Thursday, January 26, 2023

COVID Transmission Levels 81% For High And Substantial


LABELLE, FL. -- The number of Florida counties on the CDC's list for COVID-19 is increasing for transmission rates categorized as "high" levels around the state, as well as around the country.

CDC's latest maps as of Thursday afternoon show nearly all Florida counties are at "high" levels as well as the Eastern and Midwest U.S..

Hendry now at "substantial" transmission rates along with Lee and Charlotte. Glades is moderate. Collier is at high. Positivity rates were 13% in Hendry last week from 117 tests performed. 29 new cases were reported. 

Community Transmission - High or Substantial This Week In More Than 81% Of U.S. Counties

What the CDC calls the "Community Transmission" levels are rated "high" or "substantial" for most of Florida counties, and 61% of counties in the U.S. are at "high" level and 20% at "substantial." And by population, 96% of the U.S. is at high or substantial levels this week.

High Transmission Level is defined as new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days of 100 or more OR Percentage of positive NAATs tests during the past 7 day at 10% or more. 
To see "Community Transmission" levels click The community transmission map  

Check your county map and mask recommendations here:


Editor's note: The links above are for reader convenience, as the CDC website is not easy to search for information. The CDC pages are extremely slow loading and complicated, with many links to click to find information. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Obituary of John Thomas Branaman

Obituary of John Thomas Branaman

John was born January 2, 1943, in Springfield, Missouri, to Seldon Borne Branaman and Margaret West Branaman. He passed away January 21,2023 at home surrounded by family. He married Mary Sue Gill Duncan, September 2, 1961, at First United Methodist Church in Clewiston, Florida.

John was an active member of Hendry County Farm Tour for many years, Hendry County Fair Association where he served as Treasurer for 11 years, Hendry County Sheriff's Auxiliary Captain later receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award, member of Saint Martin's Episcopal Church. He enjoyed his time with his family and especially his grandchildren and great grandchildren who gave him the name GeGa or GaGa, depending on the grandchild and he never failed to answer.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers William and Ray Branaman. 

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Mary Sue; sons John Blake Branaman Sr. (Jill) of Clewiston, Florida and Joseph Gill Branaman (Heather) of High Springs, Florida; Grandchildren, Mark A. (Cheryl) Branaman, John Blake Branaman Jr. (Rene), Hailey McGahee, Katelyn Branaman, Heather Branaman, and Harper Branaman; great grandchildren Olivia Branaman, Kamryn Branaman, Chloe Branaman, John Blake (Trey) Branaman III, Zoey Branaman, and Charlee Branaman. Many nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life is planned and will be announced at a later date.

$1.5 Billion Lake Dike Rehab Completed

CLEWISTON, Fla.-Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District (USACE) hosted a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate completion of construction for the Herbert Hoover Dike Rehabilitation.

“Safety is our number one priority. The goal of this project is to protect human life while reducing the risks of impact to the way of life, the economy, and the environment of the communities around the lake,” said Col. James Booth, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District Commander. “This construction project has been a monumental undertaking that started in 2005. Corps team members and construction contractors, as well as the supporting staff from Federal, Tribal and State agencies, have dedicated a significant part of their careers to this project, and I thank them for their efforts.”

“This structure has withstood powerful storms for decades, but with tens of thousands of people living in its shadow, an upgrade to modern standards was long overdue,” said U.S. Sugar Vice President for Strategic Environmental Affairs Michael Ellis. “Thanks to the hard work of the men and women of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, farmers and all of our local residents now have the peace of mind that the risk of a dike failure has been significantly lowered.”

This event was dedicated to all of the people who lost their lives in the hurricanes of 1926, 1928, 1947 and 2022.

Herbert Hoover Dike Rehabilitation by the numbers:

$1.5 Billion dollars was invested in the rehabilitation to date, from the original $1.8B total estimate.
The dike consists of 143-miles of embankment, with 60 structural penetrations including five inlet spillways, five outlet spillways, nine pump stations, nine navigation locks, and 32 water control structures.
More than 56 miles of cutoff wall was constructed through the most vulnerable sections of embankment.
28 water control structures (culverts) were replaced with new structures. Four of the structures are located on the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Brighton Reservation. They had barrels from 7 to 10 feet in diameter and many had multiple barrels.
1 culvert was removed, and 3 filled in
The embankment was armored at several locations, with one located on Brighton Reservation, to prevent downstream slope erosion in case water ever overtops the dike during a storm event.

All in all, the Corps awarded a total of 42 construction contracts for risk-reduction features, including cut-off wall, water control structures, and embankment armoring, since 2005.

As a result, the Dam Safety Action Classification rating is expected to greatly improve when complete evaluation of the project occurs in the spring of 2023.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Arrest Report For Hendry County This Week

HCSO Arrests for Jan 16 to Jan 22

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry Sheriff's office reports the following felony arrest for the last 7 days:

Chad A. Griffith, 44, Lehigh Acres, was arrested on January 16, 2023, by Det. Mateu and charged with Possession of a Weapon by Convicted Felon and Possession of Methamphetamine.

D’Vontae James Moore, 25, Clewiston, was arrested on January 16, 2023, by Sgt. Hester and charged with Resisting LEO without Violence and Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon.

Michael Lawrence Wiles, 41, Clewiston, was arrested on January 16, 2023, by Deputy Williams and charged with Possession of Cocaine and Possession of Drug Equipment.

Michael Lawrence Wiles, 41, Clewiston, was arrested on January 16, 2023, by Lt. Weaver and charged with Contempt of Court.

Jose Diaz, 46, LaBelle, was arrested on January 16, 2023, by Det. Bustamante and charged with Trafficking in Cocaine, Trafficking in Amphetamine, Trafficking in Fentanyl and Contempt of Court.

Walker Wayne Stewart, 33, Ft Myers, was arrested on January 16, 2023, by Det. Bustamante and charged with Possession of a Weapon by Convicted Felon.

Frank Morgan, 30, Ft Myers, was arrested on January 16, 2023, by Deputy Afonso and charged with Flee/Elude LEO.

Barry William McVay, 60, LaBelle, was arrested on January 16, 2023, by Deputy Ramirez Garcia and charged with Out of State Fugitive.

Bradley Lanorris Kelly, Jr., 31, Oklahoma, OK, was arrested on January 17, 2023, by Deputy Escobedo and charged with First Degree Burglary While Armed, Robbery with a Deadly Weapon and Manslaughter.

Cleston Bobby Jackson, 34, Clewiston, was arrested on January 19, 2023, by Deputy Barrientos and charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription, Resisting LEO without Violence and Destroying Evidence.

Bradley Lanorris Kelly, 31, Oklahoma, OK, was arrested on January 19, 2023, by Deputy George and charged with Sexual Assault and Lewd and Lascivious Behavior

Richard Duane Robinson, Jr., 46, LaBelle, was arrested on January 19, 2023, by Deputy Castro and charged with Probation Violation.

Ramiro Quintana, 30, at large, was arrested on January 20, 2023, by Sgt. Hernandez and charged with 2 counts of Lewd and Lascivious Behavior, 2 counts of Cruelty Toward Child and 4 counts of Sexual Assault.

June Ashley Jumper, 38, Clewiston, was arrested on January 20, 2023, by Deputy Ramirez Garcia and charged with 2 counts of Sexual Assault and 2 counts of Child Neglect.

A 17 Year old Female, Clewiston, was arrested on January 22, 2023, by Deputy Gonzalez and charged with Flee/Elude LEO.

Winston McDonald Gilkes, Jr., 23, Clewiston, was arrested on January 22, 2023, by Det. Morgan and charged with Aggravated Assault.

Jordan Ollie Jones, 33, Winter Garden, FL, was arrested on January 22, 2023, by Cpl. Drew and charged with Driving with License Suspended/Revoked Third or Subsequent, DUI and Refuse to Submit to DUI Test.

New Property Tax Exemptions For Widows, Widowers, and Disabled


MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Effective January 1, 2023, the widows, widowers, disability (civilian) and blind exemptions have increased from $500 to $5,000 in value. This change could result in a savings on your property taxes. If you are currently receiving one or more of these exemptions, there is no additional paperwork needed, you will automatically receive the updated benefit.

Senior Citizens with a limited household income of $35,167 are eligible to receive an additional Homestead Property Tax Exemption. Many already enjoy this tax savings benefit. However, some have been denied in past years because their income exceeded the limit. Please be aware that the income limit changes from year to year because it is based on the average cost-of-living index.


If you had a property tax exemption or agricultural land classification in 2022, you will receive at least one of the four renewal cards listed below:The WHITE card is for Homestead Exemption and other related exemptions such as widow, widower, disability, veteran, and senior citizen.
The GREEN card is for Agricultural Land Classification.
The YELLOW card is for property that is being used for tax exempt purposes.
The BLUE card is for Tangible Personal Property valued no more than $25,000.

As long as the Tangible Personal Property remains at $25,000 or less, you are not required to file a Tangible Personal Property Return, form (DR405).

If your value exceeds $25,000, you will receive a Tangible Personal Property Tax Return that must be completed and returned.

If you are still eligible for the exemption, do not return the card.

New Property Owners Must Complete New Applications

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