Friday, February 28, 2014

Larry Luckey On Indian Mounds At Museum Meet

LABELLE, FL. -- Former Glades County Property Appraiser Larry Luckey will be the guest speaker at the regular March program meeting of LaBelle Heritage Museum at LaBelle City Hall, 451 West Hickpochee Ave., on Thursday evening, March 6, at 7 o'clock. 

Mr. Luckey, an avid student of Southwest Florida history, will present his studies on Indian mounds in Southwest Florida ranging from those of the Belle Glade Culture around Lake Okeechobee that pre-dated the area's more famous Calusas who "greeted" both Juan Ponce de Leon in 1521 and Hernando de Soto in 1539.

The meeting is open to the public with refreshments served between Mr. Luckey's presentation and a short business meeting which will include a short recap of the recent Old Timers Dinner and the progress on the foundation work at 360 North Bridge Street for the two historic Rider buildings that are scheduled to be moved from their 20-year "temporary" location on South Lee Street by the end of March.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Will New Food Labels Keep Us From Getting Fatter?

First Lady Michelle Obama Says Proposal Will "Make A Big Difference For Families"

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today proposed to update the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect the latest scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. 

The proposed label would replace out-of-date serving sizes to better align with how much people really eat, and it would feature a fresh design to highlight key parts of the label such as calories and serving sizes.

“Our guiding principle here is very simple: that you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it’s good for your family,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “So this is a big deal, and it’s going to make a big difference for families all across this country.”


“For 20 years consumers have come to rely on the iconic nutrition label to help them make healthier food choices,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “To remain relevant, the FDA’s newly proposed Nutrition Facts label incorporates the latest in nutrition science as more has been learned about the connection between what we eat and the development of serious chronic diseases impacting millions of Americans.”

Some of the changes to the label the FDA proposed today would:
Require information about the amount of “added sugars” in a food product. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans states that intake of added sugar is too high in the U.S. population and should be reduced. The FDA proposes to include “added sugars” on the label to help consumers know how much sugar has been added to the product.
Update serving size requirements to reflect the amounts people currently eat. What and how much people eat and drink has changed since the serving sizes were first put in place in 1994. By law, serving sizes must be based on what people actually eat, not on what people “should” be eating. Present calorie and nutrition information for the whole package of certain food products that could be consumed in one sitting.
Present “dual column” labels to indicate both “per serving” and “per package” calorie and nutrition information for larger packages that could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings.
Require the declaration of potassium and vitamin D, nutrients that some in the U.S. population are not getting enough of, which puts them at higher risk for chronic disease. Vitamin D is important for its role in bone health. Potassium is beneficial in lowering blood pressure. Vitamins A and C would no longer be required on the label, though manufacturers could declare them voluntarily.
Revise the Daily Values for a variety of nutrients such as sodium, dietary fiber and Vitamin D. Daily Values are used to calculate the Percent Daily Value on the label, which helps consumers understand the nutrition information in the context of a total daily diet.
While continuing to require “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat,” and “TransFat” on the label, “Calories from Fat” would be removed because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount.
Refresh the format to emphasize certain elements, such as calories, serving sizes and Percent Daily Value, which are important in addressing current public health problems like obesity and heart disease.

The proposed updates reflect new dietary recommendations, consensus reports, and national survey data, such as the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, nutrient intake recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, and intake data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The FDA also considered extensive input and comments from a wide range of stakeholders.

“By revamping the Nutrition Facts label, FDA wants to make it easier than ever for consumers to make better informed food choices that will support a healthy diet.” said Michael R. Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine. “To help address obesity, one of the most important public health problems facing our country, the proposed label would drive attention to calories and serving sizes.”

The Nutrition Facts label has been required on food packages for 20 years, helping consumers better understand the nutritional value of foods so they can make healthy choices for themselves and their families. The label has not changed significantly since 2006 when information on trans fat had to be declared on the label, prompting manufacturers to reduce partially hydrogenated oils, the main source oftrans fat, in many of their products.

The changes proposed today affect all packaged foods except certain meat, poultry and processed egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The FDA is also proposing to make corresponding updates to the Supplement Facts label on dietary supplements where applicable.

The agency is accepting public comment on the proposed changes for 90 days.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Monevah Marie Lee Dies At 87

Monevah Marie Lee, age 87, of Clewiston, died on February 23, 2014 in Clewiston, Florida.

Monevah was born Nov. 20, 1926 in Peach Orchard, AR, to the late Harry and the late Blanche Barger. She worked for many years as a secretary at United States Sugar Corporation.

Monevah is survived by her loving and caring daughter; Nancy Davis and husband Lee, two grandsons; Christopher and John Mark Davis, and several other family members.

Monevah was a loving and caring mother, sister, and grandmother, who will be greatly missed by her entire family.

Monevah was preceded in death by her two brothers; Gene and Hubert Barger.

Services celebrating her life will be held Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. in First United Methodist Church of Clewiston, with Rev. John Hicks officiating, burial will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery immediately following the celebration.

Monday, February 24, 2014

500 Acre Fire Burning In Marsh Along Lake Okeechobee

$5,000 Reward Offered For Information On Suspicious Fires

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The Florida Forest Service and Glades County Fire Rescue are on scene Monday afternoon on a 500 acre wildfire in a marsh west of Lake Okeechobee. FL about 7 miles northwest of Moore Haven.

A Forest Service dozer-plow unit is establishing a containment line on the East side of 78. Florida Highway Patrol is setting up "Smoke on the Highways" signs.

A suspicious fire on Curry Island of 100 acres on Friday was controlled this morning.

The fire was burning away from Hwy 78 between the road and the dike. The fire was on the SE corner of Curry Island in Glades county.

Update: There have been several suspicious ignitions on this 2,700 acres of land located at Curry Island, where Fisheating Creek joins Lake Okeechobee. The westside of Lake Okeechobee water levels recedes exposing dried marsh grass and aquatic vegetation to heat and humidity. Dead, dried out vegetation along the Lake Okeechobee’s edge is vulnerable for ignition on Curry Island.

A series suspicious wildfires have been ignited and the fire service needs your help in the investigation. If you have any information about the cause of these wildfires, please call your local Floirida Forest Service at (863) 462-5160 or 1-800-342-5869.

There is a reward up to $5,000 leading to the arrest.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Largest Crowds Ever At Swamp Cabbage Festival

LaBelle, Florida's Largest Event Brings In Record Crowds

LABELLE, FL. -- The annual Swamp Cabbage Festival Parade kicked off with dozens on floats, marching bands and community groups marching up Bridge Street Saturday morning.

The largest fair and festival in Hendry County celebrates Florida's State tree, the Cabbage Palm. Upwards of 20,000 people are expected in the city of LaBelle this weekend for music, food, crafts, and amusement rides at the Barron Park along the Caloosahatchee River.

The festival also host  dozens of Classic Cars at a show each year on Fort Thompson Street in downtown LaBelle.

(Videos: Festival Parade and Classic Car Show)

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Dink Maddox, age 79, of Deland, passed away February 18, 2014 in Orlando. She was born Mar. 8, 1934 in Okeechobee to the late William Thomas and the late Estelle (Scott) Rudd. Dink was a former, longtime resident of Clewiston. She was an active member of Evangel Assembly of God.

Survivors include her son: Charles "Timmy" (Lisa) Morris of Deland, brothers: Robert L. (Mary) Rudd of Pine Island and Billy Rudd of Okeechobee, sister: Martha "Bea" (Charles) Weekley of Ocala and grandson: Christopher Morris. She was also preceded in death by her brothers: Junior Rudd and Jerry F. Rudd.

Funeral services will be held Monday, February 24, 2014 at 2:00 pm at Evangel Assembly Of God, Clewiston with Rev. Bernard Browne officiating. Interment followed in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation will be held for one hour prior to funeral service at Evangel Assembly Of God.

Patricia A. Sinkovic, age 78, of LaBelle, passed away February 20, 2014 in Lehigh Acres.  She was born Feb. 1, 1936 in Cleveland, OH, to the late Ralph and the late Pauline (Ellison) Garrett. Patricia retired from K Mart where she worked in security. 

She was a resident of LaBelle for the past twenty-five years. Patricia was a member and a past treasurer of American Legion Post #130 Women's Auxiliary.

She is survived by her husband: Walter J. Sinkovic, children: Rick Krohn, Janet (Chuck) Thomas; Greg (Gail) Sinkovic and Jim (Tammy) Sinkovic; grandchildren: Joell Edmunds; Jessie Edmunds; Gabriella Sinkovic; Garin Sinkovic and Ericka Krohn and great-grandchildren: Jaxon Bell; Chace Edmunds and Avery Edmunds.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be sent to Hope Healthcare Service, 1201 Wings Way, Lehigh Acres, FL 33936.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Chalo Nitka Festival 2014 Is Here

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Glades County's largest event, the annual Chalo Nitka Festival kicks off with a Bass Fishing tournament and follows up next week with parades, midway, and rodeo events.

Chalo Nitka 2014 schedule of events
Chalo Nitka Bass Fishing Tournament—Alvin Ward Park

8:30am Small Fry Fishing Contest—Register at Chalo Nitka Park
9:30am Kids Day at Chalo Nitka Park
1:00pm Pet Parade at Chalo Nitka Park
5-11pm Midway opens at Chalo Nitka Park
7:00pm Ranch Rodeo at Bronson Arena
9:00pm Country Dance “The Chase” at the Doyle Conner Building

SATURDAY, MARCH 1 5K Run—Call (863) 946-0811 for more info
7-9pm Pancake Breakfast at Moore Haven Elementary cafeteria
10am Parade
11am Gates open at Chalo Nitka Park
Midway opens at Chalo Nitka Park
11:30am Flag raising—GCSO Color Guard
National Anthem—Moore Haven High & West Glades Bands
11:35am Welcome & Introduction of Grand Marshal
11:45am Introductions: Elected Officials & Tribal Representatives
11:50am Introductions: Chalo Nitka Royalty & Seminole Court
12:00 Country Rhythm Cloggers
12:30pm Seminole Fashion Show
1:00pm Alligator Wrestling
2:00pm Mama’s Wranglers
3:00pm Alligator Wrestling
7:00pm Ranch Rodeo at Bronson Arena
9:00pm Country & Western Dance at the Doyle Conner Building

3:00 PM Cowboy Poet Laureate Carl Sharp @ M RV Resort on Hwy 27

(Video: Chalo Nitka Parade Though Moore Haven, Fl.)

Reward For Agricultural Chemical Theft Infomation

Chemical Theft Increasing In Area

IMMOKALEE, FL. -- Growers around Immokalee report that theft of agricultural chemicals around Southwest Florida appears to be on the increase.

Last night, TOR Farms on CR 846 was the target and thieves used a truck to pull the door off the chemical store room and made off with everything they could haul away.

At least 6 farms were targeted over the past two weeks with AG chemicals being stolen.

Growers are advised to keep farm entrances and storage areas locked and maintain surveillance. Lock up all chemicals, they are essentially like cash money for a thief.

Locate chemical storage well away from access roads. Be sure that all entrances to your farm are secure – even trails through the woods accessible by vehicles as some thieves are reportedly using on-line satellite maps such as Google Earth to identify building and alternative ways of entering properties via the "back way".

Request that chemicals be delivered on the days you need them and not before.

Return excess chemicals to the chemical distributor. Not having a stockpile of chemicals in your shed you will decrease the opportunity for theft.

Consider installing alarms or video cameras on chemical shed doors or windows.

Buy only from reputable dealers and do not be tempted to buy "cheap" chemicals from unknown sources - you are only supporting a thief and you may be next.

It is strongly recommended that all equipment – hand tools, power tools, be marked in a specific manner that could help identify your tools if they are stolen or lost. Also consider marking car/truck batteries in a similar manner.

All chemicals should be secured daily, in a secure container or building. All padlocks should be mounted in a manner in which it is difficult to use bolt cutters to cut the padlocks.

Look out for your neighbor and report suspicious vehicles and activities to the Sheriffs' Office.

If you have information concerning this, or any other crime in Collier County you are urged to contact: Collier County Sheriff's Office at (239) 253-9300

Hendry County Sheriff’s Office 863-674-4060.

You can remain anonymous and be paid a reward if your information leads to an arrest by calling Crimestoppers at: 1-800-780-TIPS

5-Year Old Seriously Injured By Car

NAPLES, FL. -- A child was seriously injured after darting from behind an ice cream truck into the path of a car Thursday afternoon.

Donald E Miller, 81 of Naples was northbound approaching 5229 Flamingo St. driving a 2011 Toyota Camry as an ice cream truck was stopped on the east shoulder of Flamingo St. facing north in front of 5229 Flamingo St. at about 4:03 p/.m. Thursday.

The car continued north on Flamingo St around the ice cream truck as 5-year old Melany Cruz darted out into the street and ran into the right passenger side of the Camry. The child then fell to the ground near the area of contact.

The child was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital with serious injuries. Miller was not injured and no charges were filed said FHP Trooper J.D. Close.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Panther Kitten Rescued And Doing Well

NAPLES, FL. -- A team of panther biologists rescued an approximately week-old Florida panther kitten at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge in Collier County in mid-January.

Biologists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida discovered the kitten while conducting research. The 1-pound male kitten had a dangerously low body temperature and was nonresponsive.

“We want to give any panther kitten the best opportunity to survive in the wild,” said FWC veterinarian Dr. Mark Cunningham. “But clearly this kitten was in poor condition and almost certainly would have died without intervention.”

Biologists transported the kitten to the Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida in Naples, where veterinarians and staff performed life-saving measures. Although his condition improved quickly, he still required 24-hour care.

Once the kitten was strong enough to travel, biologists transported him to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. The young male is the fourth kitten and eighth panther to receive rehabilitation at the zoo.

Because this kitten was so young at the time of rescue, he will not learn survival skills from his mother and therefore cannot be released into the wild.

Although he will not return to the wild population, this panther will help to raise awareness and aid with potential research efforts. Initially the kitten will not be on public display but, once old enough, he will be transported to the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, where park visitors may observe him.

“This kitten exemplifies how joint efforts of the FWC, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our partners are helping recover imperiled species in Florida,” said Kevin Godsea, manager of the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge for the USFWS. “We are certainly pulling for him and hope he leads a long, healthy life.”

The rehabilitation of this kitten would not be possible without the help of the Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and the Department of Environmental Protection’s Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

Missing Teen - Didn't Return Home From School 19 Days Ago

On February 11, 2014 juvenile Minerva Agosto Rivera was reported missing after not returning home from school. 

Minerva was last seen in the Montura area of Clewiston Florida, around 6:00 pm on February 11, 2014, wearing a "Hello Kitty" shirt, black leggings and a red bow in her hair. Rivera is described as 5'1", 95 lbs, black hair, and brown eyes. 

Information received during the course of this investigation suggests that Minerva may be somewhere in the Naples (Collier County) area.

If you locate and or come into contact with this individual, please contact Investigator Kristy Herrera, Hendry County Sheriff's Office at 863-673-6063 or your local law enforcement agency.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Rural Student Scholars Get 2-Day Orlando Experience

Top Performing STEM Students Selected as Sunshine State Scholars
LABELLE, FL. -- Florida’s top performing STEM students were recently recognized as Sunshine State Scholars and given the opportunity to attend a two-day event in Orlando, February 13th.

Each school district throughout Florida selected their top 11th academic achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). These students, along with their parents and a teacher chosen by each student, were invited to participate in the annual Sunshine State Scholars program.

The Sunshine State Scholars program is sponsored by the Florida Education Foundation, in collaboration with the State University System of Florida, the Florida College System, and the Florida Department of Education. It began in 1997 to recognize excellence in Mathematics and

Among those being honored this year were 19 students from the small rural school districts participating in the FloridaLearns Stem Scholars Initiative for Gifted and Talented Students. In addition to recognizing their academic success, the Sunshine State Scholars program gave these STEM students the opportunity to meet directly with highly successful professionals from STEM-related industries in Florida, and with recruiters from Florida’s finest colleges and universities.

During the event, the students heard about special programs of study and industry internship opportunities, learned about some of the latest innovations and discoveries in STEM-related research, were inspired by personal success stories from leaders in Florida’s STEM industry, and were actively recruited to become part of Florida’s future talented workforce. The scholars also enjoyed meeting with students from around the state who had similar interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The following students currently enrolled in the FloridaLearns STEM Scholars Initiative that were honored as Sunshine State Scholars include:

1. Blountstown High School: Donavan Ebersole
2. Columbia County High School: Priyanka Patel
3. DeSoto County High School: Eve Pence
4. Franklin County High School: Chaseon Taranto
5. East Gadsden High: Jewelisia Fagg
6. Moore Haven Jr/Sr High: Bronson Bass
7. Wewahitchka High: Justin Barrier
8. Hardee Senior High: Allison Farr
9. La Belle High: Magali Salinas
10. Bethlehem High: Erin Dady
11. Jefferson County High: Stefan Roberts
12. Liberty County High: William Hosford
13. Madison County High: Courtney Strickland
14. Okeechobee High: Michael Daniel
15. Palatka High: Carlie Dennard
16. Taylor County High: Rohan Patel
17. P.K. Yonge Development Research High: Abigail Austin
18. South Walton High: Wes Fegely
19. Vernon High: Sarah Boullar

Waka Waka! Solar Power Cell Phone Charger Review

Unique Solar Charging Device Hopes To Power "Quarter Of Humanity'

LABELLE, FL. -- Waka Waka, meaning "shine bright" in the Swahili language is a brand fighting to abolish energy poverty throughout the world introducing a high-tech, low-cost solar powered charger and a dual LED flashlight.

The company uses a patented technology harnessing the sun to provide a 7-ounce device the size of a cell phone that puts out one amp of charging power at five volts, enough to charge a cell phone or other small USB enable portable devices as well as provide dual LED lighting at four different power levels.

The company producing the device, Off-Grid Solutions explains that 1.5 billion people have no access to electricity, about one quarter of the world. The solution they say is to provide sturdy, highly efficient, sustainable solar-powered devices around the world.

Off-Grid says kerosene lamps are widely used around the world, but are inefficient, dangerous and expensive, along with having health and environmental issues. The company proposes using solar-powered lights that also can be used to charge portable devices such as cell phones.

I've been using one provided by the company to me for testing, the Model WWP70, and it seems to work as advertised. It came in the mail with it's battery about 50% charged. I put it outside for about 6 hours to fully charge it.

There is no supplied USB cable but when a portable device is connected to the USB port the Waka Waka automatically switched on the power and an indicator light turns on, and the device puts out about 1.5 amps of electricity through the USB port.

The Waka Waka Power device contains a 2200 mAh Lithium Ion Polymer battery (3.7 volts)  that charges in about 10 hours when placed in direct sunlight. A battery status indicator tells how much charge is in the battery and also an LED light will show how fast the unit is charging.

Depending on the power needed by a cell phone to recharge, the device may run out of battery power in about 1.5 hours if the phone draws the full 1.5 amps (1500 mA) to charge itself.

In the absence of direct light, it can also be charged in about 4 hours through it's micro-USB port when connected to a charger.

The unit has a built in stand that ratchets to different position for using the flashlight or for pointing the solar charging cells into the direction of the sun. It did seem to even charge at the slow rate when I was inside a building with the unit sitting next to a window in indirect light.

I would suggest the manufacturer have some directions printed on the device case instead of referring to the printed instruction sheet. Who would know, for example, that holding the power button down for two seconds switches on an SOS flashing beacon in emergencies.

Suggested also is to have all the technical information found on the box, included on the instructions as well, since many are going to dispose of the box after opening.

The LED lights can last from 10 to 150 hours depending on which of the four brightness levels are chosen. The Waka-Waka will charge a cell phone in two to three hours, depending on make and type of phone.

Why A Lithium Polymer Battery?

Usually Lithium Ion batteries are found in small portable devices including most phone and pads, and computers. However, because the Waka-Waka is going to be setting in the sun for many hours recharging, the safety issue mandates a Lithium Polymer battery be used.

Lithium Polymer batteries can have very small shapes even resembling a credit card profile, and by using a gelled electrolyte eliminates a metal shell while making the battery more resistant to overcharging and having less chance for electrolyte leakage.

But, Lithium Polymer batteries have a lower energy density compared to Lithium Ion, and a decreased charging cycle count before they go bad as well as being more expensive to manufacture.

The manufacturer didn't provide any information on the average life of the battery or the maximum discharge rating to enable the longest life of the Waka Waka. Normally an average life might be 300-400 charges. Long term battery life can be extended when not in use by placing it in a refrigerator and not allowing batteries to go much below about 50% capacity when in use and to avoid hot locations for storage.

Waka-Waka says on it's instructions the device is good for use in temperatures up to 175 degrees F., although high temperatures will surely diminish the battery life. The device is not waterproof so remember that when it's outside charging. And probably it should be stored with the solar panel down do it won't continually be charging.

(Video above: Waka Waka Solar Charger and Flash Light)

Price: WakaWaka Power - Model WWP70 about $65 from Walmart and others.

Marjorie Meredith Dies At 96

Marjorie Mae Meredith, age 96, of Fort Denaud, Florida, passed away February 17, 2014 in Lehigh Acres, FL. She was born Aug. 16, 1917 in Scottsburg, IN, to the late Floyd and the late Grace (Robbins) Elliott. Marjorie has lived in Fort Denaud for the past few years but spent most of her life in Madison, IN.

Survivors include her sister: Betty June Dearth, six grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by husband, Robert Loren Meredith, daughters: June Kelley and Roberta Fugate and sister: Florida "Katie" Christensen. .

Funeral services will be held Monday, Feb 24, 2014, 2:30 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in LaBelle with Pastor Mike MacDowell officiating with visitation for 30 minutes before the service. Services will also be held Thursday, Feb.27, 2014 at Woodlawn Family Funeral Centre - Vail Chapel in Madison, IN. Burial will be held in private.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle, FL. and Woodlawn Family Funeral Centre - Vail Chapel in Madison, IN

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sheriff Looking For Black Truck With Oversized Tires In Clewiston

CLEWISTON, FL. -- The Hendry County Sheriff is currently looking for a newer model black truck with oversized tires and writing in rear window. 

Occupied by two Hispanic males, it was reported they attempted to grab a 16 yr old girl this morning, The Sheriff's office reports she was able to run away.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Hendry County Sheriff.

Driver Killed As Truck Ends In Canal

NAPLES, FL. - An early Saturday morning crash killed a 19-year old while his passenger was uninjured as a truck ends in a canal.

A 1997 Chevy Silverado truck was traveling westbound on Shady Hollow Blvd. at 2:27 a.m. and for unknown reason the driver, Robert Stephen Patrick Doyle lost control of. the vehicle.

The pickup truck traveled off the roadway onto the north shoulder then into a canal, overturned and came to final rest on its left side partially submerged in the canal.

Doyle was pronounced deceased at the scene of this crash said FHP Tpr. A.Rivera and homicide investigator Cpl. J.Quintana. A passenger, Richard Ronald Simons, 26 of Naples was uninjured.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Google's Clever Secret Valentine For Everyone

Google Mixes Art With Hearts On Valentine's Day

Today Google has rolled out an interactive doodle to celebrate of the "day of love," Valentine's day. Go to and you're hit with clickable dancing candy hearts and ways to send your Valentine special messages and a free Disney animated love story video.

In a clever juxtaposition, Google and Ira Glass of "This American Life" introduces a collection of sweet love stories when the candy hearts are clicked.

Google gives us an animated short movie, Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story that's free for the watching, and even a chance to send a photo from the movie to your Valentine by clicking on the "Share a special moment with your valentine" at the bottom of the page.

But head to the Canadian Google site, and Googlers can create their own box of e-chocolates with virtual strawberries, caramel, and sprinkles. and send out your e-chocolates to your partner.

Meanwhile, here's a link to join a Google Hangout Live On The Air with Southwest Florida Online in an informal discussion about Valentine's Day and the Science of Love.

At least Google had commemorated today's much commercialized holiday with a bit of cleverness and entertainment through it's advertising deals with This American Life and Disney Studios.

High Speed Crash Kills Driver

Volkswagon Driver Misses Curve, Hits Tree
NAPLES, FL. -- Robert Earhart, 21 of Naples died in a late night crash Thursday after attempting a curve while driving a 2010 Volkwagon Jetta at high speed.

His vehicle was southbound on Vineyards Boulevard approaching a right curve north of the intersection of Tuscany Way at a high rate of speed. The Volkswagon was unable to negotiate the curve and exited the roadway while in a counter-clockwise rotation. 

It re-entered the roadway and crossed the median into the northbound lanes of Vineyards Boulevard. 

Earhart steered to the right in an attempt to regain control and entered the median and struck a tree 350 feet south of Tuscany Way. The car rotated counter-clockwise and came to final rest faced north in the southbound lanes.

A blood alcohol test is pending said FHP Cpl. A.J. Close.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Is Love An Addiction? Science Says Maybe

The Chemistry Of Love - How It's Like An Addictive Drug

The subject of the latest episode of the American Chemical Society's YouTube series is how neurotransmitters like dopamine and oxytocin help create pair bondings in humans, maintaining monogamy for most couples.

But, says Dr. Abigail Marsh, "If you block oxytocin receptors, you can totally cut off that pair-bonding response." Marsh is an associate professor of psychology at Georgetown University.

"People who excite romantic feelings in us also probably trigger increases in oxytocin, which results in an increase in dopamine, and then we find that person to be someone we want to stick with," she says.

In the video, Marsh contends addictive drugs affect the brain in ways similar to love, which may explain the painful, withdrawal-like symptoms of heartbreak when couples separate.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Chevy Corvettes Eaten By The Earth

Giant Sinkhole Swallows Corvettes At Kentucky Museum

BOWLING GREEN, KY. -- The National Corvette Museum reports a sinkhole opened up under the Museum's Skydome, letting numerous Corvettes on display fall about twenty-five feet into the hole.

Museum officials say they received an early morning call from it's security company alerting of motion detectors going off in the Skydome area of the Museum. Upon arrival it was discovered that a sinkhole had collapsed within the Museum.

No one was in or around the Museum at the time. The Bowling Green Fire Department arrived on the scene and secured the area. The Fire Department has estimated the size of the hole is 40 feet across and 25 to 30 feet deep. No word on whether insurance will cover the damage to the vehicles caused by a sinkhole as many policies exclude sinkhole damage.

Western Kentucky like many area of Central Florida are underlain by limestone rock, and susceptible to earth collapses.

Eight Corvettes on display at the museum were affected by this incident. Those cars include a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder on loan from General Motors and a 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” also on loan from General Motors

The other six vehicles were owned by the National Corvette Museum including:
1962 Black Corvette
1984 PPG Pace Car
1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette
1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette
2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette
2009 White 1.5 Millionth Corvette

None of the cars affected were on loan from individuals. The Skydome exhibit area of the Museum is a separate structure connected to the main Museum. A structural engineer is now on-site to assess the existing damage and stability of the surrounding areas. The Museum is closed to the public for the day to allow officials to assess the situation.

(Videos courtesy National Corvette Museum, Bowling Green, Kentucky. Western Kentucky University's Engineering Department used it's drone helicopter fitted with a camera to take the videos.)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Phone Scam From Caribbean Islands - Do Not Call Back!

Phone Scam Active - Watch Out For 'One Ring' Scam
A telephone scam that has been around for many years has appeared again. This scam involves returning calls to the 268, 809, 284 and 876 area codes that originate from Antigua, Jamaica or another Caribbean island.

Sometimes it just appears as a missed call, also known as a "one-ring scam." Other times, the caller leaves a message on your answering machine, gives their first name and leaves a message such as "Sorry I missed your call... please call me back I have something important to tell you." The reasons you are asked to call back vary and can include such things as a family member is ill, someone has been arrested, died or to let you know you have won a prize.

The overseas area codes can be used as pay-per-call numbers, similar to the more familiar 900 numbers. Consumers that have returned the calls have reported being charged a $19.95 connection fee and an additional $9 per minute.

The practice of third parties placing unauthorized charges on wireless accounts is called "cramming." If you don’t recognize an out-of-state telephone number on your caller ID, ignore it, and if you do answer, do not call back.

If you think you've received a call from a potential scammer, immediately report it to your telephone or cellular provider.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Teacher Arrested On Sexting Charges With 15-Year Old Student

Teacher Facebook Sexting Over Three Days Leads To Arrest

OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- An Okeechobee county school teacher was arrested on February 6 on three charges of using a computer to solicit and lure children, and three count of transmitting information harmful to children.

47-year old Brad Guyton Mims of 811 SE 9TH Stree in Okeechobee has also been charged with possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia after allegations of Facebook texting of a sexual nature to a student's cell phone over a three day period.

Detective Rosemary Farless says on February 5 school resource officer Deputy Sheriff Murrish said a 15 year old 9th grader female reported she was feeling uncomfortable around Mims, a school guidance counselor at Okeechobee Freshman's Campus.

She informed D/S Murrish she was getting "looks from Guidance Counselor Brad Mims that were making her feel very uncomfortable" according to the arrest report.

Mims would "look her up and down, directly in her eyes then down to her breasts." He also allegedly sent an unsolicited text message to the student on her cell phone on February 4.

Detective Farless got permission from the girl's father to use her cell phone and communicate with Mims through her Facebook page.

According to the arrest affidavit the content of the Facebook messaging was as follows:

(M: Brad Mime 
R: Detective Rosemary Farless Posing as the 15 year old female )

M-Smiley face sticking out its tongue
R-Smiley face with open mouth sticking out tongue
M-Kissy face
M-Not much. and u? ?
R-sittín on the porch
M-I see.Alone I hope. .lol
R-yeah dads grocery shopping
M-I see..Not that we are doing anything wrong just rather it b between us. .i can
trust u right. .
R-Yep I told u that
M-I  Hope So. .I do trust u.U understand though. .lol
R-Yep I do
M-Good.And always erase when we are done.. :) .
R-I always do. My phone has a password to
M-Good.  hope u don't think I am a
R-Y wld I think that an nope
M-I don't know.Just u probàbly were surprised last
R-Ve-ry. Shocked
M-But a good thing I hope lol
R-I think so an u?
M-Yeah I
R-U erase urs so ur girlfriend wont see
M-I will.U just bettèr u could get me in
R- U Could gèt me in tròùble w my dad. I wont get u in trouble
M-I hope not. .I am trusting u. .So does ur dad look at ur phone
R-No its got a password. But ill delete_it to b sure
M- U promise and tell no one.Please. .And I will always let u message me so I know ur alone
R-Promise an deal
M-Good.So we have it set; then.Soooo
M-So u always say hi.I think u like
R-Hahaha yep I think u like me to
M-IS that
R-Not to me
M-Not weird. lol.
R- not that either
M-Dang girl.Ur
R-Wen I want to b lol
M-Lol . . hmmm. lol
R-See it took to long to answer me my dad is pullin in gotta go. Txt later
M-OK erase

On another later time the detective contacted Mims and the chat turned to that of a sexual nature and Mims instructed her to go to a Facebook page in the name of Dave Render.

The detective said during the conversation in which Mims thought he was texting the 15-year old girl, Mims asked approximately 15 times for me to show breasts.

Mims told her his penis size was 10" and he sent to the cell phone two pictures of two different penises. He mentioned over and over about "this messing up his life and ruining him if she told anyone."

A search by detectives of Mim's residence found evidence including cocaine totaling 5 grams, 17 crack pipes, 14 lighters, 4 razors, his computer tower, 10 pictures of unidentified young girls, 4 dildos, a bong, Char boy used as a filter to smoke crack cocaine, camcorder, SD card and anal lubes.

During an interview with Mims, the affidavit said an alleged 2nd victim was alleged to have received the same photos from Mims and a photo was was received by him of the 2nd victim's naked breast. The investigation into the 2nd victim is continuing.

During the search of his residence three pistols were collected and they were turned over to Mim's father.

Update February 11, 2014: Mims had been released on $135,500 bond on the original charges.

On February 10,  has was newly charged with lewd computer solicitation of a child, 2 counts of transmission of material harmful to minor by electronic equipment, and two counts of use of child in sexual performance.

The Sheriff's office said after further investigation, a second victim was confirmed and a warrant was issued for the above offenses. Mims was arrested on February 10, 2014, by the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office for those offenses.

Mims will be transported to the Okeechobee County Jail. He will be held in custody on $350,000 bond.

2014 Swamp Cabbage Festival In LaBelle

Hendry County's Largest Festival And Parade

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry county's annual Swamp Cabbage Festival will be held as usual the last full weekend of February, this year on February 22 and 23rd.

The county's largest event steps off on Bridge Street as the floats and marchers in the Swamp Cabbage Parade travel north for about two miles, ending at the foot of the Caloosahatchee River at Barron Park.

The entertainment schedule for this year's event at Barron Park:


10:00 Parade down Bridge Street
11:30-Opening Prayer at Barron Park
11:45-Queen/Princess Introduction and Performance
12:00-Cracker Blues
12:45-Introduction of Pioneer Family & Grand Marshal
1:00-Country Rhythm Cloggers
1:50-Yard Dog Charlie
2:30-Showtime Cloggers
4:00-Alter Eagles


10:00-Press On
10:45-Dylan Awbrey
11:30-The Dance Company
12:35-Queen/Princess Introduction and Performance
1:15-Scott McKean
2:15-Terri and Andrew Dean
3:00-China Grove

(Video: 2014 Swamp Cabbage Festival and Parade)

Florida's Black History Month

For the past 88 years, we have taken the month of February to remember the rich and diverse history of African-Americans as we celebrate Black History Month. The achievements of African-Americans touch every community and are found in every field of study, including science and technology. This is a time to remember the sacrifices and hard work of individuals who helped build a better and more tolerant life, both present and future, for all of us.

As we acknowledge the many African-American men and women who have helped the United States grow culturally, countless civil rights pioneers in Florida have been equally as important and should be reflected upon as agents of change in our own state.

For the last two years, the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame has honored individual Floridians who made great sacrifices and helped foster equality for all in our state. These heroes, such as pioneering educator Mary McLeod Bethune, civil rights leaders C.K. Steele and Harry T. and Harriette Moore, were recognized for their unyielding commitment to equality, diversity and human dignity.

Governor Rick Scott recently selected three new inductees for the Hall of Fame: Dr. Robert Hayling, James Johnson and Asa Randolph. Each of these men was chosen for his commitment to advocating for equality and justice throughout Florida.

Today’s African Americans have much to celebrate and build upon as they honor those who have gone before them. Black History Month gives us the opportunity to recognize the many ways African-Americans have enriched Florida's communities, culture and history.

Submitted by Commissioner Mario Valle, Chair 
Florida Commission on Human Relations

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Former Political Candidate Wilcoxson Arrested

One More Arrest For Former Politician

NAPLES, FL. -- A former candidate for Hendry County Clerk has been arrested on charges of grand theft auto, a third degree felony.

Larry Wilcoxson, 35 was arrested and taken to the Collier County jail February 6. He bonded out the next day on $5,000 bond.

Wilcoxson ran for Hendry County Clerk of Court in 2012 against incumbent Barbara Butler. Wilcoxson has had several previous arrests.

Wilcoxson has a Master's degree in Divinity from Martin University, the only predominantly African America university in Indiana and a degree in Criminal Justice.

He was arrested in 2006 charged with three counts of child molestation in Indianapolis, Indiana. Wilcoxson was a substitute teacher at Longfellow Middle School. The alleged victim was a 13-year old girl.

UPDATE: On September 11, 2007 the Court sustained a Motion to Dismiss the case after the State of Indiana's Motion to Dismiss citing "Essential Witness's Testimoney Excluded"

He had previously been fired for allegedly exposing himself to a female school custodian at Indianapolis' Donnan Middle School while he was substitute teaching there, according to press reports.

In 2008, he was a defendant along with the Indianapolis School System and the Indianapolis Police Department in a Federal Civil Rights suit brought by Valerie Davis of Indianapolis.

In August 2003, Collier Sheriff's deputies arrested Wilcoxson AKA "Scooby" Wilcoxson for charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated battery with a weapon. He spent almost a month in Collier jail until he bonded out on $20,000 bail. The state attorney dropped the charges in October.

In 2006, Collier county records indicate Wilcoxson was the defendant in several traffic cases and a paternity suit.
 More Stories On Wilcoxson

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Reward Offered To Find Missing Girl

13-Year Old May Be With 23-Year Old Male

LABELLE, FL. -- On Tuesday February 4, 2014, at approximately 6:15 am, juvenile female, Vanessa Carbajal, date of birth 03/30/2000 left her residence for school but did not return home. It was discovered that she had removed her school books from her backpack and had taken clothes with her when she left.

Vanessa is considered a runaway juvenile and may be in the company of 23 year old, H/M Jose Valasco Ventura, date of birth 05/08/1990, who has had temporary custody in the past.

Jose is believed to have a brother, Lucio Valasco, and possibly other family members in Moultrie, Ga. Moultrie authorities are aware of the runaway juvenile. Law enforcement in the Moultrie area have attempted to contact family members but have so far been unsuccessful.

According to family members in LaBelle, Jose does not have a job or a vehicle, Jose left the home on a blue 10 speed type bicycle in LaBelle, Florida this past weekend.

It has been discovered that Vanessa has several Facebook accounts, to include one in which she uses Valasco as her last name.

If you have seen or have any information on the whereabouts of either 13 year old,Vanessa Carbajal or 23 year old, Jose Valasco Ventura you are asked to call the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office at (863) 674-5600 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). All callers will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Doctor And Nurse Named As Public Health 'Heroes'

Dr. Martha E. Valiant and Joanne Vorhees Honored
By Brenda Barnes, Planning Consultant and Public Information Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties

As part of the celebration and recognition of 125 Years of Public Health, each county in the state of Florida selected “Local Public Health Heroes”. Votes were collected from leaders in Hendry and Glades Counties and two women were selected as our Local Public Health Heroes. These ladies will also be honored in LaBelle's 2014 Swamp Cabbage Parade and the Moore Haven Chalo Nitka Parade.

Martha E. Valiant, MD, MPH has been commonly referred to as the “Baby Doctor” by people in the community, but her colleagues know her as the “Voice of Rural Counties”. Over the past 40 years, she has been a tireless advocate for the healthcare needs and challenges of rural communities not only in Hendry and Glades Counties, but the entire Southwest Florida area!

Since graduating from Duke University School of Medicine in 1972 with a specialty in pediatrics, Dr. Valiant has spent most of her medical career in the public sector. Her Public Health roots began in Palm Beach County where she worked along side of Dr. Carl Brumback. Dr. Valiant said that Dr. Brumback helped to “feed her passion” for rural health.

In 1991, she became Director of the Health Departments in Hendry and Glades Counties. She was instrumental in getting the health department buildings constructed in Clewiston and LaBelle in the late 1990’s. Both Health Department buildings were dedicated in her honor. Even though she is now retired, she still follows her passion of rural health by serving on several boards such as Children’s Advocacy, The Children’s Hospital, Health Planning Council, and Hendry-Glades Behavioral Health.

Dr. Valiant said “I absolutely loved my years at the Hendry and Glades Health Departments. It enabled me to fulfill my goals of tackling rural health issues.” When asked how she would like to be remembered, she humbly stated, “I hope that I am remembered as a doctor who made a difference in the lives of children and their families in rural communities.”

Over the years, Dr. Valiant has been recognized for her Public Health imprint on the world. In 1997 she received the “Outstanding Woman in Public Health” award from the College of Public Health, University of South Florida. Over a span of years from 1997 to present day she has received the “FRHA Wendell Rollason Award”, the “Sidney S. Chipman Award”, the “Healthy Start Lifetime Achievement Award”, and the Greater LaBelle Chamber of Commerce “Woman of the Year Award”. Most recently, she was named by WGCU to its list of “21 Southwest Florida Women Who Have Made a Difference”. (WGCU is a PBS-member television station in Fort Myers, Florida, owned and operated by Florida Gulf Coast University).

Pat Dobbins, Administrator for the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties said, “Dr. Valiant continues to be an inspiration to me; she is one of my personal heroes. This is a person who definitely encompasses every aspect of a Public Health Hero”.

Joanne Vorhees, ARNP began her career in Public Health in 1968. For the last 45 years, Ms. Vorhees has been involved in all aspects of Public Health as an Advance Registered Nurse Practitioner for the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties. Her specialty has always been women’s health which also includes adolescents. She is known for her efforts in promoting clinic schedules to encourage adolescents to enter family planning services, and for providing much needed family planning education to the rural areas of Hendry and Glades Counties.

Early in her nursing career, she worked at Baylor University Hospital in Dallas Texas which had over 800 hospital beds and 17 operating rooms. Her family decided to move to Florida in the 1960’s and settled in Clewiston. Ms. Vorhees became an Operating Room and Emergency Room Supervisor at Hendry General Hospital in Clewiston where she assisted with labor and delivery.

After making the move to Public Health, she promoted the use of videos to educate women about their health and family planning choices, taught parenting classes at the local high schools, and has assisted with prenatal and primary care in the clinical setting. She continues to be a patient advocate and believes in preventative services and education. Ms. Vorhees is a former Board Member of the Harlem Academy Daycare and is an active member of the local chapters of the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society.

Over the years Ms. Vorhees stated that she has seen lots of changes in Public Health, but was most happy to see changes in immunization requirements for school entry. Ms Vorhees stated, “I love being part of a rural community. I now see the grandchildren of people that I remember giving school immunizations to. It’s nice getting to know the whole family.” Retirement is something that she does not want to consider. She loves the work she does and the communities that she serves. She hopes to continue her service in Public Health for several more years.

“It’s amazing that Joanne has dedicated 45 years of her life to Public Health, and we are so happy that she chose to spend those years of service with us at the Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties. It truly is a remarkable accomplishment.” said Pat Dobbins, the Administrator for the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties.

Crossing Florida By Horseback - Cowboys Hit The Trail

Horses And Wagons Hit Florida Trails And Highways Next Week 

OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- The 27th Annual Cross State Horseback and Wagon Ride: This cross travels through Manatee, Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee and St. Lucie Counties beginning Saturday, February 15 and ending Friday, February 21.

The Annual Cross-State Ride is a re-enactment of the return trip from Bradenton on the west coast back to Fort Pierce on the east coast after cattle herds were safely on their way to Havana. It commemorates the dedication the Florida Cracker Trail.

Covering approximately 110 miles, the Cross State Ride begins just east of Bradenton, Florida on the third Saturday of February and ends with a parade through Fort Pierce on the following Saturday. Riders and horses travel about 20 miles each day, some days less, some days more, in the saddle 5-8 hours, with mid-morning and mid-afternoon water breaks.

A break for lunch around noon each day allows time for riders to be transported by bus back to their rigs so they can move them to that night's camp.

Law enforcement officers will accompany riders, horses and horse-drawn wagons as they travel in these counties during daylight hours. 

Motorists should use caution, plan extra time, and respectfully share the road with participants on the roadways listed below:

· Manatee County: SR 64
· Hardee County: SR 64, Steve Roberts Special, Parnell Road, SR 66
· Highlands County: SR 66, US 98
· Okeechobee County: US 98, CR 68, US 441
· St Lucie County/Ft. Pierce: Kings Highway

For more information about this annual event, visit .

Robert "Sam" Kidd Dies At 42

Robert Bailey "Sam" Kidd, age 42, passed away in Athens, Georgia on February 4, 2014. He was born in Clewiston, Florida on February 11, 1971. 

His loving parents, James Rhea Kidd and Joy Waldron Kidd are mourning the loss of their son. 

Also missing him with all their hearts are his brother, Clifton Waylon Kidd, his nephew, Kyle James Kidd, maternal grandmother, Mable Bailey Kidd, aunt, Sondra Westberry Snow and her husband Thomas John Snow, and many loving cousins. 

Sam was predeceased by his paternal grandfather, A. Rhea Kidd, maternal grandmothers, Elsie Waldron Westberry and Lily Merle Waldron, and maternal grandfathers, Lawrence C. Westberry and Robert E. Waldron. 

Sam graduated from Clewiston High School in 1989, attended Palm Beach Community College from 1989-1990, and continued his education at South Technical Education Center from 1991 to1994. 

What Sam truly enjoyed was people; he was happiest when interacting with others. He leaves a legacy of personal warmth and humor-a man of simplicity who showed a love for music from an early age. In Sam's life, there were no strangers; he loved and was loved by all who knew him. 

A graveside service will be conducted by Akin-Davis Funeral Homes of Clewiston on February 12 at 4:00. Interment will follow at Ridgelawn Cemetery, also in Clewiston. 

In lieu of flowers, tax deductible donations may be made to the Sam Kidd Memorial Fund at SouthTech Academy. To donate, go to Proceeds will be used to support the SouthTech Rock and Roll Academy.

Cemeteries - Odd And Old

Exploring History Through Cemeteries

LABELLE, FL. -- "As You Are Now, So Once Was I" a program given by Melissa Timo at LaBelle City Hall, 451 West Hickpochee Avenue, on Wednesday, February 12. at 7 o'clock in the evening is the third in the series of special speaker programs for 2014 in Hendry county.

Timo says Florida’s cemeteries are not as quiet as one might think. Instead, these burial places are rich with hidden symbols, public proclamations, and old, sometimes odd, traditions. From public playgrounds to austere resting places to high-tech memory storage, studies of cemeteries can bring to life families, communities, and cultures long after they’ve left Florida far behind. 

Miss Timo is the Florida Public Archeology Network Outreach Coordinator for the Southwest Region, which includes Lee, Collier, Glades, and Hendry Counties.

The free program is made possible by LaBelle Heritage Museum's partnership with Clewiston Museum in a neighborhood grant from the Florida Humanities Council. 

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

CVS Stops Sale Of Cigarettes And Tobacco Products

CVS Caremark announced today that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 CVS pharmacy stores across the U.S. by October 1, 2014. According to CVS this step makes CVS/pharmacy the first national pharmacy chain to support "the health and well-being of its patients and customers."

"Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," said Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Caremark. "Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose."

Smoking is the leading cause of premature disease and death in the United States with more than 480,000 deaths annually. While the prevalence of cigarette smoking has decreased from approximately 42 percent of adults in 1965 to 18 percent today, the rate of reduction in smoking prevalence has stalled in the past decade. More interventions, such as reducing the availability of cigarettes, are needed, says CVS.

"CVS Caremark is continually looking for ways to promote health and reduce the burden of disease," said CVS Caremark Chief Medical Officer Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H. "Stopping the sale of cigarettes and tobacco will make a significant difference in reducing the chronic illnesses associated with tobacco use."

In a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Viewpoint published online this morning, Brennan and co-author Steven A. Schroeder, Director, Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, University of California, San Francisco, wrote, "The paradox of cigarette sales in pharmacies has become even more relevant recently, in large part because of changes in the pharmacy industry. 

"Most pharmacy chains are retooling themselves as an integral part of the health care system. They are offering more counseling by pharmacists, an array of wellness products and outreach to clinicians and health care centers.Perhaps more important, pharmacies are moving into the treatment arena, with the advent of retail health clinics. These retail clinics, originally designed to address common acute infections, are gearing up to work with primary care clinicians to assist in treating hypertension, hyperlipidemia and diabetes all conditions exacerbated by smoking."

CVS Caremark's decision to stop selling tobacco products is consistent with the positions taken by the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and American Pharmacists Association that have all publicly opposed tobacco sales in retail outlets with pharmacies.

The company estimates that it will lose approximately $2 billion in revenues on an annual basis from the tobacco shopper.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Ava Hazel Green, age 99, of Clewiston, passed away in her home surround by family on February 2, 2014 in Clewiston.

Ms. Green was born on April 23, 1914 in Zolfo Springs, Florida to Edward and Minnie Williams Townsend. She was a member of the Clewiston Church of God Church for many years. She was a loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother and great-great grandmother.

She leaves behind her children; Elbert Crews, Guy Hand, Marshall Crews and Cindy Blount, seventeen grandchildren and many great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren, she also leaves behind her two brothers; Wiley and Wilmer Townsend.

Service of Celebration will be held at 11:00 A.M. Wednesday, February 5, 2014 in Clewiston Church of God, 522 San Luiz Avenue Clewiston, Florida, with Pastor Josh Caraway officiating. Interment will be in Ortona Cemetery.

Ms. Green was preceded in death by her daughter; Fawn Stewart and son; Donald Crews.

Mario Monroy Hughes, age 31, of Moore Haven, passed away January 31, 2014 in Moore Haven.

He was born July 12, 1982 in Ahuachapán, El Salvador. Mario grew up in Moore Haven and graduated from Moore Haven High School with the class of 2000. After high school he joined the United States Army. He was an Iraqi Freedom War veteran and was presently serving in the United States Army Reserves.

Survivors include his three children; Dominic, Alana and Blade, parents, Sonny and Barbara Hughes, brother; Scott Hughes and wife Michele, sister; Sunny Jeanne Hughes Austin and husband Rodney, uncles; John Fitch and David Fitch, maternal grandmother; Agnes Fitch, and many nieces and nephews. Mario was preceded in death by his grandparents: Sadie and Red Hughes and Richard Fitch.

Graveside services will be conducted at the Pavilion of Ortona Cemetery on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. with Pastor John H. Booher, officiating. Visitation will be one hour before services at the cemetery.

Katherine Pauline "Cricket" Turner, age 64 of Clewiston, died on February 2, 2014 at 1253 a.m. in her home.

Cricket was born on November 23, 1949, in Pahokee to the late Kenneth Otis and Betty Lou Emrich Timgren. She was an Office Manger for many years at Quality Electric Contracting in Clewiston. She was married to Hugh Dyoll Turner. She was a graduate of Clewiston High School. She was a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and will be missed by her entire loving family.

Cricket leaves behind her loving mother: Betty Lou Timgren, husband: Hugh Dyoll Turner, two sons: Kenneth Lloyd Turner, Karson Chad Turner, sister Donna Gaile Sparks and husband Donald, brother: Kenneth "Timmy" Timgren and his wife Meloni, two precious grandchildren: Ashlie Katherine Turner and Harley Brandon Turner and one great granddaughter: Kaylien Kuhl, and many nieces and nephews.

Cricket was preceded in death by her father, Kenneth Otis Timgren and her son, Kevin Idral Turner.

Services celebrating Cricket's life will be Thursday, February 6, 2014, in Evangel Assembly of God at 11:00 A.M. with Pastor Gary Corley officiating. Visitation will be held Wednesday in Akin-Davis Funeral Home from 6-8 p.m. Interment will take place immediately following the celebration in Ridgelawn Cemetery.

J P Morgan Makes $614 Million Settlement For False Claims

The Department of Justice today announced that JPMorgan Chase will pay $614 million for violating the False Claims Act by knowingly originating and underwriting non-compliant mortgage loans submitted for insurance coverage and guarantees by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

As part of the settlement, which was handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the bank admitted that, for more than a decade, it approved thousands of FHA loans and hundreds of VA loans that were not eligible for FHA or VA insurance because they did not meet applicable agency underwriting requirements. JPMC further admitted that it failed to inform the FHA and the VA when its own internal reviews discovered more than 500 defective loans that never should have been submitted for FHA and VA insurance.

Beginning as early as 2002, JPMC falsely certified that loans it originated and underwrote were qualified for FHA and VA insurance and guarantees. As a consequence of JPMC’s misrepresentations, both the FHA and the VA incurred substantial losses when unqualified loans failed and caused the FHA and VA to cover the associated losses.

The FHA’s Single Family Mortgage Insurance Program enables low- and moderate- income borrowers to purchase homes by insuring qualified loans made by participating lenders, such as JPMC, against losses if the loans later default. A participating lender may only submit to the FHA creditworthy loans meeting certain requirements and must maintain a quality control program that can prevent and correct any deficiencies in the lender’s underwriting practices. The VA’s Loan Guaranty Program provides similar assistance to veterans, service members and qualifying surviving spouses.

The settlement resolves allegations in a complaint filed by a private whistleblower.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Sex Offender Pleads Guilty In Child Porn Case

Couple Used 4-Year Old Girl To Produce Pornography
FORT MYERS, FL— North Fort Myers residents Alan Robert Johnson (35) and Jennifer A. Sparks (39) pleaded guilty earlier this week to production of child pornography. 

Johnson faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 25 years, up to a maximum penalty of 50 years in federal prison. Sparks faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years, up to a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

According to the plea agreement, on or about May 12, 2012, in Lee County, Johnson and his girlfriend Jennifer Sparks knowingly used a 4-year-old girl to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography. 

On June 4, 2012, a private citizen turned the cellular telephone that Johnson and Sparks had used to produce the child pornography over to law enforcement. The cell phone had been found in a shopping cart at a Lee County Walmart on or about June 2, 2012.

Further investigation revealed that Johnson was a registered sex offender. A subsequent search warrant was obtained for his residence, and another cellular phone was located in the bedroom shared by Sparks and Johnson. That cellular phone also contained sexually explicit images of the minor.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes the Cape Coral Police Department and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Yolande G. Viacava.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please

Moonlight Valentine Night Hike To Fort Center Historic Site

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Hikers and families are invited to a Full Moon Valentine Night Hike at Fisheating Creek Ft. Center Wildlife Management Area lead by Fisheating Creek Florida Trail Association volunteers

Meet at 5:30 p.m at the Ft. Center parking lot for a leisurely 4 mile round trip hike to Historic Fort Center and the Ft. Center Archaeological site. 

After hiking 2 miles hikers will eat dinner at the Center picnic table near Fisheating Creek before returning to the parking lot by the light of the full moon. 

Bring your dinner, water, insect repellant & a flashlight. Wear closed-toed comfortable shoes. Please notify a leader if you plan to attend this event. 

Location: Fisheating Creek WMA Meet at the Fort Center Trailhead on Banana Grove Road. From Moore Haven at junction of US 27 and SR 78 go North (toward Okeechobee) on SR 78 approximately 8 miles. There will be a brown sign for Fisheating Creek Wildlife Management Area. Turn left on Banana Grove Road. Come to the trailhead and parking area in about 1 mile. Restrooms are available in the parking area. 

Leaders:Margaret England 863-517-0202, ; Betty Loomis 863-532-9339,

Murder Victim Identified As Rashen Jordan

Reward Open For Tips On Shooting
CLEWISTON, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff's Investigators have now confirmed the identity of a man found shot in Clewiston, Florida.

The victim, 30 year old, Rashen Jordan was found lying in the driveway of a residence on Carolina Avenue in the early morning hours.

At this time, Investigators are not certain of the events that led up to the shooting. Investigators report that they do have persons of interest and they are continuing to interview and will continue to follow up all leads.

Anyone with information on the identity and whereabouts of the suspect is asked to call Hendry County Sheriffs Office at 863-674-5600 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). All callers will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

79 Year Old Driver Kills Three Pedestrians, Injures Four More

Country Club Scene Of Bizarre Crash, Killing Three Elderly

BRADENTON, FL. -- The Florida Highway Patrol says a white 2009 Chevy Tahoe SUV backed from a parking space at Sugar Creek Country Club at 3333 26th Ave. E. in Bradenton, FL. and killed three pedestrians and left four seriously injured, with the vehicle ending submerged in a canal.

Dead are pedestrians Margaret Vanderlaan age 72, Wilhemina Paul age 70, and Johanna Dijkhoff age 80, all of Bradenton.

Seriously injured were Nelly Depooter age 67 of Ontario, Canada, Nellie Alice Vlasma age 75 of Bradenton, Michael Claus age 79 of Bradenton, and Fred Eringa age 89 of Bradenton.

A Chevy Tahoe, driven by 79-year old Doreen E. Landstra of Palmetto, Fl. pulled forward and needed more room to clear another parked vehicle said a FHP report, and the SUV began backing eastbound again. In doing so, the rear struck seven pedestrians who were standing in the parking lot behind the vehicle. 

It continued to travel east over a curb before colliding with small trees and then entered a canal where it came to final rest facing west partially submerged said Trooper. Keil Nanan and homicide investigator Cpl. Ronnie Highsmith.

Charges are pending further investigation said the FHP.

Update: The Florida Highway Patrol issued the following information 2/5/2014: Doreene E. Landstra was issued a mandatory non-criminal infraction for improper backing (316.1985(1) Florida Statute listed below). Her court date will be on March 5, 2014 at 8:30 a in Courtroom 4-E at the Manatee County Courthouse located at 1051 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL.
316.1985 Limitations on backing.—
(1) The driver of a vehicle shall not back the same unless such movement can be made with safety and without interfering with other traffic.
(2) The driver of a vehicle shall not back the same upon any shoulder or roadway of any limited access facility.
(3) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.

318.19 Infractions requiring a mandatory hearing.—Any person cited for the infractions listed in this section shall not have the provisions of s. 318.14(2), (4), and (9) available to him or her but must appear before the designated official at the time and location of the scheduled hearing:
(1) Any infraction which results in a crash that causes the death of another;

Manatee County Clerks Website:

Which citations require a mandatory court appearance?

The following charges require a mandatory court hearing:

· Leaving a child in an unattended vehicle
· An accident involving a serious bodily/personal injury
If found guilty of an offense involving serious bodily injury to another, a mandatory fine of $500.00 and a mandatory license suspension of 3 months shall be imposed
· An accident involving a fatality
If found guilty of an offense involving a fatality, a mandatory fine of $1,000.00 and a mandatory license suspension of 6 months shall be imposed
· Passing on enter/exit side while bus is stopped
· Speed 30+ MPH in excess of posted speed limits

The crash remains under investigation, it is anticipated that the final traffic homicide investigative report will take in upwards of 60 days to complete, said the FHP.

Douglas Schram Dies At 66

Douglas Pete Schram, 66, of LaBelle, FL, died at 4:05 p.m., Friday, January 31, 2014 at his home with his family by his side, after a courageous battle with lung cancer.

Mr. Schram was born on March 26, 1947 in Benton, IL the son of Oness Pearl "Poss" Schram and Celia (McAdoo) Schram. He married the former Beverly Guntrum on November 23, 1985 and she survives.
Pete was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and served his country during the Vietnam War. He worked as a coal miner at Freeman United Coal Mine #3 and #4, Albers Mine, and the Inland Steel Mine in McLeansboro. He was a truck driver for PST Trucking and Summers Excavating before his relocation to Florida. He worked as a maintenance foreman at LaBelle Plant World, a supervisor at Nobles Groves in LaBelle, FL and as a maintenance foreman at Gator Harvesting in LaBelle, FL. 

He loved spending time with his grandchildren, dogs, TK and Cookie, and cat, Penelope.
Surviving relatives include his wife, Beverly Schram, LaBelle, FL, six children, Stephen (Tammy) Schram, Rock Hill, SC, Melinda (Tim) Tennant, DuQuoin, IL, Gregory (Carrie) Guntrum, Lehigh Acres, FL, Tina Niebel, Johnston City, IL, Kelly (Joe) Guntrum-Penna, St. Petersburg, FL, and Ryan Schram, Marion, IL, ten grandchildren, Jared Schram, Katie Holloman, Tyler Guntrum, Lauren Tennant, Mackenzie Schram, Hunter Frick, Emily Tennant, Joseph Schram, Kaylee Guntrum, Jaydn Schram, special granddaughter, Caitlin Holt, great-grandson expected in April, Lyric Michael Schramone, one brother, Jack (Margaret) Schram, Macon, IL, one sister, Joyce (Jim) Ragan, Buckner, IL, and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Mr. Schram was preceded in death by his parents, three sisters, Elizabeth Hernandez, Jean Summers, and Ramona Lewis, and four brothers, Robert Jarvis Schram, Billy Floyd Schram, George Truman Schram and Paul Roger Schram and grandson, Stephen Schram, Jr.
The family wants to give a special thanks to caregivers Ramona Holt, Lisa Reinbott and Hope Rivas.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Hope Hospice, 9470 Healthpark Circle, Fort Myers, FL 33908 or the charity of the donor's choice and will be accepted at the funeral home in honor of Pete.
Cremation services were provided by Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL.

Reward For Murder Information

Hendry County Sheriffs Office Investigating Homicide
CLEWISTON, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriffs Office Investigators are currently working a Homicide in the Harlem Gardens area of Clewiston, Florida.

At this time the scene is still under investigation. The identity of the victim has not yet been released.

Anyone with information on the identity and whereabouts of the suspect is asked to call Hendry County Sheriffs Office at 863-674-5600 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). 

 All callers will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Horace Wilkison Dies At Age 83

Horace Albert Wilkison, age 83, of LaBelle, passed away January 30, 2014 in Bonita Springs.

He was born Dec. 24, 1930 in LaBelle, FL, to the late Robert Franklin and the late Clara Belle (Luckey) Wilkison. He served in the US Navy during the Korean War. Horace was a great outdoorsman who loved fishing, hunting, and his avocation of land surveying. 

He served as Collier County Chapter President of the Florida Society of Professional Land Surveyors.

He is survived by his beloved wife of over 61 years: Marjorie Joan (Blount) Wilkison, two sons: James Nathan Wilkison, David Stephen Wilkison (Sandy), grandchildren, Jason, Aaron, Aimee, Melanie, and Mitchell; great grandchildren, Brooke, Aiden and Zander. He was preceded in death by his brother, Robert Franklin Wilkison, and sister, Faye McDuffie.

A memorial service will be held Monday, February 3rd at 11:00 am with visitation at 10:30 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, with Pastor Bill Maddox officiating. In lieu of flowers the family is asking that donations be made to Joanne's House at Hope Hospice in Bonita Springs in honor of Horace.

Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Fort Myers.