Tuesday, November 29, 2011

LaBelle's Ron Miller Dead At 66

Charles Ronald (Ron) Miller, age 66, of LaBelle, FL, died Nov. 27, 2011 in Lehigh Acres, FL. He was born on Feb. 12, 1945 in Erie, PA, the son of the late Delbert A. and the late Olive C. (Mosher) Miller. 

Ron was a veteran of the USMC and served during Vietnam. He was a member of the American Legion Post #494 in Girard, PA. 

Survivors include his wife: Patricia Ann (Hawley) Miller, children: Brian Walker, Shelly Sampsell, Jeff Walker, Kim Canales, Andy Miller, and Jackie Walker, brother: Bill Miller, sister: Debbie Beers, and thirteen grandchildren. 

Ron loved antique cars and working on them. He loved hunting and fishing and spending time with his family and his dog Buster. Ron liked traveling with his wife Pat to numerous destinations around the country. He also liked to joke around with family members and friends. His sense of humor will be deeply missed by everyone. 

The family would like to thank everyone for their well wishes. A private ceremony will be held by Ron's friends and family in LaBelle, FL. 
Cremation Arrangements by: Akin-Davis Funeral Home-LaBelle, FL. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Florida Gas Prices Falling This Week

But Prices Still 47 Cents Higher Than Year Ago

Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 3.8 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.30/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has fallen 4.1 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.32/g, according to gasoline price website FloridaStateGasPrices.com.

Prices in Hendry and Glades county, Florida remain at least 10 cents higher than Florida averages. Lowest price in LaBelle is $3.41 at BP and Shell stations.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 47.6 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 10.9 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 14.4 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 46.3 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"The national average in the U.S. is at its lowest since February 25, but remains at record highs for this time of year," according to GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "While the downtrend in gasoline prices has certainly been welcome news for motorists, I see the trend short lived, and believe we may see continued volatility in the days ahead, but even with said volatility I do expect many Americans will see average prices between $3.25-$3.50 for the rest of 2011," he added.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

LaBelle's Anne Neely Passes Away At 64

Anne M. Neely, age 64, of LaBelle passed away Wednesday, November 23, 2011 in Lehigh Acres, FL. Anne was born December 28, 1946 in Brooklyn, NY. She is the daughter of the late Alfred and Anna (Pennino) Bora.

She is survived by her husband: Carl A. Neely; one daughter: Carey Anne Warburton and one son: Christopher W. Warburton (Christina); her mother Anna (Pennino) Bora; two sisters: Elizabeth Dunne and Josephine Turner; she also has 1 grandchild Jax Walls-Foster

Calling hours will be Saturday, November 26 from 2-4p.m at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, 560 E. Hickpochee Ave., LaBelle, FL.

Holiday Shopping In Hendry And Glades County

Save Time And Money Supporting Your Community Businesses

LABELLE, FL. -- Want to save time and support our Hendry and Glades local merchants, professionals, and trades people for the best in convenience and service?

Here's our recommendations from among the sponsors of the Sunday Morning News and Southwest Florida Online. Please consider shopping with them and tell them you saw them mentioned here!

Gary Peters Computer Services, phone (863) 675-7925
Alden A. Rumfelt, Attorney At Law, phone (863) 673-0251
LaBelle Plumbing Corporation, phone (863) 675-1155
Dependable Plumbing & Well Service (863) 234-1340
Pete's Tractor Service, phone (239) 728-6629
LaBelle Barber Shop, phone (863) 673-2265
White's Furniture & Appliances, phone (863) 675-0717
Randy's Garage, Inc., phone (863) 675-1032, (863) 675-7603 (Tires)
Alvarez Tire Shop, phone (863) 946-1370
Schall's Computer Service And Repairs, phone (863) 675-8094, (863) 517-2203
Phillip's AC And Heating Services, phone (863) 675-2878
Ram's Used and New Tires, phone (863) 675-4777
Stratonet Internet Service, phone (888) 382-8503

Sunday Morning News Advertising Online - Since 1996: (863) 800-0010 or email

Also see our sponsor's messages for their specials on the Southwest Florida Online News Page!

Please tell them you saw them here online!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hendry County Obituary

David Santiago, age 80, of Clewiston passed away Thursday, November 17, 2011 in LaBelle, FL. David was born November 24, 1930 in Puerto Rico. 

He is the son of the late Francisco and the late Bienbenida (Vasquez) Santiago.

He is survived by his four daughters: Ivy Santiago of Clewiston, FL, Cinthia Hernandez of Puerto Rico, Dahian Santiago of Homestead, FL, Sarah Santiago of Miami, FL and three sons: David Santiago Jr. of Cleveland, OH, Frank Santiago of Chicago, IL and Max Santiago of Miami, FL.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Chromebook For Grandma

Gas Prices 51 Cents Higher Than Last Thanksgiving

Lower Prices This Week But Still Historically High

LABELLE, FL. -- Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 4.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.35/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has fallen 5.7 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.36/g, according to gasoline price website FloridaStateGasPrices.com.

Hendry and Glades County, Florida prices remain about tens cents higher than Florida average prices.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 51.0 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 10.4 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 11.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 49.3 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"Gasoline prices have continued their slow decline in the last week across a solid majority of the United States, with the national average sagging to its lowest level since this past February," according to GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. 

"Many motorists may be giving thanks for the lower gasoline prices- until they realize that average prices will still easily exceed prior Thanksgiving Day records," he adds. DeHaan also shared recent results from a poll conducted of its members, showing the smallest growth in holiday driving distance since it began surveying users in 2009. The poll also showed a 2% rise in the number of North Americans that would not drive at all for the holiday gathering. 

"This certainly isn't a shock given the higher gasoline costs, but goes to show that few motorists reduce their holiday driving because of higher prices," DeHaan states.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Clewiston DUI Crash Seriously Injures Man

CLEWISTON, FL. -- William Valentine Hoecherl,  54 of Lake Wales, Florida was charged with DUI and possession of marijuana after his 1984 Chevrolet crashed into a truck parked on the side of U.S. 27 just west of Hendry county road 720, Wednesday about 7:55 p.m.

Hoecherl was traveling south in the outside lane of US-27 while a 1997 Ford F-350 was stopped in the west paved emergency lane of US-27. Jeffrey 

Jeffrey Charles Mosier, 57 of Crossville, TN was stopped in the emergency lane due to mechanical problems. He was outside of the vehicle looking in the hood when Hoecherl proceeded south in the outside lane and failed to maintain his lane entering the west paved emergency lane of US-27. 

As a result, the right portion of the Chevrolet struck the left rear portion of the truck. After impact, the truck traveled in a southeasterly direction pinning Mosier between the guardrail and the vehicle. 

Hoecherl came to a controlled stop in front of the truck in the west paved emergency lane and was found at final rest directly in front of the truck in the west paved emergency lane of US-27. 

Hoecherl had minor injuries. Mosier had serious injuries and was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital for treatment. A passenger in the truck, Richard Denton, 19 was uninjured according to the FHP report.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Home Sales Slowing In LaBelle?

Only Eight Sales In 4 Weeks

LABELLE, FL. -- Real Estate Sales appeared to be slowing in the latest reporting period in the LaBelle, Florida area. From 9/20/2011 to 11/15/2011, there were eight homes sold in ZIP code 33935 for an average price of $74,375.

The homes reported sold and selling prices include:

1) $38,000 on Caloosa Loop
2) $210,000 on Caloosa Estates Dr
3) $53,000 on Clark St
4) $140,000 on Echo Ct
5) $30,000 on Rainbow Cir
6) $74,000 on S Cypress St
7) $25,000 on S Edgewater Cir
8) $25,000 on W Palomar Cir

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Glades Crash In Fog Sends Man To Hospital

Fog Contributes To Two Truck Crash

PALMDALE, FL. -- A Tampa man is in the hospital in serious condition after crashing into a semi truck on U.S. 27 Wednesday morning about 1 a.m.

Matthew M. Murphy, 33 was driving a 2011 Volvo tractor-trailer while Juan Gutierrez, 50 of North Miami Beach was traveling northbound on US-27 at CR733 near Palmdale, Florida in the right travel lane. 

Gutierrez  was directly in front of Murphy and was traveling below the posted speed limit due heavy fog which had settled in the area. 

Murphy failed to observe the semi tractor trailer ahead and the front end of his truck collided with the rear of Gutierrez' truck. Gutierrez came to final rest in the right northbound travel lane of US-27, facing north and Murphy came to final rest against it in the right northbound travel lane of US-27, facing north. 

Murphy was entrapped and had to be extricated by Emergency Medical Service personnel and was was then transported to Florida Hospital in Lake Placid, Florida in serious condition.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hendry County's Edith Timms Dies At 66

Pioneer Plantation Fire Chief Passes Away After 20 Years Of Community Service

LABELLE, FL. -- Mary Edith Timms, longtime fire chief of Pioneer Plantation in central Hendry county since 1996, has died at age 66.

Mary Edith Timms, age 66, of Clewiston passed away Friday, November 11, 2011 in Lehigh Acres, FL. Mary was born June 2, 1945 in Bartow County, GA. She is the daughter of the late Daniel A. and Louise M. (Mulkey) Haney.

She was the Fire Chief of the Pioneer Volunteer Fire Department for many years.

She is survived by her husband: Henry Raymond Timms ; two daughters: Connie Godwin (Henry) and Mary Jennifer Timms; one son: Henry Daniel Timms (Shila); her mother Louise M. (Mulkey) Haney; sister: Carole Tanner, she also has five grandchildren and one great grandchild.

The funeral service was held 11:00 am on Saturday, November 19 at Carmel Baptist Church, 2001 Bascomb Carmel Road, Woodstock, GA with Pastor Arthur Lee Croft officiating. Interment will be in Carmel Baptist Church Cemetery, Woodstock, GA. 

A viewing was held at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in LaBelle, Fl.  from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, November 15, 2011.

The Hendry County, Florida Board of County Commissioners have issued a proclamation honoring her service to Hendry County.

The Proclamation:


WHEREAS, an individual may stand out during a lifetime due to contributions to their community and the needs of others; and

WHEREAS, such an individual was Mary Edith Timms, born on June 2, 1945, in Cartersville, Georgia, who passed from our midst on Saturday, November 12, 2011, in Ft. Myers, Florida; and

WHEREAS, the members of the Hendry County Commission were greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Mary Edith Timms; and

WHEREAS, Mary Edith Timms, a long time resident of Hendry County, was an admired and respected member of the Pioneer Community; and

WHEREAS, Mary Edith Timms joined the Pioneer Volunteer Fire Department in 1991 and served as the Fire Chief from 1996 until her passing; and

WHEREAS, Mary Edith Timms risked her own safety at all hours of the day and night to respond to emergency calls and devoted hours to protect the public health, safety and welfare of Hendry County and the Pioneer Community.


Mary Edith Timms is hereby accorded this Memorial of the Board's great respect, esteem and appreciation for her dedicated service and commitment in providing fire protection and other emergency services to the citizens of Hendry County.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chairman on behalf of the Board of County Commissioners of Hendry County does hereby express his sincere condolences and sympathy to the family of Mary Edith Timms for their loss of a beloved and devoted family member.

Duly considered and adopted this 15th day of November, 2011.

/s/ Hendry County Commissioners
LaBelle, Fl.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hendry Farm Tour Reservations Available Until 23rd

Popular Hendry Farm Tours Educates Many Each Year

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry County Farm-City Tour Council will be holding its 31st annual farm tour of the Hendry County agricultural industry, Saturday, December 3, 2011.

(Photo: Hendry Farm Tour Visits Organic Vegetable Packing House)

Tickets for the tour cost $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.

The non-profit Hendry County Cattleman's Association, after taking out tour expenses for buses and food,  receives half of the net proceeds sharing half with the Hendry County 4-H Clubs. The Association provides thousands of dollars yearly for agricultural scholarships.

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 rib-eye steak lunch with all the trimmings served by the Hendry County Cattlemen’s Association in a rural country setting.

Deadline for ticket sales is November 23rd, 2011. For additional information about the tour and how to purchase tickets for the tour, stop by Hendr 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 Fax: (863) 674-4637 Email: dcabrera@ufl.edu

Child Injured In Port LaBelle Accident

A 7-year old child was struck by a car Sunday afternoon in Port LaBelle as he crossed the street.

The Florida Highway Patrol says Arnulfo Verduzco, 33 of LaBelle was eastbound on Eucalyptus Circle at South Edgewater Circle when Sidney Bogard attemted to cross the street in front of him.

Verduzco was driving a 1997 Ford Taurus with one adult passenger and four children and attempted to stop but struck the child. 

No charges are pending. Bogard was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital.

Where Are Gas Prices Going?

Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have risen 3.1 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.40/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has fallen 1.1 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.43/g, according to gasoline price website FloridaStateGasPrices.com.

The lowest prices in the Hendry/Glades county area were $3.46 at BP and Circle K, still remaining above average prices elsewhere.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 55.5 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 0.2 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 4.4 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 54.4 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"Even as crude oil comes close to $100/bbl, retail gasoline prices have held their ground and spot prices for gasoline have given up gains," said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst. "We certainly have some shifts going on in the market as diesel production is favored over gasoline, meaning refiners will boost production of distillate at the cost of gasoline production. Diesel and middle distillate demand remains strong while gasoline demand is somewhat weak, causing gasoline to seemingly disconnect from the upward trend of the crude oil and distillate market," DeHaan added.

Friday, November 11, 2011

LaBelle Crash Injures One On Bridge Street

Failure To Yield After Stop Sign 

LABELLE, FL. -- 20-year old James Michael Dellecave struck another vehicle carrying three young children in LaBelle  Friday afternoon after failing to yield to oncoming traffic on LaBelle's Bridge Street.

Dellecave was eastbound on Bryan Avenue about 4:20 p.m. in a 2006 Ford 150 truck while Jorge Ramirez Borralles, 26, in a 1999 Dodge 1500 truck was southbound on Bridge Street.  

Dellecave came to a stop for a stop sign at the intersection of eastbound Bryan Avenue and Bridge Street but failed to yield to oncoming southbound traffic on Bridge Street.  

He then proceeded to make a right turn onto southbound Bridge Street, with the left front of the truck striking the right front of of Borralles' vehicle at the intersection.  The Ford came to final rest in the southbound lane of Bridge Street while the Dodge came to final rest in the northbound left turn lane of Bridge Street.   Both vehicles were facing south.

Borralles was carrying passenger Patacillia Gonzalez, 21 and three children aged 2, 3, and 4. All escaped injury, but Dellecave was transported to Lehigh Regional Medical Center with minor injuries. 

Both vehicles ended up with $9,000 in damages.

Dellecave was charged with failure to yield.

Careless Driving In Hendry Closes SR80

Truck Driver Causes Major Tie-up in Hendry County

CLEWISTON, FL. -- A semi-truck caused a major tie-up Friday at State Road 80 and U.S. 27 in Hendry county. Traffic was diverted to other county roads while the investigation went on.

At 6:05 a.m. a 1995 semi, driven by Eduardo Peraza, 42 of Naples, and a 2002 Toyota pickup driven by 56 year old David Panno of Land of Lakes, Fl. were traveling south on US 27 in the outside lane, Peraza was directly behind Panno. 

A 2002 semi-truck was traveling south on US 27 in the inside lane alongside of the two other vehicles. A marked FHP patrol vehicle was stopped on US 27 near the west shoulder of US 27 performing a roadside traffic stop on a vehicle for speeding, with emergency equipment (red and blue lights) activated. 

As Panno's vehicle (a pickup truck towing a boat and trailer) was slowing for the marked patrol vehicle, Peraza failed to reduce speed to avoid striking the pickup truck. As a result, he struck the boat trailer causing the boat to be propelled into the guardrail on the west shoulder of US 27 and deflected into the back of the patrol vehicle. 

The pickup truck, as a result of being struck, was forced into a counterclockwise direction and traveled into the path of the second semi-truck driven by Pedro Femenias, 53 of Port St. Lucie. At that time, the semi struck the pickup in the front. 

All vehicles came to final rest near the point of collision. A fourth driver Mark Steele, 23 of Fort Myers was outside of his vehicle and alongside of the vehicle that had been stopped and was not injured. 

There were no injuries in this crash. Peraza was charged with careless driving.

"Free" Round-trip Airfare/Cruise Birthday Scam

Mailings From Florida Promises "Gifts" of Airfare, Computers, and Cruises

LABELLE, FL. -- A Florida telemarketing company is attempting to lure consumers with "gifts" of computers, free cruises and air travel to call 1-877-547-7302 so as to sign up the unwary for a 90-minute vacation sales presentation.

Thousands of mailings are made to households offering an "8 - Day/7 - Night Cruise for 2 with an outside cabin, leaving from any major port in the U.S." Additionally a "bonus gift" is offered of "2 round-trip airfares."

On the back of the letter it says the "certificate is valid for two aboard Carnival Cruise Lines for eight days, but the disclaimer says "certain travel dates apply" and "some restrictions apply" and noting the recipient pays for "port charges, deposits, government taxes, custom fees and agency fees."

That seems to be the catch, according to those who have tried to cash in on the telemarketing offer. The "fees" assessed by the company amount to as much as one would pay for the cruise in any standard direct booking. And one has to endure a high pitch sales presentation as well.

Note the company does not actually use the word "free" anywhere on the solicitation letter, only using the word "gift" many times, and the phone number to call to "find out how to claim this special gift."

The company behind it seems to be out of Illinois and uses the same 877-547-7302 phone number for all of it's letters. On the face of the mailing, a U.S. Postage Paid permit from Tampa, Fl, permit #78.

Although there is not any person's or business name or address on the mailing, the company reportedly operates out of a "rent an office" space at 22 West Washington Street, Suite 1500, Chicago, Il. 60602. Office phones are (312) 854-8000.

Sub-contracted Florida telemarketing offices are apparently used to pitch the vacation sales offers when customers call. When asked, the telemarketing company will not clearly reveal who they work for.

The telemarketing offer is varied, many letters say "Congratulations, you were verified and as a result of this offer your name and ticketing number have been issued!" In the same mailing is a "Bonus Gift" of 2 round-trip airfares "leaving from or going to any major airport in the continental U.S."

The face of the envelope may say "FINAL NOTICE" and "Verification of Reservation Information Required" or "Happy Birthday."

Other consumers report receiving offers from the unnamed company promising free computers and airline tickets. Some report letters that include other popular brand names like Expedia, Marriott, Walmart, Costco, Target, Kroger, Giant Eagle, US Airways, and others.

The key to which "gift" is being offered is the tracking number or "offer" number at the bottom. Callers to the toll free number are asked the offer number. The "gift" cruise and airfare ticket offer may be offer #17NP1107SA.

Some offers come as a "Happy Birthday" letter. Other recipients say while not printed as the Happy Birthday offer, they coincidentally arrive in the mail around the time of a family birthday. The company may be using a mailing list that includes customer birthday dates.

The offer also apparently is valid only for couples, although the mailing doesn't clearly indicate it. The couples must attend a sales presentation where they will be offered various expensive vacation packages. Once purchased, there's no backing out or money back guarantees.

Hendry's Susan Kennedy Arrested For 16th Time

Habitual Lawbreaker - 16th Arrest In 9 Years

LABELLE, FL. -- Susan Lynn Kennedy, aka Susan K. Denning, "celebrated" her 16th arrest in nine years this week after being arrested for violating driver's license restrictions.

Kennedy was arrested on November 8th, the first time in 2011, but was booked into jail five times in 2010, for charges including possession of drugs and violation of probation.

Law breaking seems to run in the family as Kennedy's son Bryan Boyle, recently chalked up his 22nd Hendry county arrest.

Kennedy, the former wife of the City of LaBelle's Michael Boyle, has been arrested primarily on driving related charges of driving without a license or on a suspended license, and has had at least one drug related arrest and violations of probation.

She lives with her mother and son at 4502 Springview Circle in Port LaBelle, Florida.

Hendry's Banyon Village's Only House Vandalized

Remote Hendry County Port LaBelle Subdivision Targeted By Criminals

LABELLE, FL. -- One of Hendry county's largest and most remote subdivisions has been the target of lawbreakers for years.

Composed of thousands of vacant lots, until one house was built in 2009, the area is a favorite of hunters and ATV enthusiasts, and now burglars and thieves.

The only house within miles, a neat and well kept structure on Raleigh Drive, has been the target of thieves for some months. Appliances have been repeatedly stolen, and this week the door was broken down and vandals again entered and damaged the home again, tearing out the burglar alarm and damaging air conditioning equipment.

The new house, built during the real estate boom years,  has been unoccupied, owned by an elderly women from New York.

Hendry county deputies have kept up a presence in the remote area over the years, warning hunters, Hispanic palm berry pickers, palm frond harvesters,  and drivers of ATVs that the area cannot be used for such activities. Signs have also been posted at the entrance to prohibit off road vehicles from driving on the greenbelts and roads around the community.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Moore Haven Soil Treatment Company Sold

Clean Earth, Inc. Acquires Kleen Soil in Moore Haven, Florida

MOORE HAVEN, FL. --  Clean Earth, Inc. announced today the acquisition of privately owned Kleen Soil, located in Moore Haven, Florida. This facility treats non-hazardous petroleum-contaminated soils and will mark Clean Earth's seventh soil treatment and recycling location in the United States. 

This acquisition will provide Clean Earth the opportunity to geographically expand soil-recycling services and will be the most southern Clean Earth facility.

Kleen Soil has served the Florida market for over twenty (20) years.

Chris Dods, President & CEO states, "This acquisition has opened new doors. We have found a strong market, and will be able to recycle 100% of the soil treated at this location. Due to our in-depth experience, we will be able to offer additional services to customers such as project management and environmental support services. We look forward to working and learning from the talented and experienced Kleen Soil team."

In 2010, Clean Earth recycled over 3 million tons of soil derived from various construction sites throughout the northeast. These recycled soil volumes are expected to increase in 2012 with the acquisition of Kleen Soil.

Clean Earth, Inc. is one of the nation's largest processors of contaminated soil, dredge sediments and other non-hazardous materials. Headquartered in Hatboro, Pa., it operates a network of full-service facilities in the eastern United States that handles more than three million tons of soil annually. Treatment facilities are located in South Kearny, NJ, Carteret, NJ, Jersey City, NJ, Hagerstown, MD, New Castle, DE, Morrisville, PA, and Philadelphia, PA.

Florida Emergency Water Shortage Orders Rescinded

In response to improved regional water resource conditions, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board has rescinded all emergency water shortage orders for South Florida, many of which had been in place since March this year.

The Governing Board also declared a water shortage warning today to encourage vigilance and voluntary cutbacks. Frequent swings in South Florida's water conditions — and the drier-than-normal La NiƱa forecast — indicate a return to water shortage is possible.
The District's 16-county region remains under permanent conservation measures with the Year-Round Irrigation Rule that limits landscaping to two or three days per week based on location. To search by municipality, click here. Permitted water users such as nurseries, agriculture and utilities are required to continue following the terms of their permits.

The dry season that stretched from October 2010 until June 2011 was one of the driest on record and required mandatory, emergency cutbacks to protect water resources from serious harm and safeguard the water supply.

The District received 38.2 inches of rain during the June-to-November wet season, which is 4.52 inches above normal and compensated for the significant rainfall deficit during the preceding dry season.

The record-setting 9.8 inches of rain in October was two-and-a-half times the average for the month and resulted in localized flooding. Lake Okeechobee, the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, the Water Conservation Areas and groundwater levels improved dramatically in recent weeks.

October's storms did significantly benefit Lake Okeechobee, a key backup water supply for millions of South Floridians. The lake stood at 13.79 feet NGVD today, and continues to rise above last year's level.  The current level is more than 2.5 feet higher than on September 30.

Veteran's Holiday Speed Enforcement On Florida Waterways

Manatee Enforcement Effort Slated for Lee And Collier Counties

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in conjunction with the Lee County Marine Law Enforcement Task Force and other participating agencies will partner during the Veterans Day Holiday Weekend to enforce the federal and state manatee zones in Lee and Collier Counties.

The Lee County Marine Law Enforcement Task Force will also be participating in an outreach program during the Lee County Boat Show at the Harborside Event Center in Downtown Ft. Myers during the holiday weekend. Marine enforcement agents and officers will be available at the task force booth to answer questions and provided information about manatee protection zones in the area.

A special task force presentation is scheduled for Friday, November 11, at 4 PM inside the Harborside Event Center.

On-the-water enforcement efforts will be conducted in earnest on Saturday, November 12, and Sunday, November 13.

Along with USFWS and FWC agents and officers, numerous federal, state and local marine agencies from the area will be participating in the detail to enforce not only the manatee protection zones but other regulations on the water.

Maps of federal manatee protection zones and regulations may be found online at:http://www.fws.gov/northflorida/Manatee/Documents/MPARules/index-federal-mpa-maps.htm.

Those state regulated areas protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act may be found at: http://www.myfwc.com/WILDLIFEHABITATS/Manatee_protectionzones.htm#Maps

Manatee zone boundaries are marked by large posted signs and buoys; both are white in color with an international orange circle and lettering.

Federal and state regulations require vessel operators to operate at the appropriate posted speeds within the manatee zones. Some manatee zones have a maximum speed of 25 mph and will be enforced utilizing RADAR.

Law enforcement will be strictly enforcing manatee zones. Federal fines range from $125 to a maximum of $25,000 and/or six (6) months imprisonment under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The fines increase for each subsequent violation of any state or federal manatee zone, up to the maximum of $25,000.

Glades Commissioner Responds To Muse Road Issue

Commissioner Storter Responds To Paving Issue

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Glades County Commissioner Donna Storter Long has written a response to conversations resulting from a recent Glades Commission meeting regarding the Muse community's Fernwood Lane paving controversy. The mostly sand road in western Glades county has been scheduled for paving for several years, leaving residents in the area to wonder why there's no action.

In a letter this week to citizens, Storter wrote:

"The question has been raised (twice) as to why I did not respond to Commissioner Jones' statement about another traffic study on Fernwood as a prerequisite for approving completion of paving of the four-mile road.

Two traffic count studies have already been done on Fernwood. At the October 24, 2011 BoCC meeting, prior Board dialogue was referenced wherein the initial plan was to pave at least two miles when traffic counts reported between 1200-1300 in a two week period reported in 2005. Other traffic counts were done in 2007.

Fernwood was added to the County's Five Year Road Plan long before I became commissioner, and in fact was approved for paving.

However, funds for new paving were limited, as they still are. I might add that initially, it was anticipated that a developer on the south end of Fernwood would contribute for paving part of the south end. That development has long been defunct and land development regulations at the time it was platted did not require concurrency.

All commissioners realize that road plan decisions must be based on available funding as well as need.

The County Road Dept. has worked for years on maintaining Fernwood, with the drainage (installing culverts) and the road base (grading existing shell road plus bringing in additional base material) and because of those cost-saving efforts, it was possible for a portion of Fernwood to be paved in 2008 when a paving company was already in Muse resurfacing the east end of CR720.

So even with inflated road construction costs (asphalt is petroleum based) of that time, the county began the project by paving the first mile of Fernwood on the north end. No date was set for completing the job because transportation funds were not in great supply. In fact, the $151,892 spent in 2008 for paving and striping came from the one-cent sales tax discretionary fund, not fuel tax revenue or other transportation budget funds.

At the October 24 meeting, the BoCC and the Road Dept. acknowledged that Glades County no longer has a five-year work plan for paving new county roads. Conversely, two shell roads in Moore Haven were recently paved: Thatcher Blvd and North Avenue were constructed utilizing impact fees of which $127,232 were in the West District Road Impact Fee Fund.

Road Impact fees were imposed in 2006 and since then, of the impact fees collected in the West District, 19 were for units west of SR29 in the Muse area including 4 on Fernwood Lane one of which is Bonnie Plants, a commercial plant nursery (employer); there were 7 impact fee units in the City of Moore Haven of which none were on Thatcher and two on North Avenue.

I did not and do not object to the road paving on Thatcher Boulevard tho it had never been on the county's road plan for paving but Fernwood had been on this list for almost ten years. North Avenue was also paved but had previously been on the county's five year plan, even longer than Fernwood, and had previously had some less-than-adequate tack-like material applied but not paved.

The City of Moore Haven had not requested these roads to be paved, and had not asked to expend the City's unused $221,769 in the Transportation Trust fund that can only be used for city streets, and citizens on Thatcher Blvd and North Avenue pay city as well as county taxes.

There were no reports of traffic count studies for these roads, yet Fernwood now requires another one?

Requiring Fernwood to have another (3rd) traffic count done was not a factor as the need had already been established, project had been approved and begun, and traffic counts were NOT required for paving Thatcher or North.

Recent Census figures which show District 2 [which includes Muse] has 3,395 citizens whereas District 1 City of Moore Haven has 1,709 residents. It's not easy explaining this paving disparity to constituents, and Muse residents and others that travel Fernwood had submitted another petition requesting the paving to continue.

There are $668k unencumbered funds in the one-cent sales tax fund that currently has $1,426,690 on hand. It would behoove the Board to COMPLETE a project that was already approved and already begun, before embarking on the expenditure of other projects. Can you imagine if the big Moore Haven Bridge had begun construction, but with only one lane north and one lane south was actually built? Or four lanes, but only halfway across the river? Of course that's facetious but the axioms "count the cost "and "get 'er done" do have merit.

Other projects approved this year with no time frame imposed were a community center in Washington Park that was formerly approved for funding as a pavilion, a community center in Ortona, and a fire department / county storage facility in Moore Haven. The projects were approved in that chronological order and three times I requested the Board to prioritize which would be first and no official motion was made. However Public Safety Directro Bob Jones was later authorized to commence the fire dept project.

Commissioner Jones has much more experience on the Board than I do and especially dealing with transportation issues-recall his efforts with the CR74 road closure that resulted in State funding to provide funding to improve it and keep it open.  He has seen many delays over the years in road paving when the County did have 5-year road plan, even though the plan was not followed. Commissioner Beck had lamented that fact; we all know that such a plan should be a living document, should be reviewed at least annually, and updated to meet current prioritized needs.  We are guilty of failing to do that; we were told by the Road Supt that with decreased tax revenue, he could only concentrate on resurfacing existing roads.  That did not and should not mean we abandon plans for future road construction.  It may be trite, but failing to plan is planning to fail.

I certainly respect Commissioner Jones and do not resent the position he took in not seconding my motion to put Fernwood in line for the next available paving work, and I honestly think his inquiry about another traffic count study was sincere in attempting to justify paving Fernwood.

But the project has already been approved; it now needs funding appropriations."

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Water Boil Notice For LaBelle, Florida Issued

Precautionary Boil Water Notice Issued By City Of LaBelle

LABELLE, FL. -- A precautionary boil water notice has been issued for the City of LaBelle water service area for residents living in the area bounded by Bridge Street to Oak Street and Washington Avenue to the Caloosahatchee River due to a water main construction and improvements. 

Water service was shut off between 1 PM to 3:30 PM Wednesday in this area. All City of LaBelle water users in this area are advised to bring drinking water to a rolling boil for at least one minute prior to consumption upon restoration of service. 

As an alternative bottled water may be used. This notice is effective immediately and will remain in effect until 11/11/11 or a notice is issued lifting the boil water action. 

For further information please call Joseph Thomas at 863-675-4684 or City Hall at 863-675-2872 during normal business hours.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Emergency Alert Broadcast - Only A Test Says Government

Wednesday's Presidential Emergency Alert May Confuse Nation?

On Wednesday, November 9, around 2PM Eastern, the U.S. Government will be conducting its first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).  While most of us are used to regular state and local tests of EAS on our radio and television stations, this is the first time that the entire nation will be activated simultaneously as a "Presidential Emergency Action Notification."

During the test, listeners will hear a message indicating that "This is a test." Although the EAS Test may resemble the periodic, monthly EAS tests that most Americans are already familiar with, there will be some differences in what viewers will see and hear. The audio message will be the same for all EAS Participants; however, due to limitations in the EAS, the video test message scroll may not be the same or indicate that "This is a test."

The test will last about 30 seconds over all television and radio stations nationwide. Ironically, it will not be sent over NOAA weather radio frequencies where many monitor weather continuously in homes and businesses.

Although the EAS is frequently used by State and local governments to send weather alerts and other emergencies, there has never been a national activation of the system. The purpose of the November 9, 2011 Test is to assess the readiness and effectiveness of the current system and identify incremental improvements to better serve our communities in the preservation of life and property.

The nationwide EAS Test will be conducted jointly by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS). 

The three federal partners have EAS management roles. FEMA is the lead agency in all operational and management functions of the EAS, developing national alert and warning capabilities, and integrating new technologies. The FCC is an independent agency that grants licenses, and presides over EAS rules and the rulemaking process, enforces rules, and handles test reporting data directly from EAS Participants. 

Due to limitations with the technology associated with the Emergency Alert System (EAS), some messages which appear on television or radio may not necessarily indicate that "This is a test."  As such, there is some concern that some people who are unaware of the impending test will react adversely.  

Local emergency management official say it is very important that everyone be aware that the test will occur, and that despite what the message may say, it is in fact only a test.  There is no need for anyone to react to the test message.

For more information, visit: http://www.fema.gov/emergency/ipaws/eas_info.shtm


Hendry's Republican Women Offer 1/2 Price Luncheon For 1st RSVP

Women's Club Meeting At Clewiston Inn

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Not a free lunch but at least 1/2 price at the Clewiston Inn for a luncheon next week in Clewiston. 

The Caloosa Federated Republican Women will meet at the Clewiston Inn, Wednesday November 16th 11:30 a.m. The guest speaker is Wendell Taylor, Glades County Manager.   E-mail skdooley@embarqmail.com or call 863-675-2915 for menu selections. First person to RSVP will get lunch at half price!   

Monday, November 07, 2011

How Low Will Florida Gas Prices Fall This Year?

Gas Still Half Dollar Higher Than Year Ago But Falling?

LABELLE, FL. -- Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 3.3 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.37/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has fallen 2.9 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.43/g, according to gasoline price website FloridaStateGasPrices.com.

In Hendry and Glades county, Florida, prices are still about 10 cents higher than Florida average.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 57.5 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 2.5 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has not moved during the last month and stands 57.3 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"The national average is just one penny away from being the lowest we've seen since the start of March, even as crude oil prices have risen," said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst. "Just in the last week, wholesale prices have moved 13 cents per gallon between the high and low, so it does remain surprising that average prices have moved very little," DeHaan added.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Prescription Painkiller Abuse - A Growing Problem

Painkiller Medications Killing One Person Every Forty Minutes

LABELLE, FL. -- Prescription painkillers (drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone) killed nearly 15,000 people in 2008—one person every forty minutes. For every person who died of a prescription painkiller overdose in 1999, nearly four died in 2008.

In rural Hendry County, Florida, 1 in 10 15 to 17 year olds have tried a prescription painkiller. In Florida, seven people die everyday due to prescription drugs, says Bianca Ross, program coordinator of Drug Free Hendry County, of the Hendry-Glades Health Department in LaBelle.

(Video: Operation Medicine Cabinet - On November 5th members of the Hendry and Charlotte County Health Departments, the Hendry Sheriff's Department and Explorers, and J&J Pharmacy collected old prescription drugs for safe disposal. The Explorers offered free food.)

But the number of deaths isn't the whole story. This sharp rise in prescription painkiller overdoses parallels a similarly large increase in painkiller sales. Four times as many prescription painkillers were sold in the U.S. last year than in 1999.

More than half of all people who misuse prescription painkillers report getting their drugs from a family member or friend. Individuals must make sure to use prescription painkillers only as directed and to never share them with others. People should also take care to store their prescriptions safely, dispose of them properly and get help if they have substance abuse problems.

The lives impacted by painkiller abuse and overdose can be found everywhere—a father who becomes addicted to painkillers after a work injury and overdoses, a teenager who takes an old bottle of painkillers from a relative's medicine cabinet or a mother who loses a son to painkillers only to find her other child is also addicted.

-From Grant Baldwin, CDC and Hendry County Health Department

How To Find Google's Hidden Tricks - Flight Sim & 3D

View Larger Map

Google's Hidden 3D Street Maps,  Flight Sim, & Other Fun Stuff

Google has hidden "Easter Eggs," secret features, that when certain keys are enabled, show undocumented features, hidden throughout it's product lines including YouTube and Google search pages.

Above is Google's Street View of the LaBelle, Florida Courthouse. When you right click on the picture and click "3D mode on," you can see the corner of Bridge Street and State Road 80 in anaglyph 3-D (with standard red/cyan 3D glasses.)

You can adjust the viewpoint of the above picture panning 360 degrees, as well as zooming using the controls, or directly with your mouse on the photo. (Street View is found on Google Maps by dragging the little yellow man icon on the left side of the map to any street.)

To play a "Snake Game" on YouTube videos, depress the up and left arrows simultaneously on any video from April 2010 or later. You'll see a group of dots run leftward across the screen, and then a few seconds later, a flashing dot.

The object of the snake game is to make the snake grow longer by moving it around with your arrow keys before the snake runs off the screen, while tring to run over the single flashing dot displayed.

Each time you run through the flashing dot your "snake" grows longer. The game will also work if the video is paused. (You can only move forward, and turn right or left, so don't try to reverse the snake.)

Here's a cool one for Google search. Type in "do a barrel roll" into Google Search and hit return, and see what happens. Trust me. If you use a Chrome and some other browsers you can type "do a barrel roll" into the address box.

Another one for search. Type in "tilt" into a google search (using browsers like Chrome, Opera, Firefox, and Android.)

Want to have your Google Search page in another language like Elmer Fudd, Pig Latin, Klingon? Try these:

In Google Earth tap Ctrl+Alt+A  keys to play with a built in Flight Simulator game.

More Google hoaxes and fun stuff: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google's_hoaxes

LaBelle Hosts Free Program On Owls And Wolves

Nature Photographer Dan Tudor In LaBelle

LABELLE, FL. -- By popular demand, photographer Dan Tudor will be returning to LaBelle with entertaining presentations on "Burrowing Owls" and "Coyotes".

Dan has been photographing burrowing owls at Cape Coral nest sites for the past 10 years.  The free program will be sponsored by the Hendry-Glades Audubon on Monday November 14 at 7 p.m. at the Hendry Cooperative Extension Office, Dallas Townsend Building at 1085 Pratt Blvd. in LaBelle.

For information contact Margaret England at (863) 674-0695.

Hendry Group Fights Candy Cigars

Candy-Flavored Cigar Products Target Of Partnership

LABELLE, FL. -- Halloween just passed but what passes for candy out there is far scarier indeed. The Hendry Tobacco-Free Partnership isn’t out to ban chocolate bats or licorice fangs, rather candy-flavored tobacco products. 

Melissa Franco, president for the Clewiston High School Students Working Against Tobacco group calls them “starter products.” They’re the cherry, mocha, grape and watermelon “cigars”—the most prevalent likely the Swisher Sweets—and “they are alluring, deceptive ways the tobacco industry is targeting our youth,” Franco said. 

What troubles Franco most are data from the annual Florida Youth Tobacco Survey, a project of the Florida Health Department. In 2010, it showed one in six Florida youth between 11 and 17 has tried flavored tobacco. Among Hendry County youth, 25.4 percent have tried the flavored products that include blunt wraps, chew, dissolvable tobacco, cigarillos and cigars, according to the Health Department. 

34.4 percent of Glades County youth have tried flavored tobacco products, which is almost 10 percent higher than Hendry County. 

Based on the 2011 Student Social Norms data, Hendry County high school students reported that 17 percent smoked cigarettes within the past 30 days and 11 percent reported using smokeless (dip, chew, etc) during the past 30 days. 

It is difficult to find a store clerk who says they have sold any kind of tobacco to a minor, but kids are getting a hold of these products somehow. Store owners receive regular fliers from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging them to share information with their employees about not selling to minors. 

The laws about flavored tobacco changed in 2009, Valarie James of the Hendry County Health Department said. That’s when flavored cigarettes were banned. But the law did not take into account cigars or other tobacco vehicles. 

Groups such as SWAT are appealing to retailers to not sell any flavored tobacco, because it inevitably gets into some younger hands. “Older friends are able to buy them. And they may even pay them to do it,” said Socorro Ruiz, SWAT President atLaBelle High School. “I will do something to ban the sale of flavored tobacco in Hendry County.” 

Students and parents receive information to warn them about the new crop of tobacco products. While more than half of the parents at any event have never heard of flavored blunts wraps or Swisher Sweets, said James, it’s a good bet their kids have. 

Music videos such as “Pretty Girl Rock,” from the 2010 album by R&B/Hip-Hop singer Keri Hilson features female dancers who appear to be school-aged, singing “Pretty as a picture, sweeter than a Swisher, Mad’ cause I’m cuter than the girl that is with ya.” 

Grammy winner Lil Wayne had thrown his weight and street cred into a label of his own, bogey Blunts. Vanilla, grape and honey are among the flavors. And Hip-Hop artist Young Jeezy and fort Myers born Plies may be preaching to the choir of kids with lyrics like this: “I’m out my mind, just blew a thousand Swisher Sweets, in my black and orange charger, call it trick or treat.” 

SWAT students have collected over 500 signatures from local residents that support a ban on the sale of candy flavored tobacco products in Hendry County. SWAT youth and the Hendry Tobacco-Free Partnership will request the LaBelle City Council to pass a citywide Resolution banning the Sale of Candy Flavored Tobacco Products on November 10th. 

This resolution will fall in line with what’s taking place around the entire state and encourage our legislators to issue a statewide ban on the sale of these products.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Ellen Peterson Memorial Service November 13

Memorial Service At Fisheating Creek
PALMDALE, FL. --  A celebration of environmentalist Ellen W. Peterson's life will be held November 13, at 1-5 p.m. at Fisheating Creek State Campground, 7555 N. US Hwy 27, Palmdale, Florida in Glades county.

Peterson died at Estero, Florida on October 14, 2011.

The celebration will include artist Clyde Butcher, environmental activists, music, food and a 4 mile (start to finish) trip on the creek. Bring your own kayak/canoe, or limited reservations are available, no charge, at paulatoo@gmail.com, phone 863-659-1099. 

In lieu of flowers, please donate to non-profit Save Our Creeks, Inc. (www.saveourcreeks.org) or Happeehatchee Center, Inc. (www.happehatchee.org).

Read Previous Story: Ellen Peterson

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

How To Get Free Help With Your Mortgage

Web Site For Government Help With Mortgage Payments And How To Avoid Foreclosure

The U.S. Departments of the Treasury and Housing and Urban Development have joined forces to help homeowners with high mortgage payments, and provide tips to avoid home mortgage and foreclosure avoidance scams from private companies.

According to latest statistics many homeowners don't yet know where to turn for relief of high mortgage payments or when facing foreclosure, and many turn to private "foreclosure avoidance" companies scamming home owners.

The government offers many new programs to help the unemployed or underemployed, homeowners struggling with mortgage payments or second mortgage worries, and homeowners trying to avoid mortgage troubles because of fallen home values.

Solutions offered under various programs for first and second mortgages include modifications of mortgage rates, modifications of payments and outstanding balances,  and even $3,000 cash payments for owners wishing to relocate.

The web site makinghomeaffordable.gov is the starting place to obtain information. There are videos and extensive explanations of the many programs available. Most helpful on the main page is a button to click for eligibility, which leads to a short questionnaire to guide the homeowner to several mortgage programs they might quaility for, depending on income, assets, and present situation with mortgage payments.

HUD offers free telephone counseling help as well: 1-888-995-HOPE (4673)

HUD warns consumers to avoid mortgage scams and offers this advice:

Tips to Avoid Scams
Beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee in exchange for a counseling service or modification of a delinquent loan. Scam artists often target homeowners who are struggling to meet their mortgage commitment or anxious to sell their homes.

Beware of people who pressure you to sign papers immediately, or who try to convince you that they can “save” your home if you sign or transfer over the deed to your house.
Do not sign over the deed to your property to any organization or individual unless you are working directly with your mortgage company to forgive your debt.
Never make a mortgage payment to anyone other than your mortgage company without their approval.

Links to Department of Treasury/Housing & Urban Development site:

Eligibility Questionnaire
Beware of Mortgage Foreclosure Scams

Homeowners Struggling
With Mortgage Payments

Homeowners Trying to
Avoid Mortgage Troubles

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Hendry County Pimp Operation - Three Arrests

Hendry County Deputies Arrest Three On Pimping Charges in Prostitution Sting

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Hendry County Special Operations Division conducted a commercial sex prostitution operation in Clewiston on Friday, October 28, 2011.  In a one hour period Sheriff's Deputies arrested three men on prostitution charges, for pimping.

Arrested were 33 year old David Paul Salas of Okeechobee, Florida, 49 year old Juan Patricio Cisneros of Moore Haven, and 25 year old Benjamin Bartolo (photo above) of Clewiston, Florida.  All three were charged with Procure for Prostitute (Pimping) and transported to the Hendry County Jail.

(photo: Benjamin Bartolo of Clewiston)

The men were later released on a $1,000 bond.  It was later found that Salas is a registered sex offender who currently resides in Okeechobee County. He was convicted of statutory rape and contributing to the delinquency of a minor in Georgia.

Man Found Dead In LaBelle Trailer

Investigation Pending On LaBelle Man's Death

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff's deputies and investigators were at 1431 Sioux Avenue in North LaBelle Tuesday morning searching for clues in the death of 70-year old Juan Garcia Perez.

Crime scene tape surrounded the yard of a green mobile home in an area of the North LaBelle Heights "Indian Subdivision" of LaBelle, off Nobles Road. Many of the area street names are of Native American tribes.

Hendry property records indicate the small house is owned by Perez.

(Video: Investigation scene at 1431 Sioux Avenue, LaBelle, Florida)

Glades County's Fernwood Lane Stalled Again

Road Paving In Muse A "No Go" Once Again

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- At Monday night's Glades County Commission meeting, an agenda item on paving four-mile long sandy Fernwood Lane in the rural community of Muse, failed to gather support once again.

According to Commissioner Donna Storter Long, Fernwood had been on the county's "five year plan" for paving since at least 2002 with paving of one mile completed in 2008 using the one-cent discretionary sales tax revenue as proposed by Glades County Commissioner Ward in 2005.

Fernwood Lane is approximately four miles long connecting CR720 on the north end and CR78 in Hendry county on the south creating a connecting road between Muse in Glades county, and North LaBelle in Hendry county.

Fernwood is a packed sand road, graded, but in poor condition much of the year, with a "washboard" surface much of the time.

The Glades county portion includes a large plant nursery, grass airfield, and an older mobile home subdivision containing hundreds of homes, many are eyesores, in dilapidated condition. 
The initial plan was to pave two miles when traffic counts were reported between 1200-1300 in a two week period in 2005. Other traffic counts were done in 2007, says Storter-Long.

Storter requested the Board to prioritize Fernwood for paving another mile on the north end. Discussion followed by the commission with the admission by the Board and the Road Dept. that Glades County no longer has a five-year work plan for paving new county roads.

However, recently utilized two shell roads in Moore Haven were paved, Storter pointed out. Storter stated she did not object to the road paving on Thatcher Boulevard although it had never been on the county's road plan for paving but Fernwood had been on this list for almost ten years. 

North Avenue was also paved but had previously been on the county's five year plan.

She stated the City of Moore Haven had not requested these roads to be paved, and had not asked to expend the City's unused $221,769 in the Transportation Trust fund that can only be used for city streets and citizens on Thatcher Blvd and North Avenue pay city as well as county taxes.

Thatcher Blvd and North Avenue were constructed utilizing impact fees of which $127,232 were in the West District Road Impact Fee Fund. There were no reports of traffic counts for these roads, says Storter.

Storter also commented that of the impact fees collected in the West District, 19 were for units west of SR29 in the Muse area including four on Fernwood Lane, one of which is Bonnie Plants, a commercial plant nursery; there were seven impact fee units in the City of Moore Haven of which none were on Thatcher and two on North Avenue.

She also referred to recent Census figures which show District 2 which includes Muse, having 3,395 citizens whereas District 1 City of Moore Haven only has 1,70 residents.

She said it's not easy explaining this paving disparity to constituents, and Muse residents and others that travel Fernwood had submitted another petition requesting the paving to continue. Wayne Mundy brought additional pages of  the petition to the meeting. The petition pages were submitted to the Clerk for official record.

Commissioner Storter commented that there is $668,000 unencumbered funds in the one-cent sales tax fund that currently has $1,426,690 on hand.

Storter moved to prioritize Fernwood Lane to be the first when asphalt work was next done in Glades County. Storter's motion died for lack of second by any other commissioner.

Source: Commissioner Storter meeting notes