Sunday, September 30, 2012

Vote Robin Knight McLean - Glades Appraiser

Glades County's Mystery Lady

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Who is the mystery lady of Glades County Public Library? Where did this painting come from? Who donated it to the Glades County library and why?

This painting was recently found in a storage area of the Glades County library and no one knows when it was donated. 

The writing on the back of the painting reads: “Lillian G. Magee in her library. Painted by her father J. C. Magee”
The picture is in relatively poor condition, obviously deterioration from age. It will soon be 100 years old. 

The history section of the library would appreciate any information that you might be able to provide about the lady in this picture.

Mystery Solver John Hollingsworth found this about the painting: Sold At Auction

Caster Graduates From Military Institute

LABELLE, FL. -- Air Force Airman 1st Class Devin J. Caster has graduated from the Cryptologic Linguist Specialist Course at the Defense Language Institute, Foreign Language Center, Presidio of Monterey, Monterey, Calif.

The course is designed to provide knowledge and skills necessary to perform at the apprentice level in speaking and translating a foreign language. Students are trained, sustained, and evaluated in foreign language skills under the guidelines of the Defense Foreign Language Program, which provides the Department of Defense and other Federal agencies with linguists fully capable of supporting U.S. national interests worldwide.
Caster is a linguist assigned to the 311th Training Squadron at Presidio Of Monterey, Calif. He has served in the military for two years.
He is the son of David J. and Janet A. Caster of Fort Denaud Road, Labelle. Caster received a bachelor of science in 2008 from the University of South Florida, Tampa.

Kid's Day Again In LaBelle

LABELLE, FL. -- It’s time once again for the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle to present Kiwanis Kid’s Day. The October 13th event starts at 10 am and will finish up around 2 pm. There will be free popcorn, free snow cones, free candy, as well as free play time in bounce houses.

There will be lots of games for kids to play and Mary the clown will be in the park making everyone smile. The Hendry Sheriff’s Office Explorers will once again put on the bike rodeo. Showtime Cloggers will perform in the morning and Hendry Sheriff Whidden and his Band will provide some lively music throughout the day. 

There will be lots of area agencies, businesses and community partners set up in the Barron Park to provide fun things and educational information for kids and their families. 

Activities For Kid's Day:
10:00 a.m Opening Ceremony
10:15 am Showtime Cloggers Performance
10:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Entertainment – Sheriff Steve Whidden & Band
10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Raffle tickets for a chance to win a Girl’s bike, Boy’s Bike, and Kid’s Trike
Around 1pm Relay Race Contest (Fastest—Winner will receive a prize)
Around 1pm Hula Hoop Contest (Longest Time --Winner will receive a prize)
10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Bike Rodeo – Hendry County Sheriff’s Office & Explorers
Be on the look-out for Smokey Bear, McGruff the Crime Dog, Crash Dummies, Dare Monster Truck
At the Food Pavilion,  Kiwanis will be selling: Hotdogs-$0.50, Pizza-$1.00, Nachos-$1.00, Chips-$0.50, Sodas, Tea and Bottled Water-$0.50

Lorie Ward For Glades Property Appraiser

Trail Hikers Group Meeting In Moore Haven

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The Fisheating Creek Florida Trail Sub-Chapter will meet Tuesday October 9th at 7 p.m. at the Glades County Historical Society’s Westergaard House located at 270 Avenue L, Moore Haven, FL.

Everyone is invited to attend the program, "Wild About Riverside Retreat." Learn about camping, programs and Wilderness First Aid being offered at the Retreat. Become a founding member of this new chapter serving hikers in Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation, Buckhead Ridge, Clewiston, Felda, LaBelle, Lakeport, Montura, Moore Haven, Muse, Ortona, Palmdale and Pioneer. (Glades and Hendry Counties)

The Fisheating Creek Chapter, organized in January 2010, is overseen by the Alligator Amblers.

The FEC/FTA Inaugural hike was held February 6, 2010 where twenty-one people assembled at the trailhead at Alvin Ward Boat Ramp and Park, Moore Haven, FL for a walk on the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail.

The chapter plans to offer a variety of activities including hikes, paddling, camping, and wildlife viewing as well as exploring nature-based and historical sites in Hendry and Glades Counties. Members and guests have been instrumental in blazing the Rock Lake Trail in partnership with FWC and participate in trail clean-ups during hikes on the Tree Swing Trail at Fisheating Creek Outpost.

Directions to Westergaard House: From US27 in Moore Haven, turn at the courthouse. Go 3 blocks to Avenue L, Turn left and go several blocks to brown house with white trim. Contact: Margaret England 863-517-0202 to carpool from LaBelle.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Timothy G. Pattison, age 52, of Clewiston, FL passed away September 23, 2012 in Clewiston, FL. He was born Dec. 7, 1959 in Williston, FL, to the late Samuel Ollie Pattison, Jr. and Annie Louise (Freyermuth) Holden.

He is survived by three daughters: Rachelle Pattison, Chelsie Pattison, Gy'Leigh Pattison, mother Annie Louise Holden, sisters: Teresa (Kevin) Lee, Samantha (Matt) Wooddell, Ellen Lewis (James Holden), Kathy (Gary) Dixon, the first grandbaby is on the way, godchildren: Haley Snead, R.C. Lawrence, nieces, nephews and a host of other family members. He was preceded in death by his father Samuel Ollie Pattison, Jr., son Timothy Gene Pattison, sister Beverly Phillips, step-father Lonnie Gene Holden and other family members.

Funeral services will be held Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Dr. Patrick Lucey PhD officiating. Interment will be Sunday, September 30, 2012 in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston.

Visitation will be Saturday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Construction On Hendry Roads Next Week

LABELLE, FL. -- Road construction will be ongoing at the following locations next week:

US 27: From Palm Beach County Line to CR 835: Maintenance permit project --- Permittee crews are installing gas line in this area. Motorists should expect lane closure in the outside north bound lane for the rest of this month.

SR 80: From CR 833 to east of US 27: Construction project --- Work expands two-miles of SR 80 to four lanes from County Road 833 to east of US 27. Crews are relocating utilities on the westbound shoulder. Crews are constructing ponds and building new bridges. No lane closures are expected at this time, but motorists should be aware of construction traffic along the roadway. Drivers should pay attention to traffic signs and barricades throughout the construction project, stay alert, and use caution in the work zone. Estimated completion is spring 2014. The contractor is C.W. Roberts Contracting, Inc.

SR 80/US 27: Intersection improvements: Construction project --- Crews are modifying the intersection with construction of an overpass for SR 80 traffic eastbound to US 27 northbound and for US 27 traffic northbound to SR 80 westbound. The project also realigns US 27. Crews also will widen approximately 3/4 mile of SR 80 to four lanes approaching the intersection, add a traffic signal at the overpass, and install lighting at the interchange. Work currently involves placing fill dirt, installing drainage, and constructing walls for the new overpass. Northbound traffic is shifted to the west onto new temporary lanes. The speed limit on US 27 is 55 mph in the construction area. Motorists are advised to be aware of construction vehicles entering and leaving the work zone and to use caution driving in this area. Project completion is expected at the end of 2013. The contractor is Ajax Paving Industries of Florida, Inc.

SR 80: From Birchwood Parkway to Dalton Lane: Construction project --- Work begins to expand five miles of SR 80 to four lanes from Birchwood Parkway to Dalton Lane. Crews are placing construction signs and erosion control throughout the project. This work takes about two weeks, weather permitting. No lane closures are expected at this time, but motorists should be aware of construction traffic along the roadway. Drivers should pay attention to traffic signs and barricades throughout the construction project, stay alert, and use caution in the work zone. Estimated completion is summer 2014. The contractor is C.W. Roberts Contracting, Inc.

SR 29: From State Road 80 to County Road 731 (Whidden Road): Construction project --- Work is underway on this 1.4 mile resurfacing and improvement project. Crews will place new asphalt on SR 29, build sidewalk and replaces signals. In addition, bicycle/pedestrian railing will be installed on the bridge. Guardrail placement, drainage, milling and resurfacing and temporary barrier wall is being installed.Motorists can expect daytime lane closures from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are advised to be aware of construction vehicles entering and leaving the work zone and to use caution driving in this area.Project completion is expected in fall 2012. The contractor is Ajax Paving Industries of Florida, Inc.

More Fat People In Rural Areas

Forty Percent Of Rural Residents Are Obese Says New Study

The occurrence of obesity in rural areas of the U.S. is significantly higher than in urban areas, a new study from University of Florida researchers and colleagues has found. 

Forty percent of rural residents are obese, compared with 33% of urban residents. 

There was no difference in physical activity between the rural and urban participants, but rural participants consumed a much higher percentage of their daily calories from fat. That finding is in keeping with reports from previous rural health studies that heavy meals and limited access to healthy foods are common in rural areas. A diet with a higher percentage of calories from fat was the strongest determinant of obesity and a major contributor to the obesity disparity between rural and urban Americans.

The study is the first to use body mass index, or BMI, classification based on researcher-measured height and weight to compare rates of obesity in rural and urban adults. Previous studies relied on participants’ self-reports of height and weight, which led to too-low estimates of obesity. 

The findings appear in the fall issue of the Journal of Rural Health, published by the National Rural Health Association.

Among rural participants, several factors were associated with higher rates of obesity, including being married, being African-American, or consuming a higher daily calorie intake or a higher percentage of calories from fat. 

Urban dwellers were more likely to be obese if they were older, African-American, had less education, were inactive and consumed a higher percentage of calories from fat.

Seminole Tribe "Living Village"

Hidden Treasure In Rural Hendry County

CLEWISTON, FL. -- The Seminole Tribe Of Florida's Museum at the Big Cypress Reservation in Hendry County, Florida is one of the least discovered treasures of Southwest Florida.

(Video: The museum's boardwalk through a Cypress Swamp and the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum)

The tribe's Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki museum and tribal reservation is located southwest of Clewiston, Florida. Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki means "A place to learn and remember."

The museum, 15 years old now, was financed primarily through earnings from the Seminole Tribe's gaming ventures in Hollywood, Florida, Immokalee in Collier county, and on the Brighton Reservation in Glades county.

The museum is an excellent showcase of the tribe's history, and adjoining it is a mile-long well marked boardwalk through a Cypress Swamp leading to a "living village" where traditional craft work is presented by tribal members, a "ceremonial grounds" and a "clan pavilion."

The museum includes several galleries dedicated to traveling exhibits on Seminole and Native American history and culture, a library, and theater showing a tribally produced film "We Seminoles."

The Tribe's Casinos Around The World

The tribe also operates gambling facilities in the Tampa area as well as owns 175 Hard Rock Cafes, Hotels and Casinos around the world in 53 countries. The largest is in Orlando.

To win approval for "Vegas Style" table games at the tribe's casinos, which were barred under Florida law, the Seminole Tribe paid the State of Florida $100 million as part of a 25-year pact signed by Governor Charlie Crist.

On July 3, 2008, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the governor's agreement was unconstitutional, but table gambling games continue to operate because the Federal Department of the Interior approved the now-invalid pact with the state.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rental Computers Take Secret Photos

Secretly Installed Software on Rented Computers Collected Information, Took Pictures of Consumers in Their Homes, Tracked Consumers' Locations

Seven rent-to-own companies and a software design firm have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they spied on consumers using computers that consumers rented from them, capturing screenshots of confidential and personal information, logging their computer keystrokes, and in some cases taking webcam pictures of people in their homes, all without notice to, or consent from, the consumers.

The FTC named DesignerWare, LLC, a company that licensed software to rent-to-own stores to help them track and recover rented computers. The FTC also reached settlements with seven companies that operate rent-to-own stores and licensed software from DesignerWare, including franchisees of Aaron’s, ColorTyme, and Premier Rental Purchase. 

The software design firm collected the data that enabled rent-to-own stores to track the location of rented computers without consumers’ knowledge according to the FTC complaint. The settlements bar the companies from any further illegal spying, from activating location-tracking software without the consent of computer renters and notice to computer users, and from deceptively collecting and disclosing information about consumers.

“An agreement to rent a computer doesn’t give a company license to access consumers’ private emails, bank account information, and medical records, or, even worse, webcam photos of people in the privacy of their own homes,” said Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC. “The FTC orders today will put an end to their cyber spying.”

“There is no justification for spying on customers. These tactics are offensive invasions of personal privacy,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

According to the FTC, DesignerWare’s software contained a “kill switch” the rent-to-own stores could use to disable a computer if it was stolen, or if the renter failed to make timely payments. DesignerWare also had an add-on program known as “Detective Mode” that purportedly helped rent-to-own stores locate rented computers and collect late payments. DesignerWare’s software also collected data that allowed the rent-to-own operators to secretly track the location of rented computers, and thus the computers’ users.

When Detective Mode was activated, the software could log key strokes, capture screen shots and take photographs using a computer’s webcam, the FTC alleged. It also presented a fake software program registration screen that tricked consumers into providing their personal contact information.

Data gathered by DesignerWare and provided to rent-to-own stores using Detective Mode revealed private and confidential details about computer users, such as user names and passwords for email accounts, social media websites, and financial institutions; Social Security numbers; medical records; private emails to doctors; bank and credit card statements; and webcam pictures of children, partially undressed individuals, and intimate activities at home, according to the FTC.

The agency also alleged that DesignerWare’s use of geolocation tracking software without first obtaining permission from the computers’ renters and notifying the computers’ users was unfair and illegal. It charged that providing the rent-to-own operators the means to break the law was unfair, and providing the fake registration forms to obtain consumer data was deceptive.

The proposed settlement orders will ban the software company and the rent-to-own stores from using monitoring software like Detective Mode and will ban them from using deception to gather any information from consumers. They also will prohibit the use of geolocation tracking without consumer consent and notice, and bar the use of fake software registration screens to collect personal information from consumers. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Joyce A. Orlando, age 71, of Clewiston, passed away September 23, 2012 in Riviera Beach.
She was born Oct. 23, 1940 in Altoona, PA, to the late Ralph and the late Hazel Peachman.

Survivors include four daughters: Michelle Orlando, Brenda Pattison, Sheila Orlando, Heather Jackson, grandchildren; Peter DiDiglia, Marie DiFiglia, Christina DiFiglia, James Constantino, Jenna Simone and Julia Dodge, brother; Donnie Peachman.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Mary Katheryn Jones, a daughter given by the Lord to Bayard and Sarah Kennedy, was born in Clermont, Florida on July 22, 1919, and at 93 years of age went to be with Jesus in Heaven, Friday night September 21, 2012 at Hope Hospice in Lehigh, Florida.

Mary Katheryn, also known as "Kittie" to her friends and family, was surrounded by her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all those who loved her until her final moments on this earth. 

Loving mother, fun and doting grandmother, Mary Katheryn gave joy to those around her. Mary Katheryn met her late husband Thomas Jones in Boca Grande, Florida, where the two fell in love and were married in 1940. They were blessed with two sons, Tommy and Bob, and two daughters, Joyce and Patti. 

Thomas and Mary Katheryn lived most of their married life in Clewiston, Florida where they served their church and community, when Thomas went to be with the Lord in 1979. They were married for 38 years. 

Mary Katheryn never remarried, telling her family and friends that she had "had the best and once you've had the best you just can't settle for anything less". After being separated by death for more than 32 years, today we rejoice that she is once again reunited with Thomas and with her two sons, Tommy and Bob.
Forever remembered by those who love her, Mary Katheryn is survived by her two daughters and their husbands, Joyce and Tom Conner of LaBelle, Florida, and Patti and Allan Goulet of Melbourne, Florida , daughter-in-law Mary Ann Jones of Clewiston, Florida, and daughter-in-law Cecelia Jones of Jacksonville. 

Mary Katheryn is loved by 15 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Grandchildren include: Tom (Julie) Conner, Joel (Stephanie) Conner, Kristen (Jesse) Kroll, Warren (Melissa) Jones, Rachel (Ryan) Edmonds, Andrew (Lindsey) Jones, Jeremy Goulet, Lauren Goulet, Joshua Goulet, Lisa (Tim) Howard, Caroline Russ, Kathy Thomas, Michele DeBatte, Jamie (Teri) Russ, and Michael Russ, niece Elizabeth Hussey, nephews, Dean Yonkman, Dale Yonkman, Bruce Yonkman, Dr. Wallace Kernodle. Dr. Doug Kernodle and Neil Kernodle. 

Preceding her in death were husband Thomas Hawkins Jones, two sons Thomas H. Jones III and Robert Bayard Jones, brother Bayard Warren Kennedy, and one great grandson Bryson Cole Jones.
There will be a service to celebrate the life of Mary Katheryn on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at the First Baptist Church in Clewiston, Florida. A time of visiting with her family will start at 10:00 AM followed by the service at 10:30. The family would like to thank all those who loved and helped take care of Mary Katheryn during the past several years as her health declined.

Luther Lee McCall, age 89, of Palmdale, passed away September 19, 2012 in Sebring.

He was born July 18, 1923 in Logan, WV, to the late Lee and the late Florence (Fleeger) McCall. He served during WWII war in the Army from 24FEB43 to 09Oct45.

Survivors include two sons: Luther Lee McCall, Larry Lee McCall and three daughters: Diane Davis of Palmdale, FL, Toni Woodcock, Sandy Platt, twelve grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren, one brother Warnie McCall and one sister: Madelyn Kearns

Graveside funeral services were held Friday, September 21, 2012 at 10:00 am at Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven with Tony Alvarez along with the members of the American Legion Post 130. Interment was Friday, September 21, 2012 in Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven.

Ross Arrested On Drug Charges In Clewiston

Cocaine, Weapon And More Found With Convicted Felon

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Investigators conducted a search warrant at 729 Alabama Ave., in Clewiston, Florida on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at approximately 8:00 am. Inside the residence they found 36 year old David Ross.

During the search Narcotics Investigators discovered 192 grams of powder cocaine packaged for sale, approximately 22 Ecstasy tablets, drug packaging material, a handgun and ammunition, drug paraphernalia and personal information belonging to numerous individuals that may have been used in tax fraud and identity theft cases. 

Also found were 8 counterfeit fifty dollar bills, $1,569 in US currency, and miscellaneous police equipment.

During search narcotic investigators located a stolen Dewalte 18 volt cordless impact wrench and a Raptor 700 four-wheeler inside Ross’ vehicle.

David Ross was arrested and charged with Trafficking Cocaine, Possession of a Weapon and Ammunition by a convicted Felon, Stolen Property, Possession of Synthetic Narcotic within 1000 feet of a Public Park, Possession of Cocaine within 1000 feet of a Public Park, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Dealing / Possession of Stolen Property. Ross is currently being held on $142,500.00 bond.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fraud Possible In Florida Absentee Votes?

Absentee Votes In Florida Manipulated?
LABELLE, FL. -- Although the Florida legislature requires everyone who votes early to be listed online, there's an exception for absentee voter's ballots, leaving open the possibility of absentee ballot fraud.

Some say absentee voting is much more prone to fraud because the ballots pass through many hands before getting to the county supervisor of elections office. Candidates, political parties and committees can get absentee ballots and even make use of "brokers" to get those ballots to individuals.

According to a story in the Tampa Bay Times, two ballot brokers in Hialeah, Florida were arrested for allegedly filling out ballots for others. In Madison county, the county elections supervisor, a school board member, and seven others were charged with voter fraud resulting from absentee ballots in a 2010 election.

More and more are voting by mail, about one-third in the latest primary, forcing candidates to adapt to find and reach those voters. Traditionally, Republicans use absentee ballots, while Democrats use early voting.

But records of names of those who use absentee ballots are not released to the public until after the election, while early voter's names are immediately available to the public.

Here's where the names of early voters and absentee voters can be found online for the 2012 primary:

Early Voting Lists By Florida County

Glades County - August 2012 Primary Early Voters

Hendry County - August 2012 Primary Early Voters

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Patriarch Robert "Bob" Ellsworth Carson age 87, of Alva passed away at 5:10 a.m. on Friday, September 21, 2012 in Hope Healthcare Services of Lehigh Acres, Florida.

Bob was born on August 1, 1925 in Riverside, California to the late Mr. Cleo Carl and Mrs. Leah Belle Peterson Carson. He married Debra Carson, she survives. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He was also the Executive Director of the Tri-County Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors Association and editor of the newsletter entitled Happiest Travelers. 

He has been a resident of Alva since 1981. He proudly served his country in the United States Army in Central Europe (he was also in the unit the liberated Buchenwald Concentration Camp) as a Staff Sergeant from January 1944 to October 1946; receiving the America Campaign Medal, European African Middle East Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal and Army of Occupation Medal.

Bob is survived by his wife; Debra, sons; G. Daniel Carson and William Carson, daughters; Colette Carson Royston, Nicole Carson DeGomez and Michelle Carson Dammer and Scott, fifteen grandchildren, four great grandchildren, and one sister; Carla Lordan.

Celebration of Life service will be held at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, September 26, 2012 in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints located at 315 Richmond Avenue North, Lehigh Acres, Florida. Interment with military rites by the United States Army will follow at 2:00 P.M. Wednesday, September 26, 2012 in Sarasota National Cemetery located at 9810 State Road 72, Sarasota, Florida.

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Raymond Howard Snyder, age 85, of LaBelle, passed away Sept. 15, 2012 in Cape Coral. He was born Dec. 24, 1926 in Miami, FL, to the late Oscar L. Snyder and the late Lucille Elizabeth (Royal) Snyder. He was also preceded in death by four brothers.
Raymond served in the Merchant Marine during WWII. Howard was an avid hunter and outdoorsman who spent the last thirty-six years of his life with his wife Golda living on the edge of Sadie Cypress Swamp in a house they called the "Cabin." He was a carpenter by trade and built several houses in the Immokalee area including the home where he and Golda lived and raised their daughters. He was a resident of Immokalee for fifty years and of LaBelle for the past three years.
Survivors include his wife of forty-seven years: Golda Pauline(Skipper) Snyder, daughters: Karen (Waddy) Thompson, Laverne Massey and Gerri Lester, grandchildren: Brad Justice, Steven Justice, Robbie Massey, Ryan Massey; Emily Lester DeVaney and Erin Lester and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held Sat., Sept. 22, 2012, 11:00 a.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in LaBelle with Chaplain Bob Moore officiating.

Craig A. Rutter, age 49, of Clewiston, passed away September 12, 2012 in Loxahatchee, FL.
He was born Feb. 25, 1963 in El Paso, Texas to the late Gene A. Rutter and Hazel A. (Smith) Rutter.

He is survived by his mother Hazel A. Rutter and sister Rebecca Curtis.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 6:00 pm at First Christian Church, Clewiston. Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Gas Prices Still Higher Than Year Ago

29 Cents Higher Than Last Year

LABELLE, FL. -- Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 4.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.74/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has fallen 4.3 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.81/g, according to gasoline price website

Prices in Hendry and Glades county were between $3.83 and $3.89, still higher than Florida and National prices.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 29.0 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 1.7 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 8.8 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 29.0 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"The national average has begun to drop nicely over the last week, and while it certainly doesn't feel like much, it is noteworthy," said Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "Oil prices were all over the map last week, closing in on $100/bbl one day and dropping to $92/bbl later in the week. I've probably had more double takes watching oil prices in the last week than I've had all summer. Watching oil prices last week was as wild as watching the Detroit Tigers try to take a division lead over the White Sox," DeHaan said.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Non-Profits Meet With Health Department

Seeking Solutions For Better Hendry/Glades Health Care

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry-Glades Health Department invited area non-profit leaders to a meeting this week to discuss the latest Public Health System Assessment. The new study indicates Hendry and Glades counties share similar problems in the health behavior of it's residents and how the government and private industry responds.

A ranking system has been developed by the University of Wisconsin to compare all U.S. counties with the goal of encouraging improvements in local health behaviors, considering health factors for each locality.

(Photo: Mary Ruth Prouty explains the 2012 Hendry-Glades Health Performance Assessment to local leaders)

All community entities can contribute to the well-being of the community, including public, private and voluntary, as well as individuals, formal and informal associations.

Pat Dobbins, Mary Ruth Prouty, Brenda Barnes, and Judy Paskvan provided two dozen community non-profit and community leaders with an outline of the Center For Disease Control's ten essential public health services required for the foundation of public health activity.

Hendry county ranks #35 out of 67 Florida counties in overall health outcomes, a weighted composite of mortality (premature death)  and morbidity (low birth rates, poor physical and mental health)

But, in Health Factors, Hendry ranks way down the list of Florida's counties at 66th.

Health Factors combines the four components of Health Behaviors (smoking, drinking, obesity, STD, etc), Clinical Care (number of physicians, preventable hospital stays, diabetic and mammography screeening), Social/Economic Factors (education levels, unemployment, poverty, crime, single parents), and Physical Environment (air pollution, recreational facilities, healthy food access, percentage of fast food restaurants).

Hendry comes in 65th in the Clinical Care category because of the high number of uninsured, and low number of physicians, and ranks 67th for the social/economic factors because of the high number of children in poverty and single-parent households, and higher than average violent crime rate.

Glades county ranks #58 in overall Health Outcomes, but rank badly at 64th in premature deaths.

Glades ranked 57th in overall Health Factors. But, it ranks very low at 66th in the clinical care category due to the high number of uninsured, high number of preventable hospital stays, and low mammography screenings.

Complete Ranking Scores for Hendry-Glades:

University of Wisconsin County Health Ranking - Hendry

University of Wisconsin County Health Ranking - Glades

Robin Knight McLean For Property Appraiser

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Clewiston High Voltage Wires Shot Out

Electrical Equipment Damaged By Gunfire
CLEWISON, FL. -- Information is wanted by the Hendry Sheriff's department about the shooting of a 138,000 volt electrical transmission line near Harlem outside of Clewiston, along with a transformer on the 7,200 volt line near it. The line and equipment was apparently shot with a large caliber pistol or rifle. 

Had the transmission line completely severed and fallen to the ground, the city would have been without power and the chances are that the person doing the shooting would have been electrocuted. Because of the high voltage on the wires you need only be close to it to be electrocuted. 

Kohler Construction was in Clewiston last week and repaired the 138 kV transmission line that was damaged.  Glades Electric had the wire needed and the repair was completed. Even though the city of Clewiston's equipment can’t reach the transmission lines, they will be ordering a small amount of wire and the crimping tools so that all is needed is a 90 foot bucket to make repairs in the future.

Any information you may have about this incident would be greatly appreciated, says the Clewiston City Manager. Because this occurred outside of the city limits, please call the Hendry sheriff’s office at (863) 674-0406 with any information you may have.

Glades Commissioners Apologizes For Vote

Vote For Company Where Son Was Connected Will Be Rescinded Says Storter Long

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Glades County Commissioner Donna Storter Long has published a letter to her constituents. She explained she voted for employing a private architectural company where her son worked as a "sub-consultant" and says now she should have declared a conflict of interest and not voted on the issue.

The commissioner's open letter:

"Glades County is receiving $5million to construct an EOC-Emergency Operations Center- which will have multi-uses, including housing offices and equipment storage for our EMS and Fire Dept. Some of the BoCC’s first steps in the process include selecting an architect and construction management.

"At our last meeting, in accordance with Florida Statutes, our County Manager and County Attorney conducted the process for the four commissioners present to “rank” our choices and the combination of our ranking scores determined who the most preferred consultant would be.

"We had three choices for construction management and six choices for architect.

"The top choices were Ajax Construction and Architect Design Group.

"One of the architects, who was ranked second choice, has protested the BoCC selection claiming that I voted for my “son’s company”. Of the six architects being ranked, none of them are my “son’s company”, my son is employed by an engineering firm.

"Before I prioritized my ranking of architects, I talked at length with Glades County Public Safety Director Bob Jones whose clear choice was Architect Design Group who designed the EOC infrastructures in Okeechobee County and Osceola County as well as 35+ more in Florida. I contacted Okeechobee Co and Osceola County for their opinion and found that both were well pleased.

"At the BoCC meeting, Commissioner Paul Beck, Commissioner Russell Echols and I all three ranked Architect Design Group as number 1. All of us, including the County Manager and County Attorney knew that my son’s employer is listed with Architect Design Group as one of several sub-consultants.

"Since the protest was received, I consulted with our County Attorney Richard Pringle who at the meeting made no comment about inappropriate ranking, nor did County Manager Taylor who is the contact source for the protesting architect.

"Subsequently to the protest, Mr. Pringle did extensive legal research and concluded that I should have declared a conflict of interest and should have abstained from voting.

"With his explanation of the law governing such matters, I stated that at the next BOCC meeting I should and would declare that conflict of interest, and would move to rescind the prior vote. Mr. Pringle told me that was his recommendation and would be the cleanest way to revert the issue back to the process of ranking architects to start over, without my participation.

"In prior rankings, when my son’s employer was responding to RFQ for engineering services, I always declared my conflict of interest and abstained from voting. That is the legal, ethical and proper thing to day and my honorable intentions have always been to comply with any such principles.

"I have conveyed to fellow commissioners that I never have and never would misuse my position of county commissioner with any conflict of interest, and this was NOT a deliberate action on my part and I’m eager to rectify the matter.

"My lack of knowledge about this matter, ignorance if you will, has created embarrassment, but the situation certainly has been a learning experience.

"When a mistake is made, it must first be acknowledged before it can be rectified. And that is why I am offering this public explanation to my constituents. My mistake was inadvertent, but it has fortified my intent to more diligently pursue my “homework” on all county business matters.

"If you have specific questions or comments about this matter, I welcome your response."

Elect Robin McLean - Glades Property Appraiser

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hendry County Road Work This Week


US 27: From Palm Beach County Line to CR 835: Maintenance permit project ---Permittee crews are installing gas line in this area. Motorists should expect lane closure in the outside north bound lane for the rest of this month.

SR 80: From CR 833 to east of US 27: Construction project --- Work expands two-miles of SR 80 to four lanes from County Road 833 to east of US 27. Crews are relocating utilities on the westbound shoulder. Crews are placing erosion control throughout the project and constructing ponds. No lane closures are expected at this time, but motorists should be aware of construction traffic along the roadway. Drivers should pay attention to traffic signs and barricades throughout the construction project, stay alert, and use caution in the work zone. Estimated completion is spring 2014. The contractor is C.W. Roberts Contracting, Inc.

SR 80/US 27: Intersection improvements: Construction project --- Crews are modifying the intersection with construction of an overpass for SR 80 traffic eastbound to US 27 northbound and for US 27 traffic northbound to SR 80 westbound. The project also realigns US 27. Crews also will widen approximately 3/4 mile of SR 80 to four lanes approaching the intersection, add a traffic signal at the overpass, and install lighting at the interchange. Work currently involves placing fill dirt, installing drainage, and constructing walls for the new overpass. Northbound traffic is shifted to the west onto new temporary lanes. The speed limit on US 27 is 55 mph in the construction area. Motorists are advised to be aware of construction vehicles entering and leaving the work zone and to use caution driving in this area. Project completion is expected at the end of 2013. The contractor is Ajax Paving Industries of Florida, Inc.

SR 80: From Birchwood Parkway to Dalton Lane: Construction project --- Work begins to expand five miles of SR 80 to four lanes from Birchwood Parkway to Dalton Lane. Crews are placing construction signs and erosion control throughout the project. This work takes about two weeks, weather permitting. No lane closures are expected at this time, but motorists should be aware of construction traffic along the roadway. Drivers should pay attention to traffic signs and barricades throughout the construction project, stay alert, and use caution in the work zone. Estimated completion is summer 2014. The contractor is C.W. Roberts Contracting, Inc.

SR 29: From State Road 80 to County Road 731 (Whidden Road): Construction project --- Work is underway on this 1.4 mile resurfacing and improvement project. Crews will place new asphalt on SR 29, build sidewalk and replaces signals. In addition, bicycle/pedestrian railing will be installed on the bridge. Guardrail placement, drainage, milling and resurfacing and temporary barrier wall is being installed. Motorists can expect daytime lane closures from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are advised to be aware of construction vehicles entering and leaving the work zone and to use caution driving in this area. Project completion is expected in fall 2012. The contractor is Ajax Paving Industries of Florida, Inc.

How To Get A $50,000 Job Without College

New Report Outlines Best High Pay Jobs - No College Degree Necessary
There are 29 million jobs that pay middle-class wages between $35,000 and $75,000 annually and don't require a college degree, says a new study from Georgetown University. 

Nearly 40% pay more than $50,000 a year, according to a study released jointly by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce and Civic Enterprises. 

Those jobs represent 21% of all jobs for workers without Bachelor’s degrees. For both men and women, the best jobs are in sub-baccalaureate STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and healthcare, where over 80 percent of jobs pay middle-class wages.

The report details five major sub-baccalaureate, career and technical education (CTE) pathways: employer-based training, industry-based certifications, apprenticeships, postsecondary certificates, and associate's degrees. 

The study also found that one-third of CTE jobs are blue collar, half are white-collar office jobs, and another 15% are in healthcare.

Teen Smokers Quitting - Prevention Program Credited

Tobacco Use Is Down In Youth Across Florida
LABELLE. FL. -- New data released by the Florida Department of Health shows that 23 percent fewer Florida high school students are current cigarette smokers compared to 2010. The results indicate a decline in overall tobacco use among youth.

"The decrease in tobacco use among our state’s youth is an encouraging indication of the effectiveness of our tobacco prevention programs, yet our work is not done,” said State Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong. “We in Florida are fortunate to have a comprehensive program that provides county-level community interventions and continued education for all youth. The Department remains committed to preventing smoking in the first place as we help current smokers quit.”

The 2012 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS) shows:

• 10.1 percent of high school students reported current cigarette use, meaning they smoked a cigarette at least once during the past 30 days, a 22.6 percent decrease compared to 2010.

• 11.4 percent of high school students reported current cigar use, a 13.6 decline compared to 2010.

• 7.7 percent reported current hookah use, a 6.1 percent decrease compared to 2010.

• 5.6 percent of high school students reported current smokeless tobacco use, a 12.5 percent decrease compared to 2010.

In 2010, DOH re-launched a comprehensive media campaign that demonstrates the severe health and emotional toll of tobacco-related death and disease. Research proves that hard-hitting media campaigns are effective at promoting quit attempts and reducing youth tobacco initiation.

The Florida data comes on the heels of a national report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Aug. 3 that shows an alarming increase in the use of non-cigarette smoked tobacco products. The flavoring and lower costs of these products make them especially appealing to teens. Youth mistakenly believe flavored tobacco, widely considered to be starter products, to be less harmful than their non-flavored counterparts.

Preventing tobacco use and encouraging cessation among young people are critical in combating the tobacco epidemic because nearly nine out of 10 smokers start by age 18. The number of teens who try or habitually use tobacco increases with each increasing grade level. As students go back to school, now is a perfect time for parents talk with their teens about tobacco issues.

Teens whose parents strongly disapprove of their tobacco use – even if they use tobacco themselves – are less likely to take up tobacco. Parental disapproval has even been found to counteract peer influence.

Yet, the 2012 FYTS shows that only 50.4 percent of high school students had talked with a parent or guardian about the dangers of tobacco in the past year. A parent’s own tobacco use significantly influences their child’s decision to use tobacco. 

Where To Go For Help Quitting

One important way Floridians can help prevent tobacco use is by quitting. The Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida programs offers free and convenient quit resources. For more information, visit . Smokers and smokeless tobacco users interested in quitting are encouraged to call the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW to speak with a Quit Coach.

The Hendry and Glades County Tobacco Free Partnerships support local tobacco prevention efforts. If you are interested in becoming a partner, please contact Doug Freer at the Glades County Health Department at (863) 946–0707 x404 or Valarie James at the Hendry County Health Department at (863) 674-4041 x128.

Youth-based tobacco prevention efforts are conducted by Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) chapters in Glades County, grades 6–8 at West Glades School and grades 6–12 at Moore Haven Elementary and Junior Senior High School. In HendryCounty, grades 6–8 at LaBelle and Clewiston Middle Schools and grades 9–12 at LaBelle and Clewiston High Schools. 

Students involved in SWAT will be empowered, learning advocacy and leadership skills and having fun doing it. If you know a student who may be interested in getting involved in SWAT, please contact Doug Freer, at the Glades County Health Department at (863) 946-0707 x 404 or Valarie James at the Hendry County Heath Department at (863) 674-4041 xt128.

Where's The Cooler Florida Weather?

Fall Begins, But Cool Weather Still In Distance And Hurricanes Still A Threat
LABELLE. FL. -- The calendar says fall begins Saturday at 10:49 AM, but the atmosphere over South Florida says it’s still summer. At our latitude and climate regime, significantly cooler or fall-like weather does not typically arrive until late October or early November.

Another way of looking at this is by considering the average first dates of temperatures below a defined value for several South Florida cities. Here's the average earliest date of temperatures below 60F:

Miami November 8
Miami Beach November 18
Fort Lauderdale November 4
West Palm Beach November 3
Naples October 29 (November 3 for 55 degrees or less)
LaBelle October 21 (October 30 for 55 degrees or less )
Moore Haven October 26 (November 2 for 55 degrees or less)
Those of us who are tired of the long, humid South Florida summer still have a few weeks before the first significant cool-down takes place.

But the beginning of astronomical fall means that for Florida the hurricane season is still very much alive. In fact, a somewhat unknown fact is that the historical median date for South Florida hurricane strikes is September 21. This means that half of the hurricanes which have directly struck South Florida occurred before that date and half occurred after.

Also, the month of most direct hurricane strikes for South Florida is October. A total of 19 hurricanes have hit South Florida since the late 1800s, compared to 15 in September and 11 in August.

Most hurricanes which have hit South Florida in October developed in the Caribbean Sea or Atlantic Ocean not far from our area. This means that systems can form and affect us with relatively short notice.

-source Gene McAvoy, Hendry County Extension Office

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Free McDonald's Coffee For One Week

Free Coffee And More - Celebrating National Coffee Day
LABELLE, FL. -- From September 23rd to September 29th, 54 participating McDonald’s restaurants in Southwest Florida will say “Thank You” to consumers and celebrate National Coffee Day by offering free small Premium Roast McCafĂ© coffee all week long.

“Serving hot, freshly brewed coffee is a universal way to show appreciation and we’re thrilled to share our Premium Roast McCafe Coffee with customers for free,” said Steve Nisbet, who owns and operates two McDonald’s restaurants in Hendry County.

In Southwest Florida, customers are encouraged to donate what they would have paid for their coffee to Ronald McDonald House Charities. Donation boxes are located in McDonald’s restaurants and drive-thrus.

A Week of Free Premium Small Coffee at McDonald’s is happening at participating restaurants across the Eastern United States – from Maine to Miami. 

Among coffee drinkers, average consumption in the U.S. is 3.1 cups per day – that’s 66 billion cups per year. In the U.S., men drink more coffee than women on average. The majority of all caffeine consumed worldwide comes from coffee.

Coffee isn’t just for breakfast anymore, according to recent findings by the National Coffee Association. Daily coffee consumption soared by seven percentage points in 2011, moving coffee solidly ahead of soft drinks, according to the 2012 National Coffee Drinking Trends report.

Additionally, local customers who Tweet a picture of themselves with their free McDonald’s coffee with the phrase “I love free coffee @McDonalds_SWFL” from September 23 to 29 will receive a “Be Our Guest” card for a free McDonald’s oatmeal, Chicken McNuggets or McCafĂ© Real Fruit Smoothie. For details, visit

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Time Share Alert-Resort Members Association

"Eliminating" Maintenance Fees May Cost Thousands

LABELLE, FL. -- If you have received a letter from Resort Members Association, with an offer to "participate in a program that may eliminate Maintenance Fees for timeshare owners," beware you may be getting something different than you might anticipate.

Mailings are going out by the thousands to mailboxes around the country from a company called Resort Members Association of San Pedro, California. The "offer" says it's "only available to a select group of owners." It's postmarked from Fullerton, Ca. with a return address of 1621 West 25th St. Suite 157, San Pedro, Ca.

The company has offices in Orlando, Florida and Torrance, California at 2239 West 190 Street, and according to one BBB complainant, allegedly is an unregistered fictitious name for the real company, Time Share Relief, Inc. registered in Florida in 2008 and went out of business in 2009, owned by David MacMillan and Cindy Martin of Torrance, CA.

Another company with the same name is apparently unrelated to MacMillan's operation,  also called Time Share Relief, Inc. and owners were Paco Gray and Nicholas Worlds, both of Tampa, Fl. That company went out of business in Florida in 2012.

This is a typical mailing, usually trying to get you to come to a local hotel for a high pressure sales presentation where in the end, you will be writing a check for fees to allow the company to either buy or market your time share resort condo.

They will not give you any information over the phone, but pressure callers to come in person to their hotel presentation.

A clue to a possible problem is the letter is unsigned. There is no record of the company being registered at the Secretary of State's office in California or Florida, where we received the letter. Another clue is they claim the offer is "For a limited time," and give a cut off date to call their phone number (888) 242-8706.

The phone number apparently changes depending on when and where you receive the letter. A second letter received showed (888) 453-9461 and included an "account number" of 9109206 under the heading of "Annual Association Notice" and again with a date to call them by.

The Central Florida Better Business Bureau and Southern California BBB says the company, is not accredited and has had 10 complaints about sales and advertising tactics since May 2012. According to BBB records Resort Members Association began business in March 2012, although as noted above they were not registered to do business in the state.

The operations manager is listed as Robert Podlesni and the company is listed as a title company.

Many people report getting mailings and phone calls from the company even though they don't own a time share and there is an allegation that it's website may contain malicious code.

Time Share Relief, Inc. - How They Operate

This company has had government sanctions against them for deceptive practices. According to filings by the state of Vermont, on eight occasions between 2007 and 2010, representatives of Timeshare Relief came to Burlington to solicit consumers to transfer ownership of their unused timeshares and thus relieve the owners of timeshare maintenance fees, taxes and other costs.

A number of consumers who met with the company understood the invitation to mean that the company would offer to pay them for their timeshares; in fact, they had to pay several hundred to several thousand dollars to transfer ownership of their timeshares. The Attorney General considered this to be a deceptive trade practice.

Many less than honest companies are trying to take advantage of timeshare owners, asking large fees from those who have been unable to sell their units due to the very large inventory of units that are now on the market for sale or being unused.

Not said in the original letter is that you will be charged thousands of dollars for "transfer fees" to give away your time share apartment or condo to the company. These types of companies may in turn attempt to re-sell to someone else, and often won't record the transfer, so the original owner is still on the hook legally.

Recommendation: Legitimate timeshare owner groups say not to pay anyone fees to sell or dispose of a timeshare, instead owners groups advise to literally give away for free any unwanted condo and pay an attorney a hundred dollars or so to do the paperwork. The owner's groups say it is unnecessary to ever pay anyone thousands of dollars to dispose of a timeshare or to pay a "listing fee" to place it on the market.

In Florida, and other states, it is illegal for companies to demand advance fees to list a property for sale or rent. Fee or commissions are only paid after a sale, not before.

Update: When this story was written, Resort Members Association was apparently not registered to do business in Florida. The company then filed with the Florida Secretary of State's office on October 16, 2012 to do business under the fictitious name "Resort Members Association" and disclosed the actual owner of the Resort Members Association is Donate Title Inc., of 2245 W. 190th Street, Torrance, CA.

Donate Title, Inc. filed with Florida on October 5, 2012 to do business, after Resort Members Association allegedly had been doing business since March 2012. It's owner is David MacMillan, 201 Spindrift Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. He is the same owner of Time Share Relief, Inc. that started business in Florida in 2008 and went out of business in 2009.

Update: On March 6, 2013 the Florida Attorney General's office sued four timeshare resale companies. See Timeshare Fraud story for more on how the companies took advantage of timeshare owners.

Update: In April we were receiving letters from Resort Notification Services, 5348 Vegas Dr., Suite 342, Las Vegas, NV.  The phone number was (888) 983-4518. The letters says "We have attempted contacting you several times without success. This may be our last attempt." The letter was mailed from zip 33310 which is Fort Lauderdale, Fl.

Bitter Secrets Of Hendry County

Patty Brant Weaves A Mystery

LABELLE, FL. -- Local newspaper editor Patty Brant recently published her first book, Bitter Secrets, a story of a small town gal reporter Molly Martindale of the Oxbox Independent, and her encounters with the locals.

One may wonder how much of the fictional tale is based on reality. Who could be town drunk Dennis Blankenship, for example? And James St. Clair, successful businessman and restaurateur, and son Anderson?  Anderson, the mayor of Oxbow, and brother Elwood who eventually became a lawyer are part of the mystery.

And then there's Ruby Mae's Cafe near the Independent office, where Hoppin' John was served, a "concoction of hamburger, chopped tomatoes, and onions over rice." The restaurant was started by two sisters and named after their mother. And what happened the night a truck with it's lights out, pulls up with four men?

And the "Quarters" where blacks shunned the neighborhood's common name, preferring "Oak Park" where in the 1920s, the city fathers were petitioned by the city's first black leaders to set aside a section for a "Negro town."  Sweet Chariot EME Church, the black community's largest church and near the old wooden frame Booker School, was celebrating it's 50th anniversary.

And what about Miss Jolene "caught up in memories from a lifetime ago" who couldn't "stop them from tumbling out."

Noting there are other townsfolk "who had a serious and unhealthy fondness for the bottle - and these days, other things too," Milton Parker was introduced. No one talked about Milton or his family. Nothing could be found in the town's open-one-day-a week Oxbow Museum about the Parker family. An investigation leads to a dead end.

An intriguing tale making me wonder does Patty bite her nails like Molly?

"I see faces," says Molly. Molly is not an investigative reporter, she admits, but she's wading through a long dead teenage girl's diary. What are the bitter secrets?

Patty Brant is a native of Canton, Ohio, and has lived in Florida since 1969. She has lived in Hendry County since 1981 and worked for the Caloosa Belle, newspaper in LaBelle since 1985, serving as editor since 1991. She and her husband have two daughters and three grandchildren. Bitter Secrets is her first book.

The Barron Library has selected Bitter Secrets as a selection of their Book Club for October. It's available on or Google Play in book form or as a download eBook.

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Isabel Maria Rodriguez, age 87, of Clewiston, passed away September 14, 2012 in Clewiston, FL. She was born Nov. 29, 1924 in Cuba.

Survivors include her husband of 63 years Emilio Rodriguez Lopez and one son: Emilio G. Rodriguez; grandchildren: Stephanie Rodriguez, Nikita Rodriguez, December Rodriguez, Kayla Rodriguez, Emilio G. Rodriguez, Jr. and Elvira Mercado; great-grandchildren: Isabel Maria Rodriguez, Rakayla Aneliz Brown, Jacob Israel Perez, Layla Mercado, Macie Mercado, Isiah Brown, Peyton Brewington, R.J. Brown and Joshua Brewington.

She loved cooking, reading magazines and watching Novelas, but most of all she loved her family.

Funeral services were held Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 9:30 am at Saint Margaret's Catholic Church, Clewiston with Father Joseph Santa-Bibiana officiating. Interment will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston.

Visitation was Monday from 5-8p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Myrna L. Holsten, age 78, of LaBelle, passed away September 8, 2012 in Lehigh Acres.

She was born June 17, 1934 in Sweet Springs, MO, to the late Vern Glendon and the late Agnes Ramona (Elvert) Smith. Mrs. Holsten married Earl Holsten.

Survivors include her husband: Earl Holsten, two daughters: Gayle Kelley of Tampa, FL, Karen (Ken) Noreyko of CO, brother: Dale Smith, and two grandchildren.

Celebration of Life Service was held Monday, September 10, 2012 at 10:00 am in Christ The King Lutheran Church, LaBelle with Rev. Nicholas Moskovites officiating. Interment was Monday, September 10, 2012 in Fort Myers Memorial Gardens, Fort Myers. Visitation was Monday from 30 minutes prior in Christ The King Lutheran Church, LaBelle, FL.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Giant Panda Gives Birth At National Zoo

Mei Xiang, the Smithsonian National Zoo’s female giant panda gave birth to a cub Sunday, September 16 at 10:46 pm.  Keepers began to prepare for a birth after they observed Mei Xiang spending extended periods of time body licking and cradling toys. Veterinarians will perform the first physical exam after Mei Xiang and the cub have had time to bond in a few weeks.

(video: Giant Panda - Live Web Cam at Zoo)

National Zoo, in Washington D.C. says staff can hear the cub but have not yet seen it as Mei has built a substantial nest in her den. They say, "For now, the only way animal care staff will monitor the cub is using the web cams. Our goal is for Mei Xiang to raise this cub naturally."

This is Mei Xiang and Tian Tian’s second cub born as the result of artificial insemination. The chances of Mei Xiang conceiving a cub after five consecutive pseudopregnancies since 2007 was estimated to be less than 10 percent. 

The female panda has been spending almost all her time in her den so keepers and volunteers have monitored her 24 hours-a-day via the panda cams from inside the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat. 

The new mother will most likely not come out of her den, eat, or drink, for at least a week.

LaBelle Man's Dump Truck Wrecks At I-75

Michael David Maness, 40 of LaBelle, Florida has been taken to Lee Memorial Hospital after a crash on State Road 80 in Fort Myers at I-75.

His 2005 dump truck was traveling westbound on State Rd 80 approaching the I-75 overpass. For unknown reasons, the dump bed was up. The bed struck a traffic control device on westbound SR 80 at the I75 interchange. 

The truck continued to travel westbound, the bed then struck a sign at the overpass of I-75, then overturned onto the left side, coming to final rest across the east and westbound lanes of SR80. 

The driver was charged with careless driving and faulty equipment. This crash is still under investigation and updates will be made as information becomes available. The dump truck had $20,000 in damage.

At 3:30 p.m. the westbound lanes of SR 80 (underneath the I75 overpass) remains closed, however one lane will remain open.

Highest Ever September Gas Prices

LABELLE, FL. -- Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have risen 1.3 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.79/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 2.3 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.86/g, according to gasoline price website

Price in Hendry and Glades county were between $3.84 and $3.89, as much as 10 cents higher than average Florida prices.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 26.3 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 14.5 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 15.8 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 24.9 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"The national average continues to hover near its higher ever September level," said Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "As we push deeper into September, the more optimistic I am that these high prices will begin to come down slightly, but with the recently announced QE3, I'm a bit concerned that prices won't moderate as much as previously expected as the dollar weakens, leading me to believe 2012 will have featured the highest yearly average ever," DeHaan said.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Glades County's Forgotten Muse

Once Noted For Moonshine - Now A Rural Hideaway

Muse, in southwestern Glades county was largely homesteaded in the early days of the 20th century. It was originally named Meuse, and on some maps today is spelled Muce. 

Bee Branch and Jack's Branch are two small streams that course through the area.

Heirs of many of the original settlers still own land obtained through U.S. Government patents. Muse had been for years primarily a farming and moonshine making community.

During the Great Depression the area lost it's school, post office, and much of it's population. 

The-one acre Muse Cemetery on Old Muse Road was started by Martha Altman as a private cemetery and her son Hoyt Altman later donated the cemetery to the county in the 1980s. Martha died in 1937 and Hoyt in 1987.  

Large Muse area landowners now include the 6-L's Packing Company started by Max Lipman in the 1930s and now run by the Lipman family as Lipman Produce, the largest field tomato grower in the United States. 

The Lykes Brothers Inc., with extensive land holdings of tree farms and cattle ranches in Muse offers hunting (deer, quail, turkey) and fishing tours on its 1,867-acre Silver Lake Preserve in Muse. The company was founded by Dr. Howell Tyson Lykes in 1900 and is now owned by the descendants of his seven sons.

Mac's General Store once provided service to the community but was closed several years ago although the building still remains. (Update: the store opened with a new owner in late 2017)

The beauty of the natural woodland has attracted many newcomers, building homes in this rural section of the county. The community has its own volunteer fire department and has an active community association, meeting monthly in a Glades county owned building on Loblolly Bay Road also known as County Road 720, the main road through Muse.

More about Hendry and Glades county's Rural Towns and Communities

Friday, September 14, 2012

Moore Haven Wants Artists And Craftsmen

MOORE HAVEN, FL. --The Glades County Public Library and its Advisory Board invite area artists and craftsmen to exhibit and sell their work at the eighth annual Art in the Park event in Moore Haven, Saturday, January 26, 2013, 9AM to 3PM. This popular free event centered in and around the library brings artists and the public together in a wonderful setting by the Caloosahatchee River.

Painters, sculptors, photographers, and handcrafters are encouraged to contact the library now and reserve their place. Exhibiting and parking are free. Exhibitors are responsible for their own setups.

The Glades County Public Library is located in the city park across the street from the river in Moore Haven’s Historic District. The address is 201 Riverside Drive.

INTERESTED? For more information and to reserve a place, contact Mary Booher, Director of Libraries: 863-946-0744 or

What To Do In Clewiston This Week

CLEWISTON, FL. -- From the Clewiston Recration Department:

 The ACFC (Active Citizens for Children) have completed the “design” phase of the “Woodworks” re-construction project and a schematic of the park has been done.

The ACFC has quickly embarked on fundraising efforts to include a “Masquerade Ball” and “Haunted Carnival” in the next coming months; volunteer recruitment for this project is also on-going. More information as this project and fund-raising events develop.

 Soccer fields are being prepped for “squaring and painting” this week for the upcoming AYSO and CHS Soccer seasons. Goals shall be placed next week. A total of 12 soccer fields will be utilized for practice and play in this year’s AYSO and CHS seasons.

 Teams are being formed and schedules are being prepared for the upcoming AYSO Soccer Season. Teams from U-5 to U-16 will begin practice this week. The numbers are up with over 200 kids registered for play this year. AYSO Soccer is anticipated to begin in Mid-October and culminate at the State Games in Wellington on MLK week-end January 2013.

 CPAC (Clewiston Preforming Arts Center) has begun instruction this week in all their dance, tumbling and cheer classes. Please contact CPAC at 983-8399 after 3:00 p.m.for more information.

 Sugar Dolls Baton and Pom-Pom, a division of 5 Star Youth of America, began classes this week at the Youth Center on Tues. beginning at 4:00 p.m. Space is still available, please call Jackie Tucker at 983-2298 for additional information regarding classes.

 “After School Tutoring” for Elementary and Middle School aged children will take place at the Youth Center beginning in the 2nd week of October on Mondays -Thursdays from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

 Plans are being formulated and volunteers recruited for our next Clewiston Recreation Dept. Community event. The “Fall Festival” is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, October 27th

 Go to to check us out and get information regarding all your recreational needs.

Clewiston Police Report This Week

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Clewiston Police Chief Don Gutshall reports this week, Officer Joseph Hicks made a very good case Tuesday night as traffic stop resulted in the arrest of two suspects for Possession of a Stolen Weapon. $10,900 in cash was confiscated. Drug charges may be pending in the case, the Chief said.

The Police Dive Team will be getting in the water at the Boat Basin this week in order to inspect the floating dock that appears to have a sinking section. Once they have determined the problem, they will assess whether or not it is something they can fix in the water.

Bike Patrol Officers are working intermittently at the Middle School during pick up hour. There have been numerous complaints of traffic obstructions, and it is difficult for the patrol vehicles to maneuver in the area, said Gutshall.

A brief synopsis of the week’s police activity:
979 Commercial / Residential Security Checks
552 Complaints Investigated
19 Criminal Arrests
43 Traffic Citations
32 Red Light Camera Violations
4 City Ordinance Violations
68 Merchant Escorts
14 Alarms Responded To
4 Traffic Accidents Investigated

It's For The Birds - Society Counts Birds

Hendry County's Seventh Fall Migration Count Saturday

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Join the Hendry-Glades Audubon Society for the Fall North American Migration Count and the search for the 200th bird species at the popular Stormwater Treatment Area 5 (STA-5).

Birders and photographers are welcome Saturday, September 15 at 7 a.m. to help with this all-day count, which tracks the progress of the fall migration while offering a fun day in the outdoors. Teams plan to cover the 8 square miles of STA-5, located 20 miles south of Clewiston. A total of 28,000 individual birds and 82 species were spotted during last year’s count.

This is the seventh year of the fall count at STA-5, which has become nationally known as a bird watching spot. STAs are the water-cleaning workhorses of Everglades restoration. They have also become renowned havens for wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

The Fall North American Migration Count in STA-5 will begin at the Deer Fence Trailhead off of County Road 835 in Hendry County.

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) provides a variety of recreational opportunities on the STAs while continuing to manage them to support environmental restoration, water supply, water quality and flood control missions. At present, the District owns 621,000 acres of public land. Many of these properties are in their natural state or have enhancements, such as picnic tables, informational kiosks, campsites and hiking trails.

For more information on recreational opportunities throughout the District’s 16-county region, visit The webpage includes a 2012-2013 schedule of bird-watching trips at STA-5, which are conducted in partnership between Hendry-Glades Audubon and the District.

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Elect Lady Mother Sallie Kate Williams, age 89, of LaBelle formally of Sarasota, went home to be with the Lord September 7, 2012 in Lehigh Acres. She was born Nov. 8, 1922, in Glennville, Georgia. Sallie married Carl Williams.

She leaves behind to mourn her passing: husband: Carl Williams, four sons: Charles (Rose) Williams, Abraham Williams, Ricky Williams, James Robert Williams and five daughters: Beautine Thompson, Christine (John) Robertson, Carolyn (Norris) Lee, Betty (Alex) Nixon, Dorothy (George) Hadley, many grandchildren, great grandchildren and a host of other family members and friends.

Preceded In Death by Sons, Carl Williams, Jr. and Cleveland Bobby Williams.

She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt and will be deeply missed by all who loved her.

Celebration of Life Services will be held Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. in Truvine Missionary Baptist Church located at 1947 31st Street Sarasota. Interment will be in Palms Robarts Memorial Gardens, Sarasota. First visitation was Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL. a second visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. until service time Saturday at the church.

Brumbach "Paul" Stephens, age 76, of Sebring, passed away September 8, 2012 in Clewiston, FL. He was born May 22, 1936 in Beckley, WV, to the late Brumbach and the late Louise (Barnes) Stephens.

He was a resident of Sebring, FL since 2001 and formerly of Virginia and Maryland. He was a member of the St. Catherine's Catholic Church. He was a 4th degree Knights of Columbus, Scottish Rite, 32nd degree Mason and Boumi Shriner. He also served in the Air Force.

Survivors include his wife: Maureen H. (Connor) Stephens, son: Brumbach (Lori) Stephens III, sister: Mary Louise Smith, grandchildren: Loranda, Marci, Makayla, great grandchild: Dalton, sister-in-law: Mary DeMaio, best friends: Ron Pierleonardi and Ed Cassidy and his loving Shelti companions Abigal and Jordan. His infectious smile, whimsical sense of humor and appreciation of nature will be remembered by all who had the privilege of knowing him.

A celebration of life will be held at a later time.

Historic Fort Denaud Swing Bridge Reopens

LABELLE, FL. -- The historic Fort Denaud Bridge in Hendry county has reopened after emergency repairs were completed this week. The bridge was closed in May, forcing drivers to use either the LaBelle bridge or the Alva bridge to get to Glades county.

Above: Aerial photo of Fort Denaud just a few miles west of LaBelle, Fl. on the Caloosahatchee River.

This scenic river location west of LaBelle has one of the few remaining swing bridges left in Florida. The Fort Denaud Bridge "swings" open to allow boat traffic to pass down the river.

Fort Denaud was the location of an early 19th century Army encampment.

Aerial Photo by Don Browne

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How Many Calories In Big Mac? Now You'll Know

Calories To Be Posted At Restaurants Nationwide

McDonald’s has announced that, starting next week, the company will list calorie information on restaurant and drive-thru menus nationwide to further inform and help customers and employees make nutrition-minded choices.

Since February 2011, in an effort to bring healthier foods to consumers, McDonald’s has reduced sodium across its national core menu of food choices by more than 11 percent. In total, more than half of McDonald’s national food items had a reduction in sodium, ranging from 1 percent to 35percent. 

According to recent research by the International Food Information Council Foundation, only about 15 percent of Americans accurately estimate the number of calories they need to maintain their weight.

Reducing salt, added sugars and fats in foods can lead to a healthier lifestyle and McDonald's has been attempting to meet the demand for better foods. Health advocates say the posting of calories may help consumers choose healthier foods.

The Big Mac currently has 550 calories and contains 29 grams of fat (45% of daily requirements) and 1000 mg of salt (42% of daily requirements). Note though that the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day — or 1,500 mg if you're age 51 or older, or if you are African-American, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

“McDonald’s initiatives to provide Apple Slices and a fat-free milk option in the Happy Meals are aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, as is the goal to reduce sodium, added sugars and saturated fats in foods,” said Judith C. Rodriguez, PhD, RD, LD/N, FADA, Chairperson and Professor, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Brooks College of Health.

To make nutritious choices more convenient and accessible, McDonald’s revealed plans to test foods that would increase the number of wholesome choices on its menu. The menu items being explored for 2013 include more recommended food groups. Among the additions being tested:

-More seasonal fruit and vegetables options, such as blueberries and cucumbers, during peak seasons.
-Additional produce side options and grilled chicken choices for Happy Meals.
-The McWrap, inspired by McDonald’s Europe, features fresh vegetables and is available in three flavors – -Chicken & Bacon, Sweet Chili Chicken, and Chicken & Ranch –starting at 350 calories.
-New breakfast choices, including an egg-white breakfast sandwich on an English muffin made with 8 grams of whole grain.

Later this fall, approximately 750,000 employees working in McDonald’s and franchisee restaurants in the U.S. will be introduced to a voluntary nutrition e-learning program. The program will help build employees’ knowledge of calories, nutrition and McDonald’s menu offerings.

Calorie Counter - How Many Calories Do You Need Daily To Lose Weight?

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Last Chance To Hear Addiction Specialist

Whistle Blower Tells How Phillip Morris Built Secret Nicotine 'Addiction' Lab

LABELLE, FL. --  Tonight and tomorrow is the last chance to hear Dr. Victor DeNoble speak about addiction and his role in developing an addictive chemical to be put in cigarettes.

The guest speaker for the next Hendry-Glades Tobacco Free Partnership is a former cigarette company's research psychologist who was hired by Phillip Morris to find a "safe" addictive chemical to place in tobacco products in place of nicotine.

DeNoble will be speaking at the Moore Haven (Florida) High School auditorium on Wednesday, September 12 at 6:00 pm. to detail his work with cigarette maker Phillip Morris to find an addictive substance to add to tobacco. He spoke at the LaBelle High School auditorium at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, and will be at the Clewiston High auditorium at 6 p.m. Thursday, September 12th.

Dr. Victor J. DeNoble, a Ph.D. in psychology was recruited in 1980 by the Phillip Morris Research Center to build a secret research lab and to develop a cigarette with reduced heart risk but still with addictive qualities.

After successfully identifying a nicotine substitute that did not elevate the heart rate in animal models, his attempts to publish his work were suppressed by Philip Morris and he was eventually fired and his laboratory and data were seized.

(Video: clip from 2011 documentary Addiction, Inc., about DeNobles secret lab and Phillip Morris)

In 1994, after a decade of being silenced by a secrecy agreement, Dr. DeNoble became the first whistle-blower to testify before Congress about his research conducted within the tobacco industry. His research showed that nicotine has addictive properties similar to other drugs of addiction.

His congressional testimony was the cornerstone for sweeping changes in public policy regarding tobacco use, the national tobacco settlement and the events leading up to President Obama’s signing into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in 2009.

Since his congressional testimony, Dr. DeNoble has been speaking to a wide range of audiences about his experience in the tobacco industry and providing education about the science of drug addiction.

Dr. DeNoble will explain in his talk how the developing teen brain is susceptible to addiction and how exposure to tobacco and other drugs can affect the brains of users for a life time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Glades Library Ready For Digital Access

News From The Glades County Public Libary

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The new fiber-optic cable has been installed up to the front of the library and will hopefully be available inside fairly soon. This cable will speed up the computer’s operations and provide clearer graphics for the computers.

The Heartland Library Cooperative has committed resources for increasing the number of e-books in our Axis 360 service from Baker and Taylor. This service focuses primarily on current and high demand titles and includes some bestsellers, when they are available.
Glades Public Library is happy to introduce a new e-book collection, Axis 360. Axis 360 works with Blio e-book reading software that you download to your computer, tablet, or iPhone. Blio is the first reader app to be 100% compliant with the American Disabilities Act (ADA). Axis 360 titles will currently run on any Windows PC and on iOS and Android mobile devices. When you check out a title on your axis 360 account, it can be moved to multiple devices which, support Blio, such as iPhone, or a Kindle Fire. Axis 360 will soon be available for Nook, Kobo, Sony, Mac desktops, WebOS, and the vender is negotiating with Amazon for Kindle compatibility.

A copy machine and a fax machine are available for public use at the library. Books and tapes, audio and video, as well as DVDs are available at the library.
Our next regular Friends of the Library Meeting will be held on the third Monday in November—that is Monday, November 19, 2012 in the conference room of the library. The meetings are open to the public and new members are welcome.
Once again the Glades County Public Library is hosting preschool story hour on Tuesdays at 10:00 AM. Interested parties must call ahead of time as space is Mary Booher at the library desk or call her in 863 – 946 – 0744.

- courtesy Austin Moorhouse

Landlord Pays Tenants $2 Million In Sex Complaint

Landlord Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit for $2.13 Million

The Justice Department today announced that Rawland Leon Sorensen, the owner and manager of dozens of residential rental properties in Bakersfield, Calif., will be obligated to pay more than $2 million in monetary damages and civil penalties to settle a lawsuit alleging that he sexually harassed women tenants and prospective tenants.

The complaint alleges that Sorensen sexually harassed the women by making unwelcome sexual comments and advances, exposing his genitals to women tenants, touching women without their consent, granting and denying housing benefits based on sex and taking adverse actions against women who refused his sexual advances.

The consent decree, which is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court, will result in a judgment against Sorensen requiring him to pay $2,075,000 in monetary damages to 25 individuals identified by the United States as victims of his discriminatory conduct. That amount includes court costs and attorneys’ fees for two of the victims who are private plaintiffs.

Sorensen has operated his rental business for more than 30 years. This represents the largest monetary settlement ever agreed to in a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the Justice Department under the Fair Housing Act.

In addition, Sorensen must also pay a $55,000 civil penalty to the United States, the maximum penalty available under the Fair Housing Act. The consent decree requires Sorensen to hire an independent manager to manage his rental properties and imposes strict limits on his ability to have contact with current and future tenants.

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, email the Justice Department at or contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.

New Sidewalks For LaBelle On Cowboy Way

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County's engineering department will be in charge of constructing a sidewalk along the south side of West Cowboy Way from Amanda Street to SR-29 this week and continuing for about four months.

This construction project will start September 12, 2012 and is expected to last 130-days ending in mid January 2013. Cowboy Way will be open to vehicular traffic, but lane closures will occur resulting in delays.

Every effort will be made to avoid lane closures during LaBelle Elementary School zone hours. Drivers should utilize caution when traveling through the construction limits.

Drugs And Burglary - Hendry Arrests This Week


On Friday, September 7, 2012, Hendry County Deputy R. Steed responded to 630 S. Bridge Street in Labelle after receiving a complaint of a burglary.

Business owner, John Kovarik, stated that after arriving at work, he and his employee began to notice items missing from his shop along with a bank bag containing cash from the office.

Prior to Kavarick reporting the burglary, Hendry County Deputies had received information of an early morning burglary. As Deputies continued to follow up on the information, they were able to develop leads indicating Amanda Paris had committed the burglary.

Deputies made several attempts to locate Paris and questioned her about the burglary but they were unable to find her.

On September 8, 2012, in the early morning hours, 32-year old Amanda Paris of 871 MLK Boulevard was arrested on unrelated charges of Possession of New Legend Drug, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and an Outstanding Hendry County warrant. Hendry County Deputy R. Steed charged Paris additionally with Burglary to an unoccupied structure and Grand Theft. 

She has had 12 arrests in Hendry county in the last three years, for drugs, theft and battery. Paris is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail on $50,000 bond.