Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Christopher Deese Dies After Jumping From Bus Window

FORT MYERS, FL. -- A Greyhound Bus was traveling northbound on I-75 (SR-93) at mile marker 138 approaching the 138 exit ramp when for unknown reasons, passenger Christopher R. Deese, 36 of Mockville, North Carolina opened a window on the left side of the bus and jumped off the bus while the bus was in motion.

As a result, Deese was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The incident remains under investigation.

The incident happened about 2:47 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

Amanda Flint Dies At 49

Amanda Gail Flint was born in Ft. Myers, FL on August 19, 1966, she passed away June 25, 2015. Amanda was the daughter of Roger and Gem Flint and the granddaughter of Harry and Bea Flint

She leaves behind her children, J.D. Geisler (Jinger), Garth Geisler, and Joanna Sanders and two grandsons, also her brothers Matt Flint, Jimmy Flint and Jeff Flint. She also leaves behind many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Visitation will be at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, 560 E. Hickpochee Ave., LaBelle, FL. Wednesday, July 1, 2015 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

Michelle Jones Speaks At Kiwanis

Michelle Jones from Altair Training Solutions was a guest speaker at a recent Kiwanis Club of LaBelle Meeting. Michelle gave a presentation on how they have transformed and are still transforming the old correctional facility in Hendry County. They have created at least 35 new jobs and have been using vendors in the county as well.

Michelle is the Executive Vice President and co-owner of Altair Training Solutions, with her husband Brian Jones. She is a graduate of the University of South Florida where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and completed her Master’s Degree in Business Administration through Hodges University. Michelle is a decorated combat veteran, who served 13.5 years in the Army as a logistician and planner.

Altair provides tactical training that include weapons, tactics, evasive driving, medical, water operations, and airborne operations for military, law enforcement and other response agencies.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Speed Contributes To Death Of Tigran Sarkissian

FORT MYERS, Fl. -- Tigran Sarkissian, 29 of Fort Myers was killed after losing control of a 2015 BMW motorcycle early Saturday at 12:56 a.m.

A red BMW sport-style motorcycle operated by Sarkissian, was traveling south on State Road 93 on the dedicated single lane exit ramp to Southwest Florida International Airport, in Lee County, Florida.

He carried no passengers and was wearing a helmet. The motorcycle passed a yellow, cautionary sign posted at the beginning of the exit ramp that recommended a speed of 40 miles per hour on the level and relatively straight roadway. A short distance later, it passed a second cautionary sign posted on the right shoulder that warned of an impending severe left curve and also recommended a speed of 25 miles per hour.

Sarkissian lost control due to his speed being too fast for the conditions, said the FHP. The cycle tipped onto its left side and slid uphill and collided with a guardrail post.  Sarkissian was pronounced deceased on scene.

Wesley Hair Dies In Motorcycle Crash In Orange Grove

LAKE PLACID, FL. -- Wesley Scott Hair, 31 of Sebring Fl. died in an early Saturday morning crash on a motorcycle.

According to the FHP, a 2012 Kawasaki ZX6R motorcycle was traveling south on Highlands County Road 17 south of Glen Ridge Road. For an unknown reason, driver Hair failed to control it as it entered a downhill left hand curve and then traveled off onto the western grass/sand shoulder and entered a orange grove on the west side of the roadway.

It collided with an orange tree which caused Hair to become separated from the cycle, which continued to travel in a southerly direction in that orange grove and came to final rest facing a southerly direction on its left side under another orange tree.

Hair came to final rest on his stomach facing a westerly direction in between the point of impact and the motorcycle where he expired on scene from injuries received in this crash. The exact time of this crash is unknown due to a lack of witness's and the time and is based upon an estimate from the Highlands County Paramedics on scene. He was wearing a helmet.

The body was taken to the District 10 Medical Examiner's Office.

Sugar Cane Burning - Target Of Sierra Club

CLEWISTON, FL. -- The Sierra Club has launched a campaign to stop the pre-harvest burning of sugarcane fields in South Florida. The goal of the Stop Sugar Field Burning Campaign is to help residents put an end to the practice and stop the sugar growers from "profiting at the expense of public health."

Florida’s sugarcane growers burn their fields before harvesting to dispose of the foliage, but this generates large plumes of smoke and puts communities throughout Palm Beach, Glades and Hendry county at risk, says the Sierra Club.

Julia Hathaway, Sierra Club organizing representative, said: “We need to build on the successes of Brazil and Australia and tailor green harvesting techniques to Florida. It is just not acceptable for an industry to externalize the costs of doing business onto society. It’s time to end a practice that makes our community sick.”

She added, "We can make this happen, but we will have to come together and be a voice for those people who live in the Everglades Agricultural Area. These communities are among the most affected and yet have the least financial and political recourse. This is a public health issue and an issue of environmental justice."

Recent studies have shown that the particulate matter and the emissions produced by sugarcane field burning are far more hazardous than ever thought. Research has shown direct links to respiratory, cardiovascular and other serious diseases. Some of the chemicals emitted when the sugarcane is burned are carcinogens.

Last harvest season, which runs for approximately half the year, an estimated 300,000 of 440,000 acres of sugarcane were burned. After the burns, the fields contain only the bamboo-like stalks. This allows the harvesters to go faster and decreases the tonnage that has to be taken to the mill for processing, maximizing profits for an a lucrative industry.

But while Florida sugar corporations say they burn to stay profitable, countries like Brazil and Australia have shown that “green harvesting” is a cost-effective, healthier alternative to sugarcane burning.

Green harvesting makes beneficial use of the entire plant and there is no burning. The plant’s “waste” product can be left on the ground as a mulch for some soil types, transported to a facility with air scrubbers to produce electricity, or turned into products like bioplastics or biofuels.
James Stormer, recently retired Environmental Administrator for the Palm Beach County Health Department, says research conducted here in 2010 by the University of Florida found the species of sugarcane grown in Florida when burned in a combustion chamber and showed contaminants on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) air pollutant list.
Found were polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbonyl and volatile organic compounds as well as fine particle particulates, organic carbon, and elemental carbon. The researchers detected hazardous air pollutants the EPA is required to regulate, including naphthalene, formaldehyde, benzene and styrene. These toxins can cause impacts ranging from drowsiness and headaches to neurological and liver damage.

-from press release by Sierra Club

Double Fatality In Truck-Car Crash

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Aida Perez Garcia, 60 of Cape Coral and Onesimo Medaldo Rodriquez, 66 of Cape Coral, are dead after a truck crashed into the car in which they were passengers at 3:05 p.m. Friday.

A 1997 Ford F-350 one-ton truck, driven by Ryan Todd Powers, 39 of Lehigh Acres was traveling east on Milwaukee Blvd. approaching Homestead Rd. S. in Lee County.

A 2013 Volkswagon Passat, driven by Pedro Cabrera Rodriguez, 48 of Cape Coral was traveling north on Homestead Rd. S approaching Milwaukee Blvd. The truck driver violated the right of way of the car as both vehicles entered the intersection, said the FHP.

Subsequently the front of the truck struck the left side of the car. Both rear seat occupants were pronounced deceased at the crash scene as a result of the incident. Neither passenger was wearing seat belts according to the FHP crash report.

The car's driver, Mr. Rodriquez was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital with critical injuries. The truck driver had no injuries and was charged with violation of right of way.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Shane Parker, Karson Turner Win Awards At Conference

LaBelle, Fla. – Hendry County wins big at the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) Annual Conference last week with multiple award winners, designations and board appointments.

The most noteworthy winner of the conference was Shane Parker, Public Works Director, who won Florida Association of County Engineers and Road Superintendents (FACERS) Rural County Engineer of the Year. The FACERS awards are the most prestigious professional recognition in Florida for transportation and public works personnel.

Chairman Karson Turner who presented Parker with the award said “Shane represents the highest level of professionalism and accountability. We are thrilled to have a local professional like Shane be recognized throughout the state for his great accomplishments for Hendry County.”

The 2015 Presidential Advocates Award winners were also announced with Chairman Turner winning two awards for Medicaid and Vice-Chair of Health & Human Services. These awards are presented to county commissioners who have shown exceptional leadership in partnering with FAC during the 2015 session to advance the counties’ legislative agenda.

Commissioner Janet Taylor was appointed as Chair to the Florida Counties Foundation (FCF) Board of Directors. FCF provides high quality and comprehensive educational opportunities for county commissioners and staff. Commissioner Taylor and Chairman Turner were recognized for achieving the highest rank in FCF, Torchbearer status, at the awards luncheon.

County Administrator Charles Chapman was elected Treasurer of the Florida Association of County Managers and County Attorney Mark Lapp continues to serve on the Board of Directors and as Vice-Chair of the General Governmental Committee for the Florida Association of County Attorneys.

“The meaning of all these awards and positions either directly-with or affiliated-through our state organization shows the level of leadership and engagement Hendry County has on Florida issues when it comes to local government,” states Chapman. “We will continue to stay engaged and represent Hendry’s interests.”

Supplemental Food Help For Seniors In Hendry-Glades

LABELLE, Fl. -- The Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida is expanding a program to distribute boxes of food to senior residents of Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties who are 60 years old and older.

The food bank’s goal is to improve the nutrition of older residents by enrolling 2,400 individuals in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Commodity Supplemental Food Program. The food bank will provide these clients with a box of food each month until they no longer need the assistance. The boxes will contain a variety of food including canned fruits and vegetables, juice, dry beans, rice, peanut butter, cereal and other food.

Food for this program is provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. HCFB is the only food bank in Florida involved in this program. The food bank launched the program in March in Collier County and expanded it to Lee County with state approval in May. The food bank is working with partner agencies including United Way and Hope Healthcare Service in LaBelle to take applications and distribute the food packages to eligible clients.

To be eligible for the program, individuals must: Live in Charlotte, Hendry or Glades counties. Be at least 60 years old. Have a household income up to 130% of federal poverty level for family size. Examples of income limits: For a single person household annual income limit of $15,301, 2-person household $20,709.

Applicants in Charlotte, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Collier counties must be enrolled by July 17. In LaBelle, contact United Way on Bridge Street between 9-2, at 863-674-1441 or call for an appointment with Christine T. at Hope Healthcare Service on Cowboy Way at 863-675-1576.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Obituaries - Red Hall, Ona Hendry

C.J. "Red Hall", age 76, of LaBelle, passed away June 20, 2015 in LaBelle. He was born May 7, 1939 in Newark, Delaware, to the late Edward Hazel Hall and the late Edna Mae (Long) Watson.

Red Hall married Deanna Melvin on May 15, 1963. He served in the Navy from August 24, 1955 to October 26, 1955 and then served in the Army from March 31, 1957 to September 9, 1958. He was a member of the VFW, the American Legion and many other organizations that honored military service men and women. He was a heavy equipment o perator for many years.

He is survived by his wife: Deanna Hall, one son: Destry Hall Sr. and one daughter: Missy (Beto) Saldivar, Grandchildren, John Watson, Cody Watson, Deanna Watson, Destry Hall, Jr, Jennifer Kingman; Great-Grandchildren: Shyanne Watson, Kierra Watson, Lena Watson, Pepe Watson, Anna Watson, George Watson, Robert Kingman, Fisher Kingman, Jessica Hope Dickie.

Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Ona Hendry, age 94, of Palmdale, passed away June 24, 2015 in Lake Placid. She was born March 10, 1921 in Kenansville, Florida, to Charlie C. and Iva Pearl (Eubanks) Arnold. 

She married Reaves Hendry; he preceded her in death on December 5, 2012. She and Reaves were founder members of Palmdale Baptist Church.

She was a loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother and great-great grandmother who will be missed by all of her family.

Survivors include one son: Raymond Hendry of Palmdale, FL and one daughter: Diane (Ronnie) Carlton of Zolfo Springs, FL Grandchildren, Will Hendry, Charles Hendry, Amanda Willis, Samantha Hendry, J.R. Hendry, Guy Carlton, she also leaves behind twelve Great-Grandchildren and one Great-Great Grandchild.

A life celebration service will be held Saturday, June 27, 2015 at 10:00 am at Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven with Pastor L. W. Howard officiating. Interment will be in Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven.

Sierra Club Objects To Florida Bear Hunts

In statements released today the Sierra Club issued the following open letter regarding Florida Wildlife Commission proposals to modify rules on Florida's black bears:

Frank Jackalone - Sierra Club Florida Staff Director
Sierra Club is not opposed to all hunting. For example, exotic invasive wildlife like wild hogs and Burmese pythons that destroy our native ecosystems need to be trapped and hunted.

But Florida black bears are not exotic animals. They are natural inhabitants of Florida, and they are bright, intelligent mammals that occupied this land before people did. It is immoral to talk about “harvesting’ black bears. Shame on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for suggesting that Florida black bears should be harvested!

The Commission has clearly given up on acquiring additional conservation lands needed to fully restore and protect Florida black bears and panthers. I believe this is because developers are demanding the same land needed for black bear and panther habitat. FWC’s plan to reduce the black bear population is all about economic growth and development; it’s not about the rights of hunters.

The proposal to hunt black bears is part of a larger assault on Florida’s wildlife and habitat. There is no coincidence that state officials are simultaneously proposing black bear hunts; habitat restriction and euthanasia to reduce the number of panthers; leasing of our state parks for cattle grazing, timber harvesting, cell phone towers, hunting, mining; and the Legislature’s blatant refusal to use the majority of Amendment One revenue to fund the Florida Forever land acquisition program.

Hunting of Florida black bears is a vile proposal. This is a tragic day for Florida’s wildlife and for millions of Floridians who love nature and want to protect our state’s wildlife. Sierra Club will us every legal and political means necessary to challenge and oppose this plan if the Commission votes to approve it today.

I ask you to delay this decision until you present a full set of alternative options to the public.

Alexis Horn - Sierra Club Panther Habitat Campaign Coordinator
We ask that the FWC at least delay the decision on opening bear hunting until all options are scientifically vetted and presented to the public. Each option in bear management should delve into the positive and negative environmental impacts of the proposed actions, and provide a list of alternatives that may be chosen instead of hunting.

Even though it is indisputable that bear populations have grown (the whole point of protecting them), the 13-year-old population data does not give the full account on where bears currently stand. Opening a hunt is premature at this time. We are concerned that not all the appropriate tools are being deployed to manage the population. Hunting is an extreme response to an increasing population that was so recently under protective status. Without the science of a full, completed population study, a hunt is unjustifiable.

Fifty-one bears have been euthanized this year, and 266 were killed by cars in 2014 (2015 data is not yet available). The population will undoubtedly suffer due to these mounting deaths, and we’ll be right back to where we were when bears were first placed on the threatened list. There are just too many unknowns at this point to justify a hunt, and the people of Florida have overwhelmingly asked the FWC to deny this hunt. At the FWC meeting, 60 members of the public, including top non-profit officials, testified that they do not want this hunt, while only fourteen people were for it.

FWC should be focusing on education, trash management, and habitat protection. FWC’s own reports have shown that human-bear conflicts are reduced up to 95% when bear-proof trashcans are implemented. That 70% of bear related calls state that a bear is in a person’s yard or trash, and that only 1% of bear calls concerned a threat to human safety. Only through education, fines for those who feed bears, and protecting environmentally sensitive lands will bears be managed effectively. Without habitat protection and acquisition, bears will suffer, and human-bear conflicts will increase.

Without all the updated Bear Management Unit numbers and the science to prove that Florida's unique black bear population can withstand the cumulative effects of road-kill, euthanasia, and FWC’s new One-Strike policy, no form of hunting should be considered. The focus should be on preventing human-bear conflicts, protecting habitat and ensuring species safe movement, and humanely managing a species that was so recently on the threatened species list.

Teens Criticallly Injured After High Speed Crash

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Megan Whitehead, 17 of Clewiston was traveling eastbound on Hunting Club in Montura Estates in central Hendry county Wednesday at 11:10 p.m. at a high rate of speed when for unknown reasons her 2014 Kia Forte exited the paved portion of the roadway, became airborne, struck a canal embankment and then overturned where it came to final rest.

She is in serious condition at Hendry Regional Hospital.

Passengers Reagan A. Roberts, 16 of Clewiston and Kendra B. Johnson, 17 of Mount Dora were critically injured and transferred to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers.

Whitehead was charged with careless driving and violation of driver license restrictions.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Florida Opens For Bear Hunters

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved several bear-related rules that address a wide variety of tools to manage bears today including selling bear hunting permits starting at $100 for residents.

In summary, Commissioners approved changes to strengthen the wildlife feeding rule. Commissioners also approved changes to the bear conservation rule, which include a permit program to authorize landowners to remove a bear causing property damage under certain circumstances. These changes also allow the public and trained security personnel to scare bears with less-than-lethal methods in appropriate situations without a permit. As a small part of FWC’s management of bears, Commissioners also approved a very limited bear hunting season in limited locations.

The Commissioners asked staff to continue focusing on educating people about the repercussions of feeding bears and how to co-exist with bears to minimize conflicts.

“The FWC will continue to perform its role to educate the public, provide technical assistance, remove conflict bears, manage bear populations and enforce feeding prohibitions,” said Dr. Thomas Eason, director of the Division of Habitat and Species Conservation. “The problem of unsecured waste needs to be addressed by bringing together local officials, along with waste service companies, to work together with FWC to resolve this problem in a cost-effective manner.”

The Commission also passed final rules to establish a bear hunting season in late October within four of the state’s seven Bear Management Units (BMUs). The units that will have a hunting season contain the largest bear populations and include all three national forests as well as southern Florida.

The purpose of reinstating a hunting season is to help control the growth of expanding bear populations, as one part of FWC’s overall approach to managing bears. Bear conservation in recent decades has been a success story, and now FWC’s approach must include a means for managing bear population size. As other states have shown, hunting is the most effective and responsible method for managing the growth of bear populations.

This year, Florida’s bear hunting season will open Oct. 24 and will last at least through Oct. 25, but could run as long as seven days ending on Oct. 30, depending on if and when a BMU’s bear harvest objective is met.

Bear hunting permits will cost $100 for residents and $300 for nonresidents. Hunters will be limited to buying only one permit, which will allow the harvest of one bear per permit.

The same methods of take and shooting hours for deer will also apply to bears, but hunting bears with dogs or over bait is not allowed. On private property, game feeding stations may continue to be used as long as the feed is what is typically used for deer or hogs. To harvest a bear on private land, both the hunter and bear must be more than 100 yards away from any game feeding station.

Hunters will be required to take harvested bears to an FWC check station within 12 hours. Information will be collected at the check stations from each bear that will be used to inform the FWC about the local bear population .The new rule also makes it illegal to sell any parts of a bear or its hide.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Suzanne Woodward Dies At 75

Billie Suzanne "Sue" Woodward, age 75, of Palmdale, passed away June 18, 2015, in Fort Myers.

Sue was born Apr. 15, 1940, in Sebring, FL, to the late George Edgar and the late Annie Beatrice (Rogers) Fleming. Mrs. Woodward married Tommy Woodward.

Sue leaves behind her loving husband: Tommy Woodward, two sons: Bruce Woodward (Kim), T.J. Woodward (Pam) and one daughter: Deborah "Sissy" Clement (Billy), one sister: Sandra "Sammy" Humphries, grandchildren, Shandi, Russell, Tommy, Dorin, Bailey, Brantley; eleven great grandchildren.

Sue was a loving wife, mother, sister, grandmother, great grandmother and friend. She will be missed by everyone who knew and loved her.

A life celebrating service will be held 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 23, 2015, at the Pavilion in Ortona Cemetery where Mr. Frank Dana will officiate.

Life Celebration arranged by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Red Light Camera Exec Guilty Of Bribery And Fraud

Bribery and Fraud Scheme Involving Red Light Camera Contracts
A former chief executive officer of a red light camera vendor pleaded guilty today to participating in an eight-year bribery and fraud scheme.

Karen L. Finley, 55, of Cave Creek, Arizona, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Terence P. Kemp of the Southern District of Ohio to a one-count information charging her with conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery and honest services wire and mail fraud. Finley’s sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later date.

From December 2005 to February 2013, Finley served as CEO of a red light camera enforcement company. 

As part of her plea agreement, Finley admitted that, between 2005 and 2013, she participated in a scheme in which the company made campaign contributions to elected public officials in the cities of Columbus and Cincinnati through a consultant retained by the company. 

According to admissions made in connection with her plea, Finley and others, including another executive of the company, agreed to provide the conduit campaign contributions with the understanding that the elected public officials would assist the company in obtaining or retaining municipal contracts, including a photo red light enforcement contract with the City of Columbus. 

Finley also admitted she and her co-conspirators concealed the true nature and source of the payments by the consultant’s submission and the company’s payment of false invoices for “consulting services,” which funds the consultant then provided to the campaigns of the elected public officials.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office, Columbus Resident Agency, with the assistance of IRS-Criminal Investigations and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Stefan Cammarota Dies In Motorcycle Crash On US41

FORT MYERS, FL -- Stefan Cammarota, 20 of Naples, FL was killed when a dump truck ran into his 2015 Yamaha motorcycle on U.S. 41 in Lee County Thursday afternoon at 2:45 P.M.

Juan Figueroa, 29 of Naples, FL was traveling south in the left turn lane of US 41 approaching the driveway entrance of Auto Village Way. Cammarota on a motorcycle was traveling north on US 41 in the northbound lane approaching the dump truck which had a load of approximately 21,000 pounds of sand.

Figueroa slowed then attempted a left turn across the northbound through lane of US 41, violating the right-of-way of the motorcyclist. As a result, the front of the cycl collided into the right side of the dump truck which continued onto the driveway and was brought to a controlled stop. '

The motorcycle rotated south and came to final rest on its right side, facing south within the left turn lane of US 41. Cammarota was ejected and came to final rest on US 41. He was pronounced deceased at the scene by Collier EMS.

Charges are pending investigation.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Miami Detective Charged With Stealing Motorists Money

MIAMI, FL. -- Today, the Justice Department announced that a grand jury in the Southern District of Florida charged Miami Dade Police Department (MDPD) Detective William Kostopoulos, 47, with using his law enforcement authority to violate motorists’ civil rights.

The indictment charges Kostopoulos with making traffic stops of three motorists in order to steal their money and property, in violation of the motorists’ rights under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to be free from unreasonable seizures of their property. The indictment also charges Kostopoulos with making misleading statements in order to prevent the communication of information about his alleged crimes to federal law enforcement officers.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), with assistance from the Homestead, Florida, Police Department. The matter is being prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Gerard Hogan and Trial Attorney Samantha Trepel of the Civil Rights Division as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Tonya Long of the Southern District of Florida.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Changes Coming To Kiwanis Store

LABELLE, FL. -- f you’ve been to the LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store in the last few months you have probably noticed some changes such as a new sign out front, some new shelving, new management, and a few new faces. 

Customer service is first priority for Manager Jackie Blakey and Assistant Manager Krystel Harris. Together with their team: Bob Mace, Millie Gonzales-Rachel, Sergio Zuniga, and Jian Wilson, they are striving to make each shopping experience as unique as the items available for purchase. Depending on the items donated by the community, the items available for purchase change daily. Some days the store may appear cluttered, others it may appear empty but there are always treasures to be discovered.

Also, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Well, at least at LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store. July 1st starts “Christmas in July”, and the Kiwanis Thrift Store is prepared to help everyone get a jump start on the holidays. With only 6 month to go until we hear “ho-ho-ho”, don’t put it off until the last minute. Stop by any day during the month of July and receive amazing discounts on all of your holiday needs.

Remember the money spent in the LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store is returned to our community of LaBelle. The income from sales at the LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store is largely used to fund scholarship programs for LaBelle graduating seniors and LaBelle adults looking to further their education. LaBelle Kiwanis also sponsors many other LaBelle service organizations, events, and youth activities. For a full list of sponsored activities, meet the staff, or to discover some treasures for yourself, please visit the LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store Monday – Friday from 9am to 5pm, or Saturdays from 9am to 2pm. The LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store is located at 155 S. Bridge Street in LaBelle.

June Bird Dies At 89

June Bird, age 89, of Clearwater formerly of Clewiston, passed away June 14, 2015 in Clearwater.

She was born July 9, 1925 in Sparta Township, Sussex County, New Jersey to Lester Nicolas and Julia Martha Pullis Price. She married John Bird, he preceded her in death.

Survivors include one son: Robert P. Bird of Largo and one daughter: Dawn Seward and husband Ron of Clearwater, five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

She was also preceded in death by her son; Johnny Bird.

She was the Director of Medical Records at Hendry Regional Medical Center for over 30 years.

A life celebration service will be held at 3:30 p.m. Friday, June 19, 2015 in Akin-Davis Funeral Home where visitation will be one hour before services. Burial will follow immediately in Ridgelawn Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggest memorial donations in June's name be given to Suncoast Hospice Foundation 5771 Roosevelt Blvd. Clearwater, FL 33760.

Celebration arrangements are being handled by Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Clewiston.

Mental Health 'First Aid. Class At Gulf Coast Medical Center

The Gulf Coast Medical Center and Baycare Behavioral Health will be holding a day long class for teachers, law enforcement, others interested, and medical professionals June 22 in Fort Myers, Fl. There is no fee and certification and professional credit units are available.

Did you know that 1 in 4 Americans will develop a mental illness during their lifetime? Like CPR Mental Health First Aid prepares participants to interact with a person in crisis and connect the person with help. You can help someone in emotional distress by becoming a certified Mental Health First Aider. Led by a certified instructor, the Mental Health First Aid training class will teach you about:

 Depression and mood disorders
 Anxiety disorders
 Trauma
 Substance abuse disorders
 Psychosis

When you have concluded the course, you should be able to apply the Mental Health First Aid action plan, which includes assessing for risk of suicide or harm, listening nonjudgmentally, giving reassurance and information, encouraging appropriate professional help, and encouraging self-help and other strategies. You will learn to apply these steps in a variety of situations, including when someone is experiencing:
 Panic attacks
 Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
 Non-suicidal self-injury
 Acute psychosis (e.g., hallucinations or delusions)
 Overdose or withdrawal from alcohol or drug use
 Reaction to a traumatic event

Throughout the course, you will have the opportunity to role play scenarios and practice applying these skills in a real-life situation.

Mental Health First Aid is included on the Substance abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP)

Contact Christopher.Yarnold@baycare.org to obtain a registration form.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Evelyn Choban Dies At 93

Evelyn P. Choban, a long-term resident of Moore Haven, died on June 14, 2015, after a long period of declining health. She was born Jan. 21, 1922 in Noble County, Ohio.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph Choban. Together they have five loving children who include two sons: Joseph F. Choban (Brenda), James R. Choban (Cathy), and three daughters, Linda Carter (Robert), Mary Carter (Keith), and Rose Hertel (Andy). Her survivors also include her siblings Robert Baker (Wanda) and Mary Mahle.

Her living legacy also includes her fourteen grandchildren, seventeen great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren. She touched the lives of many. She had a very long and full life and "Granny" will be missed by all who knew and loved her.

Funeral services will be held Friday, June 19, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Rev. Sherrill Tillery officiating. Interment will be Friday, June 19, 2015, in Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven. The family requests to make donations to the charity of your choice in lieu of flowers.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Rick Scott At Paris Airshow This Week Promoting Florida

PARIS, FRANCE – Today, Florida Governor Rick Scott led the inauguration ceremony for the Florida Pavilion at the 2015 International Paris Air Show. Governor Scott led a delegation of 17 Florida aviation and aerospace, and defense and homeland security small businesses, and economic development leaders at the Paris Air Show. This year, the Florida Pavilion is once again the largest of any state, showcasing companies that demonstrate the innovation and expertise that makes Florida an international business leader.

Governor Scott said, “Florida is the best state in the nation for business. We are here to meet with leading global aviation and aerospace companies so they know we’re serious about providing the best business climate in the nation in Florida. We have created more than 865,000 private sector jobs in four and a half years and the state economy continues to strengthen. In fact, more than 40 aviation and aerospace and defense and homeland security competitive job creation projects have been established in our state since our business development mission to the Paris Air Show in 2013. The aviation industry is key to Florida’s success and we know our time here will result in more jobs for Floridians.”

The Paris Air Show provides Enterprise Florida and the small businesses and organizations exhibiting in the Florida Pavilion with a unique opportunity to demonstrate their competitive advantages in the aviation and aerospace industry. Governor Scott, EFI president & CEO Bill Johnson and EFI leadership are also hosting business development meetings with nearly 40 industry leading companies to share Florida’s business story with key industry leaders.

“We’re here to tell the Florida business story to every company we can meet with and to help the companies and organizations that have travelled with us to have a very successful show,” said EFI president & CEO of EFI, Bill Johnson. “Governor Scott is here and Florida again has the largest contingent of any U.S. state. Companies see that sort of commitment and they are compelled to take a look at Florida for their next job creation or expansion project. It also allows the small businesses and organizations here to increase their exposure and get the most out of their time at the show. Opportunities like this are critical to our efforts and we look forward to a great show.”

Since Governor Scott’s last business development mission to the Paris Air Show in 2013, more than 40 aviation & aerospace and defense & homeland security competitive job creation projects have been established in Florida. As a result of these projects, more than 7,600 jobs and $1 billion in capital investments will be created in the state.

During the 2013 mission, Governor Scott announced a number of significant projects for the state including: Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s partnership with Diamond Aircraft Industries to establish the company’s manufacturing presence at the Daytona Beach campus; Vision Systems, a Lyon, France-based tier one supplier for the aeronautics, marine and, automotive industries, will open its first-ever U.S. subsidiary on the Space Coast; and ATR North America’s will relocate its American headquarters to Miami Springs.

In total, 17 Florida companies and organizations are participating in the Florida Pavilion, including:

· Aerospace Precision - Hollywood

· Airgroup Dynamics, Inc. – Orlando

· Avionica, Inc. - Miami

· The Beacon Council – Miami

· Delta International, Inc. – Miami

· Discovery Aviation, Inc. - Melbourne

· Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach

· FLG Technics – Davie

· Florida Aeronautics, Inc. – Pompano Beach

· Future Metals - Tamarac

· Haskell Company – Jacksonville

· Honeycomb Co. Of America - Sarasota

· JBT AeroTech - Orlando

· Loos & Company - Naples

· Pan American Tools Corporation – Ft. Lauderdale

· Relli Technology – Boca Raton

· Team Volusia EDC – Daytona Beach

With approximately 2,200 exhibiting companies from 44 countries and more than 139,000 trade visitors from all over the world, the International Paris Air Show is this year’s largest aviation and aerospace exhibition and display.

Florida has announced a number of competitive economic development project wins and job growth milestones recently, representing hundreds of new jobs and capital investment from the aerospace & aviation and defense & homeland security industries, including:
Embraer – Melbourne
600 new jobs, $15 million capital investment

Lockheed Martin – Riviera Beach
400+ jobs added in Palm Beach County, plans to add 100 more in 2016

Flightstar Aircraft Services – Jacksonville
100 new jobs added since 2013

Edge Aerodynamix – Panama City
120 new jobs, $77.92 million capital investment

Aerosync Support – Santa Rosa County
25 new jobs, $1.75 million capital investment

Kellstrom Defense – Miramar
20 new jobs, $5.9 million capital investment

International trade and foreign-direct investment accounted for about one-sixth of the state's economic output last year and supports an estimated one million jobs. Florida continues to have the highest trade surplus among all states, with total trade exports plus imports hitting a record of $162.2 billion. Florida has a number of strengths to leverage, including one of the fastest-growing international economies, strong air and seaport infrastructure, and a large and well-qualified multicultural workforce.

Grief Support Group Meets June 24

LABELLE, FL. -- LaBelle Grief Support Group will meet Wednesday Mornings, 9AM-10:30AM beginning June 24th, 2015 at Hope Connections on Cowboy Way in LaBelle. Hope provides free grief support groups for adults who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Group support is intended to help those who have experienced a loss develop coping skills, break down feelings of isolation, discover insight into grief and talk to others with similar experiences.

The Labelle Support Group meets at: Hope Connections Office, 475 East Cowboy Way, Labelle, FL 33935. For more information about Hope Healthcare Services or Grief Support contact Jay Reed at 239-415-7219 or Toll free at 800-835-1673 or Jay.Reed@hopeHCS.org

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Verda Proctor Dies At 85

Verda M. Proctor, age 85, of Moore Haven, passed away June 12, 2015 in Clewiston. She was born Aug. 31, 1929 in Hebron, IN, to the late Arthur and the late Lydia (Egli) Martin.

She is survived by three sons: Jerry (Jan) Proctor, Vernon (Judy) Proctor, Jim (Vicki) Proctor, one brother: Vic Martin and two sisters: Rose Mast, Lina Dominic and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Billie Gene Proctor.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, June 17, 2015 at 11:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Pastor Troy Ezell officiating. Interment will be Wednesday, June 17, 2015 in Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven. Visitation will be Wednesday, 1 hour prior to service at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Nicholas Kuchman Dies In Crash

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Nicholas D. Kuchman 19, of Rochester, NH was killed after apparently walking into the path of a car Friday morning about 4:54 a.m.

Freddie Lee Jordan, 38 of Lehigh Acres, FL was traveling in a 1996 Mercury westbound on State Rd 82 west of the intersection with Daniels Pkwy. Kuchman was on the south shoulder of the roadway.

For unknown reasons, he may have ran out in the roadway into the path of the vehicle. The driver took evasive action and steered to the left and rotated clockwise and slid off the road onto the north shoulder. 

The left front of the car collided with Kuchman who came to final rest on the south shoulder where he was pronounced deceased by Lee County EMS.

What You Need To Know - Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration

Dehydration and Heat Exhaustion 
by Brenda Barnes, Hendry-Glades Health Department

Hot temperatures and high humidity means lots of sweating and this increases your chance of dehydration. To avoid becoming dehydrated, it is important to drink plenty of fluids, especially water (even if you don’t feel thirsty). Depending upon your physical activity and heat exposure during hot weather, it’s a good idea to drink even more water.

According to health experts, fluid requirements vary from person to person. Please keep in mind that people with medical conditions such as kidney disease, heart disease, or those who require a fluid restricted diet or who have problems with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their fluid consumption.

Knowing the signs of dehydration and knowing what to do, is very important.

Signs of dehydration can include:
Excessive thirst
Feeling dizzy or light headed
Muscle cramps
Feeling overly tired or sluggish
Feeling irritable

You could also experience decreased urine levels and/or urine that has a strong odor or is darker than normal. You may experience all, some or none of these signs. Don't wait for the symptoms of dry mouth, flushed skin, headaches, lightheadedness or fatigue. You should prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day. Help to avoid becoming dehydrated by staying out of the direct sun, wearing light colored and loose fitting clothing, limiting physical activity, and using fans when possible. If you suspect you are becoming dehydrated, get to a cool or shady area and sip cool water or fluids. If your condition does not improve, seek medical attention immediately,

Another heat-related illness is heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion can develop after exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Elderly, people with high blood pressure or people who work or exercise in a hot environment, are more prone to heat exhaustion.

The warning signs of heat exhaustion can vary, but may include:

· Heavy sweating

· Paleness

· Muscle cramps

· Dilated pupils

· Tiredness or weakness

· Feeling dizzy or light headed

· Headache

· Nausea or vomiting

· Fainting

· Skin that feels cool and moist

· Pulse rate that is fast and weak

· Breathing that is fast and shallow.

If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke. Seek medical attention immediately if your symptoms last longer than one hour, if symptoms become more severe, or if you have heart problems or high blood pressure. Try to cool down by drinking cool, nonalcoholic beverages, resting in an air-conditioned environment, taking a cool shower, bath or sponge bath, and wearing lightweight clothing. You should also try to prevent sun burn, which damages the skin's ability to dissipate heat.

Frank Foytik Dies At 75

Frank Charles Foytik, age 75, of Clewiston, passed away June 3, 2015 in Clewiston He was born Dec. 30, 1939 in Galveston, TX, to the late Lee and the late Emily (Grigar) Foytik.

He is survived by his wife: Sandra Louise (Murphy) Foytik, three brothers: Rodney Foytik, Richard Foytik, Henry Foytik. He was preceded in death by his brother Lee Foytik.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Brian Newhouse New Emergency Management Director

LABELLE, FL. -- Brian Newhouse is the new Emergency Management Director for Hendry County. The Emergency Operations Center, a secure facility for coordinating emergency operations is west of LaBelle on State Road 80 where one of the area's tallest structures stands, a 200-foot tall monopole mast with numerous antennas attached.

HCEM recently congratulated amateur (ham) radio operator Frank Harris (WA4PAM) of Clewiston on the occasion of his graduation from Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) training. Frank is the Amateur Radio Emergency Service Coordinator for Hendry County and lead volunteer communicator for HCEM and an invaluable asset to the EM Director Newhouse (KJ4WIC) and Hendry County.

The EOC is fully equipped with radio equipment including a 2-meter repeater accessible by FCC licensed radio operators for two way communications 24/7 on a frequency of 145.470 mhz (PL tone 97.4). The radio antenna is about 170 feet off the ground allowing 2-way radio communications to most of the surrounding counties.

HCEM is looking for Ham radio operators to volunteer during emergencies and free training will be offered. If you are interested in learning more about C.E.R.T. or amateur radio, contact HCEM at (863) 674-5400.

(Video: How Emergency Communication Specialist Volunteers Assist During Hurricanes)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Impaired Driver Watch Saturday

LABELLE, FL. -- On Saturday, June 13, 2015 the Hendry County Sheriff’s office will conduct a DUI Saturation Patrol. 

Officers involved in the Saturation Patrol will be looking for signs of impaired driving and other traffic violations. Motorists who show signs of alcohol and/or drug consumption will be evaluated and appropriate enforcement action will be taken.

The purpose of this program is to place additional officers in and around Hendry County with the goal of detecting and deterring impaired driving.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Can A Flying Squirrel Be A Companion Animal?

What does a flying squirrel and a seeing-eye dog have in common? Not enough, according to new Florida law.

During the recent legislative session, Florida lawmakers passed a measure that greatly clarifies and enhances the definition of service animals in our state. These changes will help provide a fair balance between providing access for disabled persons and the animals that serve them, and ensuring that no one falsely misrepresents the use and training of their animal.

For many years, Florida law has affirmed that individuals with physical disabilities are entitled to equal access to public accommodations (restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, etc.), as well as public employment and housing, including the right for people to be accompanied by service animals in all public areas.

These new enhancements will expand those protections to include mental impairments which impact a major life activity, such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

Also, for the first time, protection will be available for businesses owners to guard against individuals who try to misuse these laws in an attempt to bring their untrained pets into places that they don't belong. Forever gone will be the days of someone being able walk into the Florida State Fair with their pet flying squirrel simply because they say that they need it without any reason or justification.

Going forward, while public accommodation proprietors are still prohibited from asking a person about their specific disabilities, they now can inquire if their animal is, in fact, a service animal, whether it is being used to assist with a disability, and if so, what work the animal has been trained to perform. The service animal will be required to be kept under the control of its handler, and must also be housebroken and pose no serious threat to others. If these conditions are not met, the proprietor will now have the legal standing to ask that person to remove the animal from the premises.

This new law also provides that anyone who knowingly and willfully misrepresents being qualified to use a service animal may be charged with a second degree misdemeanor, with punishment including that person potentially having to perform 30 hours of community service for an organization serving truly disabled persons or another organization as determined by the court.

Service animals play an important role in furthering both the autonomy and independence of individuals with disabilities. This new law puts Florida at the forefront of providing fair and equal access to disabled persons and the animals that serve them, along with protecting Florida businesses and their patrons from those who would attempt to abuse these important safeguards for their own personal convenience.

Submitted by Michael Keller, Vice Chair.Florida Commission on Human Relations

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Free Summer Movies At Edison Park 8

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Here's an unusual opportunity to see a feature movie for free during June and the first week of July. Join Edison Park 8 Cinema's Tuesday morning free showings of popular animated films for the next four weeks. 

Tuesdays at 10 am Everyone is welcome.

Tuesday, June 16th: Rio 2
Tuesday, June 23rd: Penguins Of Madagascar
Tuesday, June 30th: Mr.Peabody and Sherman
Tuesday, July 7th: How To Train Your Dragon 2

Editor's Note: My favorite is How to Train Your Dragon and has been rated highly by viewers and critics.

Obituaries - Martha Sullivan, Robert Garrett

Martha Louise Sullivan, age 92, of Clewiston, passed away June 2, 2015 in Clewiston. She was born Jan. 6, 1923 in West Palm Beach, FL, to the late John E. and the late Annie Maude (Hart) Hawkins. 

She married James D. Sullivan; he preceded her in death on April 20, 1980. She was a faithful member of First United Methodist Church of Clewiston for many years. She was a Florida Pioneer, an avid supporter of the Clewiston Museum, a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy. 

She and her husband loved to travel around in their motor home and around the world; she truly loved Europe, and even once won a trip to Europe. She met Frankie Lane in Vegas. She was always winning contests of one sort or another. She enjoyed researching her ancestry with doing genealogy. She enjoyed sending cards to all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She enjoyed spending her time painting and writing. She had several books published throughout her life time. 

She was an inspiration to everyone who met and knew her. She was a retired Administrative Assistant for the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois.

Survivors include one son: John D. Sullivan of Weeki Wachee, FL and one daughter: Mary Ann Mammen of Clewiston, FL, one sister: Mary Lois Lee of Clewiston, FL, Grandchildren, Michael Shane Sullivan, Matthew Sullivan, Shanna Sagle, Ryan Sullivan, Heather Tharpe, Corey Mammen, Jason Mammen, eight great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, James D. Sullivan, son, James C. Sullivan and brother, Claude Ray Hawkins.

Life Celebration services were held on Saturday, June 6, 2015 in First United Methodist Church of Clewiston, at 10:00 a.m. followed by interment in Ridgelawn Cemetery. Visitation was from 6-8 p.m. Friday, June 5, 2015 in the Akin-Davis Funeral Home.

Robert Clayton Garrett, age 64, of Clewiston, passed away May 31, 2015 in West Palm Beach. He was born Feb. 12, 1951 in DeFuniak Springs, FL, to the late Eli and the late Ramona (Spurlin) Garrett. 

He served during the Vietnam War in the Army from March 14, 1968 to January 2, 1971.

He is survived by his daughter: Julie Garrett of Clewiston, FL, sister: Linda Trickey of Orange City, FL and grandsons: Robert Michael Garrett Cole and Michael Anthony Garrett.

A graveside service was held Friday, June 5, 2015 at 2:00 pm at Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston with Pastor Charley Watts officiating. Interment was Friday, June 5, 2015 in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation was Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Reward Offered In Dragged Dog Case

CLEWISTON, FL. -- In the wake of a horrific incident this past weekend in which a dog had been dragged behind a car and tortured in community of Montura, west of the city Clewiston, Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers and the Gulf Coast Humane Society are teaming up to increase the reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.

On Saturday, June 6th, just after noon, a female dog was brought to the Gulf Coast Humane Society in Lee County after being found in a wooded area in the Montura neighborhood of Clewiston.

Call 800 780-TIPS.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Free Summer Movies In 34th Year

LABELLE, FL. -- The 34rd Annual Summer Movie Fest. will be starting Monday June 15. The first week's movie is Hero 6 with showings at 1:00 pm & 3:00 pm. This year we are adding a showing at 6:00 pm in Spanish.

The movies are completely Free to the public, because of the generous sponsorship of individuals and businesses here in Hendry County. The Festival is free and open to the entire family do not hesitate to contact me at (863) 675-0900, (863) 673-4529.or Email to labelleone@hotmail.com

The location of the Summer Movies is at 123 Fraser Avenue at LaBelle Assembly of God, across from the Edward A. Upthegrove Elementary School. 

The church is providing a snack stand of reasonable priced items like: pop corn candy and soft drinks to add to movie enjoyment the monies earned will go to mission's projects.

June 15 Big Hero 6
June 22 Mr. Peabody & Sherman
June 29 Paddington
July 6 Zoom "Academy for Superheroes"
July 13 Lego Movie
July 20 Box Trolls

Ron Barwick Dies In Highlands Crash

LAKE PLACID, FL. -- Ronald C Barwick, 28 of Lake Placid, Fl. died in a crash Sunday night after failing to negotiate a curve on US98 in Highlands county.  Passengers Roy A. Olier, 46 of St. Cloud, Fl and Kalynn V. Linsindigler, 19 of St. Cloud suffered minor injuries. 

Barwick was westbound on US98 (SR700) at 10:55 p.m. west of Riverwood Circle approaching a long sweeping curve to the left. As his 2004 Toyota Tundra truck entered the curve, it continued off the roadway and onto the north shoulder. Barwick then over corrected, causing the truck to rotate in a counter clockwise direction which skidded across SR700 and onto the south shoulder. 

The right side of the truck collided with a barbed-wire fence, then overturned onto its right side, and came to final rest on its left side facing in a southeasterly direction. 

Barwick expired on scene as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. His remains were taken to the District 10 Medical Examiners Office.

Barwick had apparently posted on a Facebook page near the time of the crash.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

David Aumend Dies at 74

David Eugene Aumend, age 74, passed away on May 31, 2015 in Boynton Beach, Florida from a battle with cancer. He was born in Warren, Ohio on September 12, 1940 to Eugene and Yolanda Griffith Aumend.

Dave grew up in Ohio. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and working on cars. Dave served in the U.S. Navy from 1960-1964 as an aeronautical mechanic in Iceland. In 1968 Dave married Wanda Cole his spouse for 43 years. 

Dave and Wanda moved to Punta Gorda, Florida in 1974. Dave worked as the Service Manager for a local dealership in Fort Myers, was a long haul trucker and later retired from the U.S. Postal Service. 

In 2004 Dave and Wanda moved to Clewiston, Florida to able to enjoy his passion for bass fishing. Dave was "Weigh-Master" of the Bass Busters tournament in the Clewiston area over the years as their "Weigh-Master", earning him the title as "The Most Honest Man in Clewiston."

Dave was a very humble individual with a heart of gold. His character and integrity were recognized by everyone that met him. He was always there to lend an ear for a friend in need or to light up the group with one of his stories. He opened his house to friends and anglers whenever they were in need of a place to stay. His focus in life was to be a giver and to see people happy.

Dave was preceded by his wife Wanda, his mother Yolanda Dodd, and his brother Bud Dodd. He is survived by his brother Kenny Dodd, his nephew Benjamin Dodd, his sister-in-law Jan Dodd, his nephew Jesse Grow, Tina Walker and more close friends than he would ever guessed cared so much for his gentle spirit.

Photosphere - Glades County, Fl. SR78

Views: Glades County, Fl SR78 near Ortona by Don Browne

ORTONA, FL. -- A panoramic 360 degree view of State Road 78 east of Ortona along a small creek. Click on photo control buttons to explore the view around this rural area a mile north of the Caloosahatchee River..

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Help For Disabled Citizens At LaBelle United Way

LABELLE, FL. -- Center for Independent Living Gulf Coast will have a staff member on site at the United Way building in La Belle, 133 North Bridge Street La Belle, FL 33935 (Phone 800-887-9234) every 4th Wednesday from 9:30 am - 4:00 pm. Contact Ernestine at the Ft. Myers office Wednesday-Friday to set up an appointment (239-260-4575.)

Do you have a disability? Come in to see how we can help you! Help applying for government assistance. Find out about our FREE phones for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Students Receive Kiwanis Awards

LABELLE, FL. -- The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle is dedicated to our youth and awards annual scholarships to the top high school student candidates selected by the club’s scholarship committee.

This year the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle awarded almost $35,000 in scholarships to LaBelle students. The club sponsored an awards ceremony dinner in their honor at Beef O’Brady’s. The scholarships are designed to recognize and support exceptional students graduating from LaBelle High School, who have distinguished themselves academically, as leaders in extracurricular activities and services to their communities. 

The scholarships consist of a cash award to be used towards the student’s tuition. Over the last five years the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle has awarded over $200,000 in scholarships. The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle is proud of our local students and wishes them good luck in their new adventures!

Hendry County Off Flood Insurance Eligibility List?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released today to the Federal Register their Suspension of Community Eligibility document. 

Hendry County officiala say that although listed on this document indicating a suspension of eligibility, the county is in compliance with the adoption of the required floodplain management measures approved by FEMA Region IV on May 5, 2015.

In explaining why it's on the list, the county says Hendry County adopted a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) compliant ordinance coordinated with the Florida Building Code on March 10. The State reviewed the adopted ordinance on March 16 and was found in compliance. On March 19 the ordinance was sent to FEMA Region IV for verification and approval. The ordinance was approved by FEMA Region IV May 5. 

The county believes the lapse in time for FEMA to approve the ordinance is the probable cause for FEMA placing Hendry County in the notice to the Federal Register.

Officials say Hendry County has been and continues to be an active participant in the NFIP. In addition to the recent adoption of the newest federal flood plain maps and new requirements, Hendry County actively participates in the Community Rating System (CRS), a voluntary program that provides NFIP discounts to our citizens based on our proactive flood mitigation efforts.

Brian Newhouse, Director of Emergency Management stated “our county has a dedicated team of flood plain managers, emergency managers and administrators that work together daily to provide the highest level of services and protections possible to our citizens and continually strive to improve our county's status in the various programs daily.”

Flakka - Dangerous Bath Salt Warning

As many public schools close for summer break this week,  Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is warning parents about the danger of Flakka, a synthetic drug that can be purchased online and is growing in popularity in Florida. Flakka has been linked to several dangerous incidents in recent months.

Flakka is a bath salt and can be snorted, swallowed, injected, smoked or vaped using an electronic cigarette.

Flakka, known in other states as Gravel, is not a new drug. Its main ingredient, Alpha-PVP, was outlawed in 2012 after Attorney General Bondi worked with law enforcement and state lawmakers to ban a number of chemical compounds. Reports of Flakka use in Florida have spiked in recent months and with students on summer break parents should know what to look for.

According to reports, one man impaled himself on a fence outside of a police station after taking the drug. Another teen, reportedly high on Flakka, stripped off her clothes and jumped through a closed window. In 2014, Flakka was linked to the death of a Florida concert goer.

“Flakka causes delusions, hallucinations and can increase body temperature to a dangerous level. Parents should talk to their children about this deadly synthetic drug and be aware of what their children are searching for and buying online,” said Attorney General Bondi.

What Flakka looks like:
Flakka is sometimes referred to as gravel because it often looks like small white rocks. It can also be purchased in powder form, and is usually sold in small clear packages.

Symptoms of Flakka use:
Flakka causes delusions, hallucinations and increases the users’ body temperature to a dangerous level. Like all bath salts, Flakka, can cause chest pains, irregular heartbeats, increased blood pressure, agitation, muscle breakdown and seizures. Flakka use can also cause suicidal thoughts and violence.

Who to call if you suspect your child is using Flakka:
Call your local law enforcement agency and crisis intervention center. If your child is having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

James Salyer Dead, Two More Injured In Crash

ARCADIA, FL.-- A crash involving two vehicles, both driven by older adults left one dead and two badly injured at 2:10 p.m. Wednesday in Desoto County.

A 2013 Ford Focus, driven by James M. Salyer, 76 or Arcadia was stopped at the stop sign facing west at the intersection of SW Beard Street and US 17 northbound.

A 1995 Ford F150 driven by Julanne Juston Fleming, 90 was traveling northbound on US 17 in the inside lane approaching SW Beard Street.

Salyer proceeded to travel westbound across the northbound lanes of US 17 in front of the path of Fleming and subsequently, the front of her vehicle struck the left side of Salyer's.

The Focus came to final rest facing north in the center grass median. The truck came to final rest facing east on the east shoulder of US 17.

All 3 occupants were transported to Lee Memorial Hospital by Aeromed helicopters.

Salyer was pronounced deceased at Lee Memorial Hospital at 3:22 pm. Passenger Anna Belle Salyer, 75 was in critical condition, and Fleming in serious condition.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

LIcense Free Fishing This Month

Today, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced four license-free fishing days in June for Florida residents and visitors. The license-free fishing weekends are:

Saturday and Sunday, June 6-7, saltwater recreational fishing license requirement will be waived.
Saturday and Sunday, June 13-14, freshwater recreational fishing license requirement will be waived.

Governor Scott said, “This summer, we’re excited to make it easier for families to enjoy the world class fishing our state has to offer. Florida is the fishing capital of the world and one of the many reasons we welcomed a record 98.9 million visitors to the Sunshine State last year. I look forward to fishing with my grandsons this summer, and I hope everyone takes advantage of license-free fishing this month.”

“We hope new anglers, including residents and visitors, are inspired to join in the excitement with those who already enjoy fishing,” said FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley. “This is an excellent way for the entire family to get out and enjoy all of the great fishing opportunities we have to offer in Florida: the Fishing Capital of the World!”

The four days in June are a part of the eight total license-free fishing days the FWC offers each year. All bag limits, seasons and size restrictions apply on these dates.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

James Billie Keeps Seminole Tribal Council Chairman Seat

BIG CYPRESS, FL. -- Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman James E. Billie was sworn in for another 4-year term as Chairman of the Tribal Council of the Seminole Tribe by Johnna Blackhair, Acting Regional Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Dept. of the Interior. 

Billie won re-election as a result of recent voting by members of the Seminole Tribe.

Help In Getting To Healthy Weights

TALLAHASSEE—The Florida Department of Health is getting creative in an effort to help Floridians reach their healthy weight goals. By making small changes to your daily routine you increase your odds of achieving success, and the department wants to be part of that plan. Healthiest Weight Florida is launching Small Steps to Living Healthy, a weekly email campaign with healthy tips and resources, to help you achieve a healthier you.

"In working to achieve a healthy weight, it's not always clear where to begin," said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. "Healthiest Weight is giving Floridians the tools they need to take those first small steps toward a healthier life."

Small Steps to Living Healthy provides participants with tips, tricks and ideas about healthy eating and active living. Participants can register or opt out at any time. Each week the department highlights a different topic area. By registering for this free program you'll get help with tips in the following areas:
Set Goals. At the beginning of each month a challenge and health tip will be emailed. Examples of challenges include replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water or taking the stairs instead of the elevator;
Move More. During the second week of the month physical activity will be highlighted. Participants will be introduced to different styles of exercise and the benefits of each, including options for people with disabilities;
Be in the Know. Week three "fun fact" emails will provide facts on other aspects of healthy living related to healthy weight such as stress, depression and time use; and
Eat Smart. The focus of this week's email will be nutrition. Fruits and vegetables of the month, as well as recipes, will be offered through the Living Healthy in Florida Campaign.

Currently, only 36 percent of Floridians are at healthy weight. On our current trend, by 2030, almost 60 percent will be obese. Small Steps to Living Healthy is one of several projects from Healthiest Weight Florida working to bend the weight curve in Florida five percent by 2017.

Sign up for Small Steps to Living Healthy.

To learn more about Healthiest Weight Florida visit www.healthiestweightflorida.com.