Friday, July 19, 2019

Democrats Travel To Convention At Disney October 11

LABELLE, FL. -- Joe Thomas, Chairman of the Hendry County Democratic Executive Committee, announced that over and above DEC officers coupled with the automatic inclusion of Democratic elected Hendry County officials there may be thirty-seven rank and file registered Democrats attending the 2019 Florida Democratic State Convention at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando on the weekend of October 11 - 13 to represent Hendry County. 

Any registered Democrat living in Hendry County is eligible to become a delegate and should submit a form no later than July 31 to local DEC officials for consideration as an elected delegate and also let those DEC members authorized to appoint delegates of willingness to accept an appointment. All regular delegates to the 2019 Florida Democrats State Convention must submit a filing fee of $60 at the time of election or appointment with the exception of student delegates whose fee is $25.

Delegate forms are available at and can be filled out online, printed,and submitted to Hendry County DEC chairman, Joe Thomas, vice-chair Dorothy Johnson, state committeewoman Sofia I. Rodriguez, or state committeeman Ramon S. Rodriguez by July 31. Hendry County 

Democrats interested in becoming a delegate who are not computer savvy should leave a message at (863)234-8890 or email for a pre-printed delegate form.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Obituaries - Lara, Spears, Prisk, Billie

Lorena Munoz Lara, age 28, of Clewiston, passed away July 14, 2019 in South Bay.
She was born July 29, 1990 in Palm Beach County, FL, to Daniel and Leticia (Morales) Munoz. She worked as a parts manager for Florida Crystals Sugar Corporation. She was a loving mother, daughter, sister and aunt who will be greatly missed by everyone who knew and loved her.
She leaves behind her children; Jose Antonio and Emilio Leonardo Lara, her parents; Daniel Munoz and Leticia Morales Mejia, sister; Denise Munoz, brothers; Daniel Munoz, Jr, and Eric Munoz, and many extended family members.
Visitation will be Friday from 12 pm - 8 pm at The Jesus Church, Clewiston, FL.
Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.
Harry Lee Spears, age 67, of Clewiston, passed away July 13, 2019 in West Palm Beach.
He was born Mar. 1, 1952 in Knoxville, TN, to Albert Lee and Anna R (Dye) Spears. Harry proudly served for 21 years in the United States Navy, obtaining the rank of Radioman 3rd Class. He was a dispatcher for the City of Clewiston Police Department for 29 years.
He was a loving brother, uncle, and friend to many and will be missed by everyone who knew and loved him.
Harry leaves fond memories with his siblings; Gail Wiseman, Kathy Spears, Tommy Spears, Jerry Spears, and Michael Spears along with all of their families.
Celebration of Harry's life was held Thursday, July 18, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. in Akin-Davis Funeral Home where visitation was held Wednesday, July 17, 2019 from 6-8 p.m. Burial with Military Honors will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery.
Brenda (Pudder) Prisk, age 59, of Clewiston, passed at home July 13, 2019 in Clewiston.
Brenda was born July 15, 1959 in Elkins, WV, to Thelma Pudder and the late Doyle (Hoot) Pudder. She grew up in Englishtown, NJ with her three brothers, David (Laura), Philip, Kevin (Vivian) and sister, Melissa (Bryan). She spent the last fifteen years of her life in Clewiston, FL.
Brenda leaves behind her husband of thirty years: Patrick, mother in law: Carol Prisk,
three daughters: Ashley (Proctor), Sarah and Jenna (P.J.), four granddaughters Kathrine Ellen, Dakota Lea, Lily Rose and Grace Mae and grand dog, Bear, who will greatly miss their Nanny.
A celebration of life will be held Friday, July 19, 2019, 11:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle. Interment will follow at Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation will be Friday for 1 hour prior to the service at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL.
In lieu of flowers, Brenda's Grands would greatly love donations to help them to continue and expand their Nanny's flower bed. Please contact Ashley Prisk for more information.
Brannon T. Billie, age 27, of Wesley Chapel, passed away July 10, 2019 in Lutz.
She was born Apr. 27, 1992 in Fort Myers, FL, to Lyle V. Billie and Rebecca Billie.
Our Lavender Princess is survived by her husband Johnathan Konrad, her parents Rebecca Billie, James Williams, Sr., Jason Melton I, Lyle V. Billie. Also, by her siblings Tony Billie, Josie Balentine, Jason Melton II, Anazette Billie, Anissa Billie, James Williams Jr. Shakur Williams, Kourtnee Williams, Lyle Billie Jr. She was also the proud granddaughter of Mitchell Cypress and Patsy Billie.
Funeral services were held Sunday, July 14, 2019 at 3:00 pm at First Baptist Church-Big Cypress, with Rev. Salaw Hummingbird officiating. Visitation was Sunday one hour prior to service at First Baptist Church-Big Cypress. Interment was Sunday, July 14, 2019 in Big Cypress Cemetery, Big Cypress Reservation.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Obituaries - Dennis Perkins, Wallace Nickell

Dennis A Perkins, age 72, of LaBelle, passed away July 11, 2019 in Lehigh Acres.

He was born Aug. 23, 1946 in Jesup, GA, to Junior and Rebha Louise (Knowles) Perkins. Dennis worked for many years as heavy equipment operator and alligator trapper. He proudly served his country in the United States Army. He enjoyed cooking swamp cabbage for the Swamp Cabbage Festival every February, he enjoyed being out in the woods, spending time with family and close friends. He was a member of First Baptist Church of LaBelle, Dana-Howard-Weekley American Legion Post # 130 for many years.

Dennis leaves behind fond memories with his children; Chad E., Dennis Austin and Reba B Perkins, nine grandchildren and one great grandchild on the way. He also leaves behind two sisters; Brenda Beer and Debra Coddington.

Celebration of Dennis' life will be held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 16, 2019 in First Baptist Church of LaBelle. Visitation will be one hour before the service at the church. Burial with military honors being conducted by the Dana-Howard-Weekley American Legion Post #130 will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Wallace Harold Nickell, age 78, of LaBelle, passed away July 10, 2019 in Lehigh Acres.

He was born Dec. 14, 1940 in Hazard, KY, to the late Elmo and Kathleen (Couch) Nickell

He was a Veteran of the US Army

Survivors include his wife: Wanda Sue (Spuhler) Nickell

one son: Donald Nickell

one daughter: Beth Hamm

one brother: James Nickell

8 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Dr. Phillip Williams Named New Professor At SWFREC

New Vegetable Horticulturist Named
LABELLE, FL. -- Dr. Phillip Williams of Clemson University has been named assistant professor of vegetable horticulture at SWFREC in Immokalee.  Dr. Williams currently works as program coordinator at the Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville, South Carolina.  

He earned his Ph.D. in plant and environmental sciences and his B.A. in biology (plant biology concentration) from Clemson.  He received his master’s of agriculture (agronomy and soils) from Auburn University in Alabama.  

Dr. Williams grew up on a 1,000-acre row crop family farm in South Carolina, which gained him experience in everything from machinery operation and maintenance to budgeting and agronomic practices.  His candidate interview seminar was titled “Sustainability Managing Crops Using Technology and Cultural Practices without Yield or Quality Reductions.”  

Dr. Williams will begin at SWFREC August 1.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

37 Cattle Die In Truck Crash

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Paul Waynevan, Sickle, 59 of Wauchula, driving  a commercial motor vehicle at 11:51 a.m. Wednesday, was hauling ninety-five cattle traveling north on County Road 833 (Sam Jones Trail) approximately 200 feet north of Zipper Grove Road.

He stated that as he entered a curve in the road, the cattle shifted left forcing the truck to steer right, and in an unsuccessful attempt to maintain control of the truck it traveled off the roadway, through a ditch, then proceeded to overturn on the northeast shoulder facing north.

Thirty-seven of the cattle died.

The crash remains under investigation.

Seven Democrat Delegate Positions Open

LABELLE, FL. -- Any Democrat registered in Hendry County may file to run for one of the county's seven delegate positions at the 2019 Florida Democratic Party Convention to be held the weekend of October 11 - 13. Delegate filing forms are available at or from Hendry County Democratic Executive Committee Chair Joe Thomas, (863)234-8890, Vice Chair Dorothy Johnson, (863)234-7231, State Committeeman Ramon S. Rodriguez,, and State Committeewoman Sofia I. Rodriguez,

Completed filing forms must be returned to one of these four by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 31. Hendry County DEC will hold its delegate elections at its regularly scheduled 6:30 p.m. dinner meeting on Monday, August 12, at LaBelle's Beef O'Brady's Restaurant, 21 South Lee Street. 

 At the time of election, each elected delegate shall submit a non-refundable $60 registration fee (or $25 Student fee) to be collected by the County Chair for submission with the delegate filing forms to Florida State Democratic Party Headquarters no later than Friday, September 6, 2019.

Hendry County DEC Joe Thomas adds that he and the other three officers mentioned above will be automatic delegates to the Convention as will be elected Hendry County Democratic office holders from the county level up. 

 Thomas also has ten appointments he may make to ensure the delegation is representative of Hendry County's demographics. All delegates -- whether elected, appointed, or automatic -- must complete the filing form and submit the non-refundable registration fee at the August 12 election meeting. For information, contact Joe Thomas at, or by text to (863)234-8890.


Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Enchanted Bookshop At Theatre July 19

The Firehouse Community Theatre Presents the Enchanted Bookshop!

The Enchanted Bookshop by Todd Wallinger tells the magical tale of Margie, the absent-minded owner of a bookstore called "A Likely Story".

“A Likely Story” looks like any other used bookstore during the day, but at night, magic happens!!! The characters in the books come to life, and long to help the scatterbrained owner save the struggling bookstore, but they can’t be seen by human eyes. When a pair of smugglers come looking for a stolen necklace hidden in a book, the characters want to help but how can they defeat the crooks without being seen?

Please support our local youth actors!! Get your tickets now! The play will run for three days at the Firehouse Commuity Theatre: July 19, 20 and 21, and is directed by Valarie Shough. Call the ticket hotline (863) 675-366 or get tickets online Showtimes are: 7pm Friday and Saturday and 2pm Sunday.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Unmet Needs Meeting July 12

Friday, July 12, 2019 @ 1:00 P.M.

Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church, 310 Campbell Street, LaBelle, Florida 33935

July Meeting will be held at Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church July 12 @ 1:00pm

For information call or leave message for Greg Gunter  Hendry/Glades Long Term Hurricane Irma Recovery Support 

Contact: 239-433-7560 Fax: 863-675-9393 E-mail: Office located at:
LaBelle United Way House 133 N. Bridge Street LaBelle, FL 33935

ERT Training August 10

Early Response Team (ERT) Training August 10, 2019 8:30 – 5:00 Carlson Memorial UMC 310 Campbell St LaBelle FL 33975  863-675-0656

Early Response Teams (ERT) are specially trained, self-contained teams who enter a disaster zone at the invitation of local emergency management officials, the local church or other recognized agencies requesting assistance. ERTs offer a Christian presence and are trained to provide various types of physical, emotional and spiritual assistance to disaster survivors. ERTs are registered with the Disaster Recovery Ministry of the Florida Conference and Disaster Recovery coordinates team placement to get help where it is needed most after a disaster.
ERT training focuses on types, phases and levels of a disaster and explains what is meant by early response. Participants learn the importance of spiritual and emotional care, tarping, flood clean-up, chainsaw safety, team requirements and much more.

Participants are trained by UMCOR-certified trainers and receive a badge identifying them with UMCOR and the Florida Conference. Participants must be 18 or older and pass a background check Space is limited to 25 people and registration is required.

Thomas Billie Dies At 76

Thomas Watts Billie, age 76, of Clewiston, passed away July 6, 2019 in Clewiston.
He was born Feb. 26, 1943 in Miami, FL, to the late Watch Billie and Mary Osceola.
A graveside service will be held Monday, July 8, 2019 at 11:00 am at Big Cypress Cemetery, Big Cypress Reservation with Rev. Salaw Hummingbird officiating.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

How Floridians Could Save $200 Million From Medicaid

A new report finds that the state could realize substantial savings by expanding the Medicaid program to more than 800,000 low-income residents 
TALLAHASSEE, FL - Florida would see net state budget savings of roughly $200 million in Fiscal Year 2022-23 by expanding the Medicaid program, according to the latest report by the Florida Policy Institute (FPI).

Florida currently receives a 61 percent federal match rate for state dollars spent on Medicaid. By expanding the program to adults with household income up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or $29,435 for a family of three, Florida could access a 90 percent federal match rate under the Affordable Care Act. That's $9 of federal monies for every $1 the state invests in expansion.

“Our state could close the health care coverage gap for hundreds of thousands of parents, people with disabilities, and residents who are struggling to get by on extremely low incomes, all while bringing home billions more in federal dollars,” said Sadaf Knight, CEO of FPI. “Thirty-six states chose to expand Medicaid and realize these benefits, and multiple studies have shown how expansion increases access to affordable health care, improves health and financial security for families, and positively impacts state and local economies.”

“FPI has added significant evidence to the growing body of nonpartisan research supporting the economic benefits of expanding Medicaid.  It is long past time for Florida to join 36 other states in providing Medicaid for low-income adults with no other path to affordable coverage,” said Miriam Harmatz, executive director of Florida Health Justice Project.

“Medicaid expansion not only benefits the state budget, but also the pocketbooks of hardworking Floridians, said Scott Darius, executive of Florida Voices for Health. “National comparisons have found that the cost of health insurance premiums in expansion states was about 7 percent lower than the non-expansion states."

FPI’s estimate is based, in part, on projections from the state Office of Economic and Demographic Research and data on state spending in specific program areas. The report also examines the experience of other states that opted to expand Medicaid.

Current Medicaid coverage groups that would benefit from higher federal match rates include the medically needy, pregnant women and adults with disabilities. 

In addition, federal dollars could replace millions of state dollars currently spent on state mental health and substance abuse services, hospital inpatient care for prisoners, and state and local dollars spent for uncompensated care.

“Expanding Medicaid in Florida makes sense on all levels— the state’s fiscal health, the productivity of our workforce and, most importantly, the physical and mental health of our families, friends and neighbors here in the Sunshine State,” added Knight.

FPI is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing state policies and budgets that improve the economic mobility and quality of life for all Floridians.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Teen Arrested In Port LaBelle Murder Of David Zavala

PORT LABELLE, FL. -- Nicholas R. Guerrero, 16 (photo left) has been arrested in the murder of 19 year old David Zavala.

On July 3, 2019, at approximately 4:30 pm, Hendry County Sheriff's Office received a call reporting a shooting that had just occurred in the Port LaBelle Country Village subdivision.

Deputies responded to 1 Commodore Place in LaBelle where upon their arrival they discovered 19 year old David Zavala unresponsive in the back seat of a truck at the Country Village office parking lot area.

Hendry County Investigators along with Deputies then responded to 5030 Hummingbird Dr., a rental home in southern Port LaBelle at approximately 5:30 pm, where they came in contact with 16 year old Nicholas R. Guerrero, who was suspected as being the person who shot Zavala.

Investigators also spoke with two other persons of interest, but were later released to their parents/guardians. At this time it is believed that the motive for the murder is drug related.

After interviewing Guerrero, he was placed under arrest on charges of First Degree Murder. He was then transported to Department of Juvenile Justice where he remains at this time.

Guerrero, according to the arrest report, is four feel tall, weighing 75 pounds, and was arrested at 1:10 a.m. July 4th. He has a prior arrest history.

Hendry County Investigators are still following up on all leads. If you have any information regarding this homicide please contact Hendry County Sheriff's Office at 863-674-5600 or you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477) where you may be eligible for a cash reward.

Independence Day - LaBelle, Florida 2019

LABELLE, FL. -- The city of LaBelle and the Downtown Development Corp. put on lots of fun activities July 4th including a small parade down Main Street to Barron Park, music, games and food at the park, ending with a fireworks display on the Caloosahatchee River with thousands at the park and wharf watching the show.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Shooting In Port LaBelle Country Village

LABELLE, FL. -- At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday the Sheriff's Office reported that Hendry County Deputies are currently on scene of a shooting in the area of Country Village in Port LaBelle. The area is north of Cowboy Way and near the Country Oaks Elementary School.

At this time Deputies are not clear of the motive for the shooting.

If you have any information regarding this shooting, please call the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office or you may call Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). You may remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward.

Holiday Driving Tips From The FHP

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Fourth of July is considered one of the busiest travel holidays of the year. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) urges everyone to use caution when traveling on Florida roads this weekend for a safe and enjoyable Independence Day. The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) reminds motorists to make sure their vehicle is road-ready, buckle up and never drive impaired.
“The Florida Highway Patrol will continue our commitment to ensuring Florida’s roadways are safe by increasing our patrol efforts this holiday weekend,” said Colonel Gene S.Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Remember to plan ahead before traveling to your destination and be patient on our busy highways so everyone can Arrive Alive.”
In July 2018, there were 74,965 people involved in a crash in Florida and 2,943 DUIs. Almost 10% of those DUIs last July occurred July 4-5 and nearly all of the drug and alcohol confirmed crashes in July 2018 resulted in a fatality. FHP troopers will be conducting enforcement operations throughout the holiday weekend which target aggressive and impaired drivers statewide.
FLHSMV offers the following driving safety tips for this year’s Fourth of July weekend:
  • Never drive impaired and designate a sober driver. Remember, even one drink increases the risk of a crash while driving. Do not let anyone who has been drinking get behind the wheel, including you.
  • Always buckle up. A seatbelt is your vehicle’s most important safety feature.
  • Stay focused on driving and do not drive distracted. Distracted driving is extremely risky behavior and focused attention on driving helps to prevent crashes.
  • Travelers should use caution when traveling during times of low visibility, especially at night.
  • Call *FHP (*347) or dial 911 to report drunk drivers, traffic crashes, stranded or disabled motorists, or suspicious incidents on the road.

Gene McAvoy Retiring After 22 Years Service

LABELLE, FL. -- After 22 years of service to Hendry County, Gene McAvoy has announced his retirement from the Hendry County Extension Office in LaBelle.

A retirement party organized by the office staff will be held July 30th at the LaBelle Civic Center.

Mr. McAvoy announced his retirement with the following:

"It is with some sadness and trepidation that I announce my impending retirement effective July 31, 2019 after 22 years as the Hendry County Extension Director and Regional Vegetable Extension Agent for SW Florida. It has certainly been an honor and privilege to work with all the many fine hardworking growers and industry reps that and I hope that I have been able make a positive contribution during my tenure.

"As some of you may know, I began my involvement with the vegetable industry over 50 years in NJ, when I began picking tomatoes on a local farm during summer break and after school to earn money for college. This began my lifelong love of agriculture and lead to a BS degree in Plant Science. Upon leaving Rutgers, I joined Peace Corps in a desire to repay society for the generous financial assistance and scholarships that I received which allowed me to complete my studies.

"I was posted to Niger West Africa where I worked with small vegetable farmers in one of the poorest countries on earth. My Peace Corps experience led to a 12 year involvement with various US Agency for International Development projects working with small vegetable farmers in Niger, West Africa and Jamaica in the West Indies.

"In between Niger and Jamaica, I returned to Rutgers University where I joined the faculty and helped develop their new International Programs Office and I developed and instructed Vegetable Production and Marketing Short Course and a semester long academic class in Seed Multiplication while earning a MS in Horticulture from Rutgers University and starting a family.

"The Vegetable Production and Marketing Short Course was a six week long full day intensive program aimed at Extension professionals from around the globe. During my involvement with this program we hosted individuals from dozens of developing nations ranging across Asia, Africa, South and Central America and the Caribbean.

"These experiences in working with growers and professionals from a variety of cultures and languages certainly changed my life and provided me with a global perspective. It also honed my ability to communicate and work with people from all walks of life and backgrounds and provided me an education which could not be obtained in any University and laid the foundation for my eventual involvement with the UF/IFAS Extension Service.

"In 1989, my family relocated from Jamaica to St James City in Lee County. During our time in Jamaica we learned about S Florida and decided to start a new life here. Due to my lack of local experience, I encountered difficulty in finding work in agriculture and due to a necessity to feed my growing family I began a multiyear stint as an environment specialist with the Florida Department of Health (food safety and septic tank inspector among other things). I like to think that this experience helped me to understand the food chain from beginning to end!

"This was punctuated by an opportunity to return oversees to Swaziland, in South Africa for a two year stint working once again with small vegetable farmers and helping them with production and marketing efforts. This was a historical moment as we witnessed the end of apartheid and it was here our youngest son was born.

"In 1997, I was hired by the University Florida IFAS as the vegetable/horticulture agent in Hendry County, where I had the privilege to work with the legendary Dallas Townsend, who was then the Hendry County Director and a man to whom I am forever indebted. Dallas certainly provided me with the local knowledge and understanding of the issues and players that allowed me to be an effective extension agent.

"The vegetable industry SW Florida was expanding at this time while at the same time was being impacted by NAFTA, new pests and diseases, and a plethora of regulatory issues. The industry demands for Extension services in SW Florida led to my position being converted to a regional specialized agent position. When Dallas retired in 2004, I became the Hendry County Extension Director and Regional Vegetable Extension Agent for SW Florida and beyond.

"This has been the best job in the world and an experience I would not trade for any other. Hendry County has become my home and when I look back over the years it would have been inconceivable to imagine that city boy from Newark NJ would have ended up leading one of the finest Ag extension offices in the state and country and that the journey from NJ to LaBelle would have led half way around the world and exposed us to things that most people only get to see on TV.

"I have had a wonderful career and am extremely fortunate and most grateful that I and my family have been adopted by the good people of LaBelle, Hendry County and SW Florida and to have become part of this amazing community of agriculturists. We are just so blessed and honored to have had the opportunity to work with all of you all.

"I would be remiss not to acknowledge the loving support of my wife Donna and my three sons Chris, Teddy and Andy in supporting me on this journey and embracing the Extension life style.

"While I must retire due to the rules imposed by the Florida Retirement System and DROP, I hope to remain engaged and continue to serve the industry that I know and love.

"Although I am not big on fanfare, my staff has graciously organized an event to mark my retirement (see above) - so if you are around LaBelle on July 30, please feel free to stop by and reminisce.

"My wife and I plan to remain on our small ranch in LaBelle. So if i can ever be of assistance, please feel free to give me a shout. As they said in the old Westerns -"have gun, will travel."

"Thanks and all the best."


Obituaries - Guerrero, Kajkowski, Bryant

Jane A. Guerrero, age 66, of LaBelle, passed away July 2, 2019 in Lehigh Acres.
Visitation will be on Monday July 8, 2019 from 5 to 7 PM at the Akin-Davis Funeral Home 560 E. Hickpochee Ave. LaBelle.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at 9:00 am at Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church, LaBelle.
Interment will be Tuesday, July 9, 2019 in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.
Joseph Adam Kajkowski, age 67, of LaBelle, passed away June 29, 2019 in Lehigh Acres.
He was born Aug. 21, 1951 in New York, NY, to the late Joseph Adam Kajkowski, Sr. and the late Clara (Kading) Slattery. Joseph married Mona Lisa Perez on September 10, 1983; she survives. Joseph was a truck driver for many years, he enjoyed wood working, metal sculpting, riding his motorcycle, bike shows, winning several trophies and spending time with family and friends. He will be dearly missed by everyone who knew and loved him.
Joseph leaves behind his "Mona Lisa", loving and caring wife of 35 years of Labelle, his beloved sons; Ruben Adam Kajkowski of Tampa and Victor Adam Kajkowski of LaBelle, three beloved grandsons; Victor Adam, Jr., Jordan Adam, and Cris Adam, sister; Daniela Langley also of LaBelle, nephews and nieces: Daniel, Sonya, David and Vanessa Garrett and many extended great-nieces and nephews and close friends.
Celebration of Joseph's life will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, July 8, 2019 at International Christian Fellowship Church, 233 Clark Street, LaBelle, Florida with Pastor Sammy Co officiating. Visitation will be from 2:00 p.m. until service time at the church.
Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.
Howard Willard Bryant, age 90, of Titusville, passed away June 28, 2019 in Titusville.
He was born July 19, 1928 in Iuka, MI, to the late Hugh W. and Ruby (Raulerson) Bryant.
He was a Veteran of the U. S. Navy.
He retired as the Produce Manager for U Save Supermarkets.
Survivors include one son: James Bryant
one daughter: Debbie Diesch
one brother: Norman Bryant
one sister: Ruby Shipway
5 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.
He was predeceased by a son Dennis Bryant and a sister Mamie Hall.
The family will receive friends on Friday July 5, 2019 from 12 to 1 PM at the Akin-Davis Funeral Home 560 E. Hickpochee Ave. LaBelle.
Graveside services will be held Friday, July 5, 2019 at 1:30 pm at Fort Denaud Cemetery, with Pastor Dustin Sams officiating.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Florida Crash Statistics Online

 The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) has launched a new crash records portal at The new Florida Crash Portal provides comprehensive information about purchasing a crash report, reporting a crash and accessing the state’s latest crash data.
FLHSMV is the state’s official repository for crash records and the Florida Crash Portal provides the public with a fast, convenient option to obtain crash reports, while enhancing the crash reporting capability for law enforcement statewide. FLHSMV’s newly designed crash report portal allows customers to quickly and conveniently navigate the process of purchase a crash report online and have them sent to an email of their choice. The fee for a crash report is $10.00, per section 321.23, Florida Statutes. Customers can purchase up to 10 reports per transaction and a $2.00 convenience fee is applied to the total transaction when using the online portal.
Drivers involved in minor crashes with no injuries and less than $500.00 in property damage may be eligible to self-report a crash in lieu of a law enforcement officer completing the report. The Florida Crash Portal guides motorists through the eligibility requirements for self-reporting crashes and provides a link to submit a self-reported crash form. Customers can also download and email themselves a copy of the self-report form for their records.
Florida Crash Dashboard
Additionally, the Florida Crash Portal includes a NEW Crash Dashboard to provide up-to-date, interactive statewide crash data for the public. The Crash Dashboard allows users to view total crash data and sort by year, by county and type of crash. Historical traffic crash reports are also available on the department’s website.
For more information, visit

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Josie Boix Joins Glades Property Appraiser Office

(Marina Langdale, Chief Deputy Property Appraiser - Lorie Ward, Property Appraiser – Ragen Mathis, Sr. Field Appraiser & Josie Boix, Field Appraiser)
MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Josie Boix has recently joined the Glades Property Appraiser's Office as a Field Appraiser.

"Josie was previously employed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and we are very excited to have her as a part of our team!." said Lorie Ward, the county property appraiser.

"You will have the opportunity to meet Josie sometime in the future because as you know, we are required by Florida law to visit all property in Glades County at least once every five years to bring appraisals up to date.

"Please keep in mind that our vehicles are clearly marked; 'Glades County Property Appraiser' and both Field Appraisers wear shirts that identify them, along with a county issued photo identification card. If you have any questions about the visit, I encourage you to call, email or stop by for an office visit," Ms. Ward said.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Flat Earth Programs On World's Most Powerful Radio Station

MONTICELLO, MAINE -- The world's most powerful radio station, 500,000-watt WBCQ in northern Maine is transmitting programs around the world produced by a wealthy religious organization proclaiming the earth to be flat among other "truths."

Daily continuous religious programs from "World's Last Chance" began July 8 according to radio station owner Allan H. Weiner.

The newly constructed high power shortwave station and gigantic fully rotatable antenna system is funded by World’s Last Chance, LLC, a Wyoming corporation and religious ministry headed by Galal P. Doss, a former Seventh-Day Adventist and wealthy cosmetics company owner from Egypt.

66-year Weiner and his sister own the FCC license for WBCQ which broadcasts "free speech" radio from the far northern Maine city of Monticello.

WBCQ sells time to broadcasters on it's various shortwave frequencies, including many hours of religious broadcasts from controversial 86-year old "Brother" Ralph Gordon Stair, from Walterboro, S.C.

Stair has bought a majority of the station's broadcast time over the last several decades. Now, World's Last Chance LLC will be leasing all the time on the new 500,000 watt shortwave transmitter, spreading religious messages in seven languages around the world. The organization says they are non-denominational and "a clearinghouse for end-time truth" and preparing the world for the Savior's return soon They say they don't accept tithes or offerings but encourage sharing their website, videos and articles to others.

Galal Doss has a track record of making bizarre prophecies, anti-Catholic messages and videos, and claims the earth is flat (watch one of the organization's "flat earth proof" videos above) and the group says calendars should be lunar-based on moon phases, instead of the solar calendar now used world-wide, while their programming and videos offer sometimes very peculiar interpretations of Bible verses.

Doss' organization is broadcasting exclusively on the new 500,000 watt shortwave 24/7 promoting his flat earth and religious beliefs and "sharing truth" as the radio station beams the signal around the world from the huge fully rotatable antenna, allowing the radio signal to be beamed to all parts of the world by rotating it during the day and night. (photo above)

The high powered broadcasts are on the shortwave frequency of 9.330 mHz. English language broadcasts go to the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, U.K.,and Australia with six other languages to other parts of the world. U.S. broadcasts are scheduled from 1 to 3 EST according to their website.

UPDATE: July 13, 2019 -- WBCQ owner Allan Weiner says the station is still "testing" the transmitter and running about 10 hours each day of the World's Last Chance LLC programs beaming to different areas including the U.S. at about 8 p.m. EST and to the Middle Eastern part of the world at other times.
UPDATE: July 18, 2019 -- Despite original plans to broadcast 24/7 religious programs on the 500,000 watt transmitter, they are shut down until further notice, said WBCQ, claiming testing is being done on higher frequencies and on antenna adjustments.

Photo courtesy Allan H. Weiner/Twitter @allanwbcq

Hendry County July 4 Schedule

LaBelle, Fla. – Hendry County government offices will be closed Thursday, July 4, 2019 thru Friday, July 5, 2019 in honor of the Independence Day holiday.

County offices will resume regular business hours on Monday, July 8, 2019.

Hendry County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Center will be closed Wednesday, July 3, 2019 and will resume regular business hours on Monday, July 8, 2019.

Residents with questions regarding HHW, please call Hendry County Special Districts at 863-675-5252.

There will be no waste pick-up on Thursday, July 4, 2019. Residents whose regular pick-up day is Thursday will be picked up on Friday, July 5, 2019.

Residents with questions regarding waste pick-up, please call Hendry County contract waste hauler, Waste Connections at (863) 675-2481

FHP Open House Today And Saturday To Recruit Troopers

FORT MYERS, FL. -- The Florida Highway Patrol is hosting open houses today and tomorrow in SW Florida in Venice and Fort Myers.

There is a open house at the FHP Venice office (4010 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice) today from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm and at our Fort Myers Office (10041 Daniels Parkway, Ft Myers) on Saturday, June 29 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, 2019, for all those interested in becoming a Florida State Trooper.

The open house on Saturday, June 29th in Ft Myers will display several components of FHP and staff (Traffic Homicide, Drug interdiction, Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement along with a K9 demonstration at approximately 12:30 pm.

There is also an upcoming recruit class hiring event coming to Fort Myers, on August 2-4, 2019. This event will be offering a streamlined hiring process for all applicants, any applicant applying by July 26, 2019, will be eligible to attend an upcoming FHP academy. 

During this three day event, applicants will participate in a Physical Abilities Test, Polygraph Examination and Psychological Exam. Media is welcome to attend, please let me know if you have any questions.

Additional information regarding the steps needed to successfully complete for acceptance into the FHP state trooper academy can be found at The starting pay based on area of assignment, as an example a trooper assigned to Lee Countywill earn a starting salary of $45,696.68.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

HIV Testing Day June 27 At Health Department

Hendry & Glades Counties — June 27, 2019, commemorates National HIV Testing Day (NHTD). First observed in 1995, NHTD is meant to encourage people to be aware of their HIV status so that they can take control of their health. This year’s theme, “Doing It My Way,” highlights how and why people make testing a part of their lives. The Health Departments in Hendry & Glades Counties joins community partners across the country to emphasize the importance of getting tested, knowing your status, and getting linked to care and treatment.

In 2017, 116,944 Floridians were confirmed to be living with HIV. An estimated 18,000 more were living with HIV but unaware of it. “To see these numbers come down in our state, we need to recognize the role of stigma as a barrier to getting tested,” said department HIV/AIDS Section Administrator Laura Reeves. “Normalizing HIV testing and making sure there’s a testing option that works for everyone is one way to reduce stigma. This is important, because knowing your HIV status gives you the power to make informed decisions about your health. Our goal is to work with our partners to make sure every Floridian has that power.”
Get Tested.
Did you know that there’s more than one type of HIV test? Most use either a blood sample or fluid swabbed from the inside of your cheek. There are different settings in which you can take an HIV test, too, including in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Visit to learn more about testing options in your area or to order a free at-home HIV testing kit mailed directly to the address of your choice (while supplies last).
Knowing your HIV status is just the beginning.
It’s crucial that people living with HIV begin treatment as soon as possible. Immediate treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART) typically leads to long, healthy lives for people living with HIV. It’s also a method of HIV prevention. ART reduces the amount of HIV in the body, which makes it harder to transmit to others. People living with HIV who reach and maintain what’s called “viral suppression” (fewer than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood) have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner. 
There are also prevention tools for people who haven’t been diagnosed with HIV. While HIV prevention is truly a group effort, it can look very different from person to person. A health care provider can do a risk/needs assessment to determine appropriate next steps, which might include taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and using condoms to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV. Prevention may also take the form of regular retesting.

The Hendry and Glades County Health Departments are offering the following:

Date: Thursday June 27th
Event Activities: Free HIV testing for anyone
Address: 1100 Olympia St (Moore Haven), 450 S. Main St (LaBelle), and 1021 Health Park Dr (Moore Haven)
Time: 8:00am-Noon and 1:00pm-4:30pm
Staff will discuss with you what testing option fits best for you!

United Way Seeks Host Sites For October 17 Event

LABELLE, FL. -- The United Way in Hendry/Glades is seeking Host sites to engage the community in an event on October 17, 2019 called On the Table® Southwest Florida (OTT). 

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation and partner organizations like United Way from throughout the region are launching On the Table® Southwest Florida to unite people from all backgrounds and explore how we can improve the quality of life in our region. 

We believe the best ideas and greatest impact come from the people who live, work, learn and play in our neighborhoods and communities.The conversations are held in person hosted by OTT Hosts in places that will inspire action–this may be your parks, churches, neighborhood restaurants, office break rooms, coffee shops or around your kitchen table.

Hold your discussion wherever you can gather, talk and brainstorm with a group of people. 

If you or your organization is interested in becoming a Host for a conversation in the Hendry/Glades community, please contact Lisa Sands at United Way Hendry/Glades at 239-433-7559 or

Obituaries - Mary Hampton, James Bird

Mary Ruth (Ash) Hampton
July 17, 1931 – June 20th 2019
Born in Brooksville Florida she called La Belle her home. The daughter of John and Ruth Ash and sister to Jay Ash, she grew up in La Belle then moved to El Centro California when she married. She later returned to La Belle and work at Akin-Davis Funeral Home until retirement. Mary Ruth always had a smile, laughed at corny jokes, and was a glass half full kind of gal. Above all she valued family.
She is preceded in death by her mother, father, brother, son Allan, niece Kathy Ash, and nephew Thumper Ash.
She is survived by her children Jay (Jean) Hampton and Mary Lynn (Steve) Sarmiento. Other survivors include her grandchildren Gary, Stevie, Jayson, Tina, and Steven; great-grandchildren Bryan, Kaelyn, Shayla, Titan, Adrian, Ave, and Bella. Also survived by her sister-in-law Nancy Ash, nephews, Dubby Ash and Jordan Ash, niece Gwendolyn Ash, Ada Ash and by her former husband, yet lifelong friend Darrell Hampton.
There is a lot of laughin', dancin', huggin' and story tellin' goin' on in Heaven right now.
A graveside service will be held Saturday, July 6, 2019 at 9:00 am at Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle with Rev. Frank Deerey Jr. officiating.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.
James Wesley Bird was called home on June 12, 2019.
Born in Naples, FL., April 13, 1989, Wesley grew up loving the outdoors: hunting, fishing and swimming. It did not matter to him if he was in the woods, at the beach, on a lake, or just in the yard, outside with music playing was always better than inside. Wesley loved to cook, especially grilling and wanted to drive anything that had a motor.
People that knew Wesley will describe him as always smiling. Wesley was a jokester and storyteller, and was happiest when he made others laugh. Wesley had a generous spirit and a willingness to help people. Wesley was very loving and affectionate. He had a tender heart, especially for children and animals.
Wesley was reunited in Heaven with his sister, Jessica Angelina Faye Bird and his grandmother, Gladys Angelina Bird.
He will be forever missed on earth by his surviving family: parents James Daniel and Martha Faye Bird; brother, Jacob Daniel Bird (Susanna Marquez). Grandparents: James R Bird of Ft Denaud FL and Tommy and Sarah McEwen of Lexington, TN. Aunts and uncles: Nicky and Tammy McEwen; Shenan McEwen; Sandra and Terrell Raines; Sissey and Steve Boyd; John Bird; Kathy Bird; Clyde Bird, Craig Jackson, and Tammy and Terry Ramey…and too many cousins to count.
A graveside service will be held Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 10:00 am at Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Samuel Rueda Sought For Questioning Then Arrested


On June 22, 2019 at approximately 2:09 pm, Hendry County Deputies responded to a shooting in Montura Ranch Estates. When deputies arrived they were able to locate both injured men. They were both flown to hospitals for medical attention.

At this time Investigators are not releasing any information as to the motive of the shooting. Hendry County Investigators are attempting to locate, 31yr old, Samuel Rueda (December 2018 photo at left) for questioning; he has been identified as a person of interest and Investigators would like to speak with him.

If you have any information regarding this shooting please contact Hendry County Investigator, Det. Sgt. Ty Marshall, at (863) 674-5600 or you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477), where you may be eligible for a cash reward.

Update: Rueda turned himself in and was booked on two counts of Aggravated Battery, Using Firearm in Commission of a Felony, and Robbery. He is being held on a bond set at $450,000.

Additional charges may be added after investigation. Rueda has a criminal arrest history going back to 2011 including arrests for battery and probation violation.

Booking photo June 25, 2019

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Grants For Emergency Food And Shelter Available

LABELLE, FL. -- The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee has announced that it will accept applications for funds to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties through July 5, 2019, 5:00 p.m.

The counties of Lee, Hendry and Glades have been awarded federal funds in the amount of $289,305 made available through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program.

Applications are being accepted by the Local Board charged with distributing the funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas. The Local Board will determine how the funds awarded to this area are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local human service agencies in the area.

The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee provides the coordination and administrative support for this program in our community.

Under the terms of the grant from the National Board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must be the following: private voluntary non-profits or units of government; have an accounting system; practice nondiscrimination; have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and if they are private voluntary organizations, they must have a voluntary board.  Qualifying agencies and organizations are urged to apply.
Public or private voluntary agencies interested in applying for these Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds should contact the

United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee
7273 Concourse Drive,
Fort Myers, FL 33908
or call Hannah Pelle at 239-433-7215 for more information. The deadline for applications to be received is July 5, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.
In addition to raising funds for human service organizations in our community, the United Way promotes partnerships and collaborations among agencies and initiatives, helping them to work together focusing on issues and solutions that continue to improve lives.  For more information please call United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee at (239) 433-2000 or visit