Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Obituaries- Villagomez, Holmes, Weatherly, Cisnero, Rota, Rivera

Maria Edith Villagomez, age 46, of Clewiston, passed away December 29, 2019 in Loxahatchee. She was born Jan. 28, 1973 in Mexico, to the late Eusebio and Benita (Ramos) Centeno. Mrs. Villagomez married Jose A. Villagomez. Survivors include her husband: Jose A Villagomez, one son: Jose M Villagomez and one daughter: Lisette Villagomez, mother; Benita Centeno, brother: Ernesto Centeno Grandchildren, Anabel Villagomez, Jaylin Villagomez and Kaylin Villagomez. She was customer service representative for Seacoast National Bank for many years. Funeral services will be held Saturday, January 4, 2020 at 10:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston. Interment will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation will be Friday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Carlton A. Holmes, age 82, of Moore Haven, passed away December 28, 2019 in Lehigh Acres. He was born Aug. 12, 1937 in Norton, MA, to the late Arthur and Grace (Barclay) Holmes. He retired as a Technician for NASA. Survivors include one son: Kurt Holmes two daughters: Kellie Welch and Karyl Neal, one sister: Pam Glenn 5 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren, A Celebration of Life is Pending. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Dennis E. Weatherly, age 63, of Fort Denaud, passed away December 27, 2019 in Cape Coral. He was born Sep. 26, 1956 in Castine, OH, to Marion D. and Betty L. (Cail) Weatherly. Survivors include his mother: Betty L. Weatherly and two brothers: Brian Weatherly and Mark Weatherly. He was preceded in death by his father Marion D. Weatherly. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Carmelita Hernandez Cisnero, age 83, of LaBelle, passed away December 25, 2019 at the Plaza Health and Rehab Center in Gainesville. She was born July 16, 1936 in Cuero, TX, to the late Pedro and the late Andrea (Calderon) Hernandez. In life, Carmel, and her late husband, Joe, were avid LaBelle Cowboys fans, helping with whatever project they could. Carmel was a member of the LaBelle Booster Club, a founding member of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, and an employee of Yoder Brothers, Inc., retiring after 32 years of service to the company. Survivors include three siblings: Juanita Salinas, Andrea Arriola, Tomas Hernandez; three children: Joe Cisnero, Jr., Pedro Cisnero, and San Juana Cisnero Burns; six grandchildren: Joe III, Pedro Jr., Patricia, Thomas, Desirae and Anthony; eight great-grandchildren: Adrienne, Thomas, Cameron, Alisha, Franklin, William, Lexie and Tristan. Carmelita was preceded in death by her husband, Joe Cisnero and son, Thomas (Tommy) Cisnero. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, January 3, 2020 at 10:00 am at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, LaBelle. Visitation will be Thursday from 6:00-8:00pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL. Interment will be Friday in Fort Denaud Cemetery.

Idis A. Rota, age 85, of LaBelle, passed away December 24, 2019 in LaBelle, Florida. She was born December 25, 1933 in the Dominican Republic, to the late Jose Isaac and the late Mercedes Amalia (Romero) Lajara. Idis was married where she lived and brought up her family in New York City and the Bronx. She was an active member as a Deacon and Elder of the Presbyterian Church for over 70 years, which included her civil service and government employee with the Fort Washington Heights Senior Center. After retiring in her later years, she moved to Florida to be closer to family and friends. She is survived by her children: daughters: Cindy Hemphill, Yvonne Rota and Wanda Rota-Reina and son, Ross Rota along with two brothers: Rafael Lajara and David Lajara, eight grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her brothers, John Lajara, Gabriel Lajara, Moise Lajara and sister, Ruth Reina. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Julio Cesar Fernandez Rivera, age 39, of LaBelle, passed away December 23, 2019 in LaBelle. He was born Nov. 11, 1980 in Caguas, Puerto Rico to Julio and the late Luz (Rivera) Fernandez. He is survived by his wife: Yael (Rivera) Fernandez, daughter: Yulianices Fernandez, father: Julio Fernandez and many other family members. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

No Wireless Devices While Driving Starts January 1

Motorists can also be stopped and cited for using wireless communications devices while driving. FLHSMV, in conjunction with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Sheriff’s Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association and AAA – The Auto Club Group, is continuing Florida’s Put It Down: Focus on Driving campaign to ensure all motorists are aware of the state’s new regulations regarding wireless communications while driving.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), with its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), advises all motorists that beginning January 1, motorists can be stopped and cited for not operating a motor vehicle in a hands-free manner in a designated school crossing, school zone or active work zone area. 
“The Florida Highway Patrol has been educating drivers on the Wireless Communications While Driving Law, and will begin issuing citations for texting and driving starting January 1, 2020,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Distracted driving significantly slows your reaction time and places you, your passengers, and others on the road in danger. Focus your attention on driving every time you get behind the wheel to eliminate dangerous and unnecessary crashes.”
Drivers using a wireless communications device in a school crossing, school zone or active work zone were only issued warnings through December 31, 2019. As of January 1, 2020, drivers will be cited for using any wireless communication devices in a handheld manner in these designated areas.
The Wireless Communications While Driving Law became effective July 1, 2019. From July 1 through December 30, 2019, there have been 1,087 warnings issued by Florida Highway Patrol for texting and driving. From July 1 through December 29, 2019, there have been 1,220 citations issued statewide by all law enforcement agencies for texting and driving. FLHSMV has released educational tear sheets to law enforcement agencies statewide to help disseminate messaging about the campaign.
The statewide Put It Down: Focus on Driving campaign aims to raise awareness of and encourage compliance with the Wireless Communications While Driving Law. You can follow the campaign on social media with the hashtags #PutItDown and #FocusOnDrivingFL. The campaign media kit can be found at flhsmv.gov/focusondriving.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Wellness Programs At Big Cyress National Preserve

BIG CYPRESS, FL. -- De-stress and connect with nature by joining a ranger for one of five wellness activities, joining park rangers in Big Cypress National Preserve, January 10th through 12th to celebrate the 2nd Annual county wide Paradise Coast Wellness Experience.

All trips require registration as space is limited. To register and for meeting place, and other details of each trip, contact Lisa Andrews at 239-695-1164 or lisa_andrews@nps.gov

Be sure to check out all the other wellness activities happening throughout Collier County by visiting www.bewellinparadise.com and www.paradisecoast.com.events

Friday, January 10th 1:00 pm – Halfway Creek Paddle
Do as the manatees do and join our rangers for a float down halfway creek. When the ocean's temperatures drop below 70 degrees, it's time to find some serene warm water to breathe easy and coast for the winter up the creek. Bring your kayak and we'll meet you in the mangroves! Don't forget your PFD.

Saturday January 11th 8:00 am – Yoga on the Boardwalk
Want to decompress in the serene environment of Big Cypress National Preserve? Bring your yoga mat and learn to stretch like the native creatures that call Big Cypress home as rangers lead this unique opportunity.

Saturday, January 11th 8:30 am - Wellness Bike Ride at Bear Island
Explore one of the most unique and wild parts of the preserve on this 14-mile trail through Bear Island combining fitness with wildlife viewing opportunities. Bring your own mountain or hybrid type bike and helmet!
Sunday, January 12th 8:00 am - Meditative Hike
Relax on a meditative swamp walk focusing on one’s connection to nature, gratitude, and mindfulness. Please wear long pants and tennis shoes that can get wet and muddy!

Sunday January 12th 8:30 am- Bike ride at Fire Prairie
Enjoy the fresh air, scenery and health benefits of cycling in nature. Bring a bike and helmet and celebrate wellness on this leisurely 5 mile trail through one of the most peaceful and serene parts of the preserve.  

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Santa Visits LaBelle Airport

LABELLE, FL. -- Santa Claus made a short surprise visit to the LaBelle Municipal Airport, checking out the new terminal building and aircraft parking areas at the airport on Cowboy Way.

Although the airport has pilot operated fuel available 24/7, there was no feeding station for the reindeer, but Santa enjoyed taking advantage of the coffee brewing machine inside the terminal lobby and said if he wasn't in a rush he would have taken a shower in the pilot's rest area.

Before taking off for more visits, he was also seen at the Courthouse watching over the construction of the entrance way grounds and waving to the cars passing by.

Anyone see him around LaBelle and Hendry County?

Kenneth Wildes Dies At 75

Kenneth D Wildes, Jr, age 75, of Clewiston, passed away December 21, 2019 in Lehigh Acres. He was born Feb. 20, 1944 in Savannah, GA, to the late Kenneth D and the late Julia (Purvis) Wildes, Sr. Kenneth married Gwendalin Adams on April 9, 1983 in Clewiston, Florida. He worked for many years as commercial fisherman. He was a former member of the Elks Lodge of Clewiston, the VFW of Clewiston. He enjoyed spending time with his family and close friends, and fishing Lake Okeechobee. Kenneth is survived by his wife; Gwen Wildes of LaBelle, son; Kenneth D. Wildes, III, grandchildren; Tarrah Alderman, Farrah Higdon, Christopher Floyd, one grandbaby on the way, five great grandchildren, one sister; Mary Crumb and her husband Paul of Dunwoody, Georgia. Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Old Key West - Stories By Bob Kranich

Western Union Cable Repair Schooner 
    What was that? I was coming up out of a deep sleep. It was music... melodic strains of piano music were drifting in the window. I could hear each stroke of the keys. Where was I? Looking around, I could see that I was in a very confined space. As I sat up, I remembered. I was in my uncle’s and aunt’s small camper trailer right next to their house. My Uncle Norman was playing the piano.
     As I sat there it all came back to me… it was yesterday I had completed my A Walk Across Florida. It was 750-plus miles. This was the first bed I had slept in since I left home in Tampa, Florida, and started on my hike 5 and 1/2 weeks ago. Hurriedly I dressed, combed my hair, and brushed my teeth. I didn’t want to miss one of my Aunt Dolores’s meals. She was a great cook.
        My uncle’s piano stopped as I walked by the coconut palm and went into the screened porch. This porch was on the back of the house, and as I remembered from many years ago, this was where they ate all of their meals. With the heavy wooden Key West hurricane shutters and the screens, it was just like being outside. This room was at ground level, and you had to go up about five steps to enter the kitchen.
    “Hi Bobby,” my aunt said, with her slight German accent, beaming down into the porch area. “Have a seat. We are about to have breakfast.”
    My uncle appeared smiling, “ I played to wake you up. How was it?”
    “Uncle Norman, it was even more beautiful than the birds’ sounds I had wake me up on many of my hike mornings!”
    “Now Bobby, I don’t know if I can compete with nature!”
    One of Aunt Dolores’s daughter’s two girls they were raising came in and greeted me. They were my nieces. Sandy was the older of the two, about 12, and Robin who next appeared, was about 8 years old. We all sat down, and Aunt Delores brought in our plates of sunshine eggs, as she called them. “These eggs are cooked Cuban style, Bobby,” she said.
Uncle Norman began to speak, “Bobby, I have rented a single-speed balloon tire bicycle for you. It’s not very impressive, but it will get you around this island. After all, Key West is only about four miles long by one and a half miles wide.”
    “Thanks, Uncle Norman, that will be great! I want to get started today. I have been sketching as I hiked down here, and if I can find some watercolors and art paper I’ll do some painting.”

    After breakfast he showed me the location of the store with art supplies on the tourist map and then the bicycle. It wasn’t fancy, but it had a basket on the handle bars that would be useful to transport my necessary supplies…
    My aunt gave me a sack lunch, and down the street I went.
    It was easy enough then to find the artist supply store. Uncle Norman was right. They had everything I needed.
    I bought a couple of watercolor pads, watercolor tube colors, a couple of brushes, a sketch pad, pencils and eraser. I was now in business!...
    According to my map I was very close to the Key West Bight.
    This is the place where the sailing ship from the Cayman Islands docks and unloads their catch of green turtles. In fact I  could see the masts of the Cayman Island ship, the A. M. Adams, in the distance.
        I came to the docks, got off and had started to walk my bike toward the masts when I came adjacent to a beautiful old two-masted sailing ship. It was tied up to the pier that was jutting out from the concrete dock. There were a couple of guys working on a small piece of mechanical equipment right there on the pier. This was the only ship tied up there, so the natural assumption was that they were the crew of this ship.
    I parked my bike and walked out onto the pier. I eased up to the pair, and just got down on my haunches like they were doing. They were concentrating on the piece of mechanical equipment. It appeared to be a small cable winch. All sorts of tools were strewn about the pier.
    “What do you think mate, will we be able to salvage it?”
    “Well Cap’n, if I can’t find something to jerry-rig it in the local hardware store, we’ll have to order some parts.”
    “It’s old, but if we can fix it, we can save the firm money,” Jack said.
  The captain looked up, “What do we have here?” He looked right at me.
    “It’s a landlubber,” the mate said.
    “Who are you, young fella?” the captain asked.
    “I just finished a long walk down to Key West, hiking and camping. I’m visiting my uncle and aunt on Fogarty Avenue. That’s my bike over there on the dock. My name’s Bob, and I am interested in your boat.”
        “Nice to meet you,” the captain said, standing up as he wiped his greasy hand on his pants and extended it to shake.
    “I’m Captain Dick Steadman, and this is my First Mate, Jack Fryer.”
    “So you want to know about our ship, matey. Come a’board, and we’ll set a spell. Jack is going to go downtown to the hardware store after lunch for some parts.”
   “Jack, Bob is interested in our boat, and I’m about to tell him a couple stories of our adventures.”
    “Bob, get set for some tall sea-faring tales,” Jack said with a smile.
    “Pay no mind to him,” the captain said, smiling, “Here we go, Bob!”

Bob Kranich's second full-length book , Florida Keys’ Watercolor Kapers is composed of 336 pages. There are 12 stories running from 6 pages to as many as 72 pages, fully illustrated with 88 watercolors and sketches. The watercolors were made roaming around Key West after Kranich finished a 750 mile hike from Georgia to Key West. As you read these stories you will experience Key West, the Keys and the Caribbean. The stories span the time of the early 1800’s to 1969. bkranich.wixsite.com/bobkranich

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Driver Crashes Into Sarasota Airport Terminal

SARASOTA, FL. -- Juan Monsivis, 40 of Bradenton was traveling north on US 41 (SR 45) in a reckless manner as New College Police Department Officer A. Halley observed the vehicle and attempted to over-take it Thursday at 2:56 a.m.

Officer Halley lost sight of the 2015 GMC Sierra SUV which left the roadway traveling east, where it crashed through the chain link fence at the western boundary of the Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport. 

The vehcicle continued to travel in a southeasterly direction and continued to accelerate. The front of the vehicle then collided with the main building/terminal located at the airport, the Arrival Terminal Baggage Carousel 1. It continued southeast through the Arrival Terminal Baggage area where the front of the vehicle collided with the National Car rental desk and came to final rest. 

Officer Halley responded to the Arrival Terminal and confirmed the vehicle was the same vehicle that was traveling north on US 41 in a reckless manner.

The crash is being investigated. Monsivis is in serious condition at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Museum Programs Begin January 14 At LaBelle High

LABELLE, FL, -- LaBelle Heritage Museum and LaBelle High School will present three programs in January, February, and March made possible by a FLORIDA TALKS grant from Florida Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities coupled with additional financial support from state, area, and local organizations including but not limited to the Hendry County Cattlemen's Association and the Florida Cattlemen's Foundation in securing the services of three powerful and knowledgeable speakers and making their presentations free of charge. Each speaker will present a morning program for students only at LaBelle High School with LaBelle Middle School and West Glades School also expected.  The evening programs, all scheduled for 7 o'clock, will be open to the public free of charge; however, advance reservations are strongly suggested particularly for those not living in LaBelle and its immediate area.

The first of these programs will be noted Florida folklorist Bob Stone presenting "Florida Cattle Ranching: Five Centuries of Tradition" on Tuesday, January 14, exploring and celebrating the history  and traditions of the oldest cattle ranching state dating back to Ponce de Leon's second and ill-fated colonization voyage to Florida in 1521 down to the present day with Cracker cowboys, cow whips, unique ranch gate designs, cowboy churches and Cracker cowboy funerals, Seminole ranching dating back to the early 1700's and continuing to the present day, occupational skills such as roping and branding, the vibrant rodeo culture, and much more. The second program on Thursday, February 13, is "Ten Foods That Define Florida" by award winning Florida Historian Gary Mormino, PhD that asks what foods define the Sunshine State -- gazpacho or black bean soup? Key Lime or sweet potato pie? the Cuban sandwich, invented in Tampa but perfected in Miami, or the grouper sandwich? Does Florida have its own barbecue heritage or did we simply import barbecue from Texas, Georgia and the the Carolinas? All these questions and more form the basis of a lively discussion on Florida Foodways? The third and final program of this season's FLORIDA TALKS will be "The African Roots of Southern Cooking" presented by 5th generation Charlotte Harbor resident Martha Bireda, PhD., and director of Punta Gorda's Blanchard House Museum of African History and Heritage.  Learn now African foods and food preparation influence what Floridians eat today.

While there is no admission fee for these programs, advance reservations and FREE tickets are strongly suggested and advised to make certain those coming from LaBelle's neighboring communities do have seats available when they arrive.  Please call (863)674-0034 for information on advance tickets.

Rockabillaque Florida At Casino February 22

IMMOKALEE, FL. -- Florida Weekly presents Rockabillaque Florida at Seminole Casino Hotel on Feb. 22, 2020 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. This festival is free and open to all ages.

Rockabillaque Florida is the biggest festival of its kind in Florida, celebrating mid-century and 1950s Americana. This action-packed day and night features musical acts from all over the country, a classic car and vintage bike show, contests, food and more.

“Celebrating Rockabilly and the 1950s, Rockabillaque has drawn over 14,000 attendees at its South Carolina event, and we are excited to bring this original concept to Seminole Casino Hotel for Southwest Florida to enjoy,” said Tony Alves, General Manager of Seminole Casino Hotel. “We are particularly looking forward to seeing the large classic car and bike show, and to the entertainment line-up, which brings talented musical acts from all over the map.”

The entertainment lineup features a number of free full performances from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (California), Reverend Horton Heat (Texas), Stray Cat Lee Rocker (New York), Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys (California), Lara Hope & the Ark-Tones (New York), The Royal Tinfoil (South Carolina), The Hi-Jivers (Tennessee), Megan Jean & the KFB (Maryland), Jared Petteys & the Headliners (South Carolina).

Classic Cars and Vintage Bikes will be on display from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with show awards taking place at 4:30 p.m. Multiple contests will be held throughout the day including a Beard & Mustache competition, 1950s Pin-Up Contest, and a Tattoo Contest.

All concerts are free and held outdoors. Attendees are welcome to bring chairs and all ages are welcome. A large selection of food trucks and vendors will be at the event. Coolers, backpacks and pets will not be permitted during this event.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

New Medicare Cards Go Into Effect January 1

 In 2018 and 2019, the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provided new Medicare cards to more than 61 million seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries.  Millions of Medicare patients are successfully using their new cards in doctor’s offices. However, many others may still have their old cards in their possession. SHINE/SMP (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders/Senior Medicare Patrol) and the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida are urging Medicare beneficiaries to destroy their old Medicare cards, which will be invalid after Dec. 31, 2019.

The new red, white, and blue Medicare cards include a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) instead of a social security number.  The MBI is a more secure identification number using a combination of letters and numbers to help protect against personal identity theft and fraud.

Starting in 2020, health care providers will only be able to use the MBI when processing Medicare beneficiary claims.  Providers such as hospitals, doctors and labs will not be able to submit Medicare claims using a patient’s social security number.

Even with the improvements to the new Medicare cards, it is important for beneficiaries to take precautions with their identification.  Those with Medicare should guard their Medicare cards like a credit card and be wary of unsolicited requests for their Medicare number and personal information.

“Guarding your card and personal information is just as important now, even with the new cards.  Scammers are still out there,” explains Camilita Aldridge, the Area Agency on Aging’s SHINE Manager. “You should only give your Medicare number to your pharmacists, health care providers, and folks you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.”

If you have not received your new Medicare card, there are multiple ways to get your card and  MBI.  Beneficiaries can call 1-800-MEDICARE for assistance with their MBI, and then create a MyMedicare.gov account online to print an official copy of their card. Accounts on MyMedicare.gov are password-protected and secure. 

Those seeking hands-on assistance are encouraged to contact a SHINE counselor at the Area Agency on Aging.  SHINE is a program of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and is operated locally through the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida. Specially-trained SHINE counselors help educate and empower Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to understand their health care options so they can make the best decisions for their individual needs.

Obituaries - Margaret Mims, Christopher Willis, Gail Griffith

Margaret L Mims, age 100, of Lehigh Acres, passed away December 16, 2019 in Lehigh Acres.
She was born Oct. 14, 1919 in Jacksonville, FL, to the late George Daniel and Charlotte (Jones) Scott.
She was a Homemaker, and previously helped in the family business.
Survivors include one daughter: Patricia M Orlando
5 Grandchildren, 11 Great-Grandchildren and 6 Great-Great Grandchildren,
Memorial services are Pending.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.
Christopher V. Willis, age 60, of Clewiston, passed away December 14, 2019 in Atlantis.
Christopher was born Jan. 20, 1959 in Belle Glade, FL, to Kelly and Jewell (Boatwright) Willis. Mr. Willis married Kimberly Means. He was a master mechanic, who was able to work on all types of automotive, electrical, refrigeration, and mechanical items. He loved to go to Pine Island and spend time in the water fishing. He enjoyed spending time with family and friends.
Survivors include his loving wife of 27 years; Kimberly Willis, sons; Dwight Willis and Jeremy Bryant, daughter; Chynna Self, two grandchildren; Cricket Bryant and Kaylee Yebba, one brother; Ivan Willis and one sister; Suzanne Willis.
Christopher was preceded in death by his parents, and one brother; Bobby Willis.
A Celebration of Christopher will be from 6-8 p.m. Friday, December 20, 2019 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Clewiston. The family invites everyone to come share memories of Christopher during this time of celebration.
Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.
Gail M Griffith, age 75, of Alva, passed away December 14, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale.
She was born Oct. 7, 1944 in Philadelphia, PA, to the late Robert and Loretta (Ray) Carter.
Survivors include her husband: John Griffith
one son: Mark Mitchell
one daughter: Coleen Curlett
four brothers: Jerry Carter, Charlie Carter, Christopher Carter and Shawn Carter
two sisters: Margi Landgraf and Helen Carter
6 grandchildren 2 great-grandchildren
She was preceded in death by her brother, Robert Carter and sister, Loretta Carter Ehling
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, December 21, 2019 at 10:00 am at Saint Vincent De Paul Catholic Church, Fort Myers. with Father Murchadh O'Madagain officiating.
Interment will be Saturday, December 21, 2019 in Lee Memorial Park Cemetery, Fort Myers.
Visitation will be Friday from 430 PM to 630 PM at Akin-Davis Funeral Home,13932 Palm Beach Blvd. Fort Myers, FL.
The family has requested donations in memory of Gail be made to JDRF- Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Ruth Messmer Florist in Ft. Myers is assisting the family.

Florida's State Workers Get Extra Holidays Off

LABELLE, FL. -- Today, in recognition of the hard work and dedication of state employees in 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that state offices will be closed on December 24th and December 31st.

“In 2019, we secured historic achievements on behalf of the people of Florida and our dedicated state employees played a critical role in these accomplishments,” said Governor DeSantis. “I am proud to recognize our state employees for their hard work and efforts in this way. The First Lady and I extend our thanks and best wishes to state employees and their families this holiday season and we look forward to an equally productive year in 2020.”

Critical state employees who are unable to utilize the additional holidays will be afforded the opportunity to use this time at a future date and are encouraged to speak with their direct supervisor.

Office closures on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are in addition to regular office closures on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

The Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties will be closed Tuesday, December 24 and Wednesday, December 25, 2019 for the Christmas holiday. Offices will resume regular business hours on Thursday, December 26, 2019.

The Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties will also be closed Tuesday, December 31, 2019 and Wednesday, January 1, 2020 for the New Year’s holiday. Offices will resume regular business hours on Thursday, January 2, 2020.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Obituaries - John Balliet, Cassie Williams

John Samuel Balliet, Jr, age 75, of LaBelle, passed away December 10, 2019 in LaBelle.
He was born Aug. 2, 1944 in Dade City, FL, to the late John Samuel and Sadie Agnes (Christy) Balliet.
He worked in Agriculture as a Tractor Driver.
Survivors include
four sisters: Gloria Seay, Lottie Prosser, Mary Torres and Betty Miller
Memorial services will be held Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 4:00 pm at First Christian Church, LaBelle with Pastor W. T. Maddox Jr. officiating.
Interment will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle at a later date.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.
Cassie Marline Williams, age 62, of Ortona, Florida went to her heavenly home on December 9, 2019 at her home in Ortona, Florida.
She was born on April 15, 1957 to Marvin and Doris Williams in Fort Myers, Florida.
Cassie is best known for her love for her family, cooking and her love for people. She got to share her love with many people through her catering business Cracker Cookin' and Caterin'. She loved her free time spending it with her family always. From Sunday dinners to vacation, she always surrounded herself with her family. She was a life long member of the Ortona Holiness Church and also attended Oakgrove Holiness Church.
She will always be remembered for her kindness and loving ways, her unwavering faith in God and her voice that was like listening to an angel here on earth. Her greatest joys in life were antiquing with her sister Dorinda, vacationing with her family, spending time with her girls and their families. She was adamant about Sunday dinners all together and singing for the Lord.
She is preceded in death by her parents; Marvin and Doris Williams, two sisters; Jacklynn Danas, and Lonnell Williams, and her grandparents Lonnie and Juanita Williams and Lola Viola Peterson Wooten.
She is survived by her three daughters; Delana Lara and her husband Frank, Angel Kirtland and her husband Mike, Amanda McRoy and her husband Jonathan, two sons; Odie Marney and his wife Resa, and Adam Marney, eight grandchildren, sisters; Dorinda Campos and her husband Sal, Sue Heflin and her husband Hugh, one brother; Barney Kahan and his wife Maureen, special niece; Deona Campos, special nephew; Nathan Campos and his wife Telina, many nieces, nephews, and her cousin; Carol Collins
Celebration of her life will be Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 10:00 am at the Ortona Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday evening from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in LaBelle.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Sergio Rodriguez Dies At 91

Sergio M Romero Rodriguez, age 91, of Clewiston, passed away December 2, 2019 in Clewiston.
He was born Nov. 7, 1928 in Matanzas, Cuba to the late Miguel and the late Zoila (Rodriguez) Romero. Mr. Romero Rodriguez married Carmelina Piñeiro; she survives. Sergio worked as a machine operator for many years. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather who will be dearly missed by his entire family.
Sergio is also survived by his children; Sergio M. Romero Piñeiro and his wife Eva, Miguel S. Romero and his wife Lourdes, Dania Marquez and her husband Dennis, ten grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren, many extended family and family friends.
A gathering of family and friends will be from 10-12 a.m. Monday, December 9, 2019 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Clewiston.
Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Port LaBelle Country Village Boil Water Warning Lifted

LaBelle, Fla. – The boil water notice in effect for the Country Village area in Port LaBelle since last week has been lifted.

Bacteriological tests run on the water returned with passing results. Residents may discontinue boiling their water.

Residents with question or concerns are asked to call 863-675-5376.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Musical At Church December 15

LABELLE, FL. -- On December 15th at 11:00 a.m.  LaBelle Assembly of God will present the musical, “No Other Name”.  There will be scripture readings and Christmas songs by the congregation and special music to go with the program.  

"No Other Name shows the greatness of our God and all His splendor, yet He left heaven to come humbly for mankind to be born in a stable." said Pastor Averty.  Some of the Songs that will be sung are, Mary Did You Know, What Is Christmas, Born To Die, Oh holy Night. 

Everyone is invited, LaBelle assembly of God is located at 135 Fraser Ave. Next to the “Edward Upthegrove Elementary School”. For more information call 675- 0900 and ask for Kathy.

Pictured left to right Kathy Avery, Julie Wilkins, Debbie Miller, Richard Robinson, Henry Avery,Clifford Avery, and David Miller   

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Fandom Fest At The Library Saturday

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Kids young and old enjoyed the afternoon at the Fort Myers Regional Library during Fandom Fest.

Fandom Fest in the downtown Fort Myers main library Saturday featured live music and entertainment, gaming and climbing experiences, Virtual Reality experience, a Cosplay workshop and fashion show, along with games and crafts, card trading, food trucks, and character photo opportunities.

Photo by Barbara A. Whelan

Thursday, December 05, 2019

9 Vehicles Involved In Glades County Crash

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Highway Patrol reports 9 vehicles were involved in a series of collisions and secondary collisions Thursday at 6:41 a,m. in Glades county on CR-74, 1 mile west of CR-731 (Fire Tower Rd). 

In total, there were three commercial motor vehicles and six passenger vehicles involved in the crash. 

The crash investigation is ongoing.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Mildred Ford Dies At 82

Mildred L. Ford passed away Wednesday November 27 in Lake Placid at the age of 82. She was born April 7, 1937 in Moore Haven. She lived in Moore Haven most of her life. She was a member of First Baptist Church of Moore Haven and also worked for Glades Electric as a nights and weekends dispatcher for many years.
She is survived by her son James H. Mitchell (Judy) her daughters Robin Ford Lee (Bruce), Lisa Ford Click (Steve) and sister Elizabeth Devinney. Grandchildren Justin Mitchell, Jesse Mitchell, Casey Mitchell, Darryl Mitchell (Jenny), Jamie Mitchell. Jarrod Lee, Jason Lee (Samantha). Chris Click (Raven), Wil Click (Becky), Zach Click (Frankie) and Josh Click. Great Grandchildren Kenneth Mitchell, Hailey Mitchell, Lauren Mitchell. Conlin Lee, Paisley Lee, Aubrey Hamilton, Hayden Lee, Logan Lee, Creek Lee, King Lee Calderon, Christian Click, Ryder Click, and Jude Click. Nieces Patsy Lucas, Sarah Kellogg, Art Kellogg, Orrie Kellogg, Harry Kellogg, Gary Dotson, Brenda Choban, Alvin Ward Jr., Michael Devinney, Brian Devinney, and Monica Dunn.
Services will be held at the Ortona Cemetery Pavilion on December 7, 2019. Receiving of family and friends 9:15-10:00 am. Service begins at 10:00 am.

Country Village Boil Water Notice - Multiple Days Expected

 LaBelle, Fla. – Due to a water line being hit in Country Village, areas north of Commodore Road in Port LaBelle are currently under a boil water notice.
Areas included in the notice are as follows:
·         Anchor Lane
·         Prow Terrace
·         Mariner Lane
·         Mariner Court
·         Mainstay Street
·         Scooner Drive (north of Commodore Rd.)
The boil water notice is expected to last 2-3 days. Residents will be notified when the notice has been lifted.
Residents with question or concerns are asked to call 863-675-5376.

Monday, December 02, 2019

'Nice Family Christmas' At Firehouse

The Firehouse Theatre presents "A Nice Family Christmas".
It’s Christmas Eve, and a young newspaper reporter on the brink of being fired has been assigned a "last-chance" story about a typical family Christmas – his family’s Christmas. One by one, you will learn each family member’s secrets, problems, and dysfunctions, and when the family finds out that he’s writing an article with some very personal family information, the fruitcake hits the fan!
Get your tickets and have a few laughs.

Please note, this play has some mild adult content.

This play will be presented on Dec. 6th & 7th at 7pm, Dec 8th at 2pm, then Dec. 12th, 13th and 14th at 7pm and Dec. 15th at 2pm. Call the ticket hotline (863) 675-366 or get tickets online at www.firehousecommunitytheatre.com

Back row left to right: Austin Harn, Drea Hahn, Nancy Steuber & Don Koonze
Front row left to right: Jorge McInturff, Lori Shula & Aida Del Valle.

Deomocratic Party Meets January 16

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry County Democratic Party's January 16 dinner meeting will be held at LaBelle's Beef O. Brady's Restaurant, 21 South Lee St., at 6:30 p.m. 

 Updated bylaws recently drafted to replace the existing 40-odd year old bylaws will be available for review with information on how to acquire copies prior to them being presented for adoption at the HCDEC's February meeting in Clewiston. 

 This meeting -- following Democratic Party tradition and rules -- is open to the public. 

 All Hendry County Democrats may participate in the discussion, but only elected members of the HCDEC and Democratic office holders from Hendry County will vote on matters to be decided. 

Democrats from other areas may address the meeting if they have made arrangements with the chair prior to the start of the meeting

Richard Raid At Kiwanis December 9

LABELLE, FL. -- Dr. Richard Raid, Associate Center Director and Professor Plant Pathology UF/IFAS Research and Education Center, Belle Glade, FL will present a program on Barn Owl Research in the Everglades Agricultural Area at Dallas Townsend Agricultural Extension located at 1085 Pratt Blvd., LaBelle at 7:00 pm on Monday December 9, 2019. This free program is hosted by Hendry-Glades Audubon Society.

Dr. Raid continues work with the UF Barn Owl Program which utilizes barn owls for sustainable rodent control in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) with the use of owl nesting boxes. These birds provide low‐cost, sustainable rodent control. 

The pests, particularly cotton rats and marsh rabbits, cause up to $30 million in damage each year to the area’s 700,000 acres of sugar cane, rice and vegetable crops. Using the program as an outreach and education program, hundreds of student volunteers assist in the building and installation of owl nesting boxes in the Glades. 

He also works with local area educators to develop school gardens to promote agriculture at the elementary and middle schools. He developed a program to aid growers in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) on management of their vegetable disease programs.