -- at the Dallas B. Townsend Agricultural Center, 1085 Pratt Boulevard.

Former student and LaBelle native Cynthia Mott says, "Dr. Mormino is my all-time favorite professor. . . . His knowledge and sincere love for Florida makes him a fascinating, interesting speaker. I'm truly looking forward to this event. . . ."

Since seating at the Dallas B. Townsend Agricultural Center is limited, FREE advance general admission tickets available at www.Eventbrite.com are strongly recommended. The museum will also use the tickets for a door prize drawing at the conclusion of Dr. Mormino's talk. Anyone having problems getting tickets should call LaBelle Heritage Museum, (863)674-0034, for assistance. Please leave a message if your call goes to voice mail as you should get a call back within 24 hours at the latest.

Migdalia Johnson Dies In Crash

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- A 72-year old woman died in a crash Wednesday afternoon in Glades County, Fl.

Jose Sila Sepulveda, 81 of Lehigh Acres, in a 2006 Chrysler minivan was northbound on SR-29, north of Chapparal Avenue.

Iburi Guerrero was southbound on SR-29, north of Chapparal Avenue. Sepulveda made an improper "U-turn" in front of Guerrero. As a result, the front portion of the second vehicle struck the right side of the minivan.

Migdalia Johnson, 72 a passenger in the minivan died of injuries in the crash.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

It's About The Money - Janet Taylor

They are coming for our Land

Commentary by Janet B. Taylor

Former Arkansas Senator Dale Bumpers once famously said, “When they tell you it’s not about the money . . . it’s about the money.”

Well, when the coastal elites and radical environmentalist tried to tell us that building a reservoir to store water south of Lake Okeechobee was “not about taking our land” . . . we knew . . . it was about taking our land.

We here in the Glades want clean water and healthy, thriving communities. The coastal folks gave plenty of emotional play to wanting clean water but seemed to have thrown that aside in favor of the same old radical rant to take our land. Here’s the proof.

Just 7 months ago we all agreed – environmentalists, Glades residents, farmers, advocates on all sides and legislators – to build a water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. We all agreed on the amount of land to be used, the type of land (already state-owned) to be used and the exact location of the land to be used. The legislature passed the reservoir act in Senate Bill 10 with great fanfare. 

Everybody got a pat on the back, accolades and awards were handed out like candy. The Governor signed the bill right here in our community. Since then the South Water Management District (SFWMD) moved heaven and earth to get community input and put together an actual plan for building this reservoir. One that will meet the terms of the law and store water to reduce coastal discharges.

Then, recently, all hell broke loose when the radical Martin County group of professional protesters and their misinformed followers known as ‘Bullsugar’ began filling up inboxes and comments sections with the message that the reservoir (the one we all agreed on in May) won’t work because they “need more land.” Their action exposed to the rest of the state what we in the Gladeshave known all along – they want our land, and no reservoir project will ever be good enough unless it takes more land.

Their argument, however thinly disguised, is not about water quality and quantity. The water coming off the farms in our communities is much cleaner than it was when it came onto the farms. According to the SFWMD, 98% of the pollution that comes into Lake Okeechobee that has to be discharged comes from NORTH of Lake Okeechobee not from sources here in the Glades. No, this ‘reservoir redo’ is about taking more land, destroying our communities, displacing families and ruining local economies by ending farming on the most fertile soil on the face of the earth.

The word is out. Their motives are exposed. Groups like ‘Bullsugar’ got busted, again.
So instead of going back on their word and further exposing their true agenda to the rest of the state, we ask that they join us. Join us in our call to fix the most vulnerable population protection structure in America– the Herbert Hoover Dike. It protects the Glades communities, and a stronger dike will reduce the knee-jerk need to discharge water to the coasts after heavy rainfall events. Slowing down and treating all that water North of Lake Okeechobee will benefit the Lake’s ecosystem, even further reduce damaging coastal discharges, and benefit ALL of our 
communities.

Fixing the Herbert Hoover Dike will not give them their true prize -- our land. But it will make all our water cleaner, our whole economy stronger and keep all our communities together and secure.

Janet B. Taylor is the Chairwoman of Glades Lives Matter and a former Hendry County Commissioner

Kimberly Ross' Dynasty Cares Opens Saturday

LABELLE, FL. -- Ross Dynasty LLC, doing business as Ross Dynasty Cares opened officially at 462 East Cowboy Way Saturday morning at 11 a.m. with dozens of area residents attending an open house under a tent behind the office.

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus were on hand for the festivities with door prizes given out by Ross Dynasty Cares throughout the day.

The new company, under the leadership off Kimberly Ross and her family offers help for individuals applying for social services including medicaid, SNAP, disabled children education, foster children and immigration.

Mrs. Ross also owns RCK Monuments and Ross Insurance & Tax Solutions in Clewiston.


Friday, December 22, 2017

Bridges Across The Keys - Bob Kranich

Excerpts from A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich

As I was sitting there contemplating hiking across this mile- long bridge, a car pulled up.
    “You need a ride?” he offered.
    “You know, that seems like a good Idea,” I said. He had just solved my problem.
    “Not too far,” I said, “I just need to get to the next land.”
I put my pack in the back seat and got in. It seems that this young fella had seen me a couple of times on his way to Miami. From a car point of view, I could see as we sped along just how beautiful the clear emerald blue-green water was. Between the looking, and talking I suddenly realized that we were covering too much distance. I would be in Key West before I realized it!
    “You had better let me out at the next causeway or land!” I suddenly exclaimed.
It had been so very long since I was in a vehicle, that when you think about it, 50 to 60 miles an hour is a mile a minute! In just a few minutes, we had gone 6 miles.
I thanked him for the ride and off he went, in a flash.
I just sat there looking back at the two-mile Long Key viaduct and said out loud, “Not going back.”
I was looking back at the highway bridge built on top of the old railroad bridge and suddenly realized that this was the famous arch bridge. It was one of Flagler’s favorites. Photographs and posters of a passenger train speeding across it were used on stationary, the sides of freight cars, and innumerable brochures. It became a trademark  for the FEC.
The bridge over channel No. 5 was also an arch bridge. I had not seen the side, as I had been contemplating how to cross it. These two bridges, channel No. 5, almost one mile, the Long Key viaduct, 2.3 miles, plus the land in between, meant that I had lost 6 hiking miles through Long Key.
All-in-all, the Florida East Coast Railway bridges numbered 42 for a total of 18 miles. The Long Key bridge was made with 180 spandrel arches, each one spanning 50 feet, and was more than 20 feet above mean high tide.
(Author’s note: Of the 42 bridges, four were too long and dangerous to cross on foot. They were these two bridges which were one and two and one half miles long, the Bahia Honda and the seven mile bridge. So all in all I crossed on foot, 38 total.)
These arch bridges are called Spandrel Arch bridges
This Spandrel Arch bridge construction is very intriguing, The steps are listed below:
1. The ocean floor is cleaned down to the coral lime-stone bottom.
2. Wood posts are driven into the coral, and then a cofferdam is lowered down to the bottom.
3. Two feet of concrete is poured in for a seal.
4. The water is pumped out of the cofferdam.
5. Prefabbed final forms are put into the cofferdam and the concrete poured and built up above the water.
6. All throughout tons of reinforcing steel and connecting rods and rebar are used to tie together each                  new concrete pour.
7. A prefabbed “ring arch” is barged in and set up on two piers using the tide as a lifting device.
8. Side forms and inside forms are made.
9. The concrete is poured into the arch.
10. The final arch is hollow and is filled with gravel.
11. The railroad ties and rails are laid upon the gravel.

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, December 21, 2017

Haircuts For Holidays 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.

Obituaries - Kelly, Anderson, Williams

Wilhelmina Kelley, age 87, of Clewiston, passed away December 13, 2017 in Clewiston.

She was born Dec. 19, 1929 in Olustee, Florida to Daniel Webster and Willie Mae (Pringle) Dobson. She worked as a dispatcher for the city of Clewiston for many years, and then later worked as a crossing guard for Hendry County Sheriff's Office.

Survivors include daughter: Susan Elaine Antonacci, son; Joseph Arthur Kelley, grandchildren; Shane, Angela, Daniel, Michelle, Joshua and Kenneth, great grandchildren; Ian, Jazmyn, Destiny, Logan, Carmen, Joshua Jr, Morgan, Jayden, Brenda, Alicia, Lea Brooke, Cash Kelley, four nieces, and nine Nephews, including Kandy Mummert and Jamey Shepard.

Mrs. Kelley was preceded in death by her husband Emory L. Kelley on February 25, 1980, her son Emory "Lee" Kelley in 2002, and one grandson, Joshua Cook.

Graveside service was held at 12 noon, Monday, December 18, 2017 in Ridgelawn Cemetery Clewiston, Florida.

Memorial donations may be given in Wilhelmina's name to Mount Dora Children's Home, 301 West 13th Avenue Mount Dora, Florida 32757. Graveside arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston

Clifton Gene Anderson, 80 of LaBelle, passed away December 17, 2017.

He was born Nov. 7, 1937 in Clewiston, FL, to the late Carl J and Dovie (Tuck) Anderson and was a lifelong resident to the area. He worked as a farmer and for 22 years with the US Army Corps of Engineers. He enjoyed being a Pilot and his aircraft. He loved life and people, and adored his grandchildren.

Survivors include his wife: Alana (McNeill) Anderson; son: Gene William Anderson;
daughter: Malinda Anderson; grandchildren: Kyra Anderson and Joshua Sanchez Jr.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Donald G. Williams, 65, of Immokalee, FL. passed away December 17, 2017 in Immokalee.

He was born July 18, 1952 in Elko, SC, to the late Govan and Sylvia Lenora (Higginbotham) Williams.

Survivors include his wife: Martha Williams, one son: Matthew (Nicki) Williams, and one daughter: Erin Williams; sister: Barbara Jean Cone; step son, Billy Padgette; step-daughter, Lisa ( Lupy) Perez; 6 grandchildren
Graveside services will be held Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 11:00 am at Baptist Cemetery, Immokalee, FL.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Margaret England Speaks At Kiwanis On Cuba Trip

LABELLE, FL. -- On Tuesday, December 19th, LaBelle Kiwanis member, Margaret England, presented a program on her experience in Cuba June 13-20, 2017 as part of a four  member mission team from Southwest Florida. 

The team had the opportunity to attend the Cuban Methodist Church’s  Annual Conference at Camp Canaan which was also the   20th Year Celebration of the Cuba-Florida Methodist Pact.  

After the conference they attended activities and  visited North Holguin congregations in  Mayari, CaƱamazo, Sagua de Tanamo, and  Moa Cuba. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Audubon Christmas Bird Count December 30

Hendry County Christmas Bird Counts

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is a long-standing program of the National Audubon Society, with over 100 years of community science involvement. It is an early-winter bird census, where thousands of volunteers across the U.S., Canada, and many countries in the Western Hemisphere go out over a 24-hour period on one calendar day to count birds.

Since each CBC is a real census, and since the 15-mile diameter circle volunteers participate on scheduled dates.  Volunteer counters, compilers, and photographers are welcome at the 11th Annual Hendry-Glades Audubon CBC at   STA 5/6-Clewiston (FLSO) on Saturday December 30, 2017 or 1st Annual Okaloacoochee Slough/Spirit of the Wild on January 3.  

To volunteer to join a count team contact: Margaret England cell/text 863-517-0202 

Greetings From Glades Property Appraiser Lori Ward


Pictured: (Back Row: Ragen Mathis, Chief Field Appraiser - Bradley Smith, Field Appraiser) (Middle Row : Carmen Whitney, Exemption Specialist - Lorie Ward, Property Appraiser - Irma Palmer, Mapper - Venisha Lewis, Tangible Personal Property Clerk) (Front Row: Marina Langdale, Chief Deputy Property Appraiser - Trish Coleman, Deed Specialist) A special thank you to Santa, Jack Woods for stopping by our office.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the entire Glades Property Appraiser team!  Our team is the gift that keeps on giving.  These individuals are knowledgeable, professional, and committed men and women who work with a common goal for all the people of Glades County.  We are excited and looking forward to working for you in 2018!
Remember, we are in the process of preparing your automatic property tax exemption renewal cards and will be mailing them to you the first week of January. If you received a property tax exemption in 2017, you will be receiving one. This card is to notify you that your exemption will be automatically renewed. The only reason that you should sign this card and return it, is if you are no longer eligible to receive the property tax exemption. By signing the card you are instructing me to remove the exemption from your property for the 2018 tax year.
Exemptions are not transferrable. Therefore if you are the new owner of the property, you must file an application with my office by March 1, 2018.
As always, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out and we’ll be happy to help. Thanks again for allowing me to work for you and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us.
 

Lorie Ward, C.F.A.
Glades County Property Appraiser,

Annie Dora Smith Dies At 70

Annie Dora Smith, age 70, of Clewiston, passed away December 13, 2017.
She was born Aug. 9, 1947 in Fort Myers, FL, to the late William Charles Ida Belle (Gay) Corbitt.
Survivors include her husband: Lewis Jack Smith "Captain Jack", two sons: James Wade Jack and Robert S. Smith, and two daughters: Carol Green and Rita Jack, Also survived by 5 Grandchildren.
Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Homeowner Financial Assistance Deadline January 31

Under the leadership of Executive Director Trey Price, Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) has distributed funds allocated for three programs in Florida’s Hardest-Hit Fund (HHF) two years ahead of schedule. The Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program, Mortgage Loan Reinstatement Program, and Principal Reduction Program were originally scheduled to end in 2020. Qualifying homeowners may continue to apply for assistance through these programs until January 31, 2018.
As of November 30, 2017, 46,908 Florida families have received assistance through HHF programs, and Florida Housing has disbursed 89.81percent of the $1.135 billion received from Treasury.
“Florida Housing is pleased to have positively impacted the lives of more than 46,000 Floridians and helped them save or buy a home,” said Price, who joined Florida Housing in March. “We are focused on providing housing solutions, and distributing these funds in an efficient and effective manner.”
Homeowners who qualify may apply for mortgage or principal reduction assistance from these three HHF programs until the January 31, 2018, deadline. Applications received on or before the deadline will be processed.
Those Florida HHF programs are as follows:
·         Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program (UMAP), which provides up to 12 months of payments (with a cap of $24,000) to assist homeowners who are unemployed, underemployed or have suffered a financial hardship due to death, divorce or disability.
·         Mortgage Loan Reinstatement Program (MLRP), which provides up to $25,000 assistance to reinstate a delinquent mortgage.
·         Principal Reduction Program (PR), which provides up to a $50,000 principal reduction for homeowners who are underwater on their mortgage.
HHF Program Stats and Testimonials
·         Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program (UMAP)- As of November 30, 2017, UMAP has assisted 19,308 Floridians.
·         Mortgage Loan Reinstatement Program (MLRP)- As of November 30, 2017, MLRP has assisted 19,208 Floridians.
·         Principal Reduction Program (PR)-As of November 30, 2017, PR has assisted 6,430 Floridians.
To hear participants discuss their experience click here.
Those interested in applying for the UMAP or MLRP programs, visit www.flhardesthithelp.org.
Those interested in applying for PR program, visit www.principalreductionflhhf.org.
For more information on Florida Housing, visit www.floridahousing.org.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hendry Commission Meeting Notes

The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) regular meeting held on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at the Commission Chamber in LaBelle, Florida.

The BOCC elected Commissioner Mitchell Wills to represent the County as Chairperson of the Board for the upcoming year. Commissioner Emma Byrd will serve as Vice-Chair.

Airglades Airport Joint Participation Agreement (JPA) for a Project Development and Environmental (PD&E) Study – The Board approved the agreement from Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for a PD&E study at the Airglades Airport in the amount of $1,000,000 which will be funded completely by FDOT so long as it does not exceed the listed dollar amount.

Human Trafficking Presentation, Gina Milone, Human Trafficking Specialist, Abuse, Counseling and Treatment, Inc. (ACT) – Ms. Milone presented to the Board on the topic of human trafficking and the rise of the crime in southwest Florida. Milone educated the Board in order to bring awareness on the possible signs of human trafficking and ways to engage the topic. She asked the Board to help facilitate the conversation between ACT and the Hendry County School Board and encouraged all County employees to participate in trainings to further educate them on the topic of human trafficking.

Goodwheels Operation Updates, Alan Mandel – Goodwheels Director, Alan Mandel, presented to the Board on the current needs of the operation. The Board expressed concerns regarding complaints they have received from constituents regarding Goodwheels service. Mandel stated that these issues had been addressed and he is continuing to work on improving operations and customer service within the organization.

Amendment to Hendry County Code of Ordinance: Chapter 1-10 Health Sanitation, Article III, Lot Clearing, Specifically Section 1-10-41, Enforcement Procedures - At the Board meeting on November 14th, the Board authorized staff to advertise and bring forward an amendment to the County’s Code of Ordinances to shorten the time frame for property owner’s to address mowing violations from 30 days to 15 days. In addition the Board authorized staff to remove the language that would allow the County to recover code enforcement administrative costs. This is due to a 2008 appellate court decision holding that counties may not recover code enforcement administrative costs. The Board adopted the proposed ordinance with the recommended language changes

Elections to Use the Uniform Method of Collection Non-Ad Valorem Special Assessments within the Mosquito Control MSBU – The Board approved a resolution of intent to use the uniform method of collecting non-ad valorem special assessments within the Mosquito Control Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU).

STAFF REPORTS

Accept U.S. Department of Justice COPS Hiring Grant aware in the amount of $771,724 and authorize the Grants Coordinator to electronically sign the award document – The Board accepted the award and approved staff to electronically sign the award document. The grant, in the amount of $771,724 with no local match required, will allow the Hendry County Sheriff’s office to hire 4 new police officers to create a task force to combat targeted criminal activities in Hendry County.

Port LaBelle Utility System (PLUS) – Purchase of Radio Read Water Meters, Shane Parker, Public Works Director – The Board waived the formal bidding requirement and authorize staff to proceed with purchasing the replacement meters from Master Meter which is currently running a promotion to upgrade the meter registers from 3G to 4G technology. The promotion gives a discounted rate of $42.00 for each meter register replaced, bringing the price down from $184.00 to $142.00. There are approximately 1,500 meter registers that need to be replaced. The current budget would allow approximately 560 meter registers to be replaced

Election of Commissioners, Mark Lapp, County Attorney – In follow-up to the discussion at the October 10 meeting, this provided an overview of which other counties have single-member districts as a result of a Federal Court order and the process and estimated costs to undertake the first step to change the method of election of County Commissioners from single-member districts to at-large. The Board decided to table this until further financial feasibility analysis can be performed.

Obituaries - Kevin Needles, Robert Rushin

Kevin G. Needles, age 60, of LaBelle, passed away December 12, 2017 in Bonita Springs.
She was born June 1, 1957 in Columbus, OH, to the late Donald J and the late Marjorie R (Gordon) Needles. He served in the Navy from 12/20/74 to 04/19/75.
Survivors include one daughter: Sara Hamilton of Waukesha, WI, Sister of one sister: Holly. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.
Robert W. Rushin, age 86, of Springfield, MO passed away December 8, 2017 in Clewiston, FL.
He was born Dec. 7, 1931 in Harviell, MO, to the late George and Sarah Leona (Autry) Rushin. . He served during Korean war in the U. S. Army
Survivors include his wife: Rebecca (Hohler) Rushin. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

FHP Trooper Saves Woman's Life - She's Later Arrested For DUI

On December 13, 2017 at 11:45 pm the Florida Highway Patrol responded to a traffic crash on Eastbound I75 (Alligator Alley) at mile marker 85. Upon arrival, the trooper observed a single vehicle that drifted off the interstate, resting against the south shoulder fence line. 

The trooper observed an unresponsive female driver sitting in the driver’s seat, doors locked. The trooper’s attempts to wake the unresponsive female were unsuccessful. 

Concerned for her wellbeing, the trooper broke the rear passenger window to gain access only to discover the female did not have a pulse. To gain better access, the trooper then broke the driver’s side window to extricate the female. 

The trooper carried the female out of the vehicle, determined she was not breathing and began to administer CPR, which revived her a short time later. Emergency Medical Services arrived at 12:00 am and transported the female to Physicians Regional Hospital.

The female was later identified as Cory Lynn Webster DOB 7/23/1985 of Delray Beach, Florida. 

Upon being treated and released from the hospital, the trooper placed Ms. Webster under arrest for Driving Under the Influence (3rd Violation in 10 Years – 3rd Degree Felony) and Driving while License Suspended. 

A breath test revealed her alcohol concentration level to be .039, drug screen results are pending.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Traffic Advisory: Highlands And Glades County

Highlands County

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a crash in which a Highlands County school bus was struck in the rear by a semi-truck on US 27 and Lake Placid Drive as of 7:48 am this morning
Troopers are still on scene investigating.

There were a total of 39 students on the bus. Two students were flown to Tampa General with serious injuries, multiple students (preliminary 3 students) and the bus driver were transported to a local area hospital with non-incapacitating injuries


Glades County

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a van versus semi crash on CR 74 at the Glades / Desoto County Line as of 7:58 am. The van was traveling westbound on CR 74, the semi was traveling eastbound on CR 74. The crash remains under investigating as to which vehicle crossed the center line, the left front of the van struck the left front of the semi. Troopers remain on scene investigating, CR 74 remains closed in the vicinity of the Glades County Line.

There were a total of six occupants in the van, one occupant is confirmed deceased, three are trauma alert transports to Lee Memorial Hospital and two are non-incapacitating injury transports to Lehigh Regional Hospital.  The driver was the sole occupant of the semi, the semi driver was transported to Bayfront Hospital with serious injuries.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Robert Rushin Dies At 86

Robert W. Rushin, age 86, of Springfield, MO passed away December 8, 2017 in Clewiston, FL.
He was born Dec. 7, 1931 in Harviell, MO, to the late George and Sarah Leona (Autry) Rushin. . He served during Korean war in the U. S. Army
Survivors include his wife: Rebecca (Hohler) Rushin. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Post Disaster Recovery In Hendry-Glades

The Glades/Hendry County Disaster Recovery Group

By Austin Moorhouse

FEMA, with the assistance of Glades County Emergency Operations Center and the Hendry County Emergency Operations Center are joining forces to establish a community-based long-term recovery program for our two counties.  Long-term recovery is the period following a disaster (in this case Hurricane Irma) when the affected community and its residents return to a new normal state of living.  A Long-term Recovery Group is usually established by the community, often with outside assistance, in order to help its most vulnerable residents through the recovery process.   This group continues to coordinate services after FEMA is no longer able to provide continued disaster relief services.
Many other counties in the State of Florida are either in the process of establishing these community-based voluntary organizations for disaster recovery or they already have a community-based long-term recovery programs.  The Glades /Hendry County Disaster Recovery Group needs volunteers from our communities to help case managers coordinate the necessary services for those families with unmet needs. 
The mission of the Glades/Hendry Long-term Recovery Group is to support households and businesses impacted by disaster to recover and rebuild.  The aim of this group is to strengthen and streamline disaster coordination by sharing information, facilitating dispersal of funds, resources and other services in coordination with federal, state and local authorities and agencies.
The recovery group is made up of ordinary citizens who are willing to spend a little of their time and/or talent as well as representatives from faith-based, civic, nonprofit, government, business and other organizations (such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and United Way) to assist individuals and families as they recover from a disaster.  The sole purpose is to match disaster-caused needs with community resources to help families recover.

An organizational meeting will be Wednesday, December 13th at 1 pm at the Hendry Emergency Operations Center.
For further information and meeting times interested parties may contact Marisa Shivers at the Glades County Emergency Operation Center at 863-946-6020.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

6 Ways To Avoid Holiday Overindulging




Dr. Mao On Healthy Holiday Lifestyle Celebrating
As soon as December starts, the holiday party season begins - your office fete, a friend’s white elephant gift exchange, and let’s not forget family gathering together with tablescapes fit for a feast.
Then, just when you think you couldn’t possibly pop one more snowflake cookie in your mouth New Year’s Eve comes along and insists you spend another night celebrating the welcoming of 2018.
By January 1st, you feel that the holidays are both a blessing and a curse. It is so easy to get sucked into the lure of overindulging during the festivities.
So, if this year you want to save yourself from jolly excess and food comas, look no further. Dr. Mao is going to share what he does when he’s faced with an abundance of treats. He’s got six festive tips to get you through the holiday hump so you can make the most of a happy and healthy season of celebration.

-courtesy Dr. Mao Shing Ni and Infinichi

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Teacher Maria Rivera-Magana Arrested

Teacher Charged With Selling Drugs To Students

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer, Chad Pelham, placed 35 year old Maria Otilla Rivera-Magana  under arrest on several drug and neglect charges upon leaving Clewiston Middle School.

School Resource Officer Pelham had been contacted by emergency room medical personnel on Friday, December 1, 2017, in the evening hours.  They reported to him that two middle school students had complained of being ill and reportedly admitted to smoking marijuana they had purchased from a permanent substitute school teacher at Clewiston Middle School.

Deputy Pelham began to investigate the claims made by the students.  Contact was then made with School Administration and the Hendry County Narcotics Division where it was arranged to make a purchase from the teacher.

On Friday, December 08, 2017, Deputies arrested Rivera-Magana on several charges:  Two counts of Possession of Synthetic Drug, with Intent to Sell within 1000' of a School, Two counts Possession of Marijuana within 1000' of School, Two counts Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell within 1000' of a School, Two Counts of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, Two Counts of Interference with  and Two counts of Neglect of a Child.  Additional criminal charges are pending.

“I commend Deputy Pelham and members of the Narcotics Division.  We cannot and will not allow this behavior to continue on our school campuses”, said Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden.  “The School district and administrators were very cooperative and without their support in this case, it could have been more difficult to make this arrest occur”.  Whidden went on to say, “one of the advantages we have here is the overwhelming cooperation and working relationship between the Hendry County School District and the Sheriff’s Office, for which we are grateful”.

Rivera-Magana was transported to the Hendry County. Jail Rivera-Magans went to first appearances this morning and the judge set a $100,500 bond. She is currently being held by jail personnel in Hendry County..

Friday, December 08, 2017

Bridge Closing For Repair December 12

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Road & Bridge Department will be performing routine maintenance on the Fort Denaud Bridge and will temporarily close Fort Denaud Bridge Way to vehicular traffic on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 from 9 a.m. until noon.

Motorists are asked to PLEASE TRAVEL WITH CAUTION.

The closure is necessary in order to keep the bridge in proper working condition by performing routine maintenance.

Please seek an alternate route if possible and allow extra time to reach your destination. If travel thru the work zone is necessary, please do so carefully.

Residents with questions or concerns can contact the Hendry County Engineering Department at 863-675-5222.

The Lower Keys - Walking Across Florida

Excerpts From A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich

Between Upper and Lower Matecumbe Keys was a causeway. It was the original Florida East Coast Railway fill, and there were three short bridges to allow the tides to flow through at the channels. Not too far out on that causeway was another, smaller causeway that went south about a quarter of a mile to Tea Table Key. Tea Table was just one of many, many keys...

These innumerable Keys were mostly formed by a coral outcrop stopping a mangrove seed. This cigar shaped seed drops off its parent and then floats vertical. Usually its roots are partially grown, are on the bottom, and will float until it is stopped and caught by something sticking out of the water. 

Over time sand and sediment will collect and this begins the process of Key building. The red mangrove is the species most prevalent in the Florida Keys. Its roots slow down tidal water and build its own environment. As they grow, their roots and branches provide a protective area for all kinds of water birds. The roots also provide a habitat for many kinds of marine fish and animals. Their leaves are able to process salt water into fresh by an osmotic process. Mangrove plants have many uses such as tea, medicine, wood for boats because it is water resistant, furniture, houses, charcoal, and dyes...

I crossed the three bridges over Tea Table, Indian Key and Lignumvitae channels. I then came to a new establishment at the north end of Lower Matecumbe Key. The sign said:
                                                
New Establishment, Toll Gate Inn

A man was standing out front, and as I walked up, he said, “Hey it’s getting late, if you want, you can camp here tonight. Just set up camp out back of the inn and use the showers back there and the dock and swimming area.”

Came to find out he was the new owner. I thanked him, and we talked for a few minutes. He was a very interesting person and said that he was a  swimming instructor as well as an innkeeper.
I went around back, set up my camp, took a refreshing swim and then a shower. What a great favor for a tired hiker!

In the morning, as I was picking and packing up, here came the innkeeper and his helper with some coffee for me.  Now I didn’t drink coffee but I sipped it and listened to him as he warned me,
“Don’t hike the bridges, it will be best to ride over them.”

I told him that I would take that into consideration and be very careful. That seemed to satisfy him.
 I hiked the three and one half  miles through Lower Matecumbe Key. I was back on a causeway for about a mile and a half, then a short bridge over Channel No. 2.

After crossing Channel No. 2, I sat down to rest. I watched a couple of birds drying their wings as they too sat on pilings that were at the start of my first long bridge. It was a mile across Channel No. 5. from where I sat on Craig Key. I also could see that it was a very, very long distance.

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