Friday, March 31, 2017

Speed Limit Increase From 30 To 50 MPH On CR830

HENDRY COUNTY, FL. -- The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners meeting held on Tuesday, March 28th at the LaBelle Commission Chambers.


· Speed Regulation on CR 830 & CR 830A: A request was made by Commissioner Wills to evaluate the speed on CR 830 and CR 830A in Felda for a possible speed increase. Staff conducted a speed analysis during a twenty-four hour period on January 19th and field inspection on March 20th. The existing posted speed limit on both road is thirty (30) miles per hour. The analysis was conducted at three locations on CR 830 and one location on CR 830A. Based on the analysis staff recommended the speed limit be increase to 50 miles per hour except in curves where it should be increased to 35 miles per hour. The Board approved the staff to increase the speed limits on CR 830 and CR 830A to 45 mph maximum with the speeds depicted in the map for curved areas and other areas of concern.


· Solid Waste MSBU: The County contract for the collection of disposal of solid waste and recyclable materials expires on September 30, 2017. The current contractor for solid waste is Progressive Waste Solutions. Per the contract, the duration of the franchise was for seven (7) years. The County has the option with the current contractor to renew the contract for additional seven years. The Board approved staff to work with Progressive Waste Solutions to renew the contract with amendments and bring those options back to the board at a future board meeting for final approval. Potential amendments could include pricing options for: larger recycling containers, two day a week trash pickup, and one day a week track pick up.

Glades County Message Alert System Now Active

Glades County, Fl— Glades County is now working with Everbridge, the worldwide leader in unified critical communications, to keep residents, staff and emergency personnel safe and informed with quick and reliable emergency notifications and public service announcements. The County will begin using Everbridge Resident Alerts to communicate with citizens and businesses during emergencies and other critical events. Residents are encouraged to register immediately to receive these alerts:

Glades County will use the Everbridge emergency notification system to alert residents about a variety of events, ranging from severe weather, fires, floods and other emergencies, to more routine announcements, such as road closures and water utility maintenance. Messages will be sent to residents on their preferred contact paths—cell phone, SMS, home phone, email, fax, pager and more—to ensure real-time access to potentially lifesaving information. Residents listed in the county E911 database have been automatically subscribed to alerts by phone, but Everbridge allows citizens to self-register, provide additional contact information or opt out.

Glades County is committed to ensuring public safety, community awareness and emergency response. To uphold this, when critical information and public service announcements are available, we will reach out to our residents as quickly and reliably as possible. AlertGlades allows the county to disseminate information across all types of devices, ensuring residents have access to real-time public information when they need it the most. Any weather alerts our citizens sign up for will automatically be received to them through the National Weather Service.

**All white and yellow page phone book numbers have already been added in the system.**

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Healthy Eating Taught To Students

A collaboration effort of the Florida Department of Health, Sodexo Food Services and Upthegrove Elementary School has resulted in the start of new healthy nutrition program. Student in grades Kindergarten and First Grade are being taught the importance of 5-2-1-0. Five fruits and vegetables a day, 2 hours or less of TV or Computer time, 1 hour each day of physical activities and 0 sugar sweeten drinks. Students will also learn about different types and preparation methods of fruits and vegetables. They will also lean about the fruits and vegetables that are locally grown here in Florida. Students will then be given an opportunity to try a wide variety of the fruits and vegetables during the program. In addition to trying the new foods the students will also have the opportunity to have the same foods to select from during school lunch.

According to studies by the Center for Disease Control, since 1980, the percentage of children who are overweight has more than doubled, while rates among adolescents have more than tripled. In recent years, several weight-related conditions that were observed primarily among adults have been increasingly diagnosed in young people. For example, 10 years ago type 2 diabetes was almost unknown among young people, but now accounts for nearly 50 percent of new cases of diabetes among children or adolescents. An estimated 61 percent of overweight young people have at least one additional risk factor for heart disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Being overweight as a student is also associated with social and psychological problems, such as discrimination and poor self-esteem.

It has been shown that, children and adolescents who are overweight are more likely to become overweight or obese adults. Obesity in adults is associated with increased risks of premature death, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, osteoarthritis, and many other health problems.

Pictured: Kevin Long, RN and School Health Nurse, from the Florida Department of Health presents the 5-2-1-0 Program to students at Upthegrove Elementary School

Students Present Talents At Festival

Drug Free Hendry County held their 5th annual Talent Show in Clewiston on March 17, 2017 as part of the Friday Night Sugar Festival. Both Hendry & Glades’ high schools hosted talent shows weeks prior, which served as an audition for Drug Free Hendry Talent Fest. 

The first, second, & third place winners from each school, LaBelle High School, Clewiston High School, & Moore Haven High School were invited to compete at the main stage on Friday, March 17, 2017. 

$500 were awarded to the first place winner of the Drug Free Talent Fest and he was invited to perform Saturdayat the Clewiston Sugar Festival on March 18, 2017.

This year’s first place winner for the Drug Free Hendry County Talent Fest was Isaiah Young of Clewiston High School, who performed a dance to “Rolodex.” Jaime Hingson from Moore Haven Junior Senior High won second place, who sang, “Rock me Mama like a Wagon Wheel” with her guitar, and third place winner was Isaac Cadena from LaBelle High School, who sang “Come Fly with Me”.

The participants included Isaac Hernandez & Keianna Summers, from Clewiston; Emily Schwarz, from LaBelle, and Araya Lennon & Lacy Green, from Moore Haven. All participants did an outstanding job and showed the community that they are living positive.

Drug Free Hendry is proud of all the contestants that participated and performed in the Drug Free Talent Fest and for the students’ decision to stay drug free.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Shirley Fielder Dies At 81

Shirley R. Fielder, age 81, of Clewiston, passed away March 23, 2017 in Fort Myers.

She was born Jan. 6, 1936 in Grady County, GA, to the late Daniel Stevens and the late Bernice Lee (Gainous) Royals. Shirley worked as Assistant Librarian at the Harry T. Vaughn Clewiston Public Library and was a member of First Baptist Church of Clewiston and Clewiston Garden Club. She was an avid reader & loved gardening.

Survivors include her son: Hinnard Raymond (Ray) Williams, Jr., (Marty), Pt. St. Lucie, daughters: Sherri Lynn Williams Green (Edward), Pelham, GA and Sandra Lee Williams Montgomery (Jim), Apopka, sister: Mary R. Culbreth (Tank), Pelham, GA, step children: Terrel (Anna) Fielder, Moore Haven, Lizann (Donnie) Shaw, Clewiston and Lynn (Sam) Briefman, Clewiston, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, aunts: Lillian Ferrell and Edna Barbee, both of Cairo, GA and nephew: John Neil Williams, Ellabell, GA.

She was also preceded in death by her husband: James A. Fielder, Jr., stepson: Robert Fielder and niece: Lisa Fender.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, March 30, 2017, 10:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Clewiston with Pastor Mike Brennan and Rev. Edward Green officiating. Interment will follow at Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven. Visitation will be Wednesday, March 29 from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in Clewiston.

Billy Murphy Tells Tales April 6

Billy Murphy, well-known spinner of tales about living in a Florida in a time not so long ago that many of us remember well but maybe not the way Billy does and tells what he remembers, will tell a tale or two about what it means to be a Florida Cracker at LaBelle Heritage Museum's Thursday, April 6, Program Meeting starting at 7 o'clock. 

 Billy grew up and went to school in Alva but now lives in LaBelle with his wife Lana, a member of both LaBelle's Rider Family and also Felda's Aylor Family.

Regulars and guests are asked to enter the 1911 William H. Poole Building from the back door as the front door will not be accessible due to the foundation stabilization, building renovation, restoration and new ADA handicap access made possible by our Special Category Historic Preservation Grant from the Florida Bureau of Historic Preservation. 

Kinfolk, neighbors and friends are used to coming in the back door and all are welcome at the program. LaBelle Heritage Museum is located at 360 North Bridge Street with parking available immediately across the street at Harold Curtis Honey Company courtesy of Rene Curtis Pratt. Be sure to tell Rene how much you appreciate her being such a good neighbor by providing extra parking whenever LaBelle Heritage Museum has an evening program.

County Seeking Media And Tourism Officer

Hendry County is seeking candidates who have a passion for the community. The CMT position’s primary goal is to communicate to our residents, media (traditional/social) and potential visitors about what is happening in our County. The successful candidate will possess leadership, storytelling/communication and common sense skills and abilities.

The CMT duties are apportioned with 50% of duties are to provide administrative and leadership support services to the Tourism Development Council. The remaining 50% provides community and media relations services for the County Administrator’s Office. Duties include the development and implementation of marketing and communications initiatives to encourage tourism in Hendry County, and provide information about Hendry County government to the public, county employees, and the media. This position interacts with a variety of local and regional organizations. This position serves as the official Public Information Officer and will be expected to respond- to and serve-in a declared emergency with media relations support. This position coordinates the fulfillment of public records requests. Lastly, this position provides support and interacts with the Hendry County legislative delegations and lobbying teams as needed.

Office Location: Primary office location is in the Administrative Office Complex at 640 South Main Street, LaBelle, Florida. Due to the nature of the position, some assignments may require work/service days out of the office. Expected percent of travel is less than 20%.

Office Hours: The position is salaried. Typical office working hours are 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Schedules are flexible due to the requirement to work nights and weekends as needed in the course of the duties assigned. The position is expected to attend all Board of County Commissioners meetings, workshops, special meetings and community events. The position also serves in the Emergency Operations Center during declared emergencies.

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in Communication, Marketing, Business and/or Public Administration or a comparable relevant field. A minimum of two years of experience in governmental, not-for-profit or private sector business performing comparable duties is desired. Graduate degrees are preferred, but not required. Possession of ICS/NIMS Public Information Officer certificates are preferred but not required.

Starting Salary: $36,000 annually plus full county benefits (Florida Retirement System, health, dental, vision, annual leave, sick leave, paid holidays, etc.).

How to Apply: Interested parties may apply by submitting a completed Hendry County Board of County Commissioner’s Job Application, cover letter, resume and no more than three (3) professional references to the Human Resources Office at 640 South Main Street, LaBelle, Florida 33935.

Panther Kittens Found In Charlotte County

BABCOCK RANCH, FL. -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has verified the presence of at least two panther kittens north of the Caloosahatchee River in southwest Florida. These kittens are presumed to be the offspring of the first wild female panther documented north of the river since 1973.

Using trail cameras, biologists have monitored male panthers on various public and private lands north of the Caloosahatchee River for several years. In 2015, biologists collected a photo of what appeared to be a female panther in the FWC’s Babcock Ranch Preserve Wildlife Management Area in Charlotte County. They deployed additional cameras in the summer of 2016, and captured more images of what they believed to be a female panther.

“This is good news for Florida panther conservation,” said Kipp Frohlich, deputy director for the FWC’s Division of Habitat and Species Conservation. “Until now, we only had evidence of panthers breeding south of the Caloosahatchee. These pictures of a female with kittens indicate there are now panthers breeding north of the river.”

“Early this year, the cameras captured images of a female that appeared to be nursing,” said Darrell Land, FWC panther team leader. “For many years, the Caloosahatchee River has appeared to be a major obstacle to northward movement of female panthers. This verification of kittens with the female demonstrates panthers can expand their breeding territory across the river naturally.”

“This is a major milestone on the road to recovery for the Florida panther,” said FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski. “We are mindful and appreciative of all the many partners and cooperators who have supported panther conservation efforts over the years leading to meaningful moments like this.”

The FWC works closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure panther conservation on both private and public lands. Staff also work to continue building support and cooperation among private landowners who maintain working landscapes and ranches that provide important habitat for panthers.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Immokalee Pioneer Days Festival

IMMOKALEE, FL. -- Annual celebration of the area's pioneer heritage in Immokalee, Florida. Cowboys drive cattle up Main Street to the Robert's Ranch Museum where displays and food are available as well as an antique and a classic car show.

Celebrate Immokalee is a three-day event that combines the pioneer spirit and rich agricultural history of Immokalee with the diverse community it is today. A cattle drive along Main Street Saturday, March 25th led by Clint Raulerson and featuring Eastern Indian Rodeo Association Sr. Queen Ms. Allegra Billie, EIRA Jr. Queen Ms. Madisyn Osceola, and their court and Miss Rodeo Palm Beach County Caleigh Anderson. 

The drive will lead to the Roberts Ranch, a National Register of Historic Places listed farmstead operated as a Collier County museum, located at 1215 Roberts Ave W., Immokalee.

Events include food, family games, dancing, and live entertainment on the main stage interspersed with cheering, clogging, and skits. Dance to the mix of Caribbean, Country, Hip Hop, Salsa, Bachata and Up Town Funk by Spin City DJ with live performances by Zoe Ness, K4C Band, Danny Boy, Caribben Groove, and local talents. 

Other attractions include Track to Trail Thoroughbreds rescue with two ex-race horses, family games, autograph signing from home-grown NFL players, a Blue Ribbon Cake & Pie Competition, antique cars from Cool Cruisers car club, arts & crafts vendors, and the winners of the Little Mr./Mrs. Immokalee competition. A family carnival alongside the event opened on Friday night (5-10PM) and runs through Sunday.

The Celebrate Immokalee Festival is organized by the Immokalee Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Roberts Ranch Pioneer Museum, Collier County Parks & Recreation, and the Immokalee Community Redevelopment Agency. Sponsors: Coconut Point Fort, Lipman Family Farms, Spin City DJ, and Track to Trail Thoroughbreds.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Gymnasium Named In Honor Of James E. Hart

CLEWISTON, FL. -- The Harlem community is coming together to rename the Harlem Gymnasium in honor of Reverend James E. Hart. The Hendry County Board of County Commissioners approved the request and the renaming ceremony will take place on April 1, 2017

Queenie Williams sent a request in February 2016 to the Board of County Commissioners to rename the gymnasium after Reverend James E. Hart. The request received overwhelming support from the community residents including a petition signed with over one thousand names.

Reverend Hart was known as a pillar of the community and felt we have an obligation to help each other. He spent decades of his life managing, restoring and preserving the Gymnasium. The Gymnasium was more than a place for activities under his management, but also a safe haven for Harlem’s youth and a place to gather and share memories.

“Under his management, the Gymnasium was more than just a place for activities, but a “safe haven” for many of Harlem’s youth, as well as a place to gather and share memories of times long gone,” stated Williams. “The residents of Harlem are honored to have a man that was born and raised in the community, have his name on one of its most treasured buildings."

Reverend Hart was known to the community as a public servant, community role model and mentor. He helped establish Mad Dads, which provides activities to the youth of the community during the summer. Reverend Hart also helped to coach Pop Warner Football, was a SAC committee member at Eastside Elementary School, ran a youth ministry at Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church and established a prison ministry for inmates at Glades Correctional Institution.

“Hendry County is such a wonderful place due to the individuals who give back tirelessly to their communities,” stated Charles Chapman, County Administrator. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to recognize Reverend Hart for his passion for the Harlem Community and honor his legacy through this ceremony and renaming.”

Reverend Hart was considered a father figure to many of the youth in the community. His goal was to inspire them to become smart and respectable young men. He encouraged the young adults of the community to work hard to achieve their goals.

The renaming of the Harlem Gymnasium to the Reverend James E. Hart Gymnasium will take place on April 1, 2017 at 11:00am-5:00pm located at 968 Harlem Academy Ave, Clewiston.

Garden Club Meets April 3

LABELLE, FL. -- LaBelle Garden Club Meets April 3rd – 6 p.m.

The regular meeting will be delayed one week, since the LaBelle Garden Club & the Community are invited to tour the Gardens at the Port LaBelle Inn on Monday, April 3rd, at 6 p.m. 

The Fruit & Vegetable Gardens are planted and maintained by the St Matthew’s program. Everyone will be treated to fresh, organic garden treats prepared by the kitchen crew.

The pubic and everyone is welcome to come to the Port LaBelle Inn,Monday, 6 p.m. April 3rd.

Preventing Stolen Mail - Free From USPS

HENDRY COUNTY, FL. -- The United States Postal Service is offering a way to check what mail is being delivered to you each day in order to confirm your mail before it arrives at your mailbox.

Participate in this new USPS® service enhancement test and get images of the mail that will be placed in your mailbox each day. Black and white images of your actual letter-sized mail pieces, processed by USPS® sorting equipment, will be provided to you each morning. 

Flat-sized pieces, such as catalogues or magazines, may be added in the future. Participation is limited to certain ZIP Codes™ at this time. See the FAQs for more details.

The service appears to be available now for Clewiston, but not LaBelle. Check your zip code to see if you can sign up for the service here:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Obituaries - Hendry and Lee County

Calton Henry Lo Hing, age 91, of LaBelle, passed away March 17, 2017 in Oakbrook Nursing Home. He was born April 20, 1925 in Skeldon, Guyana, to the late Cecil Dyer and Eldora Lo Hing. 

Calton worked as a bookkeeper for many years in NewYork and was a man of many skills, including having a long career in the electrical and electronics industry. Calton was well travelled, having lived in England, Canada and Trinidad and Tobago.

Calton is survived by his faithful companion, Janet James, of LaBelle, FL

Father of: Hazel, Joannie, Richard, Patsy, Alva, Kim and Howard. He was preceded in death by his son, Carl.

A funeral service will be held on Friday, March 24, 2017 at 3:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle with Pastor Vivian Humphries officiating. Visitation will be held prior to the service at 2:00pm.

Adolfo Rodriguez, age 84, of LaBelle
, passed away March 17, 2017 in LaBelle.

He was born Apr. 22, 1932 in Uvalde, TX, to the late Sisto Rodriguez and Julia (Carabajal) Rodriguez. Adolfo was a resident of LaBelle for the past 61 years. He was a longtime employee of both Caloosa Motors and Langford Ford and was a member of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church.

Survivors include his sons: Robert (Sue Baker) Rodriguez of Ft. Myers, Sixto (Terra Lord) Rodriguez of LaBelle, and Adolfo (Veronica) Rodriguez, Jr. of Texas, daughters: Julia Rodriguez Howard (Kenny) of LaBelle and Lupe Taylor (Mark) of Moore Haven, one brother, four sisters, ten grandchildren and nineteen great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife: Mary Jane Rodriguez and Infant Daughter, Frances Rodriguez.

Funeral Services will be held Thursday, March 23, 2017, 10:00 am at Our Lady Queen Of Heaven Catholic Church, LaBelle. with Father Chester Domaszewicz officiating.

Interment will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle. Visitation will be Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle.

Bobbie Jo Cline, age 81, of LaBelle, went to be with the Lord March 17, 2017 in LaBelle.

She was born May 1, 1935 in LaBelle, FL, to the late Adolphus and the late Tomsie Katherine (Howard) Rimes.

She is survived by her husband: B.S. Cline, daughters: Sara Townsend, Kathy Christian, Sallie Jo Brown, sister: Laura June Wilson and grandchildren: David and Amanda. She was preceded in death by her parents: Adolphus and Tomsie Rimes, brothers: Oran (Punk), Delmar, J.L. (Jaybird) and Mickey Rimes, sisters: Laverne Nordgren, Earnestine Guy, Janet Fussell, Evalee (Ted) Burke, Jean Murray and Elgin Shore.

Funeral services were held Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 11:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle with Rev. Frank Deerey Jr. officiating. Visitation was one hour prior to service at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle. Interment was in the Fort Denaud Cemetery.

Roy Louis Curry, Sr., age 73, of LaBelle, passed away March 18, 2017 in Lehigh Acres.

He was born June 23, 1943 in Fort Myers, FL, to Mack and Nettie Marie (May) Curry. He graduated from LaBelle High School in 1961. Mr. Curry married Sharon Brooks. He proudly served his country in the United States Army from 1961-1964 – he was a member of 101st Airbourne Division. He owned and operated Roy's Crane Service for over 23 years, ironically after retirement he worked part time with the State of Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission as a check station operator at Fisheating Creek WMA during hunting season.

Roy enjoyed hunting, fishing, and sitting around a fire telling hunting and fishing stories. Roy was a family man and was so very proud of his children and grandchildren.

Roy is survived by his loving wife of 49 years: Sharon (Brooks) Curry, daughter; Cheryl Henderson and husband Scott, son; Roy, Jr. "Bubba", grandchildren; Ashley Curry and Thomas Henderson and numerous nephews and nieces.

He was preceded in death by his father and mother, brother; Edward Curry, sister; Frances Doll, and granddaughter Lia Henderson. Roy will be greatly missed by his family and friends.

A celebration of his life will be held Friday, March 24, 2017 at 11:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle with Pastor Jim Dana officiating. Interment will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle with Rev. Ronnie Brooks officiating at the graveside committal. Visitation will be Friday one hour prior to the funeral service at Akin-Davis Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, Roy's family has requested that a donation in Roy's name be given to Hope Hospice.

James "Jimmy" Flynn was a 2nd generation Floridian, an endangered species! Born and raised in Alva, Florida. God made him a very special person with many talents. He holds a very special place in each one of our hearts and they are for different reasons.

He graduated from Alva High School in 1939, Tampa Business College, and Seminary. He played basket-ball (state champs) played tennis, even drove the school bus. He was state boxing champion, cattleman, cowboy, constable, cast-netter, raced horses, & even a clergy. Jimmy Flynn was a "man-ly man" the real life John Wayne in person. He was always singing and playing his harmonica, and a true Bible scholar. He loved the Lord! Jimmy was always positive, and never gave up. His sister, Opal, said Everybody loved Jimmy!

He is survived by one sister, Opal Scombordi/Vero Beach, Fl. , 6 children, 22 grandchildren, 40 great-grand-children, and 14 great-great grandchildren.

Visitation is Saturday, March 25, 2017, from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm at Alva Church of God 21520 Park St. Alva, Fl. 33920. Service will follow at 2:00 pm at Alva Church of God. Interment will be at Alva Cemetery.

Mary Nell Christian Cusker, age 87, of LaBelle, peacefully passed away March 20, 2017 just before her 89th birthday of March 26, 1929. She was the child of pioneer families in Southwest Florida, the daughter of Charles M. and Mary Violet Poole Christian.

She is survived by her daughter; Mary Lee Cramblit of Glenview, Illinois, her son; David Condon Lee, III of Northfield, Illinois, her granddaughter; Salesian Sister Brittany Lee Harrison, FMA of New Jersey, another granddaughter; Jeanette Davis, her great grandson; David Van Arsdall.

Mary Nell was to be told the morning she passed away that she has a great-great granddaughter; Josalyn Jane Hecht of Kentucky born to Blake Edward Harrison and Katie Evans on March 13, 2017 in Lake Villa, Illinois.

A graveside service will be conducted on Monday, March 27, 2017 at 10:00 in Fort Myers Cemetery.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Ethel J. "Jackie" Taylor, age 84, of Felda, passed away March 20, 2017 in her home in Felda.

Jackie was born Nov. 23, 1932 in Mayo, Florida to John and Winnie (Land) Osteen. She married Stancil Taylor; he preceded her in death on January 12, 2010. She was a homemaker and she loved spending time with her family.

Jackie is survived by her son; Larry Taylor and his wife Jean of Plant City, daughters; Kathie Fleming and husband Jeff of Felda, Becky Polk of Plant City, grandchildren; Logan Polk, Jason Taylor, Amy Taylor. Brothers; Tommy Osteen and Sammy Osteen, three sisters; Jeannie, Janice and Sue.

Graveside service will be at 4:00 p.m. Friday, March 24, 2017 in Felda Cemetery.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Walk Across Florida - The Big Cypress

Excerpts from A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich
In the beginning of this chapter I recommended for an excellent and fantastically concise history of central, southeast, southwest and southern Florida one must read The Everglades: River of Grass by Marjory Stoneman Douglas. This book will take you through the geology, the early explorers, the development, the almost total destruction of the water source for this area, the Everglades, and the battle to save it.

Since there never was an extensive geological survey on the results of drainage, and no realization that the Everglades, River of Grass” was a ecological system, the balance of nature was upset. This brought about too much water, too little water, intrusion of salt water into the mainland, loss of fresh water wells, dying cypress trees, changing vegetation, drying out of the muck land, fires burning the dry muck, the runoff of phosphorus and chemicals from the cattle and vegetable farms, and loss of animal and bird populations. The Everglades were dying.

Mrs. Douglas’s book takes you through the slow and arduous trail back to Everglades preservation. During her entire book she never mentions anything about herself. I believe she only had the well-being of Florida and the Everglades in mind.

I was leaving the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation and could see that I was heading into the Big Cypress Swamp. The road ended and straight ahead was a canal going south. Right next to it was my way across these glades. A huge dragline was parked alongside the canal. There was a rough marl (clay and calcium carbonate) road along the canal dredged by this great dragline. The road was made up of “Miami limestone” with occasional bits of brain coral in it. It is a misconception of both the early scientists and even many people today, to think that lower Florida is an old coral reef. I, too, was one of those until I read Mrs. Douglas’ book.

All I had to do was walk along this road. The Native American men I had talked to at the first store I had stopped in had told me about this canal. They knew just what they were talking about. There was also some shell mixed in with the limestone, and because it was raining the road was real sticky. All I had to do was walk along this road. I continued along just on the grass, keeping a lookout for snakes.

About the Author: After getting out of the Army Bob Kranich backpacked from the Georgia border to Key West in a 40 day adventure walk across Florida. His recently published book A Walk Across Florida is available from his website or

Monday, March 20, 2017

David Mullins Speaker At Easter Service

LABELLE, FL. -- This year's speaker selected for the annual Easter Sunrise service in Barron Park, April 16 at 7:00 am is David Mullins. Local church pastors will be sharing in prayer and Scripture readings during the service as well.

Pastor David Mullins, Senior Pastor started as pastor of Carlson Memorial Methodist Church in July of 2016. He a native Floridian, originally from Tampa, and has lived all but 7 years of his life in some part of Florida. 

 He’s a graduate of University of South Florida, where he majored in Interdisciplinary Social Science, and got his Masters of Divinity at Asbury Theological Seminary. He has been married to his wife Bobbi since 2000, and their twins keep them mighty busy when not at church. 

 David’s passion is to see Christians grow deeper and deeper in love with God and their neighbor, and for the church reach beyond the walls, and make a difference for Christ in the surrounding community.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Obituarires - Claudia Wilson, Lorraine Miller

Lorraine Webster Miller, age 63, of LaBelle, passed away March 16, 2017 in LaBelle.

She was born Mar. 19, 1953 in Boston, MA, to the late Lawrence Stanfield Webster and the late Audrey Louise (Glover) Webster He was also preceded in death by her brother: Lawrence Stanfield Webster, II.

Survivors include her son: Robert Lawlis Murphy of LaBelle, brother: David Nelson Webster of Seminole, sisters: Diane Louis and Linda Hays, both of Titusville, granddaughter: Reina Lucia Murphy and grandson: Tommy Bernard Cisnero.

A Gathering of Family and Friends will be held Tuesday, March 21, 2017 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle.

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Claudia A. Wilson, age 99, of Clewiston, went to be with the Lord, March 16, 2017 in Clewiston.

She was born Oct. 16, 1917 in Grand Island, FL, to the late Harvey and the late Anna Lorene (Milton) Acuff. 

Claudia moved to Clewiston with her husband Parker in 1947. She was a dedicated nurse and worked with the Seminole Indians for 15 years and opened the first state clinic on the reservation. She retired from the Health Department after 32 years and continued to volunteer at WIC for over 20 years. She loved her orchids, swimming pool and treasured her family and friends.

She is survived by her son: James K. Wilson (Sally) of Franklin, NC, daughter: Jan Ezell (Don) of Ormond By The Sea, FL, grandchildren: Jimmy Wilson (Tammy), Jennifer Betts (Ben), Nicki Wilson, Renee Ferriby (Ronnie) and great grandchildren: Jimbo, Parker, Ben and Ethan. She was preceded in death by her husband: Parker T. Wilson, brothers: Till Acuff, Warren, Jackie Acuff and sister: Jean Acuff.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 2:00 pm at First United Methodist Church, Clewiston 102 East Ventura Avenue with Pastor Jeff Smith officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to service at First United Methodist Church, Clewiston. Interment will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Smiley Hendry Dies At 84

Smiley Hendry, age 84, of Moore Haven, passed away March 12, 2017 at home.

Smiley was born Sep. 12, 1932 in Glades County, FL, to the late Abe and the late Bertie (Whidden) Hendry. Smiley proudly served his country with the United States Army in the Korean Conflict. Smiley worked as a commercial fisherman for many years. Smiley and his wife, Rebecca led the fight to keep Fisheating Creek open to the public, winning the battle on June 27, 1997.

Survivors include his children; Tina Green, and Smiley Hendry, Jr. Four grandchildren; Clarissa and Joel Hendry, Tansy Ewing and Hannah Ertl and seven great grandchildren; Sebastian and Anyah Lopez, Bristal, Jalynn and Audrey Hendry, Ashlyn Ewing and Landon Ertl.

Smiley is preceded in death by her wife of 54 years, Rebecca "Becky: Hendry.

Graveside service being presided by his family was held in the Pavilion of Ortona Cemetery on Friday afternoon at 2 pm, with military rites being conducted by the United States Army.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

FP&L Gets New Solar Facility Permissions In Hendry

HENDRY COUNTY, FL. -- The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners meeting held on Tuesday, March 14 at Clewiston City Hall including hearing on FP&L's applications for electrical generating facilities and a 957 acre solar energy center.

· Text Amendments to the Hendry County Comprehensive Plan (CP): For more than a year the Hendry County Planning and Community Development Department has been working on changes to the CP. These changes include creating a user friendly document for the public by moving the data and analysis portions to a separate document. The document also takes all of the CP amendments over the past few years and adds them in the correct order and place, which required renumbering the entire document. The BOCC approved adoption.

· CPA 16-003 & CPA16-004: Applicant requested amending the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Element text to add a sub-area policy, and to amend the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Map by changing the land use from Agriculture (AG) to Electrical Generating Facility (EGF). The applicant, Florida Power and Light (FP&L), made a presentation about the project: Hammock Solar Energy Center. The center, located in LaBelle, will be a 957 acre unmanned solar energy center. The facility will generate the equivalent of powering 15,000 homes. Construction will last approximately 6-10 months and create 200 jobs. The center is expected to open in First Quarter (Q1) 2018. The BOCC approved submittal to the State for review.

· CPA16-006 & CPA16-007: Applicant requested a Text Amendment to the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Element to amend the Electrical Generating Facility access location standard, add a specific sub-area policy to allow solar powered facilities, and change the future land use designation from Agriculture (AG) to Electrical Generating Facility (EGF). The applicant, Florida Power and Light (FP&L), made a presentation about the project: Hendry Clean Energy Center. The project will keep over 50% of the acreage in conservation; the remaining portions will be utilized for solar power, and a natural gas power plant. Construction is expected to take 11 years and create 185 jobs each year. The project is estimated to generate $31.8 million in ad valorem taxes each year when in operation at build out. The BOCC approved submittal to the State for review.


· Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Application: ATIO USA, LLC, an advanced aluminum smelting operation, has brought forth a proposition to bring their manufacturing and headquarters operation to the City of Clewiston. The project includes a projected $25.778 million dollar capital investment, the hiring of 39 employees over a one year period carrying an average annual wage of $46,377 and would commence within 6 months. The BOCC approved staff to develop an ordinance causing an Ad Valorem Tax Exemption of 5 years maximum, with a sliding scale tax abetment consisting of 40% year 1, 30% year 2, 20% year 3, and 10% the remaining 2 years. The ordinance must comply with public advertising requirement and will be scheduled for a public hearing at the Tuesday, April 11, 2017 Board of County Commissioner’s meeting at 5pmin Clewiston City Hall. If the Board approves the ordinance the tax abatement will be awarded.

· East Recreation MSBU Summer Camp MOU with YMCA and Approval to Hire a Par Time as Needed Summer Camp Counselor. The BOCC approved the MOU with YMCA to host a 10 week summer camp located in Harlem for $35 per child per week and the hiring of a Camp Counselor for the 13-18 year old camp in Harlem. The camp is open to all youth of Hendry County, and scholarships for those in need may be available. The YMCA camp includes meals for youth, weekly field trips, swimming lessons and other amenities.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cold Weather Shelter Open Tonight In LaBelle, Fl

LaBelle, Fla. – Hendry County will be opening the Cold Weather Emergency Shelter in LaBelle tonight (March 15) at 6:00 pm at the United Way House, located at 133 N. Bridge Street in LaBelle.

The shelter will be open until 7:00 am Thursday, however if there are no guests in place by midnight, 12:00am, the shelter will close and volunteers will be sent home.

The forecasted temperatures in Clewiston are not expected to trigger the temperature/wind chill threshold needed to activate a shelter.

The shelter is being staffed by local Hendry County Emergency Management volunteers and the America Red Cross.

“It is our responsibility as a community to reach out to those in need. The shelters are open to anyone who needs a warm place to stay, including those without adequate heat in their homes,” said Brian Newhouse, Hendry County Emergency Management Director.

Kaleb James Arrested In Deputy Shooting

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff’s Office is releasing the name of Kaleb James, arrested in the March 9 shooting of a Hendry County Deputy.

The investigation revealed that Hendry County Deputy Moorehead and two other deputies were conducting a business check in the front of M&M Grocery at 944 Kentucky Ave., in Clewiston, Florida. 

The Deputy had attempted to make contact with a man that fled upon the arrival of law enforcement. During the follow-up investigation by Moorehead, shots rang out striking the deputy.

The Deputy suffered non-life threatening injuries from a gunshot wound to the left arm. The Deputy has since been released from the hospital.

Investigators arrested and charged 21 year old Kaleb James of Clewiston with Attempted Murder, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Violation of Probation. James is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail with no bond.

James had prior Hendry county arrests in 2015 and 2016.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Glades Public Safety Teams Trained In Cardiac Support

GLADES COUNTY, FL. -- On March 8 2017 Glades County Public Safety renewed their ACLSEP training which is good for 2 years. The Advanced Cardiac Life Support for Experienced Providers course is designed for Paramedics, RN’s and Physician’s for treating a cardiac patient before they go into cardiac arrest or looking for the under lining cause of cardiac arrest and treating the cause. 

Glades Public Safety has participated in this since it started in 2005 by the American Heart Association. 

 The instructors were Dr. Lemmons, Glades County Medical Director; Gini McCain, RN; Martian McDowell & Rich Billian, Lehigh Fire; Tim Barrett, Sanibel Fire; Bob Jones Glades County Public Safety.

All of Glades County Paramedics and Nurses from Raulerson Hospital Emergency Room attended the 8-hour course.

Glades County Paramedics also had training on the new automatic CPR compression equipment. This equipment will help save precious time during cardiac arrest calls and give the crews more time to focus on treatment with 100% accuracy on compression.

Glades County Fire Dept. Provides Aid In Area Fires

 MOORE HAVEN, FL. --Glades County Fire Department provided Mutual Aid support March 5th and 6th in response to the wildfire in LeHigh Acres. 

Firefighter Gerald Watson Jr and Scott Russell responded with Brush Truck 19.

They also provided Mutual Aid to Hendry County on March 6th in Pioneer when another wildfire broke out. 

Volunteers Jimmy Summeralls and Jacob Heflin from the Ortona Volunteer Fire Department also provided support to Pioneer.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Obituaries - Cranford Herring, Louise Billie

Cranford B. "Jack" Herring, age 89, of Clewiston, passed away March 11, 2017 in West Palm Beach.

He was born Mar. 24, 1927 in Moultrie, GA, to the late Theron and the late Velma M (Smithwick) Herring. Worked for US Sugar for 44 years in Accounts Payable. Jack loved working in his yard.

He is survived by his loving his wife: Ona L. (Lewis) Herring, son: Wren Herring and one daughter: Belinda (John) Herring, five grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his son, Blake Herring, and brother, Edward Lee Herring

A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 10:00 am at United Methodist Church, Clewiston with Pastor Jeff Smith officiating.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be sent to: Hospice of Palm Beach County, 5300 East Avenue, West Palm Beach, Fl. 33407. Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Louise B. Billie, age 79, of Clewiston, passed away March 12, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale.

She was born Feb. 17, 1938 in Collier County, FL, to the late Jimmie Billie and the late Alice T. (Osceola) Billie.

Survivors include one son: John Billie, Jr. and four daughters: Irene Jimmie, Almira Billie, Lorraine Billie and Carol B. Osceola, three brothers: Russell Osceola, Howard Osceola and Jimmy Osceola, two sisters: Jenny Osceola and Juanita Osceola, and many grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and other family members.

She was preceded in death by her son, Gene Jimmie and sisters, Mary B. Larkins and Theda Osceola.

A graveside service will be held Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 9:30 am at Big Cypress Cemetery, Big Cypress Reservation with Rev. Salaw Hummingbird and Rev. Paul Buster officiating.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Parkinson's Group Meets At Hope Connections

LABELLE, FL. -- Hope Connections hosts a Parkinson’s Disease Work Group on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at 1:00 p.m at the LJ Nobles Senior Center in Labelle (475 East Cowboy Way[beside the airport).

The first half hour focuses on a “Tai Chi” program specifically geared toward those living with PD and those caring for persons with PD. Exercising participation is voluntary and some choose to exercise while sitting in a chair.

The second half hour of our meeting is an open discussion as a group and often focuses on specific topics that impact the lives of persons living with PD. 

For more information about the group call 863-675-1576 or just come as a walk-in to the next meeting.

Joshua Ingram Dies In Fiery Crash

Joshua Michael Ingram 27, of Clewiston died in a crash Sunday morning at 2:56 a.m, in central Hendry County, Fl.

His 2008 Ford F-150 was northbound on Flaghole Road approaching Surrency Road. Ingram failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway and drove onto the north shoulder where the truck struck a tree and caught fire.

He was pronounced deceased on scene by Hendry County EMS personnel. Pending are tests for alcohol as a factor, said the FHP.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Paul Gray Presents Everglades Birds March 20

On Monday March 20 at 7 pm Dr. Paul Gray, Florida Audubon’s Okeechobee Scientist, will present an informative program “Everglades Birds and Restoration” at the Hendry County Extension Dallas Townsend Building located at 1085 Pratt Boulevard in LaBelle.

Dr. Paul Gray is a Science Coordinator for Audubon Florida's Everglades Restoration Program. He has been with Audubon for 22 years and working in and around Lake Okeechobee since 1988.

Paul provides technical support for Audubon policy teams in issues ranging from water quality, water management, agricultural best management practices, and ecosystem and bird conservation issues. His talk will cover the amazing diversity of birds in the Everglades region and our efforts to protect and enhance their numbers.

Paul’s educational background includes a BS from the University of Missouri, an MS from Texas Tech University and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1993, working on Florida's Mottled Duck in the Okeechobee region.

Memoriam - Maria Birmingham

In Memory of Maria Cristina Birmingham, January 22, 1920 - March 7, 2017.
Viewing will be at Hodges Funeral Home Friday, March 17th 5 PM to 7 PM. Funeral Service Saturday, March 18 10 AM at Good Shepherd 1098 Collingswood Parkway, Port LaBelle with Fr Guerrier and Fr Alan Kelmereit and interment at Lee Memorial Park, Fort Myers, FL. followed by reception provided by her family at Hodges Funeral Home at Lee Memorial Park, Fort Myers, FL.
Arrangements under the direction of Hodges Funeral Home at Lee Memorial Park, Fort Myers, FL.
Maria was a member of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church LaBelle, FL Her husband Bramwell 'Bram' Birmingham is in a nursing home,

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Obituaries - Jackie McClenithan, Billy Elkins

Jackie H."Buddy" McClenithan, age 78, of LaBelle, passed away March 3, 2017 in LaBelle. He was born Mar. 14, 1938 in LaBelle, FL, to the late Zoria N. and the late Beulah (Fussell) McClenithan.

Survivors include two daughters: Connie (Demetrio) McClenithan Galaviz and Jackie Lynn (Johnny) Mullins both of LaBelle, brother: Zoria "Punkie" McClenithan, sister: Glenda Welch, eight grandchildren and nineteen great grandchildren.

A graveside service was held Friday, March 10, 2017 at 2:00 pm at Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle with Chaplain Bill Stevens officiating. Visitation was one hour prior to service at the Fort Denaud Cemetery.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Billy James Elkins, age 62, of Moore Haven, passed away March 4, 2017 in Moore Haven.

He was born Sep. 19, 1954 in Jacksonville, FL to the late Hansel Ulmer and Rosie (Whitney) Elkins. Mr. Elkins married Linda Stapleton. He served his country in the United States Army. He is a wonderful caring man who will be missed by his loving wife and family. He was a very patriotic man in that every time he went to a flea market, he would purchase an American flag. He was a very giving man, he always made sure to give every visitor to his home a little something before they left.

He leaves behind his loving wife; Linda of Moore Haven, caring mother; Rosie, children; Linda Elkins, April Elkins, Amber Elkins, sister; Ronnie Breiling, brother; Phillip Elkins, grandchildren; Serenity, Leah, RJ and Julia.

Celebration of his life was held Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm at Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven with Pastor Don Murray officiating. Interment was Wednesday, March 8, 2017 in Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven. Visitation was Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Nikki Yeager Chairs Museum Committee

LABELLE, FL. -- Nikki Yeager will chair LaBelle Heritage Museum's 2017 Nominating Committee and will report its recommended slate of one-year officers and a three-year director at the local group's April 6 Program Meeting. 

Elections will be held at the May 4 meeting with Installation to take place at the Annual Membership Meeting and Potluck Dinner in early June.
The officers and one director whose terms expires are not subject to term limitations. They are: president, Joe Thomas; vice-president, Keitha Daniels; secretary, Lucy Guy Welch; treasurer, Ron Zimmerly; and, director, T. A. "Tommy" Smith. The returning directors are Patricia Newell Johnson and Martha Ray Humphries.

Anyone personally interested in running for a LaBelle Heritage Museum office or wanting to recommend a candidate is asked to contact Nikki Yeager (239)564-2005 by April 3 at the absolute latest.

Friday, March 10, 2017

What's Happening At Kiwanis

The LaBelle Kiwanis members were given a presentation on March 7th about Child Abuse Prevention by Vanessa Fischel-Healthy Families Program Manager for the Florida Department of Health, Lisa Sands-United Way Manager Hendry/Glades, and Lucinda Kelley - Director, ESE and Student Services for Hendry County Schools. 

The speakers also promoted an upcoming event to raise awareness for child abuse prevention; the “Prance for Prevention” 5K event to be held on April 12th. 

The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle is sponsoring this event by providing t-shirts to the first 50 participants in the 5K.
In lieu of a registration fee, donations of diapers and/or new children’s socks or sneakers to support our youngest and most vulnerable residents is greatly appreciated.
In order to register for the event, please contact the Department of Health in LaBelle at 863-674-4041 and mention the Prance for Prevention 5k. Please provide your first and last name and t-shirt size.

$1000 Reward In Deputy Shooting

CLEWISTON, FL. -- A Hendry deputy was shot and at this time Hendry County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the shooting that occurred last night in Clewiston, Florida.

Further investigation has revealed that Deputy Jayson Moorehead was ambushed by an individual while out of his vehicle at 944 Kentucky Ave. Investigators are continuing to follow up on leads that are coming in regarding the shooting.

“We are very fortunate he wasn't seriously injured," Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden said. We're still investigating, and will do everything we possibly can to bring about an arrest and conviction.

Investigators are questioning a second man who may have information leading to the arrest of the shooter.

If anyone has any additional information regarding this shooting to call the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office at 863-674-5600 or you may contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477), where you may become eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 if your tip leads to an arrest.


Investigators with the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office have arrested an individual on charges of Attempted Murder in the shooting of Hendry County Deputy Jayson Moorehead.

Investigators are continuing to follow up on information they are uncovering. This is an ongoing investigation and they are not releasing the name or photo of the individual.

Daniel Neff Dies In US27 Crash

MOORE HAEN, FL. -- A 2015 Dodge Journey driven by Daniel Neff, 52 of Englewood was eastbound on S.R. 78 at US 27 at 7:04 pm Thursday as Micheal Folsom, of Clearwater driving a Ford pickup truck was southbound on U.S. 27. Neff made a left turn into the inside (left) lane of southbound U.S. 27 and began to travel northbound in the southbound lanes.

This action caused the front of the Dodge to strike the front of the Ford. After impact, both vehicles were redirected into the median of U.S. 27.

Neff was pronounced deceased at the scene. Folsom passenger Eric Otradovec, 25 of Valrico had serious injuries.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Sugar Festival March 17-18

CLEWISTON, FL. -- America’s sweetest town will host the annual Clewiston Sugar Festival on March 18, a free event with family-friendly activities and performances by Trace Adkins, Tracy Lawrence and other country music stars.

The festival will be held from 9 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. Saturday, March 18, at Civic Park on U.S. Hwy 27 in Clewiston. Admission is free. But, kicking off the festival will be a performance by Nuthin’ Fancy, a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band, on the main stage at 8 p.m. Friday, March 17.

Now in its 31th year, the Clewiston Sugar Festival celebrates the region’s annual sugarcane harvest and the important economic impact sugar has on Glades communities and Florida’s agricultural industry. This year’s presenting sponsor is U.S. Sugar, a Florida pioneer in the sustainable farming and processing of sugarcane, citrus and sweet corn.

“It’s a huge pleasure and honor to once again be part of this beloved community event,’’ said Judy Sanchez, senior director of corporate communication and public affairs for U.S. Sugar. “We look forward to celebrating with the entire community the hard work of our employees, growers and vendors who make the sugarcane harvest season a success.”

The event will include a Sweet Taste of Sugar baking contest, food vendors, arts and craft booths, tractor displays and a car show. On the main stage will be country performers Trace Adkins (5:30 p.m.), Tracy Lawrence (3:45 p.m.), Parmalee (2 p.m.), Runaway June (12:45 p.m.) and JJ McCoy (11:30 a.m.).

The festival will feature appearances by Miss Sugar 2017 Brooke Jarvis, Junior Miss Sugar Jaslyn Creagh and Little Miss Sugar Kailynn Davis. Also on the schedule are a Sugar Festival 5K Run/Walk presented by Cross Training Ministries and pickle ball, horseshoe and cornhole tournaments. FPL is sponsoring a Kids Park with bounce houses, inflatable slides and other activities.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Theatre For Seniors


The Firehouse Community Theatre's (FCT) new senior program had a very successful start!
The Theatre is now looking for Actors, age 55 plus, to join and plan the Firehouse Goldies' Second Season.
Members are reading scripts now: mystery, suspense, detective and more, but the FCT needs to know how many actors/actresses are interested in auditioning before the selection of shows can be firmed up.

Also seeking seniors for: Sound effects manager, help with props & performing on stage and a music sound effects technician to record music from original productions.
Please call 863-675-3066 Leave your Name and Number: Att Deborra

Monday, March 06, 2017

Teen Challenge Women Visit March 12

LABELLE, FL. -- Sunday, March 12 at 9:45  &11:00 AM services the Fort Myers teen challenge women will be sharing at LaBelle Assembly of God

LaBelle Assembly of God has invited the team challenge women to both of its Sunday morning services so that the public can adjust their schedule  so  they will be able to hear these life changing testimonies  without missing their home church is services.

 The women of Teen Challenge is an organization that has a proven track record of providing life transforming programs that have been tested over time. If you are looking for a long-term  residential care for your love one ... than Teen challenge is for you!  Our teenage and adult program have been Successful at assisting boys and girls men and women find freedom from addiction and assisting in in restoring broken relationships and rebuilding self-esteem for over the past 50 years.
If you know anyone who needs help with drugs or alcohol addiction this inspirational and informational will be of help.

Everyone is invited to LaBelle Assembly of God it is located at 123 Fraser Ave. across from the Edward Upthegrove Elementary school for more information call 675 - 0900 

Leslie Maxwell Dies At 72

Leslie "Pete" Durward Maxwell, age 72, of Holt Michigan , passed away suddenly February 27, 2017 in LaBelle.

He was born Aug. 8, 1944 in Lansing, Michigan, to the late Frank and Thelma (Smith) Maxwell. He served in the United States Army. He was a Self-employed.

Survivors include his wife: Marcia L. (Chase) Maxwell, son: Frank Maxwell and a daughter: Robyn Maxwell

Services will be at a time to be announced. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Leaving Clewiston - A Walk Across Florida

Excerpts from A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich
I went west out of Clewiston on U.S. Highway 27…..

I came to my turn, Secondary Road 833 heading south. In this area I saw a lot of fields with new sugar cane plants starting to grow. This road had a canal running parallel to it. It seemed that every field had its drainage ditches around it, and then they ran into canals.

The sun was beginning to set when I came upon a parked car and four guys, two men and a couple of boys. They were standing along the canal with a 22-gauge single-action pump rifle, and were taking turns shooting at a big fat cotton mouth moccasin on the other side of the canal. I stopped to watch. This snake was big, not too long, but real fat! We got to talking as they took turns shooting. One of the men had been in Korea in the army. It seems that everywhere I went I met guys who were in the Korean war.

I bid goodbye and continued. It was getting real dark now, in fact, pitch black! and I would soon have to find a place to camp. There hadn’t been any traffic on this road since I got on it. Just then a car’s lights came by from behind, not one but two cars. They went down aways and then stopped, both of them. Then I realized that they were turning around! Oh, oh, this did not look good. Luckily my side of the road didn’t have a canal. I crossed the slight depression in knee-high grass and then up and over into the field. I dropped my pack and got down low. My face pressed into the ground, beads of perspiration forming on my forehead mixing with the dirt. My heart was pounding. I hoped that they couldn’t hear it! I had acted fast enough and had gotten out of sight before they got turned around and their lights shown my way.

They came back real slow. I hugged the ground! They went down the road quite aways and then turned around and came back, this time as fast as they were going when they first went by me. I don’t know just what they were up to, but I was sure they thought that they were seeing things when they couldn’t find the guy that they thought they had seen walking along the highway.

About the Author: After getting out of the Army Bob Kranich backpacked from the Georgia border to Key West in a 40 day adventure walk across Florida. His recently published book A Walk Across Florida is available from his website or

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Perfect Weather For 2017 Chalo Nitka Parade & Rodeo

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Perfect weather greeted parade goers at the annual Chalo Nitka ("Big Fish") Festival Parade and Rodeo this week. The 10 a.m. annual parade up Avenue J to the Rodeo grounds featured festival royalty, queens and princesses, swamp buggies, floats and trucks with local elected officials and dozens and dozens of horses.

The festivities conclude this evening with the Rodeo.

Video: Festival Parade at Riverside Drive and Avenue J in Moore Haven.

Two With Serious Injuries In Crash

COLLIER COUNTY, FL. -- Juana Andres, 48 of Immokalee was driving a 2002 Toyota Sienna traveling north on SR 29 about 9 a.m. Saturday in the left turn lane approaching the intersection of SR 82 as Elena Marroquin, 31 of LaBelle in a 2006 Dodge Caravan  was traveling south on SR 29 approaching the intersection of SR 82.

Nicolas Diaz Montejo, 53 of Immokalee in a box truck was stopped on SR 82 in the eastbound right turn lane waiting to merge onto SR 29.

Andres misjudged the approaching Dodge and made a left turn into the path as the front of the minivan. After the impact both vehicles rotated in a counterclockwise direction. The Toyota slid into the left side of the box truck. The Dodge caught fire and came to rest facing north in the southbound lane. The fire was extinguished by the fire department.

Marroquin had serious injuries and a passenger in the Toyota, Tomas Francisco Mateo, 44 also has serious injuries and both were taken to Lee Memorial.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Info Wanted On Motorcyclist Chase McNeil's Death

Glades County, FL. -- The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a hit and run with death traffic crash between an unknown vehicle and a motorcycle on CR 720 near Shawnee Farms Road that occurred possibly during the nighttime hours of 3/3/17.

As a result of the crash, a male motorcyclist Chase Alan McNeil, 18 of Clewiston, FL is deceased. FHP is looking for an unknown vehicle with right front damage possibly with yellow in color paint transfer on it.

The unknown vehicle was traveling north in the southbound lane of CR-720. The motorcycle was traveling north in the northbound lanes of CR-720. For unknown reasons, the two vehicles collided in the center of the roadway on CR-720. The vehcicle fled the scene. The motorcycle was redirected into a ditch, partially water-filled, on the west shoulder. The cycle driver fell and landed in the ditch.

After an unknown amount of time, he was located by a passing FWC officer at 11 a.m. the next day. The officer rendered aid, and summoned EMS personnel. Glades County EMS arrived on scene and later pronounced him deceased.

Should anyone have any information regarding this crash, hit and run vehicle or driver, please contact Crimestoppers or FHP at (239) 938-1800

Free WiFi At Community Centers - Felda, Harlem, Pioneer

HENDRY COUNTY, FL. -- Hendry County installed free WiFi in several community centers throughout the County. The WiFi is available in the Pioneer Community Center at 910 Panama Ave in Clewiston, FL, the Felda Community Center at 1050 CR 830 in Felda, FL and the Harlem Community Center at 2000 7th St in Clewiston, FL.

“Offering public Wi-Fi in our community centers at no additional cost to taxpayers helps bridge the digital divide in our communities where high-speed internet offerings are limited,” said Director of Technology Ryan Purdy. “This initiative aids in our effort to promote transparency while offering residents’ access to internet based services that have become a necessity in many households.”

The public WiFi will benefit the unique population distribution of Hendry County in that many of its residents live in outlying areas and have limited access to the internet. The County is using the public WiFi to tailor its communication options to the communities that it serves to increase transparency and provide additional resources and options via the internet for the use of the community centers by our residents.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

5K Run/Walk April 12

LABELLE, FL. -- Please join us for a 5K Walk/Run April 12 to raise awareness of national child abuse prevention month. In lieu of a registration fee, we appreciate any donations of diapers and/or new children’s socks or sneakers to support our youngest and most vulnerable residents.

In order to register for the event, please contact the Department of Health in LaBelle at 863-674-4041 and mention the Prance for Prevention 5k. Please provide your first and last name and t-shirt size. The first 50 registered participants are guaranteed an event t-shirt which are sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle. (Sizes and Quantity are limited.)

LOCATION: CIVIC PARK (Connected to the Zac Reyna Memorial Playground)

9 Month Moratorium On Hendry Marijuana Facilities

HENDRY COUNTY, FL. -- The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners meeting held on Tuesday, February 28 at the LaBelle Commission Chambers.


· RFQ #2017-03 Construction Engineering and Inspection services for Sidewalk on CR78 from Kell Mill Blvd. to Crescent Ave. SW - Bids were opened on January 4, 2017. The selection committee met on February 14, 2017 and ranked KCCS Construction Services as the number one firm. FDOT will be funding this project. The Board approved the selection committee’s ranking.

· RFQ #2017-05 Design & Permitting, Construction and Construction Engineering, & Inspection for WC Owen Avenue from Georgia to US 27 – Bids were opened on January 4, 2017. The selection committee met on February 14, 2017 and ranked Johnson Engineering, Inc. as the number one firm for the design and permitting services and Aim Engineering & Surveying, Inc. for the CEI services. The FDOT will be fully funding this project. The Board approved the selection committee’s ranking.


· Budget Amendment for additional Permitting Technician – The Building Department has shown a significant increase in permitting activity that includes a trend of increased revenues for the last three years. The amount of permit applications has increased 60% in the last three years. The request includes an hourly rate range of $12.26 to $14.52 plus benefits to be determined at time of hire based on qualifications. The Board approved a budget amendment to fund a previously vacant and frozen existing position for a Permit Technician.


· Project Trentino – Resolution of Support for QTI Tax Refund – ATIO USA LLC, an advanced aluminum smelting operation, has brought forth a proposition to bring their manufacturing and headquarters operation to the City of Clewiston. The project includes a projected $25.778 million dollar capital investment, the hiring of 39 employees over a one year period carrying an average annual wage of $46,377 and would commence within 6 months. The company submitted a Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund (QTI) application with Enterprise Florida. This is a competitive project, with other locations still being considered, and full QTI approval will not be issued without the passing of the local resolution. The resolution has no financial impact on Hendry County. The Board approved the QTI Resolution.


· Adoption of Ordinance – Ordinance Establishing a Moratorium of Permitting Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers - This ordinance is based on Amendment 2. The temporary moratorium of nine (9) months on these facilities is to allow Hendry County staff sufficient time to determine what uses are best suited to a particular zoning category and how best to formulate land development regulations that appropriately govern the use of real property for purposes of distributing or dispensing marijuana and related activities. The Board approved adoption of the Ordinance.

· Adoption of Ordinance - Proposed Land Development Amendment Section 1-53-2.2, Land Use Classifications, adding a definition for Mobile Home Subdivisions Ordinance defining a Mobile Home Subdivision in the Hendry County Land Development Code (LDC). Currently there is not a definition in the LDC for Mobile Home Subdivision. The new definition designates a Mobile Home Subdivision as an area with individually owned lots that is developed with mobile homes. See the posted agenda item for the full definition available on our website at The Board approved adoption of the Ordinance.

· Adoption of Ordinance – CPA16-0005 County Initiated Comprehensive Proposed Future Land Use (FLU) Map Amendment – The County initiated the reclassification of approximately 38+ acres located in North LaBelle from Residential, Low-Density to Residential, Medium Density. Staff recommended this change due to the area being zoned for mobile homes. The change to the FLU would make these properties consistent with the intended use. Allowing property owners the opportunity to further advance their properties in line with their intended use. The Board approved adoption of the Ordinance.


· Approve Submission of a Grant Application to the USDA to Fund a Feasibility Study/Needs Assessment to Construct a New Hendry County Courthouse Complex – The Courthouse Complex would include a new Jail, Courtrooms, Sheriff’s Offices, some Constitutional Offices and the repurposing the existing Courthouse to the Administration Center and other Constitutional Offices. The feasibility study/needs assessment is estimated to cost $95,000 and is required when seeking Federal or State funds. The study qualifies for funding under the USDA Community Facilities for Public Bodies. The Board approved staff to make application for the funds and (if awarded the grant) advertise an RFQ for professional services.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Obituaries - Betty Bulifant, Eloisa Hull, Audrey Brent Golden

Betty Adams Bulifant 86 of Clewiston, FL born March 3, 1930 and passed way Friday February 24, 2017 at her nursing home in Coconut Creek, FL. Betty was preceded in death by her husband William Bulifant and son Ronald Hunt. She is survived by daughter Sharon Gruber and son Donald Hunt along with their children and grandchildren.

Funeral services were held Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Pastor Charley Watts officiating. Interment will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation was Wednesday from 1 hour prior to service at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Eloisa Angela Hull, age 59, of LaBelle, passed away February 24, 2017 in Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers, Florida.

She was born Sep. 4, 1957 in Sugar Land, TX, to Pedro and Angelita (Arguelles) Carmona. Mrs. Hull married Jerry Hull. Angela worked as a paraprofessional and substitute teacher for Hendry County Public Schools for many years, she also worked at Hendry County Elections Office & ISD Schools in San Patricio, TX. She was a member of First Christian Church of LaBelle.

Survivors include her husband: Jerry Hull, daughters; Norma Pompa and her husband Fernando, Naomi Martinez and her husband Hector Bustamante, Nicole Gore and her husband Randy, sons; James Hull and his wife Stacy, Brian Hull and Joseph Hull, brothers; Ernesto Carmona and his wife, Betty, Eliberto Carmona and his wife Belinda Garay, grandchildren; Adrianna and Cristian Arriola, Tatiana and Guiliana Gaure, Adrian and Brandon Calfee, George and Manuel Aguilar, Randy Jr, Turok, Korben Gore, and Jackson Hull.

A visitation will be held Friday evening, March 3, 2017 from 6-8 p.m. in Akin-Davis Funeral Home. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Audrey Brent Golden, 79, of Alva, Florida, passed away on February 27, 2017.  Brent was born in Alva, Florida on October 19th, 1937. He graduated from Alva High School.

Brent married Shirley Jean Farmer on May 1st 1970; they were married for 47 blissful years.

Brent was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson as the Post Master of Alva for the United States Postal Service which he served for 33 and a half years. He served his community as a police officer in the City of Fort Myers for 10 years and as a deputy sheriff for Lee County for 7 years. Brent also served as the volunteer fire chief of Alva Fire Department for many years. He enjoyed coon hunting, fishing, working on his land and spending time with his family.

Brent is survived by his wife Shirley Jean, children Wayne (Diana) and Larry (Linda); brothers Walter (Norma) and R. Wayne; sisters Silvia (George Hann) and Judy Metz; grandchildren Joshua (Amber) and Derek (Jaylin); great-grandchildren Caleb, Levi, Audrey and Raelynn as well as many other family and friends.

Brent is preceded in death by his father and mother Arthur Audrey and Florence Elizabeth Golden also his son James Brent Golden.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Akin-Davis Funeral Home 13932 Palm Beach Blvd, Fort Myers, FL 33905. Visitation will be on Thursday, March 2nd from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. The funeral service will be held at Crossroads Baptist Church of Fort Myers, 10721 Palm Beach Blvd, Fort Myers, FL 33905 at 10:00 AM on Friday, March 3rd. Reverend Norman Walker will be officiating. Grave side burial will follow the funeral service at Alva Cemetery North River Road.

In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be given to The Alzheimer's Association 14010 Roosevelt Blvd # 709 Clearwater, Florida 33762 or at or call 1-800-272-3900. The family of Audrey Brent Golden wishes to thank everyone who shared in Brent's life and made it as special as it was.

Fountain Of Youth Program March 15

LABELLE, FL. -- LaBelle Heritage Museum's historic 1905 Aiken-Rider House will be the site for renowned Santa Fe College Professor Mallory O'Connor on Wednesday, March 15, at 7 o'clock as she relates the Quest for the Fountain of Youth in myth, legend and history and connects it to the Florida of yesterday, today and tomorrow. This concludes this season's Special Speaker Programs made possible by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council making it possible to showcase programs otherwise not available to smaller communities at no cost to the public.

LaBelle Heritage Museum may be in the middle of the first phase of a major rehabilitation project made possible by the Florida Department of State and the Division of Historic Preservation and asks attendees to pardon our dust if this is the case. We hope we will be able to welcome guests to an improved 1911 William H. Poole Building this coming fall. In the meanwhile, do visit us at the Aiken-Davis House.

Solar Power Plant Coming Spring 2018 To Hendry

HENDRY COUNTY, FL -- Florida Power & Light Company today announced the names and locations of its 2017 and 2018 universal solar projects, consisting of eight new 74.5-megawatt solar power plants that will be built over the next 12 months, including one in Hendry county.

The following four plants are expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2017:
FPL Coral Farms Solar Energy Center, Putnam County
FPL Horizon Solar Energy Center, Alachua and Putnam Counties
FPL Indian River Solar Energy Center, Indian River County
FPL Wildflower Solar Energy Center, DeSoto County

And the remaining four plants are expected to be completed by March 1, 2018:
FPL Barefoot Bay Solar Energy Center, Brevard County
FPL Blue Cypress Solar Energy Center, Indian River County
FPL Hammock Solar Energy Center, Hendry County
FPL Loggerhead Solar Energy Center, St. Lucie County

“With the support of communities across the state, we are advancing smart, affordable clean energy infrastructure while keeping customer bills low,” said Eric Silagy, FPL president and CEO. “On a per-megawatt basis, these eight new plants will be the lowest-cost solar ever built in Florida and some of the lowest-cost solar ever built in America. Our steadfast commitment to delivering solar cost-effectively directly benefits our customers, our environment and the economy.”

Combined, the new plants are expected to generate enough energy annually to power approximately 120,000 homes and produce net savings for FPL customers of $39 million over their operational lifetime. The net savings are due primarily to the projected reduction in the use of fossil fuels more than offsetting the cost to build the plants.

Construction is expected to commence this spring. At the height of construction, each of the sites is expected to employ about 200 people, for a total of approximately 1,600 jobs.

FPL has been working closely with community leaders, local residents and environmental experts to identify and prepare each of the sites to host the new solar installations, and the company has received widespread support for the investment, which will total approximately $900 million in new solar for Florida.

“The Nature Conservancy wholeheartedly supports Florida’s renewable energy future, and we’re pleased to see FPL’s shared commitment by adding 2.5 million new solar panels at eight new universal solar power plants,” said Greg Knecht, deputy executive director of the Florida Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

“An additional eight new solar energy centers is a major step toward reducing carbon emissions and saving water, benefitting the earth and all Floridians,” said Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida.

FPL’s universal solar energy centers provide zero-emissions power to the grid and are designed to avoid wetlands and minimize any impact on natural surroundings. The panels sit low to the ground, at about 6 to 8 feet high, on racks that fit directly into the soil and do not require any concrete. Once construction is complete, the plants operate without water, fuel or on-site personnel, placing little to no demand on public services.