Monday, November 30, 2009

Hundreds Of Hendry Cats Need Help

Homes For Cats Wanted In LaBelle

LABELLE, FL. -- The City of LaBelle Animal Control department has taken custody of hundreds of cats rescued from the closed cat rescue shelter on State Road 80 east of LaBelle.

According to the latest news release from the city and the University of Florida who has been helping the city in this emergency situation, 525 cats are needing adoption quickly At this time there are approximately 200 healthy friendly cats, 150healthy feral cats, and 175 sick cats in need of placement. 

Here's what you can do:

Rescue / adoption groups: transfer cats to your agency
Original guardians: reclaim your cats
Private individuals: adopt and provide new forever homes for cats

With this number of animals, there is great need.  The rescue agencies hope you'll find a way to join the effort on behalf of these cats.  There are many very friendly felines that crave attention; some cats are declawed, they say. 

These cats find themselves looking for something to be thankful for this holiday – please submit your transfer request or adoption/reclaim application.

Return your completed form to: Fax: 863-675-0037

If you have questions, contact the City of LaBelle Animal Control at 863-675-3381. Also Diane Sheppard at LaBelle's Animal Rescue ( a no-kill shelter) has many cats available for adoption at her LaBelle location at 703 North Bridge Street. Phone 863-612-0228.

Watch Out For Non-Registered Charities

Check Out Charity To Determine If Following Laws

LABELLE, FL. -- Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson is urging consumers to check on the registration status and funding history of charities before agreeing to donate any money.  Many charities collect about half their annual contributions in the months of November and December during the holiday season.  But Bronson says it is prudent to take time to investigate a charity and ensure the money is being spent wisely.

There are several local organizations soliciting funds in Hendry and Glades county that are not registered with the Florida Consumer Services department including Lucy's Angels, soliciting locally for breast cancer. Although the group raised about $10,000 last year and gave a grant to the Sarasota Health Department, it is not properly registered with the state, so no financial records are available publicly. 

Florida law requires most charities soliciting in Florida to register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services each year and provide financial information about income and expenses.  Religious, educational and government-based charities are exempt.  Registered charities are also required to disclose how much they raised the previous year, how much is spent on administrative costs including salaries, rent, etc., how much goes toward fundraising, and the amount that actually is spent on the charitable purpose.  There are more than 14,000 charities registered with the department, up from 10,800 charities just five years ago.

"Consumers can find out if a charity is following state law by checking on its registration status," Bronson said.  "But beyond that, they can also find out if the charity they are considering supporting is spending the donations in a prudent manner.  If an organization spends a small percentage on services, consumers may want to think twice about donating."

Consumers can find out if a charity is registered by calling the department's helpline at 1-800-HELPFLA (1-800-435-7352), or 1-800-FLAYUDA for Spanish-speaking operators, or by visiting They can also check the complaint history of an organization.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lucky 13 LaBelle Home Sales?

Sales May Be Picking Up In Hendry County

LABELLE FL. -- From October 27 to November 24, there were 13 homes sold in the LaBelle area of western Hendry county for an average price of $77,615. The homes sold were a mixture of Port LaBelle resales and homes in Hendry county and the city of LaBelle.

The  LaBelle area real estate sales this month include:

1) $100,000 on 6th Ave in LaBelle
2) $195,000 on County Road 78 in Hendry County
3) $100,000 on Euclid Pl in LaBelle
4) $47,000 on Fort Keis Ave in Hendry County
5) $34,000 on Hendry St in LaBelle
6) $71,000 on Kumquat Cir in Port LaBelle
7) $69,000 on Nobles Rd in Hendry County
8) $130,000 on Pollywog Pt in LaBelle
9) $60,000 on Ramrod Cir in Port LaBelle
10) $40,000 on N Edgewater Cir in Port LaBelle
11) $50,000 on S Davis St in LaBelle
12) $83,000 on S Edgewater Cir in Port LaBelle
13) $30,000 on W Crow Cir in Port LaBelle

Hendry Deputy Branaman Saves Life

Allegedly Drunk Woman Saved From Canal

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Due to the quick actions of Hendry County Sheriffs Deputies, their success in extricating a female driver from a sinking car may have saved her life. 

During the early morning hours of Friday, November 20, 2009, Hendry County Agriculture Deputy Blake Branaman was patrolling the area of Flaghole Road outside of Clewiston, when he witnessed a vehicle exit the west side of Flaghole Road and enter a canal that parallels the roadway. 

Acting quickly Deputy Branaman immediately called for assistance and exited his vehicle.  After notifying sheriff's office communication dispatcher, Lori Rodriguez, Branaman told them he was entering the canal in an effort to rescue the driver as the vehicle was quickly sinking. 

Upon making contact with the driver, later identified as Robin Jones, Branaman struggled with her to get her out of the vehicle as she was uncooperative and resisting his efforts.  Moments later additional Sheriff's Office personnel arrived on scene and were able to assist Branaman in removing Jones from the vehicle unharmed. 

Clewiston towing was then called to remove the completely submerged vehicle. 

Once Jones was removed from the vehicle she was transported to Hendry Regional Medical Center and later released.  At the time of her release Jones was transported to the Clewiston Sub Office where she was interviewed. 

It was at this time that deputies determined that Jones was in fact intoxicated.  She did submit to a breathalyzer to determine her blood alcohol level which measured .140, nearly twice the legal level.  Jones was placed under arrest and transported to the Hendry County Jail and later released on a $750 bond.


Sheriff Whidden stated ''I am very proud of the efforts of Deputy Blake Branaman, Sgt. Larry Preece, Deputies Clifton Green, Shannon Bell and Brian VanFleet.  Their heroic efforts and selfless action are an example of the risks that law enforcement officers around the nation may be called upon to take each day while protecting its citizens.''

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

At The Glades County Commission Meeting

What's Happening In Glades County

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- At Monday evening's Glades County Commission Meeting, Commissioner Donna Storter announced the dedication service for Ortona Community Park would be held Tuesday December 8 following the BoCC meeting.
Commissioner Giesler stated Mr. Ritter had informed him that the Pearce Canal dredging project is within one mile of completion.  He thanked the Muse Community Association for the Thanksgiving Dinner enjoyed last week, and introduced Rogel Brown, President of Buckhead Ridge Home Owners Association.
Commissioner Echols relayed the message from Mrs. Claudie McPherson that she is beginning the fund drive for Toys for Tots to buy bicycles for local children to be distributed December 19.  The bicycles cost from $60 to $70 and checks of any amount are to be made to Toys for Tots and may be left with Jennifer Hopper in the County Manager�s office for Mrs. McPherson. 

Echols noted that funds sent directly to Toys for Tots may not be distributed locally, but would be, if sent thru Mrs. McPherson.  If you know of a deserving needy child who could use a bike, contact Mrs. McPherson at 863-946-0561.
Commissioner Beck reported on recent meetings concerning Curry Island and the desire of the county to basically provide a wilderness park with improvement for habitat.  He proposes the county consider executing a 50-year lease of Water Management approximately 200 acres between SR7 and Curry Island. He said LOHA was getting the lease of the old Parker place. 
He said he had met with Boy Scout representatives and though they liked the Curry Island property for a new campsite, they need 600-1000 acres but may consider creating a satellite camp on Curry Island because of its central location and proximity to both coasts.  Beck said he was told they have up to 5,000 campers per weekend.

600 Hendry Cats Needing Homes

University Of Florida Organizing Massive Cat Rescue Effort

LABELLE, FL. -- The City of LaBelle Animal Control department has accepted custody of approximately 600 cats following the closure of the Tenth Life Sanctuary in Hendry County located off State Road 80 east of LaBelle.

Maury Swee, the operator of the cat shelter is reportedly cooperating with authorities but has not allowed media to view the rescue operation. Swee reportedly took possession of the cats from individuals or groups with the understanding that Swee would take care of the animals in return for a payment by the cat owners, and that experiments may be performed on some of the animals.

A team of veterinarians from Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida will examine all of the cats on November 23rd through the 25th. The UF VETS program in collaboration with partners from HSUS, ASPCA, and other regional humane agencies have already performed a preliminary assessment and will set up a field hospital to triage and treat the large number of cats.

Although many of the cats are ill, the team hopes to save as many as possible finding capable placement partners that can take them in.

All cats have been spayed or neutered and microchipped. They will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, and tested for FeLV and FIV prior to transfer to other agencies. Several important infectious diseases, including herpesvirus, calicivirus, giardia, cryptosporidia, and tritrichomonas have been identified in the population, so appropriate isolation capacity must be available at the receiving agency.

Many of the cats are feral and require placement in highly enriched confinement or a free-roaming situation. Relocation of feral cats is especially challenging and requires a careful acclimation plan.

Transfers will begin on Tuesday November 24. The friendliest cats will be available for immediate transfer on that day, while remaining cats will likely require treatment. If an agency can provide a second chance for these cats, they may print and complete this application and submit it as soon as possible. More information will be available following processing of the application.

Officials say any group or individual that brought animals to the Hendry Tenth Life Sanctuary may reclaim them by submitting an application. Private individuals interested in adopting can contact the city of LaBelle Animal Control at 863-675-3381.

Help Needed At LaBelle's Animal Rescue Shelter

Hendry county has two other animal shelters including Animal Rescue of LaBelle, Inc., Hendry/Glades county's only non-profit 'no kill' shelter that has many healthy cats available to the public for adoption or for foster home care pending an adoption. Volunteers are always much needed to socialize the animals and for clean-up at the rescue shelter, located on the north side the LaBelle bridge just north of the Handy Store.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Florida Wildlife Commission Meeting In Clewiston

Hendry County - Site Of December FWC Meeting

CLEWISTON, FL. -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will meet in Clewiston Dec. 9 and 10 to vote on and discuss numerous inland and marine issues. The Wednesday and Thursday sessions at the John Boy Auditorium, 1200 South W.C. Owen Ave., will begin at 8:30 a.m. both days and are open to the public.

The Dec. 9 meeting focuses on inland issues. The Commission will consider the final rule that would allow use of peregrine falcons for falconry in Florida, consistent with the rules and regulations of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Commissioners will discuss draft rules that would change deer hunting seasons and zone boundaries. The purpose of these changes is to align season dates with the rut (a time of peak white-tailed deer activity), and thus increase hunter satisfaction.

Commissioners also will consider draft rule proposals pertaining to hunting on about 150 wildlife management areas, wildlife and environmental areas, mitigation parks and miscellaneous areas.

The first day�s full agenda also includes a discussion of a draft rule change for taking or removing nuisance wildlife, adding the possibility of allowing off-site relocation under specific conditions, rather than euthanizing the wildlife, and requiring trap and snare inspection at least once every 24 hours.

Other proposed rules would require a permit to import nonnative wildlife on the conditional list, including the Northern largemouth bass. Another proposed rule would prohibit importation of quagga mussels.

Commissioners will consider draft rules revising Florida�s listed-species process. The proposed changes would create one Florida list for imperiled species that includes any species listed at the federal level as well as Florida-designated listed species. The new draft rules concentrate on sound management strategies to ensure no species goes extinct in Florida. 

Commissioners will hear a request to continue consideration of changes to manatee zones in Sarasota County and discuss potential changes to the permits available to commercial fishers and professional fishing guides for higher speed operation in some manatee zones statewide. Land acquisition and management issues will also be discussed. Commissioners will wrap up the first day with election of a new chairman and vice chairman for 2010. 

Presentations during the second day of the meeting include a report on options for future action for reptiles of concern, including the Burmese python. Also on Dec. 10, the Commission will hold a final public hearing on proposed federal consistency rules to address overfishing of grouper in the Atlantic Ocean off Florida.  These rules would decrease the aggregate daily recreational bag limit for all grouper in Atlantic and Monroe County state waters from five fish to three fish per person, prohibit the captain and crew of for-hire vessels from retaining any species in the aggregate grouper bag limit, and decrease the aggregate recreational bag limit for gag and black grouper from two fish combined to one fish in Atlantic and Monroe County state waters.

The proposed federal consistency rules also would prohibit all recreational and commercial harvest of shallow-water groupers (including gag, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, coney, graysby, yellowfin grouper, yellowmouth grouper and tiger grouper) from Jan. 1 through April 30 in Atlantic and Monroe County state waters. 

In addition, a final public hearing will take place on a proposed federal consistency rule that would require dehooking tools to be aboard commercial and recreational vessels and used as needed when fishing for reef fish in Atlantic state waters. 

Another final public hearing will take place on proposed new rules that would be compatible with an Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission management plan for Atlantic coastal sharks and enhance current FWC protective measures for sharks that inhabit Florida waters. These rules would prohibit harvest of sandbar, silky and Caribbean sharpnose sharks from state waters; establish a 54-inch fork-length minimum size limit for all sharks, except Atlantic sharpnose, blacknose, bonnethead, finetooth and blacktip sharks and smooth dogfish; prohibit removal of shark heads and tails at sea; allow only hook and line gear to harvest sharks; and make other technical shark rule changes.

A final public hearing will also revolve around proposed rule amendments that would automatically allow use of new designs of bycatch reduction and turtle exclusion devices in shrimp trawls in state waters when new designs are certified for use in adjacent federal waters; restrict the use of the Florida fisheye to inshore and nearshore Florida waters, where trawls are limited to 500 square feet; and delete a provision that allows use of the extended funnel in state waters.  Technical changes to turtle-excluder device rules are also proposed.

In other marine fisheries action, the Commission will receive reports on permit and bonefish management issues; consider draft rules that would prohibit harvest of lemon sharks from Florida waters and extend the expiration date of the moratorium on new spiny lobster commercial dive permits from July 1, 2010, until July 1, 2015; review and discuss various federal fishery management issues; and receive reports on goliath grouper and the Marine Recreational Information Program.

Before adjourning the two-day session, Commissioners will also examine draft rules updating boating-restricted areas along the Florida Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway portion in Palm Beach County.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Florida Shoppers Urged To Use Caution

Holiday Shopping Tips For Floridians

LABELLE, FL. -- With the holiday shopping season getting under way, Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson is encouraging consumers to shop wisely, know their rights and keep track of purchases.

"Whether you shop by telephone, catalog, in retail stores or online, it pays to be a savvy consumer," Bronson said. "Being smart about shopping and exercising a little care can be the difference between having a happy holiday season and a disastrous one."

Among the tips for shopping wisely:

-- Get the best deal. Comparison shop and research merchants' pricing policies, as some will match, or even beat, a competitor's price. Where applicable, check shipping and handling fees and don't forget to factor those into the cost of the item.

-- Can you get your money back? Check out a merchant's refund and return policy before you buy.

-- Check delivery dates. When shopping by phone, from a catalog or online, find out how long it takes for the item to be delivered. Be sure to order merchandise early enough to make sure that it arrives on time.

-- Protect your privacy and know who you are dealing with. Provide personal information, such as a credit card number, home address or telephone number, only when necessary and make sure that you know the merchant with whom you are dealing. If you have never heard of the seller, check out the company with your local Better Business Bureau or with the Division of Consumer Services at 1-800-HELPFLA before you decide to make a purchase.

-- Track your purchases. When shopping online, keep printouts of the web pages with details about the transaction, including any warranties, or return and refund policies. When shopping by phone or from a catalog, keep records of your order, including the company's name, address, telephone number, date of your order, and item number or description of the merchandise you ordered.

-- Keep receipts. You might need them to return an item or reconcile a credit card statement. When purchasing a gift, ask for a separate gift receipt.

Gift cards are becoming an increasingly popular choice for holiday gifts as they enable the recipient to choose whatever he or she wants and eliminate the guesswork about sizes, styles and colors of merchandise. In 2007, the Florida Legislature enacted a law that prohibits gift cards from a retail store from having an expiration date or imposing monthly service charges, dormancy fees or account maintenance fees. However, those restrictions do not apply to general-purpose gift cards, including ones from American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa, which are also sold at stores and honored by establishments that accept those forms of payment. Therefore, consumers should carefully examine the terms and conditions of such cards and weigh whatever fees, if any, they impose against the flexibility of giving a gift card that is widely accepted by retailers throughout the country.

For additional consumer information or to file a complaint against a business, Floridians can visit the department's Division of Consumer Services web site at or call 1-800-HELPFLA (1-800-435-7352).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One Million U.S. Workers To Be Hired

Got Your Application In For A Census Job?

LABELLE, FL. -- Congressman Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) announced today that the U.S. Census Bureau is accepting applications for temporary employment.

In preparation for the 2010 Decennial Census, the Bureau will be hiring as many as one million people across the country.  Primary recruiting for census workers will take place throughout the fall and winter of 2009 with the bulk of hiring to occur in the spring of 2010.

''A reliable and accurate count in the 2010 census is extremely important for Florida," said Rooney.  ''The Census Bureau needs capable and dedicated workers to carry out the mission of the 2010 census."

Available positions include census takers who conduct personal interviews with respondents in their communities, crew leaders who train and supervise census takers, crew leader assistants, census clerks who perform administrative duties in local census offices and recruiting assistants who help spread the word in their communities about employment opportunities.

For most positions, hours vary and do not exceed 40 hours per week.  However, working evenings and weekends may be required.  Employment with the Bureau usually lasts five to 10 weeks.

For more information and to apply for a position, please call 1-866-861-2010.  Additional information can be found at:

LaBelle's Ruiz Graduates

Randy Ruiz Basic Training Completed

LABELLE, FL. -- Army Pvt. Randy Ruiz has graduated from Army Basic Combat Training at Fort Sill, Lawton, Oklahoma.
During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission and received instruction and training exercises in drill and ceremonies, Army history, core values and traditions, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, rifle marksmanship, weapons use, map reading and land navigation, foot marches, armed and unarmed combat, and field maneuvers and tactics.
Ruiz is the son of Raul Ruiz of E. Sunflower Circle, Port LaBelle, Fla. He is a 2009 graduate of LaBelle High School.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

LaBelle School Bus Crash - Two Injuries

Bus Hits Tree - Two Injured In LaBelle

LABELLE, FL. -- A 2005 Bluebird school bus crashed around 7 a.m. in LaBelle at Fraser Avenue and Hall Street according to FHP Trooper Travis Parks. The bus was driven by 61-year old Pamela A. Nelson who was not injured.
The school bus was traveling in the eastbound lane on Fraser Avenue when it then departed the roadway and began to travel east on the south shoulder of the roadway. The right front of the bus struck a tree, and came to final rest against a tree on the southeast corner of Hall and Fraser Street.

Two of the 29 passengers were treated for minor injuries on scene. No medical transports were made.

Hendry/Glades County Savings On Twitter

Follow Twitter For Latest Hendry/Glades Area Bargains

LABELLE, FL. -- Looking for bargains in Hendry or Glades County? Sunday Morning News/Southwest Florida Online will post the latest store sale bargains on Twitter for the cities of LaBelle, Clewiston, and Moore Haven.

Don Browne, publisher of the Sunday Morning News and Southwest Florida Online will add area best shopping buys he's found on his Twitter page at . Twitter readers are encouraged to send their own local bargain tips in as well.

Local merchants in Hendry or Glades county are welcome to email their weekly specials for inclusion on the twitter page at no cost.

Follow local store sale specials at: 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Would You Pay More Gas Tax?

Hendry - Glades Counties Missing Out On Fuel Tax Money

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry and Glades county may be missing an opportunity to collect extra taxes from motorists. State law allows county governments the authority to impose up to 12 cents of local option fuel taxes via three separate levies. Local option fuel tax impositions shall be, according to state law, levied before July 1st of each year to be effective January 1st of the following year.

Hendry county currently levies nine cent per gallon of fuel raising an estimated  $1,805,188 in fuel taxes this year. Glades county levies seven cents per gallon raising about $392,967. All neighboring counties are taxing the maximum 12 cent per gallon, including Lee, Collier, Charlotte, and Palm Beach county.

Hendry county could raise an additional $398,098 by taxing the extra three cents per gallon allowed by law, while Glades county would raise an additional $152,971 by taking advantage of the additional five cents in fuel taxes allowable.

According to law, the fuel tax proceeds shall be used for transportation expenditures needed to meet the requirements of the capital improvements element of an adopted comprehensive plan or for expenditures needed to meet the immediate local transportation problems and for other transportation-related expenditures that are critical for building comprehensive roadway networks by local governments.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hendry Annual Farm Tour Coming

Tour Hendry County Farms December 5th

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry County Farm-City Tour Council will be holding its 28th annual farm tour of the Hendry County agricultural industry, Saturday, December 5, 2009.  Tickets for the tour cost only $60.00 per person and the participants will be able to catch a modern air conditioned tour bus at the U-Save Supermarket Center on Palm Beach Blvd in Fort Myers or at the Hendry County Extension Office in LaBelle.
You will then be transported with knowledgeable tour guides to various stops around the county where you can get a close up look at some of the most efficient farmers in the world. 
Hendry County is one of the largest agricultural counties in the state and is largest producer of oranges in Florida with over 75,000 acres of groves.  In addition, Hendry County is the second largest producer of sugarcane, third largest in vegetable production and fifth largest in beef cattle.
This year's tour will feature a variety of interesting stops at some of Florida's most sophisticated agricultural operations including vegetable transplant and ornamental nurseries, citrus, sod, sugarcane and vegetable production as well as one of the largest beef cattle ranches in the state.  There will also be fresh Florida orange juice breaks at strategic stops along the way.
As an extra-added attraction, lunch will feature a delicious melt in your mouth steak lunch with all the trimmings served by the Hendry County Cattlemen's Association in a rural country setting.
In addition to the opportunity to see Florida agriculture up close and personal – you will tour some of the most unspoiled wild lands in all of southwest Florida where each turn of the road will reveal natural splendor and a chance to see a variety of wildlife.  All attendees will be given a free bag of mixed vegetables and citrus fruit from the agricultural producers of Hendry County to take home with you
Deadline for ticket sales is November 27th, 2009.  For additional information about the tour and how to purchase tickets for the tour, stop by Hendry County Extension Service Office, which is located at 1085 Pratt Blvd, LaBelle, Florida.  You may also contact the office as follows:

Phone: (863) 674-4092
ax:                  (863) 674-4637
Letter:              Hendry County Extension Service
                        PO Box 68
                        LaBelle, FL   33975-1085
Make checks payable to:  Hendry County City-Farm Tour

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Glades Health Department Facility On Way

Glades Commissioners Appoint Construction Manager

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The Glades County Board of County Commissioners Tuesday approved the contract negotiated with Wright Construction to provide Construction Management of the proposed Glades County Public Health Facility with costs covered by a $5.1 million federal grant. 
Hendry-Glades Health Deptartment Administrator Pat Dobbins thanked the Board, Staff, Legislators and others for perseverance in advocating for this large county building project. Dobbins said it would increase the ability of the Health Department to serve the health needs of everyone in the County. 

Dobbins told the commissioners features of the new clinic are not available in the current facility, including ADA compliance, complete patient confidentiality, while information technology improvements and video conferencing will be possibilities in the new building.  The facility will include a back auditorium that will also be available for community meeting use.  Ms. Dobbins is providing instrumental input with the construction planning.
Ms. Dobbins also noted that recent financial analysis revealed that 80% of the patients at Glades County Health Department were non-payers.  She said the increase in uninsured and under-insured clients is because patients from other counties without public health primary care physicians are coming to Glades County.  Public Health units decline service to no one. This increased patronage has strained the health department budget.
Fred Edman, President of Wright Construction, expressed his pleasure in providing construction management services for the project, stating he will be working pre-construction assisting the architect with level of design and specs to reduce costs.  He said a direct benefit of construction management would be in the lower maintenance costs because of the implementation of sustainable design factors.

Glades County Hog Farm Approved

Zoning Changes Allow Formerly Illegal Hog Farm To Continue

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The Glades County Commission approved this week a zoning change allowing a pre-existing zoning violation to continue at a hog farm south of Moore Haven on US Highway 27.

The A.C.L. Group, Inc. gained a requested zoning change to 3 acres of a 20-acre parcel on US 27 south of Moore Haven, from Industrial Heavy ID2 Zoning to Open Use Agriculture. The change was approved based on recommendations of the Glades County Planning Commission, and county staff.  The Motion carried 4-1, with Commissioner Donna Storter dissenting. 
The public hearing Tuesday morning was continued from the October 26 commission meeting upon request of ACL Group, who has now complied with code enforcement directions by removing the animals (but not farm equipment and facility) from an on-site swine operation, which was not allowed in the current zoning.  The agricultural zoning will now allow the swine farm operation on three acres in the east [back] end of the property.
Such use has drawn opposition from adjoining landowners and other concerned citizens.  Weight to be given testimony of expert witnesses was discussed by the Commissoners, as the County Planning Commission members were designated as 'expert witnesses.' 

The Glades County Planning Commission met September 8, 2009 with a quorum of members, and voted 3-2 to recommend the zoning change, stating the change is consistent with the county�s future land use plan and compatible with existing neighborhood zoning. 

The Glades County Planning Commission members are Jack Wilson, Ellen Beers, Mike Lee, Shannon Hall, Greg Margerum, Steve Dobbs and Sam Griffin.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Shannon Loftin At LaBelle's Flora And Ella's

Book Signing At Flora and Ella's

LABELLE, FL -- On Saturday, November 28th, Shannon Paul Loftin will have a book signing at Flora and Ella's restaurant in downtown LaBelle from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Shannon writes "We had just finished another wonderful dinner; every dinner my grandmother prepared was wonderful. She sat in her chair with her legs and her arms crossed, looking as if she was thinking very seriously about something, and she was­dessert."

''Too often in life we become so focused on material things that we lose sight of the true gifts that are given to us.''

Just a Touch is a collection of the 'gifts' she received from her grandmother, representing stories, family traditions, and memories her family have shared for years.

For example, the ''coconut cake recipe is something her grandmother would make every year for Thanksgiving, and she would make it two days before Thanksgiving to be sure it was good and moist.''

BA brought Shannon a coconut cake when she went to visit her in Miami, holding it on her lap the entire train ride. The coconut cake became more popular throughout the years.

Loftin graduated from LaBelle High School class in 1997 and is the Granddaughter of Bob and Margaret Paul, and daughter of Bryan Paul. Shannon's book is Just a Touch, Recipes from B.A.'s Kitchen.

Immokalee Man Dead In Hendry Crash

Car Enters Hendry Canal West of Clewiston

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Charles William Guffey 53, of Immokalee died in a crash on Hendry County Road 833, one and one-half miles south of State Road 80.

His 2004 Nissan Altima was traveling north on County Road 833. For reasons unknown it traveled off the roadway and onto the east grassy shoulder, and continued to travel north on the shoulder. Guffey, while traveling on the east shoulder over corrected and traveled back onto the roadway.

The vehicle traveled across the roadway and onto the west grassy shoulder and continued to travel north and west on the west shoulder of the roadway.

The front collided with a canal that is located on the west shoulder of County Road 833. After it collided, it entered a water filled
canal, and drifted south. It came to final rest in the water filled canal on the western edge of the ditch facing north. Guffey remained seat belted while the car was submerged.

The use of alcohol is being investigated.

LaBelle State Road 29 Plan Comments Wanted

State Soliciting New Bridge And Roadway Comments Until November 16

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) conducted an alternatives public workshop for the new S.R. 29 Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study on November 5, 2009 at the LaBelle Civic Center, 481 Highway 80 West, LaBelle, Florida.

The workshop was a 2-hour open house and presented a continuously running video that provided an overview of the proposed improvements to S.R. 29 including three options for four-laning the roadway from Cowboy Way (Alternate SR80) north to U.S. Highway 27in Glades county.

The first option is to widen the existing SR29 through the city of LaBelle. The second option routes SR29 east to Forrey Drive (formerly City Ditch Rd.) and then north over the river with a new bridge and roadway to connect with the current SR29 in Glades county.

The third option is to route SR29 more eastwardly to Birchwood Drive, splitting Port LaBelle in two, and a bridge running over the Port LaBelle Marina area across the Caloosahatchee River and the roadway connecting to SR29 in Glades county.

No funding is allocated currently in the state's 5-year plan and an option to not build a new roadway, but to maintain the current SR29 roadway, is still open.

The graphic materials presented at the workshop as well as the video have been uploaded to the state DOT web page. Click on the link below to view the video, project handout and the graphics that were on display at the workshop.

Your comments are very important to help the state make final decisions on which route if any will be chosen for a new highway and bridge route. Please review the alternatives shown and tell the FDOT which alternative(s) you like, or don't like and why. You may send your comments via the Comments page on the web site by November 16, 2009 so that they can be considered in the selection of the alternative(s) that will be carried forward in the PD&E study.  - SR29 Road and New Bridge Workshop Video and Plans

Friday, November 06, 2009

In The Service - Clewiston's Perez Graduates

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Army Pfc. Beatriz J. Perez has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises.

She is the daughter of Quirino Perez of Montura Ave., Clewiston, Fla., and niece of Silvia Perez of N. Church St., Mount Olive, N.C.

Perez is a 2009 graduate of Clewiston High School.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

In The Service - LaBelle's Leonardo Acosta

Acosta Graduates From Basic Training

LABELLE, FL. -- Army Pvt. Leonardo Acosta has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.
During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises.
He is the son of Ignacio Acosta of Navaho Ave., Labelle, Fla. Acosta is a 2009 graduate of Labelle High School.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Hendry Ag Director Receives Award

LABELLE, FL. -- Gene McAvoy, a Certified Crop Advisor and Hendry County Extension Director, is the 2009 winner of the Florida Excellence in Crop Advising Award sponsored by the Florida Certified Crop Adviser Program and the Florida Farm Bureau Federation.

As Florida�s Certified Crop Adviser of the Year, McAvoy received a plaque and a $500 cash award.

Babcock Ranch Receives Award


TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida Section of the Society for Range Management announced that Babcock Ranch will receive the first Grazing Lands Stewardship Award. The society and the Florida Grazing Lands Coalition jointly give this award. This award recognizes outstanding contributions to the ranching community in the areas of grazing and wildlife management.

"It is especially gratifying that Babcock Ranch has been chosen for this award," Bronson said. "The accomplishment of producing an outstanding ranching operation while providing enhanced wildlife habitat for unique South Florida wildlife is an example of outstanding public private partnership."

Babcock Ranch is a unique public-private partnership designed to enhance the wildlife and aesthetic values of the old Florida Ranch lands with sustainable management goals.

"This ranch is designed to show the look of old cracker cattle operation, while using the best ecological techniques from the 21st century," Bronson said.

The award was given at the fall meeting of the society on October 29, 2009, at the Babcock Ranch headquarters.

Free Computer Classes In LaBelle

Free Computer Classes - Each Monday

LABELLE, FL. -- The LaBelle Assembly of God at123 Fraser Avenue in LaBelle (across from the Edward Upthegrove Elementary School) will offer classes each Monday morning beginning November 9th.

Pastor Cliff Avery will be teaching a one hour computer class for beginners and people interested in typing, photo editing, movie making, e-mailing and searching the web. Computers are provided for the class or if the student has a laptop they can bring their own. This a hands on class. The only things you need for the class are a note pad and pen. 

To reserve a place in the class call (863) 675-0900.

Biofuels Center Coming To Hendry County

$1 Million To Produce Biofuels

LABELLE, FL. -- Edison State College and the University of Florida�s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has received a nearly $1-million grant to produce biofuels in Hendry County.

The purpose of the grant is to begin shaping the emerging biofuel industry in the area and to bring much needed economic development to the rural areas of Florida. Biofuel is defined as a fuel, such as methane, produced from renewable biological resources like plant biomass and then converted into energy.

''As the College began to plan for our recent expansion in LaBelle, we carefully evaluated the possible areas for economic growth,'' said Dr. Kenneth P. Walker, President Edison State College.  ''Biofuels is part of the national trend toward sustainable initiatives.  We believe Hendry and Glades counties offer an ideal location to become leaders in biofuel production.''

The partnership calls for Edison State to develop the curriculum to train agro-environmental technicians and to assist in educating the community relative to the project�s goals. The University of Florida is charged with developing a profitable, sustainable process for the production of biofuels to assist in environmental sustainability.  The entire amount of the grant is $950,000, of that Edison State College will receive $150,000.