Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Obituaries - Jonathan Moss, James Davis

Jonathan Daniel Moss II of Clewiston, Florida departed this life on February 23, 2018 at the age of 24. JD was born November 15, 1993 in Loxahatchee, Florida and is survived by his fiancé Kali Dunn, his mother Abby Garcia (Alex), his father Daniel Moss (Cameron), four brothers Jude, Jaxon, Christian, and Jenson. He is the grandchild of Marion Primmer and the late Humberto Moya, Susan McCarley, Roger Moss (Lory), aunts and uncles Olivia Moya, Jared Moss, Randy Primmer (Tina) and Mark Primmer and many cousins, great aunts and uncles and friends.

JD attended Glades Day School up to his senior year and was proud to have played on the State Championship teams of 2009 and 2010. After getting his GED, he attended Wyotech in Daytona Beach, Florida where he earned a degree as a marine mechanic.

JD loved to fish, hunt, and almost any outdoor activity, especially near beaches. He carried his rod and reel with him and was known to stop anywhere that looked like a good fishing spot to see what he could catch. He would take a picture and then release the bass or give his catch to someone who wanted it to eat. It is believed that he grew to love fishing when he was a little boy while spending time with his late Grandfather Bert in the Keys.

He was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Clewiston, Florida, but wanted to be baptized by immersion. He was baptized at the First Baptist Church of Lake Placid on July 19, 2015, a comfort to his family.

JD could light up a room with his funny stories and beaming smile. He spent his last days working at a job he loved as a journeyman electrician with Heatsinc. JD loved his family and had many friends and was a good friend to many. He will be missed by all who knew him.

James P Davis III, 23, of Alva, passed away February 25, 2018 in Fort Myers.

He was born Aug. 27, 1994 in Edison, NJ.

Survivors include His Mother Claire (Hallam) Russo, His Father James P Davis Jr., 2 brothers: Basil and Chase.

Visitation will be Friday from 11 AM to 12 PM at Saint Vincent De Paul Catholic Church,13031 Palm Beach Blvd. Fort Myers, FL

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, March 2, 2018 at 12:00 pm at Saint Vincent De Paul Catholic Church, Fort Myers. with Father Murchadh O'Madigain officiating.

Interment will be Friday, March 2, 2018 in Alva Cemetery, Alva. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Fort Myers.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Paul Douglas Day Dies At 59

Paul Douglas Day, age 59, of Clewiston, passed away February 23, 2018.

He was born Aug. 10, 1958 in Detroit, MI, to the late Harvey Russell Irene Margaret (Hirst) Day. Mr. Day worked as a construction worker all his Life. He loved Carpentry.

Survivors include his wife: Carol Donna (Ward) Day, One son: Russell Day, One Daughter: Samantha Day also survived by one Grandchild, one brother: Kenneth (Tammy) Day, two Sisters: Mary (Bill) Trowbridge and Carol Dayton.

Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Karan Roach Appointed To Area Advisory Council

LABELLE, FL. -- Karan S. Roach of LaBelle has been appointed to the advisory council for the Area Agency on Aging of Southwest Florida (AAASWFL). Roach is an 18-year Hendry County Resident and retired Hendry County Government employee.

AAASWFL is a nonprofit organization committed to helping adults ages 60 and over and people with disabilities to live with independence and dignity in their own homes and communities.
Roach says she learned about the needs of seniors and people with disabilities while providing care to her 92-year old mother and her late husband of 33 years, Jim.

“So many of our seniors need community support,” explains Roach. “They need activities, attention, transportation, meals, companionship, and more. They need to be shown that their lives still matter.”

The AAASWFL advisory council is a volunteer group that provides guidance and support to Area Agency on Aging staff and board of directors. Members can hail from any part of the AAASWFL planning and service area of Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Sarasota Counties. Advisory Council members serve as a vital link between AAASWFL and the aging population in their local communities.

In addition to her service with the AAASWFL advisory council, Roach is a 12-year member of the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle, acting as secretary for nine years. She also serves on the board of directors of both the Hendry County Free Library in LaBelle and the Greater LaBelle Chamber of Commerce. She has volunteered for the Salvation Army, Hendry County Red Cross, Hendry County Republican Party, and the Hendry County United Way. Roach is also a member of the Hendry County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). She attends Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church and is a Stephen Minister.

Cherie Pittillo At Audubon Society March 12

LABELLE, FL. -- Experience "My Jaguar Journey in Brazil" and "Birds of the Brazilian Pantanal" by writer/photographer Cherie Pittillo at the Hendry-Glades Audubon Society program, March 12, 2018, at 7 PM, 1085 Platt Boulevard, LaBelle, just past the LaBelle Airport, 2nd drive on right and 2nd building on right.

Whether flying in a microlight over Africa, hanging out of a helicopter to photograph nature in the US, or dodging a charging rhinoceros, perhaps Cherie Pittillo owes her destiny as the first baby born at the hospital in Bat Cave, North Carolina.

She is an author and award-winning photographer with both bachelor's and master's degrees in biology with emphasis on zoology. Her publications vary from BBC books, Incredible Journeys, to the African and US editions of Reader's Digest. As a columnist, she continues to write in English "Backyard Birding in Merida, Yucatan and Beyond" in three online Mexican newspapers of The Yucatan Times.

Nicholas Beall Injured In Motorcycle Crash

LABELLE, FL. -- Nicholas Gregory Beall, 20 of  LaBelle was seriously injured while driving a motorcycle without a driver's license Sunday at 7:24 p.m.

A 1990 Harley Davidson motorcycle and a 2014 Chevy Silverado truck driven by Moleana Marie Hall, 42 of Immokalee were northbound on State Road 29 at Tangerine St. in LaBelle. The motorcycle was traveling behind the truck.

Hall came to a stop for northbound vehicles ahead and Beall attempted to bring the motorcycle to an abrupt stop. As a result, it collided with the right rear of the truck in the northbound lane. Upon impact, Beall lost control as the truck departed the roadway. The motorcycle then struck a sign support (pole) on the east grassy shoulder of State Road 29 and came to rest overturned to the right on the east grassy shoulder.

Beall was later transported to Lee Memorial Hospital by helicopter and is in stable condition. He was cited for not having a license and careless driving.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

LaBelle's Big Weekend Festival Feb 24-25

LABELLE, FL.-- The 2018 Swamp Cabbage Festival Parade kicked off Saturday morning to start the beginning of the annual festival in the park. Thousands lined Bridge Street this morning at 10 a.m. with the traditional parade, but  not so traditionally going in a reverse direction from decades of parades of the past.

This year featured among the usual politicians, elected officials, and floats, trucks, and swamp buggies from area businesses and organizations, the Budweiser 8-hitch team of Clydesdale horses.

Two days of food vending and musical acts continue this afternoon and Sunday in Barron Park along the banks of the Caloosahatchee River on Bridge Street in LaBelle.

Schedule of Events 

Saturday, February 24th
Mickey Foster – MC of Entertainment
6:00–7:15 am – Registration for Caloosa Humane Society’s 5K Swamp Stomp
7:30 am - Caloosa Humane Society's 5K Swamp Stomp 
8:00 am – Barron Park Opens for Vendors
9:00 am – Park opens to visitors
10:00 am – Parade starts
8:30 am – River Cruise Heritage Museum, Barron Park Riverfront
11:00 am – River Cruise Heritage Museum, Barron Park Riverfront
11:30 am – Opening Prayer & National Anthem
11:45 am – Grand Marshal, Pioneer Family Intro
12:00 pm – Showtime Cloggers
12:30 pm – Roger Jokela
1:15 pm –2018 Queen & Princess Intro / Performances & Parade Awards
1:30 pm – Unforgiven Band
1:30 pm – River Cruise Heritage Museum, Barron Park Riverfront
2:15 pm – Neon Summer
3:00 pm– Joe Mobley
3:30 pm – Chris MacArthur and the Florida Cracker Boys
4:00 pm – River Cruise Heritage Museum, Barron Park Riverfront
4:15 pm – Country Rhythm Cloggers
5:00 pm – Darryl Worley
Park Entertainment ends 6:30 pm
7-10:30 pm – Hendry County Cattlemen’s Rodeo-Rodeo Grounds
9:00 pm-1:00 a.m. – Cattlewomen’s Dance – LaBelle Civic Center

Sunday, February 25th8:30 am – River Cruise Heritage Museum, Barron Park Riverfront
9:00 am – Park opens to visitors
10:00 am – Press On
10:30 am – Roger Jokela
11:00 am – River Cruise Heritage Museum, Barron Park Riverfront
11:15 am – 2018 Queen and Princess Intro & Performances
11:30 am – Ayla Lynn
12:15 pm – Sugar Lime Blue
1:00 pm – Hendry County Cattlemen’s Youth Rodeo
Hendry County Rodeo Grounds
1:00 pm – The Dance Company
1:30 pm – River Cruise Heritage Museum, Barron Park Riverfront
2:00 pm – 64 to Grayson Gospel Band
2:45 pm – Athletic Ambitions
3:15 pm – Tru Country Band
4:00 pm – River Cruise Heritage Museum, Barron Park Riverfront

Penny Sweeney Seriously Injured In Crash

LABELLE, FL. -- Penny Jo Sweeney, 59 of Moore Haven  was eastbound on State Road 80 (Hickpochee Avenue) at Hardee St., in the inside lane driving a 2016 Kia Optima as Alexandra Obregon, 33 of Moore Haven was westbound in a 2008 Honda Civic at 8:21 p.m. Friday.

The Honda began to decelerate in the left turn lane of State Road 80 as Sweeney began traveling partially in the inside and left turn lanes of State Road 80. As a result, the left front of the Kia struck the left front of the Honda in the left turn lane of State Road 80.

Collision impact with the Kia caused the Honda to rotate counterclockwise. The Kia came
to rest in the left turn lane. The Honda came to rest partially in the left turn and (westbound)
inside lanes of State Road 80.

Sweeney was later transported by Hendry County EMS to Hendry Regional Medical Center in Clewiston. She is in stable condition. Obregon had minor injuries.

Sweeney was charged with failure to maintain single lane.

Friday, February 23, 2018

A Walk Across Florida - Bridges Through The Keys

Excerpts From A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich

As I sat my pack down near the road to look around, a VW van came by with a bunch of real hippies in it, hollering,

“Hey need a ride?” I waved them on.

I looked around the bridge abutment. It had the original railroad foundations and railroad track being used for a railing. I was inspecting all this on both sides of the highway,….

….In length, this bridge was the big one. Here I am sitting on Knights Key. In 1908 it was the end of the line, with a dock built far out in the water for ocean steamships to load passengers and freight heading to Key West, Cuba and even the Panama Canal. It took two years to build these facilities and was finished and available for regular service in February of 1908. This dock had a post office, hotel and custom’s office. It could handle two complete trains at one time and the Flagler steamships. These facilities were used until the rest of the bridges and line were completed to Key West in January of 1912.

The seven mile bridge construction was divided into 4 parts. These were Knights Key, Pigeon Key, Moser Channel and Pacet Channel bridges. Knights, Pigeon, and Moser were steel-girder spans on top of vertical concrete foundation piers. Some of the foundations were 28 feet below the waterline. These spans were formally called deck plates and were mostly 80 feet long. In the center of the Moser Channel section was a 253-foot swinging steel truss bridge for Atlantic to the Gulf ship traffic. The Pacet Channel bridge was a series of 210 spandrel arches similar to the Long Key viaduct I had just crossed. The seven-mile bridge took two years to build.

One of the main work camps was Pigeon Key which was about one mile out from Knights Key. Its facilities took care of 400 workers during the bridge construction between 1908 and 1912. Today many of the original work camp buildings are preserved, open to public and administered by the Pigeon Key Foundation and Marine Science Center. One can go out to them by walking or biking on the old bridge or by boat.

As I sat there looking out, I could see the vertical concrete bridge piers heading out to Pigeon Key. The steel girder spans were on top of these piers, and the water pipe was attached to the side of the girders. It was installed by the U. S. Navy in 1941. The only water in the Keys was from rain. That rain was collected from the metal roofs of houses and buildings and channeled to storage areas. These storage areas were called cisterns and were usually made of reinforced concrete or metal. Even the early Indians stored water in open wells. During and after the railroad was being built, water was hauled to the Keys in tank cars. When the Navy installed the pipeline the Florida Keys Aqueduct Commission paid one-third of the expenses.

Enough of this sitting, I decided. I might as well get on with it, another hitch-hike. After all, if it was too dangerous to walk the one and two mile Long Key bridges, seven miles was out of the question!

I stuck my thumb out and the next vehicle stopped. It was a couple of boys in a VW car, and this time I made sure I said,

“Thanks guys, I only need a ride across this seven-mile bridge.”

As we were crossing, three girls in a red sports car convertible came up alongside. That meant they were passing us on this narrow two-lane bridge. The guys and girls started talking and they said something about pulling off on the other side of the bridge. That was good for my request, and before I knew it we were on the other side. They pulled up right behind the girls’ convert’, got out, and sprinted right over. I pulled my pack out of the back, hollered thanks to a couple of guys who were obviously distracted, and went on my way.

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 Amazon.com

Rebecca Cisneros Dies At 65

Rebecca R Cisneros, age 65, of LaBelle, passed away February 17, 2018 in Clewiston.

She was born Aug. 6, 1952 in Celina, OH, to the late Atanasio and Cruz (Torres) Rodriguez.

Survivors include her husband: Ismael Cisneros, three daughters: Erica Novoa ,Soledad Cisneros, and Rebecca Cisneros, 8 grandchildren, and Brothers and Sisters.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Enjoy Yourself At the 2018 Swamp Cabbage Festival

LABELLE, FL.-- Here's the schedule of events for the 2018 Swamp Cabbage Festival this week:

Tuesday, February 20th6–9 pm - SCF Street Fest on Fort Thompson
Eli Mosley Band. Vendors and Food available.

Thursday, February 22rd6-10 pm - Old Timers Dinner (Heritage Museum),
LaBelle Civic Center

Friday, February 23rd8 am-8 pm – Barron Park Opens for Vendor Setup
7-10:30 pm – Hendry County Cattlemen’s Rodeo-LaBelle Rodeo Grounds

Saturday, February 24th
Mickey Foster – MC of Entertainment
6:00–7:15 am – Registration for Caloosa Humane Society’s 5K Swamp Stomp
7:30 am - Caloosa Humane Society's 5K Swamp Stomp
8:00 am – Barron Park Opens for Vendors
9:00 am – Park opens to visitors
10:00 am – Parade starts
8:30 am – River Cruise Heritage Museum, Barron Park Riverfront
11:00 am – River Cruise Heritage Museum, Barron Park Riverfront
11:30 am – Opening Prayer & National Anthem
11:45 am – Grand Marshal, Pioneer Family Intro
12:00 pm – Showtime Cloggers
12:30 pm – Roger Jokela
1:15 pm –2018 Queen & Princess Intro / Performances & Parade Awards
1:30 pm – Unforgiven Band
1:30 pm – River Cruise Heritage Museum, Barron Park Riverfront
2:15 pm – Neon Summer
3:00 pm– Joe Mobley
3:30 pm – Chris MacArthur and the Florida Cracker Boys
4:00 pm – River Cruise Heritage Museum, Barron Park Riverfront
4:15 pm – Country Rhythm Cloggers
5:00 pm – Darryl Worley
Park Entertainment ends 6:30 pm
7-10:30 pm – Hendry County Cattlemen’s Rodeo-Rodeo Grounds
9:00 pm-1:00 a.m. – Cattlewomen’s Dance – LaBelle Civic Center

Sunday, February 25th8:30 am – River Cruise Heritage Museum, Barron Park Riverfront
9:00 am – Park opens to visitors
10:00 am – Press On
10:30 am – Roger Jokela
11:00 am – River Cruise Heritage Museum, Barron Park Riverfront
11:15 am – 2018 Queen and Princess Intro & Performances
11:30 am – Ayla Lynn
12:15 pm – Sugar Lime Blue
1:00 pm – Hendry County Cattlemen’s Youth Rodeo
Hendry County Rodeo Grounds
1:00 pm – The Dance Company
1:30 pm – River Cruise Heritage Museum, Barron Park Riverfront
2:00 pm – 64 to Grayson Gospel Band
2:45 pm – Athletic Ambitions
3:15 pm – Tru Country Band
4:00 pm – River Cruise Heritage Museum, Barron Park Riverfront

Park Entertainment ends 4pm

-Courtesy LaBelle Chamber of Commerce

Marijuana Users Get ID Card Streamlining

The Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties is committed to ensuring qualified patients have safe, reliable access to low-THC cannabis and medical marijuana. In an effort to better serve patients, the department is streamlining the medical marijuana identification card application process.

The department's Office of Medical Marijuana Use has made changes to the Medical Marijuana Use Registry that eliminate the need for patients to submit a passport-style photograph if they have a Florida issued driver's license or identification card. Instead, when a qualified ordering physician enters a patient into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry, the registry will automatically access the patient's Florida Driver's License or Florida identification card photograph directly from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (HSMV) system. This photo will be populated in the patient's online identification card application. Passport-style photographs will still need to be submitted for those applicants who are not in the HSMV system.

The department has identified photos as being a common area of error in the application process and as a priority issue for streamlining. The approval process for patient identification card applications can be delayed due to the submission of photographs that do not meet the statutory requirements. Currently, the processing time for paper applications is 26 days, and the processing time for online applications is 18 days. This patient-centered upgrade will make the application process more efficient and easier on patients and caregivers.

For more information about the Office of Medical Marijuana Use and the Medical Marijuana Use Registry, visit www.flhealth.gov/ommu

Hendry Democrats Meet At Sunrise Restaurant March 10

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Hendry County Democrats and supporters will meet at Clewiston's Sunrise Restaurant, 842 East Sugarland Hwy, on Saturday, March 10, for a Special Breakfast from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to meet announced and prospective Democratic candidates for local to district to state-wide and national offices to be decided upon in the 2018 elections. 

Known Democratic candidates with available contact information have already been invited, and all Democratic incumbents and prospective candidates for Hendry County Commission, School Board, and Hospital Authority to 20th Circuit State Attorney and Public Defender and Florida Senate District 28 and House District 80 as well as Governor, Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer, and Commissioner of Agriculture along with Representative for Congressional District 25 and US Senate or their campaign staffs are also welcome.

Everyone planning to attend -- interested voter and candidate alike -- is asked to contact SUNRISE RESTAURANT (863)983-9080 no later than Wednesday, March 7, with names and number attending the HENDRY COUNTY DEMOCRATS Breakfast as a courtesy to let the restaurant know how many guests to anticipate.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Ricky Allen Schuch Dies At 68

Ricky Allen Schuch, age 68, of LaBelle, passed away February 14, 2018 at home.

He was born October 28, 1949 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to David Hugh and the late Carol Anita (Goebel) Schuch. Mr. Schuch was a Security officer for years.

Survivors include his wife: Kristine J. (Schumacher) Schuch, one daughter: Kathleen (Mark) Schuch. Son of David Hugh Schuch, three brothers: Gary (Stephanie) Schuch, Randy (Karen) Schuch and Dean Schuch,. Also Survived by a Grandson: Amando Ramirez III; a Granddaughter: Alexandria Ramirez.

Service will be held at a later date. Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

What's Happening At The Hendry County Commission

The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) regular meeting held on Tuesday, February 13 at Clewiston City Hall.

  • ITB #2018-03- Approve the Bid for LaBelle Construction – The Board approved the request for LaBelle Construction as the lowest bidder for the SHIP rehabilitative projects located at 1109 Carolina Avenue, Clewiston and 446 W. Ventura Avenue, Clewiston. Hendry County will be the primary lien holder for the property located at 1109 Carolina Avenue, Clewiston. Hendry County will be the secondary lien holder for the property located at 446 W. Ventura Avenue, Clewiston.

  • Proclamation – Engineer’s Week – The Board adopted a proclamation declaring February 18-24, 2018 as Engineer’s Week. Hendry County will be participating in Engineer’s Week by highlighting the work done by the Hendry County Engineering Department to help improve the infrastructure in Hendry County. Ms. Sommer Foster, President of the Calusa Chapter of the Florida Engineering Society, was present to emphasize the importance of engineers in society and also discuss what the Florida Engineering Society is doing to promote STEM programs in Florida schools including those in Southwest Florida.

  • Proclamation – Manchu Warriors – The Board adopted a proclamation declaring March 2, 2018 as “Manchu Warrior Day”. Local Veteran Nicholas Cutinha served with the Manchu Warriors of Company C, 4th Battalion, 9th Regiment, 25th Army Infantry Division during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. The Manchu Warriors fought bravely in defense of liberty during the Battle of Hoc Mon on March 2, 1968, losing 49 Soldiers dead, and 24 Soldier wounded, of the 92 Soldiers of the Unit, in just 8 minutes. Army Specialist 4 Nicholas Cutinha was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for valor under fire when saving the lives of 9 of his Platoon mates before being fatally wounded. Annually, the surviving Manchu Warriors gather in Hendry County to render reverence and gratitude for the sacrifice of their brethren. The Warriors will continue this tradition on March 3, 2018 at the grave site of Nicholas Cutinha in Fort Denaud Cemetery. The ceremony will be open to the public and the all are encouraged to attend to honor the Manchu Warriors. The ceremony will begin at 9am.

  • Ordinance Amendment of Holding Period for Impounded Animals – The Board approved an amendment to the ordinance that will reinstate the previous 5-day holding period for impounded animals.

  • East Recreation Summer Camp 2018 – The Board approved staff to enter an agreement with the YMCA for a 2018 summer camp in the Harlem community. The YMCA held a successful camp in Harlem during the summer of 2018. The Board requested that staff look into the prospect of having Hendry County schoolteachers involved in the summer camp. The Board would also like to see similar programs in the Central County communities such as Montura and Pioneer.

  • Central Florida Behavioral Health (CFBH) Network provided the Board with an update on their contract with Crossroads Behavioral Health Center. Crossroads has made the decision to terminate its contract with CFBH. Crossroads will continue to provide services in Hendry County for Medicaid and Medicare clients.  CFBH would like to maintain a relationship with the County to continue providing behavioral health services to residents of Hendry County

  • Commissioner Turner provided a brief summary of the Commissioners’ trip to Tallahassee last week. The Commissioners’ visited the Capitol to meet with various legislatures and key leaders to discuss Hendry County issues and receive updates on the 2018 legislative session.

Live To Be 100 - 10 Tips On Heart Health And Longevity

"People globally are celebrating their love this month but there’s something else that’s just as important to celebrate - the health of your ticker. When it comes to ensuring wellness and longevity, your heart needs to be kept in tip-top shape," says Dr. Mao Shing Ni, well known Doctor of Chinese Medicine.. 

"You can go a long way towards preventing strokes, heart disease, reducing your blood pressure and lowering your cholesterol by rotating into your life small changes that make a big difference."

Dr. Mao has 10 tips that are so easy to keep your heart healthy you can discover how to customize your heart protection plan whether it be through active exercise play, heart-healthy meal planning, stress factors to avoid or gratitude to embrace. 

Get ready to keep your ticker happy, healthy and strong!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

17 Dead In Florida School Shooting

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL. -- Broward Sheriff's Office deputies responded to an active shooter situation at a northwest Broward County school in the city of Parkland  Wednesday afternoon.

Responding deputies were met with hundreds of students fleeing the school. Investigators later learned that the shooter had concealed himself in the crowd and was among those running out of the school.

After watching school security video, investigators were able to identify the shooter as Nikolas Cruz, 19. Cruz had attended and was expelled from the school the previous year.

Cruz was taken into custody by Coconut Creek PD in a nearby neighborhood in Coral Springs. Cruz exhibited labored breathing. He was transported to a local hospital as a precaution for medical clearance.

Seventeen victims were transported to Broward Health Coral Springs, Broward Health North, Broward Health Medical Center and Boca West Medical Center. Two of the 17 victims who were transported died at the hospital.

Fifteen victims died at the school. BSO investigators are working with Broward County Schools staff to identify all of the victims.

Students were bused from Stoneman Douglas High School to a nearby hotel to be reunited with their families.

The high school has about 3,200 students and has been rated among the top 15 high schools in Florda, located in the affluent city of Parkland, which has a population of 32,000.

Individuals with information are encouraged to call the FBI tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit https://www.fbi.gov/parklandshooting.

Obituaries - Joseph Wilson, Christina Murray, Scott Duggins

Joseph "Jay" Samuel Wilson, Jr, 85, went home to be with our Lord on Friday, February 9, 2018 in Troy, Alabama. Jay was born August 5, 1932 to Joseph Sr and Mattie Pearl (Davidson) Wilson in laBelle, Florida, where he lived for 78 years of his life. Jay was a Corporal in the United States Army, where he proudly served from 1953-1955.

Jay was a Master Carpenter, having learned the trade from his father, and it was a profession he truly loved. He retired from U.S. Sugar Corporation in 1994, where he was employed for 25 years. Prior to this, he had been employed by Everett Burchard and General Development as a carpenter. In his spare tme, Jay enjoyed fishing, traveling, and cooking BBQ for his family and friends.

Jay is survived by his loving wife of 51 years, Nita; daughter, Joyce (Charles) Lassett; son, William "Bill" Billingsley; daughter, Patti (Paul) Williams; sister-in-law, Laura June (Buster) Wilson; six grandchildren, Jason Taylor, Byron Taylor, Brandi Billingsley, Logan Drake, Jayden Williams and Jenna WIlliams; four great-grandchildren, Nathan Taylor, Lauren Taylor, Bryson Billingsley and Case Criswell; and many other loving relatives and friends.

A graveside service will be held on Monday, February 19, 2018 at Ft. Denaud Cemetery with Rev. Frank M. Derrey, Jr. officiating. There will be a dessert fellowship immediately following in the Social Hall at First Baptist Church, LaBelle, Florida. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Association at 8180 Greensboro Drive, Suite 400, McLean, VA 22102.

Christina Lynn Murray, age 34 of LaBelle, Florida passed away on February 9, 2018 in Fort Myers.

Christina was born in Fort Myers on March 18, 1983 to Oliver Boyd and Melissa Regn Murray. Christina was a waitress for many years. She was a graduate of LaBelle High School.

Christina leaves behind her son; Colten Hunter Murray, parents; Oliver Boyd Murray and Melissa Gauss, sisters; Victoria Arthur, Heather Dawn Vazquez and Samantha Walker and many extended family members.

Celebration of Christina’s life will be held at 1 pm Saturday, February 17, 2018 in Community Harvest Worship Center, where Pastor Don Murray will officiate.

Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home – LaBelle.

Scott Duggins, age 62, of Clewiston, passed away February 8, 2018 in Clewiston.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

No More Monkey Feeding In Florida

At its December 2017 meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted to prohibit the feeding of wild monkeys in order to promote greater public safety and decrease health concerns associated with these animals. This amendment to the General Prohibition Rule went into effect Feb. 11. Free-roaming, non-human primates join coyotes, foxes, raccoons, bears, pelicans and sandhill cranes as species included in this rule.

“The health and safety of the public is the Commission’s number one priority. Feeding wild monkeys creates an elevated risk to human health because it brings them into closer contact with people,” said Dr. Thomas Eason, Assistant Executive Director of the FWC. “This amended rule provides our staff the tools we need to effectively address a situation that can have serious consequences.”

As the population of wild monkeys has increased across the state, public health and safety concerns have also increased due to public contact with the animals. In an effort to reduce the risk of public contact, the FWC adopted an amendment to the General Prohibition Rule to include the prohibition of feeding these animals.

Currently, there are three established species of wild monkeys in Florida: squirrel monkeys, vervet monkeys and rhesus macaques. When these animals are fed by humans, they often develop a dependency on humans as a source of food and become territorial over the area where feeding occurs. This dependency can lead to increased aggression, which may result in injuries and spread of disease to humans.

Wild monkeys are documented carriers for various diseases. Rhesus macaques can carry herpes B, a potentially fatal disease in humans if not treated immediately. While there are no documented cases of free-roaming macaques transmitting herpes B to humans in the wild in Florida, the risk for exposure will continue to grow as public contact with these animals increases.

“The implementation of this amendment allows FWC officers to better educate, inform and encourage the public to refrain from feeding these animals,” said Col. Curtis Brown, Division Director of the FWC Division of Law Enforcement.

Dwayne Pratt Demonstrates Swamp Cabbage Cooking

The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle hosted the Kiwanis Division Council Meeting on Tuesday, February 13, 2018. The guest speaker was Dwayne Pratt who exhibited his expertise in Swamp Cabbage harvesting/cutting.

Kiwanis Clubs from LaBelle, Lehigh, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, and Fort Myers Beach were represented st this meeting and learned all about Swamp Cabbage and the food and festivities that surround our State Tree. 

Over 50 Kiwanis Club members participated in the event which was held at Carlson United Methodist Church in LaBelle and LaBelle's Log Cabin was the caterer.

Photo by Helen Mead

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Obituary - Terrie M. Harvey

Terrie M Harvey, age 60, of Moore Haven, passed away February 11, 2018 in Clewiston.

She was born Jan. 24, 1958 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, to the late Edward and Joan (Cow) Woodcock.

Survivors include her husband: James R Harvey, two sons: James R Harvey Jr and Edward Reed Harvey, and two daughters: Leah Christine Harvey and Cyril Harvey and one sister: Joanne Woodcock and 5 grandchildren.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Pregnant Bicyclist Hit By Drunk Driver

MARCO ISLAND, FL. -- Jose Luis Rodriquez, 46 of Naples was eastbound on Patton St at San Marcos Blvd this morning at 8:30 a.m. as Meghan Miller, 33 of  Green Springs, Ohio was northbound on San Marcos Blvd approaching Patton St. on a bicycle.

Driving a 2002 Ford F-350 Rodriquez proceeded east from the stop sign into the path of Miller. As a result, the front right corner of of the one-ton truck collided with the left side of the bicycle.

Miller is pregnant and was transported by a medical helicopter to Lee Memorial Hospital for serious injuries.

Rodriquez was charged with DUI with property damage and injury and failure to yield right of way.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Obituaries - Ridgdill, Langford, Santamarina

Donald W. Ridgdill, age 70, of LaBelle, passed away February 3, 2018 in LaBelle.
He was born Aug. 2, 1947 in Fort Myers, FL, to the late Schnider Jackson "Brown Tiger" and the late Della (Townsend) Ridgdill.
He is survived by his niece, Stephanie Ridgdill (Charles); niece, Shellie Reinbott (Marty); nephew, Michael Ridgdill and many other extended family members. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers: Schnider Jackson "Jack" Ridgdill, Jr., Rodney E. Ridgdill, Ronald E. Ridgdill and sister: Beverly Jo Ridgdill.
A graveside service was be held Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 2:00 pm at Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle with Pastor Preston Long officiating.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.
Edwin Stanley Langford, age 73, of Clewiston, passed away February 2, 2018 in Clewiston.
He was born Feb. 22, 1944 in Norridge, England, to the late Stanley and Lillie (McIver) Langford. He worked in the Sugar Processing Plant as a Mechanic.
Survivors include one son: David (Barbara) Langford and three daughters: Jackie Hoopes, Yolanda (John) Stoker and Glenda Gail (Rick) Flynn Also survived by 11 Grandchildren and 14 Great Grandchildren. Two brothers: James Langford and Donald Langford, Two sisters: Fay Boucher and Pricilla Langford.
Edwin was. .... A very strong willed man, always ready to give advice. He loved to fish, go camping, Barbecue for his family and friends. He was always up for a good laugh. Edwin enjoyed spending time with his family friends and his dog Jake. He spent 30+ years on the fire Dept. Helping others.
A memorial services will be held Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 3:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston.
Alberto R Enrich Santamarina, age 73, of LaBelle, passed away February 2, 2018 in LaBelle.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Is Smokeless Tobacco/Vaping Safe?

Hendry/Glades — The Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties joins the Hendry County Tobacco Free Partnership and the Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida Program to raise awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco – like chew and dip, during Through With Chew Week. This public awareness campaign was created to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco among young people and help combat this deadly addiction. This year’s Through With Chew Week takes place Feb. 18-24.

“Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to tobacco use. In 2016 approximately 29.4% of 5-17 year olds in Hendry County reported using vape or e-cigarettes.18.5% stated for Glades. The State average for this group is 25.8%“.  stated Joe Pepe, Administrator/Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties.

To raise awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use, The Hendry County Tobacco Free Partnership is participating in the Swamp Cabbage Parade in Hendry County. The parade takes place on Feb. 24, 2018, at 10 a.m. Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) students will be walking in recognition of the dangers of smokeless tobacco use.  The students will be creating and holding signs explaining the risks of smokeless tobacco as well as the benefits of quitting.

Although smokeless tobacco use is low, the rate has fluctuated and disproportionately affects certain areas:
·         In 2012, the rate of adult smokeless tobacco use was 3.2 percent. In 2016, the rate was at 3.0 percent. This decrease is minimal compared to the rate at which cigarette use has dropped (17.7 percent to 15.5 percent).[i]
·         Rural communities in particular have experienced challenges in battling smokeless tobacco use. Individuals living in these areas are more likely to use tobacco – particularly smokeless tobacco.[ii]
“While we are proud that youth smokeless use is at an all-time low, the number of adult Floridians using smokeless tobacco is still an issue,” said Dr. Kellie O’Dare, Tobacco Free Florida Bureau Chief. "We want to remind smokeless tobacco users that our cessation services are for everyone – not just smokers.”

At least 28 cancer-causing chemicals have been identified in smokeless tobacco.[iii] Smokeless tobacco users have an 80 percent higher risk of oral cancer and a 60 percent higher risk of esophageal cancer and pancreatic cancer compared to non-users.[iv]

There is no scientific or medical evidence that proves smokeless tobacco use is an effective method to help people quit smoking.Floridians who want to quit any form of tobacco have access to the state’s free and proven-effective resources. For more information, please visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com/quityourway.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Steven McKown Graduates From Air Force Training

CLEWISTON, FL. -- U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Steven A. McKown II graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training also earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

McKown is the son of Steve and Amy McKown of Clewiston, Fla. He is also the brother of Nicki McKown.

The airman is a 2015 graduate of Clewiston High School, Clewiston, Fla.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Obituaries - Florence McGarrah, Enrique Leon

Florence McGarrah, age 97, of LaBelle, passed away January 30, 2018 in LaBelle.mShe was born Sep. 8, 1920 in Fargo, ND, to the late Otto and the late Gertrude (Stoffels) Wendt. Survivors include Sister: Ruth Triebold. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Enrique Leon, age 68, of Clewiston, passed away February 1, 2018 in West Palm Beach. He was born Dec. 23, 1949 in Cuba. Mr. Leon was a Landscaper for years. Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Snail Kites With Dr. Paul Gray

Mark your Calendars for the Hendry-Glades Audubon Monthly Programs the 2nd Monday at 7:00 p.m. second Monday of the month September - May. at Dallas Townsend Agricultural Extension located at 1085 Pratt Blvd., LaBelle On Monday February 12th  Dr. Paul Gray will present an informative program on “Snail Kites”.

Dr. Paul Gray is a Science Coordinator for Audubon Florida's Everglades Restoration Program.  He has been with Audubon for 23 years and working in and around Lake Okeechobee for 30 years. 

Paul provides science support for Audubon policy teams in issues ranging from water quality, water management, agricultural best management practices, and ecosystem and bird conservation issues. 

Paul’s educational background includes a BS from the University of Missouri, an MS from Texas Tech University and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

There will also be a "Silent Auction" of a delightful selection of donated books and collectibles.  Proceeds will be donated to the LaBelle 4-H Pollinator Club to help purchase benches for a Pollinator Garden they are creating at the Dallas Townsend Extension Building.

Are You A Distracted Driver? Safety Alert

What would you say is the biggest cause of distracted-driving car crash deaths? You'd probably say cellphones. But you'd be wrong (they're in second place).

Almost two thirds of death-crashes are due to letting our minds wander! You're thinking about a thousand-and-one things when, suddenly… caboom!

If this is you, or a driver in your family, mind-wandering risks can be cut by:

Never driving when tired or angry, such as after an argument
Avoiding talk-radio, podcasts and audiobooks
Keeping eyes on the road instead of admiring the scenery
Avoiding talking to others, including use of hands-free phones

Never forget that driving is risky. You might find this distracted driving guide useful: http://tinyurl.com/distract-guide.

Friday, February 02, 2018

What Do You Know About Valentine's Day - 14 Fun Facts

By Tiffany Craft

Valentine's Day is quickly approaching. The 14th of February conjures images of candle light dining, homemade greeting cards and heart-shaped candy boxes. This festive day celebrates all of the love in your life. But where did it come from? Here's some fun facts about this whimsical day.

1. Historians believe Valentine's Day actually began in ancient Rome as a wine-fueled fertility festival called Lupercalia, in which Roman men and women paired off.

2. In the 1300's this special day was Christianized and the 14th officially became a holiday associated with love and romance. Many believed that birds started their mating season on February 14th, which is why doves are often associated with love.

3. Some say that there was more than one St. Valentine. However, the most popular theory is that Bishop Valentine is the true conspirator for love. Apparently, Emperor Claudius II didn't want Roman men to marry during his gamble for mass expansion of territories. Bishop Valentine went against his wishes and performed secret weddings. Sadly, he was jailed and executed for going against the emperor's wishes. However, before his passing, he wrote a note to the jailer's daughter and signed it "from your Valentine".

4. Many believe the X symbol became synonymous with the kiss in medieval times. Individuals who couldn't write their names often signed in front of a witness with an X. The X was then kissed to demonstrate sincere devotion.

5. In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. Individuals would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week so that others would see. Perhaps the expression "I'm wearing my heart on my sleeve" comes from this.

6. The first valentines were sent in the 15th century. It wasn't until Victorian times that people started exchanging cards and letters - and it was considered bad luck to sign a card. Valentine's Day greeting cards weren't mass produced until the 1840's.

7. Physicians of the 1800's often advised their patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining for lost love.

8. Thanks to Richard Cadbury, the first box of chocolates for Valentine's Day was created in the late 1800's.

9. Approximately one billion Valentine's Day cards are exchanged each year. Teachers receive the most Valentine's Day cards.

10. The most popular gift on Valentine's Day is flowers. The most popular flower to give is...you guessed it, roses.

11. The red rose was the symbolic favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

12. Lace is often used in Valentine's Day decorations. This custom comes from the Latin lacquer, which means to snare or to net. Thus, the ritual to catch an individual's heart.

13. A love knot is a symbol of undying love. It's twisting loops have no beginning and no end. In the past, they were made of ribbon or drawn on paper to prove one's eternal love.
14. Perhaps one of the most magical gifts of love is the Taj Mahal in India. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan as a memorial to his wife.

Reprinted with permission from Infinichi.com monthly newsletter

Patricia Pack Arrested On Drug Charges

Patricia Danielle Pack, 30 living on B Road, south of LaBelle was arrested January 30 charged with methamphetamine and marijuana possession. She was released on $3500 and $1000 bond the same day.
Pack, a new teacher at LaBelle High School was suspended by the school district and then resigned.

She was a passenger in a vehicle. Michael Joseph Daley, 37 of the same address was arrested for driving while his license was suspended. He was released from jail the same day.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Kiwanis Service Club Members Serving Community

The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle is proud to let the community know three of their LaBelle Kiwanis "Service" Club members were named as Swamp Cabbage Festival  Grand Marshalls.
Pictured in submitted photo: 
2018 Swamp Cabbage Grand Marshall Margaret England middle) with former Grand Marshalls Nikki Yeager and Mary Bartoshuk

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time.

Motorists Must Stay At Scene Of Crash

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol are recognizing Hit and Run Awareness Month this February and reminding all motorists to Stay at the Scene when involved in a crash. In partnership with the Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and Florida Association of Crime Stoppers, the initiative seeks to reduce the number of hit and run crashes in Florida and encourage individuals to anonymously report information to solve hit and run investigations.

“All motorists involved in a crash have the responsibility to Stay at the Scene,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Leaving the scene of a crash may be deadly for those who are hit and ensures that the driver will face more severe penalties. Individuals with information on hit and run crashes are encouraged to report any tips anonymously to Crime Stoppers.”

Since 2014, in a quarter of all crashes every year, a driver leaves the scene. In 2017, there were 98,225 hit and run crashes in Florida with 177 fatalities. Under Florida law, a driver must stop immediately at the scene of a crash on public or private property that results in injury or death. Leaving the scene of a crash is a felony and a driver, when convicted, will have their license revoked for at least three years and can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of four years in prison.

“It is your responsibility to remain at the scene and immediately report the crash to law enforcement,” said Florida Highway Patrol Director, Colonel Gene S. Spaulding. “You should do your best to provide immediate assistance to other motorists, passengers or pedestrians that may have been injured in the crash and wait for emergency first responders to arrive.”

Vulnerable road users, like bicyclists and pedestrians, are particularly at risk in hit and run crashes. In fact, of the 177 hit and run fatalities in 2017, more than 100 cases involved pedestrians and bicycles. During that same period, 95 percent of all hit and run charges were in-state drivers and 70 percent of all hit and run charges were issued to men.

“Across the state of Florida, Hit & Run crashes are rising at an alarming rate,” says Chief Kevin Lystad, FPCA President. We must reverse this trend and we ask our driving population to think and act responsibly. Report all accidents immediately to law enforcement and remain on the scene to provide assistance to those injured. While not only required by law, it is also the right thing to do. The consequences of leaving the scene of a crash are far greater than remaining both legally and morally. Do the right thing: Stop, report, and wait for first responders.”

“The protection of the lives and property of our citizens is one of the primary goals of our Florida Sheriffs,” said Sheriff Mike Adkinson, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “On behalf of the Florida Sheriffs Association, I proudly support the DHSMV’s Hit & Run Awareness Campaign and their efforts to educate the motoring public about this critical issue.”

“The Florida Association of Crime Stoppers programs encourage anyone with information on Hit and Run traffic crashes to provide the information,” said the President of the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers, Barb Bergin. You can do it anonymously by contacting your local Crime Stoppers program. Make a difference, make the call.”

The most important thing a driver can do when they are involved in a crash is to Stay at the Scene and call for help. The public is encouraged to report hit and run crashes by dialing *FHP (*347). For more information on hit and runs and staying at the scene, visit: http://www.flhsmv.gov/stayatthescene.

Please see the department’s website for a full list of active hit and run cases by county. Throughout the month of February, DHSMV will be highlighting local, active hit and run cases in an effort to solve these crimes. If the public has any information on these open cases, please contact Crime Stoppers immediately. Even small tips can make a big difference.