Thursday, August 31, 2017

Secondhand Smoke In Vehicles

The Tobacco Prevention Program at the Florida Department of Health in Hendry, along with the (Students Working Against Tobacco) SWAT youth, gave a presentation about the effects of secondhand smoke on children in vehicles to the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners. 

The SWAT youth were looking to pass a County resolution against smoking in vehicles with children present.
The resolution passed on August 22, 2017.

Pictured from left to right: (Front Row) Tobacco Prevention Specialist, Crystal Gomez, SWAT youth members, Khamari Turner, Lauren Adams, and Lily Paniagua. (Back Row) Hendry County Board of County Commissioners: Mitchell Wells, Emma Byrd, Michael Swindle, Darrell Harris, and Karson Turner.

Photo by: Joseph Pepe

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Obituaries - Donald Finks, Gabriel De Santiago

Donald Finks, age 82, of LaBelle, passed away August 25, 2017 in Fort Myers. He was born Sep. 24, 1934 in Cass County, Indiana, to the late Charles Curtis Finks and the late Wilma Esther (Townsend) Finks.

He was a member of First Baptist of LaBelle since 1963. He was also a former member of LaBelle Quarterback Club. Donald dedicated his life to the Agricultural Industry with business in farming, ranching, citrus, fertilizer and cattle.

Survivors include his son: Glenn Finks and wife Geri, daughters: Bonnie Hanshaw, Susan Holland and husband Bobby, Jennifer Davis and husband Cliff, grandchildren: Daren,Jared, Joanna, Lori, James, Jimmy, Cole, Mason, great-grandchildren:, Bruce, Randy, Hayden, Porter, Elizabeth, Gracie, Easton, Camden, Joshua, Greyson, Wesley, Beau, Luke and his sister: Jeanette Smith. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and will be greatly missed by his family

He was preceded in death by his wife of fifty-eight years, Carolyn, granddaughter: Kristin and brother: Herbert and aunt Thelma Finks Moshier.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, August 31, 2017, 10:00 am at First Baptist Church of LaBelle with Rev. Frank Deerey, Jr. and Rev. David Koon officiating. Memorials can be made to First Baptist Church of LaBelle Youth or Scholarship Fund. Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Gabriel De Santiago, Jr., age 19, of LaBelle, passed away August 26, 2017 in Fort Myers. He was born Sep. 26, 1997 in Manistee Township, MI, to Gabriel De Santiago and Agustina Ramirez.

Survivors include parents; Gabriel De. Santiago, Sr. and Agustina Ramirez; brother, Eduardo De Santiago; Brother, Christian De Santiago; sister, Gabby Ana De Santiago.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, September 1, 2017 at 11:00 am at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, LaBelle, with Father Juan Lorenzo officiating.

Interment will be Friday, September 1, 2017 in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle. Visitation will be Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Gabriel De Santiago, Jr., de 19 años, de LaBelle, falleció el 26 de agosto de 2017 en Fort Myers. Nació el 26 de septiembre de 1997 en Manistee Township, MI, a Gabriel De Santiago y Agustina Ramírez.

Los sobrevivientes incluyen a los padres; Gabriel De. Santiago, Sr. y Agustina Ramírez; Hermano, Eduardo De Santiago; Hermano, Christian De Santiago; Hermana, Gabby Ana De Santiago.

Una misa de entierro cristiano se llevará a cabo el viernes 1 de septiembre de 2017 a las 11:00 am en la iglesia católica Notre Dame Queen of Heaven, LaBelle, con el padre Juan Lorenzo oficiando.

El entierro será el viernes 1 de septiembre de 2017 en el cementerio de Fort Denaud, LaBelle. La visita será el jueves de 6-8 p.m. En la Funeraria Akin-Davis, LaBelle, FL. Arreglos por Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle

Michelle Wilson On Labor Day 2017

In 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed legislation declaring the first Monday in September to be Labor Day. Today, this holiday is linked more to the unofficial end of summer, the beginning of the school year or the start of football season. What has been forgotten about this long weekend is that it celebrates American workers’ contributions to our society.
Each year, families gather together for backyard picnics, dips in the pool or simply enjoying a little rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, it’s easy to lose focus on the meaning of Labor Day when you’re trying to live out one more day of summer vacation with the kids.  However, on this Labor Day, let us try and remember why this holiday even exists.
The notion of celebrating the American worker first surfaced in the early 19th century during the infancy of the American labor movement. Unfortunately, it took a nationwide railroad strike of nearly 4,000 factory employees -- the 1894 infamous Pullman strike -- to get things started. Those workers began a wildcat strike in response to reductions in wages. In the end, 30 people were killed at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S marshals, and striker violence caused $80 million in damages. In an effort to conciliate organized labor after the strike, President Cleveland and Congress joined forces to declare Labor Day a national holiday. This would begin more than a century of recognition and homage to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our nation.
Today, more than ever, we must remember to celebrate the hard-working men and women of all races, colors and creeds for their commitment to the exceptional American work experience. This is especially true under the difficult and challenging economic conditions of the past decade. American workers continue to lead the world in productivity, as they work longer hours than their global counterparts. American workers continue to strive and build the highest standard of living in the world, and they often do so without recognition or praise. I believe in our American workforce and so should you.
As Executive Director of the Florida Commission on Human Relations, I am honored to oversee our team of dedicated individuals who remain committed to serving workers and businesses across the Sunshine State. This team of hardworking state employees strive each day to ensure that Florida workers are treated fairly, are given access to all employment opportunities and are not subject to unlawful discrimination.
As we look forward to this long weekend, let remember the many successes of the American worker and the critical roles they continue to play in making this a great nation.
Michelle Wilson, Executive Director
Florida Commission on Human Relations

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Gabriel DeSantiago Dies After Early Morning Crash

Gabriel De Santiago, 19 of LaBelle was traveling westbound Saturday morning at 4:49 a.m. on County Road 78 (N River Road) near Caloosa Terrace in a 2004 Chevy Silverado pickup, according the FHP when suddenly he began traveling partially in the westbound lane and onto the north shoulder of the roadway.

The driver over corrected in an attempt to re-enter the roadway. As a result, he lost control as the truck began traveling in a southwesterly direction across the center line, entered the eastbound lane then departed the roadway a second time.

The truck continued westbound while partially on the eastbound paved apron and shoulder of County Road 78.

The vehicle then re-emerged from the shoulder, began rotating counterclockwise in the east and westbound lanes and continued in a southeasterly direction where it's right side struck a tree before coming to rest in a ditch on the south shoulder. He was not wearing a seatbelt.

De Santiago was transported by Medic Five (Hendry County EMS) to Lee Memorial Hospital. He was in critical condition when taken to the hospital.

On Saturday afternoon the FHP reported De Santiego had died at the hospital.

Young Pearson Jr. Lawn Service

CLEWISTON, FL. - Young Pearson Jr. invites home and lot owners and commercial businesses in Clewiston, Belle Glade, Moore Haven, and LaBelle to call for a quote on lawn service and lot clearing in Hendry, Glades, and western Palm Beach county.

Mr. Pearson has years of lawn care and mowing experience in the Lake Okeechobee area and can be reached by mobile phone at (863) 233-9541.

Young Pearson Jr. Lawn Service
Clewiston, Moore Haven, Belle Glade and LaBelle
Licensed Mowing Contractor
416 East Ventura Avenue
Clewiston Fl. 33440
Phone (863) 233-9541

Young Pearson Jr. Lawn Service is a sponsor of Southwest Florida Online

Daniel Val Garcia Dies At 37

Danielle Val Garcia (37) passed away early Monday August 21, 2017 peacefully in her home in Felda, FL after a long hard battle with melanoma cancer. She had won many battles with cancer but sadly lost the war.
Danielle is survived by her parents Susan Shipman and Valentin Garcia; her children Rene(20), Samuel(13), Veronica(10), and Priscilla(9) Rodriguez; her granddaughter Aurora Rodriguez, her sisters Jamie Kirkland, Monique Garcia, Ashley Irizarry, Lindsey Shepard, Nikki Garcia, Crystal Martinez and Autumn Shepard; her brothers Valentin Garcia Jr and Patrick Shepard; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends. She is proceeded by her father Freddie Shepard and her stepfather Jerry Shipman.
Danielle was known to be a wonderful daughter, sister, aunt and friend but most of all an amazing mother. She will always be remembered as a one of a kind soul. Even through all of her battles and trails in her life she was always able to keep a positive attitude and a smile on her face. She never lost her good spirit or her faith in the man upstairs. She will truly be loved and missed by many.
There was a memorial service held at the Felda Baptist Church, which Danielle was a member of, on Friday August 25, 2017 at 3pm. A potluck dinner was held following the memorial service at her mother’s house to celebrate Danielle’s life.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Damian Claro Arrested In Murder Of Jeremy Penton

On August 25, 2017 at approximately 5:36 pm Hendry County Investigators have arrested 16 year old Damian Claro (photo left) in the murder of 17 year old Jeremy Penton of Clewiston, Florida.

On August 6, 2017, Hendry County Deputies received a call of a body lying on the ground. The victim was later identified as 17 year old Jeremy Penton of Clewiston, Florida. After a lengthy investigation HCSO Investigators arrested Claro.

Claro has been booked into the Hendry County jail on charges of 1st degree Homicide in the death of Penton. Claro is currently being held on no bond.

Carlie Snook Awarded Nursing Scholarship

Clewiston, FL – Women Involved in Supporting the Hospital (WISH) has awarded its first full scholarship, the Mona L. Rader Scholarship, to Carlie Snook of Clewiston to pursue her education to become a Registered Nurse.

Each January WISH hosts their annual Fashion Show as a fundraiser for the organization. The dollars raised are used to fund a scholarship for a local student and to provide lifesaving equipment to HRMC. In previous years WISH has funded partial scholarships. “Providing educational opportunities to local students through our scholarships is a win-win for the Hospital, the community and for WISH,” stated Cindy Carroll, WISH President.

This year WISH was able to provide their first full scholarship of $16,000 due to the bequest and generosity of Mona L. Rader. “My aunt would be extremely happy to know she was furthering education through a scholarship in her name. She never attended college however she recognized the significance of secondary education and its impact on the youth in her community,” stated Brenda Lopez, Executor of the Mona L. Rader Estate.

“Since I was young I have always wanted to work as a nurse in the Emergency Room. There is an adrenaline rush working in a fast paced environment providing excellent healthcare to someone in their time of need,” said Carlie Snook, Mona L. Rader scholarship recipient. Snook is currently attending Rasmussen College School of Nursing where she is an Honor Roll and Dean’s List recipient.

At the conclusion of the 18 month program Snook will return to the local community as a Registered Nurse and gain first hand healthcare experience working at Hendry Regional Medical Center. “The goal of WISH is to play a pivotal role in the development and advancement of our local community’s health. Through scholarships like this one we are able to help people from home obtain secondary education, who then return to our community and provide excellent healthcare to our citizens,” said Carroll.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Matthew Barnett Dies At 33

Matthew John Barnett, age 33, of Alva, passed away August 22, 2017 in Cape Coral.
He was born Dec. 21, 1983 in Naples, FL.
He is survived by his parents: Eugene Ellis Barnett and Carol (Wilkison) Barnett, son: Nathan Wayne Will and Nathan's half-brothers: Derek and Kyle Hagan, mother of all three children: Kirstin Hagan, brother: Austin Ellis Barnett, sister: Jean Marie Bibby, grandmother: Wanda Barnett and aunts, uncles, nieces, cousins and very special cousin to him: Carrie Morrison.
He was preceded in death by his grandfather: Russell Edward Wilkison and Harry Barnett, grandmother: Margaret Merle Wilkison and cousin: Annina Dorene Lewis.
The funeral service will be held Tuesday, August 29, 2017, 11:00 am at First Christian Church in LaBelle with Pastor W. T. Maddox Jr. officiating. Visitation will be Tuesday 10:00 am until the start of the service at First Christian Church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hope Hospice in Cape Coral.
Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Raising 14 Head Of Cattle On Only 14 Acres

Substantia Micro Ranch
Conservation on small acres produces big results

GAINESVILLE, Fla. Aug. 23, 2017--You won’t see this cowboy rope calves, brand steers or ride into the sunset on a cattle drive. But Barry Viljoen has big plans for his tiny ranch in Clermont, Fla., where he manages 14 head of cattle on just 14 acres. A half hour west of Orlando, Mr. Viljoen is making a living on his small-scale suburban operation by breeding and raising high-value Wagyu cattle mixed with Brangus. And he is doing it sustainably, moving two groups of cattle sometimes as many as two or three times a day.

Every day, a single line of cows follow Mr. Viljoen down a path cutting his property in half, leading to one of the 14 one-acre sections of pasture. Portable electric fencing subdivides each into one-fifth acre paddocks. He varies the size of the paddock and the length of time the cows graze depending on the season and the herd weight. His herd weight is approximately 7,000-8,000 pounds, with his medium-framed cows weighing approximately 1000 pounds each. Even during winter when the cattle are eating hay, they still get to graze a few hours a day on stockpiled pasture.

“It’s all about intensively managing the grazing,” Mr. Viljoen said. During winter he supplements their diet with a grain mix to help them produce more milk. “Wagyu cattle are notorious for low milk production.”

After they graze, Mr. Viljoen leads them back to their pen. Each has its own personality.  “Sparky, the full-blood Wagyu bull is quite a character. Some people have a bull dog, and Sparky is mine,” he said.  Sunshine, a full-blood Wagyu cow, is the friendliest of them all, quick to approach strangers and give them a lick on the hand. Buffy is the ugly one and 13 is somewhat skittish, but she produces fast-growing cows with long bodies. Hoppy, one of four bull calves, is a handful. “He is a hooligan, but also the smartest, always in trouble, with the others following,” Mr. Viljoen said. He doesn’t name the ones he sells. 

“A handclap means come my way – and I never clap my hands unless it has to do with eating. Cattle have no desire to follow you unless they know there is food at the other end,” he said. He never raises his voice. One stern word, “back,” is sufficient. When they are restless, he holds their ears to calm them down, a trick he learned from an old timer in Missouri.  “My cows are so well behaved, the gates to my pastures are just two electric wires across the entrance,” he said.

Mr. Viljoen’s approach to raising cattle completely changed after reading Mary Temple Grandin in 2013. An animal science professor at Colorado State University, she is an advocate for the humane treatment of livestock and an expert on livestock grazing behavior. As a famous autism spokesperson, her first-hand experience has influenced her work developing livestock handling practices.  When cattle are stressed, it increases cortisol in their bodies, which toughens the meat, Mr. Viljoen explained.  But he is also concerned about safety, and calm animals aren’t as dangerous. “I have developed a reputation for selling docile bulls, and that is why I am able to sell them before they are born and at the time of weaning,” he said.

The herd consists of full-blood Wagyu, Wagyu/Brangus and two Brangus cows. He is slowly rotating out the cows until he has a herd of full-blood Wagyu. He sells full-blood Wagyu bulls and steers for beef.  “Grass fed beef is the current rage, and I don’t have the acreage to finish my steers on grass, so I send them to the ‘fattening farm’ at seven months where they are grown until 18 months and delivered directly to the butcher,” he said.

“Consider that the average small commercial operation requires two to three acres per cow/calf compared to my one acre per cow/calf:  where I use 14 acres of pasture for my one bull and 13 cows, a conventional cattle operation requires at least 26 acres of pasture,” Mr. Viljoen said. He grosses approximately $3,000 per steer sold as quarters of beef after paying to have them fattened. “Assume I sell 13 steers in a year at about $3,000 each, my gross income is $39,000. The commercial operation that sells 13 seven-month old steers at a sale barn for about $1,200 each grosses $15,600 only,” he said. The commercial operation uses 54 acres for one bull and 32 cow/calf pairs to produce $39,000. And because Mr. Viljoen’s operation is small, his expenses are less.  

“My beef is flavorful and extremely tender with abundant intermuscular fat in the meat. I use no antibiotics or growth hormones on my cattle,” he said.

Mr. Viljoen cleared the former tree farm 2012. “The property had enormous soil erosion, and I was able to reclaim the land,” he said. His first stop was to USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service in Tavares, Fla. District conservationist Suzy Daubert and range conservationist Pete Deal made a site visit. “We didn’t think it could ever work, there was no pasture. But he did. He made it a success,” Ms. Daubert said. They helped him identify natural resource concerns, develop a conservation plan and navigate the application process for financial assistance to apply conservation practices. The first year he built interior fence, splitting the property in two for grazing management, which he further divided into one-acre pastures. He installed water troughs. The second year he built a compost facility that he plans to use to fertilize the high tunnel he will build next year to raise produce to sell. He is growing plots of pollinators for his vegetables.

Next, he will plant fruit and nut trees to create Silvopasture. Between it all, he expects to earn a steady revenue from Substantia Micro Ranch. The former mechanical engineer said he could have retired and watched TV in his air-conditioned condo, but that would have started him down the slippery slope of ill health. “Since I started farming I have lost 25 pounds, eat like a horse and sleep so well dieting and gyms are no longer part of my vocabulary,” he said.

Note: Florida ranked 10th in beef cows and 18th in total cattle nationally. All cattle and calves on Florida farms and ranches as of January, 2016, totaled 1.69 million head, up 10,000 from 2015. The three top-ranking cattle-producing counties are Okeechobee, Highlands and Osceola. Beef cows in Florida were 915,000 head, up 9,000 head from 2015. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Hurricane Andrew - 25 Years Ago This Week

National Weather Service's 25th anniversary video of Hurricane Andrew that hit South Florida August 24, 1992.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Theatre Open Auditions Sept. 9

The LaBelle Firehouse Community Theatre is holding open auditions for its upcoming 25th season. Have you ever thought about performing on stage or helping behind the scenes? The time is NOW!
The theatre needs actors and actresses from 6 years old to 106 years "young" and additionally, the theatre needs volunteers to help with lighting, sound, props, costumes and back-stage.

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).

Obituaries - Ed Langdale, Joyce Snell

Oscar "Eddie" Edward Langdale, age 81, of Belle Glade, passed away August 20, 2017 in West Palm Beach. He was born Nov. 5, 1935 in Moore Haven, FL, to Oscar I. Langdale and Levey Lucille (Morris) Langdale. He was a self-employed contractor for years. Eddie started Langdale Dragline service in 1954 at the age of 19 in Delray Beach Fl. But soon after he moved back to the Glades at the height of developing of farmland. He developed digging canals, built roads on the farms in Palm Beach, Hendry and Glades counties. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Belle Glade, Fl.

He is preceded in death by his parents, brothers: James I., Ray Donald and Roy Langdale and a brother in law he considered a brother: Roy C. Lee.

Eddie is survived by his wife of 64 years Mary R. (Lee) Langdale, daughter: Susan Langdale (Jimmy) Forrester, son: Michael E. (Mercedes) Langdale, granddaughter: Patricia Forrester (Rodney) Yount, grandson: James V. (Julie) Forrester III, great-grandson: Jonathon Bailey Hedrick, five great-granddaughters: Hannah Hedrick, Katelyn, Jessica Lee Forrester and Madison Forrester and Hailey Yount and a brother in law he considered a brother: Billy Jack Lee.

The funeral service will be held Thursday, August 24, 2017, 11:00 a.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in Clewiston with Mr. Steve Weeks officiating. Interment will follow at Ortona Cemetery

Joyce Marie Snell, age 88, of LaBelle, passed away August 19, 2017 in Oakbrook of LaBelle.

She was born Sep. 21, 1928 in Moore Haven, FL, to Alice Marie (Tilden). She married James Henry Snell, he preceded her in death on May 19, 1973. Joyce worked for over 30 years as a manager for Handy Food Stores. She attended Palmdale Baptist Church for many years. She was a loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother who will be greatly missed by her entire family.

Joyce is survived by her children; Linda Crawford and Sandra Hayes both of LaBelle, Jimmy Snell of Ocala and David Snell of Palmdale, she is also survived by nine grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

Celebration of Joyce's life will be held at 11 am Wednesday, August 23, 2017 in Ortona Cemetery Pavilion. Burial will follow after the celebration also in Ortona Cemetery.

Celebration arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Hiking The Florida Keys - A Walk Across Florida

Excerpts From A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich
I checked my map and looked south down the highway towards the Keys. I could expect a raised causeway, about 10 miles of Everglades swamp, and 10 miles of mangroves. It looked like the mangroves would be high on each side, so I couldn’t expect much breeze. The raised causeway is what Flagler’s two dredges built. The railroad was built on it where the highway is now. In April of 1905 two of Flagler’s huge traveling dredges set out from what now is the Florida City area, south heading for Cross Key to Jewfish Creek. The dredges worked side by side with the marked right-of-way in the middle. They piled up the fill between them making a canal on each side and the raised causeway in the center.

As the dredges moved along, rock was brought in and spread on top of the causeway and then tracks laid…..

Why build a railroad to Key West? One may ask.

There were a few reasons. We would be able to trade with Cuba. The Spanish American War with Spain was over, thus the Panama Canal could be completed. Key West, which was then the largest city in Florida with approximately 20,000 inhabitants, had a very nice economy and a natural deep-water harbor. That harbor and its location in the Caribbean would make it an obvious choice for trade from the Panama Canal and the Caribbean nations.

I started off with Australian pines lining the road on both sides. It was a narrow two-lane road so I was on the left side facing traffic. The Sunday traffic was fierce and heavy, but most of it was coming from behind me going to the beaches. Some kids went by in an open flatbed truck playing drums and mariachis. I got hot and stopped to cool off in the canal. I saw a big bass dart away and then some small minnows nibbled on my feet. Since I had left the Australian pines behind me there was no shade, so I just sat there and evaporated off.

All day, as I hiked along, I had to wave back at people. I guessed they didn’t see many hikers. When there was a break in the mangroves, I could feel an occasional breeze as well as a salt smell in the air, not entirely ocean, still some Everglades memories. I tried to get a photo of the ospreys which had some nests on the poles along the highway, but they seemed to scare easily and stayed away. This was sure a long straight stretch. The side of the road was marl and rough coral rocks, really putting my boot soles to the test. I almost felt like I would flake out! Then up ahead I saw a rise in the road. I figured that it must be a Florida flood control canal. It was at least a mile or so away but I poured on the speed and moved out with a last thrust of energy.

It was nice under the bridge, real cool with the breeze moving up the canal. I lay down like I was about to die. After a nice rest I ate my meager rations and drank some old canal water. I was back out on the highway, and in a couple of miles I came to a marina. I stopped for snacks and some fresh water. I had a long talk with some people who had seen me in the morning, on their way out to the beaches. I guessed that is why so many people waved at me the next five miles. They had seen me in the morning when they were driving out to have some fun and relaxation. Here it was late in the afternoon, and this guy is still hiking in the sun!

The traffic coming back from the Keys towards me was solid. Sometimes it stopped, bumper to bumper. Everyone was waving and hollering at me, actually encouraging me. It was like I was a one-man parade and they were all bystanders waving, hollering and whooping. What a time! The enthusiasm just carried me along.

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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

United Way Opens New Office

Moore Haven, FL  – United Way of Hendry and Glades celebrated the opening of a United Way House in Moore Haven with a ribbon cutting and open house on July 28th. The Moore Haven United Way House is located at 200 Second Street.

United Way Houses bring services to the communities where they are needed. The Moore Haven United Way House provides space for agencies to assist clients, making multiple resources available to residents in one location. Hope Connections is the lead partner agency for the United Way House.

“By partnering with United Way, Hope Connections can better serve our most vulnerable seniors in Hendry and Glades counties,” said Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope Healthcare. “Last year, Hope provided more than 24,000 meals through home delivery and at Hope Care Centers like the one in the new Moore Haven House.”

With the addition of the Moore Haven House, there are a total of 19 United Way Houses throughout Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee Counties.

Over 80 people attended the ribbon cutting, and many toured the facility. Speakers included: Representative Cary Pigman and Glades County Manager Paul Carlisle. Additional speakers were Matt Hudson, Hope Healthcare Vice-President; Cliff Smith, President of the United Way; and Lisa Sands, Manager of the LaBelle United Way House.

Cliff Smith welcomed the crowd and thanked many people for their attendance including the Glades County Commissioners, School Board Members, School Superintendent Scott Bass, and United Way Partner Agency representatives. “Having a United Way House in Moore Haven is a priority for United Way, and we are thrilled that we are cutting the ribbon today on this new location,” said Smith.

“The idea behind the United Way Houses is that agencies can come together and offer their services to the community under one roof, and create an environment of collaboration and partnership. Last year, our 19 houses served over 310,000 individuals in our communities and this House will bring an increase in the numbers of families who are helped here in Moore Haven,” he concluded.

Lisa Sands presented special Community Partnership Awards to thank those involved in making the House a reality including: the Glades County Commissioners and County Manager Paul Carlisle; Shannon Hall of the Glades Electric Charitable Trust; Tommy Perry of Johnson-Prewitt; Micki Morgan of Clyde Johnson Contracting; and United Way Allocations Team Leader Scott Bass. Arlene Bettencourt, a former United Way employee, received special recognition for advocating bringing services to Moore Haven for many years.

A local network of 27 United Way Partner Agencies will receive funds from the United Way of Hendry and Glades fundraising campaign. All money raised in the United Way campaign stays in the local community to help support the local human service network. These agencies include: Abuse Counseling and Treatment (ACT), The Salvation Army, Harry Chapin Food Bank, RCMA, Children’s Advocacy Center, Child Care of Southwest Florida, Healthy Families, and many others.

In addition to raising funds for human service organizations in our community, the United Way promotes partnerships and collaborations among agencies, helping them to work together focusing on issues and solutions that continue to improve lives.

Seniors Get Food Help In Hendry/Glades

Eligible seniors have four new enrollment dates to sign up for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) at Hope Connections. Qualified low-income seniors can sign up for the monthly distribution of 30 to 35 pounds of nutritious food on these dates and times:

 Aug. 22 and Aug. 28: Clewiston, 9 a.m. to noon, 1200 S WC Owen Ave. Phone: 863-983- 8942

 Aug: 25 and Aug. 30: Moore Haven, 9 a.m. to noon, 200 Second St. Phone: 863-946- 0366.

The CSFP program, run by the state agriculture department and operated by the Harry Chapin Food
Bank of Southwest Florida, is expanding in Hendry and Glades counties. The Harry Chapin Food Bank is seeking to increase the number of clients who participate in CSFP from 296 to 1,450.

They include clients like John, 71, who doesn’t have a car and can’t always get a ride to Hope Connections to pick up his CSFP food. But he manages to improvise. For the last CSFP distribution, John drove his riding lawn mower to Hope Connections, about a mile away from his home.

He’s done that several times so he can pick up the food he needs, John said. “It helps me a lot. I can get the juice. I love the juice. Everything they give me helps me.” The food package includes fruits, vegetables, cheese, milk, peanut butter/dry beans, potatoes/grains and more.

The lawn mower John drives is partially melted on one side. It had been in a fire, but he got a good deal on it and knew how to fix it, he said. “I’m not too good at making it, but I do the best I can.”

He was very grateful and happy" said Kristina Rodriguez, Hope Connections manager. "We are always humbled and proud to serve each day...but he reminds us ten-fold why rural programs matter when we meet seniors like him."

To qualify for CSFP, an applicant must be at least 60 years old and earn a gross income at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty line. For example, a two-person household with an annual gross income of $21,172 would qualify.

The CSFP expansion is needed, said Samira Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope Connections, which has offices in LaBelle, Moore Haven and Clewiston. “Since we’ve worked here in Hendry and Glades for so many years, we know there’s real need and limited resources. We have people on all kinds of waiting lists for our different services. Somehow Hendry and Glades are often forgotten - the people of Hendry and Glades.”

The healthy food seniors receive aims to keep them from having to make hard choices like eating or
paying bills or buying medicine. So far, Harry Chapin Food Bank has signed up 1,102 clients for Hendry and Glades counties, with 348 needed.

The breakdown is:

 879 clients for Hendry County, with 161 needed

 223 clients in Glades County, with 187 needed

Seniors in Hendry and Glades counties interestet in applying for CSFP can also go to the Hope
Connections location in LaBelle at the Nobles Senior Center, 475 East Cowboy Way, during business
hours. Phone: 863-675-1576

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ryan Kinsey Dies In Motorcycle Crash Incident

Ryan J. Kinsey, 28 of El Paso, TX died after a hit and run crash Tuesday night at 11:47 p.m. in Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida.

A 2013 Harley Davidson Motorcycle was traveling northbound on US 41 (SR45) south of Cedar Creek Dr. when Kinsey fell off the bike onto the roadway and came to final rest in the right lane of US 41.

The motorcycle came to final rest north in the right lane of US 41 north of Kinsey. A Ford Taurus was traveling northbound in the right lane of US 41 approaching Cedar Creek Dr. and collided with Kinsey and continued traveling northbound on US 41 in an unknown direction.

It was described as Tan or Grey Ford Taurus. This crash remains under investigation

How To Protect Eyes During The Florida Solar Eclipse

On Monday, August 21, Florida will experience a partial solar eclipse, and the Florida Department of Health reminds all Floridians to enjoy this rare event safely by following simple precautions and using proper protection. Severe retinal damage can occur from looking directly at the sun.

"The solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime event that I'm sure many of us will want to experience,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary Dr. Celeste Philip. "I look forward to viewing the eclipse safely using approved solar eclipse glasses, and I encourage all of Florida's residents and visitors to practice caution while driving or walking outdoors during the period of darkness.”

Because Florida will not experience a total solar eclipse, it will not be safe the view the eclipse without the use of special solar filters like eclipse glasses. Sunglasses are not eclipse glasses. Not all glasses that market themselves as "eclipse glasses” are safe. Approved glasses have filters that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for safety. A list of vendors for approved eclipse glasses can be viewed on the American Astronomical Society (AAS) website. During the eclipse, be sure to take breaks and avoid staring at the sun for long periods of time, even with eclipse glasses.

Take simple precautions to protect your vision before, during and after the solar eclipse:
Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter;
Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device;
Always supervise children using solar filters; and
Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.

You can read more about solar eclipse safety on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Eclipse 101 website.

Jenaro Deleon Dies At 84

Jenaro Vasquez Deleon, age 84, of LaBelle, passed away August 9, 2017 in LaBelle. He was born Jan. 28, 1933 in Junco, Puerto Rico to the late Marcelino and (Vasquez) Deleon.
Survivors include four sons: Marcelino (Sara) Deleon, Tony (Mary) Deleon, Abel (Sandy) Deleon and Genaro Deleon, Jr., and two daughters: Lydia Faz of LaBelle, FL and Sanaida Martinez,
Brother of one sister: two Brothers numerous grandchildren and nieces and nephews,
Funeral services were held Friday, August 11, 2017 at 11:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle with Pastor David Deleon and Juan Velasquez officiating. Interment was in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle. Visitation was Thursday from 6-8 p.m. August 8 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL.

Monday, August 14, 2017

What's Happening At Hendry Commission

The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) regular meeting held on Tuesday, August 8 at the Commission Chamber in Clewiston City Hall in Clewiston, Florida.
·         Bid #2017-15 – LaBelle Airport - Construction of Terminal Building & Infrastructure – The board voted to accept the low bid from Owens Ames Kimball for $2,320,418.58 to construct the Labelle Airport terminal building and infrastructure. The project is funded 100% by the Florida Department of Transportation.

·         Review of Lobbying Services Contract - The Board voted unanimously to hire Gray Robinson with a 1-year contract of $60,000. At the end of the year, the Board will review the experience with Gray Robinson and decide if they want to negotiate a new agreement for the 2019 legislative season.


·         Contract With Johnson Engineering, Inc. for W.C. Owen Avenue from Georgia Avenue to US 271 - The Board voted to accept the contract staff negotiated with Johnson Engineering, Inc. for design and permitting services to resurface W. C. Owen Avenue. The Contract is for the design and permitting phase services in the amount of $155,201.48.

·         Contract with Johnson Engineering, Inc. for Fort Denaud Road from Fort Denaud Bridgeway to Huggetts Road - The Board voted to accept the contract Staff negotiated with Johnson Engineering, Inc. for design and permitting services to resurface Fort Denaud Road from Fort Denaud Bridgeway to Huggetts Road. The Contract is for the design and permitting phase services in the amount of $197,609.86.

·         Facilities Policy – The Board moved to adopt a county facility policy that would properly and consistently regulate the use and rental of county facilities. County facilities under this policy include facilities that are overseen by BOCC staff. An application consistent with this policy is being developed and will apply to all facilities. The application will be made available online.


·         Approve the Submission of a Grant Application to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity “Public Infrastructure Grant” for the Construction of the Waste Water Force Main from Airglades Airport to the Clewiston Waste Water Treatment Plant and Authorize Signature Authority - The board authorized staff to submit an application to the Department of Economic Opportunity for funding of the Force Main project contingent upon approval from the city of Clewiston. If a partnership is struck between the City of Clewiston and the County, the grant as will be for $8 million of the $85 million available. The County’s portion of the project on its own is $5.5 million.

·         Election of Commissioners – In follow up to the approval of the straw ballot provision from the last general election in November 2016, the Board approved seeking outside council through the services of Sniffen & Spellman, P.A. on the issue of possibly changing the method of election of County Commissioners from single-member districts to at-large.


·         Local Agency Program (LAP) Agreement for design, construction, and Construction Engineering and Inspection (CEI) services for a sidewalk along Old CR 78 from CR 78 East to SR 29 in the amount of$324,657 - The Board voted to execute the Amendment to the Local Agency Program Agreement, subject to County Attorney approval. The LAP Agreement consists of funding in the amount of $62,099 for design, $206,998 for construction, and $55,560 for CEI services. It is anticipated that these funds will fully fund the project.

Joe Davidson Takes New Commanding Officer Role

Navy Cmdr. Joseph O. Davidson of Clewiston, Fla., assumed command of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Seven Nine as the Commanding Officer during a ceremony held at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif. Davidson relieved outgoing Commander Marc Cantu.

Davidson has served in the Navy for more than 18 years and accumulated more than 2,500 hours of helicopter flight experience as an airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operator. He has won the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals, and various unit commendations.

Davidson is the son of Gail Davidson of Clewiston, Fla.

He graduated in 1999 from the University of Florida.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Elvia Cardenas Seriously Injured In Crash

Ruben Dario Restrepo 69, of LaBelle was traveling southbound on Eucalyptus Boulevard in a 1980 GMC pickup as Elvia Cardenas, 38 of LaBelle was eastbound on County Road 80A/ Cowboy Way in a 2003 Ford Escape at 8:27 a.m. Friday.

Restrepo came to a stop sign at the intersection of southbound Eucalyptus Boulevard and County Road 80A. and failed to yield to coming eastbound traffic on County Road 80A.

He then proceeded south into the intersection. As a result, the left front Cardenas' vehicle struck the right front of the truck at the intersection.

Collision impact then redirected the truck in a southeasterly direction. Both vehicles came to
rest on the westbound grassy shoulder of County Road 80A (east of the intersection).

Cardenas was later transported by Hendry County EMS to Lehigh Regional Medical Center for serious injuries. Restrepo had no injuries and was cited for failure to yield right of way.

Museum Coordinating Festival Pioneer Family Selections

Joe Thomas, current president of LaBelle Heritage Museum and a three-time past chairman of LaBelle’s Swamp Cabbage Festival, says it is not too early to start thinking about the 2018 Swamp Cabbage Festival Pioneer Family. LaBelle Heritage Museum will be presenting a list of “Pioneer Families” to the Swamp Cabbage Festival Committee at its October meeting for selection as the 2018 LaBelle Swamp Cabbage Festival Pioneer Family at the November meeting.

The criteria are the family has to have lived in the “LaBelle Community” for at least 50 years and still have direct descendants generally recognized as being members of the LaBelle Community.   This means the family chosen as 2018 Swamp Cabbage Festival Pioneer Family must have been living in the LaBelle Community by November 1967 at the absolute latest to be eligible for consideration by the Swamp Cabbage Festival Committee.   There are families whose LaBelle “roots” go back before the creation of Hendry County in 1923 who have not been honored let alone even been nominated as Swamp Cabbage Festival Pioneer Family, and LaBelle Heritage Museum will be presenting some of them for consideration along with relative “newcomers” to the ranks of Pioneer Families who have just become eligible for consideration.

Thomas adds, “In all fairness, if an area family has already been honored as Pioneer Family through great great grandparents or other direct ancestors living in our area, they should not be selected again through a more recent family member let alone even be nominated.” The 50 year minimum residency is a concrete requirement; what constitutes being a member of the LaBelle Area Community is a judgment call to be decided on an individual basis when all of the “facts” are presented.

Letters of nomination should be presented to LaBelle Heritage Museum either by dropping them off at the museum itself at 360 North Bridge Street, mailing them to LaBelle Heritage Museum, P O Box 2846, LaBelle, FL 33975, or e-mailing them to no later than Friday, September 15, to give time to verify information before presenting the nominations to the Swamp Cabbage Festival Committee at its October meeting.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Harry Chapin Food Bank - Free Food For Seniors

The Harry Chapin Food Bank is signing up seniors in Glades and Hendry County that may qualify for a federal supplemental food program (Commodity Supplemental Food Program – CSFP). Eligible seniors must be residents of Hendry or Glades County, 60 years or older and meet federal poverty guidelines. Food; vegetables, fruit, beans, and cheese monthly is available for 275 more seniors in Glades and 200 more seniors in Hendry Counties at this time.

A deadline of September 30 is slated to reach Harry Chapin's goal, or risk losing the food allotment. 

If you would like more detailed information, please feel free to call 239-334-7007 x.143, or email at

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Obituaries-Graf, Penton, Stewart, Briede

James V Graf, age 88, of LaBelle, passed away August 7, 2017 in LaBelle.
He was born July 9, 1929 in Elmira, NY, Son of late George and Alice Olga (Parsons) Graf.
Survivors include his wife: Florence Inez (Centers) Graf, one son: Michael (Darlene) Graf of Texas and three daughters: Carol (Paul) Kraft of LaBelle, Cheryl (Late Bob) Walker of CA. and Kathleen Graf, of N.Y.., Also Survived by 2 step-children Vonda Saunders of Lehigh Acres, Jeffery (Janis) Brewster of LaBelle. Pre-deceased by Minnie Orcutt Graf, Vicki Brewster & James E. Graf. Also survived by eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Jim had a quest for life and demonstrated this through his love for his wife, family and friends.
Jim was a jokester who loved to laugh and making others laugh. In his younger years he loved camping with his family. He enjoyed sitting by the campfire, telling jokes, roasting hotdogs and marshmallows. In his later years he loved going on cruises, and the highlight of his day was meeting friends each morning at a local restaurant for coffee and helping to solve the problems of the world. Jim truly loved his 35 brand new cars that he owned during his lifetime. His motto to his children was, "Do what is right for you!" He will be missed so much by his family and friends
Cremation arrangements by the Aiken-Davis Funeral Home
On August 6, 2017, Jeremy Penton, at only 17, was tragically taken from his loving and close-knit family and friends. Jeremy was born on May 25, 2000. Immediate family members include his mother, Cherie Penton; sister, Alyssa Penton; brother, Joshua Penton, and father, Daniel Penton. Paternal grandparents include Pablo and Caridad Penton, and his maternal grandparents are Butch and Glenda Wilson. Other extended family members include uncles, aunts, and cousins.
Jeremy grew up in Clewiston where his passion for fishing developed into an impressive talent. He first started fishing local community canals. One of his favorite spots was the "White Bridge" located at the end of Royal Palm Avenue, within walking distance from home. A hot summer day at the bridge always called for a break with plenty of McDonalds' hamburgers and ice cold tea for him and his fishing buddies.
Later, Jeremy's fishing exploits included boat trips on Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades. His love of fishing would expand to coastal, salt water bays on both the east and west coasts. People were always amazed at his angler abilities, as they watched him tirelessly catch fish for hours without taking a break. His family will forever treasure the photos that captured those special moments with Jeremy's big smile and trophy-sized fish.
Jeremy was a prankster at heart, who loved to play jokes on family and friends when they least expected it. He loved the outdoors, so one never knew what kind of Florida critter he would capture and bring home. The solitude he found in the outdoors, so befitted his personality. He was a person of few words who spent countless nights on his back porch, browsing through social media and You-Tube and calling friends.
Like many other teenagers of today, Jeremy struggled to find his way in a challenging world. In his struggles, we, his family, overlooked his imperfections and, with love, saw only his perfection. Jeremy's young life was cut short by the endless violence and lawlessness that so dominates our society today. Our hearts ache, knowing he will never have the opportunity to plan a career, meet and marry that special woman, or father children for us to love and spoil. Our family suffers deeply at Jeremy's loss because he was senselessly murdered and ruthlessly taken from us. His life is gone, but he will always continue to live in our hearts; his memories will sustain and comfort us. Jeremy, we will never forget you – your loving family will hold you in our hearts forever.
Celebration of Jeremy's life will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, August 10, 2017 in Clewiston Church of God, where Pastor Ray Dick will officiate. Visitation was held on Wednesday, August 9, 2017 from 6-8 pm in Akin-Davis Funeral Home. Burial will take place in Ridgelawn Cemetery.
Celebration arrangements being handled by Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Clewiston.
Harold Glenn Stewart, 87, passed away on Thursday, August 3, 2017 in LaBelle, FL. Glenn was born on September 18, 1929 in Ft Myers, FL to Herbert R. and Gladys L. Stewart. He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Wilton "Bill" Stewart and Gerald Stewart; by his wives, Mary E. Stewart and Edna Y. Stewart, and a son, Michael S. Stewart.
He is survived by a daughter, Mary Whitley, granddaughter, Amanda Whitley, and great-granddaughter, Cherokee Whitley of Wichita Falls, TX; a sister Inez S. Adkins of Palm Beach Gardens, FL; a step-son Gene Yarbrough of Sacramento, CA; six nieces; five nephews, and numerous other cousins and friends.
Glenn graduated from LaBelle High School in 1948 and lived a full and rewarding life. He was a flight line engineer, an instructor (training over 50 pilots, many who later became airline pilots), and went into the Air Force from March 1951 to November 1952. As a pilot, he delivered airplanes to South America, Argentina, and Mexico, and flew senators and governors throughout Florida. After moving to Tennessee in 1972, he dabbled in ranching, owned a dry cleaning business, managed two theaters, and did some construction work. Upon returning to Florida in 1988, he managed an orange grove and became a security guard. Then in 2012, he decided to venture into a new career called retirement.
Glenn's other passions were reading, dreaming about taking a sailboat ride to Puerto Rico, talking about his flying days, watching movies, and just taking it easy.
A Celebration of Life memorial service will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 12, 2017 at The Grace Building at Caloosa Baptist Church, 550 West Hickpoochee Av., LaBelle, Florida with Ray Harn officiating. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Glenn's name to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.
George James Briede, age 100, of Lehigh Acres, passed away August 2, 2017 in Fort Myers.
He was born July 10, 1917 in Chicago, IL, to the late Arthur Henry Briede and Agnes Josephine (Motyka) Briede. He served during World War II in the Marine Corps. He lived in Lehigh Acres from 1961 to 1977 and was a Publisher of the Lehigh Acres News during that time. George was a longtime resident of LaBelle from 1982 to 2000. He was a member and co-founder of the American Legion Post #130, LaBelle, D.A.V. Post #144 Labelle and the V.F.W. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge and Shriners.
He was preceded in death by his wife's', Martha J. Puletti Briede, Alta Breide, Adele Struckmeier Briede and Jo Williams-Briede. A daughter, Georgia L. Walker and grandson, Richard R. Kornmann, Jr. Survivors include son: James A. Briede of Tallahassee, FL and daughter JoAnn Pietron of Winchester VA, seven grandchildren, twelve great grandchildren, three great-great grandchildren, step children: Paul Puletti, John B. Puletti and Michael Puletti all of LaBelle and Eleanor Neal of Fort Myers.
Memorial Services will be held at a later date. No Viewing at George's request. Contributions can be made in George's name to Labelle American Legion or the V.F.W. or to the American Cancer Society in Georgia L. Walker and Richard R. Kornmann, Jr.
Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Jeremy Daniel Penton Murdered In Clewiston

On August 6, 2017, at approximately 2:39am, Hendry County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the area of Twin Lakes Subdivision, Clewiston, Florida, in reference to a young male lying on the ground.

Upon deputy’s arrival, they were able to identify the victim as 17 years old, Jeremy Daniel Penton of Clewiston. At this time it is unknown what may have led to the killing of Penton.

Anyone with any information regarding this homicide is asked to call the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, Investigator Vernon Speak, at (863) 674-5600 or (863)-805-5000; or you may contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-(TIPS)(8477), where you may become eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.00 if your tip leads to an arrest.

Update: Family members have gone into the Twin Lakes Subdivision and have been handing out flyers asking for assistance from residents in finding out who killed their grandson.

At this time there is a $10,000.00 reward for the arrest and conviction of the person(s) involved in the killing of 17 year old Jeremy Penton.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Lily Paniagua Honored By MADD

Florida Department of Health in Hendry County (FDOH-Hendry) and Drug Free Hendry County (DFHC) and one of their Live Positive 863 students were honored for their achievement for the prevention of underage drinking at the 2017 Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Statewide Law Enforcement Recognition Ceremony. 

DFHC was nominated as a community group and their Live Positive 863 student, Lily Paniagua, was nominated as an individual for the category of underage drinking prevention. 

Drug Free Hendry was nominated for the social norms campaign, Live Positive 863, which highlights high school students in both Hendry and Glades Counties, who live a positive life without any alcohol, substance abuse, or tobacco use.  Live Positive 863 is designed to be a peer to peer mentoring campaign which allows students to share their story on how they are able to deal with daily pressures. These students are hand selected after a thorough search to verify that they are not promoting any negative behaviors and are a leader within their school and community. 

After being chosen, the students participate in a photo shoot that typically highlights one of his or her favorite activities. The best photo is used on posters that are then displayed in all middle and high schools around Hendry and Glades Counties.

On the poster, students see a Live Positive 863 member, the school that they represent and a fun quote that amplifies living alcohol and drug free. Live Positive 863 members are also featured on Drug Free Hendry County’s webpage and social media accounts. Students involved in the Live Positive 863 Campaign become local celebrities and role models who prove that alcohol and drugs are not needed to have fun. 

FDOH Hendry/Glades and Drug Free Hendry continues to dedicate itself to making sure teens are not making poor choices, are living positively, and staying drug free.  For more information about this campaign, please contact Luci Cisnero at the Florida Department of Health in Hendry County 863-674-4041 ext. 6032 or visit

Photo left to right: David Pinsker-MADD Florida State Executive Director, Luci Cisnero, Lily Paniagua- Live Positive 863 student, Melissa Franco- Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Coordinator for FDOH Hendry, Crystal Gomez- Tobacco Prevention Specialist for FDOH-Hendry and Kelsey Kraft-Miss Florida