Sunday, March 30, 2014

Paul Wilson Dies At 86

Paul C. Wilson, age 86, of Clewiston, passed away March 28, 2014 in Atlantis, FL.

He was born May 8, 1927 in Rockingham, NC, to the late James Wesley and the late Edna (Dunn) Wilson. He was a resident of Clewiston since 2002 and was a former, longtime resident of South Bay where he worked for many years at South Bay Growers.

Survivors include his wife: Arthurine (Meeks) Wilson, children: Sandra Wilson Porter of Lake Worth, Butch (Glenda) Wilson of Clewiston, Susan Wilson (Gene) Hinson of Edgewater, Naomi "T-Tot" Wilson (Billy) Sherman of Clewiston, twelve grandchildren, and twenty-one great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 11:00 am at Clewiston Church Of God, Clewiston with Pastor Josh Caraway and Pastor Gene Hinson officiating. Interment follows at Ridgelawn Cemetery in Clewiston. Visitation will be held Monday, March 31 from 5:30-8:00 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in Clewiston.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Law Enforcement Operates Pedestrian-Bicycle Safety Operation

FORT MYERS, FL. - On March 26, 2014, the Florida Highway Patrol, along with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office started Operation P.E.D.S. (Pedestrian Education and Developing Safety details) on U.S. 41 in the vicinity of Crystal Drive and on State Road 80 in the vicinity of Ortiz Avenue.

The detail commenced at 1:00 pm and concluded at 5:00 pm. Troopers looked for pedestrian, bicycle and motorist violations that occur at or near intersections. During the 2013 calendar year, 491 pedestrians and bicyclist were involved in crashes within Lee County. 

Of those, 355 individuals were injured and twenty five lost their lives. The purpose of this detail was to decrease the amount of injuries and deaths through a series of highly concentrated education and enforcement details in areas prone to pedestrian and bicyclist involved crashes. The results of the detail were as follows:

· 10 warnings were issued for numerous violations to include: vehicle parking on a sidewalk, vehicle obstructing crosswalk, vehicles failing to stop at the stop bar at a stop sign intersection, bicyclist under 16 year old riding without a safety helmet, pedestrian violation of right of way mid-block)

· Traffic safety information was discussed and provided to 131 pedestrians and bicyclist (bicycle lights and helmet vouchers were given to those in need as well)

The Florida Highway patrol says it will continue to focus on pedestrian and vulnerable road user education and enforcement efforts in areas prone to injury and fatal crashes.

Wanda Searcy Dies At 61

Wanda S. (Crews) Searcy, age 61, of LaBelle, passed away March 21, 2014 in LaBelle.
She was born May 1, 1952 in Sebring. She was a longtime resident of LaBelle. Wanda worked for many years and retired from the US Postal Service.

Survivors include her son: Shawn (Kim) Searcy and grandson Travis of LaBelle, sisters: Audrey (Jimmy) Curry of LaBelle and Martha Cross of Palmdale, brothers: Larry Crews of LaBelle and Donald Crews of Riverdale; step father: Jack Simpson of LaBelle, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and many friends. She was predeceased by her father: Joe Crews, mother: Elizabeth (Powers) Crews Simpson, grandparents: Gertrude and Booty Powers and nephew: Jason Curry.

Funeral Services were held Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 10:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in LaBelle with Pastor Mark White and Pastor L. W. Howard officiating. Interment followed in Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven. Visitation was held Tuesday, March 25 from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

River Steamboats On Agenda For Museum Program

LABELLE, FL. -- David Glick, who retired from the Henry Ford Museum at Dearborn, MI, is the guest speaker for the April 3 program meeting of LaBelle Heritage Museum at LaBelle City Hall, 481 West Hickpochee Ave, at 7:00 p.m. Mr.

Glick will relate his experiences with the restoration and preservation of some of the Caloosahatchee's more famous paddle-wheel steamboats, such as the Suwannee and the Thomas A. Edison, that plied the river during the early days of the 20th Century and were no strangers to LaBelle's waterfront that Henry Ford either had replicated or restored for his Henry Ford Museum.

Photo: Riverboat Suwannee traveling up the Caloosahatchee River about 1915.

The program is open to all and there is no admission charge.

A questions and answers period will wind up Mr. Glick's presentation followed by a break for refreshments. The meeting will end with the election of officers for 2014/2015 to serve a one-year term and one director for a three-year term. The nominating committee will present a recommended slate of officers and three candidates for the open three-year director's term. Nominations from the floor will be in order with only current dues paying members of the museum eligible to vote.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Bass Fishing Looking Good At SW Florida Lake

IMMOKALEE, FL. -- After nearly a decade, fishermen are finally catching noteworthy bass in Lake Trafford again.

The good news comes after years of habitat problems for the lake in northwest Collier County, the largest natural lake south of Lake Okeechobee. During the mid-1990s, excessive amounts of muck created poor water quality with low oxygen levels that led to several large fish kills. The problems nearly eliminated the largemouth bass population in this location.

In 2004, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) led a multimillion-dollar dredging/restoration project. The task took six years to complete after crews removed more than 6 million cubic yards of muck. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) established a plan for controlling problem exotics such as hydrilla and West Indian marsh grass, and helped restore beneficial aquatic plants like bulrush and Illinois pondweed.

Starting in 2010, the FWC began restocking the lake with 500,000 largemouth bass fingerlings to help supplement the native population. Today, the stocked bass make up about 40 percent of the bass population at Lake Trafford, and are generally at least 12 inches long.

Several agencies continue to work together to improve the long-term health of the lake, and their efforts are paying off. At a recent bass tournament, the winning team caught five fish that together weighed 28.2 pounds. The largest fish out of the bag weighed 7.5 pounds. The second-place team had a bag limit of five fish that totaled 25.4 pounds, with the largest fish weighing 6.7 pounds.

As if good fishing alone weren’t enough reason to fish Lake Trafford, the FWC’s TrophyCatch  program just announced a special incentive. An award will be given to the angler who has the first bass heavier than 8 pounds from Lake Trafford that is approved for TrophyCatch recognition. This package contains several items, including a U.S. Reel casting reel, Glen Lau DVD, gift certificate for four adults at Airboats and Alligators at Lake Trafford Marina, in addition to standard TrophyCatch incentives.

Panther Found Near Florida Beach

NAPLES, FL. -- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists and law enforcement officers captured and relocated an endangered Florida panther found near the beach at Clam Pass Park in Collier County today.

Beachgoers spotted the panther in the mangroves as they were walking over a boardwalk that leads to the beach. FWC biologists and law enforcement officers responded to the scene and darted the panther with a tranquilizer.

After a brief health assessment, biologists determined that the panther was in good condition. Biologists will use a radio collar to track future movements of the approximately 2-year-old male panther, which they estimate to weigh about 110 pounds.

“This panther was far from an area where we would typically see these animals, so we decided to relocate it to a more suitable habitat for its own health and safety,” said Darrell Land, FWC panther team leader. “We are thankful to the people who noticed this unusual situation and quickly reported it to us so that we could respond.”

Biologists released the panther in the Bird Rookery Swamp area of the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed.

Lynn Dasher Dies At 79

Lynn A. Dasher, Sr, age 79, of Clewiston, died on March 20, 2014 surrounded by his loving family.

He was born Jan. 27, 1935 in Belle Glade, FL, to the late Eldon and Evelyn (Prevatt) Dasher. Mr. Dasher married Bettye J. Archer. He proudly served his country Navy Air Corps from 31 Aug 55 to 30 Aug 59. 

He worked for many years for Hendry County Bridge and Road Department as a truck driver. He attended faithfully and was a member of Evangel Assembly of God Church in Clewiston for many years. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend who will be greatly missed.

He leaves behind his loving wife Bettye, sons; Lynn Jr and wife Stacie of Tampa, David and wife Danielle of Clewiston, grandson; David A. Dasher, and one brother; Glenn Dasher of Bonifay, Florida, along with many other family members and close family friends.

Life celebration service will be held Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 11:00 am at Evangel Assembly Of God, Clewiston with Pastor Gary Corley officiating. Interment with Military honors will be Tuesday, March 25, 2014 in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation is Monday from 5:00-7 PM at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Wildfires Increasing In Glades County

MUSE, FL – Wildfire activity recently has increased in the Muse Area in western Glades County. “Caution is needed this time of year due to drier weather conditions,” states Melissa Yunas, Florida Forest Service.

Saturday a wildfire threatened two homes and damaged one boat and a power pole off of Ash Road. The cause was unauthorized debris pile burning. Florida Forest Service and Glades County Fire Department want to remind residents to know the law before you strike that match. “Your local Florida Forest Service in Palmdale can answer your burning setback, authorization and onsite questions,” Melissa explains “if your fire escapes then you can be held liable for any damages or injuries.”

Sunday a wildfire ignited off of Altman Lane and Glades County Fire Department quickly extinguished the grass wildfire. Florida Forest Service investigated the cause and found it was ignited by equipment. Florida Forest Service & Glades County Fire Department want to remind residents do not pull off of roadways into tall, dry grass. Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can easily start wildfires that you may not see until it’s too late.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fort Myers Film Festival Opens Tonight

Alive Inside: A Story Of Music And Memory Featured Film Tonight

FORT MYERS, FL. -- The Fort Myers Film Festival will be held March 19-23 at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Alliance for the Arts and Broadway Palm Theatre, with parties and dinners at Twisted Vine Bistro, a filmmakers lodge at Firestone, and breakfast panels at Bennett’s Fresh Roast and other select venues.

Opening-night festivities begin at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. The event will begin with the red carpet rolling out, paparazzi snapping photos, drinks, mingling and musical entertainment. After a warm welcome from the night's hosts Stephanie Davis, Chad Oliver and Mayor Randy Henderson, the movie starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $19 for general admission. 

The opening-night film for the fourth annual Fort Myers Film Festival, “Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory," is an award-winning independent film about music therapy with Alzheimer’s patients.Last month, the film drew the Sundance audience award for U.S. documentaries.

“Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory" reveals a music-based breakthrough that has already transformed lives. Spearheaded by social worker Dan Cohen and captured on camera over the course of three years by filmmaker Michael Rossato Bennett, it shows viewers how songs from a patient’s past can awaken memories and emotions that have been asleep for years, sometimes decades.

Within a moment of hearing “I Get Around” by the Beach Boys, Alzheimer’s patient Marylou jolts back to life, dancing around the living room and expressing a euphoria her husband hasn’t witnessed since her illness took effect. Countless instances in the film provide proof that music stimulates activity in dementiaaffected parts of the brain and transforms the quality of life of those often left to languish in silence.

Through revealing conversations with renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks and musician Bobby McFerrin, as well as powerful firsthand experiments conducted by Mr. Cohen in nursing homes, this groundbreaking documentary demonstrates how connecting the elderly to the music they love not only combats memory loss but also supplements a broken health-care system often indifferent to interpersonal connections.

Film programming runs Thursday- Sunday, March 20-12, at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.Films are $7. The festival wraps up with a champagne and dessert awards ceremony hosted by Chad Oliver Sunday, 
March 23, at the Broadway Palm Theatre in Fort Myers. Tickets are $15.

For more information on all the films and events, visit

960 Rolls Toilet Paper Gifted To Small Town Firemen

We've Heard It All Now - Toilet Paper Given To Small Town Firehouse
OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- Today, as a part of the Charmin Relief Project, Charmin is donating 960 rolls of toilet paper, a year's supply for 20 firemen, to the Okeechobee Fire Department in Okeechobee, FL. 

Charmin says it is part of a nationwide donation to one fire house in every state – or nearly 50,000 rolls of toilet paper to 50 firehouses in 50 states.

The City Fire Department was formed in 1916 and its volunteers have been chartered since 1915. Until 1978, The City Fire Department was the sole fire protection agency for all of Okeechobee County. The Okeechobee City Fire Department consists of twelve paid and 12 volunteer firefighters.

Charmin recently asked consumers to share stories via Facebook and Twitter of firehouses in their communities that were experiencing sub-par bathroom conditions and in need of relief. The brand then picked one in each state that could use the extra support.

Charmin says America’s firefighters put their behinds on the line day in and day out, to keep their communities safe, and they wanted to do something to help this much loved but often underfunded group of public servants.

Brighton Indian Casino - Far Out, Fun, And Very Noisy

Brighton Casino - Entertainment Review

BRIGHTON INDIAN RESERVATION, FL. -- After an invitation by the Seminole Tribe of Florida's public relations firm to come to dinner and a country music concert last week at the tribe's Brighton Casino, I had to give some thought to just how this experience would be for a typical visitor.

I'm not even close to what the casino had in mind for a "regular" customer. I don't drink, gamble, or like places where you have to shout to converse with someone more than a few feet away.

But, my best guess is that those who love to gamble, don't mind very loud environments, and can afford to spend a few bucks for a couple of hours of gambling entertainment will like the Brighton Casino.

Joining me Friday night for dinner and a country music legend John Anderson concert was my partner Barbara, author and travel writer Bob Epstein (latest book Africa On A Pin And A Prayer) and wife Barbara, and our host from the casino's public relations firm Bitner Goodman, Chris Dirato and his gal friend.

The first obstacle most folks will encounter in a trek to the Brighton Casino is the out-in-nowhere location. The Seminole Tribe owns a pretty large parcel of land west of Okeechobee and north of Moore Haven, conveniently located next to nothing.

Well, to be fair there is Lake Okeechobee, just a dozen miles southeast, the "Bass Capital of the World" and a hot spot for fishermen. The Reservation has it's own convenience store and gas station, along with schools, nice rodeo grounds and craft centers.

The ride to Brighton from most anywhere is scenic though, driving alongside the Herbert Hoover dike on Lake Okeechobee, the second largest freshwater lake in the U.S., and through miles of cattle ranch lands and sugar cane fields.

Our dinner passed quickly at the Josiah Restaurant And Lounge. (We were conveniently ushered ahead of a waiting line to our table.)  I ordered a pretty ordinary Angus steak salad (at $15) from an extensive menu. As it turned out the meat included several pieces with gristle and clumps of fat in the standard lettuce, tomato eggs, cheese, and onions salad.

The small restaurant area is immediately next to a large gaming room with 300 slot machines. The casino itself can hold almost 500 people. The noisy environment was not a place for any real dinner conversation. Seated at the end of our table I could not hear any of the conversation a the opposite end of the medium sized table, try as I might to listen to Bob Epstein's telling of his travel adventures around the world.

The night's main attraction, a John Anderson standing room-only concert was held in what is normally the bingo hall. Anderson, a country music legend and the John Anderson Band performed to perfection. The six-member band with with drums, bass, guitar, steel, keyboards, and fiddle  backed up Anderson's unique vocal abilities without a hitch.

I would have suggested the sound man could have mixed the instrument levels a bit more precisely, especially to show off the subtleties of the musicians a bit more, including the Anderson band drummer and the exceedingly talented fiddle player (who also did backup singing with the 5-string electric bass player, and doubling on mandolin, guitar, and banjo.)

But if you're worried about ear damage, you don't want to sit up front like our group did. The thunderous sounds from dual mountains of giant speakers literally left me temporarily slightly deaf after the 90 minutes of music.

Had the sound levels been turned down from ten to eight, the atmosphere and musical enjoyment would have been perfect.

If you like non-spot gambling, the 24-hour Brighton Casino will certainly be entertaining. They don't miss a trick in luring you there; lots of multi-thousand dollar drawings and car giveaways ( a Fiat 500 on March 29) just to mention a few customer draws.

The Brighton Casino has sister gaming and hotel operations in the Tampa area, Coconut Creek (with 2,400 slot machines), Immokalee (1,200 slot machines), and Hollywood, Fl. (1,000 slot machines.) 

see Bright Casino Promtions Page for latest Brighton events

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Kenneth Leon Warren, age 87, of Lake Harbor, passed on Sunday, March 16, 2014 at Kingshouse in LaBelle, FL. He was born in Philadelphia, MS, October 29, 1926. He moved to South Florida at age ten with his family and grew up in South Bay. 

Kenneth married his sweetheart, Claudine Chambers, February 26, 1950 at the First Baptist Church, Lake Harbor, FL. They were married for 62 years before she passed away November 10, 2012. They resided in South Bay for 29 years before moving to Lake Harbor 35 years ago. He is survived by their four children Barbara Scruggs (Donnie) of Lake Harbor, Karen Warren of Lake Harbor, Ken Warren (Maria) of Sweetwater, TN, and Lee Bailey (Bill) of Centre, AL. 

Kenneth is also survived by six grandchildren, two great grandchildren, sister Ruth Miners (Curtis), brother Willis Warren (Nanette) and many cousins, nieces and nephews. In addition to his wife Claudine, he was predeceased by his parents, John and Bernice Warren, and brother, James Carroll Warren.
Kenneth was proud to be a World War II Navy veteran, having served in the South Pacific until his Honorable Discharge July 8, 1946. He worked as a welder at Okeelanta Sugar Mill until his retirement in 1992. Kenneth was a member of the First Baptist Church of Belle Glade and served there as a deacon and prior to that he was a member and deacon at the First Baptist Church of South Bay.
Kenneth's greatest joys in life were his family, church, community and serving the Lord. He was a former City Commissioner for the City of South Bay, a member of the South Bay Lion's Club, the Belle Glade High School Booster Club, and former Belle Glade Christian Day School board member. He was an ardent Florida Gators sports enthusiast, and an avid fisherman, and enjoyed diving for lobster with his family in the Florida Keys.
Visitation is Wednesday, March 19, at 10:00 a.m. followed by services to celebrate his life and Home going at 11:00 a.m. at the Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Reverend Less Morgan officiating. Burial at Ridgelawn Cemetery. In his memory, donations may be made to the First Baptist Church of Belle Glade.

Patricia W. Meloy, age 75, of Alva, passed away March 16, 2014 in Lehigh Acres.
She was born Nov. 16, 1938 in Alva, FL, to the late Robert Cranston Watson and the late Alma (Monroe) Watson. She was a lifelong resident of Alva. Patricia worked as a bank officer and retired from Florida Community Bank in Lehigh Acres in 2010.

Survivors include her husband: Paul F. Meloy, son: Paul F. Meloy, Jr., both of Alva,
brother: James (Melba) Watson of Lake Wales, sister: Judy (John) Gibbs of Gainesville, GA
and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was also preceded in death by her brothers: Richard Monroe Watson and Robert C. "Bobby" Watson, Jr and sister: Barbara Conrad

A graveside funeral service will be held Thursday, March 20, 2014, 10:00 am at Alva Cemetery in Alva with Rev. Ralph P. Cotten officiating. Interment will follow in Alva Cemetery. Visitation will be Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, 13932 Palm Beach Blvd, Fort Myers, FL.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Emergency Exercise Will Empty Public Buildings Wednesday

Evacuation Practice At Courthouse Complex
LABELLE, FL. -- On Wednesday, March 19th 2014, Hendry County Emergency Management, in cooperation with Southwest Florida Safety Consulting, Inc., will be conducting a live evacuation exercise of the School Board, Judicial, and Administrative buildings in the Hendry County Courthouse Complex, 25E Hickpochee Avenue, LaBelle, Florida. 

The exercise is in response to a test of the written evacuation plan. In the event of an emergency that would require the evacuation of the building(s) for the safety of the employees and public, the written plan gives direction on how to accomplish the task.

Emergency Management has made news outlets and other agencies aware of the event and the fact that it is an Exercise drill and not an actual event or real emergency. The following agencies will be participating: Hendry County School Board, Clerk of Circuit Courts, Tax Collectors Office, Supervisor of Elections Office, Administrative Office of the Courts, Facilities Maintenance, LaBelle Fire Department, Hendry County EMS, Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, and Hendry County Emergency Management, said Lupe Taylor, of the Hendry Emergency Management Office.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Chalkboard Jungle Author Says Schools May Not Be Fixable

LABELLE, FL. -- Barbara Maria Kovacs, author of the new novel Chalkboard Jungle did an interview today about her book. Kovacs' book is a well written account of a new teacher in a South Florida school and the troubles encountered dealing with unruly students, school administrators and low pay for teachers.

Video: Barbara Kovacs, author interview Part I

120th Anniversary Of Pioneer Mattie Magill's Birth

LABELLE, FL. -- Today is the 120th anniversary of the birth of an early LaBelle resident, Mattie Magill. She was born March 16, 1894 in Millville MO, and died in Tampa FL April 15 1992.

She married Jesse B. Thomas and was the mother of Jesse Leo Thomas, Roland Thomas, Sybil Inez Thomas Menges and Wilbur A Thomas. Mattie Magill is buried at Fort Denaud Cemetery west of LaBelle, FL.

Her family was among the early LaBelle settlers. Her mother, Mary Elizabeth Magill, was acquainted with E. E. Goodno and corresponded with him. They arranged a land swap via the mail and she, along with her husband, John Hamilton Magill, are buried at Ortona Cemetery. 

Mary E. Magill's children were Evan Pettus Magill, b. 1892; Mattie Estella Magill Thomas, b. 1894; Sybil Mary Magill Sirmans, b. 1896; Inez Cerita Magill, b. 1899; and William Lorenzo Magill, b. 1901. Evan Pettus Magill and Mattie Magill Thomas are buried at Ft. Denaud Cemetery. William Lorenzo and Inez Cerita are buried at Ortona Cemetery. Sybil Magill Sirmans is buried in Glen Burnie , MD.

John Hamilton Magill's brothers, Robert Henderson(Tobe), Benjamin Franklin and James Madison , sister Mary Jane (Jennie) and her husband Marion Clark and their families traveled from Oklahoma to take up residence in LaBelle. They came via train to Cedar Key, then packet to Ft. Myers and finally barge to LaBelle. 

Mattie Magill Thomas taught second grade for many years in LaBelle. Sybil Magill Sirmans was a waitress in the original Flora & Ella's and it was there that she met Doc Sirmans, and later married him. Sybil Magill Sirmans was considerably younger than her husband and was widowed at a young age. she returned to LaBelle and became a very fine seamstress. 

Her two daughters, Alma and Thelma, attended LHS. Inez Magill worked for the Clerk of Circuit Court in Hendry County, then in Everglades City. She wrote "From Ticks to Politics," which is on the library shelves of the Florida State University System. 

Edith Magill, their cousin, was the high school librarian in LaBelle. Maud Magill Carlson ,a sister of Edith Magill was a missionary in the Florida Keys and was drowned along with her husband Rev. Swen Robert Carlson during the massive hurricane in 1935 that devastated that area. The Carlson Memorial Methodist Church is named for them.

The Magill family was the second Pioneer Family so honored at the Swamp Cabbage Festival. As part of that celebration. Mattie Magill Thomas, restarted the old clock in the court house tower, which had not worked for 30-some-odd years.

Mattie Magill Thomas began her teaching career on Sanibel Island. At that time there was no bridge from the mainland to the islands and no bridge connecting the two islands. She was taken across by packet boat and only left in the summer and at Christmas. It seems that she had 6 pupils, and boarded with the family of one of them. They all lived on Captiva Island. The school house was located on Sanibel. Each morning she rowed across from Captiva to Sanibel and started a fire in the school hours, then rowed over to ferry her students across. After school they all rowed back to Captiva again. When asked why, if they all lived on Captiva, they didn't have the school house on Captiva. "We just never thought of it, I guess," was her answer.

- Story and photo contributed by Terry Hamilton-Wollin, who is the granddaughter of Mattie Magill. Ms. Wollin is a city commissioner in Indian Rocks Beach, Fl.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Ladies Study Isaiah At LaBelle Assembly

Study on Book of Isaiah To start March 21st

LABELLE, FL. -- Every Friday at LaBelle Assembly of God the ladies of some of the area churches meet to study God’s Word together.

This group meets at 12:00 noon at the LaBelle Assembly of God, and they would like to invite the ladies of the area to join them in the new book study of Isaiah. 

Kathy Avery will teach the class, Kathy is the pastor’s wife and music director of LaBelle Assembly . Everyone has time to ask questions and have input in this class, says Mrs. Avery. Isaiah shares the heart break of God with His people as they follow pagan gods and walk away from the blessings that was His desire for them to have. Take a look at this book and where America has fallen today, she recommends. 

All ladies are invited. The LaBelle Assembly of God is across from the Edward Upthegrove Elementary School. For more information call Kathy at 675-0900.

Photo by Cliff Avery

Front row left to right: Rosemary McGee, Kathy Avery (teacher), Alethea Mayhew, Delma Gregory, Barbara Costa, Mary Sue Smith. Second Row left to right Kelly Beardsley, Donna Bruns, Ruth Callin, Fran Switzer, Martha Way, Joni Mobley

Friday, March 14, 2014

Singer John Anderson Entertains At Brighton Casino Tonight

OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- Having entertained crowds for more than 30 years, country musician John Anderson will bring his talents to Seminole Casino Brighton in Glades county at the Brighton Indian Reservation on Friday, March 14, for a 7 p.m.concert.

Raised in Apopka, Fla., Anderson began his career in 1977 with the release of his first single “I’ve Got a Feelin’ (Somebody’s Been Stealin’)” and subsequently placed more than 40 singles on the Billboard country music charts including five number ones – “Wild and Blue,” “Swingin,” “Black Sheep,” “Straight Tequila Night,” and “Money in the Bank.”

The release of Anderson’s fourth album in 1982 (“Wild & Blue”) actually led to his breakthrough to mainstream country. The single “Swingin” broke into the country charts and reached number one, while at the same time crossing over to the Billboard Hot 100.

One of Anderson’s signature hits, “Swingin” became the biggest selling record in the history of Warner Bros. Records. He received five nominations for Country Music Association (CMA) awards for the year. He was the winner of the Horizon Award and the song was named Single of the Year. He also received nominations for Song of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year.

Noted country artist Leann Rimes recently recorded her own version of “Swingin,” and as a result was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Anderson released the album “Seminole Wind” in 1991 and powered by the title single (which rose to number two) and the number one single (“Straight Tequila Night”), the album was certified platinum twice and he was nominated for three more CMA Awards – Male Vocalist, Song of the Year and Album of the Year.

Tickets for the show (priced at $35 per person and $50 for two tickets) can be purchased via the casino’s Cash Cage or by calling 800-360-9875.

Kiwanis Announces New Thrift Store Manager

The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle is very excited to welcome Paula Mayne as the new Manager for the LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store!

Paula Mayne was raised in North Ft Myers, but has lived in LaBelle for the last 4 years and has experience with several small business operations. She was a Regional Manager for Motorola and was an Owner/Operator of an Avis Car Rental location. Some local folks may know her from “Paula’s Banana Nut Bread & More”. She has a daughter (Tommie) and a son (Kyle, who will graduate from LaBelle High School this year)

Paula, (as well as staff, club members and volunteers) have been working hard over the last few weeks at the Thrift Store to make some wonderful changes. Stop by the Kiwanis Thrift Store to see the new lay out of the sales floor and to welcome Paula! (Paula always has a kind word and a friendly smile for everyone she meets!)

Paula has been amazed at the wonderful support the community shows by dropping off their donated items at the Thrift Store.

The LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store has daily specials and is open: Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm and on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm. The Kiwanis Thrift Store is located at 155 S. Bridge Street in LaBelle. Check out the Kiwanis club of LaBelle website at
You can also find the LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store and the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle on Facebook!

Please remember that 100% of profits from the LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store go back into our local community in the support of Hendry County Schools, Salvation Army, United Way, Barron Library, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, RCMA, Children & Families, Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, Animal Shelters, local churches, and so many others!

JoAnne Carver Dies At 79

JoAnne Carver, age 79, of Clewiston, passed away March 12, 2014 in Clewiston. She was born Dec. 14, 1934 in Asheville, NC, to the late Louis E. and the late Mary A. (Rogers) Joyner. 

She is survived by sons: Johnny A. Carver, James Carver, daughters: Jackie Pullen, Judy Proctor, Jody Guzman, Mary Whitacre, brothers: Richard Joyner, Ronald Joyner, sister: Margaret Biddix, twenty three grandchildren, sixty two great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Johnny Carver and daughter Julie Sparks. 

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 11:00 am at Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven with Pastor Troy Ezell officiating. Visitation will be Monday from 06:00-08:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Kiwanis Grilling Hotdogs Saturday

Kiwanis Club of LaBelle will be at Ace Hardware on Saturday March 29th From 10am to 2pm

What could be better than a delicious grilled hotdog served by a smiling face? The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle will be grilling and selling hotdogs at Ace Hardware-LaBelle on Saturday, March 29th from 10am until 2pm. Lots of laughs and lots of smiles are guaranteed! You can also buy some tasty baked goods to satisfy your sweet tooth! Please stop by Ace Hardware in LaBelle on Saturday, March 29th to help support your local Kiwanis Club. Your tummy will be glad you did!

Kiwanis is a global organization dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time

Driver Arrested In Hit And Run Pedestrian Death

FORT MYERS, FL --  On December 25, 2013, at 12:02 a.m., the Florida Highway Patrol investigated a vehicle versus pedestrian traffic crash on State Road 867 (McGregor Boulevard), near the intersection of Kasamada Drive, in Lee County, Florida, which resulted in the death of 48 year old, Michael J. Sasen. 

Through the course of the investigation, the Florida Highway Patrol determined that the hit and run vehicle involved was a 2013 Chevrolet Impala. Further, the investigation has determined that there was probable cause to believe that Charles A. Lawson, age 56 of Fort Myers, Florida committed the offense of leaving the scene of a traffic crash involving death.

On March 13, 2014 the Florida Highway Patrol arrested and booked Mr. Charles Lawson into the Lee County Jail for Crash involving death, leaving scene: F.S.S. 316.027(1)(b); Felony 1ST Degree; One (1) Count which states: The driver of any vehicle involved in a crash occurring on public or private property that results in the death of any person must immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the crash, or as close thereto as possible, and must remain at the scene of the crash until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of s. 316.062… Any person who willfully violates this paragraph commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Married Man Arrested For Sexual Battery On "Step-Child

OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- The Okeechobee Sheriff's office said today charges for custodial sexual battery have resulted in the arrest of James Hoult Causier, age 39 of 1465 SE 23 Street, Okeechobee, FL.

James "Jim" Hoult Causier a married man was said on or about 12/01/2013 to 03/16/2013, to commit the offense of custodial Sexual battery on a child, in that he had "penis to vaginal penetration and union of the sexual organs" on at least several occasions in the last four months and while doing so was in the role of “step-parent" providing guidance, food, and housing.

On 03/10/2014, Deputy Murrish (a School Resource Deputy) took the initial report from a concerned person that James "Jim" Causier was having a sexual relationship with a 16 year old girl. Deputy Murrish did find the allegations to be credible from this witness and did bring the child to the Sheriff's Office for further investigation by a detective says a probable cause statement of the Sheriff's Office:

"On 03/10/2014, I, Detective Ted Van Deman, was called to investigate this matter and on 03/10/2014 spoke with the Concerned citizen, who wished to remain unnamed. This witness advised that the victim bragged to her, on many occasions, that she was involved in a Sexual relationship with Jim Causier. When asked, she said that the victim told her that it was vaginal, oral, and anal sex with Jim Causier. At first, this witness was dubious about the allegations. However, the victim was shown text messages and photographs, between the victim and suspect that confirmed that this 16 year old girl was having sex with the

"The text messages were discussions about arranging an opportunity for the victim and suspect to have sex and when would be the best time so as not to tip off the suspect's wife.

"On 03/10/2014 a recorded interview with the Victim was made and it was explained the four types of abuse and asked if she was abused in any manner. She denied any abuse. 

"The child was then questioned about her relationship with Causier. She was directly confronted with the facts and the child refused to answer at first. Eventually, she did state that she and Causier were having vaginal to penis sexual penetration sex. (she denied the anal and oral sex) This has happened on two or three occasions. It happened in the kitchen area of the suspect's house while the suspect's wife and children were

"She also admitted that there was text message (sexting) of a sexual nature between the two on several occasions. She told me that nude pictures have been exchanged between the two. She was very upset at telling me this as she was the instigator in this sexual activity and she did not mind having sex
with this man. 

"When questioned about the danger of pregnancy or STD, she said that he had a vasectomy and used a condom. The victim was very angry at the investigator because she said the bringing this forward was against her wishes.

"The suspect phone was seized in order to later obtain a Search warrant.  On 03/10/2014, an interview was conducted with the Suspect. He was read his Miranda warnings. He stated he would talk. When asked about his relationship with the victim, he said that he and his wife have provided a “step-parent" relationship with the child because the home life of the child was not a good situation. 

"He denied any improper actions. Then he said that the victim has been sexual aggressive towards him. He
claimed to have a note in the safe where she indicated she wanted sex from him. He denied that he had sexual contact with her when asked about texts messages between him and her, he said that they do communicate by texts. He denied it was sexual content. But when he was informed that a warrant was being sought for the phone, he relented and advised that he did have sexual conversation with the child by text. 

"When asked if he was sexually attracted to the child, he initial said no and later said he was. He offered no excuse why he did not expel the child from his house to prevent the temptations. He was asked if he had sexual contact with the child and he said no. He later changed and said that one time, while on prescription ambien (a sleeping medication), he was caught by his wife rubbing his penis on the child's backside in the kitchen. 

"However, they were both clothed and he did not realize what he was doing because of the prescription drug he was on."
On 03/10/2014, Jim Causier was arrested and he was taken to the Oke├Ęchobee County Jail.

UPDATE: Causier in Okeechobee Circuit Court Case #14-00161 was given probation for 2 years and 10 months and adjudication withheld for the felony charge of Willful Child Abuse, with probation starting March 8, 2016. 

Armed Home Invasion With AR 15 Weapon

OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- Charged for the crime of home invasion with a firearm is Timothy Deshon Williams, age 24, of 3739 NW 35 Avenue, Okeechobee, Fl. Bond to be set by the Circuit Judge.

On March 9, 2014 at approximately 22 :29 hours a home invasion robbery took place at 3306 SE 26th St., at the time of the home invasion robbery the residence was occupied by 5 people. 

According to accounts of the incident from the occupants of the residence there was a knock on the door. When the door opened three males entered the residence. Two of the males that entered the residence were armed one with a Shotgun and the other with an ARl5 style weapon- 

The occupants were order to lay face down on the ground by the gunmen and to remove all their personal belongings from their pockets. Several of the occupants were able to identify one of the gunmen as Timothy Deshon Williams. 

The witnesses who identified Timothy have all personally known him from 8 to 14 years. According to witnesses accounts Timothy was carrying the AR 15 Style weapon. Shortly after entering the residence and ordering the occupants to lay face down Timothy shot Leon Anthony Cotton in the right: leg with the ARl5 because he would not get on the ground as instructed. 

As a result of the gunshot Leon suffered a broken right femur and has required surgeries to treat and repair his leg.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Rescued Panther To Be Released Into Everglades Today

Big Cypress, FL. -- Florida Wildlife Commission biologists will release a young female Florida panther back into the wild this afternoon in a remote area of Southeast Hendry County.

In May 2013, the FWC and partners rescued the panther as a kitten, because she had sustained injuries likely caused by collision with a vehicle. FWC biologists transported the panther to the Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida, where she underwent surgery. 

Her injuries included a compound fracture in her rear right leg, rib fractures and bruising around the lungs. With the help of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the panther was taken to the White Oak, a conservation center in Yulee, FL., where she received additional care and rehabilitation. She has now fully healed from her injuries and is ready for release this afternoon said officials from the FWC.

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Bobby Franklin Peacock, age 80, of Belle Glade, passed away March 6, 2014 at his home in Belle Glade surrounded by the people that loved him. He was born August 1, 1933 in Pahokee, FL, to the late John Aaron and the late Millie Idela (Matthews) Peacock.

Bobby played football for Pahokee High School and was awarded All State Football Player. He graduated in 1951. He was a member of Canal Point Baptist Church. He owned Bobby's Market in Belle Glade for many years and made many lasting friendships with his customers. Bobby loved watching college football, fishing in Lake Okeechobee and shopping for a new boat or car. He also was a father to his nieces and nephews.

He is survived by his loving wife of 59 years Bonnie Faye (Meeks) Peacock, one daughter: Melodie Ann Peacock, brothers: John A. Peacock, Jr. (Carole), Harold E. Peacock (Patsi), sister: Joyce Humphrey (JL) grandchildren, Jessica Supik, Christopher Supik; great grandchild, Hunter Shanklin, many nieces, nephews and other family members. He was preceded in death by his parents John and Millie Peacock, brothers: Floyd Peacock, Billy Joe Peacock, Wayne Peacock, Roy Peacock and Alton Peacock.

Funeral services will be held Monday, March 10, 2014 at 2:00 pm at Canal Point Baptist Church with Dr. Bill Taylor officiating. Interment will be Monday, March 10, 2014 in Evergreen Cemetery, Okeechobee. Visitation will be Monday one hour prior to service at Canal Point Baptist Church.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations/contributions to Hospice of Palm Beach County or Canal Point Baptist Church.

Sandra J. Walker, age 70, of Clewiston, slipped from the hands of her loving husband and family into the loving hands of Jesus on the morning of March 5, 2014 in her home.

Sandra was born on August 27, 1943, in Pruden, Tennessee to Clyde E. and Louise Sapp Buckner. She graduated from Belle Glade High School in 1961 and married the love of her life, Roger Walker, May of 1963. She was a loving wife, a devoted mother and an adoring grandmother. She loved sports, but most of all football. She never missed high school sports played by her children and grandchildren. She loved her Florida Gators almost as much as she loved Elvis Presley. She was loved by her many friends and family and was always a ray of sunshine for anyone that met her. She was a beautiful woman inside and out. She will be deeply missed.

Sandra leaves behind her loving husband of 50 years: Roger Walker, Sr; daughter; Sherry Parantha and husband Reko, sons; Wade Walker, Pete Walker and wife Reagan, grandchildren; Ryan Walker, Hallie Walker, Brandon Toulis and Abbey Parantha, brothers; Edward Buckner and wife Marie, Kenny Buckner, sisters; Pat Barton and husband Curt and Brenda Prescott and husband Paul.

Memorial services celebrating her life were held Saturday, March 8, 2014 in First Baptist Church at 11:00 a.m. with Pastor Todd Buck officiating.

Golda Pauline Snyder, age 85, of LaBelle, passed away March 1, 2014 in Lehigh Acres. She was born July 9, 1928 in Wauchula, FL, to the late William Mabry and the late Mildred A. (Washington) Skipper.

Golda, or better known as Mom and Granny, was born in Wauchula but lived most of her life in Immokalee from living at the Collier County Ranch to a cabin on the edge of Sadie Cypress Swamp. She was known for having a green thumb and always had a bountiful vegetable garden. She also grew beautiful orchids and roses. According to her family she was the best cook in the world.

She is survived by her daughters: Laverne W. Massey, Nancy Gerri Lester, Karen A. Thompson (Waddy), sister: Tootsie Johnson, grandchildren, Robbie Massey, Ryan Massey, Emily DeVaney, Erin Lester, Brad Justice, Steven Justice and four great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Raymond Howard Snyder, brothers: William Sidney Skipper and Mabry Howard Skipper.

A memorial service was held March 6, 2014 at 11:00 am at First United Methodist Church Of Immokalee.

John H. Ledbetter, age 56, of Clewiston, passed away February 28, 2014 at his home in Clewiston. He was born in Miami on July 3, 1957, to the late Leon and the late Dorothy (Bush) Ledbetter, also of Clewiston.

John loved his family with all his heart and there was nothing he wouldn't do for them. He held his nieces and nephews close and was always there for them. He was employed by U.S. Sugar for 27 years and lived most of his life in Clewiston. He built many lasting friendships that he cherished very much.

John was a member of the VFW, which he loved being a part of and spoke fondly of all the friends he had there. He was also a member of the Clewiston Country Club. His favorite pastime was playing golf and he enjoyed all of his golfing buddies.

He is survived by his loving and devoted wife: Cynthia (Booth) Ledbetter and one son: John (J.J.) H. Ledbetter, Jr. and his wife Tonya, grandchildren: Kenzie Ledbetter and Nick Longo, brother: Harvey Ledbetter, sister: Holly Ledbetter (Mitch), Uncle: Wayne Ledbetter sister-in-laws: Sylvia (Booth) Barnes, Candace (Booth) Compton and brother-in-law Mack Booth. He was preceded in death by brothers: Ronnie and Timmy Ledbetter and sister: Tammy Ledbetter

A memorial service was held Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston. Visitation was Wednesday 30 minutes prior to service at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

I-75 Tire Blowout Leaves Motorcyclist And Passenger With Serious Injuries

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL. -- A males motorcycle driver and female passenger were injured in a crash Sunday afternoon about 1:02 p.m. on I-75 near Punta Gorda.

The motorcyclist was traveling south on Interstate 75 in the outside lane near the 165 mile marker. The rear tire of the motorcycle experienced a blow out. The motorcycle then began to exit the paved portion of the roadway to the west and onto the paved shoulder.

The motorcycle then overturned onto its left side. Due to their injuries, the driver was transported by ground to Peace River Regional and the passenger was transported by air to Lee Memorial Hospital.

Driver and passenger information being withheld until families can be notified of injuries said FHP Trooper Derek Daniels.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Hike To Memorial Cypress Planned

PALMDALE, FL. -- Hikers and families are invited to a “Day before St. Patrick’s Day Hike” on the Paradise Lake Loop Trail at Fisheating Creek Ft. Center Wildlife Management Area. 

The hike to the Memorial Cypress, an especially large tree on the creek, will be led by Fisheating Creek Florida Trail Association volunteers on Sunday March 16. Go green. We will look for the budding signs of spring and green seedlings.

Meet at 3:00 p.m. at the Paradise Lake Trailhead parking lot located on north of the SR29/US 27 intersection for the leisurely 2 mile walk. After hiking 1 mile we will eat our lunch on the Creek near the Memorial Cypress before returning to the parking lot by 6:00 p.m.

Wear green. Wear closed-toed comfortable shoes, hat and sunscreen. Bring: water, lunch, & insect repellent. Optional: camera.

For more info or to sign up for this event please contact a leader.

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

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Episcopal Church Free Thursday 'Soup And Movies'

LABELLE, FL. -- The members of the LaBelle Episcopal Church invite the public to join them for "Soup and a Movie" each Thursday night.

The event will be at Church of the Good Shepherd Episcopal,  1098 Collingswood Parkway in Port LaBelle at 6 PM.

Thursday March 13th "The Way" with Martin Sheen
Thursday March 20th "The Greatest Miracle" - Angels are all around us
Thursday March 27th TBA
Thursday April 3rd TBA
Thursday April 10th TBA

All are welcome and bring your soup bowl and spoons as they are making fresh soup each Thursday.

Fort Denaud Bridge Closed For Repairs

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry County Road & Bridge department reports that the Fort Denaud Bridge in western Hendry county crossing the Caloosahatchee River is temporarily closed to vehicular traffic until further notice. 

 Crews are working on repairs at this time. Please seek an alternate route and drive safely. A notice will be issued when the bridge re-opens.

Florida DOT Changing Rules To Contract With More Small Businesses

TALLAHASSEE – In an effort to help grow small businesses in the state, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will implement a number of strategies to further support small businesses:

· Increase the percentage of small business reserved professional services contracts from 10% to 15% (the 10% goal for construction and maintenance contracts will remain the same);

· Increase the small business reserved project amount threshold from $1 million maximum value to $1.5 million maximum (the BDI project amount originally started at $500,000);

· Increase the threshold for requiring an overhead audit on professional services contracts from $250,000 to $500,000, which reduces the cost of doing business with the department;

· Incentivize larger firms to team with Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and small businesses in types of services where they have been traditionally under-utilized;

· Simplify the small business size standard for construction/maintenance to one size threshold of $15 million instead of multiple thresholds based on the type of work (the professional services size standard was previously simplified to one threshold of $6.5 million);

· Expand the Small Business database that currently has professional services firms to include construction, maintenance and other contractual services firms.

The DBE program is designed for minority or female owned small businesses; over the last two years, the department has awarded directly or indirectly approximately $800 million or 11.40% of the total contracting dollars to DBEs. Since the inception of the BDI, the department has reserved 260 contracts totaling approximately $86 million and this number is expected to increase significantly over the next year.”

FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad said, “The department recognizes that small businesses are the backbone of Florida’s economy and a vital component in getting Floridians back to work.”

The objective of FDOT’s Business Development Initiative (BDI) is to help foster the growth of small businesses that contract with the department. Under this Initiative, the department reserves selected contracts for small businesses. The program not only helps to distribute more contracting dollars to small businesses, but also provides significant opportunities for small businesses to serve as prime contractors with the department instead of as subcontractors. The ultimate goal is for small businesses to grow so that they can hire more employees and compete with larger contractors outside of the BDI program.

Jason Gener Completes Basic Training At Fort Benning

LABELLE, FL. -- Army Pvt. Jason M. Gener has graduated from basic infantry training at Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier received training in drill and ceremonies, weapons, map reading, tactics, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, and Army history, core values and traditions. 

Additional training included development of basic combat skills and battlefield operations and tactics, and experiencing use of various weapons and weapons defenses available to the infantry crewman.

Gener is the son of Inclah Isera of Lehigh Acres. He is a 2013 graduate of LaBelle High School.

Deputies Involved In Shooting Suspect - Placed On Leave By Sheriff

Suspect Carrying Guns Faces Off  With Deputies

LABELLE, FL. -- On March 5, 2014 at approximately 10:50 pm, deputies were enroute to a residence off E Road in LaBelle, Florida attempting to locate the suspect of a battery that had occurred earlier.

While deputies were in the area of the suspects home, they encountered him in the road way, and he had in his possession two firearms. It was reported earlier by the victim that the suspect told her he was not going to jail. The suspect turned to the deputies with the firearms at which time deputies fired on the suspect,

The deputies involved have been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

The victim 's name has not yet been released pending notification of family members. The Sheriff's office did not release the names of the deputies involved in the shooting.

This case is now being investigated by The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Sebring Office.

Update: The suspect has died after being transported to Lee Memorial Hospital, and now identified as 23 year old Eddy Barrios of LaBelle. The deputies involved in the shooting were R. Leverenz, S,. Harrynarine, M. Yeomans, and H. Kearns, all now on administrative leave.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Cut Your Daily Sugar To Six Teaspoons Says Health Organization

The World Health Organization is proposing limiting added sugar daily to six teaspoons, or about 25 grams, not more than about 5% of the daily calories for the average adult. WHO is launching a public consultation on its draft guideline on sugars intake. When finalized, the guideline will provide countries with recommendations on limiting the consumption of sugars to reduce public health problems like obesity and dental caries (commonly referred to as tooth decay).

The suggested limits on intake of sugars in the draft guideline apply to all monosaccharides (such as glucose, fructose) and disaccharides (such as sucrose or table sugar) that are added to food by the manufacturer, the cook or the consumer, as well as sugars that are naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates.

Much of the sugars consumed today are “hidden” in processed foods that are not usually seen as sweets. For example, 1 tablespoon of ketchup contains around 4 grams (around 1 teaspoon) of sugars. A single can of sugar-sweetened soda contains up to 40 grams (around 10 teaspoons) of sugar.

The draft guideline was formulated based on analyses of all published scientific studies on the consumption of sugars and how that relates to excess weight gain and tooth decay in adults and children.

In a statement on the organization's webstie they say there is increasing concern that consumption of free sugars, particularly in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages, may result in both reduced intake of foods containing more nutritionally adequate calories and an increase in total caloric intake, leading to an unhealthy diet, weight gain and increased risk of noncommunicable diseases.

Also of great concern is the role free sugars play in the development of dental diseases, particularly dental caries. Dental diseases are the most prevalent NCDs globally and though great improvements in prevention and treatment have occurred in the last decades, dental diseases continue to cause pain, anxiety, functional limitation and social handicap through tooth loss, for large numbers of people worldwide. 

The treatment of dental diseases is expensive—costing between 5 and 10% of health budgets in industrialized countries—and would exceed the financial resources available for the whole of health care for children in the majority of lower-income countries.

The objective of this guideline is to provide recommendations on the consumption of free sugars to reduce the risk of NCDs in adults and children, with a particular focus on the prevention and control of weight gain and dental caries.

This draft guideline was developed in accordance with WHO’s procedures for evidence-informed guideline development. As part of this process, WHO Member States and all relevant stakeholders are invited to comment on the draft guideline. The public consultation will be open through 31 March 2014. 

During this time, the draft guideline will also undergo peer-review by an external expert group. Once the peer-review and public consultation are complete, the guideline will be finalized and reviewed by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee for final clearance prior to its official release.

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Golda Pauline Snyder, age 85, of LaBelle, passed away March 1, 2014 in Lehigh Acres. She was born July 9, 1928 in Wauchula, FL, to the late William Mabry and the late Mildred A. (Washington) Skipper.

Golda, or better known as Mom and Granny, was born in Wauchula but lived most of her life in Immokalee from living at the Collier County Ranch to a cabin on the edge of Sadie Cypress Swamp. She was known for having a green thumb and always had a bountiful vegetable garden. She also grew beautiful orchids and roses. According to her family she was the best cook in the world.

She is survived by her daughters: Laverne W. Massey, Nancy Gerri Lester, Karen A. Thompson (Waddy), sister: Tootsie Johnson, grandchildren, Robbie Massey, Ryan Massey, Emily DeVaney, Erin Lester, Brad Justice, Steven Justice and four great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Raymond Howard Snyder, brothers: William Sidney Skipper and Mabry Howard Skipper.

A memorial service will be held March 6, 2014 at 11:00 am at First United Methodist Church Of Immokalee.

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

John H. Ledbetter, age 56, of Clewiston, passed away February 28, 2014 at his home in Clewiston. He was born in Miami on July 3, 1957, to the late Leon and the late Dorothy (Bush) Ledbetter, also of Clewiston.

John loved his family with all his heart and there was nothing he wouldn't do for them. He held his nieces and nephews close and was always there for them. He was employed by U.S. Sugar for 27 years and lived most of his life in Clewiston. He built many lasting friendships that he cherished very much.

John was a member of the VFW, which he loved being a part of and spoke fondly of all the friends he had there. He was also a member of the Clewiston Country Club. His favorite pastime was playing golf and he enjoyed all of his golfing buddies.

He is survived by his loving and devoted wife: Cynthia (Booth) Ledbetter and one son: John (J.J.) H. Ledbetter, Jr. and his wife Tonya, grandchildren: Kenzie Ledbetter and Nick Longo, brother: Harvey Ledbetter, sister: Holly Ledbetter (Mitch), Uncle: Wayne Ledbetter sister-in-laws: Sylvia (Booth) Barnes, Candace (Booth) Compton and brother-in-law Mack Booth. He was preceded in death by brothers: Ronnie and Timmy Ledbetter and sister: Tammy Ledbetter

A memorial service will be held Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston. Visitation will be Wednesday 30 minutes prior to service at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Florida Birding Festival Starts This Week

CLEWISTON, FL. -- South Florida’s Lake Okeechobee region offers some outstanding wildlife-viewing opportunities, judging by the fact the Big “O” Birding Festival is celebrating its 13th year. The counties southwest of Florida’s largest freshwater lake are known for their remarkable bird diversity and charismatic species like the snail kite and roseate spoonbill.

The festival agenda offers birders and other wildlife watchers rare opportunities to join tours on private ranches, as well as on Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wildlife management areas and other public lands and attractions. There are dozens of different tours available during the four-day event.

“Because this festival is small and each bus tour is limited to 20 people, the small groups ensure outstanding wildlife viewing,” said the FWC’s Mark Kiser.

The Big “O” Birding Festival, March 9-13 in LaBelle and surrounding areas, is hosted by the Hendry County Tourism Development Council. Headlining the event is legendary birder Greg Miller. Because space is limited for bus tours, it is advisable to register now. To see what tours are available and to register, go to the festival’s website: The registration form lists all of the available tours.

Once again, the festival has invited FWC staff to inform participants and lead tours. Presenter/field trip leader Kiser is a biological scientist with the FWC’s Public Access and Wildlife Viewing Services office; he is the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT) coordinator.

While the Big “O” Festival highlights Hendry and Glades counties, participants in the area can check out other GFBWT locations in the area during their stay.

“It’s not every day you can see lots of amazing birds breeding in one place at the same time,” Kiser said, citing one tour he co-leads for the festival. “We’ll observe Florida burrowing owls sharing a pasture with a herd of Brangus cattle, and besides these pint-sized predators, we’ll also see nesting crested caracaras, Florida sandhill cranes, swallow-tailed kites and bald eagles – a testimony to the host ranchers’ superb stewardship efforts.”

“The Big “O” region certainly does not disappoint, as more than 300 bird species have been recorded in the area,” Kiser said. “The FWC has many wildlife management areas there, and our Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail program offers nine locations in Hendry and Glades counties alone.”

To learn more about the Big “O” Birding Festival and other area opportunities, including lodging, go

Health Department Workers Steal Patient Names For Profit

ORLANDO—U.S. District Judge Roy B. Dalton, Jr. sentenced Delray Duncan, Gerald Williams, and Shanterica Smith to federal prison Monday for identity theft after the three provided patient names in a scheme to steal names to file fraudulent tax returns. 

According to court documents, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Postal Inspection Service initiated an investigation after the Orange County Sheriff’s Office executed an unrelated search warrant and discovered a list of names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers. 

Further investigation revealed that Williams and Smith worked at the Orange County Health Department (OCHD). Williams and Smith accessed personal identifying information (PII) of OCHD patients and provided that information to a third party who filed fraudulent tax returns in the names of those patients. Williams and Smith did not know each other while working at OCHD but ultimately provided the information to the same person. Williams provided the PII to Duncan who, in turn, provided the PII to others in order to file the fraudulent tax returns. Smith provided the PII directly to those responsible for filing fraudulent tax returns.

In total, Williams and Smith stole the identities of approximately 2,200 patients. Fraudulent tax returns totaling approximately $3.9 million were filed using the stolen PII. The investigation into those responsible for filing the fraudulent tax returns and those who obtained the proceeds from the fraudulently filed returns is ongoing.

The court sentenced Duncan to 42 months in federal prison, Williams to 54 months in federal prison, and Smith to 60 months in federal prison. All three were also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1 million. Each previously pleaded guilty for their roles in this case.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn P. Napier.

Three Year Old Drowns In Pond

OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- A child died in an Okeechobee pond Tuesday afternoon while the child's mother was preparing it for a bath.

At approximately 3:29 p.m Tuesday., the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call in the NW 46th Avenue Villas in northwest Okeechobee, in reference to a drowning.

The mother was preparing a bath for the three year old child. He was told to go in the bathroom and get ready for his bath. The mother returned to the bathroom minutes later and discovered the child was not there. Family members began looking for the child and he was found in a retention pond approximately 212’ from the residence.

Upon arrival Deputy Sheriff Hazy began CPR until EMS arrived. The child was then transported to HCA Raulerson Hospital, where he later died.

The exact cause of death will be determined by the Medical Examiner’s Office. No further information to be released at this time said Michele Bell, public information officer for the Sheriff.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Electronics Purchasers Entitled To Refunds In Price Fixing Case

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced today that consumers can now file claims to recover money from multi-state settlements totaling $310 million. The settlements resolve claims alleging price-fixing among major manufacturers of dynamic random access memory (DRAM), a common form of memory chip found in high technology devices. 

Individuals and businesses that purchased various DRAM electronic devices from someone other than a DRAM manufacturer between Jan. 1, 1998 and Dec. 31, 2002 can file claims to recover money from the settlement fund by visiting or by calling 1-800-589-1425. Eligible consumers must submit their claim forms by Aug. 1, 2014. 

Filing through the webpage only takes a few minutes and no receipts are necessary.

“Price-fixing harms the healthy competition that keeps prices fair for consumers, and I encourage anyone who may have purchased a DRAM device and be eligible for money under this settlement to file a claim,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Florida, along with other states, filed an antitrust lawsuit in federal court in 2006, alleging that Florida’s consumers overpaid for electronic devices containing DRAM for purchases made between 1998 and 2002. The settlements also require the DRAM manufacturers to train their employees regarding compliance with the antitrust laws and prohibits them from engaging in certain unlawful conduct related to the sale of DRAM.

Consumers who purchased one or more of the following DRAM devices may be eligible:

· Desktop computers
· Laptop computers
· Computer servers
· Computer graphics cards
· Printers
· Video game consoles
· MP3 players
· PDAs
· DVD players
· Digital video recorders

Veteran Okeechobee County Deputy Dies

OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- The Okeechobee Sheriff's office today announced the death of one of Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office most cherished employees. Special Deputy Marvin “Mickey” Mann, Jr., passed away on February 26, 2014.

Special Deputy Mann has been a special deputy with the department since his retirement with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office in January, 2013. Mickey had been in law enforcement over 53 years, starting his service at the Palm Beach Police Department in 1960. His career led him to the St. Lucie
County Sheriff’s Office and then to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, where he achieved the rank of

In 2013, when he retired he asked Sheriff Paul C. May if he could continue to serve the community where he currently lived in Ft. Drum. Sheriff May was honored to have his wealth of law enforcement knowledge and made him a Special Deputy where he served as a volunteer conducting investigations and security checks in the Ft. Drum area.

The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office greatly mourns the loss of our friend and co-worker. He was greatly respected and admired. Sheriff May said of his passing, “In the Treasure Coast area, if there has ever been a law enforcement legend, it would truly be Mickey Mann. He was a cop’s cop and a man’s man and he will be sorely missed by the entire law enforcement community.”

Services for Special Deputy Mann will be on Friday, March 7, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. The services will be held at Oakview Baptist Church located at 677 SW 32 Street, Okeechobee, Florida.

Man Run Over By Truck After Fight

OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- An open house party lead to a man getting run over by a pickup truck Sunday afternoon in Okeechobee, Fl.

On Sunday, March 2, 2014, at approximately 4:35 a.m., the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office responded to 10579 NW 4 Avenue, Okeechobee Little Farms, Okeechobee, Florida. Upon arrival deputies were advised that an altercation had taken place and a sixteen year old victim was run over by a truck.

According to witnesses, all parties involved had been at an open house party, located in the Okeechobee
Little Farms neighborhood, earlier Saturday evening. An argument ensued, and the subjects left the party. After some time, the two parties encountered one another again. An altercation ensued which ultimately led to the victim being ran over by an F-150 Ford pick-up.

The sixteen year old victim was flown to Lawnwood Regional Hospital, where he is in serious but stable condition.

This case is still under investigation. No further information to be released at this time said Michele Bell, PIO.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Joan Louise Kilpatrick, age 68, of Fort Myers, passed away February 25, 2014 at home in Fort Myers. She was born Oct. 17, 1945 in Miami-Dade County, FL, to the late Eddi Lee and the late Dorothy (Fritchey) Harrison.

She is survived her husband: Troy Wendell Kilpatrick, Sr. and son: Troy Wendell Kilpatrick, Jr. (Cathy), sister: Eula Jean Rutland, great granddaughter, Rachel Kilpatrick; mother-in-law, Dannie Kilpatrick; brother-in-law, Russell Kilpatrick.

Funeral services were held Friday, February 28, 2014 at 10:00 am at Ortona Cemetery Pavilion, Moore Haven with Dr. Roger Rolison officiating. Interment was in Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven. Visitation was Thursday from 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Fort Myers, FL.

Felix Diaz, age 80, of Clewiston, passed away February 24, 2014 in Belle Glade. He was born Sep. 30, 1933 in Cuba, to the late Felix and the late Lina (Cruz) Diaz.

He is survived by his loving wife: Ramona (Fundora) Diaz, son: Roberto Verdaguer, three daughters: Susan McDonald, Sonia Castro, Maritza Motiwala, grandchildren, Janise Horne, Susan Watkins, Jessica Molina, Alec McDonald, Alex Verdaguer, Robert Verdaguer, Stephanie Verdaguer and Ashely Giovanni; great grandchildren, Kristi Rivera, Tiffany Horne, Gabrielle Horne and Sofia Verdaguer.

Alcohol Related Crash Kills Man

Alcohol And Speed Most Likely Caused Crash Into Road Grader

LABELLE, FL. -- A Friday evening crash at about 7:20 p.m. in Glades county, a few miles north of LaBelle left one dead in an alcohol related crash into a road grader, said the Florida Highway Patrol.

Thomas Micheal Morland, 58 of Labelle, Fl.  was northbound on Fire Tower Rd, traveling at a high rate of speed, and approaching a left hand curve at the intersection of Walter Greer Road.

Trooper Cpl. J. Benton reports Moreland's 1998 Chrysler Sebring was traveling too fast and caused the driver to straighten out the curve and the vehicle traveled onto the right shoulder where it impacted with a construction grader that had been parked there.

Moreland was pronounced deceased at the scene of the crash. He was not wearing a seatbelt.