Friday, November 28, 2014

Man Dead After Being Struck By Four Vehicles

Two Hit And Run Vehicle Sought After Killing Pedestrian
LABELLE, FL. -- Jose Jesus Hijar Sanchez of Arcadia died of injuries after being struck by multiple vehicles Thanksgiving night while he walked along State Road 29 near C Street in LaBelle. Two vehicles fled the scene.

A 2012 Kia Sportage driven by Leo Curry, 72 of Ft. Lauderdale, FL was traveling north on State Road 29 just past C Street in Hendry County as Sanchez was walking in a westerly direction and attempted to cross over State Road 29 about 6:27 p.m. Thursday . 

He walked into the car's path of travel as the driver braked, but was unable to avoid a collision. The vehicle's left front struck Sanchez who was thrown in a northwesterly direction onto the southbound travel lane of State Road 29. 

He was then struck by an unknown vehicle that was traveling south on State Road 29. Vehicle 2 did not stop and continued traveling south on State Road 29. After the collision the Kia veered to the right and struck a guardrail on the east paved shoulder. 

A 2003 Honda Civic driven by Susan Worthington, 28 of Clewiston, FL was traveling south on State Road 29 when the driver observed Sanchez lying in the southbound travel lane and she steered to the left, but was unable to avoid also striking him. 

Her vehicle's right side tires struck him. 

A fourth vehicle was traveling south on State Road 29 where it also struck Sanchez, and continued traveling south on State Road 29. 

Sanchez was pronounced dead at the crash scene at 6:42 p.m. by paramedics with Hendry County EMS. No further descriptions of vehicle 2 and vehicle 4 are available. If anyone has any information regarding the hit and run vehicles, please contact the FHP Ft. Myers District or *FHP.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Objectors File Against U.S. Sugar Giant City Plan

A state agency released a blistering 24-page rebuke of a proposed massive city in the Everglades while environmentalists renewed calls for the state to purchase sugar land to send water south.
More than 5,000 protest dirty water, not sent south,
but to the Indian River Lagoon in the summer of 2013.  

Among 34 major objections to the project, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO) report called U.S Sugar’s proposal “vague,” with “no assurances of natural resource protection,” and puts “significant urban development” in an area without flood protection.
The proposed 67-square-mile city called “Sugar Hill” includes 18,000 residential units and more than 25 million square feet of commercial development southwest of Lake Okeechobee on land vital to Everglades Restoration.
The FDEO report comes on top of two also highly-critical responses from state environmental agencies. The South Florida Water Management District recommended against the plan saying it threatened Everglades Restoration, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection wrote it “does not adequately protect against adverse impacts to important state resources, including the Florida Everglades.”
The report was surprising because the FDEO is essentially an economic development agency that Governor Scott created to replace the Department of Community Affairs, the growth management agency he dismantled. The report also comes amid news reports that U.S Sugar has been taking Florida politicians, including the Governor Scott, on hunting trips to the King Ranch in Texas.
The Sugar Hill project has been widely condemned by the environmental community. Sierra Club and allies held simultaneous rallies and press conferences opposing the city and urging the state to buy sugar land instead.
Environmentalists want land bought now

The proposed city reinforces the need to buy sugar land now. The U.S Sugar land purchase of 2010 enabled 26,000 acres to be purchased with an option for the remaining 153,000 acres. The next deadline of October 2015, allows a block of 46,800 acres to be purchased at market prices. Much of the land lies within the Sugar Hill proposal. If Sugar Hill were approved, the land would be immediately more valuable as land slated for development rather than agricultural uses, making it more difficult for the public to acquire.

Governor Rick Scott has repeatedly ignored deadlines to buy sugar land. Last year he allowed the state’s exclusive rights to buy US Sugar land to expire. He opposed U.S. Sugar’s purchase as a candidate in 2010.

The enormity and grave consequences of this sprawling city cannot be overstated. It would wall off the Everglades from half of its overland water source – Lake Okeechobee. It would also end efforts to purchase the next parcel of sugar land for restoration – either for direct use or through swaps with other sugar lands farther east.

The final rejection of this city will serve as a wakeup call.  A restored Everglades and healthy estuaries require more sugar land. Governor Scott and his appointees at South Florida Water Management District should lay the groundwork for the purchase now.

U.S. Sugar has until May 1, 2015, to revise and resubmit the Sugar Hill city plan. The deadline to purchase 48,600 acres is Oct. 12, 2015.

- article from Sierra Club Florida

Free Swamp Heritage Festival December 6

The 4th annual Swamp Heritage Festival on Saturday 12/06 from 10:30 AM to 4:00 PM at the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center, 33000 Tamiami Trail East in Big Cypress (2 miles east of SR 29) with storytellers, musicians, authors, artists & special guest Clyde Butcher

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Neo-Naz White Sentenced After Gruesome Threats

Threats To Kidnap, Rape And Kill Land William White A Prison Cell 
ORLANDO, FL. -- U.S. District Judge John Antoon, II today sentenced William A. White (38, Roanoke, VA) to 17 years and 6 months in federal prison for sending interstate threats with the intent to extort and using personal information without lawful authority in furtherance of a crime of violence.

According to evidence presented during the trial, in May 2012, White, a self-professed neo-Nazi, sent a number of e-mail threats to kidnap, rape, and kill the recipients’ family members, including children and grandchildren

Threats were sent to Lawson Lamar, who was State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida at the time, Judge Walter Komanski, and a Federal Bureau of Investigation task force agent. 

The threats listed the home addresses of the officials, and specifically named some of Mr. Lamar’s grandchildren as targets. Separate threats were also directed to Mr. Lamar’s son, as well as to United States District Judge James C. Turk, who had presided over White’s previous case in the Western District of Virginia.

His sentence will be served consecutive to a 92-month federal sentence that White is currently serving in a separate case that was prosecuted in the Western District of Virginia. A federal jury in Orlando found White guilty on September 12, 2014.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Vincent S. Chiu and James D. Mandolfo.

Two-Thirds Of People With HIV No Longer Receiving Health Care

Only 3 in 10 people with HIV have the virus in check
New study finds that two-thirds of Americans with virus not in check have been diagnosed,
but were no longer in care

Just 30 percent of Americans with HIV had the virus under control in 2011, and approximately two-thirds of those whose virus was out of control had been diagnosed but were no longer in care, according to a new Vital Signs report published today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The HIV epidemic continues to threaten the health and well-being of many Americans – with more than one million people living with the disease in the U.S. and 50,000 new infections each year.

Today’s study also found that viral suppression increased with age, with young people significantly less likely than older age groups to have their virus under control – only 13 percent of people aged 18-24 were virally suppressed, compared to 23 percent among those aged 25-34, 27 percent among those aged 35-44, 34 percent among those aged 45-54, 36 percent among those aged 55-64, and 37 percent among those aged 65 and older. The researchers attribute the disparity in large part to the fact that fewer than half (49 percent) of 18- to 24-year olds with HIV have been diagnosed, underscoring the need for more HIV testing in this population.

“It’s alarming that fewer than half of HIV-positive young adults know they are infected,” said Eugene McCray, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “Closing that gap could have a huge impact on controlling HIV – knowing your status is the first critical step toward taking care of your own health and avoiding transmission to others.”

The new study underscores the importance of making sure people with HIV receive ongoing care, treatment, and other information and tools that help prevent transmission to others, as well as the need to reach more people with HIV testing. Among those whose infection was not under control, more than three times the proportion (66 percent) were no longer in care as had never been diagnosed (20 percent).

When used consistently, antiretroviral medication can keep HIV controlled at very low levels in the body (known as viral suppression), allowing people with HIV to live longer, healthier lives and reducing the likelihood they will transmit HIV to others. Treatment has been shown to reduce sexual transmission of HIV by 96 percent, and U.S. clinical guidelines now recommend that everyone diagnosed with HIV receive treatment, regardless of their CD4 cell count or viral load.

"For people living with HIV, it’s not just about knowing you’re infected – it’s also about going to the doctor for medical care,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Key to controlling the nation’s HIV epidemic is helping people with HIV get connected to – and stay in – care and treatment, to suppress the virus, live longer and help protect others.”

The new study estimates that of the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV in 2011, 70 percent did not have their virus under control. Among the nearly 840,000 people who had not achieved viral suppression:
66 percent had been diagnosed but were not engaged in regular HIV care,
20 percent did not yet know they were infected,
4 percent were engaged in care but not prescribed antiretroviral treatment, and
10 percent were prescribed antiretroviral treatment but did not achieve viral suppression.

The percentage of Americans with HIV who achieved viral suppression remained roughly stable (26 percent in 2009 vs. 30 percent in 2011).

“There is untapped potential to drive down the epidemic through improved testing and treatment, but we’re missing too many opportunities,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention. "Treatment is crucial. It is one of our most important strategies for stopping new HIV infections."

Current initiatives to promote HIV testing and treatment include innovative partnerships to make HIV testing simple, accessible and routine; programs to help health departments identify and reach out to infected individuals who have fallen out of care; and public awareness campaigns to urge testing and encourage people with HIV to seek ongoing care.

Cordis Cleghorn Dies At 81

Cordis O'Neal Cleghorn, age 81, of Moore Haven, passed away November 24, 2014 in Lake Placid.

He was born Feb. 22, 1933 in Arley, AL, to the late Garland and the late Ruby (Welch) Cleghorn. He was a longtime resident of Moore Haven. He enjoyed being a dairyman and sugar cane farmer. Cordis also like playing golf.

Survivors include his wife: Clinie C. Cleghorn of Moore Haven, son: Travis (Lisa) Cleghorn of Moore Haven, daughter: Hilda HIll of Venus, three brothers, three sisters and grandchildren: Leon Hill, Ryan Hill and Brandon Hill and great-grandchildren: Shelby Hill, Austin Hill, Avery Hill and Briar Hill. He was also preceded in death by two brothers.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014, 11:00 a.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston. Interment will be in Arley Congregational Church Cemetery, Arley, AL. Visitation will be held Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at the funeral home in Clewiston.

Cattle, Corn, And Soybeans Largest Farming Operations In U.S.

Most Farms Small With Less Than $50K Income Census Says

There are now 3.2 million farmers operating 2.1 million farms on 914.5 million acres of farmland across the United States, according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

The survey shows 87% of U.S. farms are family or individually operated, but 75%  of all farms had sales of less than $50,000, and produced only 3% of the total value of farm products sold.

On the other end of the scale 4% of farms having sales of over $1 million produced 66% of the total value of farm products sold.

Corn and soybean acres topped 50 percent of all harvested acres for the first time while the largest category of operations was beef cattle with 619,172 or 29 percent of all farms and ranches in 2012 specializing in cattle.

Some of the other key findings include:

> Both sales and production expenses reached record highs in 2012. U.S. producers sold $394.6 billion worth of agricultural products, but it cost them $328.9 billion to produce these products

> Much of the increased farm income was concentrated geographically or by farm categories.

> California led the nation with 9 of the 10 top counties for value of sales. Fresno County was number one in the United States with nearly $5 billion in sales in 2012, which is greater than that of 23 states. Weld County, Colorado ranked 9th in the top 10 U.S. counties.

> The top 5 states for agricultural sales were California ($42.6 billion); Iowa ($30.8 billion); Texas ($25.4 billion); Nebraska ($23.1 billion); and Minnesota ($21.3 billion).

> Principal operators were on average 58.3 years old and were predominantly male; second operators were slightly younger and most likely to be female; and third operators were younger still.

> Young, beginning principal operators who reported their primary occupation as farming increased 11.3 percent from 36,396 to 40,499 between 2007 and 2012.

> All categories of minority-operated farms increased between 2007 and 2012; the Hispanic-operated farms had a significant 21 percent increase.

> 144,530 farm operators reported selling products directly to consumers. In 2012, these sales totaled more than $1.3 billion (up 8.1 percent from 2007).

> Organic sales were growing, but accounted for just 0.8 percent of the total value of U.S. agricultural production. Organic farmers reported $3.12 billion in sales in 2012, up from $1.7 billion in 2007.

> Farms with Internet access rose from 56.5 percent in 2007 to 69.6 percent in 2012.

> 57,299 farms produced on-farm renewable energy, more than double the 23,451 in 2007.

> 474,028 farms covering 173.1 million acres were farmed with conservation tillage or no-till practices.

Conducted since 1840, the Census of Agriculture accounts for all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them.

For access to the complete data series and tools to analyze this information, visit

Making Food Safe For Holiday Good Eats

With Thanksgiving right around the corner – and food traditionally playing a large part in the festivities – the Florida Department of Health is encouraging Floridians to keep safe food preparation and handling practices in mind.

"A Happy Thanksgiving will include thoughtful preparation of food for family and friends," said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. "Practicing food safety and filling your plate with healthier items like fresh from Florida fruits and vegetables will help ensure a healthy holiday."

The Department recommends the following for reducing the chances of food contamination.

Clean. Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces before and after food preparation, especially after preparing meat, poultry, eggs, or seafood. Be sure to keep all countertops and work areas clean. As an extra precaution use one tablespoon of unscented, liquid bleach for each gallon of water to sanitize washed utensils and surfaces.
Cook to Proper Temperature. Read the cooking directions on the packaging before preparing. The safest thawing method is in the refrigerator at 40 degrees. Make sure the food is cooked at the proper internal temperature and check for doneness with a food thermometer.
Chill – Refrigerate Properly. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food and leftovers within two hours. Make sure the refrigerator is set at no higher than 40 degrees and the freezer is set at 0 degrees.
Separate- Don't cross contaminate. Keep raw meats, poultry, eggs and seafood and their juices away from ready to eat food. It is recommended that leftovers be heated to 165 degrees. Leftovers that appear cloudy, mushy or have an unusual odor should be disposed of.

For more information on how to keep your family safe from foodborne-illness this holiday season, visit To watch a Thanksgiving message from the State Surgeon General please visitThanksgiving Wishes.

Medicare Billing Fraud Suspect Arrested

OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office arrested Nancy Zeigler, 53, for more than $34,000 in Medicaid fraud. 

According to the investigation, Ziegler fraudulently billed Medicaid for services never provided while employed as the Executive Director at Okeechobee Rehabilitation Facility, Inc. 

Ziegler allegedly billed Medicaid for adult day care, transportation and respite care that amounted to more than $34,000. Zeigler is charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, a second-degree felony. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison, a fine of more than $170,000, and restitution. 

The Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution is prosecuting this case.
The Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates and prosecutes fraud involving providers that intentionally defraud the state's Medicaid program through fraudulent billing practices. Medicaid fraud essentially steals from Florida's taxpayers. 

From Jan. 2011 to Nov. 2014, Attorney General Bondi's MFCU has obtained more than $466 million in settlements and judgments. Additionally, the MFCU investigates allegations of patient abuse, neglect, and exploitation in facilities receiving payments under the Medicaid program.

Kids Shopping Day At Kiwanis

A Special Shopping Day for Kids Only!
The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle proudly presents: A Shopping Day for Kids Only in the Thrift Store on Saturday, December 6th, 2014.

What: A Shopping event for kids from 3 to 12 years old!
Kids can Christmas Shop!
Where: The Kiwanis Thrift Store, 155 S. Bridge Street, LaBelle
When: Saturday, December 6th
Time: 8:30am to 10:00am

The kids can buy quality gifts for their immediate family members on a "friendly budget". Parents/Grandparents---Please give the kids a small allowance and then Kiwanis members will help the kids shop while the adults wait patiently outside. 

Kiwanis Key Club students from LaBelle High School will wrap presents for the kids so they can surprise their family members with a nice gift! You might even see one of Santa's elves! This is an annual event sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle and the kids really love it! We hope to see you there!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Melba Miners Dies At 85

Melba Jean Miners, age 85, of Alva, passed away November 22, 2014, surrounded by her family. She was born Sep. 14, 1929 in Detroit, MI, to the late Barclay and the late Mellie (Pollard) Brickley.

Melba was the oldest of four girls. She was also a perfectionist and never left the house without every hair in place. Melba also loved shoes.

She is survived by one son: Roy Douglas Miners, two daughters: Deborah J. Tillman (Kenny), Pamela L. Ham (Greg), three sisters: Marilyn Spivey, Bobbie Alder, Joyce McRae, six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

A celebration of life was held 11:00 am, Monday, November 24, 2014 at Hope Hospice Chapel, 1201 Wings Way, Lehigh Acres, FL, with Pastor Randy Eaton officiating.

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Motorcyclist Dies In Crash - Car Driver Charged

NAPLES, FL. -- Lisa Ann Montemarano, 52 of Naples died after a car crashed into her motorcycle about 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

A 2014 Cadillac ATS driven by John William Savacool, 77 of Naples was traveling South on US 41, in the inside left turning lane, approaching Wiggins Pass Rd.

The motorcycle was traveling South on US 41, in the center lane, approaching Wiggins Pass Rd. Savacool, from the left turn lane made a right turn towards the West, crossing several lanes of US 41.

Montemarano was unable to stop in time and with it's front struck the Cadillac's right side. The impact caused her to go airborne and after the impact the cycle continued to travel west on its left side towards the northwest corner of US 1.

The car, due to the impact stopped on the right turn only lane of Wiggins Pass Rd, heading West. Montemarano  was airlifted to the hospital, but due to her injuries was later pronounced deceased at the hospital.

Savacool and a passenger had minor injuries and both were taken to North Naples Hospital. He was charged with failure to obey a traffic control device.

How To Help Overweight Kids - Lots More Fruits And Vegetables

LABELLE, FL. -- The prevalence of overweight among children in the United States has tripled since 1980, and it continues to increase, resulting in increasing pediatric problems of childhood diabetes and hypertension.

Making healthy food and activity choices allows children to grow and develop at a rate that is normal for them. Staying at a healthy weight is just one way to help kids be their best. 

Here's how to help prevent overweight kids (and adults too).

5 or More Fruits & Vegetables - Fruits and vegetables are an important part of healthy eating and most kids don’t get enough of them. Fill half your child’s plate with colorful fruits and vegetables. Eating 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day helps keep everyone in the family healthy and feeling their best.

2 Hours or Less of Screen Time - Too much time in front of a television, computer, or touchpad can be harmful to your child’s health and development. Set limits on screen time – no more than 2 hours a day of watching TV, playing video games or using a computer or tablet.

1 Hour or More of Active Play - Make physical activity part of your child’s every day routine. Children need at least 1 hour (60 minutes) of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day to stay healthy. Adults need at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Being active together is a fun way to enjoy time together as a family and to set a good example for your children. Active play every day helps students with learning at school, helps adults and kids keep a healthy weight, and build and maintain healthy bones

0 Sugary Drinks - Most kids today get too many calories from sugary drinks like regular soda pop, fruit drinks, and sports drinks. The best drink choices are water and fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk. Drinking more water and less sugary drinks is one simple thing that can have a big impact on your family’s health.

The above is based on "5-2-1-0," an evidence-based prevention message centered on recommendations from the Childhood Obesity: Assessment, Prevention and Treatment Expert Committee, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HSRA/HHS), and the American Medical Association (AMA).

-from Hendry-Glades Health Department, Pat Dobbins

Motorcycle Crashes Into Deer - Rider Seriously Injured

VENICE, FL. -- A motorcyclist suffered injuries Sunday night about 7:15 p.m. after hitting a deer in the road.

A motorcycle driven by Kameron Gibson, 52 of Arcadia, Florida, was westbound on Border Rd. in Venice.  A deer ran into the roadway directly into the path of the 1995 Harley Davidson Ultra which collided with the deer causing the bike to overturn and travel in a westerly direction along the roadway.

Gibson suffered serious injuries and was transported to the Blake Medical Center. He was not wearing a helmet, according to the FHP report.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Firehouse Theatre Presents Mark Twain's Adam And Eve

LABELLE, FL. -- On Friday, December 5, 2014, at 7:00 p.m., the Firehouse Community Theatre proudly presents The Diary of Adam and Eve written by Mark Twain and adapted for the stage by Mark Bucci.

This production is directed by Maureen “Moe” Doucette and is not part of the regular Firehouse season. Tickets are $5.00, available at the door on the night of the performance.

The cast originally presented this one-act play on November 8th as part of the Community Theatre Competition at the Florida Theatre Conference Festival in Gainesville. This was an exciting opportunity for our LaBelle actors to be critiqued by theatre professionals.

The Diaryof Adam and Eve depicts the first battle of the sexes! Adam doesn't get a chance to name any of the new wonders of creation because Eve always beats him to it. When asked why she names a bird a Dodo, her reply, as always, is "Because it looks like a Dodo." However, upon accepting the apple from the seductive snake, Eve and Adam get a new look at life, and the audience will get an enchanting new look at them. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to see this charming show starring Ashley Corbitt-Grover, Matt Kindermann and Meaghan Johnson.

Kylie Bancroft serves as stage manager for the production.

The Firehouse Community Theatre is located at 241 North Bridge Street in historic downtown LaBelle; three blocks north from the intersection of SR80 and SR29 and just 28 minutes from exit 141 on I-75.

Kiwanis Kids Ring The Bell For Salvation Army

LABELLE, FL. -- The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle rang the belll for Salvation Army all day on Saturday, November 22nd at Ace Hardware.

 However, it was the grandchildren of Kiwanis member Brenda Barnes who might be the youngest "Bell Ringers" for Salvation Army.

 Jayna Williamson, age 3 and Kellan Williamson, age 1 really enjoyed the day. This is Jayna's second year that she has helped ring the bell for Salvation Army. Hopefully it will be an annual tradition, said grandmother Brenda.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Karin Gostowski Dies In Traffic Crash

NAPLES, FL. -- Karin Johnson Gostowski, 91 of Naples, Florida died as a result of a crash with a dump truck Thursday.

Her 2000 Chevy Impala was eastbound on CR-862 on the left turn lane for northbound Islandwalk Boulevard as a dump truck driven the Agustin Valdes Marrero, 50 of Naples  was westbound on CR-862 in the outside lane. 

She attempted a left turn in front of the truck as it entered the intersection. The front of the truck collided with the right side of of the Impala. The truck pushed it onto the northwest shoulder, to an uncontrolled final rest. 

Gostowski was pronounced deceased at the scene. Investigation is continuing by the FHP.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Driver Crashes Into Canal Then Flees

MOORE HAVEN, FL. --  A driver fled after crashing his car into a Moore Haven canal early Thursday morning. The FHP is asking for help to find the driver.

A 1997 Mazda B2300 was traveling southwest on Gulf Street about 6:15 a.m. Thursday as the driver came to a stop sign at the intersection of Gulf Street and West Avenue. The driver then attempted to make a left turn (north) onto West Avenue as the car continued traveling in a northwesterly direction across the north and southbound lanes of West Avenue.

The Mazda then departed the roadway and entered a canal (west of the roadway) and came to rest partially submerged while overturned onto it's left side.

The driver then exited and fled the scene of the incident.

If anyone has any information regarding the identity or location of the driver please contact the Florida Highway Patrol at 239-344-1730

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Support Our Local Business Services

Alden A. Rumfelt, Attorney At Law
135 Riverbend Drive
LaBelle, Fl 33935
Phone (863) 673-0251 email

Clewiston Pawn

Clewiston Pawn, Inc.
202 E. Ventura Avenue
Clewiston, Fl. 33440
(863) 983-7330

Lawn & Lot Service - Clewiston, Moore Haven and LaBelle
Licensed And Insured - "Have Dixie Chopper...Will Travel!"
Young Pearson, Jr. 
Phone (561) 257-9782

Kiwanis Club Of LaBelle The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle is proud to sponsor three Service Leadership Programs
KEY Club                 LaBelle High School- Sponsor, Tracy Nobles
Builder's Club        West Glades School - Sponsor, Doreen Backes
AKTION Club       LaBelle - Sponsor, Martha Stephens

Need computer help? Contact Gary Peters by email
Or visit the website of Gary Peters Computer Services
 In LaBelle
(863) 675-7925

Ram's Used TiresNew & Used Car and Pickup Truck Tires
661 South Bridge Street, LaBelle, Fl. 33935
8-5 Mon-Fri 8-12 Sat
Phone: (863) 675-6777

Armando's Barber Shop
Esmeralda's Styles & More
Old Fashioned Hair Cutting & Hot Shaves 
Women's Haircuts, Styling, Perms, Color, Nails 
419 South Main Street
LaBelle, Florida
Regular & Scissor Cuts-Fades-Fo Hawks-Mo Hawks-Flat Tops-Shaves-Edge
Manicure-Pedicure-Eyebrow Waxing, Hair Styling - Mon-Sat. 10-6
Armando Cavazos  (863) 673-2265
Esmeralda Pequeno  (863) 234-6387

Randy's Garage
741 S. Bridge Street, LaBelle, Fl. 33935
Your Local AC Delco Car Care Center
Serving Our Customers Since 1992
 "It's more than what we do It's who we are."
Tire Service & Repair 863-675-7603
Automobile Service & Repair 863-675-1032

Tell our sponsors you saw them here!

Big Cypress Preserve On Audubon Program

Big Cypress National Preserve Program and Boardwalk Tour
LABELLE, FL. -- Learn about and visit the “Big Cypress National Preserve” which encompasses approximately 729,000 acres of a freshwater swamp ecosystem, offering refuge to a wide variety of plants and animals.

On Monday December 8th a ranger from the “Big Cypress National Preserve” will be present a program at 7 p.m. at the Dallas Townsend Hendry County Extension building located at 1085 Pratt Boulevard LaBelle, Florida. 

On Friday December 12 everyone is invited to participate in a Ranger Talk and Boardwalk Tour at the Preserve. Carpool from Barron Park in Labelle at 7 a.m.or meet at the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center located at 33000 Tamiami Trail East Ochopee, Florida 24141 at 8:45 a.m. for the Ranger Talk and film which will begin promptly at 9 a.m. 

After the talk the group will visit the nearby boardwalk in search of resident and wintering birds followed by a picnic lunch at noon. Bring water, snacks, lunch, closed toed shoes, sunscreen, camera, and binoculars. 

For information about these free programs hosted by Hendry-Glades Audubon Society contact Butch Wilson 863- 983-2870 or Margaret England (863) 674-0695

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Catholics Sell Out to Protestant Radio Giant

Ave Maria Catholic Radio Station Sold At $2.7 Million Loss

AVE MARIA, FL. -- Southwest Florida's Catholic radio station WDEO 98.5 operated by Ave Maria University has been sold to the Educational Media Foundation.. EMF owns hundreds of radio stations broadcasting contemporary Christian music.

New Christian music programming started today in Southwest Florida replacing Catholic religious programs. 

Operating out of California studios EMF is also the sixth most online streamed station in the world. They encompass over 600 listener-supported stations and translators in 46 states with Internet streaming, and reach more than five million listeners each week

Ave Maria University bought the station 10 years ago for $4.9 million in cash, and originally programmed 24 hours a day Gregorian Chant music. Later management and programming was turned over to a local broadcaster, the station then switching to country music.

In recent years the station broadcast Catholic religious programming from the Ave Maria Radio Network in Michigan.

The new sale went for $2.2 million. creating a huge loss to the Univers from the original purchase at $4.9 million.

Trying to focus on Catholic higher education in the U.S,, the University sold it's Latin America campus last year.

Fans of local Catholic radio programming can still listen on the internet at and apps are available to smartphones and tablets as well as a phone number that listeners can use to listen on phones.

William Ryan Adams Dies At 60

William Ryan Adams, 60, of Clewiston, passed away November 12, 2014 in West Palm Beach.
Born April 27, 1954 in Glendale, CA. He is the son of Ryle E. and Gwenlyn L. (Brown) Adams.

He was a fruit operations manager in the citrus industry for 20 years. Bill was an avid USC Trojans fan and enjoyed surfing.

Other than his parents, Bill is survived by two daughters Killian Adams and Ashley Owens, a sister Cheri Leach and his significant other of 17 years Mia Spencer.

A memorial service will be held for Bill at the Clewiston Inn on Friday, November 21 at 6:00 pm.

Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cattle Theft Charged Against Robert Lanier

CLEWISTON, FL. -- On June 18, 2014, Hendry County Sheriff’s Office received a Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers Tip reporting that 34 year old, Robert Allen Lanier was planning to steal a large number of cattle from Hilliard Brothers of Florida Ranch, in Clewiston, Florida. The reporter stated the theft was to take place between the dates of June 15, and June 21, 2014, while Hilliard’s were attending the Florida Cattlemen’s Convention.

Law Enforcement officials immediately notified the Hilliard’s Cattle foremen. It was later learned that one of the gates on the Hilliard property had been torn down.

Deputies along with employees of Hilliard’s Ranch responded to the scene. Deputies were able to determine that the cattle were placed into an existing set of cow pens then loaded onto a trailer. It was estimated at the time that approximately 18 calves had been stolen. Contact was made with Arcadia Livestock Market where the calves were located, identified and returned to the Hilliard Ranch.

During the investigation it was determined that Lanier had stolen the calves from Hilliard’s during the early morning hours and transported them to another ranch in Desoto County. While Lanier was on his way to pick up the cattle he was arrested by Glades County Sheriff’s Office on an outstanding Okeechobee County Warrant for child support. After being released from Glades County, he was later arrested by Okeechobee County deputies on a Hendry County Warrant on charges of Grand Theft and Dealing in Stolen Property. He was later released on a $30,000 bond.

Cocaine Possession Arrest In LaBelle

LABELLE, FL. -- A man was arrested in LaBelle on charges of possession of cocaine and intent to sell. 

On Thursday, November 6, 2014 members of the Hendry County Sheriffs’ Office Narcotics and Special Response Team conducted a search warrant at 841 Manatee Ave., in LaBelle, Florida.

When deputies entered the residence they located 37 year old Nekisha L. Vasser inside the home. Deputies located inside the residence $1,800 in U.S. currency and approximately 1.8 grams of crack cocaine.

Vasser was arrested on charges of Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell. Vasser was released on $25,000, November 13, 2014.

Wild Hog Hunting For Veterans

MUSE, FL. -- Florida Forest Service and Lykes Ranch recently hosted two hunts for wounded American veterans in Glades County. These hunts provided a stress-free, relaxing time to foster camaraderie and rehabilitation. Sponsors provided funding for food, lodging and transportation for the participants, as well as deer blinds, camouflage, binoculars and any other equipment needed to ensure the success of the hunt.

“These two hunts were established to be therapeutic,” says Danny Callahan, Senior Forest Ranger, Florida Forest Service. “You are trying to outsmart the opponent in the woods,” Callahan explains, “this time it was wild hogs.” The tension builds, then comes a sudden rush of adrenaline, all while sitting next to a man with a weapon, whom you trust to make the right decision. “We wanted to provide an opportunity for the combat veterans to enjoy the outdoors and tell war stories in the woods or around a campfire. Combat veterans can find solace in sharing their stories with others combat veterans.”

The two hunts (November 4 & 12) were a great success and the four hunters came back with a harvest of wild hogs, from the Lykes Ranch’s hunting grounds, where the harvest was processed and distributed amongst the warriors.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dorothy Risher Dies At 98

Dorothy Hill Risher, age 98, a lifelong resident of South Florida, died Nov. 14, 2014 at Tidewell Hospice House in Arcadia, Florida. 

She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Wallace, who died in 1991. They were married fifty-three years.

Dorothy was born in 1916 to her parents, Grover A. and Sylvia Aiken Hill on their homestead in Ft. Denaud, Florida. After graduating from LaBelle schools, she went to Washington, DC to pursue studies in fashion design. It was there she met her husband who was working for the Federal Bureau of Investigations and attending law school.

They were married in Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church in LaBelle and returned to Washington for ten years where their three children were born. They returned to LaBelle to make their home and raise their family.

Dorothy retired after thirty years of service with the Hendry County Health Department and the Hendry County Clerk's Office in LaBelle.

She was an avid gardener, loved painting, quilting, crocheting and playing Bridge. She and her husband traveled extensively throughout this country as well as abroad. The couple enjoyed their home on the Caloosahatchee River in LaBelle as well as a summer home in the mountains of Hot Springs, North Carolina.

Dorothy is survived by her dear sisters, Mildred Lewis of Ft. Myers and Esther (John) Beavers of LaBelle.

She is survived by three beloved children, Wally (Gina) Risher of LaBelle, Deanie (Frank) Cardimen of Rochester Hills, Michigan and Nancy (Elmer) Mott of Arcadia, Florida.

She is also survived by nine grandchildren: Mark Risher, Tara Risher Soud, Jeff, Andy and Mike Cardimen, Cynthia and Beverly Mott, Fraya Mott Sutton and Thomas (Haley) Mott. She has twenty-two great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren.

A celebration of Dorothy's life will be held in the Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church in LaBelle Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Hope Hospice and Tidewell Hospice.

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Nancy Rice Dies At 76

Nancy C Rice, age 76, of Clewiston, passed away November 10, 2014 in Clewiston.

She was born July 10, 1938 in Clifton Forge, VA, to her loving mother Rosa Lee (Campbell). She married Roy D. "Danny" Rice; he preceded her in death on November 9, 2010. She was an active Prayer Worrier and member of Turning Point Church of God.

Survivors include four sons: Michael (Carolyn) Rice, David Rice, James Rice, William Rice and two daughters: Joyce Gorecki, Deborah Munger, one brother: Joe Earl Schutt and four sisters: Martha Moles, Rita Kaye Cruz, Helen Sue Firth, Patricia Joe Cooper, thirteen grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

She was a very loving woman, who will be missed not only by her family but also her church family and friends.

Funeral services was Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm at Turning Point Church Of God, Clewiston with Pastor Troy Ezell officiating. Visitation was Thursday from 5-6 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

13 Arrested In Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

NAPLES, FL. -- The Collier County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration today announced the arrests of 13 individuals involved in a drug trafficking conspiracy that spanned decades in South Florida. The Collier County Sheriff's Office initiated the investigation. During which, detectives seized or purchased more than 13 kilograms of cocaine, with a street value of $442,000. The defendants allegedly conspired to traffic approximately 30 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of approximately $1.02 million.

Arrests have been made in Dade, Collier and Lee counties, and residences and vehicles were searched based on K-9 alerts, consent and search warrants. Detectives today seized approximately 10 ounces of cocaine with a street value of $13,000, approximately six pounds of high-grade marijuana with a street value of $18,000, approximately 14.46 ounces of methamphetamine with a street value $15,000, 6.5 grams of Xanax, four vehicles, two handguns and more than $40,000 in U.S. currency. Some individuals connected to the organization have yet to be located and their warrants will remain active until they are apprehended.

The following defendants participated in the Drug Trafficking Organization:
· Orlando Daniel Avalos
· Nicolo Busi
· Erlin Y. Carrasco
· Jose Miguel Diaz
· Francisco Gato Jr.
· Jonny Gonzalez-Tia
· Enrique Henry Lesende
· Jeronimo Mendez-Cruz
· Cristopher Thomas Ocampo
· Juan Rafael Ramos
· Tomas E. Ruiz-Serrano
· Fredrico Solis-Contreras
· Joel Melqui Vanegas

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Two New Judges Named By Governor Scott

Today, Governor Rick Scott announced the appointment of Robert Branning to the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court and Scott Cupp to the Hendry County Court.

Branning, 44, has practiced with Rehak & Branning, LLC, since 2007 and has been in the private practice of law since 2002. Branning began his legal career as an Assistant State Attorney for the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court in 1999. He received his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and his law degree from the Mississippi College School of Law. Branning has served as an adjunct professor at Southwest Florida College since 2012. He fills a vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Mark Steinbeck.

Governor Rick Scott said, “During Robert’s years of practicing law, he has proven his dedication to serving Florida families with humility and integrity. I am confident that he will continue that honorable service on the Twentieth Judicial Circuit bench.”

Cupp, 58, of the Law Office of Scott H. Cupp, LLC, served as Assistant State Attorney in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit from 2003-2006 as Chief of the Felony Division, and from 1993 to 1999 as Chief of the Crimes Against Children and Sex Crimes Units. Cupp received his bachelor’s degree from Duquesne University and his law degree from the Western New England University School of Law. He fills a vacancy created by the appointment of Judge James D. Sloan to the Circuit Court.

Governor Rick Scott said, “Throughout his career, Scott has demonstrated the qualities that make for a great judge. I know he will serve Floridians well and make a fine addition to the Hendry County bench.”

Monday, November 10, 2014

Churches Partner For Holiday Operation Backpack

Community Thanksgiving Service November 25

LABELLE, FL. --  Pastor Clifford Avery met this week with Pastor James Holden who announces the Community Thanksgiving Service will be at Carlson Memorial Church, Tuesday, November 25 at 7 p.m. Rev. J. D. Dugal of the First Church of God will be the speaker this year.

Photo: Pastors Avery and Holden

Pastor Avery stopped by Carlson Memorial Methodist church this week to confirm that they would host the Community Thanksgiving Service.  That everything would be available on  Tuesday November 25 and at 7:00 P.M. The host pastor James Holden Confirm the date and time and availability of the church. The discussion turned to the Thanksgiving speaker They selected one of the newest pastors in town Rev. J. D. Dugal of the First Church of God of Anderson Indiana Located on highway 80. It was noted that  A goodly number of local pastors will be participating in this community service. 

Pastor Holden and the LaBelle Evangelical Ministers Association cooperating for “Operation Backpack" for the Christmas Season, A number of local churches will partner with Operation Backpack to give the 150 children Backpacks with food enough food for the Christmas break. 

They  will collect the following items if you would like to be part of this worthy project by donating some of these products: 
Small boxes of cereal
Packs of mac & cheese (only water to be added)
Cans of Vienna sausages
Jar Peanut Butter
Boxed crackers
Canned chicken or tuna
Canned corn
Canned green beans
Instant mashed potatoes
Cans of gravy
Canned chicken & dumplings (Family size)
Financial donations will also be accepted.

Please bring your donations to your church or drop it off at Methodist church office or you can bring them with you to worship Sundays. For more information call 675-0900. 

Bonsai! Show And Sale Coming To Fort Myers

FORT MYERS, FL. -- The Bonsai Society of Southwest Florida, Inc. will hold its annual Show and Sale on Saturday and Sunday, November 22-23, at the Lee Election Center, 13180 S. Cleveland Ave. (across from Bell Tower Shops) in Fort Myers. Admission and parking are free. 

Bonsai (pronounced "bone-sigh") is the practice of raising small artistic trees in pots; it originated in the Orient, and has become popular worldwide.

The show will include an exhibit of trees created by Society members, demonstrations of bonsai techniques, workshops, and sales and raffles of bonsai and related materials. Experienced members will also be available to answer questions about any trees that are brought in.

The show will feature Ed Trout, along with bonsai artists Mike Cartrect, Craig Brown, Ernie Fernandez, Mike Lane, Hiram Macias, Tony Stewart, Martha Goff, and Dorothy Schmitz.

All workshop participants will receive five free drawing tickets for each workshop in which they participate. All demonstrations are free; participants can enjoy watching artists create beautiful trees and plantings, which will become part of a special drawing to be held during the Sunday lunch break. Winners don’t have to be present to win.

The Bonsai Society of Southwest Florida, Inc. was founded to promote and encourage the knowledge and appreciation of bonsai and related arts. It holds its monthly meeting on the third Satuday of each month.

The Saturday show is from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Sunday, the show is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Wanna Be A Farmer? $50,000 Loans Available

Farming Microloan Cap Now $50,000 With New Simplified Application Process
The Florida Farm Service Agency reminds farmers and ranchers that the FSA borrowing limit for microloans increased from $35,000 to $50,000. Microloans offer borrowers simplified lending with less paperwork.

The microloan change allows beginning, small and mid-sized farmers to access an additional $15,000 in loans using a simplified application process with up to seven years to repay. Microloans are part of USDA’s continued commitment to small and midsized farming operations.

To complement the microloan program additional changes to FSA eligibility requirements will enhance beginning farmers and ranchers access to land, a key barrier to entry level producers. FSA policies related to farm experience have changed so that other types of skills may be considered to meet the direct farming experience required for farm ownership loan eligibility. 

Operation or management of non-farm businesses, leadership positions while serving in the military or advanced education in an agricultural field will now count towards the experience applicants need to show when applying for farm ownership loans.

Since 2010, FSA has made a record amount of farm loans — more than 165,000 loans totaling nearly $23 billion. More than 50 percent of USDA’s farm loans now go to beginning farmers. In addition, FSA has increased its lending to socially-disadvantaged producers by nearly 50 percent since 2010.

Please review the FSA Microloan Program Fact Sheet for program application, eligibility and related information.

Work Day At Nature Park - Air Potatoes

LaBelle Nature Park Air Potato Roundup
The Hendry/LaBelle Recreation and "Riverwatch" (Caloosahatchee River Citizens Assocaiton) would like to invite community organizations, youth groups, and individuals to a four hour LaBelle Nature Park Air Potato Roundup on Saturday November 15 from 8:00 a.m. - noon. Air potato is an invasive plant species that has been listed as one of Florida's most invasive plant species since 1993.

Hats, gloves, long pants, sturdy shoes and insect repellant are recommended. Water will be provided .
The LaBelle Nature Park is located at Hardee Street and Fraser on the Caloosahatchee River in LaBelle. 

Website: Call Margaret England at 863-517-0202 for information.

Gas Prices Now Well Under $3 - Likely To Stay Low?

Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 2.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.91/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 8,237 gas outlets in Florida. This compares with the national average that has fallen 2.6 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.94/g, according to gasoline price website

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 28.9 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 35.8 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. 

The national average has decreased 30.6 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 26.9 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

Woman Killed In Parking Lot - Driver Flees

SUV Hit And Run Driver Sought In Death Of Pedestrian

IMMOKALEE, FL. -- A 25 year old woman was killed by a hit and run driver while she walked in a shopping center parking lot Sunday.

Crystal Olvera, 25 of Immokalee, Fl. was walking north, crossing the parking lot towards Winn Dixie on Lake Trafford Road as a vehicle was westbound in the parking lot, approaching the area in which she was crossing.

Olvera turned and attempted evasive actions to avoid being struck but the front of the vehicle struck her, then it then backed up and drove around her fleeing the scene.

She came to final rest in a supine position facing west in the parking lot.

According to video surveillance, the vehicle appears to be a 1992-1999 Chevrolet Tahoe or GMC Yukon. Anyone who may have witnessed this crash or has any knowledge as to the identity / location of the hit and run driver and/or vehicle, is asked to contact the Florida Highway Patrol at 239-344-1730.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Wharf Walk Brings Out The Best Of LaBelle

LABELLE, FL. -- LaBelle residents came out Friday night to see the festivities at Wharf Walk along the Caloosahatchee River in LaBelle's Historic District. Local restaurants brought out their favorite dishes, artists displayed their best works, while everyone listened to dancing music below the giant oaks trees, and the illuminated and street between the Barron Library and the LaBelle Boat Docks.

Sponsored by the City of LaBelle and the LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Bicyclist Killed By Hit And Run Driver

Hit And Run Driver Sought In Death Of Bicyclist

LEHIGH ACRES, FL. -- Charles Todd Snyder, 45 of Lehigh Acres, Fl was killed Friday night about 11:10 p.m. by an unidentified driver who fled the scene, said FHP Trooper M. J. Smyrnios and homicide investigator Corporal J. E. Gissendander.

Riding a 2010 Trek 810 bicycle, he was traveling in the southbound lane of Sunshine Boulevard south of 13th Street West in Lehigh Acres. The bike was not equipped with proper lighting for nighttime riding.

A vehicle was traveling south on Sunshine Boulevard and struck the bike and then fled the scene. There were no witnesses to the crash, therefore, suspect and vehicle information is not known at this time, and is still under investigation.

Snyder suffered fatal injuries as a result of this crash.

The Florida Highway Patrol requests anyone who may have information about this crash, especially the information about the Hit & Run driver and/or vehicle, to contact (239) 938-1800.

The Hit and Run vehicle was described as possibly a light in color passenger car, but could also be red in color. Damage should be located in the front right headlight area. No tag number is available.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Roadside Litter Target Of Health Department

LABELLE, FL. -- Staff members from the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties participated in “Florida Health Cleans Up!” on October 31st to emphasize that walking is a great way to get physically active and to support the Department of Transportation’s “Roadside Litter Prevention Program”. 

Over 51 pounds of litter was collected by the team.  The Florida Department of Health is part of a statewide effort to keep Florida’s roads and highways clean and beautiful for both residents and visitors.

Pictured Left to Right: Vanessa Fischel, Carol Leib, Mary Ruth Prouty, Pat Dobbins, Melba Zavala, Pam Barnett, Mike Tomes, Maria Narez, Mona Kajkowski and Socorro Balderas.  Not pictured: Brenda Barnes (photographer), Leo Rodriguez and Margie Alderman

400 Illegal Websites Seized By Feds

Federal law enforcement has taken action against over 400 Tor hidden service .onion addresses, including dozens of “dark market” websites, that were offering a range of illegal goods and services for sale on the “Tor” network, a special network of computers on the Internet designed to conceal the locations of individuals using it. 

These sites were all operating online black markets, openly advertising on their home pages and offering to sell a variety of illicit goods and services to customers in the United States and elsewhere. The advertised goods and services included, among other things: illegal narcotics; firearms; stolen credit card data and personal identification information; counterfeit currency; fake passports and other identification documents; and computer-hacking tools and services.

The website addresses and computer servers hosting these websites were seized yesterday as part of a coordinated international law enforcement action involving the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and law enforcement agencies of approximately 16 foreign nations working under the umbrella of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and Eurojust. 

This action follows the arrest on Nov. 5, 2014, of Blake Benthall, aka “Defcon,” for charges brought in the Southern District of New York for his alleged role in operating the Silk Road 2.0 website. This action constitutes the largest law enforcement action to date against criminal websites operating on the “Tor” network.

According to public documents, the seizure operation targeted the Silk Road 2.0 website and more than 400 hidden services related to dozens of other “dark market” websites that are only accessible to operating on what is known as “The Onion Router” or “Tor” network, a part of the Internet designed to make it practically impossible to physically locate the computers hosting or accessing websites on the network.

The “dark market” websites were designed to facilitate illicit commerce by providing anonymity to users. The sites were only accessible to users of the Tor anonymizing network. The sites also accepted payments for their illicit goods and services in bitcoin or similar virtual currency designed to be as anonymous.

Examples of the websites seized in the operation include:
“Pandora” (pandora3uym4z42b.onion), “Blue Sky” (blueskyplzv4fsti.onion), “Hydra”(hydrampvvnunildl.onion), and “Cloud Nine” (xvqrvtnn4pbcnxwt.onion), all of which were dark markets similar to Silk Road 2.0, offering an extensive range of illegal goods and services for sale, including drugs, stolen credit card data, counterfeit currency, and fake identity documents.

“Executive Outcomes” (http://iczyaan7hzkyjown.onion[external link]), which specialized in firearms trafficking, with offerings including assault rifles, automatic weapons, and sound suppressors. The site stated that it used “secure drop ship locations” throughout the world so that “anonymity [was] ensured” throughout the shipping process, and that all serial numbers from the weapons it sold were “remove[d] . . . and refill[ed] with metal.”

“Fake Real Plastic” (http://igvmwp3544wpnd6u.onion[external link]), which offered to sell counterfeit credit cards, encoded with “stolen credit card data” and “printed to look just like real VISA and Mastercards.” The cards were “[g]uaranteed to have at least $2500 left on [the] credit card limit” and could be embossed with “any name you want on the card.”
“Fake ID” (http://23swqgocas65z7xz.onion[external link]), which offered fake passports from a number of countries, advertised as “high quality” and having “all security features” of original documents. The site further advertised the ability to “affix almost all kind of stamps into the passports.”

“Fast Cash!” (http://5oulvdsnka55buw6.onion[external link]) and “Super Notes Counter” (http://67yjqewxrd2ewbtp.onion[external link]), which offered to sell counterfeit Euros and U.S. dollars in exchange for Bitcoin.

Two Dead In I-75 Alligator Alley Crash

Head On Crash Kills Both Drivers On Interstate 75

NAPLES, FL. -- Two drivers are dead in an early morning crash on Alligator Alley in Collier county as one vehicle traveled the wrong way on I-75 and crashed into another vehicle,

A 2008 Chevy Cobalt, driven by Kristen Zocchi, 26 of Estero, Florida was traveling the wrong way on Alligator Alley westbound on the eastbound left travel lane of I-75 near the 85 mile marker as 

A 2006 Mazda, driven by Walter Jose Rosales Mejia, of 32 Tampa, Florida was traveling east on I-75 in the left  travel lane, just past the 85 mile marker at 3:25 a.m. Friday. 

The front of the Chevy struck the front of Mazda said FHP Trooper A. Tobar and Homicide Investigator Corporal Michael Michaud.

Both vehicles came to final rest in the left, eastbound travel lane of I-75. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the crash scene. The Mazda's passenger, Vanessa Vernaza Hernandez, 31 of Tampa, Florida was flown via Med Flight to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers with critical injuries. 

All of the occupants were wearing seatbelts. The investigation continues pending alcohol tests on Zocchi..

The Story Of Florida Agriculture

Florida's farmers produce 280 different commodities, employ over half a million people, generate more than $103 billion in annual economic impact and provide tax surpluses. Florida is the nation's top producer of citrus, sugar cane, winter vegetables, ornamental plants and sod, and agriculture consistently ranks second only to tourism in supporting the Florida economy,

Florida's farmers are also caretakers of the state's richly diverse environment. Farmers have been leaders in the use of reclaimed water and developing best management practices to improve water quality, minimize impacts and care for the land while producing an abundance of safe, affordable food and other products that make our lives more enjoyable.

Video courtesy University of Florida IFAS

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Walk A Dog At Caloosa Humane Shelter

LABELLE, FL. -- The Caloosa Humane Society is asking for a volunteer to help walk a dog any day Monday through Saturday.

There are many dogs waiting for adoption and some cannot get out of their kennels for regular exercise and play.  This video illustrates six dogs that would love to have someone walk them in the fenced 2-acre dog park across the street from the Humane Society.

The Caloosa Humane Society is next to the Hendry Health Department on Pratt Blvd. south of Cowboy Way.  Please visit anytime and offer your help

(video: Don Browne)

Republican Candidates Take Glades County

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Glades county voters cast votes Tuesday much like neighboring Hendry county, voting Republican to keep Governor Rick Scott in office as well as Commissioner of Agriculture, Chief Financial Officer, and Attorney General.

Amendments were also in favor, although Amendment 2, Medical Marijuana was a narrow yes vote, and statewide not enough votes were in favor to hit the mandated 60% of votes needed.

Tom Rooney was the favorite of Glades voters for Congressional District 17 and garnered 63% of Florida votes.

In local races, County Commissioner District 1 results were, Robert Murrhee 1431 and Weston Pryor 1565 votes.

For Glades County Commissioner District 4, results were Doug Korinke 1464 and John Ahern 1529 votes.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Republicans Lead Election Night

LABELLE, FL. -- Republicans lead the polls Tuesday night in Hendry County with a substantial margin in most races. Statewide results will not be in for several hour past the 7 p.m. poll closing in most of Florida and closings an hour later in the Panhandle because of Central Time Zone there.

Hendry County Commissioner Darrel Harris led over challenger Dean Tanner with 56% of voters choosing to keep him in office.

In the City of Clewiston Commission races the top three were Kristine Petersen, Phillip Roland, and Sherida Ridgdill.

Hendry voted yes on all three Constitutional Amendments, with a very close call on Amendment 2, Medical Marijuana. But, statewide the amendment failed because a 60% approval was needed.

Voter turnout was 41% of Hendry's 16.615 registered voters.

In statewide races Hendry voters chose to stay with the incumbent Republicans in the Governor, Attorney General, and Chief Financial Officer, and Commissioner of Agriculture races. Governor Rick Scott ultimately kept his office with a 1% margin over former Governor Charlie Crist. To keep his position Scott reportedly spent $70 million on television advertising.

Ironically, U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings was the lone Democrat popular with Hendry voters, taking 54% of Hendry votes and kept his seat with 81% of Florida voters in his district casting their vote for Hastings..

Helen Maddox Dies At 62

Helen Maddox, age 62, of LaBelle, passed away October 27, 2014 in Lehigh Acres. She was born Apr. 5, 1952 in Fort Myers, FL, to the late Ira Floyd and the late Lillie (Armeta) Hunter.

She is survived by her sons: Boogie Wagner, Jimmy G. Wagner, daughters: Sharon N. Nelson (Mike), Donna Maddox, Amy Strickland, grandchildren: Austin, Sidney, Mandy, Michael, Jessica, Taylor, Kim, Deejah, Delaine, Danielle, Jennifer; great grandchildren: Lillie, Lyla, Madelyn, Hayden, Logan, Katie and JR. She was preceded in death by her husband Virgil O. Maddox.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Hyundai, Kia Paying $100 Million Penalty For Excess Emissions

The Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a historic settlement with the automakers Hyundai and Kia that will resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations based on their sale of close to 1.2 million vehicles that will emit approximately 4.75 million metric tons of greenhouse gases in excess of what the automakers certified to EPA.

The automakers will pay a $100 million civil penalty, the largest in Clean Air Act history, to resolve violations concerning the testing and certification of vehicles sold in America and spend approximately $50 million on measures to prevent any future violations. Hyundai and Kia will also forfeit 4.75 million greenhouse gas emission credits that the companies previously claimed, which are estimated to be worth over $200 million. Automakers earn greenhouse gas emissions credits for building vehicles with lower emissions than required by law. These credits can be used to offset emissions from less fuel efficient vehicle models or sold or traded to other automakers for the same purpose. The greenhouse gas emissions that the forfeited credits would have allowed are equal to the emissions from powering more than 433,000 homes for a year.

“This unprecedented resolution with Hyundai and Kia underscores the Justice Department’s firm commitment to safeguarding American consumers, ensuring fairness in every marketplace, protecting the environment, and relentlessly pursuing companies that make misrepresentations and violate the law,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “This type of conduct quite simply will not be tolerated. And the Justice Department will never rest or waver in our determination to take action against any company that engages in such activities – whenever and wherever they are uncovered.”

“Greenhouse gas emission laws protect the public from the dangers of climate change, and today’s action reinforces EPA’s commitment to see those laws through,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Businesses that play by the rules shouldn’t have to compete with those breaking the law. This settlement upholds the integrity of the nation’s fuel economy and greenhouse gas programs and supports all Americans who want to save fuel costs and reduce their environmental impact.”

The complaint was filed today jointly by the United States and the California Air Resources Board in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It alleges that the car companies sold close to 1.2 million cars and SUVs from model years 2012 and 2013 whose design specifications did not conform to the specifications the companies certified to EPA, which led to the misstatements of greenhouse gas emissions. These allegations concern the Hyundai Accent, Elantra, Veloster and Santa Fe vehicles and the Kia Rio and Soul vehicles.

Additionally Hyundai and Kia gave consumers inaccurate information about the real-world fuel economy performance of many of these vehicles. Hyundai and Kia overstated the fuel economy by one to six miles per gallon, depending on the vehicle. Similarly, they understated the emissions of greenhouse gases by their fleets by approximately 4.75 million metric tons over the estimated lifetime of the vehicles.

In order to reduce the likelihood of future vehicle greenhouse gas emission miscalculations, Hyundai and Kia have agreed to reorganize their emissions certification group, revise test protocols, improve management of test data and enhance employee training before they conduct emissions testing to certify their model year 2017 vehicles. In the meantime, Hyundai and Kia must audit their fleets for model years 2015 and 2016 to ensure that vehicles sold to the public conform to the description and data provided to EPA.

EPA discovered these violations in 2012 during audit testing. Subsequent investigation revealed that Hyundai’s and Kia’s testing protocol included numerous elements that led to inaccurately higher fuel economy ratings. In processing test data, Hyundai and Kia allegedly chose favorable results rather than average results from a large number of tests.

In November 2012, Hyundai and Kia responded to the EPA’s findings by correcting the fuel economy ratings for many of their 2011, 2012 and 2013 model year vehicles and establishing a reimbursement program to compensate owners for increased fuel costs due to overstated fuel economy.

Bird Lecture At Museum November 10

Avian Protection within the STAs: Nesting and Recreational 
CLEWISTON, FL. -- Learn about the birds and wildlife found in the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Stormwater Treatment Areas. SFWMD biologist Brian Garrett will present an information program "Avian Protection within the STAs: Nesting and Recreational" on Monday November 10 at 7 p. m. at the Clewiston Museum located at 109 Central Avenue Clewiston, Florida (across the street from The Clewiston Inn).

Brian Garrett has been a biologist with the South Florida Water Management District for 17 years; five years as the Operations and Maintenance Wildlife Coordinator. He assists with activities and projects throughout the District to minimize impacts to protected species that are utilizing project areas. Brian coordinates on a wide variety of protected species including ground-nesting shorebirds, Everglade snail kites, crested caracaras, West Indian manatees, and gopher tortoises.

This free program is hosted by Hendry-Glades Audubon.

Gas Under $3 Most Places Now - Where's It Going Next?

Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 5.6 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.96/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 8,237 gas outlets in Florida. This compares with the national average that has fallen 3.9 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.99/g, according to gasoline price website

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 28.5 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 34.8 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 33.0 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 27.9 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

“This past weekend we witnessed the national average declining under $3/gallon for the first time since December 22, 2010- an impressive feat that seems to have caught many motorists by surprise,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst. 

“We have two different scenarios for gas prices from here on- if oil prices hold their current $80 level, gas prices nationally may see their decline wind down, only dropping another few cents. But if oil prices can drop to $78 or less, we could see the national average decline for several more weeks. It's hard to tell right now which way the market will go, since oil prices have halted their decline in the last week,” he noted.

Motorcyclist Dies In Crash On River Road

ALVA, FL. -- Douglas Joseph Antezana, 20 of Lehigh Acres, Florida died in a motorcycle crash Sunday afternoon on River Road in Alva.

At about 4:30 p.m. his 2004 Honda motorcyc was westbound on CR-78 (North River Road). FHP investigtator Corporal George R. Kantorwas said Antezana was properly seated on the motorcycle saddle as the cycle entered a 30 mile per hour speed limit curve to the south at a high rate of speed.

The motorcycle overturned upon entering southbound CR-78 at an intersection with Persimmon Ridge Road and slid onto the grass shoulder on the west side of CR-78.

Antezana was ejected from the cycle which came to final rest on the grass shoulder. An investigation is pending for alcohol use..

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Lynda Norris Dies At 78

Lynda Marie Norris, age 78, of Clewiston, passed away October 31, 2014 in Clewiston. She was born May 13, 1936 in Parrish, Florida to the late Willie Morris and the late Mary Edna (Rich) Wilkins. 

She was a resident of Clewiston since 1947.

Survivors include two daughters: Cynthia Marie Castro of Clewiston and Lisa (Tommy) Owens of Clewiston, grandchildren: Michael Castro, Ethan Owens, Jessica Owens and great-grandson: Bentley Castro. She was preceded in death by her husband, Lonnie Manuel Norris.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 11:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Pastor Gary Corley officiating. Interment will follow in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation will be Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston,

Medical Marijuana Supporters In LaBelle Today

LABELLE, FL. -- A group of medical marijuana supporters met today on State Road 80 and Bridge Street in downtown LaBelle showing signs in support of voting "yes" for Florida's Amendment 2.

Organizer Paul Harper of Naples has for several weeks been showing support on the streets of Southwest Florida and on his Facebook pages. 

Harper who grew up in Hendry county, posted on Facebook after today rally,  "I am proud of you all and you all are on the right side of history on this issue. Defining moment of the rally was when we moved up into the main intersection that Commissioner Harris was standing on. I guess he felt obligated as a public servant to tell me what corner of the intersection I could stand on in which I replied 'I'm pretty sure I can stand on this corner' and continued to do. so. Despite all the positive responses from the traffic he decided to go stand on the very corner he told me I should stand on."

Photo courtesy Arlene Harper