Sunday, August 30, 2020

Clarence W. White Sr. Dies - Alva, Florida and Sandwich, Illinois Resident

On Thursday August 27, 2020 Clarence W. (Bill) White Sr. passed away. 

He was the loving husband of Darlene (Dar Hardekoph) White, beloved father of Kathleen (White) & Terrance Pitcher, Judy (White) & Glen Brooks, and Clarence (Bill) & Linda White Jr. and proud grandfather of Michelle Dupont, Jacob Harris, Scott Fayfar, Todd Farfar, Kelly (Brooks) Broderick, Ryan Perina and Brandon White, brother of Donald (Jean) White, Sr., and many nieces and nephews. 

He owned his own business as a General Contractor until he retired at 63. He and Dar enjoyed their retirement in Alva FL and Sandwich IL traveling, boating and spending time with friends and family. 

A memorial will be announced at a later date. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Friday, August 28, 2020

LaBelle's Firehouse Theatre Plans Play Openings For September

LABELLE, FL. -- The Firehouse Community Theatre, Inc has announced their upcoming season, auditions and the need for volunteers.

As the new “normal” is upon us, the Firehouse Community Theatre is preparing to bring back live entertainment. Our season will include Tea for Three, Every Christmas Story Ever Told, Sandy Toes & Salty Kisses, Beehive, Savannah Sipping Society and Deathtrap.

Auditions will be held on Saturday, September 12th from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and Saturday, September 19th from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. You must call for an audition time slot as scheduling is at 20-minute intervals to assist with social distancing recommendations. If you cannot attend these audition sessions, but would like to audition, arranges for a virtual audition can be made.

Please call 863-675-3066 and leave a message with your choice of two different time slots. Audition time assignments will be on a first come, first served basis.

Also, needed are volunteers who would be willing to assist with ushering, backstage, concessions, box office and other jobs while the theatre ventures into uncharted territory trying to provide a sense of normalcy during these trying times.

The Firehouse Community Theatre Inc. has plans and processes in place to help keep everyone safe and healthy.

No Name Key From Florida Keys' Watercolor Kapers

Florida Keys' Watercolor Kapers by Bob Kranich

No Name Key, (Part 6)

In this part, Manuel and Hector are experience military training with the three guys they met on No Name Key.

Morning came and went. The meager share of K-rations wasn’t any feast. They filled the canteens and cleaned up the camp to look like it hadn’t been used.

The day consisted of a traverse of the entire island, military style. They were always on the lookout, always moving slow. Sometimes they were on the beach, then on mangrove trails and other times open pine woodland. They grazed on berries and edible plants, chewed bark, and located more limestone depressions with either fresh rain water or surface water. Occasionally they had to use the chlorine tablets. Traversing a one-mile wide by two-mile long island adds up to at least six to seven miles of hard walking, but never in a hurry and constantly cautious.

The late afternoon found them on the northeast side of No Name, close to the shore, tired and dirty.

“All right guys,” Roy said. “Joe, Manuel and Hector will net us some fish. Slim, get some coals burning. I’m going to keep a watch for boats and fishermen. We’ll do the same tonight, same watch order, and we’ll break camp early.”

Luck was with them, and they netted some fish. Slim covered them in mud and baked them in the coals.

Morning came. “Guys,” Roy said, “We’ll split up the remaining K-rations. Manuel, Hector, it’s been short but fun! We’re going down the beach a short distance. The cabin is right over there past those pine trees. You can get your oars, and we’ll pick up our sleeping bags. Keep a watch on your way back. Don’t be seen if possible, and you never saw us!

They moved out and Roy was right, just over there was the cabin! The three picked up their bags and took the rucksacks. Hector shouldered the oars.

“Good luck guys,” Roy said.

They all shook hands and then headed in two different directions. Manuel took the lead on the 4-A trail back the way they had come in. They walked along not saying a thing, each mulling over the last couple of days and nursing their aches from the hiking and rucksacks. Suddenly they heard the start-up of an outboard motor, and then the sound of it racing across the water.

“They had their boat and motor hidden somewhere close!” Hector said.

“Yea,” Manuel agreed, “They will be back, loaded and gone before we ever get back to our boat!”

They broke out of the brush. There was their boat, and they were glad to see it.

“You will have to row half the way back,” Hector said. “I’m sure I won’t be able to go all the way.”

“OK,” Manuel said.

They got back across to Big Pine, returned the boat to its hiding place and then the oars to the old man at the store.

“Did you ever see those three guys on No Name,” he asked. “They just left. Boy they were sure hungry! Bought a couple of sandwiches each! Then left with a rush.”

“Nope, didn't see them. Thanks for the oars and the boat, old timer,” Manuel said.

“Let’s get back to Key West,” Hector exclaimed. “I need to get some sleep in my bed!”

They drove the 30 miles back to Key West. Hector pulled up in front of Manuel’s parents’ house.

“Still thinking about joining up in Miami?” Manuel asked.

“I’ll get back to you in a couple of days. How about Friday at the docks?” Hector answered.

“See you then, Hector,” Manuel said.

Early Friday morning found Manuel on the docks in his usual place.

“Hey buddy, how you doing?” Hector said.

“Come on over and sit,” Manuel said.

“Catch anything?”

“A couple,” Manuel pointed to his bucket.

“Think any more about Cuba?” Hector asked.

“I’m ready if you are,” Manuel answered.

“How about I check on the bus to Miami, and call you tonight. I was thinking, we have got to get our stories straight. Let’s say we’re catching the bus up to Miami to go to work for, what you say, three months. It shouldn’t take more time than that to kick Castro out of Cuba!” Hector exclaimed.

“Sounds like a plan, compadre! Give me a call, and I’ll see how much money I can come up with,” Manuel added.

Ring! Ring! “Hello, yes he’s here,” Manuel’s mother said. “Manuel, it’s for you!”

“OK, Mom, thank you. Hello.”

“Manuel, it’s Hector. I checked on the bus to Miami. It’s $27.50 each. We don’t need to think about round trip, because we will be coming back from Cuba. We’ll need plane or boat tickets!”

“OK wise guy. But you’re right! We should take some extra cash, for food and whatever,” Manuel said.

“Manuel, I got about $60...what about you?”

“I can match that, compadre.”

“We’ll pack light and walk downtown and catch the 9:05 tomorrow. Tell your folks our story, and I’ll do the same. See you at 8 am sharp! At your house tomorrow.”

“OK, I’m with you. See you then.”


“Mom, that was Hector. We’re going up to Miami tomorrow on the Greyhound. Going to work three months or so.”

“Manuel, Hector and you aren’t in some kind of trouble are you?”

“No Mom! Just that we haven't found any work around here, and we thought we would give Miami a try.”

“Now Manuel, don’t let those Freedom Fighters talk you into joining up! Stay out of trouble!”

“Yes, Mom.”

“Don’t forget to call me!”

Manuel went upstairs to his room, got his money out of his top drawer and took a small gym bag out of the closet. He folded a couple of t-shirts, a sport shirt, a couple of socks and boxers, and stuffed them into the bag.

In the morning, he was up early. His mom was in the kitchen.

“Mom, I need a couple of tacos for a lunch.”

“Don’t worry, here they are. I have them packed for you, mi hijito.”

He ate fast, kissed her, grabbed the paper sack and his gym bag.

“Bye, Dad.” Out he went.

From the Author: My 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. It is fully illustrated with 88 watercolors and sketches. The watercolors I made roaming around Key West after I finished my 750 mile hike from Georgia to Key West. (See book or Don Browne’s South West Florida Online records, A Walk Across Florida.) As you read these stories you will experience Key West, the Keys, and the Caribbean. These stories span the time of the early 1800’s to 1969. bkranich.wixsite.com/bobkranich

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Peter J. Malott Sr. Dies At 49 In LaBelle

Peter J Malott, Sr, age 49, of LaBelle, passed away August 24, 2020 in LaBelle. 

He was born May 16, 1971 in Fort Thomas, KY, to the late Paul Wesley and Anna Mae (Walker) Malott. 

Survivors include his wife: Brenda Michelle (Pence) Malott five sons: Justin Malott, James Reising Jr, Peter Malott Jr, Wesley Malott III and Marc Borchers one daughter: Marie Reising mother: Anna Mae (Walker) Malott two brothers: Paul Malott and Ben Malott one sister: Jennifer Malott

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

COVID Testing For Children And Adults Sites Expanded In Hendry And Glades County

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Department of Health in Hendry & Glades Counties will offer free COVID-19 Testing at several locations in the community for adults & children over 5yrs. No appointments needed,

This is a drive-thru process; however "walk-up" accommodations can be offered as well.

Open Testing – No Appointments Needed. Testing Adults & Children over 5yrs with Parent Consent

· Saturday, August 29th - 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Hendry County Courthouse – 25 E. Hickpochee Ave, LaBelle, FL 33935

· Sunday, August 30th – 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Harlem Civic Center – 7th Street, Clewiston, FL 33440

· Friday, September 4th – 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Glades County Health Department – 1021 Healthpark Dr, Moore Haven, FL 33471

· Saturday, September 12th – 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Barron Park – 1559 Desoto Ave, LaBelle, FL 33935

· Sunday, September 13th – 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Buckhead Ridge Fire Dept, 30076 East State Road 78, Buckhead Ridge, FL 34974

· Saturday, September 19th – 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Glades County Health Department 1021 Healthpark Drive, Moore Haven, FL 33471

· Saturday, September 26th – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
West Glades School, (Muse) 2586 State Rd 731, LaBelle, FL 33935

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Adrian Prado Former Deputy Arrested On Assault And Drug Charges

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff’s Deputy arrested Adrian Prado on charges of Battery/DV, Aggravated Assault, Child Neglect and Possession of Synthetic Narcotics. 

Sheriff’s Office deputies learned that, then, Deputy Adrian Prado was seen striking his spouse two to three times in and around the head and neck area and another time following her into the master bedroom with a knife in his hands after an argument.

Deputies responded to the home and discovered the drugs during their investigation.

Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden has withdrawn the appointment of Prado. “This type of behavior should not and will not be tolerated by the public and certainly not by a deputy sheriff” said Sheriff Whidden.

Adrian Prado, 35 years of age, was placed under arrest on charges of Battery/ DV, Child Neglect, Aggravated Assault, and Possession of Synthetic Narcotics. Prado was released on August 25, 2020 on $25,000.00 bond.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Hendry Sheriff's Deputies Bloodhound Henry and Lab Kole Retire

LABELLE, FL. -- Two Hendry County Sheriff K-9s retired and are now living in loving homes. 

Henry is an 8 year old German Bloodhound that was imported to the United States at 10 weeks old. By the age of 1, he had received his certification for tracking. During his career he recovered numerous articles of evidence, guns and missing and/or endangered persons. Henry’s exceptional tracking abilities made him a valuable member of the Sheriff’s Office.

When Henry retired, he could not be adopeted by his previous Handler but instead was adopted by another deputy who was a former K-9 Handler, Hendry County Sergeant Curtis Clay.

Sergeant Clay described Henry’s life now as “fat and happy”. He currently lives in a home with three senior dogs, so Henry isn’t really alone. “He’s 8 years old but still has the energy of a puppy”, said Clay. Clay went on to say, “Because he still has a great deal of energy, we work with him several times a week, running tracks with him. Clay continues these tracking session because as a former handler he just doesn’t think it’s good for the dog to sit at home.


Kole is a beautiful Long Coat Lab from Puerto Rico. Displaced by Hurricane Irma in 2017, Kole was adopted by the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office and shortly became certified as a single purpose narcotic detection dog. He served his time assigned to Country Oaks Elementary School with School Resource Officer, K-9 Handler Ryan Vickery. K-9 Kole was retired early because of environmental Issues as a result of the devastating 2017 Hurricane.



Kole now spends his time at home with SRO D/S Ryan Vickery and the rest of his family, getting to know his new house partner, K-9 Max. Vickery feels that K-9 Max and Kole get along well, and he believes that K-9 Max keeps Kole busy. Kole also keeps other family members company and has gone back to work with Vickery’s wife, who is still working from home, who she lovingly refers to Kole as her “co-worker”.

When a K-9 is retired they are adopted by either the Handler or another law enforcement officer; but that isn’t always the case. When a K-9 is retired and not able to remain in the Handlers home, those who request to adopt are closely vetted for procurement of the dog.

COVID Tests Resume Wednesday August 26 In LaBelle, Clewiston, Moore Haven

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties continues to provide free COVID-19 Testing at LaBelle, Clewiston and Moore Haven this week beginning Wednesday.

Note: Testing at the Health Department in Moore Haven was rescheduled for Thursday, Aug 27th.

Hendry County Health Department in Clewiston: 1100 S. Olympia (863) 983-1408
Wednesday August 26th from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (By appointment only) Weather permitting

NEW -- Glades County Health Department in Moore Haven: 1021 Health Park Drive (863) 946-0707
Thursday, August 27th from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (By appointment only) Weather permitting

Hendry County Health Department in LaBelle: 1140 Pratt Blvd (863) 674-4041
Friday, August 28th from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (By appointment only) Weather permitting

This is a "drive-thru" service. All individuals must stay in their vehicles during the process (during registration and while being tested). Persons tested will be given instructions on how to receive their test results. Results may take up to 7 business days. Please stay at home until you receive your test results

Residents of Hendry and Glades Counties can secure an appointment for testing by calling the Hendry County Health Department Clewiston (863) 983-1408, LaBelle (863) 674-4041 or Moore Haven (863) 946-0707; Press zero "0" to speak with an operator.

Food Insecurity Growing In Hendry and Glades County, Fl

LABELLE, FL. --  According to the latest from the Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida, approximately 23% of Children in Hendry County and Glades County are food insecure.

93% of the Hendry county residents are eligible for government food assistance, being below SNAP and other nutrition programs threshold of 200% of poverty line, and 79% in Glades are eligible, this being significantly higher numbers than Florida, at 72%. 

Food insecurity is the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. 100% of children in both counties are income-eligible for nutrition programs

The average meal cost per person is $3.06 in Hendry and $3.53 in Glades, this is lower than the cost per person for the state of Florida, $3.29. 

The food environment index in Hendry County is 6.9 and 5.3 in Glades. The index ranges from a scale of 0 (worst) to 10 (best). 

15% percent of the population are considered low-income and do not live near a grocery store in Hendry County and 31% in Glades. 16% of people living in Hendry County are food insecure and 14% in Glades. 

Credit: Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida, Inc. 

Hendry County High Speed Internet Study Needs Business Input By August 28

If you reside or operate a business in Hendry County, this may be of interest to you.

Magellan Advisors are studying the feasibility of improving broadband and other types of connectivity for Hendry County, working directly with top County personnel. Agriculture is a critical economic sector for Hendry County. We would like to know about any issues, needs, or opportunities for better connections in the local agricultural sector. We welcome input from producers with sites in Hendry County even if their HQ/primary locations are elsewhere.

There are two ways you can help get better broadband:

Complete the Hendry County Broadband Survey at http://survey.hendryfla.net/.
Contact me to set up an interview. We would be delighted to host a group conference call with multiple producers, especially if we could involve a variety of producers—citrus, livestock, row crops, etc.
Please provide your input by Friday, August 28. It will go directly into our assessment and the County’s broadband development plan.

— Greg Laudeman, Ed.D.
Senior Consultant, Magellan Advisors, LLC
706-271-5521
glaudeman@magellan-advisors.com

Glades Emergency Management Monitoring Tropical Storm Laura

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The Emergency Management Office of Glades County will continue to monitor and track Tropical Storm Laura for further alerts. The current details is Tropical Storm Laura is located on the island of Cuba and moving into the Gulf by tonight. Tropical Storm Laura is passing to our south today. Local impacts from Tropical Storm Laura will be lightning, moderate thunderstorms and high humidity index over the next several days.

There is a small craft advisory in affect for Lake Okeechobee with gusty and/or rough tide today. This should smoothen out by tomorrow. If any work is outdoors please remain hydrated with the heat index reaching 100 to 105 degrees.

We encourage you to continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands often with soap and water, cover you cough and sneezes, and disinfect surfaces as often as possible. Proper mask use is making sure your nose & mouth are covered.

Please help to keep our First Responders safe. If you are in need of emergency services and have any symptoms or have traveled to high impacted areas please let the 911 dispatcher know.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

COVID Testing For Children And Adults At Hendry Courthouse August 29

FREE COVID-19 Testing (Drive-thru testing)

Hendry County Courthouse Parking Lot - LaBelle

The Florida Department of Health in Hendry County will offer free COVID-19 Testing on Saturday, August 29th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Hendry County Courthouse parking lot.

No appointment is needed!

Testing will be provided to adults and children 5 yrs and older. Parents must sign a consent form for children to be tested.

Location: Hendry County Courthouse (parking lot)
25 E Hickpochee Ave, LaBelle 33935

Saturday, August 29th -- 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Persons tested will be given instructions on how to receive their test results.

COVID Testing Back On For Children And Adults Sunday August 30 In Clewiston

FREE COVID-19 Testing At the Harlem Civic Center in Clewiston

The Florida Department of Health in Hendry County will offer free COVID-19 Testing on Sunday, August 30th from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Harlem Civic Center in Clewiston .

(The testing had been canceled earlier this week due to the uncertainty of the weather.)

No appointment is needed!

Testing will be provided to adults and children 5 yrs and older. Parents must sign a consent form for children to be tested.

Location: Harlem Civic Center 7th St, Clewiston, FL 33440

Sunday, August 30th -- 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Uncertain Path Of Tropical Storm Laura Leads Glades To Declare Emergency

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- This morning, August 21, 2020, the Board of County Commissioners have agreed upon issuing a Local State of Emergency for Glades County, Florida.

The Emergency Management Office of Glades County will continue to monitor and track Tropical Storm Laura for further alerts. The current details is Tropical Storm Laura is located about 210 miles east southeastern of the northern Leeward Islands, moving W at 18 mph with maximum sustained winds near 45 mph. The forecast intensity is still uncertain before it reaches Florida due to possible land interaction with Hispaniola and Cuba.

The county encourage residents to continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands often with soap and water, cover you cough and sneezes, and disinfect surfaces as often as possible. Proper mask use is making sure your nose & mouth are covered.

They county adds "Please help to keep our First Responders safe. If you are in need of emergency services and have any symptoms or have traveled to high impacted areas please let the 911 dispatcher know."

Head On Crash Closes LaBelle Bridge For The Day

LABELLE, FL. -- A head on crash Friday morning involving a semi truck and another vehicle closed down the main north south route between LaBelle and Glades county on State Road 29, also known as Bridge Street in LaBelle.

The bridge crosses the Caloosahatchee River in LaBelle. The crash at the north foot of the bridge left a diesel oil spill which must be cleaned up before the bridge can reopen which might be as late at early evening Friday.

Motorists were stranded in a mile long line on both sides of the river, and were forced to go to the Fort Denaud Bridge west of LaBelle to cross the river, or farther to the east at Moore Haven to cross. 

Injuries were reported but no fatalities.

COVID Tests Cancelled In Glades And Hendry County Pending Weather Outlook

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Due to the Tropical Weather forecast, the COVID-19 Testing event scheduled on Saturday 8/22/20 in Buckhead Ridge has been cancelled and the COVID-19 Testing event scheduled on Sunday 8/23/20 at the Harlem Civic Center in Clewiston has been cancelled.

These two testing sites were the first to give free tests to children and adults without appointments in Hendry and Glades county.

Another testing event will be scheduled on a later date said the Health Department.

Electric Bill Assistance Availability In Hendry-Glades Counties

 

LABELLE, FL. --  An assistance allowance is now available for residents meeting certain guidelines in amounts from $350 to $700 to pay for electric bills. The one-time credit varies on household income and number of people in the household, with elderly, disabled, and with children 5 and under receiving additional credit.

Call 844-356-8138 for appointment or

To Apply Online: alpi.org/apply-online

Click on graphic at left to enlarge.

Chart For Benefits: https://liheapch.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files//webfiles/docs/FL_BenefitsMatrix_2020.pdf

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Robert Donald Scruggs Sr Dies At 91

Robert Donald Scruggs Sr, age 91, passed peacefully August 18, 2020 at TrustBridge Hospice. 

For well over three decades Don served in numerous positions with South Bay Growers and U.S. Sugar where he was well respected and highly regarded for his knowledge and work ethic. 

A sense of service was the cornerstone of Don's life. 

He served in the Navy on the USS Saipan, during which time he would send his paycheck home to help his parents build their home in Morven, GA. He served decades in the AA program to help others through their difficult times. He was an active church member. He made certain his family had wonderful vacations on Ft. Myers Beach during the off season of the produce industry. He taught his boys by way of example how to treat others and live a responsible, full life. 

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Vera, his sons Robert Donald Scruggs, Jr and wife, Barbara, Greg Scruggs and wife, Terri, grandchildren Ami Arenz Seener and husband, Tim, Robert Donald Scruggs, III and wife, Natalie, Sydney Scruggs and fiancĂ©, Brian, and Quentin Scruggs. Great-grandchildren Colton and Parker. 

The family chooses not to risk the health of our friends and loved ones and will forgo services. We will meet another time to celebrate the life of Don Scruggs. 

Don's final resting place will be Ridgelawn Cemetery in Clewiston Fl. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Elections Conclude In Hendry/Glades Bringing Out 1 in 3 Voters

 LABELLE, FL -- About one in three registered voters in Hendry and Glades county voted in Tuesday's Primary Elections, with roughly one-third voting respectively in early voting, mailed voting and in-person vote casting.

5,511 votes were cast in Hendry from 18,457 eligible to vote.

Among Hendry county, top votes were to Lauren Melo (R) for State Representative, Steve Whidden (R) Sheriff, Ramon Iglesias (R) County Commission 4, Johnny Jackson (D) Sheriff, Emma Byrd (D) County Commission 1, Judge Darrel Hill, Paul Samerdyke, School Board and Tuesday Tritt, Hospital Authority.

In Glades, 2,498 votes were cast among 6,877 registered voters. 

Winners were Kaylee Tuck (R) Florida Representative. Tami Simmons (R) Clerk of Court, Gail Jones (R) Tax Collector, Jerry Sapp (R) County Commission, Jenny Allen, School Board 2, Jean Prowant, School Board 3, and Jacob Eighner and Jan Gunn, Moore Haven City Council.

Results are unofficial with some mailed votes still pending. The November General Election will pare off local and state Democrat and Republican candidates as well as the two Presidential candidates.

United Way Concludes Tax Season Bringing $289, 626 In Refunds To Clients

LABELLE, FL. -- Despite having to temporarily suspend services due to COVID, United Way of Hendry and Glades’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program has concluded its 2019 tax season with great results, bringing over $289,626 in federal tax refunds back to the local community. Nine volunteers helped file more than 200 federal tax returns free for local residents.

The VITA program serves households earning $66,000 or less by preparing and e-filing their federal tax returns. United Way’s IRS certified volunteers help determine if clients are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), education, and/or childcare credits when they file.

United Ways’ VITA program is not just a one-time transactional activity as this initiative aims to connect tax payers to other asset building resources such as savings tools and financial education opportunities.

For those who still need to file their 2019 tax return, United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee has four year-round VITA sites located in Estero-San Carlos, LaBelle, Lehigh Acres, and Fort Myers to help. All sites operate by appointment only. Appointments can be made by calling 239-433-3900 or by visiting https://www.unitedwaylee.org/freetaxprep/. For those who prefer to file on their own, they can do so free of charge at MyFreeTaxes.com if their household income is under $66,000.

United Way will be recruiting volunteers to serve as tax preparers, greeters, and interpreters for the 2020 tax year over the next few months. Volunteers will complete free online tax preparation training and certification using the TaxSlayer software. To join the VITA team, visit https://www.unitedwaylee.org/become-vita-volunteer or call 239-433-7567.

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 www.UnitedWayLee.org.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Obituaries - Joe Kendrick, Margaret Waters

Joe H. Kendrick of Clewiston, FL., left us on August 16, 2020 to join the love of his life Patricia E. Kendrick whom he married on August 26, 1960 and missed her every day after her passing in 1996.

 Joe was a proud Veteran of the US Navy during the Korean War and worked at Barfield Inc. in Miami before retiring to his home in Clewiston (LaDeca) Florida. 

He is survived by his sons: Kent H. and wife Patricia L. Kendrick of Clewiston, FL.; Kevin Scott and his wife Joelie A. Kendrick of Clewiston, FL.; and daughter: Kim E. and husband Carlos J. Galan of Louisville, KY.; and by someone who is loved like a son and brother George Morales of Virginia Gardens, FL. Eleven grandchildren: Jody Kendrick, Trisha Kendrick, Joey Morales, Demi Noren, Nicolas (Nico) Kendrick, Evan (Kole) Kendrick, Ashley Alba, Courtney Wrobleski, Taylor Wrobleski, Ariana Olds, and Carlos Galan Jr. 7 great grandchildren: Tyler Caballero, Jake Cegara, Isabella Morales, Penelope Noren, Jaxon Kendrick, Angelina Morales and Lucas Noren. 

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Margaret "Lucille" Leitner Waters, age 94, of Clewiston, passed away August 14, 2020 in LaBelle. She was born August 27,1925, the daughter of Albert and Helene Leitner. Her birth took place on the ridge at Eagle Bay Island just outside of Okeechobee, Florida.

 Lucille was a resident of Clewiston since 1946 and was a member of the First Baptist Church of Clewiston. Her biggest jobs were being a wife and mother. However, she did find time to work at U.S. Sugar as a key punch operator. 

She is survived by her daughter, Bobbie Spratt (Joe). Grandchildren include Jim Spratt (Sharon), Beth Spratt, Patrick McElroy and Lane McElroy Pool. Her great grandchildren are Kadyn Pool and twins James and Laura Spratt. 

She was preceded in death by her loving husband G.M. (Junior) Waters; daughters Margaret McElroy (Pat) and Cheryl Waters; her sister, Louise Rudd (J.C.); brothers Marion Leitner (Marguerite) and Harold Leitner (Carolyn). She also leaves many nieces/nephews as well as great nieces/nephews.

Services will be Friday, August 21, 2020, 11 am at the First Baptist Church of Clewiston with Doyle McDuffie officiating. Interment will follow at Ridgelawn Cemetery. Flowers are welcomed but memorials to First Baptist Church of Clewiston are also an option and appropriate.

 Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Obituaries - Arnoldo Contreras, Gene Whidden, Eleanor Carter

Arnoldo Contreras, age 69, of LaBelle, passed away August 8, 2020 in Lehigh Acres. He was born Feb. 17, 1951 in Raymondville, TX, to the late Concepcion and Rosalie (Garcia) Contreras. 

He was the Owner of Contreras Restaurant in LaBelle since 1981, and loved his customers. He was Catholic, and loved family BBQ's, fishing, and going to the casino. 

Survivors include his wife: Adelina (Rodriguez) Contreras three daughters: Christina Contreras(Lee) Banda, Rosali Contreras(Miguel) Pequeno and Sonya Contreras, three brothers: Anastacio Contreras, Adan Contreras and Abel Contreras, five sisters: Concepcion (Concha) Gutierrez, Ester Garza, Lola Aurora Nunez, Alicia Salinas and Guadalupe Martinez grandchildren: Monica Banda; Daniel Banda; Karina Pequeno;, Audrina Pequeno; Angelina Contreras; Crystal Pequeno; great grandchild: Leonel Briceno 

He was predeceased by a brother Arnulfo Contreras. 

Visitation will be Thursday from 5 to 6 PM at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL. 

Gene D Whidden, age 82, of LaBelle, passed away August 7, 2020 in LaBelle. He was born Nov. 24, 1937 in Okeechobee, FL, to the late Van Dillon and Mervine (Jarvis) Whidden. 

He worked as a Citrus Caretaker. 

Survivors include his wife: Stella (Konecsny) Whidden one son: Glenn Whidden three daughters: Lori Carter, Cheryl Nixon and Kristi Barton, one brother: Franklin Whidden 10 Grandchildren; 12 Great Grandchildren, and 1 Great Great Grandchild, Memorial Services are Pending. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

ELEANOR INA CARTER. It is with great sadness that the family of Eleanor "Ina" Carter announces her passing on Thursday, August 6, 2020, at the age of 93. After suffering a stroke, she passed away peacefully surrounded by the love of her family. 

She was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, George Lamar Carter. Ina will be lovingly remembered by their children, Judy Frazer (Kenneth), William Arnold and his wife Sandra, Dotty Hinson, Sydney Clyatt and her husband Glenn, Eileen Abreu and her husband Rey, Patricia Arnold and her partner Debbie, and Mark Carter. 

Ina will be fondly remembered by her 9 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren. Son, Arthur Robert Arnold, Jr., son-in-law Kenneth Frazer and granddaughter, Sandy Flaherty, predeceased her. Ina is remembered as being a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. 

Ina was born in Medford, Massachusetts then became a long-time resident of Miami, Florida then Clewiston, Florida. 

A private service will be held in Miami, Florida after the COVID pandemic is resolved. Those who wish to make donations and in lieu of flowers, please make donations to your local animal shelter in her memory. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

COVID Testing Three Days Per Week At Health Department

Hendry/Glades– The Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties continues to provide free COVID-19 Testing.

Glades County Health Department in Moore Haven : 1021 Health Park Drive (863) 946-0707
Monday, August 17th from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (By appointment only) Weather permitting

Hendry County Health Department in Clewiston: 1100 S. Olympia (863) 983-1408
Wednesday August 19th from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (By appointment only) Weather permitting

Hendry County Health Department in LaBelle: 1140 Pratt Blvd (863) 674-4041
Friday, August 21st from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (By appointment only) Weather permitting

This is a "drive-thru" service. All individuals must stay in their vehicles during the process (during registration and while being tested). Persons tested will be given instructions on how to receive their test results. Results may take up to 7 business days. Please stay at home until you receive your test results

Residents of Hendry and Glades Counties can secure an appointment for testing by calling the Hendry County Health Department Clewiston (863) 983-1408, LaBelle (863) 674-4041 or Moore Haven (863) 946-0707; Press zero "0" to speak with an operator.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Florida Keys' Watercolor Kapers - Bob Kranich

Florida Keys’ Watercolor Kapers

No Name Key, (Part 5)

In this part, Joe is putting our two guys, Manuel and Hector, through M-1 rifle training:

“First, make sure it’s on safety. Pop out the clip, like this. Eject the chamber round. Put the round back in the magazine. You can easily field strip this carbine. Like this: the three basic parts are the receiver and trigger group, barrel, and stock. You’ll find the cleaning tools, rags and oil here in the stock. Brush it off, clean the barrel with this tool. A little oil on the rag. Wipe all metal down with the oil rag. Lightly! Put it all back together in this order: Snap! Crack! Click! If you practice this, you should be able to field strip, clean and reassemble in a couple of minutes in the dark.”

“Now, I’m not going to put the clip in. But here’s how to load and fire.”

“Wow! You really know your stuff. You military?” Hector questioned.

“Drafted in ‘46. Korean War. Civilian now,” Joe stated. “We’ll let you shoot a couple tomorrow. For now each of you break it down, and go through the motions of cleaning.”

He left the M-1 on the table, took the clip and went into the next room…

Roy and Joe came back into the rear room.

“How you guys coming?” Roy asked.

“We have each been through it a couple of times. It will take more practice to go through it in the dark in a couple of minutes.”

“You’re right there! Joe is going to need his carbine.”

Joe picked it up, checked it, snapped in the magazine, and checked the safety.

“I’ll check with Slim and get ready sir.”

“OK Joe,” Roy said,

Then Joe went out.

“Guys, we’re going to shove off. You each get a rucksack. I hope you don’t mind, but you two need the practice. We’ll leave the sleeping bags here. We’ve got plastic tarps and three lightweight mosquito nets in the packs. You’ll have to share one of the nets. Each net is big enough to get two people under. Let’s go!”

It was 2:30 exactly when Joe met them at the house and they headed back towards the trail which was Highway 4-A. Joe was out front with Roy following, and Manuel and Hector behind him lugging the rucksacks. Just back of them a short distance, Slim brought up the rear.

When they got to the 4-A they headed back the way Hector and Manuel had come in. After about a quarter of a mile Joe up ahead was pointing to the south. As they came up to him he went into the brush on what appeared to be a faint animal trail. Most likely Key deer, Manuel thought. Roy held them for a few minutes, and then they went in the same way as Joe. Manuel noticed that Slim waited until they were all started before he then took up the rear.

Thirty minutes later they broke out into an open area of brush with an occasional small pine. They could see Joe up ahead, crouched down rifle at the ready. That’s when they realized they were training for war!

Roy held up his hand and dropped down. They both followed his example. Looking over his shoulder Manuel could see Slim stopped in the rear. He, too, had his rifle at the ready.

Roy scanned the area, waved his hand forward and then moved forward with a stooped profile. They were soon back in a thicket following another faint trail. The thicket gave way to a small clearing. They stopped at the edge.

Roy said very softly, “This is the old Matcovich homestead area. He settled here in the late 1800’s. Occasionally you will find an old gnarled fruit tree. The cabin was in this clearing. Nothing is left now. But the depression left from the old well has fresh water.”

They moved over to the center of the clearing to a small limestone depression in the ground with water in it. Manuel noticed again that neither Joe nor Slim had moved into the center with them. He figured they were at the edges of the clearing, both front and rear.

“We’ll fill those four canteens in the packs with water. Now if this is too dark or looks bad, you put a couple of these chlorine tablets in each canteen and shake. In thirty minutes you can drink. Here, you guys can have this bottle of tablets. It’s almost full. We’ve got more in the rucksacks and in the car.”

Manuel and Hector did as they were told. The water was crystal clear.

“We’ll set up camp in the trees over there.”

Roy went about showing them how to select high and dry areas to sleep on. They would be using small plastic tarps to sleep on and cover with. The mosquito nets had one quarter inch diameter cord sewed to them so they could be tied to the nearby trees or bushes.

“Slim, will take you two and check the traps for rabbits. When you get back, Joe will walk you over to the beach area to look for edible marine life.”

They found the traps, but they were empty. One had been sprung and they reset it. The marine life search was a little more fruitful, with a couple of land crabs, a few sea crabs, and a few small fish.

When they got back, Roy said, “Slim will do a fast boil of all this stuff.”

As Manuel and Hector worked on the fire, Slim cautioned, “Use only dry wood, small stuff. We don’t want any tell-tale smoke to give away our position.”

After all the marine life was boiled, Slim took what appeared to be a bayonet and cut everything up. Scales, shells, bones and all! Whack! Whack! Then he divided it into five parts..

Roy said, “Eat what you can. If you were in a real life or death situation, this would be a feast to you! Now you can get a taste of the real thing.”
Roy then commanded, “We’ll each do watch on two-hour shifts: Slim, Hector, Joe, Manuel and myself, in that order. We’ll sleep starting right now. Up at 4 AM, move out at 5 after a U. S. Army cold K-ration* breakfast. You guys ever have K-rations?”

“No,” the guys answered in unison.

“You’ve got something to experience.”
Manuel felt someone nudge him. “Your turn,” Joe said.

He rubbed his eyes, and Joe pointed to the place at the edge of the camp he was to sit and look out for two hours.

As he sat there he thought it was sure strange being out in the middle of nowhere. Then as the night sounds enveloped him he heard crickets, the slight breeze stirring leaves, and the rhythmic beating of the waves on the distance beach.

From the Author: My 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. It is fully illustrated with 88 watercolors and sketches. The watercolors I made roaming around Key West after I finished my 750 mile hike from Georgia to Key West. (See book or Don Browne’s SouthWest Florida News records, A Walk Across Florida.) As you read these stories you will experience Key West, the Keys, and the Caribbean. These stories span the time of the early 1800’s to 1969. bkranich.wixsite.com/bobkranich

Best TV This Week - NBC's Coronavirus And The Classroom

Thursday's best TV this week may well be a NBC special on opening of schools around the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funds Available For Rent, Mortgages, Utilities In Glades County

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Glades County announces that funds for Housing Assistance are available from Coronavirus Relief Fund provided by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. Glades County is in receipt of funds to assist citizens of Glades County that have been directly affected u COVID-19. The funds will be used to assist with rental, mortgages and utilities.

The application period CRF Funds will be open August 13, 2020 to December 10, 2020 or until all funds have been expended. Applications will be available on-line by visiting https://www.myglades.com/public_notices.php or calling (863)946-6125 for assistance.

All Glades County CRF assisted applicants must agree to comply with the Glades County CRF Housing Relief Program criteria and requirements. Glades County Board of County Commissioners has partnered with the Heartland Coalition of the Homeless to administer the funds of this program and applicants will be working with this entity through the application process.