Friday, March 30, 2012

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Robert Larry "Rooster" Howard, age 53, of LaBelle passed away March 29, 2012 in Fort Myers. He was born May 5, 1958 in Fort Myers.

He is survived by wife; Carol A. (Holland) Howard, children: Thomas (J.D.) Howard, Jessica Howard (Billy) Canaday, Seth (Paige) Howard, mother: Ethelene (Self) Howard, brother: Steven Howard, sister; Diane Shields, Grandchildren; Katlyn, Autumn, Lilly, Weston, Macey, Jarrod, ; Jazlyn, Rebecca, Robert and Olivia. He was predeceased by his father: Robert Wesley "Pee Wee" Howard. Rooster was a much loved Southern Gentleman.

A graveside service will be held Tuesday, April 3, 2012, 10:30 a.m. at Fort Denaud Cemetery in LaBelle with Matt Howard officiating. Interment will follow in Fort Denaud Cemetery.

Visitation will be Monday, April 2 from 06:00-08:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in LaBelle.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Giant Python Caught In Everglades

Two Forest Rangers Track Down Snake 

NAPLES, FL. -- A 15 ft. 3 in. Burmese Python was caught and killed by Naples, Florida Forest Service Rangers Jean Barnard Tarrete and Wilbur Chaney in Picayune State Forest.

The snake was captured on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 on Lynch Boulevard in the sprawling Florida State Forest area that once was subdivided into lots designed for a huge housing subdivision in Southwest Florida.

Reportedly, the Rangers went out to look for the snake after earlier hearing reports of its existence in the Picayune Forest.

Tarrete said he killed it with a rake commonly used in forest fires, hitting it in the head. Others Forest Rangers were less enthused with the manner of the capture.

(video: Tarrete Drags Python Into Truck)

Victor Hill of the Florida Department of Forestry said today, his local division "chose not to send out information about the capture because the python was poorly handled."

Hill says "Forest Rangers are trained to capture and kill pythons in a humane way. " Hill says as the video shows, "this was not the case." 

Hill says the ranger who appears on the video resigned recently, and apparently posted the video and provided the information to a Naples newspaper. His resignation was not related to the incident, and his last day at work was the day this capture occurred.

Hill added "Pythons are an aggressive, invasive species that threaten the health of the state forest and the Everglades. Our rangers work closely with officers from our partner agencies to monitor their numbers and take action when necessary in an appropriate manner. We appreciate the efforts of these rangers to capture and kill the python but we absolutely do not condone the way it was handled."

The U.S. Department of the Interior has banned the importation of pythons because they are a non-native species and a threat to native wildlife. Pythons in the Everglades seem to be the result of pet snake buyers abandoning them in the wild after the pythons grow too large and dangerous to keep in a home situation.

The state has condoned the killing of the pythons found in the Florida wilds but requires reports be made to the state authorities when they are captured and killed.

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Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Roy Eugene Cotton, age 72, of Clewiston died Monday, March 26, 2012 at home in Clewiston. Roy was born February 7, 1940 in Baker, FL. He is the son of the late William and the late Clara (Martin) Cotton.

He was employed by U.S. Sugar Corporation for 47 years; he also raised cattle and operated an orange grove on his farm.

He is survived by daughter; Carol Cotton (Alan Parham), granddaughter; Ariana Parham, son; David Cotton (Tammy Wiseman), granddaughter; Zoie Cotton and grandson Ethan Johnson, brothers; Robert "Dub" (Ann) Cotton, John "Dill" Cotton, Troy (Tilley) Cotton all of Clewiston, Freddie Cotton, sisters; Annie Mae (Ken) Roleston, Susie (Mike) Springe, Mary (Devon) Summerlin all of Melton, Florida. 

He has a host of nieces and nephews. Roy also has many friends in and around the Clewiston area.

Roy was preceded by parents, his brothers and sisters: Darley Holley, William "Buck" Cotton, Rachel Cooley, Ellie Kelley, and James Cotton.

The funeral service will be held 11:00 am, Saturday, March 31, 21012, at Evangel Assembly of God Church of Clewiston where Rev. Gary Corley will officiate. Interment will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m Friday, March 30, 2012 in Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Trayvon Martin - More Than You May Want To Know

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

City Of Sanford Releases Shooting Records

A month after the Sanford, Florida shooting death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin, state and federal investigators continue looking into the facts surrounding the incident to decide whether charges may be brought against 28-year old neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman, a 5'9' Hispanic man, told police he was attacked by Martin, a 6'3" black teen on February 26, 2012 after Zimmerman made a call to the Sanford Police Department reporting a suspicious person walking in the rain around the gated condo and townhouse community of the Retreat At Twin Lakes.

Police responded to the call, and found Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose and back of the head with grass on his back and his back was wet. Zimmerman reported he was beaten by Martin, attacked from behind as he walked back to his truck.  Martin was lying face down with his hands under his body, a gunshot wound in his chest, and did not respond to CPR by the police or medics.

(video: ABC News obtained the Sanford Police video of Zimmerman in custody at police station. Note that officer is checking his back, wiping his hand,  and then observes back of  Zimmerman's head.)

Martin, was visiting his father in Sanford, while on suspension from his Miami high school after residue of what was believed to be marijuana was found in his bag. Martin had been suspended from school previously for graffitti. He was on his third suspension from school.

Sanford Police, found no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman under Florida's Statute protecting use of deadly force to prevent death for great bodily harm.

The City of Sanford and the Police Department have released extensive amount of documents to the public including the 911 call recordings, the incident report, and Zimmerman's previous crime watch calls to the police, which can be found at these three links: - Police Report Of Shooting - Trayvon Martin Investigative Documents - FAQ of case from City of Sanford

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Suspect Arrested In Clewiston Bike Murder

22-Year Old Shoots Bicyclist In Clewiston Mobile Home Park
On Wednesday, March 21, 2012, Hendry County Investigators arrested 22 year old Raul Angel Ramos of Clewiston, Florida in the death of 46 year old Alexander Escalante.

Photo: Raul Ramos

Escalante was shot on March 25, 2011 while riding his bicycle in the area of Twin Lakes Mobile Home Park in Clewiston, Florida. Hendry County Deputies were called to the scene after motorist in the area reported a man lying in the roadway in a pool of blood.

Investigators developed leads to identify the perpetrator which led to the arrest of Ramos. Ramos has a prior arrest history in Hendry county, including a fugitive arrest and weapons charges.

Escalante had a 2010 Hendry arrest for cocaine possession and intent to sell. The Twin Lakes area is known for drug sales.

Ramos was charged with Homicide and is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail with no bond

Photo: Victim Alexander Escalante

Clewiston Man Fires 10 Times Into Vehicle

Antonio Lopez Allegedly Involved In Two Shootings

On March 22, 2012, Hendry County Investigators arrested 22 year old Antonio Lopez of Clewiston, Florida on numerous weapon charges including shooting into a vehicle 10 times.

Lopez reported that on February 18, 2012, while pumping gas he was approached, from behind, by three men and struck between his neck and shoulders. He told the Investigator that he could identify all three men. Lopez told the Investigator that he then armed himself with a handgun and shot 10 times into the fleeing vehicle.

On March 17, 2012, Lopez had been involved in another shooting when he fired shots into a vehicle. The victim, in that incident, reported to deputies that the shooter was Antonio Lopez.

Lopez was arrested on March 22, and charged with 2 counts each of Use of Firearm During a Felony, Discharging a Firearm in Public, and Firing a Deadly Weapon into a Vehicle.

Lopez is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail on $64,000.00.

Wanna Buy A Mattress? - Beware School Fundraising Gimmick

Ohio Company Sells Mattresses At Weekend School Sales

LABELLE, FL. -- Plastered illegally throughout LaBelle are yellow plastic signs advertising a Saturday mattress sale at the local high school. Only saying "help the kids" there's no company name or indication of just how or who is being helped.

Custom Funding Solutions LLC of the Cleveland, Ohio area is behind the gimmick. CFS recruits area mattress sellers around the country and gets permission typically from school athletic coaches to set up a mattress display and take orders for mattress sets priced from $199 to $1900.

The school athletic department gets about $50 from the sale of a $199 says one school coach, and a larger commission from pricier units. Brands sold are Restonic and Southerland, both with not such a great consumer rating.

CFS was started in 2006 by Joseph J. Matejka Jr., and incorporated in Ohio in 2008. The Cleveland Better Business Bureau says Matejka formerly owned Cleveland's Best Furniture Direct which "went out of business with an unsatisfactory record with the BBB due to unanswered complaints."

The Ohio furniture company, says the BBB, was a "close-out mattress outlet."  All sales were final and there were no refunds. It ceased operation in 2008. According to the BBB, customer "complaints alleged non-delivery of ordered items and difficulty in reaching the company once orders were placed or purchases were made."

The LaBelle High School sale is being run this weekend by Richard "Jay" McCreadie of Fort Myers, a former employee of Matejka's mattress company. McCreadie owns Mattress & Furniture Wholesalers LLC in Fort Myers, doing business at the school sales as "Custom Fundraising Solutions of Florida." McCreadie started the mattress sales company in 2009 after closing down SW Florida Furniture Direct Corp.

McCreadie formerly worked for Matejka at Cleveland's Best Furniture Direct. He says the mattress being sold at the school sales are not "close-outs" but are manufactured for each order. There is a $50 delivery charge added to the mattress prices, and the company's sub-contracted delivery service will not pick up old mattresses unless they are in good clean condition.

Among the brands being sold are Restonic and Southerland, according to McCreadie. The Restonic brand is typically sold at these high school fund raisers by CFS and has developed a poor reputation from buyers. And not to be left behind, Southerland mattresses also garnered bad reviews from purchasers.

Prices at the school sales typically start at $199 for twin size mattress set and go up to $1900 plus delivery charges.

Our advice: If you want to help the local athletic department when you see one of these school mattress sales events in your area of the country, just write a check to the school as a donation. If you really need a mattress, carefully compare brands and prices before you buy one at a local high school gymnasium or cafeteria.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Gas Prices Rigged?

Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have risen 7.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.89/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 4.5 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.86/g, according to gasoline price website

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 33.1 cents per gallon , about 10 percent, higher than the same day one year ago and are 15.0 cents per gallon, about 5% higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 21.9 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 29.5 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

One wonders why gas prices are far outstripping inflation compared to other consumer products. Oil analysts say there is ample supply of oil stocks and motorists are in fact cutting back on trips. A similar price rise, however may be seen in the home and auto insurance industry as well. Policy holders typically see 10 to 15% annual increases in premiums. 

One analyst predicts "may" peak in April and says:

"The national average has risen twenty one consecutive days, according to our data, a troubling sign. Typically we expect such increases to occur more so in April," said Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "We're 31-cents per gallon ahead of our year ago pace, and I'm seriously contemplating revising my January forecasts upward having seen things race higher, faster than expected. If there's any ounce of good news for motorists, its that such high prices so quickly may mean prices will peak in April rather than May," DeHaan said.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Cameron Michael Crawford, age 21, of Clewiston passed Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in Miami, FL. Cameron was born February 8, 1991 in Brooksville, FL. He is the son of Terry "Skip" Gene and Kathleen Gail (Nuttall) Crawford.

He was in the FIJI Fraternity at his college. He was also a 1st degree Black Belt in Taekwondo.

He is survived by father; Terry (Skip) G. Crawford, Jr., mother; Kathleen N. Crawford, brothers; Martin Crawford and Casey Crawford, grandmother; Shirley Nuttall, grandfather; Robert Nuttall, grandmother; Louise Boudreaux and grandfather; Terry G. Crawford, Sr. and many loving aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

The funeral service will be held 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at The Life Enrichment Center Of The First United Methodist Church, 331 West Osceola Avenue, Clewiston, FL with Rev. John Hicks officiating.

Calling hours will be Sunday, March 25, 2012, 1 hour prior to service at The Life Enrichment Center of The First United Methodist Church, 331 West Osceola Avenue, Clewiston, FL.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tampa Rays Ballplayer Arrested On Hit And Run

Impaired Rays Ball Player Arrested After Hitting A Motorcyclist

Tampa Rays baseball player, shortstop Matt Bush was arrested on DUI and other charges after hitting a motorcyclist from behind and fleeing the scene. 

Matthew Brian Bush, 26 of North Port, Fl was taken into custody about 5:30 p.m. Thursday evening after officers from several law enforcement agencies made a traffic stop on Bush on Toledo Blade Blvd. in North Port.

Bush, driving a 2011 Dodge SUV and a 2000 Harley Davidson motorcycle driven by 72-year old Anthony Tufano of Port Charlotte were traveling south in the inside left lane on US 41/SR 45 approaching Murdock Circle in Port Charlotte when Bush's SUV struck the rear of the motorcycle which caused it to overturn and eject the driver. 

Tufano was taken to Lee Memorial  Hospital after suffering serious injuries in the crash.

According to the FHP, Bush then fled the scene, traveling south, then north on US 41. A BOLO for the vehicle was issued to the surrounding law enforcement agencies. 

Bush in his SUV was later located traveling south on Toledo Blade Blvd in North Port. Officers from several agencies made a traffic stop and Bush was placed under arrest. He was transported to the Charlotte County Jail.

The FHP report indicates Bush had been drinking. He was charged with fleeing the scene with serious injuries, driving with a suspended license with serious injuries, DUI with serious injuries, and DUI with property damage.

According to Wikipedia Bush's 2004 pro baseball career began poorly when he was suspended before he ever took the field for his role in a fight outside an Arizona nightclub. He received a signing bonus of $3,150,000 to play for the San Diego Padres at that time.

In 2009 he was released by the Toronto Blue Jays for violating their zero tolerance "behavioral policy."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Charity Hope Lee, age 43, of Okeechobee passed away Tuesday, March 20, 2012 in Clewiston, FL. Charity was born August 23, 1968 in Killeen, TX. She is the daughter of David Harley Lee, Sr. and the late Susan Delona (Coker) Smelley.

She was employed by Seminole Tribe of Florida as a Slot Supervisor for many years.

She is survived by her father; David H. Lee, Sr., brother; David H. Lee, Jr. (Tammie), sisters; Michele Howard (Rodney) and Manda Thomas (Wade) and many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 24 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, 438 E. Sugarland Hwy., Clewiston, FL with Pastor Earl Cline officiating.

Calling hours will be Saturday, March 24, 2012, 1 hour prior to the service.

LaBelle's Relay For Life Weekend

Celebrate, Remember, And Fight Back

LABELLE, FL. -- LaBelle's annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life event takes place Saturday afternoon March 31st beginning at 3 P.M. through Sunday morning, giving everyone a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease.

(Click on video above or here to play) - from April 2011 Relay

Teams will camp out at the LaBelle High School football field and take turns walking or running around the track Saturday through Sunday morning. And because "cancer never sleeps" each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event.

The Relay "Traditions" common to all Relay For Life events include:

Celebrate - The Survivors & Caregivers Lap - 4:30 P.M. Saturday Relay starts with a Survivors and Caregivers Lap, an inspirational time when survivors are invited to circle the track together and help everyone celebrate the victories achieved over cancer, and creating a world with more birthdays, like those celebrating on the track.

Remember - The Luminaria Ceremony - 8 P.M. Saturday After dark, honored are people who have been touched by cancer, and remember loved ones lost to the disease during the Luminaria Ceremony. Candles are lit inside bags filled with sand, each one bearing the name of a person touched by cancer. Participants often walk a lap in silence.

Fight Back Through Fundraising In addition to what the fundraising teams do before the Relay, there are fundraising opportunities available onsite. From food, face painters, crafts and more, allowing participants and visitors to support the fight against cancer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Moore Haven Library Gets A New "Cover"

Pardon Our "Dust Cover" Says Library

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The face-lift for the Glades County Public Library is now in progress and that will include some relatively extensive updating and repair on the front of the building.

Those old leaky windows on the front of the Library have been removed and those spaces that they used to occupy have been filled in with concrete block. The masons are waiting for the matching brick for the front of the building to be delivered. After that, it should only take a few more days to finish the front of the building. 

Nevertheless, the Library will continue to provide services in spite of the dust. The construction started Tuesday, March 20th and will continue until it is completed.

-submitted by Austin Moorhouse, Friends of the Library

Wanted: Men, Women, Children In Biblical Dress

Community Readies For Last Supper Reenactment And Sunrise Service

LABELLE, FL. -- LaBelle's Assembly of God Pastor Clifford Avery has put out the word this year, looking for volunteers to help with the Barron Park Easter Celebration of Good Friday and the sunrise Easter Sunday.

Avery says this Easter Sunday morning April 8, 2012 at 7:00 AM "we will be having our annual community-wide sunrise service in Barron park." Pastor Avery is looking for anyone who can use their musical talents in solos and duets for the services.

On Friday, March 30, in Barron park at 7:00 PM the gathering of Christian men will be reenacting the living Lord’s Supper, followed by the celebration of holy communion. Avery says local Pastors are always needed to assist in serving the Last Supper. 

Avery adds "And we can always use men, women and children in Biblical dress."

Hendry Operation Medicine Cabinet Locations

Health Department Offering Drop Off Locations For Prescription Meds

LABELLE, FL. -- Add to your Spring Cleaning by emptying your medicine cabinet of expired, unused or unwanted prescriptions and over the counter drugs, says the Hendry-Glades Health Department. Bring those to the local Operation Medicine Cabinet™ drop off locations on Saturday, March 31, 2011 in LaBelle, Clewiston, Harlem, Pioneer and Montura.

(Video: Bianca Ross of the Hendry Health Department at a 2011 Operation Medicine Cabinet)

Because medications should not be flushed down the toilet or thrown in the garbage, and because they pose a risk to children in the home, Drug Free Hendry County and the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office have partnered with local pharmacies to offer this community program for the fourth time in Hendry County. 

Pharmacy owners will be providing hamburgers and hot-dogs to those who come by. Last year we collected more than 100 lbs of medication! This will be our only prescription take-back event for the year.

Medication drops offs will be welcomed during Operation Medicine Cabinet between 10 am and 1 pm on Saturday, March 31 at the following locations: J&J Pharmacy, 149 West Hickpochee Ave, (Hwy 80, Near Burger King), K & M Pharmacy, 340 W. Sugarland Hwy. (Near U-Save and First Bank on Hwy 27), 10:00-11:00 AM, Harlem Civic Center, 7th street, 11:30 AM-12:30 PM Montura/Flaghole Volunteer Fire Dept., 465 Del Sur Avenue, 1:00 – 2:00 PM, Pioneer Plantation Volunteer Fire Department

For more information please call Drug Free Hendry County, Program Coordinator Bianca Ross at (863) 674-4041 ext.143

Glades Commissioners Honor Retiring Deputy Clerk

Brenda Choban Retiring After 35 Years
MOORE HAVEN, FL -- Glades County's Clerk of Court Joe Flint paid tribute to retiring Chief Deputy Clerk Brenda Choban, presenting her with an honorarium plaque. Mrs. Choban has served since April 1977 and since 1997 has been Chief Deputy Clerk and Finance Director.

Commissioners Jones, Giesler, Beck and Storter offered comments of their personal appreciation to Mrs. Choban. Commissioner Storter said, "She will be sorely missed."

During her tenure Mrs. Choban has provided not only accurate accounting that has many times been lauded by the county’s independent auditors, but has kept the Board apprised of pertinent factors affecting revenue and expenditures, always available for consultation to update commissioners on any financial matter as requested. Mrs. Choban has always monitored budget expenditures for accuracy and compliance.

Clerk Flint, with obvious sentiment, congratulated and thanked Mrs.Choban for a job well done. Mrs. Choban expressed her thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Flint announced that Sandra Brown will now be Chief Deputy Clerk and he introduced Nancy Dean as the new Finance Director who was welcomed by the Board.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hendry Sheriff Invites Motorcycles For Ride Around Lake

Cycle Rally To Benefit Florida Youth Ranches
On Saturday, March 24, 2012, Hendry County Sheriff and Hendry County Policing Unit is hosting a Motorcycle Rally around Lake Okeechobee to benefit the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches.

Sign up is Saturday morning from 9 am to 10am at Fort Myers Harley Davidson. For local riders signup is at Roland & MaryAnn Martin’s Marina and Tiki Bar located at 920 E. Del Monte Avenue in Clewiston, from 9am to 11am. 

Riders will be directed around Lake Okeechobee through Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee counties with designated rest areas, then returning to the Clewiston marina. There will be a car show, bike show, live entertainment, door prizes, 50/50 drawing, and vendors. 

Cost of the ride is $10 per bike (or car if you prefer to drive). Entry into the bike and car show is $10. Trophies will be awarded to 1st, 2nd place, People’s Choice and Sheriff’s Choice.

You don’t have to be a participant in the event to enjoy the festivities, says the Sheriff's Office. Everyone is asked to come out and have fun.

All proceeds benefit the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches. The Youth Ranches was established in 1957 by a small group of Florida Sheriff’s who saw the need for the care of troubled boys it later evolved into four Youth Ranches residential child care facilities and two camping programs.

It was their vision to create men and women who are able to face the future with a sense of direction, ability and hope; to guide and instill in them four critical components that will create healthy, productive adults.

$16,000 To Haas Family From Hendry Sheriff

Golf Tournament Brings Large Gift To Family

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office held it's 1st Annual Golf Tournament to benefit the Brian Haas Criminal Justice Charitable Trust and Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden presented the proceeds of this tournament, in the amount of $15,959.33 to Bob and Norie Haas, the parents of the late Deputy Sheriff Brian Haas.

The Charitable Trust Fund was established by the Haas family in honor of their son, Brian. This fund is to benefit employees, explorers, volunteers and interns who serve the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office.

License Free Florida Fishing In April

Taking Advantage Of Free Florida Fishing

Florida fisherman are getting ready to take advantage of the first of four license-free fishing days scheduled for this summer in Florida.

“Fishing is a great way to enjoy Florida’s beautiful outdoors, great weather and a wonderful day with family and friends,” Governor Rick Scott said. “License-free fishing days are the perfect opportunity to discover the fun and excitement of fishing and Florida’s great outdoors.”

The days are perfect chances for parents, who don’t yet have a license, to take youth fishing, or for avid anglers to introduce a friend to the recreational pursuit without having to purchase a license.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) spread out the opportunities this year so more people will be able to head for their favorite lakes and rivers or saltwater destinations on designated days. 

Instead of providing one weekend for freshwater fishing and one weekend for saltwater fishing, the Commissioners decided at their meeting in February to break up the days. You won’t need a recreational fishing license on the special days listed below.

Florida residents and nonresidents, mark these Saturdays on your calendar for 2012: April 7 - Freshwater, June 2 – Saltwater, June 9 – Freshwater, Sept. 1 – Saltwater.

The April 7 date occurs during a productive freshwater fishing period when the weather is usually comfortable. Plus it is Easter weekend, and many people like to fill the weekend with a variety of activities with family or friends.

The June 2 free saltwater fishing day coincides with the first weekend of Gulf red snapper season and National Fishing and Boating Week, which means there will be lots of other related activities going on too.

The June 9 date for freshwater fishing also coincides with the last day of National Fishing and Boating Week. Last year, 38 states had at least one license-free fishing day during this annual event.

Sept. 1 is the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, when lots of people have time to recreate and celebrate the traditional end-of-summer holiday. In addition, bay scallops, lobster and snook will be open for harvest on this date.

All other bag limit, season and size restrictions apply on these dates. The license-free fishing designation applies only to recreational fishing, not commercial.

To make your free fishing day successful, check out for fishing tips, locations and rules.

Those who venture out may discover why Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World and feel as if they are part of the sport’s business engine that propels a $7.5 billion economic impact and sustains 80,000 jobs.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Oil Companies Have Us By The Tailpipes

Prices Still Rising Rapidly - Any Real Reason Why?

Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have risen 3.3 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.81/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 4.3 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.80/g, according to gasoline price website

Some observers say gasoline retailers in recent months have been consolidating prices so that there's no large discrepancy between areas, so no charge of price gouging can be alleged.

Prices in Hendry and Glades County, Florida, for example, for years were five to ten cents higher than adjoining Lee county. In recent months though, Hendry/Glades prices have come to match prices in nearby counties. There does seem to be a gas price difference between states however.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 27.3 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 15.4 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 28.6 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 27.9 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"Average retail gasoline prices will likely rise this week, after a surge in wholesale prices late last week," said Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "Some analysts believe gasoline prices may have peaked, but I am not at all confident in such words. I still maintain that prices will likely not peak until we get closer to the month of May, as a majority of locales around the United States make eventual switch overs to summer spec gasoline," DeHaan said.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Photo Of The Week - Port LaBelle Owl

Waddy Thompson, local Hendry county photographer took this great photo on March 17th, 2012 at State Road 80 and Birchwood Parkway in Port LaBelle.

Hendry Obituaries

Willie Ray Adams, age 91, of Clewiston passed away Wednesday, March 14, 2012 in West Palm Beach, FL. Willie was born October 17, 1920 in Ponce De Leon, FL. He is the son of the late Oscar and the late Claudia (Bell) Adams.

He served in the Air Force during World War II from 10/13/1942 to 01/30/1946. He was a lifetime member of the First Baptist Church of Clewiston. He retired from US Sugar Corporation in 1985 where worked as a commissary supervisor for 31 years.

He is survived by wife; Lucille Adams, son; Steven R. Adams (Ruthie Ann), daughters; Angeline Hayes (Edward), Carol Giddens and Martha Taylor (Jay), grandchildren; Angela Lynn Hayes, Cindy Dawn Rhoden (Wayne), Steven Michael Adams (Claudia), Jon Taylor, Jessica Taylor, Jennifer Taylor and Justine Taylor, great grandchildren; Wesley Hunter Rhoden and Jennifer Adams.

The funeral service was held 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at First Baptist Church Of Clewiston, 102 East Ventura Avenue, Clewiston, FL with Dr. Todd Buck and Rev. Bill Derryberry officiating. Interment will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery.

Calling hours were Saturday, March 17 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church Of Clewiston.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sea Level Rise Threat To Floridians

2.5 Million Floridians In Danger Of Flooding Due To Global Warming Effects

According to a new report by independent research organization Climate Central, global warming has raised sea level about 8 inches since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating, creating increased odds of flooding, especially in Florida. 

For over two-thirds of the locations analyzed, past and future global warming more than doubles the estimated odds of 'century' or worse floods occurring within the next 18 years - meaning floods so high they would historically be expected just once per century. 

At three quarters of the 55 sites analyzed in this report, century levels are higher than 4 feet above the high tide line. Across the country, nearly 5 million people live in 2.6 million homes at less than 4 feet above high tide. About half of this exposed population, and 8 of the top 10 cities, are in the state of Florida. 

About $30 billion in taxable property is vulnerable below the three-foot line in just three counties in southeast Florida, not including the county with the most homes at risk in the state and the nation, Miami-Dade. 

Corps Releasing Water From Lake Okeechobee

Lake Okeechobee Level Now 12.83 Feet
CLEWISTON, FL. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has announced it will begin another release of water from Lake Okeechobee this weekend in a continued effort to reduce salt-water levels in the Caloosahatchee Estuary.

The new release is scheduled to begin Sunday, March 18. The Corps is making the release in a pulse-like manner to mimic a rainfall event, similar to releases that began in December 2011. 

The target flow to the Caloosahatchee Estuary for this release is an average of 450 cubic feet per second (cfs) over a 10-day period, as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79) east of Fort Myers. The 10-day p ulse release allows relatively larger discharge rates during the first half of the 10-day period.

"The Corps, in consultation with our stakeholders, will continue the 10-day release pattern that we began four
weeks ago, with the continuing hope the average salinity will remain stable or start falling," said John Kilpatrick,
Chief of the Jacksonville District’s Multi-Project Branch, which has oversight of water management at the lake.

Today, the lake stage is 12.83 feet. The lake is currently within the Operational Band of the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule. The Corps and partner agencies will continue to closely monitor and assess system conditions, and may decrease releases if local basin runoff contributes to flows.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

LaBelle Man Arrested In Fort Myers Prostitution Sting

Richard Seibel Arrested On Soliciting Charge

LABELLE, FL. -- Prominent Hendry county businessman Richard Seibel, age 73 of LaBelle was arrested February 24 in Fort Myers on a charge of "soliciting another for lewdness." The Fort Myers police say this is a first offense 2nd degree misdemeanor.

Seibel, along with six others were arrested in the Cleveland Avenue corridor of Fort Myers as female police officers posed as prostitutes. He was released on $500 bond the next day provided by Sophia's Bail Bonds.

Multimillionaire businessman and real estate owner Seibel formerly owned, with his wife Mary "Dottie" Seibel, the Aqua Isles of LaBelle RV and mobile home park and the Port LaBelle Inn.

He was scheduled to appear in Lee County Court March 13th for arraignment before Judge Frank Mann, Jr.

Update: Seibel waived his right to a speedy trial, and appeared before Judge Mann on April 10 without an attorney and agreed to a "pre-trial" intervention and deferred prosecution agreement, paying $200 in court costs. A docket sounding is scheduled for August 31 at 8:30 a.m.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hendry Employees Honored

The Hendry County C.A.R.E Committee (Creative Activities Respecting Employees), would like to announce the Hendry County Employees of the Quarter for the past 5 quarters.  This is a program that started in late 2010, designed to have employees nominate fellow employees whom they feel exemplify the qualities of outstanding Hendry County Employee.  

Janet Papinaw, Hendry County's Public Information Officers says "You don’t have to be a supervisor to nominate an employee and you don’t have to work in the same department.  If you work with someone who you feel is an outstanding employee, you nominate them."

HendryEmployees of the Quarter.JPGThe selection committee is the C.A.R.E members, who are also county employees.   The decision is never an easy one, with the great employees that Hendry County has and all the nominees that have been submitted are well deserving county employees.  

Congratulations all who were nominated: Randy Bengston, Adolfo Dietz, Roger Greer, Yvonne Cayce, Felicia Littles, Jimmy Orlinski, Bonnie Hanshaw, Rachel Likens, Debra Woodard, Armando Rodriguez, Gene McAvoy, James Graham, Millie Rachel, Steven McCormick, Felicia Bee-Pequeno, and Michele Williams.

Pictured from left to right are the winners: Michele Williams (Building Licensing & Code Enforcement), Yvonne Cayce (Port LaBelle Utilities), James Graham (EMS), Roger Greer (Port LaBelle Utilities), not pictured Adolfo Dietz (Road & Bridge). 

Scott Bass - Candidate For Glades School Superintendent

My name is Scott Bass, and I am running for the position of Superintendent of Schools for Glades County School District. I have been employed by GCSD since 1994; and during this time I have held the positions of teacher (GCSD District Teacher of the Year - 2001), coach, and after-school coordinator; currently I am employed as the Director of Administrative Services and have enjoyed this district level administrative position for the past 9 years.

I am a 1994 graduate of Troy State University where I received my Bachelor of Science in Education with certifications in Biology and Physical Education. In 2003 I received my Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Florida Gulf Coast University .

During my current leadership position, I have gained the knowledge and experience needed to lead Glades County School District into the future. My efforts are centered at providing meaningful educational experiences to all students in Glades County .

My current and past responsibilities for the GCSD are:
§ Director, Career and Technical Education
§ Principal, Adult Education
§ Chief Negotiator (GCSD Instructional Unit)
§ Supervisor, Employee Insurance Renewal
§ Director, Transportation Services
§ Coordinator, E-rate
§ Director, Food Service Operations
§ Supervisor, Property and Casualty Insurance
§ Coordinator, Instructional Technology
§ Liaison, Federal Impact/Brighton Indian Reservation
§ Supervisor, Student Truancy
§ Supervisor, District Risk Management Program
§ Supervisor, District Employee Fingerprint/Screening
§ Coordinator, Equity and Equal Educational Opportunity
§ Supervisor, Athletic Coaches Certification

I have experienced several professional accomplishments in my current position that have benefited the school district and Glades County , and a few of those accomplishments are:

Direct Supervision of:
§ Construction of West Glades School (K-8)
§ Renovation/Remodeling of Moore Haven Elementary School
§ Construction of West Glades classroom addition building
§ Hurricane Wilma, Jeanne, and Frances recovery for GCSD
§ Construction of West Glades gymnasium
§ Renovation of City of Moore Haven recreational facility – Joint project (GCSD/City of Moore Haven, Glades County Board of County Commissioners )
§ Glades County School District IT Retrofit Project

Development and Implementation of:
§ Glades Truancy Program
§ Glades Truancy Court
§ Glades County School District Technology Plan (infrastructure retrofit)

Fiscal management is also an area that I have gained valuable experience. Over the past nine years I have written numerous grants that total over $5.1 million for the GCSD. In addition I have managed several projects that required diligent fiscal oversight such as the construction of West Glades School ($13.1 million) and Hurricane Wilma repairs ($3.4 million).

Currently, two facility grants that I have written and were approved are Florida Department of Transportation Infrastructure Grants, the Canal Project in front of Moore Haven Elementary School ($950,000 grant), and the Turn Lane Project on US 27/6th Street in Moore Haven ($750,000 grant). These two grants are about to commence.

Grant funding is vital to the operation of the GCSD. Other fiscal sources that I have obtained and managed are:
§ Enhancing Education Through Technology Grant
§ Race to the Top Grant
§ Local Instructional and Improvement System Grant
§ Carl Perkins Rural and Sparsely Grants
§ Carl Perkins Secondary Grants
§ Adult Education and Family Literacy Grant
§ Florida Department of Law Enforcement Security Grants
§ Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Grants
§ Federal Impact Grant Allocations
§ National School Lunch Program ARRA Grant
§ E-rate
§ Microsoft Settlement Vouchers
§ Glades County Voter Referendum, 2008
§ Special Facility Funding – Florida Department of Education
§ Florida Department of Transportation Infrastructure Grants

I am currently involved in several professional groups that provide opportunities for our students in GCSD, some of those professional affiliations current and past are:
§ Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board, board member
§ South Central Educational Risk Management Program, board member
§ Southwest Florida Tech Prep, district representative
§ Southwest Florida Career Pathways, district representative
§ P.O.W.E.R. Buying Group (food service), board member
§ District 20 DJJ Council, board member
§ Glades County DJJ Council, chairperson
§ Florida Association of Public Transportation, member
§ Hendry/Glades United Way Distribution Team, member
§ Lutheran Services Advisory Council, member
§ Glades County Economic Development Board, member
§ Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, review member
§ Glades County Traffic Safety Council, member
§ Hendry/Glades Transportation of the Disadvantaged, vice-chairperson
§ Heartland Educational Consortium Information Technology Committee
§ Glades County Community Coalition, chairperson

Lastly, my community involvement is extremely important and over my 18 years as a Glades County resident, I have participated in many elements of the community. Some of my current and past involvements are:
§ Member of the First United Methodist Church of Moore Haven
§ Glades County Youth Athletic Association volunteer coach
§ Glades County Youth Livestock
§ Glades County 4H Archery sponsor

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hendry Deputies Busy - Drugs, Escapes, Theft

Attempted Escape of Two Prisoners Foiled

On March 5, 2012, Hendry County Deputies Clifton Green and Deputy Sheriff Nick Reed responded to the area of 850 Martin Luther King Boulevard to investigate two men hiding behind a tree.

Hendry County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a witness who reported that while working at his shop he saw two men who looked as though they were trying to hide behind a tree near the fence next to his place of employment. It was determined that the two men were Department of Correction Inmates attempting to escape while assigned to the Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) work crew. The Department of Corrections (D.O.C.) inmates were under the care, custody and control of the Department of Corrections supervisors.

When deputies arrived they located a DOC inmate issued jumpsuit with a DOC issued identification card with the name of Gabriel Mercado. Deputies found Mercado a short time later standing in the parking lot of Arely’s located at 780 W. Cowboy Way, talking on a cell phone. Deputies positively identified Mercado and took him into custody.

The witness reported to Deputies that the second suspect had been seen heading to the DOT compound.

Both Deputies returned to the DOT area where the witness positively identified the second suspect, Sidney Thelismon, as the second inmate who was present with Mercado.

Both inmates were arrested and transported to the Hendry County Jail for Processing. Thelismon was charged with Aiding Prisoner Escape and Mercado was charged with Escape. Both men are being held in the Hendry County Jail on No Bond.

Off Duty Deputy Recovers Stolen Vehicle

On March 11, 2012, off-duty Deputy Nathan Kirk came across two subjects he found in a wooded area off Wheeler Road and 20th Street in far western Hendry county who appeared to be disassembling what he believed to be a stolen vehicle. He immediately contacted Hendry County Sheriff’s Office and Deputy White responded to the scene.

Upon speaking with 19 year old Jesse Eugene Grassmuck of Robert Ave., Lehigh Acres, and a 17 year old juvenile on scene, it was determined that the vehicle had been taken from a residence on 13th Street by another man and brought to the area. While speaking with Grassmuck he did admit to Deputy White that he had a marijuana pipe and marijuana on him. Deputy White located both items and placed Grassmuck under arrest.

Lee County Deputies were notified of the abandoned vehicle as it was stolen out of their county.

Grassmuck was charged with Possession of Marijuana Under 20 Grams, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Grassmuck was released on a Notice to Appear with a mandatory court appearance of March 26, 2012.

The 17 year old juvenile was released to Lee County Deputies for investigative reasons.

Seven Clewiston And LaBelle Drug Arrests

Hendry County Narcotics Division has arrested seven individuals on narcotics related charges. After conducting undercover operations at 702 E. Concordia Avenue in Clewiston, Investigators purchased powder cocaine from 29 year old Carlos U. Diaz. Diaz was arrested and charged with Sale of Cocaine with 1000 feet of a Church. He was later released on $35,000.00 bond.

On February 24, 2012 after making a arrangements to make a narcotics buy from 35 year old Ulysses Williams, of 810 W. Seminole Avenue, in LaBelle, Hendry County Deputies arrested Williams on charges of (2) counts of Cocaine Possession and (1) count Sale of Cocaine within 1000 feet of a school. (1) count of Sale of Cocaine 1000 feet of a Church. Also arrested on the same charges was 29 year old Nakia Sharp. Both Williams and Sharp were released from the Hendry County Jail. Williams was released on a $90,000.00 bond Sharp was released on $20,000.00 bond.

On February 28, 2012, Hendry County Narcotics Investigators arrested 44 year old George Jones, Jr, on charges of (2) Counts of Possession of Drug Equipment, Possession of Cocaine With Intent to Sell within 1000’ feet of a Church, Possession of Marijuana, and County Ordinance for Open Container. Jones is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail on $19, 750.00.

On March 2, 2012, Narcotics Investigators arrested and charged 34 year old Marcellous Lenard Smith on drug charges. After selling illegal narcotics to undercover personnel, Smith was arrested and charged with Possession of Cocaine and Sale of Cocaine within 1000 feet of a church and 1000 feet of a park. Smith was released on $31,500.00 bond. Smith faces additional Contempt of Court charges.

On March 5, 2012, Hendry County Narcotics Investigators charged 24 year old Jessica Crystal Zuniga of 421 Palmetto Avenue, of LaBelle on drug charges.

Narcotic Investigators personnel received information that Zuniga was selling cocaine out of her residence on Palmetto Avenue. Investigator purchased illegal drugs from Zuniga and she was later arrested and charged with Sale of Cocaine within 1000 feet of a Park and Possession of Cocaine. Zuniga was released on $30,000.00 bond.

On March 6, 2012, Narcotics Investigators also arrested 22 year old Samantha Nicole AlmeIda, of 321 N. Isora in Clewiston, on drug charges. After making a sale to undercover officers, Almieda was arrested and charged with Sale of Cocaine and Possession of Cocaine. She is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail on $30,000.00 bond.

Florida Home Owners Get Relief Under Court Order

Largest Federal-State Mortgage Bank Settlement

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi today announced that she, 48 other attorneys general, the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice filed a complaint and proposed consent judgments requiring the
nation's five largest mortgage servicers to comply with comprehensive new mortgage loan servicing standards, to provide substantial direct consumer relief and monetary payments, and to submit to an independent monitor, as part of a $25 billion national mortgage servicing joint state-federal settlement.

Attorney General Bondi has obtained the following for Floridians:

The total value of the settlement nationally is more than $25 billion in credits and $32 billion in total dollar value; Florida will receive a total value of more than $4 billion in credits and $8 billion in total dollar value. Florida’s share is broken down as follows:

At least $3.1 billion will go toward assisting Florida’s financially troubled borrowers with loan modifications,
including reducing principal loan balances, forgiving amounts in forbearance, and providing other loss mitigation (e.g. short sales and deficiency waivers).

More than $309 million will go to providing refinancing relief to eligible Florida borrowers whose loans are currently underwater. “Underwater” loans are loans where the principal balance exceeds the market value of the home. To be eligible for refinancing, a borrower must be current on mortgage payments, have a loan-to-value ratio in excess of 100 percent, and have a current interest rate over 5.25 percent. Eligible borrowers will receive notices from the banks in the mail. If you have questions about your eligibility or about the program, you may contact your bank at the contact numbers listed below.

Approximately $171 million in payments will be available to Florida borrowers who have already lost their homes, as partial payment for injury a borrower suffered as a result of improper servicing or a defect in the foreclosure proceeding.

Qualifying borrowers are expected to receive payments in the range of $1,800 to $2,000. To be eligible, borrowers must have had a loan serviced by the settling banks and must complete a simple application and screening process.

Borrowers who receive a payment under this settlement may still be eligible for relief under the Office of the
Comptroller of the Currency review process, which is currently ongoing (for more information, see However, any sums received in the OCC review process or under a separate settlement or legal action may be reduced by any payment received under the state-federal settlement.

Today’s complaint and consent judgments against Bank of America Corporation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Company, Citigroup Inc., and Ally Financial, Inc. follow a joint federal-state investigation.
Allegations included that the servicers' misconduct "resulted in the issuance of improper mortgages, premature and unauthorized foreclosures, violation of service members' and other homeowners' rights and protections, the use of false and deceptive affidavits and other documents, and the waste and abuse of taxpayer funds."

Participating Mortgage Servicer Consumer Numbers
Bank of America: 1-877-488-7814
Citigroup: 1-866-272-4749
Chase: 1-866-372-6901
Ally/GMAC: 1-800-766-4622
Wells Fargo: 1-800-288-3212

More information will be made available as settlement programs are  implemented. The mortgage servicers are required to complete 75 percent of their consumer relief obligations within two years and 100 percent within three years.

Gas Prices Steady?

Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 0.8 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.78/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 3.8 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.75/g, according to gasoline price website

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 21.2 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 15.2 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 28.3 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 22.4 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"With a likely peak in gasoline prices still as much as two or more months away, the national average for a gallon of gasoline has already hit the bottom of the range that we projected back in January in our 2012 gasoline price forecast, which is quite concerning," said Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "While the recent pace of price increases has slowed somewhat, the spotlight will now shift to refining facilities as they start and finish maintenance- any unexpected problems arising from such may cause prices to resume a quick climb," DeHaan said.

Glades Dentist On TV Show

Glades County Health Department Dentist featured on FOX
Dr. Salvatore Colombo, Senior Dentist for the Glades County Health Department will be the featured guest on FOX-4’s Lee Pitts Live on Sunday, March 25, 2012.

 Left to right: Lee Pitts and Dr. Salvatore Colombo

They will be discussing common issues with teeth and gums and the importance of taking care of your oral health. 

They will also discuss the dental services offered at the Glades County Health Department which include: exams, cleanings, x-rays, fillings, extractions, crowns, root canals and mouth guards. Dr. Colombo sees patients of all ages.

The show will broadcast on Fox4 Sunday, March 25th at 8:30 a.m.  Dr. Colombo said “It was very exciting to have the opportunity to discuss the dental services at the Glades County Health Department. The health of your teeth and gums are a very important factor for your overall health.”

-From the Hendry-Glades Health Department

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Leldon Howard "Sonny" Backes, age 86, of LaBelle passed away March 10, 2012 in LaBelle. He was born Sept. 4, 1925 in Punta Gorda, the son of the late Odra Monroe Backes and the late Ollie Mae (Spivey) Backes. He was also preceded in death by his son, Danny Monroe Backes, grandson: Danny Monroe Backes, Jr., son-in-law: Earl Oberg and his beloved dog, Lady:

He served in the Coast Guard in WWII, was a member of VFW post#10100, LaBelle and served as a Deacon at Caloosa Baptist Church, LaBelle. Sonny loved Nascar, gardening, Hershey candy bars, Pepsi and his dog Girl.

He leaves behind his loving wife of 60 years: Beverly "Jeannie" Backes, children: Cynthia Backes Bough and husband Gordon Bough, Theresa Oberg, daughter-in-law: Doreen Backes grandchildren: Olivia Bough and husband: Bert Vonhagel, Rebecca Bough and husband, Bobby Clukey, Jason Poole, SonnyDan Backes, Jessica Backes and husband Matt Lewis, great-grandchildren: Alexia and Evan Poole, Laeda Faith Backes, Gabriella Herrera and Jacob Herrera daughter-in-love: Paula Sue Scott and sons-in-love: Lenny Gamble and Robert Kasprack.

A memorial service will be held Tuesday, March 13, 2012, 10:00 a.m at Muse Family Farm, 1633 Muse Road, LaBelle, FL with Dr. Les Morgan officiating. Cremation Arrangements by: Akin-Davis Funeral Home-LaBelle

Anna B. West, age 93, of Moore Haven passed away Thursday, March 8, 2012 in Clewiston, FL. Anna was born August 27, 1918 in Lillydale, TN. She is the daughter of the late Charles A. and the late Mary L. (Cummins) Ferguson.

She is survived by two daughters: Gloria Hughes (James) and Barbara Brown (Garry Culleny), son: Steve West, sisters: Gay Clarke (Blair) and Joyce Lengyl (Frank), daughter in law: Janet Thomas; eight grandchildren and four great Grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by two husbands: Dewey H. Thomas and Pershing Mayo West and a brother Richard H. Thomas.

The funeral service will be held 11:00 am on Monday, March 12, 2012 at New Hope Baptist Church, 1057 E. Yuan Road, Moore Haven, FL with Pastor Darryl Brannan officiating. Interment will be in Joshua Creek Cemetery, Arcadia, FL.

Calling hours will be Monday, March 12, 2012, 1 hour prior to service at New Hope Baptist Church, 1057 E. Yuan Road, Moore Haven, FL.

Patricia Ellen Yawn, age 70, of LaBelle, passed away March 8, 2012 in LaBelle. She was born August 23, 1941 in Fort Myers, the daughter of the late Jerry Everett Freeland and the late Wilma Juanita (Popwell) Freeland.

She is survived by husband of 55 years: Valda E. Yawn, daughters; Brenda Lee Lastinger, Patricia Ann Yawn and Regina Sue Smith, grandchildren; James Edward Lastinger II, Brandy Lee Miller, Valda Eugene Yawn White, Patrick Anderson White and Shannon Eugene Yawn Raiche, great-grandchildren: Emma Lauren Yawn White, Christian Michael Miller, Anna Lee Miller, Jude Michael Miller and Mercy Lee Miller, brother; James Freeland and sister; Jacqueline Jennette Cherrington.

A memorial service will be Sunday, March 11, 2012, 2:30 p.m. at Life Ministries in LaBelle with Pastor George Rodriguez and Pastor Asia Rodriguez officiating.

Patricia was a loving wife and mother and now rests in the arms of God. Cremation Arrangements by: Akin-Davis Funeral Home- LaBelle

Friday, March 09, 2012

Port LaBelle "Driving Club" Pubic Hearing Change

Developer Changing Public Hearing Date
MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Glades County Community Development Director Larry Hilton said the rezoning portion of the Port LaBelle Driving Park proposal, which is the application for Planned Development that includes Driving Club as one of it's 31 proposed scheduled uses, will not be heard next Tuesday.

The application to change the future land use from agricultural to residential will be on the agenda, however. Hilton advises that any citizen or group who may have planned a presentation about the Driving Club, would not be allowed to make a presentation at this meeting. However, if there is an objection to changing the future land use, then you can be heard at this meeting.

The public would be advised to have legal reasons for why the land use should not be changed from it's current agricultural use to residential.

The applicant, Armboz, Inc. will officially ask for the continuance of the rezoning hearing, and then at a later date to have it rescheduled to be heard. The Planning Commission only meets once monthly, on the second Tuesday at 5:05 PM. The new date would have to be advertised before placed on the agenda.

The Glades County Commission will also NOT be hearing the the land owner's request rezoning at it's April 10 meeting, because it has to be heard by the Planning Commission before it comes to the BoCC.

Gardening With Florida Native Plants In Hendry

Free Gardening Program Monday In LaBelle
LABELLE, FL. -- Do you want to learn how to create a garden using native plants? Gene McAvoy, Hendry County Extension Director and Regional Vegetable Agent will present an informative presentation “ Gardening With Native Plants” at the March Hendry-Glades Audubon meeting to be held Monday March 12 at 7 p. m. at the Cooperative Extension, Dallas Townsend Building 1085 Pratt Blvd. in LaBelle. 

This free program is open to all.

For information contact Butch Wilson (863)-983-2870 Margaret England (863) 674-0695

Hendry Kids "Kicking Butts" In March

Kids Across Hendry County are Fighting Back and Kicking Butts
LABELLE, FL. -- If you’re a cigarette smoker, chances are you started in your teens. The fact is nine out of 10 adult smokers began while in their teens, or earlier. Even today, more than 21,300 Florida youth, under age 18, become new smokers each year.

Teen smoking has declined in recent years. However, 15.4 percent of high school students and 10.2 percent of middle school students in Hendry County reported current cigarette use in 2010.

To help prevent youth tobacco use, Hendry Tobacco-Free Partnership and Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida are speaking up and taking action. In observance of Kick Butts Day on March 21, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids national day of activism that empowers youth to fight back against Big Tobacco, Hendry Students Working Against Tobacco will he conducting tobacco butts clean-up at local parks, rivers and lakes. This event will highlight how cigarette butts are just as much a liter problem as bottles, cans and other rubbish.

”400, 000 Americans die every year from tobacco-related causes,” said Melissa Franco, President of Clewiston High School SWAT. ”The tobacco industry addicts more than 1,000 youth every day and one in three youth will die prematurely because of their tobacco use. Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world. We know how to win the fight against tobacco. Science and experience have identified proven cost-effective strategies to prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke." 

On March 21, students across Hendry County will conduct several events for the national Kick Butts Day campaign. Contact the Valarie James at the health department for more information or to volunteer for this event. If you are a smoker and are ready to quit you can contact Angelica Pena at Hendry Regional Medical Center for local tobacco cessation services.

”Tobacco is a very addictive and potentially dangerous drug” said Sherry Elliott, Hendry Tobacco-Free Partnership Chairperson, ”For years, the tobacco industry has marketed toward youth and have always considered them as replacement smokers. The average age that youth in Hendry Countybegin using tobacco is 12, which is middle school. Once a person starts using tobacco, it takes hard work and a consistent plan to break the habit. We want all youth in Hendry County to safe and healthy environments to play and have fun.”

Four Historical Groups Join For Seminole Program

LABELLE, FL. -- The LaBelle Heritage Museum will partner with the Seminole Tribe's Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, Edison State College's Hendry/Glades Center, the Clewiston Museum, and the Glades County Historical Society in the second annual Seminole Museum outreach program at Edison State College's Hendry/Glades Center in LaBelle on Wednesday, March 21, starting at 6:30 p.m. 

The highlight of the event will be a presentation on The Indian Removal Act of 1830 given by Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki's Pedro Zepeda. LaBelle Heritage Museum will have an exhibit at the event as will both the Clewiston Museum and the Glades County Historical Society. 

The public is welcome, and light refreshments will be served following Pedro Zepeda's presentation. Edison State College's Hendry/Glades Center is located at 1092 Cowboy Way in LaBelle.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Glades County 2012 Political Candidate List

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Glades county political candidates are ramping up for the 2012 election season. Here's the latest list of candidates registered with the Glades County Supervisor of Elections office in Moore Haven including phone numbers and email addresses of each candidate where available:

County Judge:
Jack Lundy 946-1699

Stuart Whiddon 946-1366
Robert A. "Tony" Wilson 227-0315

Clerk of Court:
Sandra Brown 946-1279
George Humphries  946-0201

Property Appraiser:
William J. Bischel 239-989-9201
Michelle Brunetto 612-0030
Lorie Ward  673-1707

Tax Collector:
Gail Jones 946-0647

Supervisor of Elections:
Holly Whiddon 946-6005

County Commissioner District 1
Dennis Griffin 946-2980
Butch Jones 946-1616
Weston Pryor 673-0117

County Commissioner District 3
Paul Beck 946-0455
Cannon Eley 228-6981

County Commissioner District 5
Bob Giesler 763-3983

Superintendent of Schools:
Scott Bass 227-0753
Janice Brown 946-2585

Corps Of Engineers Releasing Lake Water

CLEWISTON, FL. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has announced it will continue releasing water from Lake Okeechobee, sending additional fresh water into the Caloosahatchee Estuary.

The new release began today (Mar. 8). The Corps is making the release in a pulse-like manner to mimic a rainfall event, similar to releases that began on December 16. The target flow to the Caloosahatchee Estuary for this release is an average of 450 cubic feet per second (cfs) over a 10-day period, as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79) east of Fort Myers. The 10-day pulse release will allow relatively larger discharge rates du ring the first half of the 10-day period.

This will be the third 10-day pulse release since February 17. These releases are expected to help reduce impacts and degradation of aquatic resources due to high salinities.

"The 10-day pulse releases are helping to reduce salinities in the Caloosahatchee estuary," said John Kilpatrick, Chief of the Jacksonville District’s Multi-Project Branch, which has oversight of water management at the lake, "we are hoping to adequately observe and record the response of the ecosystem to this 10-day release pattern to learn what we can to provide a more consistent operation."

Today, the lake stage is 12.83 feet.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

LaBelle's Judge Sloan - What's Going On Here?

Bryan Boyle Getting Justice In Hendry County Court System?

LABELLE, FL.-- A look over County Judge James D. Sloan's sentencing of one LaBelle repeat offender from 1993 to 2005 provides some clues about criminal activity and punishment in western Hendry county, and how taxpayers bear the cost for jail incarceration, court personnel, and tax payer provided defense attorneys, as crime increases.

(Photo: Hendry County Judge James D. Sloan)

Bryan Scott Boyle, a repeat offender of traffic laws, violation of probation, and an alleged drug user has been before Judge Sloan's court maybe more than anyone since 1993. And has received more than one "second chance" to clean up his act.

Note: Bryan Boyle released from Hendry jail Monday, March 5th on $4,000 bond on felony charges of possession of of drug equipment and methamphetamine. Boyle was arrested December 28, 2011. The State has filed a motion to increase the bond. Judge Sloan released him to house arrest on February 13th, but he was re-arrested three days later for violating the terms of his house arrest.

Boyle has an official arrest and driving record going back to January 5, 1993 when he was charged with careless driving. In February he paid the court $57 for that infraction. In April, 1993 he paid $27 for a seat belt violation.

In January 1995 Boyle was back in court for possession of alcohol by a minor and contempt of court. Judge Sloan withheld adjudication. Boyle paid the court $328.75.

In March 1995 Sloan and Boyle met in court again, this time for driving under the influence. Boyle was given a suspended license, his vehicle impounded for 10 days and drivers school mandated. Also, Sloan put him on 9 months reporting probation and 50 hours community service.

In August, he was violated for probation violation, he didn't finish traffic school. He posted a $985 cash bond to get out of jail.  In November he failed to appear in court. He was arrested again and in December, 1995 paid the court $730. In January, 1996 Boyle paid the court another $125. In May, 1996 he finally completed DUI School.

In June 1999 Sloan dismissed a No Fishing License charge against Boyle.

In July 2000 Boyle was the subject of a Domestic Violence case. Judge Keith Cary handled that case.

In October 2000 Boyle was summoned to court again, this time for child support and contempt of court. Judge Cary again handled this one.

In November 2000 Sloan and Boyle met again in court, this time for reckless driving. Sloan let Boyle out of jail on $201 bond. Boyle didn't show up for court and his bond was forfeited. Boyle plead no contest to the charges, but Sloan withheld adjudication. Boyle paid $401 to the court.

In November 2000 Boyle and Sloan got together again in Court, this time for driving with no tag. Sloan again withheld adjudication and gave him 60 days probation.

In January 2001 Boyle was again before Sloan, this time on an animal control violation. An unknown fee was assessed.

May 2002, Sloan greets Boyle again in court for battery and criminal mischief charges. Sloan sets bond to get out of jail at $850. Sloan withholds adjudication on criminal mischief charge and the state drops the battery charge. Boyle pays $151 court costs.

In June Boyle gets arrested for driving with a suspended license in Clewiston.  He gets probation again from Sloan and once again fails to follow the sentence, this time by not paying a $426 fine, and is arrested again. He gets out, and in January violated probation again and is arrested.

In April 2003, he fails to appear again in court and is arrested again. In August, Boyle pays Sloan's court $730 and is free.

Sloan dismisses a failure to obey traffic device charge against Boyle in July, 2002.

September, 2003 Boyle is stopped and doesn't have his driver's license, is not wearing seat belt and gets ticketed. Sloan suspends his license when fine of $64 was not paid.  Boyle finally pays the fine in March, 2004.

March 2004 Boyle charged with permitting use of vehicle with defective equipment. Sloan withholds adjudication and reduced court costs from $48 to $5. Boyle doesn't pay and his license suspended in May. He finally pays the court in July.

He's also arrested in March for driving with suspended license and contempt of court. Sloan assesses his costs at $473. Boyle again doesn't pay and is arrested again in May. Boyle pays $606 in July to the court.

In April, 2004 Boyle is arrested for driving with suspended license and given six months probation by Sloan. In December he's found guilty of violation of probation. Boyle pays $125 in costs in January 2005.

In May 2004, he's charged with an expired tag (more than 6 months) and assessed $48 by Sloan. Boyle once again doesn't pay and his license in suspended in January 2005. He doesn't pay the fine until October, 2005, almost a year and a half after the violation.

February, 2005 Boyle is charged with no insurance. Sloan fines him $71.50. License suspended when he doesn't pay. Boyle pays in October.

He's also charged with no tag. Sloan sets fine at $71.50 but two weeks later reduced it to zero and dismisses case.

He's ticketed again in February for habitual driving without a license and found guilty and given six months probation and fined $505 by Sloan. It has not been paid back yet according to the Clerk's online docket.

He's arrested again in March 2005 for habitual driving with suspended license and the case is assigned to Judge Frederick Hardt and later Judge Mark Steinbeck. He's gets out of jail on $1,000 bond. In May Boyle's guilty and gets two years probation and $570 fine and costs.

In June he's arrested again for violation of probation and gets out of jail on $5,000 bond. Judge Edward Volz gets the case but in August Judge Sloan ultimately gets the case. Fines and costs are assessed at $595 but only $29.50 has been paid.

Sloan "waived" the court costs and fine to a "civil lien", which means a judgment is filed for the amount, but it is not in his court jurisdiction to collect anymore. A collection agency is hired by the clerk of the court to collect civil liens, adding a 40% fee.

So far, it has not been collected from Boyle and the amount due is now $791.

More Bryan Boyle Arrest Stories

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Hendry Sheriff Arrests Five In Port LaBelle

Five Arrested In Port LaBelle
LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Deputies arrested four men and one woman in Port LaBelle on drugs and loitering charges on Saturday night, March 3, 2012. 

A man who was visiting a friend on South Edgewater Circle in Port Labelle saw three individuals dressed in black walking around the residence. When the suspects saw him one of them confronted him and then all three fled on foot. A second resident in the neighborhood also saw the suspects and contacted law enforcement.

Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden along with several deputies arrived on scene and responded to the residence of 4103 South Edgewater Circle where witnesses saw the suspects run into. 

Sheriff Whidden made contact with 21 year old Aron Flores, of 4103 S. Edgewater Circle, and asked who was inside the residence. Flores stated he and his girlfriend 19 year old Brook Shaknaitis-Nickels. Flores allowed the Sheriff and other deputies to enter the home. 

 A quick search revealed that 19 year old Adrian Flores was hiding in the bedroom closet, while a 17 year old juvenile was found hiding in the shower. Deputies later found 19 year old Jose Barrientez, who held an active warrant for burglary, hiding the attic.

A short time later a search warrant was obtained for the residence located at 4103 S. Edgewater Circle. Deputies searched the residence for additional evidence and found Marijuana in several locations of the home along with drug paraphernalia and marijuana plants that were being grown in the patio area.. 

Also located was a white Microsoft Xbox360, tools, a jewelry box and jewelry and a handgun, later found to have been reported stolen from a home in the Port LaBelle area.

Brook Shaknaitis-Nickels 19 years of age, was arrested and charged with Obstruction after it was found that she was untruthful when she was asked if there were any individuals hiding in the bathroom. Shaknaitis-Nickels was released on March 4, 2012 on $1,000.00 bond.

Aron Flores, 21 years of age, was arrested and charged with Resisting Officer, Producing Marijuana and marijuana possession. Flores was later released on March 4, on $3,500 bond. Flores has a previous arrest record including charges of possession on alcohol under 21 years of age, passing counterfeit instrument, and marijuana possession.

Adrian Flores also of 4103 S. Edgewater Circle, was arrested and charged with Marijuana Possession, Marijuana Production, and Loitering. Flores was later released on $3,000.00 bond.

A 17-year old juvenile was also arrested and charged with Loitering and was later transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

A fifth man, Jose Barrientez was arrested and charged with Loitering and Marijuana Possession. Barrientez also faces additional charges of Burglary, Theft, Criminal Mischief and Grand Theft of a Firearm. He is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail on $66,500.00 bond. He has a prior criminal record.

The home is owned by Rufugio and Marta Flores.

Moore Haven Lock Modification Delayed

Business Owners Object To Closure During Tourist Season
MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The US Army Corps of Engineers has postponed the closure date of the Moore Haven Lock after taking into consideration additional concerns expressed by local business owners.

The lock will now be closed effective June 11 to install the Manatee Protection System (MPS) on the gates that allows safe passage by manatees. The adjustment comes after local business owners expressed additional concerns about the lock being closed during the height of boating season on the Okeechobee Waterway and the resulting economic impacts. The work on the lock is expected to continue for approximately eight weeks.

"Finding the optimal time to close down the lock requires a balancing act between risks and impacts," said Jacksonville District Commander Col. Alfred Pantano Jr. "While there is no way to find a time that will be preferred by all, we do believe that we have found the time that will allow the lock to remain open during boating season, while also allowing work to be completed prior to the height of hurricane season."

Installation of the MPS is part of the Manatee Pass Gates project. The primary goal of the project is to safeguard Florida’s endangered manatees at water control structures and navigation locks by modifying these structures with a MPS. Using a set of acoustic transmitters and receivers, the MPS detects the West Indian manatee and prevents the gates from closing and harming the protected animal.

Above-ground fixtures have already been installed at Moore Haven Lock. The remaining work includes dewatering the lock, installing the M PS to the lock gates, testing the system, and re-watering the lock.

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Eudelio Roman Ferrer, age 93, of Clewiston passed away Sunday, February 26, 2012 at home in Clewiston. Eudelio was born February 28, 1918 in Cuba. He is the son of the late Benigno and the late Elena (Hernandez) Ferrer.

He is survived by son; Eudelio Ferrer (Migdalia), grandchildren; Emilia, Victor and Eudelio, Great Grandchildren ; Victor, Gabriela, Frank and Chiara.

The funeral service was held 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 28 at Woodlawn Park Cemetery South, 11600 SW 112th Street, Miami, FL. Interment will be in Woodlawn Park Cemetery South, Miami on Tuesday, February 28 at 10:00 am.

Calling hours were Sunday, February 26 from 07:00 pm - 10:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, 438 E. Sugarland Hwy., Clewiston, FL.