Saturday, August 29, 2015

Court Suit Demands Funds Go To Conservation Land Purchases

The Sierra Club, the Florida Wildlife Federation, St. Johns Riverkeeper and the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida represented by Earthjustice filed suit today asking the courts to force the Florida Legislature to return Amendment 1 funds to a conservation land buying fund.

"We are asking for Florida’s courts to uphold the constitution as amended by the voters,” said Sierra Club Florida Conservation Chair Tom Larson. “The legislature needs to be held accountable for ignoring the will of the people."

The funds from documentary stamps on land transactions, which are expected to reach $740 million next year, were diverted by the Legislature to accounts that had nothing to do with land acquisition. Among other things, they were used to pay state executive salaries, agricultural pollution subsidies and insurance premiums.

According to the suit: “The Legislature owes the people of the State of Florida a duty to honor and effectuate the intent of the voters in the use of the funds placed in trust under this constitutional amendment.”

The November 2014 ballot summary stated:

Funds the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to acquire, restore, improve, and manage conservation lands including wetlands and forests; fish and wildlife habitat; land protecting water resources and drinking water sources, including the Everglades, and the water quality of rivers, lakes and streams; beaches and shores; outdoor recreational lands; working farms and ranches; and historic or geologic sites, by dedicating 33 percent of net revenues from the existing excise tax on documents for 20 years.

An extraordinary 75 percent of the electorate voted for Amendment 1 proving that the people of the state understand the need to protect the richness of Florida's wild heritage and unique waters.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Sandbags Stations Open For Possible Stormy Weather

LABELLE, FL. -- Tropical storm/Hurricane Erika is expected to begin effecting Hendry County around midnight on Sunday, August 30th and remain over the area for about 24 hours. Heavy rains are expected with an estimated 4-8 inches of precipitation and the possibility of up to 12 inches locally. Residents with businesses or homes areas prone to flooding are encouraged to take protective measures.

The National Hurricane Center estimates western Hendry county will have about a 25 percent chance of tropical storm winds of 39 mph and a zero percent chance of winds of 58 mph.

But even though winds will not be a factor, the Hendry Schools are closing Monday, along with Hendry county government offices.

However, expect television weather reports to exaggerate the "fear" factor for the next few days showing scenes of past hurricane damage and pictures of weather radar showing huge blogs of red. For more exact and more accurate depictions of what is actually predicted by the Hurricane Center it is recommended that the National Hurricane Center website be consulted daily to see what is really expected. In reality, it is a very remote possibility that the neighborhood in which you live will be severely affected by wind or damaging rain.

National Hurricane Center wind probability graphics showing the storm predicted track and probability of excess winds in each zone.

In an effort to assist residents in protecting their properties, Hendry County has established four self-serve sandbagging stations around the County. Beginning Friday afternoon, August 28th, residents may bring a shovel and fill sandbags to protect their property free of charge. Residents are reminded to be courteous to each other by taking only the minimum amount of sandbags needed to protect their homes and businesses.

The self-serve sandbagging stations are located at the following sites:

North LaBelle – Bob Mason Park located on County Road 78.
LaBelle – LaBelle Rodeo Grounds - Parking lot on State Road 29 South.
Felda – Felda Volunteer Fire Department – The corner of CR 830 and Willis Ranch Rd North
Montura-Flaghole – Montura- Flaghole VFD - Parking lot on Avenida Del Club.
Clewiston – City of Clewiston Public Works Yard on South Olympia Street.

These sites will not be manned by County or City employees and will operate on a first come, first serve basis while supplies last only. Please remember to bring your own shovels and someone to help lifting as filled sandbags can be heavy.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Boil Water Notice - Loss Of Pressure In Port LaBelle

LABELLE, FL. -- A boil water notice has been issued for Port LaBelle area in Hendry and Glades County. All Port LaBelle water users are advised to bring drinking water to a rolling boil for at least one minute prior to consumption.

The notice is necessary due to a malfunction which caused loss of pressure. This notice is effective immediately and will be in effect until further notice or a different notice is issued lifting the boil water action. 

For further information please call 863-675-5376.

Dean And Brenda Daniels To Prison For Biodiesel Fraud

LABELLE, FL. -- Dean Daniels, 52, Richard Smith, 57, Brenda Daniels, 45 and William Bradley, 58, all of Florida, pleaded guilty and were sentenced today in U.S. district court for charges related to a scheme involving the false production of biodiesel.

Dean and Brenda Daniels were noted in many Southwest Florida Online stories over the last several years. (Read arrest stories)

Dean Daniels was sentenced to 63 months incarceration, Bradley was sentenced to 51 months incarceration, Smith was sentenced to 41 months incarceration and Brenda Daniels was sentenced to 366 days incarceration.

Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart for the Southern District of Ohio, Acting Special Agent in Charge Troy N. Stemen for the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS) and Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Martinez of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Criminal Enforcement Program in Ohio and Regional Special Agent in Charge Max D. Smith of the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General announced the sentences handed down today by Senior U.S. District Court Judge James L. Graham.

According to court documents, the defendants profited by unjustly generating and selling biodiesel credits (RINs) and unjustly claiming biodiesel tax credits for the production and blending of fuel that was not actually biodiesel.

“Congress enacted incentives for the production of biofuels to make the United States stronger and more energy independent and to move our energy economy into the 21st century,” said Assistant Attorney General Cruden. “The fraud perpetrated by the defendants threatens these important public policies. The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute those seeking to line their pockets using scams like this one.”

The defendants were all employees and officers of New Energy Fuels LLC, a business in Waller, Texas, that claimed to process animal fats and vegetable oils into biodiesel. The defendants subsequently relocated, operating a similar scheme at Chieftain Biofuels LLC in Logan, Ohio.

The defendants would purchase low-grade feedstock and perform minimal processing to produce a low-grade fuel. The fuel was not biodiesel, however, the defendants would represent to the EPA that they had produced biodiesel. They would generate fraudulent biodiesel RINs and sell them to various third parties. Biodiesel RINs cannot be generated unless the biodiesel produced meets industry standards. In total, the defendants sold over $15 million worth of fraudulent biodiesel RINs.

The defendants also made false claims to the IRS in order to obtain the biodiesel tax credit that they were not eligible to receive. Throughout 2009, 2010 and 2011, refundable tax credits were available for renewable fuel producers. If companies complied with IRS regulations, they could earn one dollar per gallon of biodiesel. It was illegal to claim this tax credit unless the biodiesel was produced, blended and sold in compliance with rules and regulations. Among other requirements, the biodiesel had to meet industry standards, which the defendant’s fuel did not. In total, the defendants claimed over $7 million in false biodiesel tax credits.

In addition, New Energy Fuels’ production process generated substantial hazardous by-products. Defendant Dean Daniels arranged for an employee of New Energy Fuels to transport the wastes off-site at night. That employee, Lonnie Perkins, previously pleaded no-contest in Texas to several charges related to the dumping of hazardous waste in and around the city of Houston.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard helps reduce the climate impact of transportation fuel sold in this country,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Martinez. “The criminal activity by these defendants has real consequences. The defendants manipulated and utilized federal governmental programs to line their pockets by fraud. These guilty pleas demonstrate EPA’s commitment, working closely with our partners at the Department of Justice, to pursue these criminal cases vigorously. Companies and their managers need to understand there are serious consequences to skirting the rules and undermining the integrity of an EPA program.”

“Today’s sentencings mark the successful end of an investigation that uncovered a complicated fraudulent scheme that generated millions of dollars through false biodiesel tax credits,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Stemen. “We want everyone to take advantage of the deductions and credits to which they are entitled by law; however, no one is entitled to defraud the government."

“The Office of Inspector General is committed to investigating and seeking prosecution of those who choose to endanger the public by illegally transporting, distributing, or disposing of hazardous materials,” said Regional Special Agent in Charge Smith. “Today’s sentencing should send a clear warning that these fraudulent actions and illegal hazmat violations will not be tolerated.”

Each of the defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to defraud the United States. Dean Daniels also pleaded guilty to offering a hazardous material for transport without providing or affixing proper placards.

Assistant Attorney General Cruden and U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by law enforcement, including the Houston Police Department, as well as Department of Justice Trial Attorney Adam Cullman and Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Michael Marous, who represented the United States in this case.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dennis Partain Dies At 68

Dennis Wayne Partain, age 68, of LaBelle, passed away August 25, 2015 in Lehigh Acres. He was born Apr. 23, 1947 in Clewiston, FL, to the late David Nalls and the late Addie (Chambers) Partain.

Dennis was a heavy equipment mechanic for Okeelanta Sugar for 44 years. He was also a member of Eastside Baptist Church in LaBelle.

He is survived by his loving wife: Carol (Pasetti) Partain, son: Randy Partain (Joy) of Houston, TX, daughter: Julie Bavington (Paul) of Jacksonville, FL, sister: Joyce Haynes of Christianburg, VA and grandson: Brian Bavington of Jacksonville, FL.

Funeral services will be held Friday, August 28, 2015 at 10:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle with Pastor Wm. Ashley Butler officiating. Interment will be Friday, August 28, 2015 in Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven.

Kids Throwing Away Fruits And Vegetables

One of the first studies to measure food consumption in schools before and after the implementation of a controversial mandate by the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirms what school lunch officials initially feared and subsequently witnessed: students putting fruits and vegetables into the trash instead of their mouths.

The study, published online in Public Health Reports on Aug. 25, shows that although students selected more fruits and vegetables under the new mandate requiring them to take either a fruit or vegetable, they actually consumed slightly less of each. Through the use of digital imaging to capture students’ lunch trays before and after they exited the lunch line, researchers also found an increase in waste of approximately 56 percent.

“The basic question we wanted to explore was if under these 2012 USDA guidelines, does requiring a child to select a fruit or vegetable correspond with consumption,” says Sarah Amin, a researcher in Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont and lead author of the study. “It was heartbreaking to see so many students toss fruits like apples into the trash right after exiting the lunch line.”

The study comes less than a month before Congress votes on whether to reauthorize the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which was the first in 15 years to update school nutritional standards. Championed by Michelle Obama as part of her "Let's Move" campaign, a recent poll by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation shows that 86 percent of Americans support the nutritional standards required by the law.

Although school lunch officials expressed concerns with enforcing the policy, they were successful as students’ trays containing fruits or vegetables increased to 97.5 percent compared to 84.3 percent prior to implementation. Unfortunately, more than 80 percent of 240 school nutrition directors surveyed in a separate study two years after implementation reported increased waste by students, especially when it came to vegetables. Amin and her colleagues set out to measure how much waste, if any, was actually occurring in their paper "Impact of the National School Lunch Program on Fruit and Vegetable Selection in Northeastern Elementary Schoolchildren, 2012–2013."

“School nutrition directors and cafeteria staff were concerned with being able to provide the increased variety of fruits and vegetables under the new guidelines and were experiencing some operational and cost challenges,” says Amin, who thinks the new guidelines, which include a reduction in portion sizes, may be playing a role in a decline in school meal participation nationwide. “We used validated dietary assessment methods to corroborate what they were saying and measure consumption before and after the mandate,” she says.
Digital imaging produced fast, accurate data

Amin and her co-authors, research associate Bethany Yon, graduate student Jennifer Taylor, and Rachael Johnson, the Robert L. Bickford Jr. Green and Gold Professor of Nutrition and Food Sciences, documented almost 500 tray observations over 10 visits before implementation of the USDA guideline and almost twice as many afterwards. Approximately 40-60 percent of the students at the two elementary schools qualified for free or reduced lunch, a marker for low socioeconomic status.

The research team used a digital imaging method that they validated three years ago in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to measure consumption after the mandate was implemented. Prior to implementation, they relied on a laborious method known as weighed plate waste that required as many 10 people to weigh lunch trays before and after students left the lunch line. “We found that we could get within one gram of the mean consumption when compared to weighed plate waste, so it’s extremely accurate and far less time consuming.”

With digital imaging only two people were required to take photos of students after they filled their tray and another before disposing of it. “The beauty of this method is that you have the data to store and code to indicate what was selected, what was consumed, and what was wasted as opposed to weighed plate waste, where everything needs to be done on site,” says Amin, who hopes to develop an online training tutorial that could be used by schools across the country to measure consumption and waste.
Holistic approach key to increased consumption

Amin and her colleagues offer a number of suggestions for how to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables such as cutting them up and serving with dip or mixing them in with other parts of the meal. In a previous study published in theJournal of Child Nutrition and Management, Amin and colleagues looked at what types of fruits and vegetables children selected prior to the new guideline. They found that children preferred processed fruits and vegetables such as the tomato paste on pizza or 100 percent fruit juice rather than whole varieties.

“There are some really promising strategies targeting school settings such as farm-to-school programs and school gardens that can help to encourage fruit and vegetable consumption in addition to what the cafeteria is providing,” says Amin.

Once schools have fully acclimated to the guidelines, Amin thinks consumption will increase, especially for students who entered as kindergarteners under the new guidelines in 2012 and know no other way. “An important message is that guidelines need to be supplemented with other strategies to enrich fruit and vegetable consumption," she says. "We can’t give up hope yet.”

- News release from the University of Vermont

Obituaries - Irene Waldron, Lenora Norton

Irene H. Waldron, age 72, of Clewiston, passed away August 24, 2015 in Clewiston. She was born Jan. 28, 1943 in Brooksville, FL, to the late William Carlton and the late Florence Imogene (Adkins) Hedick.

Survivors include her son: Ty Waldron of Winder, GA daughter: Kathy Waldron of Clewiston, granddaughter: Sarah Grace Waldron sister: Pamela Davis of Palmdale, special nieces & nephew, Jan, Billie, T.J. And Kim, great nieces and nephews and Luke. She was preceded in death by her brother, Bud Hedick and sister: Callie Gunn

Funeral services will be held Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, 11:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Pastor Charlie Watts officiating. Interment will follow at Ortona Cemetery. Visitation will be Saturday from 10-11 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Lenora Sutton Norton, age 67, of Clewiston, passed away August 23, 2015 in Fort Myers. She was born Dec. 19, 1947 in Clewiston, FL, to the late Oswald L. Sutton and Myrtice (Lewis) Sutton.

She is survived by her children: James Edward Westberry (Julia), Sondra G. Westberry Hayes (Jonathan), Allen Westberry, Billy Will Norton (Jennifer), Katrina Lynn Clomery (Robert), Kandace D. Norton, mother: Myrtice Sutton, two brothers: Donald L. Sutton, Lanny Sutton and four sisters: Delores S. Duncan, Patricia Bryant, Judy Weaver, Kim Sutton, stepchildren, Shannon Norton, Brennon Norton (Linda), Olivia J. Smith (Jacob), twenty-three grandchildren, four great grandchildren, many nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of other family members.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the family. Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tai Chi: Free Class Starts Next Week

LABELLE, FL. -- The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida will offer Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance at Hope Connections at 475 East Cowboy Way, Labelle, FL 33935, starting September 1, 2015. The 12-week course consists of one-hour classes held twice weekly and will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:00 am.

Participants must plan on attending both weekly sessions. The course helps older adults improve their balance and reduce the risk of falling. Participants will feel stronger, have better balance, greater flexibility and feel more confident after completing this evidenced-based Tai Chi program. 

Participants must be 50 years or older and the classes are free. For more information or to register for the class, contact the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida helpline at 1-866-413-5337 during normal business hours.  Call now as class size is very limited.

Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance was developed by Fuzhong Li, Ph.D of the Oregon Research Institute and is offered free of charge through a grant for Older Adult Falls Prevention through the Florida Department of Health.

The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida, is the comprehensive resource for seniors and the disabled in southwest Florida.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Jerry Jay Dies At 76

Jerry Lee Jay, age 76, of LaBelle, passed away August 15, 2015 in LaBelle. He was born Oct. 18, 1938 in Zearing, IA, to the late Donald D and the late Fern E (Burnett) Jay.

He is survived by his wife: Georgia (Brown) Jay, three daughters: Terri Jay, Lori Klein (John), Vicki Rodgers (Scott), brother: Duane Jay (Janice), four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his granddaughter Tiffany.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Swimming Alert: Bacteria Concern Closes Beach

ALVA, Fla. - The Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has closed the beach at W.P. Franklin South Recreation Area for swimming because of concerns about water quality. The beach remains open for sunbathing and recreational activities other than swimming.

"Public safety is always our primary concern," said George Melanson, natural resource manager in the South Florida Operations Office in Clewiston. "We will let the public know as soon as possible when we are able to reopen the beach for their enjoyment."

The other facilities at W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam Recreation Areas remain open. Day-use facilities include a visitor center with interactive displays, picnic areas, a playground, scenic views of the waterway, boat viewing and lock operations.

The Florida Department of Health recommended the closure after routine water test results returned with elevated levels of enterococcus bacteria.

The beach was also closed in January for concerns over water quality due to bacteria.

Enterococcus bacteria normally inhabit the intestinal tracts of humans and animals, and may be present due to factors that include storm water runoff, pets, wildlife or sewage.

Scientists associate elevated levels of enterococcus bacteria with an increased risk of swimming-associated gastroenteritis illness (diarrhea and abdominal pain).

The beach will remain closed until test results meet the safety criteria recommended by the Florida Department of Health.

For information on the W.P. Franklin Lock and Visitor Center, call 239-694-2582. Additional information is online at and then clicking the "Recreation" icon or

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Daniel Cale Dies After Motorcycle Crash Avoiding Bull On Road

ARCADIA, FL. -- Daniel Lee Cale, 37 of Arcadia died after a crash early Wednesday morning after trying to avoid hitting a bull on the roadway.

At 4:14 a.m., Cale on a 1996 Harley Davidson motorcycle was traveling westbound on County Road 760A west of SE Airport Road in Hardee county. A 2006 Nissan Armada driven by Martin Rocha-Rivera, 46 of Arcadia  was traveling westbound on County Road 760A behind the motorcycle. 

A large black bull was stopped in or on the shoulder of the westbound lane of County Road 760A in front of the motorcycle. which Cale steerer to the right and ejected himself from the cycle in order to avoid a collision with the bull. 

Subsequently, the motorcycle continued traveling in a northwestern direction then traveled off the roadway and onto the north grass shoulder of County Road 760A, then overturned onto its right side and came to final rest on its right side facing southwest. 

After ejecting himself Cale struck the paved roadway and remained laying on the westbound lane of County Road 760A west of the bull. 

The Nissan was traveling westbound, and the driver observed that the bull was in front of his path of travel and attempted to steer to the left in order to avoid a collision with the bull but was unsuccessful. The right front of the Nissan struck the bull. After collision, the vehicle continued traveling westbound and struck Cale. who traveled northwest onto the north grass shoulder coming to final rest facing northwest. 

Cale was moved prior to the arrival on scene of the FHP. After the second collision, the Nissan driver pulled his vehicle over into the north shoulder where it came to final rest. The bull then wandered from the scene. 

Cale was pronounced deceased at 4:24 A.M. at the scene. Cale was not wearing a helmet said the FHP. Rocha-Rivera had no injuries. 

Lab Grows Human Brain In Dish - Smart As A 5-Week Old Baby

Scientists at The Ohio State University have developed a nearly complete human brain in a dish that equals the brain maturity of a 5-week-old fetus.

The brain organoid, engineered from adult human skin cells, is the most complete human brain model yet developed, said Rene Anand, professor of biological chemistry and pharmacology at Ohio State.

The lab-grown brain, about the size of a pencil eraser, has an identifiable structure and contains 99 percent of the genes present in the human fetal brain. Such a system will enable ethical and more rapid and accurate testing of experimental drugs before the clinical trial stage and advance studies of genetic and environmental causes of central nervous system disorders.

Rene Anand

“It not only looks like the developing brain, its diverse cell types express nearly all genes like a brain,” Anand said. “We’ve struggled for a long time trying to solve complex brain disease problems that cause tremendous pain and suffering. The power of this brain model bodes very well for human health because it gives us better and more relevant options to test and develop therapeutics other than rodents.”

Anand, who studies the association between nicotinic receptors and central nervous system disorders, was inspired to pursue a model of human neural biology after encountering disappointing results in a rodent study of an experimental autism drug. Taking a chance with a shoestring budget compared to other researchers doing similar projects, he added stem-cell engineering to his research program. Four years later, he had built himself a replica of the human brain.

The main thing missing in this model is a vascular system. What is there – a spinal cord, all major regions of the brain, multiple cell types, signaling circuitry and even a retina – has the potential to dramatically accelerate the pace of neuroscience research, said Anand, also a professor of neuroscience.

Converting adult skin cells into pluripotent cells – immature stem cells that can be programmed to become any tissue in the body – is a rapidly developing area of science that earned the researcher who discovered the technique, Shinya Yamanaka, a Nobel Prize in 2012.

“Once a cell is in that pluripotent state, it can become any organ – if you know what to do to support it to become that organ,” Anand said. “The brain has been the holy grail because of its enormous complexity compared to any other organ. Other groups are attempting to do this as well.”

Anand’s method is proprietary and he has filed an invention disclosure with the university.

It takes about 15 weeks to build a model system developed to match the 5-week-old fetal human brain.
For military purposes, the system offers a new platform for the study of Gulf War illness, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

-from the Ohio State University

No Violations At Monkey Breeding Sites Say County Officials

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County has completed the investigations regarding possible violations of the Land Development Code at the facilities of Primate Products, Inc. and The Mannheimer Foundation, Inc. Based on information gathered and reviewed Hendry County has found no current violations of the LDC, therefore, the current investigation cases are considered closed.

Hendry County Code Enforcement sent Notice of Investigation letters to PPI on March 27and Mannheimer on April 7. The investigations were initiated as a result of United States Department of Agriculture documents which indicated the subject properties were research facilities for non-human primates with testing and experimentation, in addition to breeding.

As part of the investigation each facility was required to respond in writing and site inspections were conducted at both properties. Staff also requested documents from USDA through a Freedom of Information Act and from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission through a Public Records Request. The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences extension office was consulted on agricultural practices.

Margaret Emblidge, Planning & Community Development Director, stated “we conducted a thorough investigation including research with local, state, and federal agencies involved in regulating agriculture uses. This research was used in making the determination in these current cases.”

Based on the observations made at the site inspection and subsequent information obtained from USDA, FFWC, and UF/IFAS, staff found the uses and activities occurring on the subject properties of PPI and Mannheimer to be in compliance with Hendry County’s land use regulations.

“We will continue to work with and engage these facilities for continued compliance with the County’s Land Development Code,” stated Charles Chapman, County Administrator.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

14 Year Old Fernando "Tito" Gonzalez Arrested In Park Shooting

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Investigators have arrested a 14 year old male involved in the shooting of a juvenile, at Jaycee Lions Park Monday, August 17, 2015.

Fernando “Tito” Gonzalez is currently being held in the Hendy County Jail for processing and will be transported to the Juvenile Detention Facility on charges of Aggravated Battery.

A second subject is also being interviewed at this time. Additional arrests may be made in this case as Investigators continue to follow up on information received.

The victim remains in serious but stable condition.

Getting Ready For Peak Hurricane Month

LABELLE, FL. -- In recognition of September as Preparedness Month, The Florida Department of Health in Hendry County and Hendry County Emergency Management partnered together to create a display at the Hendry County Courthouse in LaBelle (In the hallway by the elevator; in front of the Clerk of the Courts’ Office).

The glass case displays preparedness information, examples of what to put in a disaster kit, and portrays the “weekly themes” of preparedness month. The preparedness information will be on display from now until the end of September. September is the “peak month” of hurricane season. National Preparedness Month is a time to prepare yourself, your family and your pets for any emergencies or disasters. Emergencies or disasters can happen unexpectedly…Are you prepared?

Pictured: Amy Howard, Emergency Planner for Hendry County Emergency Management and Brenda Barnes, Planning Consultant & Public Information Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties.

Tracy Scott Hanshaw Dies At 52

Tracy Scott Hanshaw, age 52, of LaBelle, passed away August 13, 2015 in Fort Myers. He was born Feb. 5, 1963 in Miami, FL, to the late Frederick Hanshaw, Sr. and Ruth (Chaney) Hanshaw.

He is survived by his wife: Bonnie L.(Finks) Hanshaw, daughter: Tracy Hanshaw, mother: Ruth (Chaney) Hanshaw, brother: Freddy Hanshaw, Jr., grandchild, Conner Hanshaw, niece, Crystal Hanshaw and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

He loved to fish, travel and most of all to spend time with his grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at a later time in West Virginia. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida c/o Lee Memorial Health System Foundation, P.O. Box 2218, Fort Myers, FL 33908.

Museum Programs Start September 3

LABELLE, FL. -- LaBelle Heritage Museum resumes its monthly programs on Thursday, September 3, with Keitha Daniels' presentation on the Downtown LaBelle Historic District and the pioneers who endured periodic floods and hurricanes as well as disastrous fires and the ups and downs of the economy to make LaBelle what it is and how it is hoped a revitalized historic downtown LaBelle will help us to remember our past and preserve our heritage for future generations.

The first Thursday of the month programs will now be held in the historic district at LaBelle Heritage Museum, 360 North Bridge Street, at 7 o'clock in the evening. The meetings are open to all, and LaBelle Heritage Museum welcomes guests to join the membership in learning more about our community and its rich heritage.

Parking at the museum is limited; however, Rene Curtis Pratt of the Harold P. Curtis Honey Co. has made the honey house parking lot at 335 North Bridge Street, immediately across from the museum, available to attendees at LaBelle Heritage Museum's evening programs from September through May.

(Photo: Bridge Street from Park Avenue South circa 1925)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Timothy Lawton, Age 14 Memorial Service Monday

Timothy James Lawton, Jr., age 14, of LaBelle passed away August 13th, 2015 in LaBelle. He was born July 16th, 2001 in Fort Myers, FL to Timothy James and Victoria Lynn (Robinson) Lawton.

Timmy is survived by his parents Timothy James and Victoria Lynn Lawton, sister: Kaitlin Lawton, paternal grandparents: Debra and Gary Steigert; maternal grandparents: June and Victor Robinson; great grandmothers: Margaretta Monnich and Carolyn Robinson; uncles: Michael Lawton (Angie) and McCloud Robinson (Sara) and many other unforgettable aunts, uncles, cousins, family members, and friends.

Timmy was baseball in the spring, football in the fall, and fishing in all the moments in between. But more than his hobbies the most telling thing about this young man was not the size of his swing on a baseball diamond but the size of his heart. To know Timmy was to experience firsthand the loving nature, quick catching wit, and humor he used to turn everyone's bad day into an unforgettable laughing fueled frenzy. Timmy used jokes, impersonations, singing, dancing, colorful words, "free sentences" or anything he could think of to make his friends and family smile.

To truly love Timmy means teaching others the joy of laughter, the importance of compassion, and the value of true friends. Timmy taught us all these precious lessons.

A memorial service will be held by the River on Monday, August 17th 2015 at 7:00 pm at the Home of Debra and Gary Steigert, 4093 CR 78 West, Fort Denaud, FL.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be sent to Zac's Friendship House.

Military Romance Scam Alert - Is That Really A Serviceman?

Is That Really An Army Sergeant Falling In Love With You?

LABELLE, FL. -- Many women using social media looking for love are being scammed by men posing as military servicemen, preying on women through romantic email and text messages, eventually conning them for money or gifts.

A growing phenomena in the military romance scam are criminals from Nigeria and other African countries stealing identities and photos of U.S. military personnel, then finding women on popular dating and social sites where woman are looking for romance, and convincing them quickly they are in love.

Usually within a few days, the targeted woman may believe she has fallen in love with the man, or the more cautious target has spotted a lot of red flags as they learn the typical scammer says he's in Afghanistan, serving in the Army with a very sad story of his life and family, wives and children who have died recently in tragic circumstances, and has excuses for why he can't communicate other than by a non-military email address or social media chat app, and doesn't respond and evades questions posed about his background.

Scammers typically pretend to be an army officer or non-commissioned officer, usually a "Sergeant" stationed in a far away place like Afghanistan/ Within a few days they remarkably talk their way into the hearts of the targeted woman.

The man tells the woman a sad story of his life, that he's an orphan, his wife died, his child is estranged, he's in a war zone. In many cases the scammer tells women he's stationed in Afghanistan and will be coming back to the U.S. soon and convince the target they'll be together and marry. He'll produce photographs that upon close examination don't match how he describes himself. They're older or younger looking than claimed.

But, the scammers are clever enough to say just what the women want to hear in text messages and email, gaining their trust for an eventual trick request that ends up sending money or cell phones to the scammer or a confederate.

Red flags arise when the scammer says he can't give out his military email address because of some secrecy rules and has the women use a commercial email address or a social chat service, most usually Yahoo Messenger. This is a dead giveaway though, the military gives every servicemen a government provided email address that should always appear for example as

Scammers will not give out military mailing address as well because they wouldn't be able to actually receive anything through them since they're faking a serviceman's identity. Military mail going overseas will always be to a military postal system using an APO or FPO address. Scammers will instead get women to send packages to an address in Africa instead of a military APO or FPO, explaining it's to a friend or an official's address.

Scammers will use phones that don't have numbers coming from the place they claim to be. If you see a California area code and he's claiming to be in Afghanistan, it's a scam.

More red flags are photographs that don't match the scammers claimed age, and military uniform photos with insignia that don't match the claimed rank. A "Sergeant" with a Corporal stripes for example. Flags may pop up when the scammer says he's been in the Army for 30 years and retiring soon, but can't provide you with any proof, or not know the military designation of his supposed rank, i.e. Major Sergeant, etc and it's corresponding pay grade,

And a very common red flag is a much younger man targeting an older woman. The greater the difference in ages, the greater the chance it's a scam to obtain money with the promise of love and marriage.

What to do? If something seems to good to be true or improbable, it probably is. Stop corresponding with the scammer and don't give him any clues why you believe he's scamming you. He'll come up with yet another improbable explanation for everything.

Tamara Frederick Dies In Crash Into Canal

Tamara Frederick, 62 of Clewiston, FL died in a crash into a canal Saturday in Montura Estates in Hendry County. The wreck was not discovered until Sunday afternoon.

A 2000 Ford SUV was northbound on North Riverside Drive near Horse Club Ave. at an unknown time Saturday evening 8/15/15, said the FHP. For unknown reasons, the vehicle drove off the roadway and overturned into a roadside canal with the driver submerged inside. The vehicle was discovered at 1:26 p.m. on Sunday.

It is unknown at this time if alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Muriel Ryle Dies At 92

Muriel Claire Ryle, age 92, of LaBelle, passed away August 13, 2015 in LaBelle. She was born Sep. 3, 1922 in Worchester, MA, to the late Amadee and the late Claire (Demers) Lamoureux.

Muriel was a member of the Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church. She was in banking for 54 years.

She is survived by three sons: Gerald R. Harbin (Diane), Gary S. Harbin (Patricia), Ronald C. Harbin, one daughter: Terrie C. Pearce, grandchildren: Tracy Barraza, Jamie Bartley, John Harbin; great grandchildren, Derek Hendrie, Carissa Turner, Marvin Team, Preston Watson, Celina Chavez, Gavin Wilson and Bella Harbin. She was preceded in death by her husband Herbert Ryle and her sister Elaine Easley.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, August 18, 2015 at 11:00 am at Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church, LaBelle with Pastor Peggy Benson officiating. Visitation will be Tuesday one hour prior to service at Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Marijuana Dependence Hospitalizations Increasing

People who live in areas of California with a higher density of marijuana dispensaries experience a greater number of hospitalizations involving marijuana abuse and dependence, a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health analysis discovered.

The National Institutes of Health-funded research, published online and scheduled for the Sept. 1 issue of the scientific journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, could be informative as more states consider legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use. It is the first analysis of the statewide impact of marijuana dispensaries on abuse and dependence, as well as the first look at population characteristics associated with marijuana-related hospitalization rates.

“As marijuana is approved for medical or recreational use, we need to carefully consider where we allow dispensaries to be placed,” said lead author Christina Mair, Ph.D., assistant professor in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences. “Our study indicates that there are real problems associated with a higher density of marijuana dispensaries in neighborhoods. More study and monitoring, coupled with thoughtful legislation and community discussion, will be prudent to ensure that marijuana laws have the fewest negative consequences for vulnerable populations.”

In 1996, California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana, allowing physicians to prescribe the drug for medical purposes. Since then, 22 states and Washington, D.C., have enacted similar laws, and four of those states also have legalized recreational use. Pennsylvania doesn’t allow either, though it is considering permitting medical marijuana.

Dr. Mair and her team looked at data on California hospital discharges that had either a primary or secondary medical code for marijuana dependence or abuse with at least one overnight hospital stay. The research covered 2001 through 2012, the most recent years for which consistent data were available.

Hospitalizations with marijuana abuse or dependence codes increased from 17,469 in 2001 to 68,408 in 2012. More than 85 percent of marijuana-related hospitalizations were coded as abuse, rather than dependence, and 99.2 percent were secondary codes, meaning the person was primarily hospitalized for something other than marijuana.

When the research team mapped the location of marijuana dispensaries and cross-referenced it with the ZIP code of each patient’s home, they found that each additional dispensary per square mile in a ZIP code was associated with a 6.8 percent increase in the number of hospitalizations linked to marijuana abuse and dependence.

In addition, Dr. Mair and her team found that marijuana dispensaries and hospitalizations were more likely to be located in areas with lower household incomes and lower educational attainment.

“It’s unclear if the marijuana dispensaries are simply locating in neighborhoods that tend to be more disadvantaged and already have underlying problems with marijuana abuse, or if the presence of the dispensaries is causing an increase in abuse and hospitalizations,” said Dr. Mair. “It could be a combination of both factors.”

Dr. Mair noted that research on the location of marijuana dispensaries has a parallel precedent in the location of liquor stores. This gives policymakers and public health practitioners the opportunity to learn from previous studies on the health effects of density and location of liquor stores in order to design studies that can provide similar data on marijuana dispensaries.

“Once dispensaries open, it is much harder to go back and create regulations to guide their location and density,” said Dr. Mair. “Passage of laws permitting marijuana use and sale is likely to continue, so it is critical that we continue to research the impact of dispensaries on the health of local communities to provide guidance on regulations and public health outreach to prevent abuse.”

Additional researchers on this project include senior author Bridget Freisthler, Ph.D., of UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. Co-authors are Andrew Gaidus, M.E.M., and William R. Ponicki, M.A., of the Prevention Research Center in Oakland, California.

This research was funded by the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse grant R01-DA-032715.

Free Internet Hunter's Completion Course

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is offering a free hunter safety Internet-completion course in Hendry County.

The course will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 15 at the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Shooting Range, 700 Witt Road, Clewiston.

Students must complete the Internet course before coming to class and bring a copy of the final report from the online portion of the course. The final report form does not have to be notarized.

An adult must accompany children under the age of 16 at all times. Students should bring a pencil and paper with them to take notes.

Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975, must pass an approved hunter safety course and have a hunting license to hunt alone (unsupervised). The FWC course satisfies hunter-safety training requirements for all other states and Canadian provinces.

People interested in attending this course can register online and obtain information about future hunter safety classes at or by calling the FWC’s South Region Office at561-625-5122.

Pastor Montpeller Dead In Crash

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Pastor Monpeller died of injuries in a two vehicle crash Saturday afternoon at 3:25 p.m. in Hendry county. Dustin Hall suffered serious injuries in the crash.

A 2014 Ford Mustang, driven by Dustin Elirobert Hall, 30 of Clewiston was traveling south on North Mayoral Street as a 2002 Toyota Tacoma driven by Pastor Montpeller, 72 of Hialeah, Fl. was traveling east on Bald Cypress Avenue in Montura in central Hendry County.

According to the FHP, Hall failed to stop for a stop sign at Bald Cypress Avenue and the Mustang collided with the front end into the left side of the Toyota truck. Both vehicles came to final rest upside down in the in the southeast side of the intersection.

As a result of crash, Montpeller was pronounced deceased at the scene of this crash.

All the occupants in the Mustang were transported to Hendry Regional Hospital. Driver Dustin Hall had serious injuries, and passengers Christian Rivera, 24, Wilson River 9, and Lizzie Rivera 13 had minor injuries.

Five Dead In Crash, One Critically Injured Child

ARCADIA, FL. -- Jennifer Zuniga, 30, of Venus, Fl. and a driver and three passengers in a separate vehicle are dead after a two vehicle crash on a wet road Sunday night at 7:02 p.m. on State Road 70.

A 2006 Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by Zuniga was traveling eastbound on State Road 70 in Desoto county as 2013 Volkswagon Passat was traveling westbound on State Road 70.

The truck hydroplaned on the wet roadway, rotated and crossed the center line and the FHP says the Volkswagon evasively steered the right side tires into the north side grass shoulder. However the front of the car struck the rear of the truck partially within the westbound lane of State Road 70 and the north shoulder.

Both vehicles came to final rest facing west, partially within the westbound lane and the north shoulder of State Road 70. Truck Passenger Cort Thivierge, 6 of Venus is in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital.

The names of the four deceased in the Volkswagon were originally being withheld pending notification of kin. They are now listed as 29 year old female driver Lamour Welch from St. Petersburg, female passengers India Welch age 24 and Tehira Welch, 18 from St.. Petersburg, and 25 year old male Antwayne Robinson from Garner, N.C.

No charges were filed by the FHP. The crash remains under investigation.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Deputy Maria Raley In Serious Condition After Crash

IMMOKALEE, FL. -- Collier County Deputy Maria Raley is in serious condition after a crash involving a vehicle fleeing from a Collier County patrol car in Immokalee at 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

Vanessa Wagenman,32 of Naples, FL in a 2015 Nissan Altima was fleeing from a Collier County Sheriff's Office patrol car and was traveling northeast on Lee St. approaching New Market Road.

Deputy Maria Raley, 39 of Naples, FL was traveling northwest on New Market Road approaching Lee St. as Wagenman failed to stop for a stop sign on Lee St. at its intersection with New Market Road.

Wagenman collided with Raely in a T-bone type crash and the Ford Crown Victoria patrol car rotated away from the initial collision and began to overturn coming to final rest on its roof.

Wagenman's vehicle continued north from the initial collision colliding with a brick wall on the east shoulder.

Rachael Lileinthal Loses Arm To Alligator

ORLANDO, FL. -- An Orlando woman was injured Saturday, August 8 when an alligator bit her while she was swimming in the Wekiva River just west of the Wekiva Island Marina.

Rachael D. Lilienthal, 37, was swimming upstream away from a crowded beach area when she was bitten by an alligator, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials.

Lilienthal was bitten at least twice and her right arm was severed above the elbow. As she struggled against the alligator, kayakers came to her rescue. One of the kayakers struck the alligator with a paddle, causing the animal to release Lilienthal.

The two kayakers brought her to the marina where Seminole County deputies administered first aid and emergency medical personnel were called.

Lilienthal was transported by Seminole County Fire and Rescue to Orlando Regional Medical Center for treatment.

At approximately 12:25 a.m. Aug. 9, the alligator was captured and euthanized. The FWC is continuing the investigation.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Daron Scherr Killed In Motorcycle Crash

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Motorcyclist Daron Lynn Scherr, 46 of Sanibel, Florida was killed in a crash at 9:33 p.m. Friday night in Lee county. His passenger Wendy Lethbridge was seriously injured.

Peter Gerlich, 60 of Hoffman Estates, Illinois driving a 2010 Honda CRV westbound on CR- 869 (SUMMERLIN ROAD) and turned right onto Kelly Cove Drive in an attempt to make a U-turn.

As he attempted to turn left from Kelly Cove Drive onto eastbound CR- 869, Scherr's 2006 Yamaha XVS1100 motorcycle was westbound on CR- 869 in the outside lane.

Scherr attempted to avoid a collision but struck the left side of the Honda. Scherr was pronounced deceased on scene.

The passenger on the motorcycle, Wendy Lynn Lethbridge, 48 of Fort Myers, Florida was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital with serious injuries said the FHP. Scherr and Lethbridge were not wearing helmets.

Gerlich and two passengers suffered no injuries. The crash is under investigation.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Brandon Purvis Critical After Crash

Dodge Durango Overturns, Ejecting Passenger

LABELLE, FL. -- Brandon Alan Purvis, 35 of Felda is in critical condition at Lee Memorial Hospital after a crash of a 2005 Dodge Durango at 10:35 a.m. Friday in western Glades County, northwest of LaBelle.

The vehicle, driven by an unidentified driver, was northbound on Kirby Thompson Road. Suddenly, the driver encountered a blowout of the Durango's right rear tire. As a result, the front began to yaw to the left, then crossed the center line of the roadway and continued to travel northwest across the southbound lane.

The driver then lost control as the SUV entered the southbound grassy shoulder, then overturned and struck a barbed fence.

The occupants, were then ejected from the vehicle which came to final rest upright against a tree. Purvis was then transported by helicopter to Lee Memorial Hospital and is in critical condition.

Purvis was not wearing a seat belt and an investigation is pending said FHP investigator T. J. Parks.

Zachary Zaban Dies In Midnight Crash

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Zachary Zaban, 27 of Naples died in a crash at 12:03 a.m. Friday on I-75 after rear ending another vehicle and and hitting a tree.

Zaban in a 2015 Jeep SUV and Daniel Rabines, 28 of Fort Myers in a Chevy Astro van were both traveling south on I-75 south of Alico Rd in the right travel lane.

Rabines was ahead of Zaban when Zaban failed to slow down. The front of the Jeep struck the rear of the Chevy. After impact, the Jeep traveled in a southwest direction onto the west grassy shoulder of I-75. The driver's door struck a pine tree on the shoulder and the Jeep came to final rest at the area of collision.

Rabines and three passengers from West Seneca, NY traveling in his vehicle had no injuries.

The FHP says it is unknown at this time if alcohol was a factor in Zaban's crash.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Vehicle Vs. Bear On I-75

NAPLES, FL. -- Jerome Edward McQueen, 59 of Ft. Washington, MD hit a bear while driving on I-75 in Collier County Thursday afternoon about 2:50 p.m.

His 2010 Jeep Liberty was traveling west on I-75 (SR 93) near MM 92 in the outside lane while a black bear was traveling south on the north grass shoulder approaching the roadway.

As the Jeep was traveling in the outside lane, the black bear traveled across the paved shoulder and into the roadway in the direct path of the vehicle. As a result, the Jeep's front right made contact with  the black bear.

The black bear came to final rest on the north paved shoulder of I-75 near MM 92. The vehicle came to a controlled stop on the north paved shoulder of I-75 approximately 300 ft. from the area of collision.

There were no injuries to McQueen or his passenger Arlete Louise Mcqueen, 55 of Ft. Washington. The FHP did not report on the condition of the bear.

Tax Free Shopping Starts Friday

LABELLE, FL. -- As the calendar rolls into August, Floridians are reminded that there is a new school year right around the corner. Florida law makers are encouraging parents, guardians and community members to make sure that Florida’s students start the year off right by taking advantage of the 2015 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday August 7 - 16.

Due to the success of recent sales tax holidays, the tax-free holiday has been extended from its original three day period to ten full days of tax free shopping. During this period, no Florida sales tax will be collected on sales of clothing, footwear, and certain accessories with a selling price of $100 or less per item, on certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item, and on the first $750 of the sales price for computers and certain computer-related accessories when purchased for noncommercial home or personal use.

Does Your School Day Start Too Early? Probably Say Sleep Experts

8:30 Or Later Recommended Start Allow Kids To Get Enough Sleep

Fewer than 1 in 5 middle and high schools in the U.S. began the school day at the recommended 8:30 AM start time or later according to data published today in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 

Too-early start times can keep students from getting the sleep they need for health, safety, and academic success, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Schools that have a start time of 8:30 AM or later allow adolescent students the opportunity to get the recommended amount of sleep on school nights: about 8.5 to 9.5 hours. Insufficient sleep is common among high school students and is associated with several health risks such as being overweight, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and using drugs – as well as poor academic performance. The proportion of high school students who fail to get sufficient sleep (2 out of 3) has remained steady since 2007, according to the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Report.

CDC and U.S. Department of Education researchers reviewed data from the 2011-2012 Schools and Staffing Survey of nearly 40,000 public middle, high, and combined schools to determine school start times.

“Getting enough sleep is important for students’ health, safety, and academic performance,” said Anne Wheaton, Ph.D., lead author and epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Population Health. “Early school start times, however, are preventing many adolescents from getting the sleep they need.”

Key findings:
42 states reported that 75-100 percent of the public schools in their respective states started before 8:30 AM.
The average start time was 8:03 AM.
The percentage of schools with start times of 8:30 AM or later varied greatly by state. No schools in Hawaii, Mississippi, and Wyoming started at 8:30 AM or later; more than 75 percent of schools in Alaska and North Dakota started at 8:30 AM or later.
Louisiana had the earliest average school start time (7:40 AM), while Alaska had the latest (8:33 AM).

In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement urging middle and high schools to modify start times to no earlier than 8:30 AM to aid students in getting sufficient sleep to improve their overall health. School start time policies are not determined at the federal or state level, but at the district or individual school level. Future studies may determine whether this recommendation results in later school start times.

The authors report that delayed school start times do not replace the need for other interventions that can improve sleep among adolescents. Parents can help their children practice good sleep habits. For example, a consistent bedtime and rise time, including on weekends, is recommended for everyone, including children, adolescents, and adults. Health care providers who treat adolescents should educate teens and parents about the importance of adequate sleep in maintaining health and well-being.

To learn about CDC’s efforts to promote sufficient sleep, visit

Monday, August 03, 2015

Rabies Alert For Next 30 Days Says Health Department

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Department of Health in Hendry County issued a rabies alert for the LaBelle area. This is in response to a raccoon that tested positive on Monday, August 3, 2015.

All residents and visitors in Hendry County should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated. The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in Hendry County. Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public, but they should not get a false sense of security to areas that have not been named as under an alert.

The rabies alert will be in effect for the next thirty days.

An animal with rabies could infect other wild or domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies. All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes. 

Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm blooded animals and humans. The only treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies specific immune globulin and rabies immunization. Appropriate treatment started soon after the exposure, will protect an exposed person from the disease.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:
Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact LaBelle Animal Control at (863) 675-3381
Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas, where they might come in contact with people and pets.
Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the Florida Department of Health in Hendry County at (863) 674-4041

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Jonathan Stevenson Dead In Crash

LEHIGH ACRES, FL. --  Jonathan J. Stevenson, 30 of Fort Myers died in a crash Saturday afternoon at 12:35 p.m. in Lee County.

A 2000 Buick LeSabre was westbound on Leonard Boulevard in Lehigh Acres, just west of 15th Street SW. as a 2015 semi truck driven by Thomas Bobby Lee Butler, 31 of Fort Myers was eastbound on Leonard Boulevard, approaching 15th Street SW.

The Buick crossed the center line and the front left  struck the front left of the truck. The Buick was redirected to the northeast, where it struck the guardrail.

The truck ran off the roadway to the left and struck a utility pole and came to final rest facing north, near the end of the guardrail. The truck came to final rest facing north, on the west shoulder of 15th Street SW.

The FHP says charges are pending investigation.