Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Walk Across Florida - Homestead

Excerpts from A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich

It was Sunday and beautiful weather as I walked through Homestead. Not too many people around. Still when people saw me they seemed surprised.

How did this area get its name? In 1898 it was open to homesteading. To get to this area there was only a trail. It was called the “Homesteaders Trail.” This all changed when in 1904 Henry Flagler decided to extend his railroad south from Miami to this location. The engineers who did the mapping for the railroad marked this area as Homestead. A story  tells of Henry Flagler standing on the southernmost point of land in Florida, (and it could have very well have been in the Homestead Florida City area), with five of his most important executives. He said, as he extended his arm in a broad sweep south towards the water, “Gentlemen: the railroad will go to sea.”

Henry Flagler then extended his Florida East Coast Railroad south through the swamps, and mangroves, across the sounds, and then from Key Largo to Key West. This made Homestead the hub of the railroad expansion. The name Homestead originated from the supplies and construction materials being sent to the “Homestead area.” Florida City and Homestead are so close that they are almost one. That was what I thought as I hiked through. It is the southernmost city in the U.S. that is not on an island, and it is the jumping off place for the Florida Keys.

When I got to the Florida Pioneer Museum, it was closed. There was an old, large, one-story, restored Florida City house on the property. Sitting next to it on a short section of railroad track was a railroad caboose from the old Flagler Florida East Coast Railroad.

I started by dropping my pack on the large front porch and then taking a seat there and just resting. When I had my fill of resting, I took some photos of the Florida City pioneer house. Also since I couldn't resist railroads, I had to take photos of the old Florida East Coast caboose and sketch it. Some literature there said that the house was the old Homestead Florida East Coast Railroad Station Agent’s home and was built in 1904…..

I was through Florida City before I knew it. I filled up my stove for 4 cents at an Amoco gas station. It was there that I saw I was on U. S. Highway No. 1. There was also an old railroad grade on my right, the west side of the road. There weren’t any rails, but the old ties were still there. I had this feeling that where I was standing was historic. I was sure that it was the jumping-off place for the overseas railroad, the railroad that went to sea…. Now I was about start my hike that went to sea!

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, July 29, 2017

Jonathan Keese Dies In Motorcycle Crash

Jonathan Keese, 25 of Lehigh Acres, FL died in a crash at 2:27 a.m. Saturday in Fort Myers.

A 2006 Honda CBR1000 was traveling northbound in the inside lane of Treeline Ave approaching Pelican Preserve Blvd. and failed to negotiate a left curve causing the left side to sideswipe the median curb.

Keese failed to maintain control  causing the vehicle to overturn onto its left side which began to travel on its left side causing it to collide with the median.

Keese was thrown from the vehicle onto the grass median. The vehicle came to final rest on its left side on the northbound left turn lane of Treeline Ave just south of Pelican Preserve Blvd.

Keese was pronounced deceased at the scene. Investigation continues for alcohol as a factor said the FHP.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Richard Ison Dies At 49

Richard David Ison, age 49, of Clewiston, passed away July 20, 2017 in West Palm Beach.
David was born Aug. 29, 1967 in Hialeah, FL, to the late Ronald E. and the late Mary (Gray) Ison. Mr. Ison married Bettie Jeane Stanley on August 28, 1992 in Las Vegas, Nevada. David worked for many years in Water Utilities. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend. He will be missed by everyone who knew and loved him.
Survivors include his loving wife: Bettie Jeane Ison, one son: Michael Ison and one daughter: Kimberly Ison, one granddaughter; Hayley Ison.
Graveside internment rites will be held at 11:00 a.m. August 1, 2017 in Ridgelawn Cemetery.
Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Firehouse Theatre News

What's happening at the Firehouse Theatre

Open Auditions
Open auditions for the Firehouse Theatre’s 25th Season will be held Saturday, September 9th from 10am to noon at the Firehouse Theatre(241 North Bridge Street).
Please come to this audition to showcase your talents! Senior auditions for the “Old Time Radio” program will also be included.
Additional auditions will be held November 4th at 10am at the Theatre’s Rehearsal Hall located at
Are you Nifty and over 50?---The Firehouse Theatre Needs you!
The Firehouse Theatre’s new senior program is looking for actors age 55-plus to be part of the Old Time Radio show!! Also seeking seniors for the following: Sound effects manager, assistance with props and back-stage, music sound effects technician to record music from original productions and of course actors! If you are interested in performing or volunteering for the Seniors Program at the theatre, please contact Deborra Auditions will be held on September 9th from 10am to noon, but you can contact Deborra prior to that if you are interested! Deborra Soja produces and directs this wonderful program!
Laugh Out Loud (LOL)
The next Laugh Out Loud (LOL) Comedy Night at the Firehouse Theatre will be held in February; more details to come!! If you would like to be on stage and present your comedy talents, please call Doug Patterson at 239-369-0903

The Firehouse Community Theatre, Inc. is excited to present its 25th season! The line up is listed below:
·       “Sex Please We’re 60” - Oct 27-29 & Nov 2-5, 2017 – If you need a rollicking good time filled with laughter, this is the play to see.
·       “The Marvelous Wonderettes: Winter Wonderettes” – Dec 7-10 & 14-17, 2017 – Featuring great 60’s versions of holiday classics such as “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” and “Jingle Bell Rock”.
·       “Continental Divide” – Jan 18-21 & 25-28, 2018 – A delightful and hilarious comedy between rich and poor with a fresh viewpoint.
·       “Always a Bridesmaid” – Feb 22-25 & March 1-4, 2018 – If you have ever been forced to wear the world’s ugliest bridesmaid dress, then this is the comedy for you!
·       “Looking Back and Forward” – April 6-8 & 12-15, 2018 – Four our 25th season, Nick will take the best part of the past performances and add a few new tunes to create a spectacular musical event.
·       “Almost, Maine” – May 4-6 & 11-13, 2018 – There is no pretense of an edge here. The show offers a sweetness and decency that’s become rare at the theatre.

Other shows to look forward to during the year include the “LOL” – “Laugh Out Loud Comedy Show”, the fantastic Senior Program – Old Time Radio Show, and the Children’s Theatre Productions.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Volunteer Readers Wanted At United Way

United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee is recruiting volunteers for the United Way ReadingPals program to read to four and five-year-olds at sixteen school sites in Lee and Hendry Counties.  Reading Pals help build a strong foundation for literacy and a love of reading in young children.
Children who are read to are more likely to become good readers. Children who read at grade level by the third grade are four times more likely to graduate from high school.
The ReadingPals literacy program requires a commitment of only one hour a week during the school year. During this time pals are matched with pairs of Pre-K and Kindergarten age children who need extra help.  Pals build a meaningful relationship by providing the individual attention many kids need to thrive. 
Volunteers are needed in all areas of the community, particularly in Lehigh Acres and Central Fort Myers.  The schools in Lee County are: Bonita Elementary, Cafferata Elementary, Christa McAuliffe Elementary, Colonial Elementary, The Early Childhood Center, J. Colin English Elementary, Gladiolus Child Development, New Horizons Afterschool in Estero, Orangewood Elementary, Orange River Elementary, Pinewoods Elementary, Sunshine Elementary, and Villas Elementary.  In Hendry County ReadingPals volunteer at Krome Child Development or Children’s Garden in LaBelle and Harlem Academy in Clewiston. 
The program is supported by the Children’s Movement of Florida and Publix Super Markets.  To learn more, contact Nancy Coker at or 239-433-7544.  To sign up, go to

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Hope Healthcare Seeks Volunteers

Do you have a caring heart and time to share? Hope Hospice, a program of Hope Healthcare that provides specialized care for people with complex needs related to life-changing illness, is seeking hospice volunteers in Hendry and Glades counties.

Volunteers may be asked to talk and socialize with individuals in Hope’s care, read news articles or play card games, or give a caregiver a much-needed break by visiting.

“The time Hope Hospice volunteers donate is a special gift to people in our care,” said Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope Healthcare. “Providing quiet companionship, comfort and compassion can mean the world to them when they need it most.”

Volunteers must be at least 14 years or older. Visit or call 239-482-4673 for more information about volunteer opportunities.

To learn more about Hope Healthcare programs, including Hope Kids Care, Hope PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), Hope Palliative Care, Hope Visiting Nurses and the Hope Parkinson Program, call 239-482-4673 or visit

Michael Ray Yarborough Dies In Crash

Michael Ray Yarborough, 30 of Sunrise, Fl died in a crash at 4:50 a.m. Sunday on US 27 at Boar Hammock Ranch Road in Glades county.

Christopher John Walsh, 37 of Davie, Fl was traveling north on US 27 and his 2011 Chevy Silverado ran off the roadway and struck a railroad cantilever crossing gate post head on.

Yarborough a passenger was pronounced deceased at the scene by EMT medics.  Walsh was transported by air-med to Lee Memorial in critical condition.

The crash is under investigation and charges are pending. The FHP says the crash was alcohol related.

Elmer Sauceda At Kiwanis

From Honduras to LaBelle, Elmer Sauceda lived his dream believing "Values and education are much more important than money!" Elmer is a Florida Wild land Firefighter for the Forest Service and spoke to the Kiwanis Club on Tues, July 18th

Seen here with his childhood sweetheart and now wife Griselda, his constant "support" system. Elmer said ..."take control of your own life and always live each day as if it were
your last...learn as much as possible and you will be able to do amazing things in this Country"! Elmer is living by his words, as we all should!  
Elmer is pictured with his wife Griselda and acting KIWANIS President Nikki Yeager.
Photo by: Helen Mead

Friday, July 21, 2017

Penny Stalker Dies In Motorcycle Crash

Penny S. Stalker died in a motorcycle crash Friday at about 12:34 P.M. in Glades county.

Dean Robert Stalker, 65 Port Orange, Fl. driving a 2017 Harley Davidson Roadking motorcycle was stopped facing north on the paved shoulder of State Road 78 north of the Tobias Avenue intersection.

David Lee Cain, 71 of Okeechobee, Fl was traveling north on State Road 78 north of the Tobias Avenue intersection in a 2017 semi-truck.

Stalker made a left turn in front of Cain's vehicle , causing the front of the truck to strike the left side
of the motorcycle. Stalker and passenger Penny S. Stalker, 64 of Port Orange were separated from the motorcycle. Mr. Stalker was thrown towards the west side of State Road 78, striking the guardrail face.

The motorcycle came to final rest on the southbound lanes of State Road 78. The truck came to final rest on the grassy shoulder of State Road 78.

Mr. Stalker was moved from final rest prior to the arrival of the Florida Highway Patrol and had serious injuries. Cain had no injuries. Mrs. Stalker came to final rest on the west shoulder of State Road 78.

Obituary - Tyler Lawayne Hicks

Tyler Lawayne Hicks, age 27, of LaBelle, passed away unexpectedly July 16, 2017 in Punta Gorda. He was born June 16, 1990 in Fort Myers, FL, to Thomas Lawayne Hicks and Angela Marie Todd.

Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tim Holland Recovering From Motorcycle Crash

Kiwanis President in Motorcycle Accident

On June 10th Tim Holland was in a bad motorcycle accident. Tim has been the Kiwanis President for the LaBelle Club for almost a year and volunteers with many other community service projects. 

For years, he has been an active leader with the Boy Scouts of America and the Venture Crew. 

Over the summer, he was working at Camp La-No-Che as the Aquatics Director. He was following the camp staff van to lunch when a piece on his motorcycle broke. This caused him to lose control of his motorcycle. He was wearing his helmet but sustained severe injuries. 

Tim was airlifted to Central Regional Hospital where he was in ICU/Trauma for a week. 

Tim has had 3 surgeries so far, and still needs one more. He suffered many fractures, and had bleeding on the brain. Tim is home now, and following up with a neurologist. He has a long way to go to reach full recovery. His wife and kids have been taking care of him at home. 

Medical bills and not being able to work has caused a financial burden on this family. There are donation jars around LaBelle: Kiwanis Thrift Store, Beef O’Brady’s and Ace Hardware.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Summer Fossil Camp With Scott Perry

Scott Perry, Head Counselor of LaBelle's Summer Fossil Camps, says there are openings for boys and girls from the ages of 8 through 14 in this year's one week camps that meet at LaBelle Heritage Museum, Monday through Friday, starting at 8 o'clock for classroom instruction in hunting for and preserving prehistoric fossils that may be found in the LaBelle area before going in the "field" to find fossils that may range from ancients shark teeth to bones of prehistoric creatures such as mammoth and mastodon that once roamed the area. 

The young fossil hunters will learn that no dinosaur bones have ever been discovered in Florida as all of the peninsula was completely under water during the millions of years dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Campers can register at or may contact Scott Perry at (409)0502-9029 for more information on the camps that will begin on Monday, July 24, and Monday, July 31.

Obituaries - Jeanie Perkins, Martha Gross, Andres Salabarria-Yera

Jeanie M. Perkins, age 70, of Clewiston, passed away July 7, 2017 in Lehigh Acres.

She was born Oct. 9, 1946 in Binghamton, NY, near the Pennsylvania- New York border. She was raised in Montrose, PA. After graduating from Montrose High School, Jeanie joined the Army for three years. In 2002 Jeanie graduated from Northwood University, Cumma Sum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Business at the age of 55. Jeanie enjoyed reading, cross-stitching and entertaining all her grandkids and great-grandkids.

Jeanie moved to Florida after getting out of the Army and went to work for A. Duda and Sons for 13 years, and then went on to work for US Sugar for 24 years. Jeanie was working for Glades Electric until she became too ill to continue working.

Jeanie was baptized in the Church of God in Clewiston and then again in 2009 at the First Christian Church in Clewiston when she rededicated her life to the Lord. Jeanie was active in Sunday school, Wednesday night bible study, vacation bible school and in recent years became SS Secretary and Secretary-Treasurer.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Samuel and Edna Shepherd; brother, Albert; sister, Louise and granddaughter, Tiffany Buckhanan.

She is survived by her husband of 31 years John Doug Perkins, sons: John Moran (Sheryl), Scott Perkins (Monica), grandchildren: J.D., Ashley, Amber, Tiffany, Rodney, Kobe, Christian and Kayson, great grandchildren: Paisley, Eli, Kyleigh, Kailynn, Kendra, Karson, Kaydence, brother: Chuck Shepherd, brother-in-law: Donnie Perkins, nephew: Sam Shepherd, nieces: Karen April Holgate and Kimberly Holgate and many friends.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 22, 2017 at 11:00 am at Community Christian Church, Clewiston with Jon Hantsbarger officiating. Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Andres G. Salabarria-Yera, age 78, of Clewiston, passed away July 10, 2017 at home.

He was born Jan. 7, 1939 in Santa Clara, Cuba, to the late Pablo Aba and Lugarda (Yera) Salabarria-Beltran. He was a carpenter for years in Cuba working for the government. Andres enjoyed fishing. He had a collection of fishing Poles.

Survivors include two sons: Oel (Betty) Salabarria-Salinas and Orlando Salabarria-Salanis both of Clewiston, and a Daughter Olga Lidia Salabarria of Cuba, Grandfather of Dayana and Dayan Lorenzo, Osmani, Thalia, Salabarria and Oel Salabarria, Jr. All in Cuba.

Visitation was Thursday July 13th from 04:00-08:00pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL. Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Martha Joe Gross, age 77, of Alva, passed away July 11, 2017 in Fort Myers. She was born Oct. 8, 1939 in Valdosta, GA, to the late Bryan and Mary Martha (Corbett) Harrison. Retired from the Collier County School district as a School Secretary.

Memorial services will be held Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 5:00 to 7 pm at Felda Baptist Church, Felda with Brother Dennis Norvell and Brother Homer Brewer officiating. Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

SR29 Widening Project Public Meeting Aug 8

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District One, is holding a public hearing about the improvements to State Road (SR) 29 from F Road to Cowboy Way in Hendry County. The hearing will be held on Tuesday, August 8, 2017, at the LaBelle Civic Center, 481 West Hickpochee Avenue in LaBelle, Florida. 

There will be an open house at 5 p.m. during which staff will be available to discuss the project and answer questions, followed by the formal hearing presentation at 6 p.m., after which participants may provide their verbal comments to all present.  People attending the hearing can review project displays and speak one-on-one with project team members about the proposed widening of SR 29.

The purpose of this hearing is to discuss the widening of SR 29 (approximately 5 miles) from a two-lane roadway to a four-lane divided roadway. This hearing will discuss changes to proposed median openings from the concept plans shown in the Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study. It will also discuss minor changes to proposed right-of-way requirements. 

Existing access to properties along SR 29 will change due to the addition of a median, a result of widening the road. These changes are presented in compliance with Section 335.199 Florida Statutes (Transportation projects modifying access to adjacent property).

The draft project documents and other information will be available for public view from July 18 through August 18, 2017 at the Barron Library, 461 North Main Street, in LaBelle, Florida. The library phone number is (863) 675-0833, and hours are Monday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.TuesdayWednesday, and Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hendry Commission Decisions July 11 Meeting

The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners workshop and regular meeting held on Tuesday, July 11 at the Commission Chamber in LaBelle, Florida.
·        Discussion of Possible Residential Rental Housing Pilot Program - The Board of County Commissioners was presented with a programmatic outline in follow up on direction given to staff on April 25, 2017.  The purpose of the outline was to highlight the potential program to provide staff with policies whereby a new permitting and inspection process would be engaged for residential rental housing units in Hendry County.  The initial problem to be addressed as discussed by the Board was the growing number of unsatisfactory rental units in the County that are becoming more and more prevalent as housing prices continue to rise.  Unsatisfactory in this case can be defined as units that are being utilized for rental housing that a) do not comply with the County’s Land Use Code or b) are non-compliant with the Florida Building Code.  The Board directed staff to table (postpone) further development of this pilot program until the County experiences greater successes in the standard code enforcement process.

·        Information Session about the Code Enforcement Process -  Discussion was had between County staff and the Board regarding the relative flow charts of various code enforcement violations and the time frame from the opening of a code case to closure.  Discussions by the Board included concerns of staffing levels to be able to address the code enforcement infractions occurring in the County.  For reference, Hendry County employs three code enforcement officers to cover all properties, including residential and commercial properties, located in unincorporated Hendry County.  The Board also shared concerns with how much time is being given to work with code offenders to cure their violations.  Staff has been very committed to work with land owners and giving them additional discretionary time above the statutory mandated and best management practice time frames.  The Board gave direction for staff to adhere to the code mandated timeframes  to increase the closure rates on code cases. The Board also asked that staff take a look at examples of various code infractions in each Board district., for the follow up workshop.  Staff is to review these cases, take photographs and bring back information on each code case and what is to be done to remedy them in accordance with the Florida Statute and/or county code. 
·        Update Progress Report of Crossroads Behavioral Health Center – Mr. Greg Finer, CEO of Crossroads Behavioral Health Center addressed the Board regarding his concerns about financial stability for State of Florida funds through the various regulatory agencies.  The concern is the rigorous amount of requirements built in to “draw-down” available state funds for services.  Crossroads is working through the processes, but is experiencing difficulty in receiving all of the funds that are allocated to them.  The Board has asked staff to work with Mr. Finer to see what can be done with the State to make the funding flow better and continue to support the establishment and future expansion of behavioral health services in Hendry County.
·        Adoption of Ordinance Revoking Ad Valorem Tax Abatement for ALTAIR Training Solutions, Inc. – In follow up to the approved direction of the Board at the June 13, 2017 meeting, the Board held a public hearing and approved the revocation of the ordinance affording ALTAIR Training Solutions, Inc. a tax abatement for five years.  Reasons for the revocation include failure to comply with new job creation requirements and reporting as required by the County’s agreement with ALTAIR and ordinance for the specific tax abatement. The Board approved the revocation following the public hearing unanimously.

·        Adoption of Amendments to Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Ordinance – In June 2017 the Board considered significant revisions to the process of considering Ad Valorem Tax Abatements.  The improved program includes a streamlining of the program responsibilities, the implementation of a scoring matrix for interested businesses that measures the anticipated benefits of their business to the County, and an independent review committee process to consider whether or not the applicant merits an economic development tax incentive.  Following the public hearing, the Board approved the amendments unanimously.

·        Consideration of Membership to Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council (SWFRPC) - The Board was presented background information and analysis on the recent events whereby Sarasota County, Lee County and Charlotte County have provided notice of intent to withdraw from the SWFRPC.  Membership in a regional planning council is mandated by Florida State statutes and the membership to the SWFRPC was determined by an inter-local agreement dated in the early 1970’s.  The Board directed staff to stay engaged with the SWFRPC for one more year and then to re-evaluate the value of the membership to this organization.

·        Local Vendor Preference Renewal – The Board reviewed a report provided by staff regarding the Local Vendor Preference Ordinance set to sunset in August 2017.  The Board determined with some minor adjustments to give additional purchasing discretion to staff in terms of choosing local vendors in the procurement process, renew the program and refresh the ordinance for another term.  The ordinance is set to come before the Board in August 2017 for public hearing and adoption.

·        Medical Marijuana Dispensaries’ and Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers – The Board voted unanimously to table this topic until August 22, 2017 for further discussion.  Commissioner Turner expressed intent to visit an operating facility to review its operations.  Commissioner Swindle had already visited a facility in Alachua County and expressed his perspective that the facility was highly regulated and well run.  The moratorium on medical marijuana facilities is still in place till November 2017. 

·        Update of Solid Waste Franchise Agreement. – At the June 13, 2017 meeting the Board directed to set the Truth in Millage 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. Negotiations have continued and the current update is that service levels and programmatic features will remain the same as today’s services.  Additional information will be forthcoming at upcoming meetings in August along with budget discussion.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Obituaries - John O'Ferrell, Maria Sardo

John Wesley O'Ferrell, age 78 was born on July 7, 1938 in Greensboro, N.C. He passed away on July 5, 2017 in the care of Hope Hospice in Lehigh.
After graduation John attended The University of North Carolina. He returned home and enlisted in the Army where he served from 1960-1966. John went to work for Western Electric and then Duke Power. He was a member of Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church and the McLeansville Lions Club. His love of sports and kids began while in North Carolina where he was a football referee for high school and then college.
John and his family moved to LaBelle in 1973 to join the family bee business, J.L. O'Ferrell & Sons. John left the bee business in 1991 and went to work at LaBelle High School as the facilities manager. John spent nearly 40 years as a member of the Quarterback Club, many of them as president. He retired in 2015 after 24 years of service. In his spare time, John loved hunting in Alabama and Georgia and making walking sticks.
John was preceded in death by his parents, Jesse and Irma (Ray) O'Ferrell and his brother, Tommy O'Ferrell. He is survived by his wife of 57 years Marie (Lowdermilk) O'Ferrell; sons, Wesley (Wendy) O'Ferrell of LaBelle and Ricky (Jenna) O'Ferrell of Winter Have; brothers, Lawrence (Peggy) O'Ferrell of LaBelle and Ray (Beth) of Salisbury, North Carolina; and 6 grandchildren who were the light of his life.
Services will be held on Monday, July 17, 2017 at Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church in LaBelle. Visitation will be from 5:00pm – 6:00pm with a memorial service at 6:00pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to LaBelle High School Quarterback Club and Hope Hospice.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.
Maria "Mimi" Dierckx Sardo, age 91, of Fort Myers, passed away July 5, 2017 in LaBelle.
She was born February 8, 1926 in Belgium to the late John Bruce and late Maria Dierckx.
Maria was known to everyone as Mimi. Mimi moved from Belgium to Miami and then to Fort Myers in 1991. She was an insurance agent for many years and then after retirement she was a vendor at the flea market. Mimi loved to cook beef stew, singing to all her babies, and giving her grandchildren cookies. She always took care of everyone and was always up to lend a helping hand. She was the heart and soul of her family and will be greatly missed.
She is survived by her daughter, Ruby Clay, grandchildren: Michele Taylor (Curtis), John Garrett, Shawn Garrett; great grandchildren: Justin Girling (Katie), Jordan Belanger (Alexis), Ashley Garrett, Johnny Garrett, Kyla Garrett, Jaylin Garrett, Raylee Peacock and great-great grandchildren: Chase Girling, Beau Girling, Maylie Girling, Hunter Tyree, Kash Tyree and Lynae Belanger.
A gathering of family and friends will be Tuesday, July 11, 2017 from 6:00pm-8:00pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL.
Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Camping On A Golf Course - Bob Kranich

Excerpts From A Walk Across Florida By Bob Kranich

I made a turn south on Highway 27. I was now heading due south towards the Keys. Homestead was my next stop…. This was a long straight road with tall Australian pines on the left (east side) on the other side of the canal. They had been there a very long time because the trees were quite tall. I could see off in the distance that a big blow was coming in. The sky was getting dark, and a front was moving across. The wind blowing me along felt good. The land was flat, strangely no was a pretty sight. There were small truck farms for growing vegetables. Here the canal was crystal clear and I could see the limestone on the sides and bottom. I stopped at a farmer’s roadside stand and bought some tomatoes. I ate some of those tomatoes and some other snacks. Then I walked for a few more miles, saw what appeared to be a real nice area and put up my hammock in the dark. I figured that I had gone at least 22 miles.

In the morning, I was suddenly and rudely awakened to a word called out very loud……. “FORE!”
I jumped out of my hammock. I looked around and guess what? I had camped on a golf course! No wonder it was such a nice place. I heard water sprinklers and mowers cutting grass. I hurriedly packed up my gear and shouldered my pack. No one had seen me. I guessed some people wanted to get on the golf course very early.

I ate breakfast along the side of the road by the golf course. I was sure that I must be just on the outskirts of Homestead. As I hiked along I could see people going to pick vegetables. A lot of the small farms had “pick your own” signs. The soil on these Homestead vegetable farms* looked like it was filled with rocks. The land around Homestead is very flat and the soil is marl, a limestone and shell mixed with sand. In fact, most plants can grow very well in the marl soil around Homestead. It is composed of minerals such as silica and calcium carbonate. Some of this soil which was at first hard limestone had to be made by using giant bulldozers with specially designed blades* that would cut off the rock one inch at a time. This made a mix of soil with rocks in it.

Nearly half of the winter vegetables eaten in the US. are grown in tropical south Florida in the Dade county area…..Some fruits or vegetables that will grow in Homestead will not grow anywhere else in the United States, except possibly Hawaii.

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

Friday, July 07, 2017

Obituaries - Maria Sardo, Brady Walker, Valerio Mota

Valerio Mota, age 94, of Clewiston, passed away July 2, 2017 at Home.

He was born May 14, 1923 in Santa Clara, Cuba Son of the late Raphael and Gertrudez (Somoza) Mota. He worked with computers at a Sugar Mill for years.

Survivors include his wife: Felicita (Flores) Mota 3 Daughters Marlene Alfaro, Ana Carmona, and Iris Ruiz. Visitation was Thursday July 6th from 6:00-08:00pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, in Clewiston. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Friday July 7th, at 11:30am at St. Margaret's R.C. Church Clewiston with Father Jiobani Batista officiating. Interment will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston.

Brady Hamp Walker, age 18, went home to be with our Lord on Monday, July 3, 2017.

Brady was born on October 19, 1998 at Gulf Coast Hospital in Fort Myers, Florida to Gary and Brenda Walker.

Brady is survived by his parents Gary (Sherri)Walker and Brenda Walker (Adame); his sister Patricia (James) Holland, his brother Cal Walker and his stepbrother Kaleb Rosbough. He also leaves his maternal grandparents, Ramiro and Odelia Vasquez. He is also survived by many loving and adoring uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends who all loved him fiercely. Brady was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Earl and Janet Walker; his aunt, Della Walker and his uncle and namesake Hamp Walker; as well as his paternal grandfather, Ramon Adame, Jr.

Brady was known for his resilience and zest for life; never taking no for an answer and a passion for fishing. He loved playing and watching sports; especially basketball & baseball. He had a true love for the Florida State Seminoles and Miami Heat. Brady was loyal to all his family and friends and was always there when they needed him. He had a special bond with his brother Cal and sister Patricia. Even when they were apart for a period of time, they would pick up right where they left off. He had a deep love for all his cousins and he loved to aggravate them in fun! He loved his Mom and Dad deeply and even through difficult times he respected them and strived hard to make them proud! Brady was known for his tenacity and would never give up. He had the charisma and charm to convince people to see things his way no matter what the subject was. Brady went through life fun loving, smiling, and pulling jokes on many. Brady was a true fighter with a heart of gold and will be missed by many.

Viewing will take place at Akin Davis Funeral Home on July 7, 2017 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM. Funeral services will take place at Christ Central in LaBelle, FL on July 8, 2017 at 10:30 AM followed by a graveside service at Fort Denaud Cemetery. All are invited.

In lieu of flowers you can make a donation to Special Olympics of Hendry County 1915 Don Wickham Drive, Clermont, FL 34711

Maria "Mimi" Dierckx Sardo, age 91, of Fort Myers, passed away July 5, 2017 in LaBelle.

She was born February 8, 1926 in Belgium to the late John Bruce and late Maria Dierckx.

Maria was known to everyone as Mimi. Mimi moved from Belgium to Miami and then to Fort Myers in 1991. She was an insurance agent for many years and then after retirement she was a vendor at the flea market. Mimi loved to cook beef stew, singing to all her babies, and giving her grandchildren cookies. She always took care of everyone and was always up to lend a helping hand. She was the heart and soul of her family and will be greatly missed.

She is survived by her daughter, Ruby Clay, grandchildren: Michele Taylor (Curtis), John Garrett, Shawn Garrett; great grandchildren: Justin Girling (Katie), Jordan Belanger (Alexis), Ashley Garrett, Johnny Garrett, Kyla Garrett, Jaylin Garrett, Raylee Peacock and great-great grandchildren: Chase Girling, Beau Girling, Maylie Girling, Hunter Tyree, Kash Tyree and Lynae Belanger.

A gathering of family and friends will be Tuesday, July 11, 2017 from 6:00pm-8:00pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL.

Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Dr. Celeste Philip Visits Hendry-Glades Health Department

The Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties had a visit from the State Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health on Friday, July 7th. Dr. Celeste Philip met with Leadership to discuss the 7 Strategic Priorities of Public Health.
Celeste Philip, MD, MPH, was appointed by Governor Rick Scott as Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health on May 18, 2016. Prior to that, she served as the Deputy Secretary for Health and Deputy State Health Officer for Children's Medical Services. Dr. Philip is board certified in Family Medicine as well as Public Health and General Preventive Medicine and brings a wealth of academic excellence and professional experience.
Dr. Philip, who has been with the Department since 2008, has served in a number of capacities, including as interim director for three county health departments.  She began her career with the department in Polk County where she served as medical director and served on the board of Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine, where she also provided primary care to uninsured patients.
She was recently named the 2016 Outstanding Public Health Woman of the Year by the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health. Dr. Philip is a board member of the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation and is president of the American Heart Association's six-state Greater Southeast Affiliate.
Dr. Philip graduated from Howard University in Washington DC magna cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish. She later received a Master of Public Health in maternal and child health and a Doctor of Medicine from Loma Linda University in California. She completed her family medicine residency at Florida Hospital in Orlando and previously served at the​ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer and preventive medicine resident.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Kiwanis Christmas In July Sale

Stop by the LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store for "Christmas in July" !!
Sales run the month of July! 
LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store  
155 S. Bridge Street 863-675-4043
NOTE OUR NEW Summer Store Hours!!!
Monday 10am – 6pm
Tuesday – Friday 9am – 5pm

Saturday 9am – 3pm

Breastfeeding Support Group At Hope Connections

Got Breastfeeding questions or concerns?

WIC Breastfeeding Support Group Meets every 3rd Tuesday from 1:00pm to 3:00pm At Hope Connections, 475 Cowboy Way (Next to the LaBelle Airport)

Tienes preguntas o preocupaciones sobre la lactancia maternal?

WIC Grupo de Apoyo a la Lactancia Materna Cada Tercer Martes de 1 a 3 de la tarde Hope Connections 475 Cowboy Way (Al lado del aero Puerto)

Tax Exemption For 1st Responders - Apply By August 1

Totally and Permanently Disabled First Responders Exemption
The legislature passed a bill implementing the 2016 constitutional amendment authorizing a 100 percent exemption for totally and permanently disabled first responders injured in the line of duty.

Any real estate that is owned and used as a homestead by a person who has a total and permanent disability as a result of an injury or injuries sustained in the line of duty while serving as a first responder in this state or during an operation in another state or country authorized by this state or a political subdivision of this state is exempt from taxation if the first responder is a permanent resident of this state on January 1 of the year for which the exemption is being claimed.

A first responder means a law enforcement officer or correctional officer, a firefighter, or an emergency medical technician or paramedic, who is a full-time paid employee, part-time paid employee, or unpaid volunteer.

If you or someone you know may be eligible, please contact your county property appraiser office.

Lorie Ward, Glades County Property Appraiser says the last day to apply for the 2017 Glades County Tax Assessment Roll is August 1, 2017.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Obituaries - Waylon Bass, Joanna Johnson, David Hansen

Waylon Bruce Bass, Jr, age 54, of LaBelle, passed away June 30, 2017 in LaBelle.

He was born Aug. 17, 1962 in Panama City, FL, to the late Waylon Bruce and Barbara (Carlan) Bass, Sr. He and his family moved to LaBelle in 1969. He graduated from LaBelle High School. He worked with his father as a Watermelon Salesman for many years. He never met a stranger, he was a great guy with a huge heart. He will be missed by everyone who knew him and loved him. He was a loving son, father, brother, grandfather, and friend.

Bruce leaves behind his son; Bruce Bass, daughter; Regina Bouchard, brother; Richard Bass and his wife Tammy Kaye, sisters; Cynthia Sanders, Sandra Taylor and her husband Paul, Charlotte Lane, four grandsons and many extended family members and friends.

Celebration of Bruce's life will be held at 11:00 a.m. July 5, 2017 in Akin-Davis Funeral Home with Rev. Preston Long officiating. Visitation will be one hour before the celebration. Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home.

Joanna Johnson, age 88, of LaBelle, passed away June 27, 2017 in Lehigh Acres.

She was born Nov. 23, 1928 in Crummies, KY, to the late Clarence Parker and the late Lillian (Stinnett) McClung. Joanna was a resident of LaBelle since 1962. She served for 20 years on the Glades County School Board. She was a member of First Christian Church and helped serve the the church with her late husband, Rev. Mize Johnson for 25 years. Joanna volunteered with Lee Memorial Hospital for 10 years after her husband's passing.

Survivors include two sons: Mize (Jenny) Johnson, Jr. of Connecticut and Clarence Page Johnson of Lake Placid, two daughters: Linda (Pastor Bill) Maddox of LaBelle and Dorothy (Bill) Browning of Cape Coral., granddaughter: Jennifer Alderman; great-grandchildren: Justin Alderman and Jaden Alderman.

Graveside Funeral Services was held Saturday, July 1, 2017, 10:00 am at Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven with Pastor W. T. Maddox Jr. officiating. Interment will be in Ortona Cemetery. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

David B. Hansen, age 64, of LaBelle, passed away June 29, 2017 in Lehigh Acres.

He was born May 16, 1953 in Fort Myers, to the late Sherman W.Hansen and the late Irene Juell (Tillman) Hansen. David was a member of a local Pioneer Family, was a lifelong resident of LaBelle and loved fishing and hunting.

Survivors include his wife: Patricia D. (Perkins) Hansen, son: Jeff (Angela) Hansen, daughter: Nikki (James) Crawford, brothers: Bobby (Linda) Hansen and Bo Hansen, sisters: Kathy Dixon and Judy (Jaybo) Farabee and Betti (Tommie) Jones, grandchildren: Juston Crawford, Taylor Hall; Kyler Hansen and Kaleb Hix. He was also preceded in death by his sister: Shirley Maurer.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday, July 5, 2017, 11:00 am at First Christian Church in LaBelle with Pastor W. T. Maddox, Jr. officiating. Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Four Deaths In Fiery Crash Sunday At 3:35 AM

Four were killed and five injured in a fiery crash Sunday morning at 3:35 am in Charlotte County.

A 2002 Audi A2 driven by Austin Tyler Hirschy, 21 of Port Charlotte was eastbound on Rosemonte Drive approaching the intersection of Sunnybrook Blvd in Charlotte County. A 2010 Chevy Tahoe driven by Michael J. Holcomb, 43 of Whitesburg, Kentucky was northbound on Sunnybrook Blvd approaching Rosemont Dr.

The FHP says Hirschy failed to stop his vehicle at the stop sign.

As a result, the front right of the Audi struck the front left of the Tahoe SUV. Both vehicles came to final rest in the northeast corner of the intersection.

The Audi became engulfed in fire after impact with the Tahoe. All four occupants in the Audi were pronounced deceased on scene. The deceased were Hirschy, Keith J. Williams, 25; Dustin Cory Strong, 23; and William Barr Solomon, 21.

The driver of the SUV and four passengers were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries.

The FHP is continuing the investigation and say it is unknown at this time whether drugs or alcohol was a factor in the Audi failing to stop at the stop sign.

35th Year For Free Movie Summer At LaBelle Assembly

The 35th Summer Movie Fest starts Tuesday July 11th  with showings at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.  The movies are completely free thanks  to our business sponsors.   A snack area for those that would like to buy candy, popcorn is available with the money earned going to Real Life Children's Ranch.

 The 35th   a Summer Movie Fest is located at 135 Fraser Avenue, In the LaBelle Assembly of God chapel, everyone is welcomed.  Groups of 25 or over please call to reserve a place. Contact 675-0900 or e-mail labelleone@hotmail

July 11th  Max 2; White House Hero, July 18th. Time Toys, July 25th Ice Age, August 1st   Pete’s Dragon 

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Harlem Community Walks At AA Thomas Park

Harlem Community Walk held at AA Thomas Park. Participants walked 1- 2 miles on the track and received information on the upcoming Diabetes Self -Management Classes. 

They had the opportunity to take the pre-diabetes risk test and to have their blood pressure checked as well. 

The Harlem Heart Committee had participated the previous week in the Brown Sugar Festival Parade where they gave away mini-frisbees promoting the walk. 
The next event will be a 4 week Faithful Families Walk Challenge.

Health Department Simulates Mock Injuries

Staff members from the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties and Glades County Emergency Management participated in a "moulage training".

Moulage (French: casting/moulding) is the art of applying mock injuries for the purpose of training Emergency Response Teams and other medical and military personnel. Moulage may be as simple as applying pre-made rubber or latex "wounds" to a healthy "patient's" limbs, chest, head, etc., or as complex as using makeup and theatre techniques to provide elements of realism (Such as blood, vomit, open fractures, etc.) to the training simulation.

Pictured: Brenda Barnes, Angie Colegrove and Tosha Reiss

My 88th Fourth Of July

Commentary by T.W. Bill Neville

Once upon a time in the foothills of my mind rapture took on substance in the form of a fireworks display for the ages. Colors so bright and vivid that they almost took on a life of their own within the tumultuous panorama of sound and fury that even Lucifer could not have concocted. 

It was the first time that we had taken our 3 sons to the actual site of the massive mayhem being exhibited by the men responsible for furiously igniting each and every pyrolytic missile of sound and fury's flight into history. 

That was over 50 years ago and they still recall their initiation into the world's second most watched most watched spectacle, next to soccer, worldwide. They, over the years, have made this a part of their overall celebration of the Fourth of July holiday.
My wife and I, after our move to Florida, always used that celebration as to an annual visit to Illinois for the "Fourth" celebrations, followed by our Family Reunion in Indiana the first Saturday after the Fourth at the site of our first home on the banks of the Wabash River in Logansport, Indiana.
Somehow or other, God only knows why I have this reoccurring dream about that magical night of so many years ago. A dream that I/m convinced is kept alive through those sons and their children, and children's children, keeping the spectacle of watching of, the fire works display, to this day.