Saturday, February 29, 2020

2020 Hendry Health Fair Brings Out Large Crowd Today

CLEWISTON, FL. -- The annual free health fair at Hendry Regional Hospital brought out hundreds of people today. 

Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. provided dozens of students and their supervising teaching staff to run testing and screening.

Education of the public with health services resources and services including: diabetes screening, cooking demonstrations, anemia testing, bone density and BMI screening, HIV screening, blood pressure, vision and hearing screening and tobacco cessation, and mental health screening among a few of the free tests and screenings being given. 

Local Explorer volunteers demonstrate safe driving tips and using special goggles showed what's it's like to drive under the influence while the kids enjoyed the free food and the bounce house.

Harry Chapin Food Bank was onsite providing free food along with hot burgers, hot dogs and fruit for all.

Dozens of community services and health resource organizations were also on display under a large tent with volunteers and staff ready to answer any question.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Thomas Ferguson Arrested After Fleeing From Sheriff

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden helped stop a reckless driver Thursday evening, February 27 after the driver, 19-yr-old Thomas Leon Charles Ferguson led them on a wild chase thru neighborhoods and busy roadways.

Sgt. N. Echevarria had conducted a traffic stop on the small sedan. After the vehicle stopped Echevarria exited his vehicle and began approaching the car when the driver suddenly took off.

Ferguson took deputies thru quiet neighborhoods and recklessly ran traffic lights and stop signs, cutting in and out of traffic; at one point using the right turn lane at Ben Moore Drive and West State Road 80 to travel around heavy traffic, using the south sidewalk, he cut back onto State Road 80 between vehicles. At one point Deputies deployed stop sticks, deflating the front passenger side tire; that didn’t stop him.

As the driver proceeded onto the road way between vehicles, he lost control and spun 180 degrees.

He continued on at the intersection of Fort Denaud Road and onto State Road 80. Sheriff was prepared to call off the pursuit when he witnessed the driver turn and travel eastbound in westbound lanes of State Road 80 against traffic. Ferguson caused several motorists to run off the roadway and onto the shoulder of West State Road 80. The driver continued, making a U-turn traveling westbound in eastbound lanes of traffic and intentionally attempted to strike a Deputy’s patrol car.

The Sheriff took lead of the pursuit. Due to the total disregard for other drivers and the aggressive behavior from Ferguson, Sheriff Whidden utilized his F150 pursuit vehicle to force the vehicle off the roadway immobilizing it. The driver fled on foot and was later apprehended by Sheriff Whidden and deputies.

Ferguson was taken into custody and transported to the Hendry County Jail and charged with Fleeing & Eluding LEO at High Speed, Assault with Intent to Commit a Felony, Resisting Officer Obstructing without Violence. He is currently being held on $160,000.00 bond.

Coronavirus Update From CDC February 28

ATLANTA, GA. -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides an audio teleconference update to media on the COVID-19 response by Nancy Messonnier, M.D., Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

As of Friday afternoon (EST) there were 84,119 confirmed cases reported, 97% were in mainland China and 62 cases in the U.S. 2,337 case were reported in South Korea, 888 in Italy, and 228 in Japan. 705 are from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

More than 780,000,000, or more than one-half the total population are under quarantine or travel restrictions in China, with the strictest measures in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak. Almost half of the mainland Chinese cases have recovered. The population of China is 1,428,000,000. Quarantined areas are also now in Italy.

Click for audio update from the CDC Friday afternoon:

Robert Starkweather Sentenced On 12 Animal Cruelty Counts

LABELLE, FL. -- Robert David Starkweather, 52, of Immokalee, was sentenced today for Aggravated Animal Cruelty. He was found guilty on January 31, 2020 of 12 felony counts of Aggravated Animal Cruelty following a four-day trial in Hendry County.

This morning the defendant’s motion for a new trial, motion for arrest of judgement, and motion
for judgement of acquittal were all denied by the Honorable Judge James Sloan. The State Attorney’s Office asked for a sentence of 45 months in prison followed by 5 years of probation as well as adjudication of guilt on each count. The State Attorney’s Office also asked for the sentence to include a condition of probation that Starkweather not be allowed to possess or care for cattle or other animals, plus court costs, and restitution.

The Honorable Judge Sloan adjudicated Starkweather guilty on two of the counts and withheld adjudication on the remaining counts. He was sentenced to 5 years of probation and 90 days in jail as a condition of probation. The defendant must also do 100 hours of community service, pay court costs, and restitution. Starkweather must report all fields where he has cattle so that agriculture units can check the pastures quarterly to report any issues to probation.

The evidence in the case showed that during late 2017 and early 2018, the defendant owned 144 cows and calves that he had in a pasture off Ft. Denaud Road in LaBelle. In March 2018, the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Agricultural Crimes Unit responded to the pasture after getting a report about a downed cow. Deputies found 13 dead cows and 131 emaciated cows and calves at the scene.

The evidence presented at trial showed the defendant failed to provide adequate food, water, and medication to the animals. Further, he ignored signs, over a four-month period, showing the cows were in distress and suffering from malnutrition. The animals were taken by the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office from the location.

The State Attorney’s Office filed a total of 131 counts involving animal cruelty and animal abuse. There was one charge for each living animal. There were also 13 counts filed for Improper Disposal of a Dead Animal. The jury was presented photographs of every animal found on the property. They deliberated for more than four hours before returning the guilty verdict for the 12 felony counts of Aggravated Animal Cruelty.

Assistant State Attorney Kimberlee Mitton prosecuted the case

Obituaries - Richard Reynolds, Edward Ridderman

Richard T. Reynolds, Sr., age 80, passed away February 25, 2020 at home in LaBelle.He was born November 10, 1939 in Beltsville, MD, to the late Theodore and the late Lucille Margaret (Langley) Reynolds. 

He moved his family to LaBelle in 1973 He was a very loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend. 

He is survived by his wife of 59-1/ 2 years: Roberta L. (Preble) Reynolds, children: Christina (Dee Creechley) Reynolds, Victoria (Barry King) Reynolds and Richard (Trish) Reynolds, Jr. sister-in-law: Janice McMahan, nine grandchildren, fourteen great-grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. 

He was preceded in death by his parents and sisters: Margaret King and Kathleen Wimer. 

He was a life member of Harley Owners Group and ABATE of Naples. He enjoyed long rides on his Harley with friends to Harley functions and Rally's. 

Richard's family is thankful for the care he received from his primary physician, Dr. Manuel Revuelta and his Hope Hospice care providers. 

Funeral services will be Monday, March 2, 2020 at Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church in LaBelle with Pastor David Mullins officiating. Visitation will be at 10:00 am followed by the memorial service at 11:00 am followed by a luncheon reception in the fellowship hall. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in his memory to Relay for Life-LaBelle, 4575 Via Royale, Ste 110, Fort Myers, FL 33919 attn: Amanda Dreszner, Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church – Mary & Martha Fund or a charity of your choice. 

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Edward Lyle Ridderman, age 89, of Holton,MI passed away February 27, 2020 in LaBelle, FL. He was born June 26, 1930 in Fremont, MI, to the late Edward and Lizzie (Teusink) Ridderman. 

He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He retired as a Maintenance Supervisor for a Utility. 

Survivors include his wife: Phyllis Elaine (Tanis) Ridderman one son: Thomas Ridderman two daughters: Susan Jawor and Shari Werner, one sister: Jeannine Kurtzman 3 Grandchildren & 2 Great Grandchildren

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

What You Need To Know About Coronavirus Prevention

The Center For Disease Control in Atlanta advises the public in the U.S. to take preventative action to prevent the spread of diseases.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website

For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Swamp Cabbage Festival 2020 Record Crowds

LABELLE, FL. -- This year's Swamp Cabbage Festival and Parade attracted record crowds last weekend, with lines forming at Barron Park for food, while thousands enjoyed the parade and music in the park all weekend.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Obituaries - Langdale, Rodriquez, Harvey, Livingood

96 years young, Frankie Ruthell Coggins Langdale of Moore Haven, Florida went to her forever home on February 21, 2020 in Fort Myers, Florida. 

She lived a life fully determined and strong-willed while adding her special flare of spunk. Though her body had grown weak from illness, she never skipped a beat to entertain with her sharp sense of humor. Her passing was peaceful in the presence of love. Despite - or perhaps because of - her bumpy start in life, Ms. Langdale worked hard to distinguish herself while building a happy life. 

Frankie was born in Morresville, North Carolina on June 24, 1923, the fourth of five children. Both of her parents, the late James Lee Coggins and the late Jeanette Arney Coggins worked at the Kannapolis cotton mill. Upon the death of her father, Frankie was placed in foster care at the age eleven and at fifteen hitchhiked from North Carolina to Moore Haven, FL in 1938. 

That same year she met John R. Langdale, they wed March 18, 1939. She was our families very own Rosie the Riveter. Frankie first worked at Riddle Field Air Force Base in Clewiston, FL in the late 1930's servicing airplanes during World War 2 while her husband was overseas. After John returned home from the service, they moved temporarily to Panama City where she found work at Wainwright Shipyard. 

Frankie and John bought land in Moore Haven, FL in 1940 and began their life as a family of six on Langdale Road with three sons and one daughter. Frankie helped support their family as a commercial fisherman on Lake Okeechobee, waitressing at Old South Barbecue Ranch and eventually retiring at Graham's Dairy. 

She remained a devoted mother and housewife after retirement. Frankie is preceded in death by her husband of 67 years, John R. Langdale. Also preceding her in death are her parents: James Lee Coggins and Jeanette Arney Coggins, four siblings: Henry Curlee, Charles Gary, Jyles J "Dob" and Ann C. Westerdahl, one son: John Franklin Langdale and her beloved dog Velvet. She is deeply mourned by one daughter Ann (Wilbur) and two sons Dennis (Barbara) and Jack (Felinda). She is forever Granny to ten grandchildren: John Mark (Marina), Toby, James Lee, Jason, Andy (Jennifer), Mark (Amanda), Crystal (Edward), Jyles (Cara), Rebecca (Garrett) and Kaleb (Paige). As well as thirteen great grandchildren and three great, great grandchildren. 

How fortunate we feel to have had her in our lives, she will be forever loved and missed. Frankie's life was celebrated by family and friends on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at 2:00 PM, Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven, FL.

Pedro Gomez Rodriguez, age 49, of Lehigh Acres, passed away February 20, 2020 in Fort Myers. He was born Sep. 17, 1970 in Mexico, to the late Pedro Gomez Alaniz and Alejandrina Rodriguez Castillo. 

Survivors include his wife: Maria (Moreno) Gomez one son: Rolando Gomez and three daughters: Araceli Gomez, Mariela Perez and Faviola Gomez, four brothers: Jose Manuel Gomez, Candalario Gomez, Raul Gomez and Jorge Gomez one sister: Yolanda Gomez Grandchildren, Kimberly Escobedo; Marbella Escobedo; Bentley Perez;, Meilani Perez; Arrian Melendez; Esmi Melendez; Faviola Melendez 

He was a Tractor Driver for US Sugar Corporation. 

Visitation will be on Thursday February 27, 2020 from 5 to 7 PM at the Akin-Davis Funeral Home 560 E. Hickpochee Ave. LaBelle, FL. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, February 28, 2020 at 9:00 am at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, LaBelle. with Father David Vidal officiating. Interment will be Friday, February 28, 2020 in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle.

Mr. Leon Ledon Harvey, age 67 of Carrollton, Georgia, passed away Thursday, February 20, 2020. He was born March 18, 1952 in Orlando, Florida, the son of Marilyn and LeRoy Roberts and the late James Jackson Harvey. 

He was a welder and carpenter by trade, having worked for Kingsbridge Industrial. 

Survivors include his wife, Teresa McLucas Harvey of Carrollton; parents: Marilyn & LeRoy Roberts of LaBelle, Florida; children: Travis (Selina) Harvey of Okeechobee, Florida, Aaron (Amanda) Harvey, Steve (Amber) Harvey, and Belinda (James) Tanner, all of Carrollton; sisters: Marilyn (Robert) Hollingsworth of LaBelle, Florida, Tammy Louise ( Troy) Sexton of Clewiston, Florida, and Taffy Sue (Kevin) Roberts of Okeechobee, Florida; brothers: James Randall Harvey of Moore Haven, Florida and Michael Theodore Harvey of Vidalia, Georgia; and thirteen grandchildren. 

Funeral services were conducted Saturday, February 22, 2020 at 4:00 PM from Martin & Hightower Heritage with Rev. Carlton Rivers officiating. The following gentlemen served as pallbearers: Travis Harvey, Aaron Harvey, Steve Harvey, James Tanner, Mike Harvey, Matt Tanner, and Avery McAdams. 

Graveside service and interment were held on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 at 11:00 am at the Pavilion in Ortona Cemetery in Moore Haven, Florida. The family received friends at Martin & Hightower Funeral Home on Saturday from 2:00 PM until the hour of service. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Olivia R Livingood, age 66, of Clewiston, passed away February 23, 2020 in Riviera Beach. She was born Feb. 13, 1954 in West Palm Beach, FL, to the late Summeral Stuckey. 

Survivors include her husband: Pedro Roberto three sons: Rafael Livingood, Matthew Livingood and Bradley Livingood two daughters: Patricia Dominguez and Tisha Cruz, 12 Grandchildren & 5 Great Grandchildren.

She was a Cashier at Walmart for 17 years prior to retiring. 

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Groundbreaking For Customs And Border Protection Facility At Airglades

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Airglades International Airport LLC will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the new $2.1-million, 4,000-square-foot U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility Monday, March 2 at 10 a.m.. 

Representatives from AIA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Hendry County will be in attendance, along with elected officials and local business leaders.

The new facility is made possible through partnership and coordination with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Hendry County. At the groundbreaking ceremony, AIA will share what this new facility means for the airport and how it will impact economic development in Hendry County.

"The development of this facility will designate AIA as an official port of entry to the U.S. and create a major international multimodal logistics complex with far-reaching economic impact, while generating hundreds of new jobs at the airport," said the company's public relations firm Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold.

Airglades International Airport LLC manages the current Airglades General Aviation Airport and supported Hendry County in completing the Airport Investment Partnership Program application. Upon completion of the new airport facility, AIA will act as a purpose-built logistics hub for air cargo trade and handling between Latin America and the U.S.

The following individuals will be in attendance:
AIA President and Airport Manager Fred Ford
U.S. Customs and Border Protection official
Hendry County Administrator Jennifer Davis
City of Clewiston Mayor Mali Gardner

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Coronavirus Update From CDC February 25

Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)
ATLANTA, GA. -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides an audio teleconference update to media on the COVID-19 response by Nancy Messonnier, M.D., Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

As of Tuesday afternoon (EST) there were 80,407 confirmed cases reported, 97% were in mainland China and 53 cases in the U.S. 977 case were reported in South Korea, 322 in Italy, and 170 in Japan. 691 are from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

More than 780,000,000, or more than one-half the total population are under quarantine or travel restrictions in China, with the strictest measures in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak. The population of China is 1,428,000,000. Quarantined areas are also now in Italy.

Click for audio update from the CDC Tuesday afternoon:

UPDATE: As of Wednesday morning (EST) the totals are 81,191 total, 1261 South Korea, 705 Diamond Princess, and 322 Italy, 2,768 total deaths worldwide.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Donkey Impounded By Deputies

LABELLE, FL. -- On February 21, 2020, Hendry County Agricultural Deputies impounded a grey in color jack donkey, with a 20” yellow rope attached to his neck, in the area of B RD. and S. SR. 29 in Labelle, Fl.

The donkey was captured and transported to the Sheriff’s Office Impound. To claim ownership of this donkey, please call Hendry County Sheriff’s Office at 863-674-5600 and ask to speak with an Agricultural Deputy reference to case HCSO20OFF000673.

Under Florida Law, the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office posts online photos and information on livestock found at large. After three days, if they have not been claimed by their owners, the livestock may become the property of the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

LaBelle Swamp Cabbage Festival In The Park Today

LABELLE, FL. -- The annual Swamp Cabbage Festival continues Sunday after thousands watched the parade down Bridge Street and ate up food and enjoyed music in Barron Park Saturday.

A car show will be at the Barron Library across from the park.

The schedule for Sunday:

10:00am – Park Activities begin
10:00am - Swamp Cabbage Festival Classic Car Show, West Wharf
10:00am - Abby Green, Barron Park
10:00am - Hendry County Cattlemen's Youth Rodeo, LaBelle Rodeo Grounds
11:00am – Athletic Ambitions, Barron Park
11:15am - Heritage Museum's River Cruise, Barron Park Wharf
11:50pm – Queen and Princess Intro & Performances (will only need mics– playing to soundtrack)
12:00pm – Lynette White with the Lester Beleau Band, Barron Park
1:00pm – The Dance Company, Barron Park
1:00pm - Car Show Awards
1:45pm - Heritage Museum's River Cruise, Barron Park Wharf
2:00pm – Showtime Cloggers, Barron Park
3:00pm – The Sheriff’s Posse, Barron Park
3:00pm - Fishing Tournament Weigh-in, Hendry County Boat Ramp
4:00pm - Entertainment ends, Barron Park Closes
4:15pm - Heritage Museum's River Cruise, Barron Park Wharf

Friday, February 21, 2020

Obituaries - Chester Blair, Tommy Tindell, Nona Timmons, Leonel Castillo

Chester Blair, age 88, of Clewiston, passed away February 18, 2020 in Palm Beach Gardens. He was born July 13, 1931 in Kentucky to the late John and the late Lena (Mullins) Blair. 

He was married to Maudie Blair, who preceded him in death on November 17, 2002. Chester worked for South Florida Water Management District from 1972- 1996, He was a member of Calvary Baptist Church for many years. He enjoyed being out in the woods, watching the wildlife, enjoyed spending time with family and friends. 

Chester leaves behind great memories his children; Chester Blair, Joyce Wilson, David Blair, Vena Poole; grandchildren; Jason, Christy, Christian, James, Jessie, Eugene, DJ, Lisa, Ronnie, David and Danny, great grandchildren; Michael, Brianna, Aurora, Ayden, Kayla, Abigail, Kimmy, Cassidy, JD, Emma, Kaylee, Braylen, Kenlyee, Lil Ronnie, Rosie, and Kendra, and Great - Great Grandchildren; Jayden, Kenzie, and Branson. 

Celebration of Chester's life was held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, February 21, 2020 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Clewiston with Rev. Don Murray officiating, visitation was be one hour before the service. 

Burial will take place in Ridgelawn Cemetery. 

Chester was preceded in death by his son; Ronald Blair along with all of his siblings. 

Tommy L. Tindell, "Big Daddy Bass" age 84, of Moore Haven, passed away February 18, 2020 with family at his side in Raulerson Hospital. 

Tommy was born in Wauchula, Florida to the late Horace Lee and Thelma Lee Barwick Tindell. He worked as a farmer and a fishing guide for many years. He was married for 67 years to his loving wife; Mary K. (Lord) Tindell. 

He will be dearly missed by his entire family and all of his close family friends. He enjoyed to hunt, fish and gardening. 

Tommy leaves behind his loving wife; Mary K. Tindell, daughters; Lisa Watson and her husband Jerry, Melanie Pagan, and son; Marvin Tindell and his wife Josette, grandchildren; Jhon Michael Roberts and his wife Lani, Joshua Roberts and his wife Tiffanie, Chris Tindell and his wife Kayla, Travis Tindell and his wife Rachel, Kaley Pagan, Lily Anne Tindell and Jason Watson and his wife Lacy, great grandchildren; Kaylin Roberts, Lexus Wiggins, Nick Wiggins, Joshua Wiggins, Gracie Roberts, Tommy Roberts, Ellerbee Tindell, Kyla Watson, Jennifer Watson and Jonathan Moser. 

Tommy was preceded in death by his brother; Dale Tindell and sister; Darlene Tindell Pena. 

Celebration of Tommy's life will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, February 24, 2020 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Clewiston, where visitation will be held one hour before the service. Burial will take place in Ortona Cemetery in Moore Haven.

Nona Bell Timmons, age 89, of LaBelle, passed away February 17, 2020 in LaBelle. She was born June 11, 1930 in Akron, OH, to the late Steven and the late Ezma Florence (Knight) Self. 

She is survived by her children: Linda, Chris, Marty, Kate, Allen, Anita, Richard, Waylon, Shelia, sister: Glinda and many grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. 

Funeral services were held Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 10:00 am at Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle. Interment was in Fort Denaud Cemetery. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Leonel Mena Castillo, age 54, of LaBelle, passed away February 18, 2020 in Fort Myers. He was born Jan. 18, 1966 in Villa Clara, Cuba to Saturnino Castillo Gomez and Dulce Maria Mena Jimenez 

Survivors include his wife: Odalis Sariol Zayas two sons: Jose Leonel Mena Sariol and Argenis Miguel Mena Sariol, He was a Mechanic. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

CDC Update On COVIS-19 - February 21

CDC Update On Novel Coronavirus

ATLANTA, GA. -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides an audio teleconference update to media on the COVID-19 response by Nancy Messonnier, M.D., Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. (Click to play audio)

As of Friday afternoon there were 76,798 confirmed cases reported, 99% were in mainland China and 16 cases in the U.S. While 634 are on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

More than 780,000,000, or more than one-half the total population are under quarantine or travel restrictions in China, with the strictest measures in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak. The population of China is 1,428,000,000.

Click for audio update from the CDC Friday afternoon:

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Barry Caldwell Seriously Injured In Gas Station Crash

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Jack Webb, 50 of LaBelle  was parked at the establishment of 2772 US Highway 27 (Git N Go Service Station/Convenience Store) at 4:34 Wednesday, facing northwest at service pump number one as Barry Caldwell, 68 of North Carolina was standing north of the fuel replenishment area facing northwest. 

Upon completion, Webb placed his vehicle in drive (gear) and proceeded in a northwesterly direction across the facility parking lot and failed to yield to Caldwell. As a result, the left front of the vehicle struck Caldwell leaving him with serious injuries as he was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital.

Webb was cited for failure to use due care toward pedestrian.

Emilio Millares Dies In Pedestrian Crash

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Jacqueline Maldonado, 47 of Clewiston, traveling with two children was southbound on W C Owen Ave Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. approaching the intersection of W Alvarez Ave in the right lane as Emilio Millares, 90 was crossing the intersection of W C Owen Ave and W Alvarez Ave in the lanes of travel. 

The front of Maldonado's vehicle collided with Millares and came to a controlled stop facing west. Millares came to final rest facing south and died as a result of the crash.

The crash is under investigation by the FHP.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Good Wheels Transportation Ending Today - UPDATE

LaBelle, Fla. – The transportation for the disadvantaged service provider for Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, Glades and Collier Counties, Good Wheels, Inc., has announced plans to suspend operations at end of business day today, Wednesday, February 19, 2020.

Hendry County says administration is working with local, regional and state organizations in order to ensure that Hendry County residents continue to receive transportation disadvantaged service in our area with minimal interruption.

Hendry County officials say they understand "the concerns and questions that many residents have regarding this issue and will provide updates once additional information is available."


Beginning at 8am on Thursday, February 20, 2020, residents with questions or concerns regarding the transportation disadvantaged services in Hendry and Glades Counties are asked to contact the following number: 863-612-4700.

Hendry County staff will be available to take calls at 863-612-4700 from 8am-5pm during weekdays until a Transportation Disadvantaged service provider assumes the role for the service area.


MV Transportation will be the emergency Community Transportation Coordinator for Glades and Hendry Counties.

MV Transportation is preparing to resume Transportation Disadvantaged services in the area on Monday, February 24, 2020.

Riders in Glades and Hendry Counties are asked to call MV Transportation at 800-260-0139.

Hendry County is continuing to work with partners around the state to make this transition as seamless and expedient as possible for our residents.

The County will continue to provide updates as information becomes available.

Free Income Tax Assistance - VITA Volunteers Help

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program


LABELLE, FL. -- United Way’s Free Tax Preparation program helps low- to moderate-income households meet their basic needs and build financial assets. 

Residents who earn a household income of $66,000 or less can have their federal tax returns prepared, e- filed and direct deposited for FREE by United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. 

United Way IRS-certified volunteers who are passionate about taxes will prepare your return and determine if you are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and/or Childcare Credits when you file.

The VITA Program gives you two options to choose from to file your tax return:
1. FILED For You – FREE Full-Service Tax Preparation

Locate the most convenient VITA site, schedule an appointment and allow an IRS-certified volunteer to prepare and e-file your tax return for FREE!

Click the button below to schedule your appointment.

Powered by Appointment-Plus

If you have access to a computer and would like to file your own taxes free of charge.
United Way can help you with that too! Logon to It’s simple, fast and secure.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

TV Station WGCU Disappears In Outlying Areas

LABELLE, FL. -- Some viewers of TV stations in the Hendry and Glades county area as well as viewers distant from the TV broadcasting antennas in the Lee county and Charlotte county area may be noticing irregular reception of over-the air station WGCU channel 30 this week.

WGCU said "WGCU-TV has moved to a different antenna following a brief outage this morning. We will be operating on this antenna at a reduced power until we change channels on March 10. There will be brief periods where we will be at a very low power while crews work around the antenna. This will happen a couple of times during the day."

The station, along with channels 20 and 26, will be reworking their antennas and changing frequencies under an FCC mandate.

"While we change our antenna to accommodate our new and upgraded signal, we have to operate on a temporary antenna that operates at a lower power. Most impacted will be viewers in Collier County, areas east of LaBelle, along the coast in Charlotte County, and farther north of Arcadia. We will be operating at this power level until March 10."
A thousand or so broadcast stations across the country are changing frequencies so as to allow more space for 5G cell phone frequencies in coming years.

This weekend, channels 20 and 26 of Waterman Broadcasting substantially finished an antenna change and will continue some testing, while channel 30 for WGCU is continuing work this week with lower power transmissions that don't allow more distant viewers to receiving the signal on their home antennas.

Homes with cable/satellite service are not affected.

Viewers using antennas, to be able to see the channels again, must "rescan" their TV channels on their digital televisions between March 1 and March 10, the deadline for completion of the frequency changes.

More information:

Photo courtesy WGCU

Episode 12 Mind Gym Podcast This Week From LaBelle


Episode 12 of the Mind Gym podcast on health and fitness explores the difference between guilt and shame. Overcoming depressive and anxious thinking. Listening without judgment and when advice giving may not be warranted. Accepting your emotions and feelings without judgment are among the topics this week.

The Mind Gym is underwritten by podcasting company


Subscribe to “Mood Gym with Don Browne” on:






and where ever you get your podcasts.

Follow Don on:





--- Send a voice message:

Monday, February 17, 2020

LaBelle Boil Water Notice - UPDATE

City-wide Precautionary Boil Water Notice

UPDATE: At noon Wednesday officials said, "The City of LaBelle Precautionary Boil water notice is lifted effective immediately."

A precautionary boil water notice has been issued for the City of LaBelle water service area. All City of LaBelle water users are advised to bring drinking water to a rolling boil for at least one minute prior to consumption.

The notice is necessary due to an equipment failure. Water service was lost (pressure loss) to the city water service area due to an equipment failure. Service is back to normal. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

This notice is effective immediately and is expected to be in effect until Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 2:30 pm when a Bacteriological Survey shows the water is safe to drink or a different notice is issued regarding the boil water action. For further information please call Joseph Thomas at 863-674-1145 or City Hall during regular business hours at 863-675-2872.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

James O'Neill Dies In Crash

FORT MYERS, FL -- James O'Neill, 74 of Haddon Heights, NJ was traveling west on County Road 885 (Terminal Access Road) just west of Treeline Avenue in Lee county at 8:45 p.m. Friday, traveling in the outside lane and traveled off the roadway to the right,

The 2019 Acura MDX front bumper collided with a wired fence on the north side of the unpaved shoulder and came to final rest facing north on Terminal Access Road.

The FHP says he was not wearing a seat belt.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Obituary - Patricia Ann Hashman

Patricia Ann Hashman of Labelle Florida, passed away on February 12, 2020 at 3:18 am. She was the daughter of Tony and Martha Walantus of Thayer Illinois, 

She Married Robert Hashman On February 23 1957. Patricia was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend, she had a daycare in Middletown Illinois for 15 years, was a cook at Middletown school, she was a member of the American Legion in Middletown and Labelle, Volunteered with One Blood for many years, was an active member of the First Christian Church in Labelle where she served in the nursery for 17 years. 

Patricia is survived by her husband Robert Lee Hashman of Labelle, Son Robert Richard Hashman of Lincoln Illinois, Daughter LeAnn Hashman of Labelle Florida, Brother Bill (Carolyn) Walantus of Labelle Fl, Tony Walantus of Florida, she has four grandchildren, Robyn ( Mike) Bohannon of Lincoln Illinois, Jamie Hashman of Paris Illinois, Jared (Vanessa) Hashman of Labelle Fl, and Haylee Charron of Mason City Illinois, Great Granddaughter Madison Bohannon on Lincoln Illinois and many nieces and nephews Patricia Was loved by everyone she met. 

Services will be at First Christian Church @ 138 Ford Ave Labelle Florida Friday February 21, 2020 at 2 pm. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

CDC Update On Novel Coronavirus - February 14

ATLANTA, GA. -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides an audio teleconference update to media on the COVID-19 response by Nancy Messonnier, M.D., Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. (Click to play audio)

As of Friday afternoon there were 64,461 confirmed cases reported, 99% were in mainland China and 15 cases in the U.S. While 218 are on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

CCW Firearm Training February 29

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden is currently scheduling a CCW Firearm Training class for individuals interested in obtaining a Concealed Weapon Permit on Saturday, February 29, 2020. 

This will be a 4 hour course which consists of both classroom and firearm range instruction. Class will begin at 8:00am to 12:00 noon if there area enough participants an afternoon class will be scheduled. First come - first served.

You must be at least 21 years of age to participate.

A nonrefundable fee of $25.00 must be paid prior to attending at the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office in Labelle.

Please email Capt. Susan Harrelle with the following information this will expedite the process.

Complete Name
Date of Birth
Drivers License Number
Telephone Number you can be reached at
E-mail address

Classes will be held at the Hendry County Gun Range and taught by Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, State of Florida Certified Firearms Instructors. Students will need to bring:

At least fifty (50) rounds of ammunition Holster (or the method in which you will plan to use to carry),
Both eye and ear protection.

To participate contact Capt. S. Harrelle at

Teens Arrested In ATV Thefts


CLEWISTON, FL. -- On February 13, 2020 Hendry County Deputies were notified of by Seminole Police Department (SPD) that two ATVs had been stolen and were being transported in a U-Haul trailer.

Hendry County Deputy Aguirre located a U-Haul trailer connected to a black pick-up truck, both fitting the description provided by SPD on County Road 833 approximately 2 miles south of State Road 80.

Deputy Aguirre made contact with the driver, identified as 17 year old Jonathan Blanco of Hialeah, Florida and the front seat passenger, Edgar Gutierrez also 17 years old from Hialeah. Consent was obtained to look inside the U-Haul trailer where deputies located the two ATVs.

It was determined that both young men reported they were purchasing the two ATVs. They met with a man in an unknown location where there were no homes or people. They then pushed both ATVs into the trailer and left the area.

Both of the ATVs were stolen from Hendry County.

Both Blanco and Gutierrez were arrested and charged with Vehicle Theft and later released to their parents.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Florida Keys Watercolor Kapers - Bob Kranich

Western Union Cable Repair Schooner by Bob Kranich
Excerpt from Bob Kranich's second full-length book, Florida Keys’ Watercolor Kapers. Composed of 336 pages and 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.

(This is excerpt 4, it’s the second of two stories told to me by the captain of the cable repair Schooner, Western Union.)

Captain Dick Steadman’s boat the Western Union has just been intercepted by a Cuba gunboat and they want him to follow them back to Cuba:

His first mate, Jack went over to the control area and stopped one of the diesel engines. He then proceeded to flood the engine, and when he tried to start it a large puff of smoke came out.

Captain Steadman yelled out, “Jack, shrug your shoulders, and make it seem that we are having trouble with the engines.”

“Ok Cap’n.”

Jack went into his act of gesturing to the Cubans they were having trouble with their engines. Captain Dick slowly moved the schooner away from the Cuban gunboat using the one engine that was still running. He kept the electrical current turned off on the second engine. Then, he occasionally switched the starter on. This made it seem like he was trying to get the second engine running.

The Cubans’ boat turned around and their captain motioned for them to follow.

The captain stuck his head out and yelled to Jack, “Try to make them understand that we have only one engine, and we will follow very slowly.”

Jack continued his motions and tried to signal about the one engine.

This went on for a few hours with the Western Union slowly following the Cuban gunboat. They both could see that the Cubans were nervously looking skyward.
Then they saw a grey shape in the distance heading towards them as the two Navy jets screamed back overhead. It was a U. S. Navy destroyer. It was signaling with a blinker signal offering full protection. The Cubans must have been able to read that, because right after the boat came into view, the Cuban gunboat captain motioned for the Western Union to go on. Captain Jack didn’t need a second invitation. He cleared the engine he had been playing with and it roared to a sudden start. They put the hammer down and headed straight for Key West with the U. S. Navy destroyer following right behind. In fact, the Navy escorted the Western Union the 90 miles back to Key West. They had gotten within a half mile of the Cuban coast. A very close call!

The Western Union went into dry dock for restoration in 2008 and did not emerge with U. S. Coast Guard approval until three years later.

The city of Key West realized the Western Union was the last tall sailing ship built on their island. Consequently it was named the official flagship of Florida by the Florida legislature in 2012.*

Today, the Western Union is docked in Key West at the city’s bight at 202 William Street.* One can take a dock-side tour or a sailing trip. It is officially used by the non profit, locally supported SWUPS for day, sunset, moonlight, charter, and children’s educational activities as well as charitable events.*

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Obituaries - Sharon Harris, Ronald Seals

Sharon M Harris, age 76, of Moore Haven, passed away February 9, 2020 in Sebring. She was born Nov. 26, 1943 in Morganton, North Carolina to the late Jack Lloyd and the late Dora (Satterwhite) Walker. 

Sharon was a hairdresser in Moore Haven area for over 50 years. She was a lifetime member of Moore Haven First United Methodist Church, where she loved to show her love for her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by singing and praising. Sharon was a loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend who will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her. 

Sharon leaves behind fond memories her loving children; Richard Patrick Harris and his wife Janet, Kimberly Brooke LaMaster, five grandchildren; Kenneth Alan Smith, Kristen April Smith, Ethan Christopher Harris, and his wife Logan Danielle Harris, Taylor Austin Harris, and Nathaniel Patrick Harris and three great grandchildren; Lillian Brooke Valles, Grayson Patrick Harris, and Phoenix Alan Smith, one brother; Gary Wilcox and her church family and many close family friends. 

Celebration of Sharon's life will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 15, 2020 at the Ortona Pavilion, where Pastor John Garvey will officiate, Visitation will be one hour before the celebration also at the Pavilion. Burial will be in Ortona Cemetery after the celebration of life service. Celebration arrangements are by Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Clewiston.

Ronald L. Seals, age 55, of LaBelle, passed away February 9, 2020 in LaBelle. He was born July 29, 1964 in Houston, MO, to the late Arthur Lee and the late Zo Rella (Poston) Seals. 

He is survived by his loving wife: Melanie A. (Hansen) Seals, two daughters: Natasha Gudvangen (Ryan) and Stephanie Chavira (Sergio), three brothers: David Brown, Rich Seals and Randy Brown and nine grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his father; Art Seals, mother, Zo Rella (Poston) Parsons and his son: Wesley Kash Howard. 

Visitation will be Friday from 6:00-8:00pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL. Interment will be in Upper Campground Cemetery, Kingston, Arkansas. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Silvio Picado Dies In Crash On Cowboy Way

LABELLE, FL. -- Silvio Picado, 65 of LaBelle was traveling west on SR-80A (E Cowboy Way ) in Hendry county at 7:55 p.m. Monday, approximately 500 feet west of SW Eucalyptus Blvd. when he traveled off the roadway to the right onto the grass shoulder and struck a tree with the front of his 2003 GMS Sonoma.

The driver was pronounced deceased on the scene.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Smile! Visitor Photos Now Required For Hospital Entry

Hendry Regional Launches New Visitor ID System
Clewiston, FL (February 11, 2020) – All visitors and vendors entering Hendry Regional Medical Center (HRMC) in Clewiston will now be required to provide a Government issued photo ID as part of an enhanced system to safeguard the patients and employees of the organization.

The new system called FAST-PASS was installed the beginning of February. The FAST-PASS system rapidly identifies, captures and logs visitors and vendors who enter the facility.

Located at all three entry points of HRMC including the Emergency Department, Outpatient Services and the Business Entrance; the new system allows employees to verify who is entering the facility at all times.

David Theroux, COO, in charge of the implementation of the system said “Hendry Regional has purposely modeled this program’s operations after the many other Health Systems in our area who have implemented a visitor ID system.”

Visitors, 16 years and older, will be required to show a valid form of ID and have their picture taken. A visitor’s badge will be printed to include their photo and the location they are visiting. Passes are only valid for 24 hours. Minors who are accompanied by an adult will also receive a badge with the parent/guardians photo on it.

“By accurately collecting information about persons entering our facility Hendry Regional will be better prepared to provide a safe and secure environment for our patients, staff and visitors. By knowing who is in our facility and where they are authorized to visit Hendry Regional is better able to respond to internal and external emergencies,” stated R.D. Williams, CEO.

After April 1, 2020 individuals who do not present a valid form of ID will not be granted access to the facility. Minor exceptions to this rule may be made on a case by case basis.

Individuals with questions about the new system may contact the hospital directly at 863-902-3000.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Dortha Abercrombie Dies At 72

Sister Dortha Fay Abercrombie, age 72, of Belle Glade, went home to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on February 4, 2020 in Clewiston. 

Dortha was born May 8, 1947 in Tellico Plains, TN, to the late Alex and the late Susie (Williams) Lance. Dortha married Johnny Abercrombie in 1965 in Murphy, North Carolina. 

She was a loving Pastor's wife, mother, grandmother and a spiritual friend to many. She was a member of Clewiston Pentecostal Holiness Church. 

Dortha worked as an attendant for the Belle Glade Wash House for many years. 

Survivors include her husband: Johnny Abercrombie, three sons: Johnny Abercrombie, Danny Abercrombie, and Jackie Abercrombie, and one daughter; Julie Garcia, ten grandchildren and ten great grandchildren, and host of extended family and church family. Dortha was preceded in death by her siblings; Robert, Carl, Geneva, Rosie, Frankie, Louise, Ethel, and Toby. 

Dortha's life will be celebrated at 12 noon on Tuesday, February 11, 2020, at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, where her husband, Pastor Johnny Abercrombie will officiate. 

Visitation hours will be from 10:00 until the service time on Tuesday, also at the funeral home. Burial will take place immediately after the celebration in Ridgelawn Cemetery. 

Celebration arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Through With Chew Week - Smokeless Tobacco

This “Through With Chew” Week, Feb. 16-22, the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties is encouraging smokeless tobacco users to set a quit date. Each year, Through With Chew Week raises awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use (chew, dip and snuff) and the effective tools available to quit.

“Smokeless tobacco is not harmless and can cause serious health related problems,” stated Paul James, Tobacco Prevention Specialist for the Florida Department of Health in Hendry County. “We want residents in our area to know that Tobacco Free Florida has free tools and services to help them break the addiction.”

Smokeless tobacco is not harmless and can lead to nicotine addiction.[i] Smokeless tobacco causes cancer of the mouth, esophagus and pancreas, as well as increased risk of death from heart disease or stroke.[ii],[iii] Smokeless tobacco can cause white or gray patches inside the mouth (leukoplakia) that can lead to cancer.[iv] It can also cause gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. [v],[vi]

Support the Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Through With Chew Week by attending the Swamp Cabbage Parade in LaBelle, FL during the annual Swamp Cabbage Festival on Feb 22, 2020.

Those looking to quit tobacco can create a personalized quit plan using the Tobacco Free Florida’s free Quit Your Way tools and services. The Quit Your Way program offers free tools and services like Phone Quit, Group Quit and Web Quit, in addition to individual tools like text support, a Quit Guide and helpful emails. Free nicotine replacement therapy – nicotine patches, gum or lozenges – are available to tobacco users who are 18 or older, if medically appropriate.

For more information on quitting tobacco, you can call 1-877-U-CAN-NOW (1-877-822-6669) or visit

Friday, February 07, 2020

Backyard Bird Count February 14

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a free, fun, and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at

Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from beginning bird watchers to experts, and you can participate from your backyard, or anywhere in the world. Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and the environment we share. 

Last year, more than 160,000 participants submitted their bird observations online, creating the largest instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations ever recorded. The 23rd annual GBBC will be held Friday, February 14, through Monday, February 17, 2020.

Cake Auction At Rodeo Grounds February 12

LABELLE, FL.-- New support to raise money for the Pro Steadman 4-H Scholarship “Men’s” Cake Auction on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, at 6 pm at the LaBelle Rodeo Grounds. There will be a silent cake auction along with a live cake auction. 

 This scholarship currently awards two $1000 scholarships to two high school senior students and a $1000 scholarship to one college student. The first annual “Men’s” Cake Auction was held in 1990, approximately $30,000 in scholarship monies has been awarded.

The Pro Steadman Scholarship Fund started in 1990 as a community project in honor of Mrs. Pro Steadman. "Pro" was the mother of five 4-H'ers, a leader for ten years, and was very active in all sectors of the 4-H program. 

 She believed in the 4-H organization and seeing it reach its full potential for bringing families together and keeping members interested in worthwhile projects. Mrs. Steadman was diagnosed with ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease) in May of 1988. 

 Throughout her struggle with the disease, she maintained her interest and involvement in youth programs as much as she physically could. She died in December of 1992, but still lives on in the hearts of the many that she influenced.

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Updated Wildlife Conservation Guide

FWC and partners update the Florida Wildlife Conservation Guide

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida Natural Areas Inventory, has updated the Florida Wildlife Conservation Guide. This online resource is intended to help landowners, permit applicants and environmental consultants make wildlife-friendly decisions during development planning and identify opportunities for conservation of Florida’s unique biodiversity.

The guide covers wildlife assessments and impacts, market-based conservation options, permitting, and opportunities for conservation actions at various stages of a project. It includes tools for effective land use planning, site assessments and project designs, with short descriptions and links to important resources from federal, state, county and private organizations.

Additionally, if people use the guide for planning and surveys, and submit their environmental assessment with their application, it can help expedite the review of project permit applications.

FWC Land Use Planning Program biologists work with state and federal permit applicants, local governments, federal agencies, environmental organizations and others to help them minimize impacts to fish and wildlife and their habitats by providing technical assistance, project design recommendations, and imperiled species permitting guidance.

To learn more about planning for conservation and development, check out the guide online at then click on “The Value of Conservation” and then “Florida Wildlife Conservation Guide.” If you need technical assistance you can also contact the program directly by email at

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Obituaries - Robert Rogriquez

Robert C. Rodriguez, age 62, of North Fort Myers, passed away February 1, 2020 in Cape Coral, Florida. He was born Dec. 26, 1957 in San Antonio, TX, to the late Adolfo and the late Mary Jane Cisnero Rodriguez. 

Survivors include his longtime partner: Suzan Baker of North Fort Myers, daughters: Ashley (David) Arevalo of Cape Coral, Nakita (Todd) Rich of Lenoir City, TN and Jayda (Wesley) Godbey of Louden, TN, brothers: Sixto Rodriguez of LaBelle and Adolfo (Veronica) Rodriguez, Jr. of Texas, sisters: Julia Rodriguez (Kenny) Howard of LaBelle and Lupe (Mark) Taylor of LaBelle and grandchildren: Matthew, Olivia, David III, Lily, Henry, Jackson and Riley. 

He was preceded by his parents and sister: Frances Rodriguez 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held10:00 a.m. February 6, 2020 at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, LaBelle. 

Interment will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle. Visitation will be held from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home – LaBelle.

Greg Gunter Joins United Way

LaBelle, Florida -- United Way of Hendry and Glades announces the addition of Greg Gunter to the staff in a full time, permanent capacity. Greg has been part of the United Way staff since 2018; however, his employment was temporary, as it was funded by a grant for Hurricane Irma recovery. His new position is Hendry/Glades Coordinator. He will be supporting the manager, Lisa Sands, with the annual campaign, as well as the allocations process. Greg will also focus on building relationships and partnerships in the Clewiston area, as well as reestablishing the Clewiston United Way House.

Greg Gunter has been a resident of the area for over 20 years, and has a BS in Marketing. Previously, he was the owner of LaBelle’s Badcock Home Furnishing Store. Gunter has one son and two granddaughters.

The United Way of Hendry, Glades is a volunteer organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for all people in our community. In addition to raising funds for human service organizations in our community, the United Way promotes partnerships and collaborations among agencies and initiatives, helping them to work together focusing on issues and solutions that continue to improve lives. United Way helps support a local human service network of 28 partner agencies and 64 programs.

To reach the United Way Hendry Glades Manager, call (239)-433-7559. People in need of information and referral assistance to health and human services should contact United Way 211. Simply dial 2-1-1, or (800) 887-9234, or visit the United Way website at

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Biometric ID Equipment Coming To Hendry Sheriff's Office

LABELLE, FL. -- BI2 Technologies announced it has signed a 5-year, exclusive national agreement with the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) to provide more than 3,000 Sheriffs across the country with its ACCESS Background Check Program™, a first-of-its-kind initiative that will include a contract with the Hendry County Sheriff's office to provide the equipment.

Under the agreement, BI2 Technologies will provide any participating Sheriff at no upfront cost to the Sheriff or county with its NSA-endorsed and cutting-edge Inmate Recognition and Identification System, I.R.I.S.™.

I.R.I.S.™ technology uses the human iris (the colored part around the pupil) to accurately identify a person. I.R.I.S.™ is far more accurate than a fingerprint and results are provided within seconds.

Sean G. Mullin, President and CEO of BI2 Technologies said, “For more than a decade, BI2 Technologies has been honored to receive the endorsement and support of the National Sheriffs’ Association. Sheriffs across the nation have been using our iris biometric technologies to make our communities safer. Now, through this innovative partnership, BI2 Technologies will provide any Sheriff in the country who wants to participate – at no upfront cost to the Sheriff’s Office or county – with a complete background check system. This system will enable Sheriffs to provide this much needed service to the citizens of their counties at a more convenient and safe location – the local Sheriff’s Office.”

Mullin continued, “This is truly the beginning of the first national background check solution which will provide convenient, local access to state and federal systems at Sheriffs’ Offices across the nation.”

Mullin said, “We are particularly pleased that this program will also return funds to the local Sheriff’s Office to be used to address critical needs in their communities.”

Mullin concluded, “We are proud to have this opportunity to serve the nation’s Sheriffs. It will make communities across the nation safer, while providing better, more convenient services to millions of citizens who need to get a state and/or FBI certified background check done.”

Optimize Your Life - Mood Gym Podcast

Optimize Your Life - A Better Version of Yourself

The latest episode of the Mood Gym Podcast audio was recorded today. Listen, subscribe and comment on or wherever you find your podcasts.

Museum Cruise At Swamp Cabbage Festival Weekend

LABELLE, FL. -- LaBelle Heritage Museum's Cruises on the Caloosahatchee, a popular event at Swamp Cabbage Festival, will be slightly different for the 54th annual festival according to museum president Joe Thomas. He said, "We decided the 8:00 a.m. cruises were just too early for the overwhelming majority and decided to cancel them. 

 The first cruise on both Saturday and Sunday will now begin at 11:15 in the morning with Saturday's cruise being the popular "Story Teller's Cruise" and Sunday's being a new catered gourmet continental brunch cruise with mimosas for seven parties of four people each that we hope will be a popular addition." 

Thomas added the 1:45 in the afternoon cruises on both days will feature River Caretakers including local paleontologist and environmentalist Scott Perry joined by an expert from the Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Heartland and comments from M/V River Queen's Captain John Cookman,whose livelihood depends on a healthy Caloosahatchee River. 

LaBelle's own Margaret England encores her popular "Birds Roosting at Sunset" cruise that winds up both days at 4:15 p.m. with able assistance from Stephen Buczinsky, president of the Hendry-Glades Audubon Society, and Scott Cooper, retired science educator and current docent at Six Mile Cypress Preserve, putting in an appearance on Saturday's cruise and, hopefully, Larry Luckey, Sr., a member of one of Southwest Florida's preeminent pioneer families and retired Glades County Property Appraiser on Sunday. 

 The cost is $30 person person for each cruise with an additional $30 per person for Sunday's brunch cruise. 

 Advance tickets for all cruises are available through Eventbrite at (Please note there are three e's in a row in the Eventbrite link.) For information, leave a message at (863)674-0034 if your call goes to voicemail.

Monday, February 03, 2020

Democrats At Beef O'Brady February 10

LABELLE, FL -- Hendry County Democrats will hold their February monthly meeting at LaBelle's Beef O'Brady's Restaurant off SR-80 on Monday, February 10, at 6:30 p.m. Local party chairman Joe Thomas said the main items on this month's agenda are deciding which components of the grants available Hendry County's Democrats choose as the ones that will best help build the local party and Hendry County's involvement in all of 2020's elections from City Hall to the Courthouse to the State Capitol and higher. Swamp Cabbage Festival is the end of this month and Clewiston's Sugar Festival will be on March 21 with both followed by Harlem's Brown Sugar Festival and LaBelle's Black Heritage Festival all of which will have prospective voters in attendance.

All Democratic Party meetings at the local level are open to the public, and the Hendry County Democratic Party invites all registered and prospective Democratic voters to attend its meetings Only those registered to vote in Hendry County or those who have contacted the chair in advance may participate in the meeting. Plan now to attend the February Dinner Meeting of the Hendry County Democratic Party at Beef O'Brady's, 21 Lee St., at 6:30 p.m.

Butterflies Are Free February 7 At Firehouse

LABELLE, FL. -- The Firehouse Community Theatre Inc presents “Butterflies are Free” by Leonard Gershe

Young Don Baker has been blind since birth and his overprotective mother follows his every move. Don finally moves into his own apartment in Manhattan to pursue his songwriting ambitions. When his mother meets his kooky (and sexy) neighbor who is an actress, her “mothering and controlling” instincts go into overdrive with hilariously touching results. This is a charming and humorous play. We hope this production of BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE will inspire you to love more freely!

This play will be presented on February 7th and 8th at 7pm, February 9th at 2pm, then February 13th, 14th and 15th at 7pm and February 16th at 2pm.

Call the ticket hotline (863) 675-366 or get tickets online at

Pictured: Left to Right.....Nancy Hoffaker, Isaac Cadena, Towanda Green, Isaac Randolph
Photo by: Mike Shough

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Paul Gray At Audubon February 10

LABELLE FL. -- Hendry-Glades Audubon invites everyone to a free program, “Update and Florida Grasshopper Sparrow and Everglade Snail Kite Recovery Efforts” presented by Dr. Paul Gray at Dallas Townsend Agricultural Extension Building located at 1085 Pratt Blvd., LaBelle at 7:00 pm on Monday February 10 , 2020.

Dr. Paul Gray is a Science Coordinator for Audubon Florida's Everglades Program. Paul is based out of Lorida, near Sebring, and has been working in Florida for 30 plus years, with the last 25 for Audubon. Paul works on water, land, and bird management issues primarily related to Lake Okeechobee, but works on state-wide issues too. 

He is a charter member of the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow Working Group and co-chair of the Snail Kite Coordinating Committee and will give us the latest information on the status of both of these Florida endemics.