Thursday, July 31, 2014

Langford Ford Dealership To Be Sold To Competitor

"Y'all Spoken Here" Tagline As Famous As The Langford Kids

LABELLE, FL. -- Many decades of Langford Ford customers will be greeted with a new owner after the end of August at the Ford dealership at 851 South Main Street in LaBelle.

Doug Plattner, of Plattner's LaBelle Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Ram will soon officially take over LaBelle's landmark Ford dealership.

Plattner will now own both new car dealerships in western Hendry county and sell both Ford products and Chrysler. He also owns many new car dealerships around Florida including Southwest Florida dealership in Belle Glade and one in Arcadia.

Pat Langford, growing up working at the local dealership, and Hendry School Board member said the just completed sales contact calls for no changes in personnel for the first 90 days of Plattner's ownership.

Langford hopes for continued success for the dealership under the new ownership. The Langford children were famous for years as the cute kids featured in all the dealership advertising.

Langford Ford has enjoyed a good relationship with it's customers and excellent reviews of customer's buying experiences are found online including: "I am happy to say they had the best price around, the sales people were friendly and informative but definitely not pushy," said Stacy Tollison.

Randy Parrish said, "I never feel any pressure to buy when dealing with Langford Ford and always feel that I am getting a fair deal."

Langford Ford has been under the leadership of corporate officers Paul and Patrick Langford for many years and featured ads promising no "dealer fees" added to car prices. (Plattner's dealerships always add a dealer fee of many hundreds of dollars to each new or used car price.)

In recent months, Langford has discontinued advertising in the local newspaper, while Plattner has placed full page ads for it's two dealerships.

Free Hunting Course Next Week

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will host a free hunter safety course on Aug. 9 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. in Hendry County.

Participants must successfully complete the online portion of the course prior to attending and bring the final Web report to the FWC class on Aug. 9, a Saturday. The form does not have to be notarized.

Students will learn about several topics, including hunting laws, safe gun handling and hunter ethics/responsibility, before taking the final test. The course also includes live-firing instruction on a shooting range.

The class will be held at the Hendry County Sheriff's Office Shooting Range, between Clewiston and La Belle. The address is 700 Witt Road, near the Pioneer Plantation Community.

Participants can sign up at or by calling the FWC’s South Region Office at 561-625-5122. Links to the online part of the course and a statewide schedule of hunter safety classes are available at

Parents or legal guardians must accompany children under 16 years of age to all classes. To participate in live-fire exercises, children under 18 years old must present a parental release form signed by a parent or legal guardian.

Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975, must pass an approved hunter safety course and have a hunting license to hunt alone (unsupervised).

Obituaries - Strait, Wooten, Oney

Roberta D Strait, age 80, of LaBelle, passed away July 30, 2014 in LaBelle.

She was born Jan. 11, 1934 in Marion County, Alabama, to the late Ottis and the late Pauline (Godsey) Johns. She worked for many years at Berry's Grove.

Survivors include one son: Donnie Sprouse of LaBelle, FL and one daughter: Debora Devisme and husband Thomas of LaBelle, Florida, ten grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Carvel L. Strait, Sons; David Wayne Strait and Ricky Joe Strait.

She was a very loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother and will be missed by all of her family and friends.

Life Celebration service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, August 2, 2014, in Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, with Pastor Roger Bradley officiating. Visitation will be from 1 pm to the service also at the funeral home. Burial will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery.

Stanley Gene Wooten, age 64, of LaBelle, passed away July 28, 2014 in LaBelle. He was born Aug. 10, 1949 in Arcadia, FL, to the late Raymond R. and the late Lillian R. (Brown) Wooten.

Gene owned and operated Wooten's Everglades Airboat Tours for many years. He also raised many different animals native to Florida, including several Florida panthers.

He is survived by his loving wife: Iris Lynn (Harris) Wooten, daughter: Shelley Lynn Wooten-Gericke, grandchildren, Tyler Gene Wooten, Gena Lynn Wooten, Autumn Hope Gericke and brother: Richard Wooten. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Raymond Willard Wooten.

Funeral services will be held Friday, August 1, 2014 at 11:00 am at Eastside Baptist Church, LaBelle with Pastor Jeremy Howell officiating. Visitation will be Friday from 1 hour prior to service at Eastside Baptist Church, LaBelle, FL. Interment will be at 3:00 pm in Joshua Creek Cemetery, Arcadia.

Cloyd Oral Oney, age 65, of LaBelle, passed away July 21, 2014 in Bay Pines VA Hospital. He was born August 19, 1948 in Willard, OH, to the late Charles Chester and the late Mary Ruth (Price) Oney. 

He served in the Army from December 11, 1967 to December 2, 1969.

He is survived by his sister Linda G. Smith (Dana). He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister.

One Dead - Driver Charged With DUI Manslaughter

Driver Hits Two Pedestrians - One Dies Of Injuries

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL. -- A pedestrian was killed and another critically injured as a man charged with driving under the influence is alleged to be at fault.

Christopher Allen Best, 25 of Port Charlotte was northbound in a 1999 Oldsmobile on US-41 in the inside lane approaching the intersection of Melbourne Street. Alexander Velez, 34 of Punta Gorda was stopped in the inside lane ahead of Best, performing road maintenance work. 

Velez's vehicle was equipped with an amber arrow board and amber flashing overhead led lighting. But Best failed to observe the flashing right arrow and struck two pedestrians working in the roadway behind Velez's vehicle. The front of Best's vehicle then struck the rear of the second one. 

Both pedestrians were pinned between the two vehicle, Best's vehicle one rotated clockwise 45 degrees and came to an uncontrolled stop in the inside lane facing northeast. The pedestrians came to final rest in the inside lane in front of  the Oldsmobile. The second vehicle was pushed forward and came to an uncontrolled stop in the inside lane faced northwest.

Dead is Jemel Gardener, 39 of Lehigh Acres. Critically injured was Mark Andrew Caton, 22 of Punta Gorda. 

Best had minor injuries as did his passenger, 6-year old Cayden Allen Best. Chris Best is charged with DUI manslaughter, DUI property damage, and DUI serious bodily injury.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Politicians And Government Officials Break Ground On New Facility

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Glades County officials held a ground-breaking ceremony for the soon-to-be construction site of the Glades County career training facility and the construction site of Glades County Emergency Operations Center. Both are located in the County’s Industrial Park located on the northwest corner of the intersection of US 27 and SR 78.

Glades County Commission Chairman Donna Storter Long welcomed all and introduced special guests. State elected officials and Agency Directors were recognized for their efforts in obtaining funding from the legislature, and Chairman Storter Long especially thanked her fellow Commissioners Paul Beck and Tim Stanley and County Manager Paul Carlisle for their willingness to go to Tallahassee and their effective efforts.

Special guest Jesse Panuccio, Gov. Scott’s Director of Economic Opportunity, briefly addressed the crowd on his agency’s participation, eagerness, and willingness to help with the projects including development of the training center.

Senator Denise Grimsley who formerly represented Glades County in the House of Representatives, commented on her determination to help Glades County from the first visit she made here eight years ago when Health Dept. Director Pat Dobbins led her on a tour of the then decrepit facility that housed the Health Dept; Senator Grimsley expressed her delight in helping get the new medical center just east of this construction site that was funded by state grants; she assured the guests that she will continue to serve Glades County even though we are not in her senate district.

Senator Bill Galvano addressed the crowd noting his pleasure serving Glades County as our state senator and urged us to continue contacting him when we need help.

Representative Cary Pigman spoke of his gladness in assisting the process of procuring funding for both these projects and noted that Glades County is well represented in Tallahassee.

Gina Reynolds, Executive Director of FHREDI, gave comments from Senator Negron, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senator Grimsley, Senator Galvano, Representative Pigman, and Senator Negron were the key players in obtaining the funding thru the legislature. Also instrumental in working with CAS Governmental Services in Tallahassee were Gina Reynolds, and Commissioners Paul Beck and Tim Stanley and County Manager Paul Carlisle.

Also recognized were other elected Glades officials in attendance including Tax Collector Gail Jones, Moore Haven City Councilman John Ahern, Glades District School Superintendent Scott Bass, and members of the Glades County Economic Development Council.

Glades County Public Safety Director Bob Jones and Emergency Management Director Angie Colegrove were so pleased to participate in the event as they have worked for 18 years planning for this day when a new, modern, even futuristic Emergency Operations Center will commence construction. The current EOC is a small office in the courthouse. The new facility will provide room for training, electronic communications, storage for supplies needed during emergency events, as well as provide bays for fire trucks and ambulances with area for the EMS station staff. According to Bob Jones, “This facility will serve the needs of Glades County for the next 50-60 years.”

Tommy Perry, President of Glades County Economic Development Council was pleased to attend as EDC has been involved with the training center as part of their efforts to promote development of the logistics and manufacturing site near the training center. Mr. Perry commented, “The EDC is excited to see the training center break ground as it will provide training for companies seeking a highly educated workforce as well as providing specialized training for logistics and manufacturing employees. This facility will enhance EDC’S ability to compete and lure logistics and manufacturing companies to Glades County.”

Other guests included Fred Edman of Wright Construction who is the contractor for the EOC building, Gary Ritter of South Florida Water Management District who provided 90% of the material for the site work for the EOC and Hendry County Commissioner Janet Taylor.

Following the groundbreaking ceremony, the crowd moved to Moore Haven’s Chalo Nitka fairgrounds for a delicious BBQ luncheon prepared by County Manager Paul Carlisle provided by Dale Milita of CAS Governmental Services and Jeff Sabin of Waste Management and served by County staff Terri Anascavage, Bob Jones, Angie Colegrove, Inga Williams, Mike Ashworth, and also helping were Doug Manke and Addison Anascavage. Photos provided by Matt Howard of Johnson Engineering.

Shovels were wielded by Jesse Panuccio, Director of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Commissioner Tim Stanley,Commissioner Russell Echols, Rep. Cary Pigman, Commissioner Paul Beck, Sen. Denise Grimsley, Sen. Bill Galvano, Commissioner Donna Storter Long, FHREDI Exec Dir. Gina Reynolds, Commissioner Crystal Drake, County Manager Paul Carlisle

Friday, July 25, 2014

In The Service - Mychaela Cammack

Air Force Airman Mychaela C. Cammack graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

Cammack is the daughter of Lisa Koss of Alpena, Mich. and granddaughter of Lois Koss of Labelle, Fla.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills. Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College.

She is a 2013 graduate of Alpena High School, Alpena, Mich.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Obituaries - Jessie Humphrey, Jane Swails

Jane Travis Swails passed away on July 20, 2014 at Joanne's House at Hope Hospice of Bonita Springs after aggressive battles with cancer. Jane was a Fort Myers native and graduated from Fort Myers High. She was 58.

Jane is survived by her loving and dedicated husband Mike, daughter Ginger, granddaughters Gwendolyn, Gracie and Gabriella and grandson, Benito, her mother Marjorie Starkey Travis, sister Marjorie Katherine "Kay" , brothers Eddie (Jeanette) and Mark (Kelly), several nieces and nephews, as well as several close friends whom she considered family. She was predeceased by her father, Harold E. Travis.

Jane retired from the Lee County Clerk of Courts after 23 years. She was loved and respected by those who worked with her. Jane was the longtime Criminal Clerk for Judge Maria Gonzalez. She was also dedicated to several activities with her family and grandchildren, such as 4-H, Bull Pit Ministries and the Horse Community Projects.

A celebration of Life service is scheduled on Friday, July 25, at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, 560 E. Hickpochee Avenue, LaBelle at 3 p.m. with a covered dish pot luck reception to follow at the LaBelle Rodeo Grounds, Hwy 29 Rodeo Drive, LaBelle.

Jessie L Humphrey, Jr age 85, of Lake Placid, formally of Clewiston passed peacefully away in Good Shepherd Hospice in Sebring after a courageous battle with Alzheimer's disease with his family by his side.

Jessie was born on December 06, 1928, in Alamo, Georgia to Jessie L. and Evie Harville Humphrey. He proudly served his country in the United States Navy from 1948-1952. He met and married the love of his life, Joyce Peacock. Jessie was a self-employed insurance agent for many years.

Jessie leaves behind his loving wife, Joyce, two daughters; Diana Thompson and Lou Ann Rawls, and one son; Larry Humphrey, along with four grandchildren and four great grandchildren, two sisters; Eleanor Weathers and Edwina Sanders. Many other family members also survive.

Life celebrating services will be held Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. in Canal Point Baptist Church where Dr. Bill Taylor is officiating. Visitation will be held from 9:30 a.m. until service time in the church. Burial at 2 p.m. in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Why You're Feeling So Hot And Miserable

It's Not The Humidity, It's The Dew Point That's Making It Stifling

LABELLE, FL. -- You've been able to take the summer heat all through June and the beginning July, but this week you're feeling miserable outside of an air-conditioned building. Why is that? The temperature, the humidity?

Most people think high humidity is why they feel miserable. Well, that's not exactly the truth of the matter.

It's not just the humidity that making you feel stressed. Relative humidity numbers actually are the highest early in the morning when the air is more saturated with moisture, as the sun obviously hasn't been able to burn off that moisture. But mornings are often very pleasant feeling. So what's going on here?

It's really the dew point that's causing the discomfort our body feels, the the abnormally high "heat index" numbers we see on weather reports.

The body is normally at about 98.6 degrees, so if the temperature of the air is well below that, it's able to use the skin and perspiration and any breeze blowing across the skin to keep one feeling cool. But, as the temperature rises, the "dew point" of the air also rises significantly, (that being the temperature at which if would rain or fog if the temperature fell to that point.)

A temperature of 90 degrees, and a dew point of 55 to 60 would feel comfortable, but when the dew point reaches 70 to 75, a typical situation in South Florida, you're feeling pretty bad! The higher the dew point the more humid it is, and your body is not able to cool itself down to meet the increased air temperature without more cooling breezes or evaporating moisture from the skin to keep the body comfortable

Summer Dew Points And How You Feel (courtesy of Washington Post)
Dew point
How Humid it Feels (and subjective description)
Below 55Dry (Pleasant)
55-60Hint of humidity (Still comfortable)
60-65Moist (Tolerable)
65-70Sticky (Becoming unpleasant)
70-75Muggy (Gross)
Above 75Sultry (Oppressive and unbearable)

Some of the consistently highest dew points in the U.S. are found along the Gulf Coast and in Florida. When dew point reaches the 70s that's when your body has a rough time keeping cool, and feels more uncomfortable as the dew point climbs.

The solution to staying comfortable (if you're not able to lower the dew point by going inside an air-conditioned space) is to find a way to cool the skin even when the dew point has risen. Start with fans blowing on yourself if inside a not air-conditioned space. 

When outside go to a shady place with a breeze blowing on your skin. Patting bit of water on your skin, allows cooling evaporation to take place, lowering your body's unpleasant feeling considerably.

When to shut or open the windows in a space that's not air conditioned?  A personal guideline for open vs. closed windows is to close them when the temperature is above 78 degrees or the dew point is above 57.

To find your current Heat Index, or how hot your body feels go to your favorite online weather service or try the National Weather Service's weather prediction service to calculate your own.

Florida Heat Index Map - Where It Feels Really Hot

To Calculate The Heat Index - "How Hot Your Body Feels"  from the National Weather Service.

High School Solar Cells Capture Sun's Energy

LABELLE, FL. -- LaBelle High School is part of Florida Power and Light's partnership program with communities across Florida to better understand and use solar energy. Across Florida, over 100 locations, including schools and other facilities have installed solar systems, turning sunshine into clean energy.

At the high school on Cowboy Way, east of the city, individual solar panels capable of producing 240 watts of energy each, are combined into arrays that can produce up to 5,000 watts an hour, or 5kW on a bright sunny day.

On average the school site has been producing about 21 kW hours each day. A typical home may use about 30 kW per day during the hottest summer months.

Statistics about the solar panel output is available for viewing here: LaBelle High School Solar System

Why Solar Is Not More Popular In Florida?

Florida Power And Light Solar Rebate Programs

Local News Blog Reaches 1,500,000 Views This Week

LABELLE, FL. - The Southwest Florida Online news blog this week passed the 1,500,000 page view mark,with now over 4,250 stories posted online, all of which can be searched on the news page by keywords or subject.

Editor, Don Browne thanks all his contributors and sponsors over the years who have kept an alternate news source available online for Southwest Florida, Hendry and Glades County.

Sponsors and Contributors:
Gary Peters Computer Services, email and website, phone (863) 675-7925
Alden A. Rumfelt, Attorney At Law, email, phone (863) 673-0251
Clewiston Pawn, Inc., phone (863) 983-7330
Kiwanis Club of LaBelle - "Changing the world one child and one community at a time"
Phillip's AC And Heating Services, phone (863) 675-2878
Armando's Barber Shop, phone (863) 673-2265
Randy's Garage, phone (863) 675-7603 tires, (863) 675-1032 auto services
Sonny's Outboard Service, email, phone (863) 677-1062
Stratonet Internet Service, website, phone (888) 382-8503

Friday, July 18, 2014

Emergency Food Assistance Program Tuesday At Church

LABELLE, FL. -- Food from the Department of Agriculture's Emergency Food Assistance Program will be distributed Tuesday, July 22 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Caloosa Baptist Church in downtown LaBelle across from City Hall.

Partners in the operation, expectying to see 300 people participate in receiving food are the Harry Chapin Food Bank,, Walmart, and United Way.

Food distribution is limited to families on government assistance including SNAP, Medicaid, TANF, and SSI or those with qualifying low income.  Forms will be available to qualify. Bring boxes and bags to hold the food.

FedEx - Got Drugs? Feds Say Shipped Illegally To Addicts Despite Warnings

Indictment Says FedEx Delivered Drugs To Dealers And Addicts Since 2004 
A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted FedEx Corporation, FedEx Express, Inc., and FedEx Corporate Services, Inc., today, with conspiracies to traffic in controlled substances and misbranded prescription drugs for its role in distributing controlled substances and prescription drugs for illegal Internet pharmacies, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Jay Fitzpatrick, and Food and Drug Administration Acting Director of the Office of Criminal Investigations Philip J. Walsky.

According to the indictment, beginning in approximately 1998, Internet pharmacies began offering consumers prescription drugs, including controlled substances, based on the provision of information over the Internet. While some Internet pharmacies were managed by well-known pharmacy chains that required valid prescriptions and visits to the patient’s personal physician, others failed to require a prescription before filling orders for controlled substances and prescription drugs. Rather, these Internet pharmacies filled orders based solely on the completion of an online questionnaire, without a physical examination, diagnosis, or face-to-face meeting with a physician. Such practices violated federal and state laws governing the distribution of prescription drugs and controlled substances.

According to the indictment, from at least as early as 2004, DEA, FDA and members of Congress and their staff informed FedEx that illegal Internet pharmacies were using its shipping services to distribute controlled substances and prescription drugs in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, and numerous state laws. In 2004, FedEx established an Online Pharmacy Credit Policy requiring that all online pharmacy shippers be approved by the Credit Department prior to opening a new account. The stated reason for this policy was that many Internet pharmacies operated outside federal and state regulations over the sale of controlled drugs and many sites had been shut down by the government without warning, leaving a large balance owed to FedEx. According to the indictment, FedEx also established a Sales policy in which all online pharmacies were assigned to a “catchall” classification to protect the commission-based compensation of its sales professionals from the volatility caused by online pharmacies moving shipping locations often to avoid detection by the DEA.

According to the indictment, as early as 2004, FedEx knew that it was delivering drugs to dealers and addicts. FedEx’s couriers in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia expressed safety concerns that were circulated to FedEx Senior management, including that FedEx trucks were stopped on the road by online pharmacy customers demanding packages of pills, that the delivery address was a parking lot, school, or vacant home where several car loads of people were waiting for the FedEx driver to arrive with their drugs, that customers were jumping on the FedEx trucks and demanding online pharmacy packages, and that FedEx drivers were threatened if they insisted on delivering packages to the addresses instead of giving the packages to customers who demanded them. In response to these concerns, FedEx adopted a procedure whereby Internet pharmacy packages from problematic shippers were held for pick up at specific stations, rather than delivered to the recipient’s address.

FedEx is charged in the indictment with conspiring with two separate but related Internet pharmacy organizations: the Chhabra-Smoley Organization, from 2000 through 2008, and Superior Drugs, from 2002 through 2010. In each case, FedEx is alleged to have knowingly and intentionally conspired to distribute controlled substances and prescription drugs, including Phendimetrazine (Schedule III); Ambien, Phentermine, Diazepam, and Alprazolam (Schedule IV), to customers who had no legitimate medical need for them based on invalid prescriptions issued by doctors who were acting outside the usual course of professional practice.

According to the indictment, FedEx began delivering controlled substances and prescription drugs for Internet pharmacies run by Vincent Chhabra, including RxNetwork and USA Prescription, in 2000. When Chhabra was arrested in December of 2003 for illegally distributing controlled substances based on a doctor’s review of an on-line questionnaire, Robert Smoley took over the organization and continued the illegal distribution of controlled substances and prescription drugs through FedEx.

According to the indictment, FedEx began delivering controlled substances and prescription drugs for Superior Drugs in 2002. FedEx’s employees knew that Superior Drugs filled orders for online pharmacies that sold controlled substances and prescription drugs to consumers without the need for a face-to-face meeting with, or physical examination or laboratory tests by, a physician.

According to the indictment, FedEx’s employees knew that online pharmacies and fulfillment pharmacies affiliated with both the Chhabra-Smoley organization and Superior Drugs were closed down by state and federal law enforcement agencies and that their owners, operators, pharmacists, and doctors were indicted, arrested and convicted of illegally distributing drugs. Nevertheless, FedEx continued to deliver controlled substances and prescription drugs for the Chhabra-Smoley organization and Superior Drugs.

FedEx has been summoned to appear in federal court in San Francisco on July 29, 2014.

Charlie Hill Charged With Assault, Grand Theft

Joy Riding Teens End Up In Confrontation With K-9 Dogs

LABELLE, FL. -- After stealing a car in Lee County, three teens went for a joy ride ending up in Pioneer Plantation, in Central Hendry County where they were eventually found by K-9 dogs after a chase by several law enforcement agencies and a helicopter.

After they got the vehicle stuck in a driveway, they asked for help in removing it, later admitting to Investigators it was their intention to steal the victim's vehicle.

They stopped at the Shell Station located at the intersection of Hendry Isles Blvd and State Road 80 where they attempted to rob a man by placing a gun to his side demanding money. The victim refused to give up his bank bag and instead grab the barrel of the gun. The suspects pulled the trigger of the gun three times, but the firearm failed to fire.

The three young men ran into a wooded area and were later located by K-9s. Several agencies assisted in locating the suspects. Hendry County deputies, and K-9 units, Lee County Sheriff's Office helicopter, deputies, and K-9 units, Clewiston Police Dept K-9 units and Florida Highway Patrol assisted in locating the suspects.

All three suspects were taken into custody. After interviewing suspects 17 year old Charles Hill was charged with, Attempted Armed Robbery, Attempted Carjacking, Possession of Stolen Vehicle, Aggravated Assault with a Firearm, Destruction / Tampering with Evidence, Petit Theft, and Grand Theft.

Hendry County Investigators are questioning two other suspects in this case.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Free Hunter's Course At Shooting Range

Hunter Safety Course In Glades County
MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will host a free hunter safety course on July 26, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. in Glades County.

Participants must successfully complete the online portion of the course prior to attending and bring the final Web report to the FWC course on July 26. The form does not have to be notarized.

Students will learn about several topics, including hunting laws, safe gun handling and hunter ethics/responsibility before taking the final test. The course also includes live-firing instruction on a shooting range.

The class will be held at the Glades County Sheriff's Office Shooting Range, located at 1019 Gun Club Road, Moore Haven.

Participants can sign up at or by calling the FWC’s South Region Office at 561-625-5122. Links to the online portion of the course and a statewide schedule of hunter safety classes are available

Parents or legal guardians must accompany children under 16 years of age to all classes. To participate in live-fire exercises, children under 18 years old must present a parental release form signed by a parent or legal guardian.

Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975, must pass an approved hunter safety course and have a hunting license to hunt alone (unsupervised).

Finding A Home For Peanut - Update - Found!

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Peanut is a 15 year old Jack Russell who lives with her owner, Linda.

Linda is declining rapidly, is very weak, can barely talk, and can no longer take care of Peanut. Though Peanut has been her family for the past 15 years, Linda wants peace of mind, knowing that Peanut is going to a new home.

Peanut is a female dog, spayed, house broken, gentle and loving. She rarely barks. She is established with a local vet, her shots are up to date and she is very healthy.

Peanut is used to being in a quiet household and due to her age, should go to a similar household.

Linda will be losing her paid caregiver as of the end of the day today, Tuesday, July 15th. Hope Healthcare Services is hoping to find a new home for Peanut, as soon as possible. If you are at all interested in meeting Peanut and taking her home, please let me know.

Hope Healthcare Services can help pay for Peanut’s initial vet needs, grooming, and start up supplies.

If interested, please contact Colette Johns, volunteer coordinator at 985-7728 or email at If you know of someone who may be interested, please help us by passing this information along.

Update: Linda passed away in her own home early Wednesday evening. Peanut was by her side. Minutes later, Pat O’Hare, our volunteer, arrived at the door, unshaken by what she walked into. Pat reported that Peanut greeted her with a wagging tail. Pat took Peanut to Jungle Paws on Pine Island, for temporary boarding.

Nikki, in Labelle, called to say that she wants to give Peanut a new, quiet home. Nikki lost her own dog recently and would welcome the companionship.

Thank you to everyone who helped to make this happen! The hospice staff, the volunteers, the Jungle Paws staff, Nikki, and everyone who passed the word along!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Accountant Wins $926,000 At Immokalee Slot Machine

IMMOKALEE, FL – Naples resident Kristine F. walked away with more than $926,000 after a lucky spin on a slot machine at Seminole Casino Immokalee on Monday.

The 53-year old said, “It feels surreal, and I haven’t really processed it.” She said, “It was a lot of fun, but I can’t wrap my head around it.”

Kristine and her family moved to Naples two months ago after living in Abu Dhabi. The Michigan native has been a regular at Seminole Casino Immokalee since her return to the states.

She also won $1,500 at the casino last week playing another machine.

Kristine said she has no extravagant plans for how she will spend her winnings. “I’ll help out a few family members and continue living life as I always have,” she said. “No big-time purchases for me.”

David Gottwals Dies At 71

David Sutton Gottwals, age 71, of Fort Myers, passed away July 13, 2014 in Lehigh Acres. He was born May 8, 1943 in Washington, DC to the late Howard Franklin Gottwals and the late Mary Inez (McKenzie) Gottwals.

He graduated from the College of William and Mary and spent many years in the food marketing industry.. 

His passion was golf and he enjoyed his many golf buddies at Verandah Club.
He is survived by his wife: Karen Gottwals, son: Michael (wife Vicki), daughter: Lisa (husband, Guy), grandsons: Brandon and Nathan and granddaughters: Amanda and Brittani.
A private service will be held in the fall at Ponte Vedre. Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Fort Myers.

Panther Biologists And FWC Officer Honored By FWF

How To Catch A Panther

NAPLES, FL. -- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission panther biologists Mark Lotz, Marc Criffield and Dave Onorato recently received the Florida Wildlife Federation’s 2014 Wildlife Conservationists of the Year award at the FWF’s 77th Annual Conservation Awards Banquet in Naples.

Also honored by the FWF, as its Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, was FWC Officer Lee Lawshe. He was recognized for his exceptional performance and attitude throughout the past year. In addition to completing many resource cases, Lawshe rescued a man missing for days in a swamp, apprehended a suspect during a manhunt and assisted with a murder investigation.

The panther biologists were recognized by the FWF for contributing greatly to the research, management and conservation of the panther population. They have a combined 36 years of experience in efforts to conserve the endangered Florida panther.

“I’m not sure there is any one greatest achievement,” said Lotz. “Genetic restoration (via female Texas puma introductions) probably had the greatest impact on reversing the downward population trend, but this would have been for naught without the construction of wildlife underpasses and habitat protection.”

Criffield attributes some of their success to public awareness.

“I am inspired by the number of Floridians who are genuinely interested in panther conservation efforts,” Criffield said. “Over 500,000 students from across Florida voted to make the panther our state animal.

That’s pretty cool.”

Video: Using ATVs or buggies, dogs with tracking devices, short wave radio communication and determination, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Panther Project Team divides and sets out to catch and collar a Florida Panther.

Kiwanis Sponsors Boy Scout "Venturing"

LABELLE, FL. -- The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle is proud to sponsor a “Venturing Crew”. At a recent Kiwanis Meeting the first members of the “Venturing Crew” gave a presentation of their structure, their officers, and what they plan to do in the near future. Tim Holland (A LaBelle Kiwanis Member) will lead the crew and gave an overview of what was needed to achieve various ranks.

Venturing is a youth development program of the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women who are 13 and have completed the eighth grade, or age 14 through 20 years of age. Venturing's purpose is to provide positive experiences to help young people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults.

Venturing is based on a unique and dynamic relationship between youth, adult leaders, and organizations in their communities. Local community organizations establish a Venturing crew by matching their people and program resources to the interests of young people in the community. The result is a program of exciting and meaningful activities that helps youth pursue their special interests, grow, develop leadership skills, and become good citizens. Venturing crews can specialize in a variety of avocation or hobby interests.

Goals - Young adults involved in Venturing will:
· Learn to make ethical choices over their lifetimes by instilling the values in the Venturing Oath and Code.
· Experience a program that is fun and full of challenge and adventure.
· Become a skilled training and program resource for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and other groups.
· Acquire skills in the areas of high adventure, sports, arts and hobbies, religious life, or Sea Scouting.
· Experience positive leadership from adult and youth leaders and be given opportunities to take on leadership roles.
· Have a chance to learn and grow in a supportive, caring, and fun environment.

Methods - The aims of the Boy Scouts of America are to build character, develop citizenship, and foster personal fitness. The Venturing methods listed below have been carefully designed to achieve the aims of the Boy Scouts of America and meet the needs of young adults.

Leadership - All Venturers are given opportunities to learn and apply proven leadership skills. A Venturing crew is led by elected crew officers. The Venturing Leadership Skills Course is designed for all Venturers and helps teach them in an active way to lead effectively.

Group Activities - Venturing activities are interdependent group experiences in which success is dependent on the cooperation of all. Learning by "doing" in a group setting provides opportunities for developing new skills.

Adult Association - The youth officers lead the crew. The officers and activity chairs work closely with adult Advisors and other adult leaders in a spirit of partnership. The adults serve in a "shadow" leader capacity.

Recognition - Recognition comes through the Venturing advancement program and through the acknowledgement of a youth's competence and ability by peers and adults.

The Ideals - Venturers are expected to know and live by the Venturing Oath and Code. They promise to be faithful in religious duties, treasure their American heritage, help others, and seek truth and fairness.

High Adventure - Venturing's emphasis on high adventure helps provide team-building opportunities, new meaningful experiences, practical leadership application, and lifelong memories to young adults.

Teaching Others. All of the Venturing awards require Venturers to teach what they have learned to others. When they teach others often, Venturers are better able to retain the skill or knowledge taught, they gain confidence in their ability to speak and relate to others, and they acquire skills that can benefit them for the rest of their lives as a hobby or occupation.

Ethics in Action - An important goal of Venturing is to help young adults be responsible and caring persons, both now and in the future. Venturing uses "ethical controversies" to help young adults develop the ability to make responsible choices that reflect their concern for what is a risk and how it will affect others involved. Because an ethical controversy is a problem-solving situation, leaders expect young adults to employ empathy, invention, and selection when they think through their position and work toward a solution.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Poachers Caught With 2,100 Pounds Of Live Turtles

OKEECHOBEE, FL. Three Lakeland men and an Okeechobee freshwater turtle farmer were caught illegally harvesting, selling and buying wild-caught freshwater turtles as a result of a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigation.

“Turtles are a popular, commercially available food item throughout much of the world and, as a result, overharvest has occurred in many countries,” said the FWC’s Lt. George Wilson, who led the effort. “To prevent overharvest here, the FWC proactively banned commercial harvest of all native wild turtles in 2009,” Wilson said.

Wilson and other FWC investigators throughout Polk and Seminole counties developed the case over a three-and-a-half-month period after the March 21 arrest of My Van Vo (DOB 04/19/83) of 6935 Raymond Ave., Lakeland. Van Vo was caught by FWC officers on Lake Apopka in possession of 87 live softshell turtles weighing in excess of 500 pounds.

Subsequently, FWC investigators learned two other Lakeland men were poaching freshwater turtles on Lake Marion, Lake Haines, Crooked Lake and Lake Walk-In-Water as well as from the St. Johns River. The two men were transporting and selling their illegal catch to Harden and Son’s Turtle Farm in Okeechobee.

The three men were known to be involved in the illegal capture and exchange of a total of 2,100 pounds of live turtles.

“We hope our efforts to protect wild turtle populations help ensure everyone has the opportunity to see freshwater turtles in the wild and harvest them recreationally,” Wilson said.

The FWC worked with the State Attorney’s Office in Florida’s 19th Judicial Circuit to charge Canh Van Nguyen (DOB 03/15/66) of 1226 Fairlee St., Lakeland, and Lieng Su Pham, (DOB 02/04/45) of 312 Lanceolate Dr., Winter Haven, with two felonies and four misdemeanors.

The owner of the turtle farm, Franklin Gene Harden (DOB 11/28/58) of 3403 SW 26 Ave., Okeechobee, was charged with three felonies and four misdemeanors. 

For more information about freshwater turtles, visit and select “Managed Species” or call your nearest FWC regional office.

July Panorama - C.R.E.W. Watershed 360-Degree Photo

LABELLE, FL. -- The Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) is a 60,000 acre parcel south of LaBelle, off State Road 29, and just west of Immokalee and open to the public for recreation and for viewing the Southwest Florida ecosystem at work.

Click on the plus and minus signs to zoom, click the upper right to see in full screen,  or use your computer keyboard left/right arrows to view the scene in a 360-degree panoramic photo from a 20-foot high observation tower at C.R.E.W. Photographed the morning of July 14, 2014.

Robert Bobo Attends White House HIV Meeting

LABELLE, FL. -- Robert Bobo, Program Manager for the HIV/AIDS/STI Program at the Florida Department of Health in Hendry County was recently invited to attend a meeting held at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House. 

It was a “Meeting on HIV in the Southern United States. The Department of Labor and the Department of Education will join forces with other Federal agencies to develop a program to educate and train HIV positive people in order to get them back into the workforce. 

Pilot programs will begin in rural communities. In years past, each of these Federal Programs would operate on its own but now it is a collaborated effort to help rural areas to continue to get fiscal support for the education, treatment and prevention of HIV in the Southern United States.

Mr. Bobo was invited to attend this meeting because of the stellar successes of the local Ryan White Part-C Program at the Florida Department of Health in Hendry County.

Bobo has managed the operation of the AIDS Resource Council of Southwest Florida, Inc., an HIV specialty Clinic and ASO, and the Hendry County Health Department HIV/AIDS Program. He has negotiated contracts with the Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida for Ryan White Title II funding for medical care and case management.

Mr. Bobo developed the first public school HIV testing program in the United States and also developed an outreach program for the Lee County AIDS Task Force, taught basic and advanced HIV Certification courses, developed a Family Life Center for Lee Mental Health Center, Inc. and testified before the Food and Drug Administration in Washington, D.C

(Photo and some background from

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Serious Injuries As Driver Ejected From Vehicle

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- A 21-year old from Clewiston is in Hendry Regional Hospital after a crash on U.S. 27 at County Road 720 in Glades County.

Myra Zuniga in a 1997 Ford Explorer was southbound on US 27 in the inside lane when the front of the SUV began to yaw (turn sharply) to the right. It then began to travel southwest across the southbound lanes of US 27. 

The driver lost control as the Ford departed the roadway then overturned on the west grassy shoulder. Zuniga was then ejected from the vehicle as it came to rest in a ditch west of the roadway.

Elazarus Blackmon 23, of Moore Haven, a passenger, had minor injuries and was taken to Hendry Regional in Clewiston. 

Zuniga was charged with Careless Driving / Operating a Motor Vehicle without Driver License.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Kids Explore Germs At Library Event

GERMS! Barron Library’s “Fizz! Bang! Boom! Read!”

LABELLE, FL. -- School health nurse, Kevin Long, RN from the Florida Department of Health in Hendry County recently gave a presentation at the Barron Library to a room full of kids of all ages.

The subject of the presentation was about germs and ways not to spread germs. Kevin demonstrated the importance of cleanliness and shared his “magic germs” with a number of volunteers.

After rubbing the “magic germs” into the hands of the eager volunteers, a black light was used so that the kids could see all of the germs. The kids were then taught the proper way to wash their hands by using the 20-second rule or singing the tune of the “Happy Birthday Song” or the “ABC Song”.

Nurse Kevin also read a book about germs to the kids and talked to them about other healthy habits such as sneezing and coughing into your elbow.

The summer reading event and summer activities are sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle. (Kevin is also a member of the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle)

37 Teachers Recognized By Governor Rick Scott

ORLANDO, FL. -- Today, Governor Rick Scott recognized 37 outstanding educators for their contributions to learning with the Governor’s Shine Awards. The Shine Award is presented to Florida educators who have impacted the lives of students through the classroom. The teachers recognized today were all named District Teachers of the Year for their respective counties, including from Hendry county, Kimberly Jordan.

Governor Scott said, “I am so honored to be able to present the Governor’s Shine Award to these 2014-2015 District Teachers of the Year. As we celebrate Florida’s successes in education we must applaud our teachers’ commitment to educating Florida’s children. Florida’s students are among the best in the nation thanks to the commitment of our great educators. Our wonderful teachers play a fundamental role in preparing our students for college and a career.

“I would also like to congratulate the 2015 Florida Teacher of the Year award winner, Christie Bassett. Christie has found a way to teach art through reading, writing, math, and social studies, and this unique method has allowed her integrate other academic subjects and critical thinking skills into her art lessons.”

Christie Bassett was named the Florida Teacher of the Year gala event last night. She will serve for one year as the Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education representing the Department of Education and teachers throughout the state. The Teacher of the Year may conduct workshops, address fellow teachers, parents, and business and community leaders at conferences and meetings, and talk to student groups about careers in education. She will also receive a $10,000 grant funded by the Macy’s Foundation and awards from Macy’s including an all-expense paid trip to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The following teachers were presented with the Governor’s Shine Award:

Matthew Yount, Brevard County
Daniel Shapiro, Broward County
Sharon Bruno, Charlotte County
Alex Stubenbort, Citrus County
Matthey Boyack, Clay County
Joseph Frencl, Duval County
Jill Espinosa, Flagler County
Vivian Wilson, Florida A&M University Lab School
Agnes Nemeth, Florida Atlantic University Lab School
Sandra Brown, Florida Department of Corrections
James Penna, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind
Melanie Hester, Florida State University Lab School
Elise Harris, Florida Virtual School
Cori Becker, Gilchrist County
Mary Driskell, Hardee County
Kimberly Jordan, Hendry County
John Imhof, Hernando County
Lyndsey Matheny, Indian River County
Anna Martin, Jackson County
Sunny Wimberley, Lafayette County
Robin Oliveri, Leon County
Jennifer Willis, Manatee County
Patricia Morris, Martin County
Myrna Betancouty, Miami-Dade County
Karen McKenzie, Monroe County
Victoria Hurley, Okaloosa County
RaeAnn Whiteside, Okeechobee County
Kristen Iannuzzi, Orange County
Michelle Gunning, Palm Beach County
Kevin Ford, Pinellas County
Christie Bassett, Polk County
Matthew Bergen, Putnam County
Lisa Figueroa, Sarasota County
Bridget Dycus, Seminole County
Heather Bolitho, St. Lucie County
Ann Heller, University of Florida Lab School
Grace Kellermeier, Volusia County

Fireworks, Domestic Disturbances, Vehicle Burglaries In Clewiston

CLEWISTON, FL.-- The city manager's office in Clewiston reports this week on police work in Hendry county's larges city.

Police Chief Don Gutshall reported Independence Day public events and fireworks show were uneventful from a law enforcement perspective but noted the fireworks show itself appeared sparsely attended.

Gutshall says, "Unfortunately, as normal during holiday weekends, we did experience an inordinate number of domestic disturbances. Alcohol is usually a factor in such incidents."

The police did have had a couple of complaints of trash being dumped around town. Officers do have a couple of leads and are looking into the problem, said the Chief.

 Police arrested a suspect in a case from a couple weeks ago involving vehicle burglaries.

The week’s police activity:

939 Commercial / Residential Security Checks
482 Complaints Investigated
15 Traffic Citations
36 Traffic Warnings
15 Arrests Made
8 City Ordinance Violations
71 Merchant Escorts Provided
22 Alarms Responded To
44 Red Light Camera Violations
4 Traffic Accidents Investigated

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bridge Jumper Suspect Taken Into Custody

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Nga Hong Primus age 42 of Cape Coral, found walking on I-75 on a bridge over the Caloosahatchee River and may have been planning on jumping, was taken into custody this afternoon.

On July 10 at approximately 1:23 pm, Florida Highway Patrol Troopers responded to a report of a pedestrian walking north against the southbound traffic lanes of I-75 along the Caloosahatchee Bridge at mile marker 143. 

Further reports advised that a few construction workers had made on site contact with the female and advised the female had intentions of jumping off the bridge. Construction workers advised the female initially had one leg extended over the concrete barrier. 

Upon the arrival of FHP, the female was standing in the inside lane of southbound I-75 at the center peak of the bridge. Primus was eventually escorted off the bridge by FHP and transported to an appropriate treatment facility.

New Water Treatment Plant For Small Rural City

LABELLE, FL. -- Thanks to the City of LaBelle’s newly constructed water treatment plant, a growing number of families and businesses will have access to a plentiful supply of fresh water. In recognition of the city’s new water treatment plant, city officials, community leaders and USDA Rural Development officials joined forces to celebrate completion of the project at a ribbon cutting ceremony at noon Thursday, July 10, followed by an informal lunch.

The new reverse osmosis facility replaces the 30-year-old water treatment plant which was facing near term treatment capacity and was operating at approximately 86 percent of its 999,999 gallons per day (gpd) production capacity. The new facility was made possible thanks to $20,365,900 in United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development funds. The City of LaBelle secured $13,029,000 in loan and $7,356,900 in grant funding from Rural Development to construct the new water treatment facility. 

“LaBelle should be proud of the foresight and efforts of its leaders to ensure clean, safe drinking water is available to the current and future residents and businesses of this community,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Richard A. Machek. “USDA Rural Development is proud to play a role in this important project.”

The new facility, built on land south of the city in the central part of the service area consists of a new 1.5 million gallons per day (mgd) reverse osmosis water treatment plant withdrawing water from the Lower Hawthorn Aquifer, three wells, a ground storage tank, high-service pump stations and associated transmission and distribution piping.

Don Browne 'Dances' On Fox's So You Think You Can Dance Show

SYTYCD Video Spotlight from Pat Doyle on Vimeo.

LABELLE, FL. -- Publisher of Southwest Florida Online, Don Browne got his chance to show off his "dance" moves Wednesday night at 8:30 during a segment of the Fox hit TV show So You Think You Can Dance.

Don sent in a video last week to the Fox show doing some "moves", very loosely based on Tai Chi that he teaches at LaBelle's L. J. Nobles Senior Center.  A few days later, he received an email saying that show producer and SYTYCD judge Nigel Lythegoe wanted to put Don's video on the show along with some other much younger dancers (who really knew how to dance, he notes).

Signing a release to allow Fox to air the video, he waited until Wednesday night show to see if it would really be shown on the TV show. It was.

No, Don doesn't really think he can dance.

(Video: clip that was aired on So You Can Think You Can Dance, July 9, 2014. A version including the host Cat Deeley introducing the video is here from the show where part of Don's video was in it.)

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Prison Officer Steals Inmate IDs - Nets $500,000

TAMPA, FL. -- United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces today that Jerry St. Fleur (26, of Tampa) today pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. 

St. Fleur would “screen scrape” (i.e., cut and paste) inmates’ personal identification, without their knowledge or permission, from FDOC databases and then use that PII to file false tax returns. As part of this scheme, St. Fleur filed approximately 182 fraudulent income tax returns. The government estimates that the total amount of fraudulent refunds requested from the 182 tax returns was over $500,000.

According to the plea agreement, beginning no later than January 2011, and continuing until about May 2014, St. Fleur, in his capacity as a correctional officer at the Zephyrhills Correctional Facility, in Zephyrhills, Florida, unlawfully accessed and stole the personal identifying information of inmates, both former and current, within the Florida Department of Corrections. 

St. Fleur faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Jackson.

This case was brought as part of the Tampa Bay Identity Theft Alliance, an initiative dedicated to combating the scheme of using stolen identities to file fraudulent federal income tax refund claims. 

Rosa Caso Dies At 86

Rosa Paulina Caso, age 86, of Clewiston, passed away July 7, 2014 in Clewiston. She was born Sep. 7, 1927 in Cuba to the late Luis Francisco and the late Paulina (Diaz) Caso.

Survivors include her brother: Luis Francisco (Francoise) Caso of Ohio, sister: Flora Elena Caso Perez of Clewiston and many nieces & nephews.

Funeral services will be held Friday, July 11, 2014, 10:00 a.m. at Saint Margaret's Catholic Church, Clewiston with Father Jiobani Batista officiating. Interment will follow in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. 

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Motorcyclist Dead After Crash Into Pole

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL. -- A crash at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday left a motorcyclist dead after hitting a utility pole.

A 2010 Harley Davidson motorcycle was southbound on Sea Mist Drive, north of Gulfstream Blvd. and approaching a left hand curve in the roadway as the driver of vehicle, Steven Philbrook, 50 of Englewood, FL failed to negotiate the curve; allowing the vehicle to exit the roadway and enter the west shoulder.

Once on the shoulder, the vehicle overturned into a utility pole.

The driver was pronounced deceased on scene by emergency medical personnel.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Diane Forrester Dies At 64

Diane Forrester, age 64, of Clewiston, passed away July 6, 2014 peacefully with her family by her side. She was born March 21, 1950 in Baltimore, MD, to the late James Vernon Forrester I and Ina A. (Hicks) Forrester.

She is survived by her mother: Ina Forrester, children: Sonny Stevens, Dee Stevens, siblings: Jimmy Forrester (Sue Forrester), Mike Forrester, Lynne Forrester, grandchildren: Kristy Ruff (Jesse Vincil), Clayton Ruff, Cassey Ayala (Michael Ayala), Brandon Stevens, great grandchildren: Allianna Shofner, Micah Shofner, Leilani Ayala, Kylie Ayala, two nieces (their families, nephew (his family) and Curtis Stevens (Joanna).

Diane was a unique a special one of a kind mom, lady and friend. She will be missed.

A celebration of life will be Saturday from 01:00 - 02:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL. Following the service the family and friends are invited to come to Brenda's place, bring a pot luck dish if you wish, come celebrate and remember all of the great times. In lieu of flowers please donate to Hope Hospice (Clewiston) or any charities Brenda's place participates in or a woman's shelter.

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston

Motorcyle Crash Sends Three To Hospital

ARCADIA, FL. -- A motorcyclist and his passenger, and the driver of a second vehicle were injured in a crash Monday night about 5:50 p.m. in Desoto County as the cycle veered into the wrong lane.

A 1988 Honda Goldwing, driven by Robert Morris, 59 of Arcadia was traveling northbound on County Road 769 south of County Road 761.  A 1994 GMC Jimmy driven by James Davis, 56 of Port Charlotte was traveling southbound on County Road 769 south of County Road 761.

The motorcycle veered into southbound traffic as the other vehicle attempted an evasive maneuver to avoid a collision with the motorcycle.

The front of the motorcycle collided with the left front side of the other vehicle and it came to final rest on CR 769 against the east guardrail. The Jimmy came to final rest in the tree line on the east side of CR-769.

The passenger on the cycle, Joni Doheny, 57 of Port Charlotte was critically injured and taken to Tampa General Hospital. Morris has serious injuries and was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital. Davis has serious injuries and was taken to Blake Hospital.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Twitter Users In Failing Romantic Relationships?

Infidelity, Breakups, and Divorce Indicated With Twitter Use
A recent study seems to indicate people actively using Twitter may be having relationship problems. An article published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, "The Third Wheel: The Impact of Twitter Use on Relationship Infidelity and Divorce" is an indication of what social media might be reflecting in social relationships.

The purpose of the study was to examine how social networking site use, specifically Twitter use, influences interpersonal relationship outcomes. This study specifically examined the effect of Twitter on the relationship between active Twitter use and negative relationship outcomes including infidelity and divorce. 

A total of 581 Twitter users aged 18 to 67 years completed an online survey questionnaire. The results from this study suggest that active Twitter use leads to greater amounts of Twitter-related conflict among romantic partners, which in turn leads to infidelity, breakup, and divorce. 

This indirect effect is not contingent on the length of the romantic relationship. The current study adds to the growing body of literature investigating social media use and romantic relationship outcomes.

Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

Mustang Driver Dies After Crash Into Pole

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Man dead after morning crash on July 3, reports the Florida Highway Patrol

Patrick Scott Butz, 43 of Lehigh Acres, was traveling south on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway approaching Miromar Lakes Boulevard E within the outside lane about 7:30 a.m. July 3rd, reported Trooper John T. Schultz and homicide investigator Corporal Eric Gissendaner. 

The driver failed to maintain control of the 2004 Ford Mustang and as a result guided the vehicle into the grass-covered median. Subsequently it collided with a utility pole and tree and continued to travel south coming to final rest upon the northbound lanes of Ben Hill Griffin Parkway. 

Prior to coming to final rest the driver was ejected from the vehicle, coming to final rest on the northbound east shoulder of Ben Hill Griffin Parkway. 

Butz expired on July 4th, 2014 at 1:11 p.m. due to the injuries sustained.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Fireworks By The Boatload In SW Florida

Where To See The Best Fireworks Displays On July 4th

LABELLE, FL. -- Here's a listing of events scheduled for the 4th of July in Southwest Florida on the waterways and riverfronts:

LaBelle -- Annual fireworks on the Caloosahatchee River at Barron Park in LaBelle at dusk.

Moore Haven -- Alvin Ward Boat Ramp at dark.

Cape Coral -- Red, White and Boom

The Storm Smart Red, White & Boom will be Friday, July 4 from 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. at the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge on Cape Coral Parkway. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m. For more than 20 years, the best of Cape Coral's business community have come together to celebrate the 4th of July with a day of patriotic fun, entertainment and a spectacular fireworks show. This event is free and has won the reputation as the best place to honor America in Southwest Florida. By land or by sea, the experience is remarkable as more than 30,000 people come together in the spirit of Independence Day.

This year's event will feature the Sky Zone "Patriot Kids Fun Zone" with games, face painting, climbing walls and obstacle courses. There will be more than 100 vendors offering food, drinks, novelty items, jewelry, arts & crafts, and free giveaways and drawings throughout the day. Cat Country 107.1 has lined up a great live show on the City's stage. The celebration will wrap up with the largest fireworks display in Southwest Florida.

Fort Myers -- Freedom Fest

Block Party 2pm 'til Midnight - Fireworks start at 9:30pm, Contact: 1-855-732-3836 Huge fireworks display! Over the Caloosahatchee River, Food, Live music & kids activities.

Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda

Fishermen’s Village Annual July 4th Celebration: Independence Day festivities begin at 11 a.m. with Fishermen’s Village Annual July 4th Celebration with live entertainment, children’s activities and a fireworks display over Charlotte Harbor.

Smuggler's 4th of July Festival: Join the festivities on July 4th at Laishley Park from noon - 10 pm.  $2 donation at the gate (or for $6 a 4th of July Blow-out t-shirt). Please don't bring a cooler (they have lots of great food and drink) but do bring your lawn chair, sun screen and your patriotic spirit.

- Some event information courtesy Florida By Water
(photo: 'Garden Fireworks' by Barbara Whelan)

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Obituaries - Rebecca Hendry, Christine White

Rebecca "Becky" W. Hendry, age 72, of Moore Haven, Florida passed away on June 25th, 2014. 

She was born in Tampa, Florida on April 27th, 1941 to the late Johnny Wooten and the late Eldora Walker Wooten. She married Smiley Hendry on September 15th, 1960.

Becky, Smiley and Smiley, Jr fought for 13 years to keep Fisheating Creek open to the public, winning the battle on June 2, 1997.

Becky is survived by her husband of 54 years; Smiley Hendry. Three children; Donna Maddox, Tina Green, and Smiley Hendry, Jr. Two grandchildren; Clarissa and Joel Hendry and five great grandchildren; Sebastian and Anyah Lopez and Bristal, Jalynn and Audrey Hendry.

A graveside service was held Sunday, June 29, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. in Ortona Cemetery, where Pastor Frank Woodham officiated.

Christine G. White, age 83, of Felda, passed away June 29, 2014 in Lehigh Acres.
She was born Apr. 6, 1931 in Hawthorne, FL, to the late Charles and the late Annabelle (Stevens) Graham. She was a lifelong resident of Felda. 

She cooked for many years at Taylor's Grocery and was known by it's patrons as the "Best Granny in the country."

Survivors include her children: Patty Murphy (David) Trammell of Oklahoma; Randy M. (Nancy) White, Sr. of LaBelle, Steve (Mary) White of Felda, Matt (Lori) White of LaBelle and Debbie (Robert) Galbreath of LaBelle, daughter in law: Lisa Blakey, grandchildren: Jessie Porter, Randy M. White, Jr., Denise White; Steven White, Seth Howard, Steven White, Jennifer Allen, Val White, Nate White; Patrick White, Selena Galbreath, Elias Galbreath; Jackie Blakey, Christy Pequeno, Mona O'Bannon and Diana Blakey and many great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her son: Donnie Blakey and grandson: Patrick White.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, July 3, 2014, 10:00 a.m. at Mount Zion Primitive Baptist Church in Felda with Dr. Les Morgan officiating. Interment will be in Felda Cemetery.

Child Care Center Relocates To Larger Facility

LABELLE, Fla. (July 2, 2014) – Children’s Garden of LaBelle has moved to 88 South Main Street with more room for children from age 1 through 8. The early education center, one of six operated by Child Care of Southwest Florida, also is enrolling children for its free voluntary prekindergarten program.

“The new Children’s Garden of LaBelle, less than a mile from our former location, is more convenient with easier access for parents and staff,” said Child Care of Southwest Florida Executive Director Beth Lobdell. “More importantly, we have more room, the building provides better use of space, and our outdoor play area is larger with additional play structures.”

Tuition ranges from $112 weekly for school-age children to $161.10 for toddlers. Part-time rates and scholarships are available. Call Center Director Sonya Flores at 863-675-3311 for more information, registration or tours.

A United Way agency established in 1967, Child Care of Southwest Florida provides scholarships for low-income children through ongoing fundraising efforts.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Samuel Lang Dies At 92

Samuel "Sam" Laulas Lang, Jr, age 92, passed away peacefully after being surrounded and loved by his family and friends on June 28, 2014 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Sam was born on April 19, 1922 in Newport News, Virginia to Samuel Laulas Lang, Sr. and Alma Jenkins Lang. He had two siblings, Harold and James Lang.

Sam met Ethelyn Dale Murphy and they were married on May 31, 1942 in Moore Haven, Florida, and resided in Clewiston. Ethelyn preceded Sam in death on April 2, 1988. He later married Nellie Louise Hoffman Stiles on November 9, 1991 in Clewiston, Florida where they resided. Louise preceded Sam in death on June 6, 2002.

He began his career with United States Sugar Corporation in 1941. Shortly after in 1942, he was called away to serve in the Army during WWII. While in the Army, his travels took him to England, France, and Germany, ending his tour of duty in 1945 in New York City. Upon his arrival home, he continued his career with United States Sugar Corporation until his retirement as Assistance Treasurer in 1987 after 46 years of service.

He served with the Clewiston Volunteer Fire Department until his retirement after 25 years. Sam was a founding member of the Assembly of God Church where he remained a member until his passing. He supported various charities, and had a strong love for his family and community.

He will always be remembered for his kind heart, warm and compassionate spirit and bright smile, that will remain in the hearts of those around him forever. Sam's gentleness, kindness, patience and nonjudgmental love for everyone he came in contact with will never be forgotten. His family's lives are immeasurably better because of him.

He is survived by three grandchildren Kenneth W. McDuffie (Dusty), Robin "Nikki" Wiseman (Marion), Justin Kunzelman (Allegra). Great grandchildren Landon Avery McDuffie, Clayton Dale Wiseman, Samuel Lawrence McDuffie, and Nicholas William McDuffie. He is also survived by his two sons-in-law; James Sweat and Jimmy McDuffie, and one daughter-in-law; Esperanza Lang.

He was preceded in death by his parents; Samuel and Alma Lang, and siblings Harold and James Lang. His children, Samuel Laulas Lang, III, Dale L. McDuffie, and Lafoye Sweat.

A visitation will be held at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in Clewiston on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 from 6-8 p.m. The funeral will be held on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 10 a.m. at the Assembly of God Church in Clewiston, Florida. Akin-Davis Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Are Fireworks Legal In Florida? CPSC Warnings

Celebrating July 4th Safely: Fireworks Big and Small Can Pose Risks:
LABELLE, FL. -- Although commonly seen sold at popup vendors around holidays, fireworks are illegal in Florida, except for sparklers. Anything that fires into the air or explodes is not legal. The Consumer Product Safety Commission annually sends out warnings to consumer each 4th of July holiday to give guidance about he real dangers of all firework products.

Fireworks are synonymous with our celebration of Independence Day. Yet, the thrill of fireworks can also bring pain. 240 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.

Sparklers, bottle rockets and small firecrackers may appear harmless due to their size however, during the 30 days surrounding July 4, these fireworks send injured consumers to emergency rooms. Burns and lacerations to the hands, face, and head were the most frequently reported injuries. About 40 percent of the injuries that occur are related to firecrackers, bottle rockets, and sparklers.

The CPSC’s annual death and injury report on fireworks also indicates that approximately 40 percent of estimated injuries occurred to children younger than 15 years of age.

Never assume that a fireworks device is safe based on its size and never allow young children to play with or light fireworks. By knowing the dangers of all types of fireworks, consumers can prevent tragedies.

Fireworks Injuries:

Remember, fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burn and eye injuries.