Thursday, June 29, 2017

Safe Holiday Weekend Driving Tips

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) urges everyone to use caution when traveling on Florida roads this weekend for a safe and enjoyable Independence Day. The DHSMV urges motorists to make sure their vehicle is road-ready, buckle up and never drive impaired.

The DHSMV offers the following driving safety tips for this year’s Fourth of July weekend:
         Always buckle up. A seatbelt is your vehicle’s most important safety feature.
         Designate a sober driver and never drive impaired. Remember, even one drink increases the risk of a crash while driving. Do not let anyone who has been drinking get behind the wheel, including you.
         Check your tires before you take a trip. Properly maintaining and inspecting your tires before a long trip is a key step in keeping your family safe while traveling. Motorists should check to ensure their vehicle has proper tire pressure and inspect tire tread before driving to avoid potentially fatal tire failure and rollover crashes.
         Stay focused on driving and do not drive distracted. Distracted driving is extremely risky behavior and focused attention on driving helps to prevent crashes.
         Travelers should use caution when traveling through an area with low visibility, especially at night.
         Call *FHP (*347) to report drunk drivers, traffic crashes, stranded or disabled motorists or suspicious incidents on the road.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

LaBelle State Road 29 Hearing June 29 At Civic Center

The Florida Department of Transportation, District One, is hosting a public hearing, as part of the Project Development and Environment Study for proposed improvements to State Road (SR) 29 from CR 80A (Cowboy Way) to CR 731 (Whidden Road) in Hendry and Glades Counties, Florida. The project consists of widening SR 29 to four-lanes within the project limits, including the addition of a new bridge over the Caloosahatchee River.  

The public hearing will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 29, 2017 at LaBelle Civic Center, 481 Highway 80 West (behind City Hall), LaBelle, FL, 33935.

An open house begins at 5 p.m. where people can view the recommended conceptual plans, draft project documents and other project-related materials.  Department representatives will be available beginning at 5 p.m. to discuss the project and answer questions. The formal portion of the hearing will begin at 6 p.m., and will include introductory remarks by the hearing moderator, a video presentation describing the project, and a public comment period.  Written comments will also be accepted. Following the formal portion, the informal open house will resume and continue until 7 p.m.

The draft project documents and other information are available for public review through July 10, 2017 at the Barron Library, 461 N Main Street, LaBelle. Business hours are: Monday & Thursday - 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.TuesdayWednesdayFriday - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on the project website (

This hearing offers people the opportunity to express their views about the location; conceptual design; and social, economic, and environmental effects of the widening of SR 29 to four-lanes, including the addition of a new bridge over the Caloosahatchee River.

FDOT representatives will be present to answer questions prior to and following the formal portion of the hearing.  Interested parties may submit written comments at the hearing or at a later date to Ms. Gwen G. Pipkin, FDOT Project Manager at 801 North Broadway Avenue, Bartow, FL 33830, by telephone at 863-519-2375 or toll-free at1-800-292-3368 Ext. 2375, or by email to  All exhibits or statements postmarked on or before July 10, 2017 will become part of the public hearing record.

Tai Chi At Hope Connections Monday And Thursday At 1 P.M.

Many benefits are attributed to the traditional Chinese practice of Tai Chi . It is considered a ' Moving Meditation,' helping with emotional well-being, in addition to helping with balance, concentration and mobility .

The Labelle group uses various Tai Chi forms including Al Huang, Tai Chi Chuh, and Tai Chi for Seniors. The group meets Monday's and Thursdays 1 PM at Hope Connections, 475 E. Cowboy Way. 
All are welcome. For information call Janet Falk at 675-2506 or Hope Connections at 675-1576. Classes are free .

Drug Abuse Resource Guide Free For Parents, Teens, Teachers

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration this week released the 2017 edition of Drugs of Abuse, A DEA Resource Guide.
The Drugs of Abuse guide is released on a periodic basis and designed to be a reliable resource on the most commonly abused and misused drugs in the United States. The guide provides important science-based information about the harms and consequences of drug use, describing a drug’s effects on the body and mind, overdose potential, origin, legal status, and other key factors. The 2017 edition updates the 2015 Drugs of Abuse publication with the most current information on new and emerging trends in drug misuse and abuse, including fentanyl, other opioids, and synthetic drugs.       
Because education plays a critical role in preventing substance abuse, this comprehensive guide is intended as a tool not just for medical practitioners and law enforcement officials, but also for educators, families, and communities. Drugs of Abuse also offers a list of additional drug education and prevention resources, including the DEA websites: www.DEA.govwww.getsmartaboutdrugs.comfor parents, for teens, and for teachers.
For more information and to view the 2017 Drugs of Abuse resource guide, visit  

Deborah Howard Dies At 56

Deborah Elaine Howard, age 56, of LaBelle, passed away June 25, 2017 in Tampa.
She was born Dec. 14, 1960 in Tampa, FL, to James Walter Keen and Julia Delwona (Johnson) Keen. She was a member of Community Harvest Worship Center in LaBelle. She was a loving wife and mother who loved the Lord with all her heart.
Survivors include her husband: Fred Howard, Jr, sons: Seth (Felisha) Howard, Shawn Keen and Melissa Howard, parents: James Walter Keen and Julia Delwona (Johnson) Keen, brothers: Jimmy (Leanne) Keen and Vinson Keen, sisters: Julia Riddell and Tammy (Eddie) Keen, grandchildren: Abby Keen; Hayden Saxton, Mallory Saxton, Kendrah Robinson, Easton Robinson and Conner Robinson. She was preceded in death by her son, Michael Howard.
A graveside funeral service will be held Thursday, June 29, 2017, 11:00 am at Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle with Pastor L.W. Howard officiating. Interment will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle. Visitation will be Thursday from 9 am - 10:00am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Obituaries - Alvin Hicks, Carolina Castro, Willie Strickland

Alvin W. Hicks, age 71, of LaBelle, passed away June 21, 2017 in LaBelle.
He was born July 28, 1945 in Stoddard, MO, to Floyd and Gladys (Smith) Hicks. Mr. Hicks married Susan Y. Riddle; she survives. Alvin worked for many years as a construction foreman. Alvin served his country proudly in the United States Navy for three years. Receiving the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. Alvin was a member of the Moose Lodge International for many years. Alvin was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew and loved him.
Alvin is also survived by his sons; Wesley Hicks of LaBelle, and Dwayne Hicks of Texas, one brother; Junior Hicks of Texas and two sisters; Faye Tuberville of Texas and Virgie Clayton of Missouri, he also leaves behind five grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.
Carolina L. Castro, age 89, of LaBelle, FL, passed away June 21, 2017 in Fort Myers, FL.
She was born Sep. 21, 1927 in Mexicali, Mexico to the late Alfonso Castro and the late Adalberta (Lopez) Castro. Originally from California, Carolina lived her later years in Florida. She was also preceded in death by her five brothers and four sisters. Carolina loved gardening & enjoyed taking care of her dogs.
She is survived by her nieces: Adalberta (Mark) Nelson of N. Ft. Myers, FL and Celia (Eric) Myer of LaBelle, FL.
A Memorial Mass will be held at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church at a later date. .
Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.
Willie Hugh Strickland, Sr., age 83, of Immokalee, passed away June 22, 2017 in Naples. He was born Aug. 25, 1933 in Glennville, GA, to the late Arnie Lee Strickland and the late Ida Mae (Waters) Strickland.
Hugh moved to Immokalee in 1953 after serving in the Army during the Korean War. He was the owner of the Immokalee Gulf Service Station and later Strick's Shell Station. He attended the First United Methodist Church in Immokalee for many years.
He is survived by his son: Willie Hugh Strickland, Jr. (Dora), daughter: Paula House (Ken), grandchildren: Jason House (Nicole), Justin Strickland (Holly), Gabby Ayala-Strickland, Sebastian Strickland and Rebekah Blue Strickland. He was preceded in death by his wife, Vernell Blue Strickland.
Funeral services will be held Monday, June 26, 2017 at 11:00 am at First United Methodist Church of Immokalee with Pastor Thom Street officiating. Visitation will be Monday one hour prior to service at First United Methodist Church of Immokalee. Interment will be Monday, June 26, 2017 in the Baptist Cemetery, Immokalee.
In lieu of flowers donations in memory of Hugh may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Immokalee, 303 North 9th Street, Immokalee, FL 34142.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ham Radio Participates In Annual Exercise

LABELLE, FL. -- Amateur radio in LaBelle showed off emergency operation skills Saturday at Hendry County's Emergency Operations Center. Setting up mobile antennas and portable transcievers next the center's helipad on State Road 80 west of LaBelle, ham radio operators made and received contacts from other radio operators  around the nation in an annual day to practice communication skills that are needed in emergency situations.

Should local communications be cut off for any area, FCC licensed radio operators volunteer their equipment and skills to send and receive messages and information to and from areas where damaged phone lines, and cell towers are inoperative, often happening after hurricanes, floods and other emergency situations.

Ham radio operators in the U.S. and Canada take one weekend a year to practice and prepare for such emergencies on "Field Day." Field Day is always the fourth full weekend of June, beginning at 1800 UTC Saturday and running through 2059 UTC Sunday.

The Amateur Radio Relay League says, "40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio's science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio."

Serious Crash Halts Traffic On SR 80 - Child Injured

LABELLE, FL. -- A multiple car crash Saturday afternoon shut down the west bound two lanes of State Road 80 west of of LaBelle at Congen Road. One vehicle overturned and a second was badly damaged.

Judith M. Hellwig, 55 of Fort Myers in a 2016 Volkswagon was traveling east in the inside lane on SR-80 just east of CR-78A (Fort Denaud Rd). Gema J. Guillen, 34 of LaBelle in a 2008 Chrysler Aspen was traveling west in the outside lane on SR-80 just east of CR- 78A (Fort Denaud Rd).

Hellwig lost control and crossed the median then traveled northeast into the westbound lanes then struck the left side portion of Guillen's vehicle which was in the outside lane of the westbound lanes. Hellwig's Volkwagon overturned multiple times and came to final rest on its right side facing southwest on the grass shoulder. Guillen's vehicle continued to travel after the impact then came to final rest on the grass shoulder just north of the roadway facing east.

Guillen's vehicle carried four juveniles, one of which was a 5 year old girl who sustained a severe head injury. The 5 year old was seated in the left side seat of the second row. She received life threatening injuries from this crash and her parent was on-scene and notified. She was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital.

Hellwig was charged by the FHP with careless driving and DUI.

Photo by Don Browne

Madison Allen Working At Law Firm For Summer

Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A. is pleased to welcome law student, Madison Allen of LaBelle to the law firm to supplement her law school experience by working as a clerk at the firm during the summer.

Allen is a Southwest Florida native and grew up in LaBelle. She was dual enrolled at Florida SouthWestern and earned her associates degree before graduating LaBelle High School in 2012. Allen then attended Florida Gulf Coast University where she earned her undergraduate degree in 2015 and will soon enter her final year at Stetson University College of Law. 

While at Stetson, Allen has served as the Pro Bono Chair, a Student Bar Association Representative, and a member of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers. She also received the Lee County Association for Women Lawyer’s Scholarship at its Judicial Reception held last month.

As part of Henderson Franklin's Summer Associate Program, Allen will be exposed to a broad range of practice areas and will attend hearings, trials, depositions, mediations, arbitrations and meetings with clients. She will also perform research, assist in the drafting of pleadings, discovery and analyze various legal issues. Each summer associate is paired with a Henderson Franklin attorney mentor who assists the summer associate with the transition from law student to lawyer.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hendry Residents Face Rising Taxes And Costs

The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting held on Tuesday, June 13 at Clewiston City Hall.
·         RFQ #2017-13 – Construction Management Services for Historic and Non-Historic Projects in Hendry County – The Board approved to move forward with Construction Management Services contract. This contract is mainly for the Old Hendry County Courthouse repairs. Work on the non-historic surroundings of courthouse are currently under construction. Once the current project is completed, the needed historic renovations will be assessed for cost.
·         Adoption of Ordinance Requiring Connection to the Port LaBelle Utility System – The Board approved an ordinance requiring all landowners in Port LaBelle to connect to the water system. The ordinance also requires landowners whose property abuts a wastewater collection line to connect to the wastewater system.
·         Possible Closure of Offices on Monday, July 3, 2017 – The Board voted to close County offices on Monday, July 3, 2017 in honor of Fourth of July holiday.  This vote for closure applies only to July 3 of this year. Offices will be closed 7/3 and 7/4.

·         Resolution Authorizing the Submission of a Grant Application to FL Department of State - The Board adopted a resolution approving the submission of a grant application to the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources (DHR) for $500,000 for Façade Preservation activities at the Old Hendry County Courthouse.  The Board also made the commitment for the required 10% local match (cash and in-kind services).  The DHR offers assistance to county governments through competitive grants to construct, repair and maintain historic properties, contingent upon an annual appropriation by the Florida Legislature.  The Old Courthouse was completed in 1927 and is considered the most significant and prominent historic structure in Hendry County.

·         ALTAIR Training Solutions, Inc. – Notice of Significant Default under Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption – The Board motioned to schedule a public hearing to revoke ALTAIR’s tax exempt status.  The company failed to meet job creation criteria required to qualify for the exemption along with their failure to pay regular taxes since 2014.

·         Update of Solid Waste Franchise Agreement. – Update of Solid Waste Franchise Agreement - The Board directed the Truth in Millage rate set at $240 with two day a week waste pick-up. The Board and staff are to negotiate with the Solid Waste hauler and seek out solutions which would help reduce costs to residents.

·         Fire MSBU TRIM Rates – The Board approved a recommendation to increase East Fire MSBU rates by 35% for TRIM notices.  The increase is due to the implementation of a bill passed by the State Legislature in 2016 exempting properties with an agricultural designation from fire assessments.  Additional funding requirements over the last few years are also needed to operate the fire MSBU. 

Ruby Garcia Speaks At Kiwanis On Crime Prevention

Hendry County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Specialist Ruby Garcia spoke to Kiwanis members how together we can and will succeed in making our community safe.

Pictured: Past Kiwanis President Nikki Yeager and Ruby Garcia

Photo by: Helen Mead

Hands On CPR Saves Lives Says Kevin Long, RN

Kevin Long, RN for the Florida Department of Health in Hendry County presented "Hands Only CPR" to Kiwanis Members at the June 20th meeting,

Photo by: Helen Mead
Pictured: Kevin Long, RN and Past Kiwanis President Nikki Yeager

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Apply For Free Food - Deadline June 30

Seniors, 60 or older in Hendry and Glades counties interested in applying for Commondity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) can come to or call any of Hope Connections locations in LaBelle, Moore Haven, or Clewiston during business hours for monthly free food of about 35 pounds of healthy vegetables, fruit, juice, dairy and protein. They may also sign up by contacting or visiting any of other community churches and local agencies

Hope Connections:

• LaBelle: Nobles Senior Center, 475 East Cowboy Way. Phone: 863-675- 1576
• Moore Haven: 501 1st St. Phone. 863-946- 0366
• Clewiston:1200 South W.C. Owen Ave. Phone: 863-983- 8942

Other agencies

Senior's in Hendry or Glades counties can register at Good Shepherd Church 1098 Collingswood Pkwy LaBelle for food distribution registration on Thursday June 22nd or Thursday June 29th. Church office 863-675-0385

 Catholic Charities of Hendry/Glades, 208 North Deanne Duff St., Clewiston. Phone: 239-672-6119
 Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist church, Della Tobias Ave., Clewiston. Phone: 863-983-8313.
 Serving With Love Ministries, 330 S. Estribo St., Clewiston. Phone: 863-254- 7794 or 863-228-6479.
 Feeding with Hope (formerly Iglesia Nueva TV), 217 East Aztec Ave., Clewiston. Phone:863-983- 1070
 Lighthouse Apostolic Church, 911 Evercane Road, Clewiston. Phone: 863-599- 9333
 First United Methodist Church, 300 Avenue L., Moore Haven. Phone: 863-227- 4647
 Goodwill Industries, 1150 US-27, Moore Haven. Phone: 863-946- 0572
 Living Waters Fellowship, 600 Avenue F, Moore Haven. Phone: 863-509- 9116.

Seniors may also call Annie Noel, CSFP coordinator at the Harry Chapin Food Bank, 239-334- 7007, ext. 143 or email:

Friday, June 16, 2017

Southwest Florida Online Sponsors

Thanks to the Southwest Florida Online sponsors for bringing our local news the last many years.

Alden A. Rumfelt, Attorney At Law135 Riverbend Drive
LaBelle, Fl 33935
Phone (863) 673-0251 email


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

Kiwanis Club Of LaBelle 
The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle is proud to sponsor three Service Leadership Programs

Website for Kiwanis:

KEY Club LaBelle High School- Sponsor, Tracy Nobles
Builder's Club West Glades School - Sponsor, Doreen Backes
AKTION Club LaBelle - Sponsor, Martha Stephens

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Walking The Tamiami Trail - Bob Kranich

Excerpts from A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich

I continued walking along the Tamiami Trail and came to a man working on his car engine in a roadside park. The next thing I knew I was sitting down at a picnic table with his entire family, wife and three young children, just talking. They gave me some water because they said they had a lot with them. They were hauling the water to their house because their well had been condemned. It continually amazed me just how much people would help and be just down-right friendly.
    I looked around and decided I would spend the night there at the roadside. I worked up a real crazy method to tie my hammock to the two end posts of a cast concrete picnic shelter. I was hanging way up in the air over the picnic table. That evening the mosquitoes were the worst that they had ever been. Another thanks to my mosquito net hat. It was getting hot in my sleeping bag when I slept at night, but I couldn’t sleep outside of it because the mosquitoes would carry me off!
    In the morning I decided to get an early start. I could see by the passing cars that there were a lot of weekend travelers and pleasure-seekers on the road. I came to a family and some of their friends who were fishing in the canal.
    We got to talking for quite a long time. The one lady insisted that I was getting paid to take this trip and that she would see me pretty soon on TV! It went something like this:
    A very large lady and the most vocal of the group, “I know that you aren’t just doing this for the fun, Nooo I’m going to see you on TV.”
    “No mam, I’m just hiking for the fun of it.”
    Ha...Ha...Ho…Ho, I’ll bet so… How much are they paying you?”
You are going to be on TV, I know I’m right, I’ll bet I’m right!” They all said, “Yea, Yea.”
    “Did they tell you what station you will be on? What time?”
    “M’am, I’ve got to go, but honestly, I’m just a hiker on a trip.”
    “Well bye and good luck, we will be looking for you on TV.”

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

Glades Property Appraiser Map Improvements


MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- One of the greatest features available from the Glades County Property Appraiser's online site is the Glades County aerial GIS map. The map is a great tool for identifying property ownership, addresses, roads, highways, railroads, lots, blocks, and property dimensions.

In an effort to provide even more information, Lori Ward, Glades County Property Appraiser has recently added a Hydrology, Conservation Easement, Subdivision, Condo, and a Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation Boundary Layer.

To view the map, from the Home Page click on the tab marked “GIS Map”, located on the left side of the page. You can then select the desired layer by clicking on the box just to the left of the word describing the layer. For example, if you want to see the all of the rivers, creeks, sloughs, branches and canals (Hydrology Layer), you would click the box to the left of “Glades Hydrology”.

Visit the website (, and Ms. Ward says if you need help with the website, give her a call and she will be more than happy to walk you through it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Obituary - Carlota Morrell

Carlota Toñarely Fernandez-Morrell
Carlota Morrell was born November 4, 1919 in Havana, Cuba, to Jose Ramon and Carmen Toñarely.  She graduated from the American Dominican Academy in Havana.  She had attended dance academies in Havana and New York City, focusing on tap and Spanish folk dancing.  She was an exchange student at Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas, before returning to Havana to further her education and to teach kindergarten.
She married Alberto Fernandez-Morrell in June 1943 and raised their family, with homes in Havana and on the family farming and ranching operation near Esmeralda, Camaguey Province.  In 1960, they came to the US and established residence in Pahokee.  While in Pahokee, she assisted with Mrs. Blakey’s Kindergarten. In 1963, the family moved to Clewiston. 
Carlota opened Morrell’s Platyme Kindergarten in 1963 and operated it until her retirement in 1985.  During those years, she helped prepare hundreds for schooling.  She also taught tap dancing in Clewiston and LaBelle.  She had a lifetime-long love for teaching children.
Carlota died peacefully at 97 on June 6, 2017.  She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Alberto, and brothers Luis, Enrique, Ramon and Fernando Toñarely.  She is survived by her children Carlota Francis-Barwick (Jeff), Alberto (Sandra), Armando (Patsy) of Mayking, KY, Luisa Jenkins (Michael) of Tonawanda, NY, Serafina Marcone (Victor) of Northport, and Alfonso (Laina) of Canton, GA.  She is survived by 17 grandchildren, and 22 great grandchildren.
A memorial funeral Mass will be conducted at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 1 at St. Margaret Catholic Church in Clewiston.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the St. Margaret Catholic Church Building Maintenance Fund. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Hector Placencia Dies At 71

Hector Placencia, age 71, of Clewiston, passed away June 10, 2017 in Boynton Beach.
He was born Dec. 9, 1945 in Kendallville, Indiana, to Andres H and Petra (Jalomo) Placencia. Mrs. Placencia married Yolanda Quesada. He was a parishioner of St. Margaret Catholic Church for many years. He worked for many years as head custodian for Hendry County Schools in Clewiston. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend who will be greatly missed by everyone who knew and loved him.
He leaves behind his loving wife; Yolanda Placencia of Clewiston, sons; Hector Placencia and his fiancé Ashley, Adrian Placencia, Michael Placencia and his wife Farah, one granddaughter; Noelia Placencia, along with many nieces' nephews and extended family members.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 11:00 am at Saint Margaret's Catholic Church, Clewiston, with Father Jiobani Batista presiding. Interment will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation is Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Kiwanis Adult Scholarship Applications Open

The LaBelle Kiwanis Club is accepting applications for adult scholarships through July 5, 2017. The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle believes in education and awards annual scholarships to adult students which are selected by the club's scholarship committee. 

Applicants will be contacted and interviews will be scheduled. Recipients should be announced by the end of July. 

The scholarships are designed to recognize and support exceptional students looking to achieve higher education. The scholarships are applied towards the student's tuition.
Applications can be picked up at the Kiwanis Thrift Store which is located at 155 S. Bridge Streetor print out the application from the LaBelle Kiwanis Website at: .
Return completed applications to LaBelle CPA Office at 14 West Washington, LaBelle (Across from Post Office) or mail to PO Box 2161, LaBelle, FL 33975 to the attention of "Scholarship Committee"

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Margie Henry Dies At 89

Margie Mae Henry, age 89, of Moore Haven, passed away June 4, 2017 in LaBelle.
She was born Apr. 12, 1928 in Point Pleasant, WV, to Dana Earl and Orga Myrle (Wears) Cooley. She worked for many years as telephone operator for the State of Ohio. She married Walter Henry; he preceded her in death on November 25, 2012. She was a very religious woman, who loved her church family greatly. She attended faithfully Pioneer Baptist Church. She was a loving and caring wife, mother, and friend to all. She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew and loved her.
Survivors include her loving daughter; Margie Nicolette "Nikki" Henry of LaBelle, Florida and her church family.
Celebration of Mrs. Henry's life was held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, June 8, 2017 in Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, Florida. Burial will be next to her husband in Sarasota National Cemetery.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Burn Ban Lifted In Hendry

On behalf of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners, Mr. Charles Chapman, the Hendry County Administrator, has authorized the county wide burn ban to be lifted effective Friday, June 9th, 2017, at 8:00 AM. 

 All applicable laws and ordinances with regards to burning will be back in effect at that time. The original county wide burn ban was put into effect by the Hendry County BOCC on January 9th, 2017 as a result of dry conditions and numerous large wildfires within Hendry County and the surrounding area. 

 Recent rains have alleviated the drought conditions somewhat, thereby allowing the ban to be lifted.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Governor Scott Vetoes Major Agriculture Program Funding

Gov. Rick Scott has vetoed more than $6 million worth of University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences projects that may curtail its ability and potential to deliver science-based solutions to Florida residents and the agriculture and natural resources industries.

Gene McAvoy, Hendry County Extension Director reports the following funding has been cut from the budget by Gov. Scott.

The vetoes include:

New funding:

•  Tropical Research & Education Center upgrades -- $750,000

Existing programs:

•   4-H State Funding -- $1,000,000
•   Florida Horticulture Research, Science, & Education -- $1,450,000
•   Tropical Aquaculture Lab (TAL) -- $778,987
•   FL Agriculture Initiative -- $125,000
•   Bok Tower Educational Initiative -- $2,000,000
•   Geomatics Education -- $636,120

The Governor vetoed funding for programs that have long been in the state budget. Except for the TREC proposal, these are recurring dollars that have supported faculty, staff and operations for years.

These vetoes will inflict immediate damage to the agricultural industry, says McAvoy. Overall  these  cuts  will limit UF/IFAS’ ability  to  serve  Florida  residents and  its  agriculture and natural resources  industries.

These  budget cuts impact the ability to offer  opportunities in the classroom,  discover knowledge through  innovative research and  share those  solutions with the public. They impact 35 existing faculty positions, staff funding support and program support.

Florida 4-H State Funding
The governor vetoed funding that supports numerous 4-H faculty, regional specialized agents and   programming. This will ripple across a state where the program prepares more than 200,000 youth for high-tech, STEM careers.

4 H is delivered through land-grant universities by Cooperative Extension—a community of more than 100 public universities across the nation that provides experiences where young people learn by doing.

Florida has a vibrant program with more than 200,000 Florida youth in 4-H through UF/IFAS Extension.  It involves 16,000 volunteers whose 650,000 hours of service equate to a $13.8 million economic impact annually.

The program educates children in all 67 counties and Seminole Tribe in STEM, citizenship/leadership, entrepreneurship, and healthy living to help them grow into contributing members of society and the workforce.

The loss of youth development faculty will translate into fewer traditional clubs, such as those in livestock, equine, veterinary science, biotechnology, raising and training animals, forestry, citizenship, and leadership. In addition, there will be fewer of the newer types of clubs that engage students in robotics, rocketry, computer science and electrical engineering. These clubs teach problem solving and creative and critical thinking, and they build excitement for engineering and technology.

Scott vetoed funding for the Center for Landscape Ecology and Conservation, a direct hit to Florida’s ornamental plant industry, which relies on science from the center that it cannot get at such a great value from any other source.

The CLCE has a primary objective to save water in the landscape and provide information on water quality issues associated with landscapes through research and Extension efforts. Strong partnerships with DEP, industry organizations, utilities, and governmental agencies provide a multi-prong approach to saving water and protecting water quality.

•       The Green Industries-Best Management Practices program has trained 44,061 and certified 37,857 landscape professionals through nearly 1,600 classes in Florida.
•       In 2015, an estimated 187,586,461 gallons of water was saved in Florida through a direct impact from the center’s major Extension programs. This is enough water to supply the annual indoor water needs of nearly 3,000 homes.
•       More than 4,500 Florida Master Gardener volunteers in 60 Florida Counties donated $9.3 million in volunteer time in areas of horticulture and water conservation education. The Florida Master Gardener Program trained 660 new volunteers in 2016.

It also  threatens the  Center  for Public Issues Education   that provides  valuable  research and   professional development  for   agriculture and natural  resources   industries across the state  supporting their competitiveness and  contributing to the  state’s economy.

Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory:
This veto eliminates most funding for the TAL in Ruskin. It is the only research and development support for an industry with an annual farm gate value of $27 million and that employs thousands of people. Florida accounts for 95 percent of U.S. production of aquarium fish.

The UF/IFAS Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory (TAL), provides research, Extension, education, and graduate student education focused on the state’s unique tropical fish industry. Tropical fish account for the largest segment of Florida’s aquaculture industry.

The aquaculture industry has the highest per-acre value and the highest economic multiplier factor of any agricultural commodity.

Program focus areas include new species development, non-native aquatic species management, aquatic animal disease diagnostics, restoration aquaculture, management of aquatic materials application, and general production management. Working closely with industry, state, and federal agencies, the TAL provides science-based information used to make management and regulatory decisions.

The TAL has a full-service disease diagnostic lab that provides treatment and prevention recommendations, trains students and conducts educational programs.

Yet another veto gut the geomatics education program. There is a critical shortage of professionals who can gather, analyze and interpret mapping and surveying data. More than half of graduates with this kind of education own their own companies. And they stay in Florida and contribute to our economy.

Established in 1973 at the University of Florida at the behest of the surveying profession in Florida, the geomatics program is the only full-service geomatics program in the southeast United States, and it is viewed as a program of regional, national, and international impact. The program has developed national recognition through its research program, faculty publications, and faculty participation at national meetings.

Geomatics/surveying has had a critical shortage of professionals for at least a decade.  In order to meet the increasing demand for professionals, the UF/IFAS Geomatics Education initiative expanded the existing bachelor’s program for statewide delivery and developed an online geomatics certificate as a route to licensure for individuals holding bachelor’s degrees in other disciplines.

Florida Ag Initiative
Vetoed funding for the Florida Agriculture Initiative will mean fewer high school students engaged in agriculture and natural resources studies for an industry with a critical deficit in the numbers of university students entering its professions.

The Florida Youth Institute uses the Florida Agriculture Initiative funding to inform and inspire high school students to consider careers in agriculture and natural resources. The Florida Youth Institute in Agriculture and Natural Resources (FYI) is a centerpiece of this effort. It’s a week-long residential immersion program for rising 11th and 12th graders from across the state. The mission of FYI is to engage youth with faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and professionals in current agricultural and natural resource issues and areas of interest that match industry needs.

Bok Tower Educational Initiative
Also affected is the mission of the UF/IFAS Extension and Bok Tower Gardens Partnership to enrich communities through experiential education that promotes a connection to nature and healthy living. The partnership works to improve community health across Polk County and the Central and South Florida region by mitigating health risk factors and fostering a sense of community and civic responsibility through hands-on learning for youth and adults. The work of the partnership couples the research-based expertise of the University of Florida and Extension’s intentional outreach of educational and conservation programs, along with world-class facilities and natural settings, at Bok Tower Gardens.

Amazon Gives Discount To Food Stamp Recipients And Others

Amazon today announced customers participating in a growing list of government assistance programs can now access Amazon Prime at a discounted monthly price. 
Currently, customers who have a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card qualify for the discounted membership. Membership includes Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Reading, Prime Photos and unlimited fast, free shipping for $5.99 per month for one year, with the ability to cancel anytime. Customers can learn more or sign up for a 30-day free trial at
In addition to unlimited fast, free two-day shipping on more than 50 million eligible items, Prime members also receive unlimited access to the following benefits at no additional cost:
  • Prime Video: Unlimited access to tens of thousands of movies and TV shows
  • Prime Music: More than two million songs and thousands of playlists and stations
  • Prime Photos: Unlimited photo storage to preserve family memories
  • Prime Reading: A rotating selection of free e-books and magazines
  • Audible Channels for Prime: Premium original podcasts, audio series and audiobooks exclusively from Audible
  • Kindle First: A free pre-release e-book each month
  • Twitch Prime: In-game loot on Twitch and 20 percent off pre-release digital games
  • Early Access: Exclusive early access to select Lightning Deals
  • Savings: Discounts on select products including 20 percent off diaper subscriptions
  • Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery: One million products, order by noon and get them today in eligible zip codes
  • Prime Now: Free two-hour delivery on tens of thousands of items in eligible zip codes
At launch, customers will need to qualify with a valid EBT card. An EBT card is commonly used to disburse funds for several government assistance programs including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC). EBT cannot be used to pay for membership. Customers can qualify every 12 months up to 4 times. Amazon will add other ways to qualify in the future for customers participating in government assistance programs that do not utilize EBT. 
There is no annual commitment and members can cancel anytime. Customers can learn more or sign up for a 30-day free trial at