Sunday, May 30, 2021

Vaccination Schedule For Hendry County, Fl.

Hendry County, FL - The Florida Department of Health and the Florida Division of Emergency Management have partnered to offer mobile vaccination units at several locations in Hendry County. The community will have the opportunity to choose from the Pfizer Vaccine for ages 12 and older or the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine for ages 18 and older.

Please note, this is a great opportunity for parents to have their children ages 12 to 17 years vaccinated with the Pfizer Vaccine! (Parent must be with the child and sign a consent form).

Walk-ins; no appointments required.

Note: Individuals vaccinated with Pfizer Vaccine will be notified when second doses will be available in the area. (Mobile Unit will return to provide second doses.)

Please see the dates and locations below:

Friday, June 4th - Felda Fire Department, 1100 County Rd 830, Felda 10am-6pm

Saturday, June 5th - Azteca Montura, Inc. 8560 County Road 833, Montura 10am-6pm

Sunday, June 6th - Iglesia Cristiana Restauracion 1301 FL-29 North, (North Bridge Street, between Cook Ave & Hand Ave), North LaBelle 10am-6pm

Thursday, June 10th – LaBelle Veteran’s Memorial Park, 26 E. Hickpochee Ave, LaBelle (Across from the Hendry County Courthouse)(2nd doses or 1st doses) 11am-6pm

Friday June 11th - Clewiston Town Plaza, 959 W Sugarland Hwy, Clewiston 10am-6pm

Saturday June 12th - LaBelle Veteran's Memorial Park, 26 E. Hickpochee Ave, LaBelle (Across from the Hendry County Courthouse) 10am-6pm

Sunday June 13th - Pioneer Shell Gas Station (Corner of Hwy 80 and Hendry Isles Blvd-Pioneer), 13979 E. FL-80, Pioneer (2nd doses or 1st doses) 9am-6pm

Sunday June 13th - Clewiston Town Plaza, 959 W Sugarland Hwy, Clewiston(2nd doses or 1st doses) 11am-6pm

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Florida Keys' Watercolor Kapers - Nash Metropolitan

Florida Keys' Watercolor Kapers by Bob Kranich

The Met, (Part 1, Excerpt 29)

This is the first part a story titled, The Met. A small little car on a used car lot in Key West is telling the story, and my Uncle purchases him. It is fiction, but a lot of the facts are true.

The Met

I bet you don't know anything about me…I was the first entirely designed in America, owned by an American company, marketed in America, but built entirely in Europe…automobile. I was sold under the “Nash” and “American Motors” name, even under the “Hudson” name.

My designer was Detroit Michigan's famous W. J. Flajole. My uni-body was by England’s Fisher & Ludlow, and I was assembled at the Austin Motor’s plant in Birmingham, England. My 4-cylinder, in-line, Austin engine was linked to a 3-speed manual transmission.

“Not bad, huh, for a little guy?”

Many things have been said about my kind. These are just a few: “A good thing in a small package,” “Performance far better than expected,” “Felt very safe,” “Ride is more than expected,” “Fun to drive,” “Ideal for a second car,” and “ Best handling car.”

Well, enough of this mystery. If you haven't guessed by now…I am a Nash Metropolitan. Fortunately, I am one of the third series, and I like to think it was the best.
I was built in mid-1957. There were two models, hard-top and convertible. But I think I’m the best, a hardtop. My two-tone paint scheme, blue and white, is a very sharp contrast. It also makes me look much lower and streamlined. My engine size has been increased to about 91 cubic inches. I now have a whopping 50 horsepower.

I am sitting here at “Key West Motors,” a car lot in Key West, Florida. The good news is that I’m a one-owner. Yep, my only owner was a little old lady from Key West. Nash Metropolitan’s advertising was targeted to ladies when it first came out.

I sure hope my next owner is as easy on me as she was. All I need is a hot-rodder who wants to drop a Chevy V8 in me. Heaven forbid! Dear Lord please don't let that happen.

Well, let’s take a look around at “Key West Motors.” This is really not such a bad place. It is near the Navy base right downtown. It’s a good place to attract business, and also on a corner so it can be seen from more than two streets. I’m out front by the sidewalk. Typical Key West palm trees on either side of me. I hope they're not coconut palms…I don't need any dents. I guess she wanted a bigger car, something to carry her grandkids in. She drove me in yesterday and drove out with a new Nash Rambler. As a consolation, I guess I can say she stayed with the brand. Everyone knows that Nash is the very best!

The shop foreman did run me through the shop yesterday afternoon. I feel exhilarated. New oil, greased, vacuumed and shined.

Oh, here comes a couple of guys now! Let’s listen in, I’m going to be looking my best.

The tall man with a slight Bahamian accent is talking, “We have a lot of very nice vehicles in, Mr. Kranich. May I call you Norman?”

“Yes sir, no problem. Just call me Norman, That is correct sir. I need something that can get me around the island, back and fourth to the Navy base and occasionally up the keys to a bridge to fish.”

“Well Norman, I’m sure we can fix you up. We’ve got a lot of nice cars at Key West Motors. I’m sure you would be interested in at least one.”

Norman wasn’t too short himself, just under six feet, average build, lean and a full head of black hair. His hair was wavy and combed back as was the style of his youth in the 30’s. He also had piercing black eyes and a faint shadow of a mustache above his upper lip.

“I also like to be conservative. In fact, I want a car that is good on gas and reasonably priced,” Norman declared.

“Well Norman, here’s a nice Volkswagen, only a couple of years old. As I’m sure you know the VW’s get good gas mileage, in the 20-30’s.”

“What’s the price for it?”

“Well Mr. Kranich the sticker here says $1,200. I can let you have it for $1,150.”

“What else do you have? What is the blue and white hardtop here?”

“That Norman is a “Met”, actually a Nash Metropolitan. Let’s see, it is a ‘57’, only 10 years old. You know, that for miles per gallon, it gets in the the ‘30’s. In fact, Motor Trend magazine even took a car like this to the top of Pikes Peak, 14,000 feet above sea level.”

“One more thing, Norman, it will go from zero to sixty in less than twenty three-seconds! Now that’s a lot faster than a VW.”

“What is the price on it?”

“Norman, it is listed at $800, but I can let you have it for $750. Also, take a look, it’s got the famous Nash weather eye heater and AM radio in it, factory stock.”

“Ok, I’ll take it.”

“Don’t you want to drive it first?”

“No don’t have to. I trust your judgment.”

“Oh well then, Mr. Kranich, let’s go to the office, and write it up.”

“Wow, that happened pretty fast! It looks like I have a new owner.”

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 Online 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.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Clewiston Health Dept Says 'Wear Your Life Vest'


Clewiston Health Department staff celebrated water safety by “wear your life/safety vest to work day”

 Front: Ana Roman, Joanne Vorhees and Timothy Dean
Back: Claudia Gallegos, Lora Stryker and Marleen Pik

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Ruby Nieves Arrested On Firearm Charges


LABELLE, FL. -- Wednesday morning, May 26, 2021, Hendry County Detectives arrested 42 year old Ruby Nieves, girlfriend of Raynaldo Ray Quiroga, arrested in the robbery of the Capital Pawn shop, on weapon charges.

Wednesday morning, May 19, 2021, Hendry County Deputies responded to a Robbery call at 302 W. Hickpochee Ave., in Labelle. Hendry County Investigators arrived on scene; and with the assistance of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms a search warrant was conducted in the evening hours at 6505 S. State Road 29.

During the search Investigators located a stolen rifle hidden in the back of the closet behind what was described as women’s clothing and boxes. It was determined at this time that the rifle had been stolen in 2019 from a residence in the central county area of Hendry County.

Today, May 26, 2021, 42 year old Ruby Nieves was placed under arrest on charges of Grand Theft of a Firearm. Nieves is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail with No Bond.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

2,000 Crates Of Corn Donated To Local Communities

Clewiston, FL – In continuation of their local feeding efforts, the people of U.S. Sugar recently donated more than 2,000 crates of Glades-grown sweet corn across South Florida in partnership with Duda Farm Fresh Foods, C & B Farms in Clewiston and Robert Erneston Produce Inc. of Stuart.

“No matter what challenges face our world, farmers strive to provide safe, locally grown food to Americans every single day,” said Judy Sanchez, Senior Director for Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. “Even with the progress made since the start of the pandemic, many people are still struggling. U.S. Sugar is committed to helping put nutritious food on the family table because everyone deserves access to a healthy meal.”

With distribution hubs in Hendry, Lee, Palm Beach and Martin Counties, U.S. Sugar employees and volunteers provided over 100,000 ears of fresh, Florida-grown sweet corn to nearly two dozen community organizations who serve families in need across the region.

“It is a blessing to know that U.S. Sugar is always there to offer support,” said Janet Hernandez, Mayor of Indiantown. “They have been a constant source of goodwill in times of need, and our town is very grateful.”

As they have for nearly 90 years, the people of U.S. Sugar are proud to continue to serve their local communities. Since COVID-19 began, those efforts have included the donation of thousands of crates of fresh produce, orange juice, bottled water, N95 masks and hand sanitizer to health care employees, and hot meals for elderly and homebound individuals.

“The support we receive from U.S. Sugar has never faltered,” said Steve Wilson, Mayor of Belle Glade. “They show up time and time again always ready to lend a helping hand.”

"U.S. Sugar is constantly engaged with our community here in America's Sweetest Town," says Mali Gardner, Clewiston City Commissioner. "They always make sure their neighbors are taken care of, and their efforts within our non-profit community do not go unnoticed."

"We are doing everything in our power to ensure that no one has to go hungry in our community," says Stefanie Edwards, Chief Development & Operating Office of the Community Cooperative. "To partner with a company that shares those same values is a blessing."

U.S. Sugar is recognized as a leading Florida sweet corn grower, its lands producing half of Florida’s entire crop annually.

Angie Burnette - 2020 Goodwill Achiever of the Year

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Angie Burnette just celebrated 30 years working for Goodwill in Clewiston and is the 2021 Breakthrough Achiever of the Year at Goodwill. 

Through her job, Angie has found a sense of purpose. “She loves her job. That’s all she talks about,” says Ronal Cantley her Sunrise Direct Support Professional. “She can’t wait to get to work. The day before she works, she goes to bed at like 7 p.m. at night, just so she can get up at 5 a.m. to get to work. She loves it.”

“Angie is a wonderful young woman. She loves working at Goodwill,” says Sunrise Director of Operations, Deborah Howell.

“I take her to work a lot of mornings,” says Roxiann Engel, Sunrise Residential Program Director. “and she’s like, ‘Come on we got to go. Come on we got to go. We got to set my phone.’ She’s just an amazing lady.”

“Goodwill has done so much for her, for her independence and helping her with her finances because she does live alone with roommates,” says Ms. Howell. “Her job helps her tremendously.”

Angie says, “I’m going to stay as long as I can!”

“She’s got a great attitude,” says Clewiston Store Manager, Xavion Scott.

Fort Myers Memorial Gardens Annual Memorial Day Service

Fort Myers, FL – Fort Myers Memorial Gardens Funeral Home and Cemetery has announced that they will be hosting their annual Memorial Day service.

The annual live service honoring local and national heroes is to take place in Fort Myers Memorial Gardens’ Field of Honor at 9:30am on Monday, May 31st. The ceremony will include participation from the Guns N Hoses Pipes and Drum Corps of SW FL, Harney Point VFW Post 8463 of Cape Coral, with the keynote addresses delivered by the Honorable Kevin B. Anderson, Mayor of the City of Fort Myers and RADM Roger W. Triftshauser, Dental Corps, USNR (Ret). Members of the Collier-Lee Honor Flight and Wreaths Across America will also participate.

Beginning at 8:30am on Saturday, May 29th, community members will have the opportunity to place flags on each of the graves of the many veterans resting in this section of the cemetery. Interested participants should arrive at the location’s Colonial Family Center at that time to await further instructions.

This is an excellent opportunity for our community to come together to acknowledge our local and national heroes and honor the sacred resting places of our veteran community. Together, we will recognize and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to ensure our freedom.

Special Enrollment Period For Health Insurance

President Biden created a 6-month emergency Special Enrollment Period (Feb 15 to Aug 15) for individuals and families to enroll in Health Insurance Marketplace coverage. This new Special Enrollment is in response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, which has left millions of Americans facing health problems, uncertainty, and exceptional circumstances while millions of Americans have experienced new health problems during the pandemic. This new Special Enrollment Period will allow individuals and families in states with Marketplaces served by the platform to enroll in 2021 health insurance coverage, including Florida.

The Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida has trained navigators who can help consumers review the basics of health insurance, walk them through filling out the online application and explain how federal subsidies for premiums and cost sharing work. Navigators have gone through the federally regulated training and typically provide in-person, telephonic or virtual assistance. Unlike insurance agents and brokers, our navigators have no financial stake in the plans people select and the help a Navigator provides is always free and unbiased. Moreover, Navigators offer outreach, educational sessions and presentations regarding ACA Marketplace, Medicaid and CHIP programs.

The Navigators serve the following counties: Charrlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Lee, Manatee, and Sarasota. You can have clients visit or call 1-866-547-2793 to set an appointment. You may also contact Mokina Castro or Jurnide Jerome at the same number for more information.

Burn Ban In Effect For Hendry County, FL

LaBelle, Fla. – A burn ban is now in effect for unregulated fires for all of Hendry County as dry weather conditions impact the area.

An unregulated fire means any outdoor fire, other than a cook fire, which is not permitted by a governmental agency. Outdoor fires include, but are not limited to, bonfires, campfires or burning of yard debris.

Those who violate the burn ban can be subject to a civil fine or charged with a misdemeanor based on the nature of the violation.

To obtain a burn permit for commercial or contractor services only, contact the Florida Forest Service at 239-690-8001.

To report a burn ban violation, contact the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number at 863-674-5600 or Hendry County Code Enforcement at 863-675-5247.

The burn ban is in effect until further notice.

Obituaries - Antonio Ortega, Chase Davis, Marion Willis

Antonio Pinero Ortega, age 78, of Clewiston, passed away May 23, 2021 in Clewiston.

He was born Apr. 20, 1943 in Cuba, to the late Emilio Pinero and the late Estella Ortega.

He worked in Construction.

Survivors include two sons: Bernard Pinero and Antonio Pinero
two daughters: Emily Pinero and Anita Pinero
2 Grandchildren

The family will receive friends on Thursday May 27 from 930 to 1130 AM at the Akin-Davis Funeral Home 438 E. Sugarland Hwy. Clewiston

Funeral services will be held Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 11:30 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Father Jiobani Batista officiating.

Interment will be Thursday, May 27, 2021 in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston.

Chase Arthur Davis, age 22 of Alva, Florida, passed away on May 23, 2021 in his home.

Chase was born in Middlesex, New Jersey on May 10, 1999 tto Claire Hallam and James P. Davis, II. Chase attended Sunstate Academy.

Survivors include his mother, Claire Russo and husband Stephen, his father; James P. Davis, and brother; Basil

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at Saint Vincent De Paul Catholic Church where visitation will be one hour before mass. Rev. Dr. Murchadh O’Madagain will preside the mass. Burial will take place in Alva Cemetery.

Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Fort Myers are in charge of arrangements.

Marion Jackson Willis, age 66 of LaBelle, passed away at home with his wife at his side.

Marion was born in Charlotte County, Florida on November 30, 1954 to the late Jackson Stephen and Beverly Pauline Nelson Willis. He married Diane Miller; she survives. Marion was a painter for many years. He enjoyed spending time with his wife, children, grandchildren and great grand childern and family friends.

Marion leaves behind his wife Daine Willis of LaBelle, daughters; Susan Snyder and Kathleen Meredith, one son; Jackson Willis, grandchildren; Dakotah, Cailin, Chris, Kinzie, Jaxson, Brandon (dec'd), Jalan, Shelby and Emmi and great grandchildren; Keyleen, Charlee, Marabella and Noah.

Cremation arrangements are being handled by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

More Fruit and Vegetable Vouchers From WIC Program

Hendry and Glades Counties, Fla. – On March 12, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) authorized State WIC Agencies to enhance the WIC benefit for a period of four months, expanding the vegetable and fruit voucher from $9/month for children and $11/month for women to $35 per month,per participant. WIC’s vegetable and fruit voucher is known as the Cash Value Benefit (CVB). The CVB is credited with improving the dietary quality of WIC participants and reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity among WIC toddlers.

Florida WIC will be implementing the CVB increase beginning June 1, 2021 until September 30, 2021. All women and children 1 – 4 years old who participate in the WIC Program will receive an increase in their fruits and vegetables cash voucher to $35 per participant, per month. For example, a pregnant woman and her 2-year-old child will receive a total of $70 cash voucher to use on fruits and vegetables per month from June – September 2021. Fruits and vegetables can be fresh, frozen or canned. Any brand, variety, size, with no added sugar, syrup, artificial sweeteners, fat, or oil. Organic fruits and vegetables are allowed.

Call customer service representatives, Monday – Friday between 8:00am – 5:00pm at (863) 674-4078 or (863) 983-1494.

For more information on enrollment and eligibility for the WIC Program at the Florida Department of Health in Hendry Glades Counties please call (863) 674-4078 or (863) 983-1494 for WIC appointments and (863) 302-6029for breastfeeding assistance.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Fatal Plane Crash On Church Grounds - Engine Failure?

LABELLE, FL. -- The National Transportation Safety Board has released a report on the fatal crash, killing the Canadian pilot, Michael Stockton and leaving a passenger, James Mullen with serious injuries May 6, 2021 at 3:20 p.m. The twin engine Ted Smith Aerostar 600 landed at the Church of the Good Shepard in Port LaBelle.

From the preliminary report: 

"Preliminary radar data revealed that the airplane departed La Belle Municipal Airport (X14) about 1500. The radar track showed the airplane in a cruise profile on a westerly track about 3,500 ft and 170 knots groundspeed until it was about 5 miles east of X14, where it began a decelerating descent. The airplane continued its descent and slowed before the target disappeared about .5 miles east of the accident site, when at an altitude of about 200 ft and a groundspeed of 110 knots. 

"A witness reported to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector that she was travelling eastbound in her car when the airplane appeared immediately in front of her at treetop height travelling westbound. The airplane was in a wings-level attitude and she heard no engine sound. It appeared that the propellers were not turning, and the landing gear was down. The witness believed the airplane would land on the road she was travelling on, when it turned slightly right, struck the top of a tree and then struck the ground in a flat, nose-right attitude, before it continued into trees and a memorial garden on the church property where it came to rest. The witness said that she was familiar with airplanes because her brother operated a flight school, and she had “several hours” of flight experience but no pilot certificate. 

"A doorbell camera that was located about 500 ft east of the accident site captured the airplane as it passed overhead at low altitude. The engine sound was smooth and continuous as it passed into and out of the camera’s view. Seconds later, the sounds of impact were heard. 

"The pilot-rated passenger reported that he was the proprietor of an aircraft maintenance facility at X14, and that the pilot, who was also the owner of the airplane brought it to the shop for a 100-hour inspection. He said as they began work on the airplane, they found discrepancies that required more work than originally anticipated. The pilot/owner wanted everything corrected and asked that the shop go ahead and perform a “full annual inspection” on the airplane, which they did. The work was completed almost 1 month prior to the pilot’s arrival to pick up the airplane on May 6, 2021. 

"When asked about the overall condition of the airplane, as well as its handling and performance, he said, “It was a nice airplane. A little on the older side, but a nice airplane.” The passenger said that he flew the airplane a “couple of times” while it was at his shop and that he “turned everything on” and all the systems and components worked as designed. The passenger said that the pilot reported that he had not flown the airplane “for a long time” and asked if they could go for a flight and he agreed. The passenger said they went for a short flight, returned, serviced the airplane with 130 gallons of fuel, and then departed again. 

"He was asked how the pilot performed on the preflight, engine start, taxi, takeoff, and the flight and he responded, “He seemed thorough… he was good.” The passenger reported that he had no memory of the accident flight. He further stated that he typically conducted familiarization and test flights east of the La Belle Airport “over by Lake Okeechobee” where the terrain was mostly rural and sparsely populated."

The preliminary report ended saying "The right engine was retained for further examination." The left engine and other equipment were  allegedly working appropriately, from a reading of the report. It usually takes many more months before a final NTSB report is issued.

Participating in the NTSB report were Investigator In Charge (IIC) Rayner, Brian; Additional Participating Persons: Mike Childers, Lycoming Engines, Williamsport, PA; Daniel Sullivan, FAA FSDO; Miramar, FL

City-Wide Boil Water Notice For LaBelle, Fl

City-wide Precautionary Boil Water Notice

LABELLE, FL. -- 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 electrical service issue. Water service was lost (pressure loss) to the city water service area. 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 Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at noon 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.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Obituary - Anne Patterson Friedman

Anne Patterson Friedman passed away on Sunday, May 16, 2021. 

She was born in Orlando, Florida and, other than her time attending Emory University where she received her bachelor’s in philosophy and master’s in sociology, was a lifelong Floridian. 

She is survived by her husband, Harris Leonard Friedman, her children, Amber Braatz Friedman and Mark Eli Friedman, and her grandchildren, Jason Friedman and Jessica Braatz. 

She was an award-winning visual artist, and published both science fiction and medical-sociology research. 

She focused on helping troubled youth as a social worker early in her career, and was selflessly devoted to environmental and social-justice causes. She helped rescue endangered wildlife, and diligently worked to preserve the Florida environment, especially in the Glades region. 

She was awarded the title of “Master Naturalist” from the University of Florida, and was recognized as a “Woman of Accomplishment” in the category of the Arts for the Glades region of Florida. She also designed the current Glades County (Florida) logo, which combined her talent for art with her passion for the environment. 

She lived on a wilderness preserve in Muse in rural Glades County with her husband, where she enjoyed communing with nature and engaging in deep meditation. 

She also helped start and run several charitable organizations in Florida in both the areas of human services and environmental preservation, including Floraglades Foundation. 

A private service will be held with immediate family only and, in lieu of flowers, donations to Floraglades Foundation (see can be made.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Raynaldo Quiroga Arrested For Armed Robbery Of Capital Pawn

LABELLE, FL. -- At approximately 11:15 pm, Thursday night, May 20, 2021, Hendry County Major Crimes Investigators arrested 36 year old Raynaldo Ray Quiroga of 6505 State Road 29, Labelle, under arrest for the Armed Robbery at the Capital Pawn Shop robbery that occurred on May 19, 2021 shortly after the store opened.

On Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at approximately 9:20 am the Hendry County Sheriff's Office received a call reporting an Armed Robbery at Capital Pawn, located at 302 W. Hickpochee Ave in LaBelle.

Once Deputies arrived on scene they were able to obtain eye witness accounts revealing, that at approximately 8:32 am an unknown white or hispanic male, entered Capital Pawn dressed as a law enforcement officer. The suspect was wearing a green sheriff’s deputy uniform, a tactical vest displaying a badge, and duty belt equipped with what was believed to be a firearm.

Once inside the suspect detained a customer and two Capital Pawn employees. All three were placed in hand restraints and placed on the ground. Once everyone was secured the suspect then entered a restricted area of the store and removed five handguns and one assault style rifle. After the suspect took the guns he then left the store, entered his vehicle and fled the area in an unknown direction. It was at that point the Sheriff’s Office received the call to respond.

The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Federal Agents with the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms initiated a joint investigation to expedite identifying and placing the perpetrator under arrest. It was through this joint effort that Hendry Major Crimes Unit learned of previous investigations, realizing they were dealing with the same individual.

Shortly after the investigation began, Investigators was able to develop information which led them to 6505 SR 29 South, Labelle, Fl. It was discovered the occupants of the residence were Raynoldo Quiroga along with his girlfriend Ruby Nieves. Investigators were able to meet with Ms. Nieves, however, Quiroga was not at the residence during that time.

Investigators were able to obtain a search warrant for the property; and during the search discovered several pieces of evidence were found in the suspect’s vehicles which were used in the robbery along with several pieces of evidence to further their investigation.

Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden stated, “The conclusion of this investigation was made possible with the partnership of Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Detectives and Special Agents with the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms”. Whidden continued “both agencies worked diligently and harmoniously to apprehend a violent felon and remove him from our community”.

Hendry County Detectives and (ATF) Special Agents conducted an around the clock investigation, tracking down leads and the collection of evidence in the several days of pain staking investigative work, which led them to closure in this investigation.

Raynaldo Ray Quiroga, 36 of 6505 State Road 29 South Labelle Hendry County, was arrested and charged with Robbery with a Firearm, (3) Counts of Kidnapping, Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon, Use of Firearm during Commission of Felony, Grand Theft of Firearms, Tampering with Evidence and Tampering with Witness. Quiroga is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail with no bond.

At this time, Investigators have not yet, recovered the firearms stolen during the robbery. Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Investigators are asking that anyone with any information that may lead to the location of the stolen firearms are asked to contact Hendry County Sheriff’s Office or SW Florida Crime Stoppers, at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477), where you may be eligible for a cash reward. Additionally, ATF and the National Shooting Sports Foundation have announced a reward up to $5,000 for information leading to the recovery of firearms stolen during this armed robbery.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Message from Lorie Ward, Glades Property Appraiser


Many of you already have the additional exemption for Limited Income Senior Citizens and are enjoying the benefit of saving tax dollars.

For those of you that have recently applied for the 2021 tax roll year, please keep in mind that the last day to submit your proof of income to my office is June 1, 2021.

If you file a Federal Income Tax Return, I will need a copy of your 2020 return.
If you are not required to file a Federal Income Tax Return, then the county tax appraiser's office will need a copy of your annual income.

(Household Income Limit $31,100)

There may qualifying senior citizens that are unaware of this property tax benefit. Spread the word to our Senior Citizens!

Choice of Vaccines In Clewiston May 23

The Florida Department of Health and the Florida Division of Emergency Management have
partnered to offer a mobile vaccination unit at the Clewiston Town Plaza (Corner of parking
lot, 959 W. Sugarland Hwy, Clewiston), on Sunday, May 23rd from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The community will have the opportunity to choose from the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine or
the Pfizer Vaccine.

Please note, this is a great opportunity for parents to have their children ages 12 to 17 years
vaccinated with the Pfizer Vaccine! (Parent must be with the child and sign a consent form).

Walk-ins; no appointments required.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Obituaries - Margaret Howard, Aged 88; Sheila Salisbury, Aged 65

Margaret Greer Howard of LaBelle, passed away on Tuesday May 18, 2021 at the age of 88.

She was one of 11 children born in Ortona, FL to Walter and Susie Greer on July 17, 1932.

Margaret was preceded in death by her husband Raymond Howard, son Bobby Howard, son in law Lynn Howard, parents Susie & Walter Greer, and siblings Boa, Bill, Sister, Wallace, Jim and Wayne.

She is survived by her son Jimbo (Laura) Howard, daughter Louise Howard, grandchildren Susie (Jeremy) Howard, Melissa (Robby) Howard Music, Robbie (Brandi) Howard, Becky Howard, Sherry (Tommy) Howard Richard. Great grandchioldren Mackenzie Music, Madison Music, Tyler Music, RayAnna Howard, Ronin Richard, Jamie Smith, Jordan Smith. Siblings Blish, Freida, Violet, and Johnny. A later in life companion Larry Boyd.

Margaret was a loving wife, mother,grandmother, daughter, siister, aunt and friend. Most days you would find her in her greenhouse talking toi her plants, or in the kitchen cooking dinner or baking for the people she loved most. She was a force of nature and will be fiercely missed.

The family will recieve friends on Monday May 24, 2021 from 6 to 7 PM at the Akin-Davis Funeral Home 560 E. Hickpochee Ave. LaBelle.

Graveside Service will be Tuesday at 11 AM at Fort Denaud Cemetery with Pastor Bill Maddox officiating.

Shelia A. Salisbury, age 65 of LaBelle, Florida, passed away on May 18, 2021 in her home.

Shelia was born in Sikeston, Missouri on September 4, 1955 to the late Kenneth Edward and the late Johnnie Faye Kemp McGhee. Shelia worked as a bartender for many years. Shelia loved any activity that was outdoors, from walking in the woods, to fishing, to just spending time outside with family and friends. She was an avid collector of antiques.

Shelia leaves behind her loving children; Nicole Garza of LaBelle, Florida and Donnie McGhee of Immokalee, Florida, one brother; Randy McGhee of Lehigh Acres, Florida, and one sister; Shirley Williams of East Prairie, MIssouri, along with five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Shelia was also preceded in death by her brother; Eddie Gene McGhee.

Celebration of Shelia's life will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, May 28, 2021 at Fort Denaud Cemetery, where visitation will be 30 minutes prior to the celebration.

Choice of Vaccines At Pioneer Shell May 23

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Department of Health and the Florida Division of Emergency Management have partnered to offer a mobile vaccination unit at the Pioneer Shell Gas Station on SR80 east of LaBelle on Sunday, May 23rd from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The community will have the opportunity to choose from the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine or the Pfizer Vaccine.

Please note, this is a great opportunity for parents to have their children ages 12 to 17 years vaccinated with the Pfizer Vaccine! (Parent must be with the child and sign a consent form).

Walk-ins; no appointments required.

Mobile Vaccinations May 20 - Choice of Vaccines

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Department of Health and the Florida Division of Emergency Management have partnered to offer a mobile vaccination unit at the LaBelle Veteran's Memorial Park on Thursday, May 20th from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The community will have the opportunity to choose from the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine or the Pfizer Vaccine.

Please note, this is a great opportunity for parents to have their children ages 12 to 17 years vaccinated with the Pfizer Vaccine! (Parent must be with the child and sign a consent form).

Walk-ins; no appointments required.

Artavistus Ware, 38 Sentenced To Life In Prison For Murder

Today defendant Artavistus Lyndrel Ware, 38, was sentenced to life in prison for a Glades
County murder. The Honorable Circuit Judge James D. Sloan sentenced Ware immediately after
the jury returned the recommendation of life in prison following the penalty phase of his murder trial. The penalty phase of the trial had two and a half days of testimony before the jury
convened to weigh a sentence recommendation of life or the death penalty.

Ware was found guilty as charged by this same jury on April 29, 2021 for one count each of
First-Degree Murder, Conspiracy to Commit Murder, Solicitation to Commit Murder, Burglary
of a Dwelling, and two counts of Tampering with a Witness, Victim, or Informant. The jury
rendered the guilty verdict following a four-day trial in Glades County.

The crimes involve Ware hiring a man to murder a witness in a drug case against him. The
victim was scheduled to testify just before he was shot to death in Glades County in January
2014. Ware offered the shooter $10,000 to commit the murder. The defendant was also convicted
of tampering with other witnesses in his drug case so they would not testify against him. The

Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Glades County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation.

Ware was still convicted on the drug charges in his original case and sentenced to 17 years in
prison and was incarcerated. The State Attorney convened the Glades County Grand Jury to hear
the murder for hire case and Ware was indicted in January 2017.

Deputy Chief Assistant State Attorney Abraham Thornburg, Assistant State Attorney James
Miller, and Assistant State Attorney William Dorman prosecuted the case.

“I hope today’s sentencing brings some sense of closure to the family of the victim. I want to
thank the jury for their focus in this lengthy trial process and their involvement with a death
penalty case. I also want to thank our law enforcement partners for the extensive work that went
into investigating this case as well as the State Attorney’s Office prosecutors and support staff
who dedicated a lot of time to bring this case to trial,” said State Attorney Amira Fox.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Port LaBelle Water Company Adds Fees For Payments Starting This Month

 LABELLE, FL. -- Port LaBelle Utilities has changed the customer payment system, now with an extra hidden fee for every type of online, credit card or automatic bank payments. 

The highest added fee is $3.50 extra for using a credit or debit card. The lowest is 50 cents for an automatic payment from a bank account.

Previously, the water company allowed payments made automatically from a bank account each month without any extra fees, as is regularly done by every credit card, electric, phone, cable or internet company.

Why Port LaBelle Utilities decided to go with this 'pay bills with extra fee' system is unknown. We can only speculate that a clever sales person got a nice commission for setting up the new payment system after fast talking their way into a big sale with Hendry County or the manager of Port LaBelle Utilities, Roger Greer.

A call to the Port LaBlle Utilities office today gained only the response that customers can pay in person by check at their office (or leave a check in the dropbox), or pay by cash or check at the Courthouse on the second floor. 

The new water/sewer bills give a phone number and weblink to pay your bills but doesn't mention there's an extra fee when you pay by phone or via the website.

The Port LaBelle Utilities office will not accept cash, and the Courthouse clerk will add an extra fee for all other forms of payment by debit or credit card. It appears that it may be possible to pay at the Port LaBelle Utility office with a credit/debit card but with an extra fee.

Our suggestion: If you don't like the new system, call Port LaBelle Utilities at 863 675-5376 and leave a comment or complaint or email Or contact your Hendry County Commissioner and comment.

The hidden fees as shown on the website when customers make or set up a payment is not prominently shown. Customers signing up or making a payment seems to have to make some extra clicks to find the added fees. Here's what they are:

Obituaries - Virginia Roberts, Aged 86; Julian Avalo, Aged 18

Virginia Roberts, age 86, of LaBelle, passed away May 15, 2021 in Lehigh Acres.

Ms. Roberts was born in Moore Haven, Florida to Ada Maria Beck and Theodore (Ted) Beck of Lakeport, where Ms. Roberts lived most of her life before moving to LaBelle in 2015. Virginia loved cooking, taking care of her plants and flowers, being outdoors and loved attending First Christian Church of LaBelle.

Ms. Roberts was also a healthcare worker taking care of the elderly. But most of all Virginia loved her children and grandchildren. Virginia was preceded in death by her husband; Leroy Roberts, her son Leon Harvey , both of her parents; Ted Beck and Marie Beck, brother; Teddy Beck.

Ms. Roberts leaves behind two daughters; Marilyn Hollingsworth (Robert) of LaBelle, Tammy Sexton (Troy) of Clewiston, two sons; Randall Harvey of Moore Haven, Michaell Harvey of Vidalia, Georgia, eleven grandchildren and twenty-one great grandchildren.

Celebration of Virginia’s life will be held at Ortona Cemetery Pavilion on Monday, May 24, 2021 at 11:00 a.m., where Rev. W. T Maddox, Jr. will officiate. Burial will be next to her husband at Ortona Cemetery.

Celebration arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle

Julian Avalo, age 18, of Clewiston, passed away May 13, 2021 in .

He was born Aug. 12, 2002 in Pembrook Pines,FL , to Carlos and Maria L (Rubi) Avalo.

He Graduated from Clewiston High School.

Survivors include his parents Carlos and Maria L (Rubi) Avalo
a brother: Joel Avalo
a sister: Jennifer Monge

He was a Kidney transplant survivor and has been a fighter all of his life.

A Visitation will be held on Friday May 21, 2021 from 9 to 11 AM at the Akin-Davis Funeral Home 438 E. Sugarland Hwy. Clewiston.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, May 21, 2021 at 11:30 am at Saint Margaret's Catholic Church, Clewiston. with Father Jiobani Batista officiating.

Interment will be Friday, May 21, 2021 in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston

Bus Service From Clewiston, Moore Haven to Belle Glade Begins

LaBelle, Fla. – Beginning Monday, May 17, 2021, the Hendry Glades Transportation System will be running its fixed routes providing transportation between Clewiston, Moore Haven and Belle Glade.

The route schedule (please see below) includes multiple stops throughout eastern Hendry County as well as providing stops in Glades and western Palm Beach Counties.

Additional stops and times will be added in the future to include western and central Hendry County.

Residents with questions regarding the Hendry Glades Transportation System can contact the service provider, Transitions Commute Solutions, LLC, at 877-935-4487 .

Saturday, May 15, 2021

LaBelle Assembly of God Services

LaBelle Assembly of God Services This Week:

9:45 AM worship service
Kathy Avery worship leader
“The Resurrection” Matthew 28:1-12, Pastor Avery
Parking lot Radio Station 87.9 fm Sit in the comfort of your own car and hear the service with you’re A/C on.

11:00 AM worship service
Kathy Avery worship leader
“God’s Plan” Ephesians 1:1-14, Pastor Avery
Parking lot Radio Station 87.9 fm Sit in the comfort of your own car and hear the service with you’re A/C on.

6:00 PM prayer service
Prayer Service Mission’s Video

Service Schedule
Bible Study 7:00 p.m. Clifford Avery teaching “The Book of John”
Friday Services

Community Women’s Bible Study 11:30 a.m. The Book of Luke
Kathy Avery teaching.

Men’s Lunch 11:30 am

If you are not ready for In Person Gathering yet:
Face book Live of the Sunday Message 11:00 a.m.
Parking lot Radio Station 87.9 fm Sit in the comfort of your own car and hear the service with you’re A/C on.

Kathy’s Devotionals Each Saturday
Evening. Wednesday Bible Study at 7:00 pm
Kathy’s Children’s story time Saturday.

If you have the shots no need for masks or the 6 foot space.

139 Fraser Avenue
La Belle, Florida
(863) 675-0900
E-Mail Address:
Web Site:

Friday, May 14, 2021

Fort Denaud Bridge Closed For Repairs Temporarily Today

LABELLE, FL -- Please be advised that the Fort Denaud Bridge is temporarily closed to vehicular traffic while crews work on repairs.

Motorists must seek an alternate route and should allow extra time for their commute.

Additional notice will be sent out once the bridge re-opens.

UPDATE: The Fort Denaud Bridge is now open to vehicular traffic at noon Friday.

How Safe Are We From New COVID Outbreaks? Opinion

OPINION by the editor, Southwest Florida Online 

As CDC guidance changes, yesterday announcing mask wearing and social distancing is a personal choice and not necessary for those fully vaccinated, one might still wonder just how safe we are and can we really predict the future of COVID outbreaks very well.

As, of yesterday, the United States has the third most daily COVID infections after India and Brazil. The US had 39,825 new cases yesterday and has the most total cases of all nations at 36.3 million.

Florida had the most new infections yesterday of all the 50 states. With 4,064, it is almost double that of Texas, Pennsylvania, and New York, the other front runners for new infections in the U.S. 

Some Island nations are showing large increases in infections, for example the Seychelles Island off of Africa, despite two-thirds of the 100,000 population being already vaccinated, the highest percentage of the population vaccinated in the word. One-third of the new infections are of those already vaccinated.

The Seychelles have 9,288 cases per 100,000 population, the US has 10,159 per 100,000 and Florida 10,627 cases per 100,000.

It may be our ability to predict an unpredictable virus is not all that great or rational to believe we can.

UPDATE: Taiwan, one of the safest places in the world, with the least deaths and COVID infections over the last year, is now imposing new restrictions to prevent outbreaks. With 24 million population only 1,845 cases and 12 death were reported. New cases surged by more than three times to 344 this week from only 100 the previous week.

Video: Mask Confusion Rises; Late Show with Stephen Colbert/Youtube

Florida Keys' Watercolor Kapers by Bob Kranich

The Brown Pelican (Final Episode)

This is the last part of the Brown Pelican story from Florida Keys' Watercolor Kapers. In it he talks about the Flagler Railroad that went to sea, and then he signs off.

The Brown Pelican

The final major visitor who was the forerunner of the great surge of population and so-called progress, was a man called Flagler with his dream.

Of course we pelicans could see it coming. We saw Flagler’s railroad building its way down the entire Florida East Coast. This was early in the 1900’s. Then he stretched out from Miami into the Everglades, through Homestead and built “The Railroad That Went To Sea.”

It was the engineering feat of the times. He accomplished what many had said was impossible, a railroad that ran through the Keys and linked Key West to the mainland! In that one hundred and twenty five miles of Keys, he constructed forty-four bridges. After that the visitors came, who told others, and then the highways.

You say, what next? We pelicans cannot foretell the future. But we have survived and observed. We were here before it all began, and God willing, will be here when it all ends.

The Brown Pelican

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 Online 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.

Feliciana Maldonado Dies, Aged 73

Feliciana Galvan Maldonado, age 73, of LaBelle, passed away May 12, 2021 in Fort Pierce.

She was born Oct. 20, 1947 in Mexico, to the late J. Jesus Galvan Medina the late Ma. Ysabel Maldonado Medina.

She was predeceased by her husband Reynaldo Mendoza Nunez.

Survivors include two sons: Efren Mendoza and Efrain Mendoza,
2 daughters in Mexico and grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 9:00 am at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, LaBelle with Father Juan Carlos Sack officiating.

Interment will be in Cementerio Seferino Negrete, San Lorenzo, Guanajuato. Mexico.

Visitation will be Monday from 6 to 8 PM at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL.

Clewiston Man Dies In Crash On Wet Road

 CLEWISTON, FL. -- According to the FHP one man died in a crash Thursday at 6:30 p.m in Hendry County, From the report:

Vehicle 1 (Ford), driver aged 18 was traveling south on Flaghole Road, south of US-27. 

Vehicle 2 (semi), driver aged 54 was traveling north on Flaghole Road, south of Vehicle 1. 

Driver 1 lost control Vehicle 1 on the wet road, crossed into the northbound lane and traveled into the path of Vehicle 2. 

The front of Vehicle 2 collided with the right side of Vehicle 1. Both Vehicles came to rest in the area of collision. 

Driver 1 was pronounced deceased on scene.

Corps of Engineers Reopening Recreation Areas Along Okeechobee Waterways

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District announces additional reopenings starting May 14, 2021, at Corps-managed recreation areas along the Okeechobee Waterway that were closed in March 2020 to protect against the further spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

W.P. Franklin North

The campground gate will be open to the public from sunrise to sunset. Access to the boat launch and fishing pier will be available during these hours.

W.P. Franklin South

The group shelters may be reserved for groups of 25 or less at The playground will be open. CDC guidelines are posted at all facilities that are open. The W.P. Franklin Visitor Center and lock viewing area will reopen.

Ortona North

The Fishing Pier on the north side of the spillway at the Ortona Lock and Dam will be open for public use, however access will be via the Ortona South Recreation Area. The large group shelter will be open to groups of 25 or less and may be reserved at CDC guidelines are posted at all facilities that are open. The North Side Access to the Ortona Lock will remain closed until further notice.

Ortona South

The campground gate will be open to the public from 7:30 a.m. to sunset. The wooden fishing pier will be open to the public during these hours. The group shelter will be open to campers only for groups of 25 persons or less. CDC guidelines will be posted at the currently open facilities. The metal Fishing Pier on the north side of the spillway at the Ortona Lock and Dam will be open and accessible for public use from the Ortona South Recreation Area.

St. Lucie Recreation Area

The group shelter will be reservable through the website for parties of 25 or less. The playground will be open. CDC guidelines will be posted at the currently opened facilities. The St. Lucie Visitor Center will reopen. The St. Lucie Lock North and South Observation Areas will remain closed until further notice due to ongoing construction activities.


§ Visitors to campsites will be permitted during this phase of operations, in addition to campers with a reservation.

§ All reservations or changes to reservations will be made on the reservation system online or by phone at 877-444-6777. There will be no “walk up” reservations or cash or credit card transactions at public entrance stations or other locations on site during this phase of operations, for the safety of our volunteers.

§ Volunteer camp hosts will staff campground offices during normal duty hours and will maintain social distancing while directing campers to their sites or instructing them on the reservation only process. Phone numbers will be provided at check-in so campers may maintain social distancing if they require assistance.

§ The COVID-19 situation will be monitored and evaluated on an ongoing basis. Any changes to recreational operations will be announced to the public via a news release and social media posts, as well as signage on site.

§ The North Side Access to the Ortona Lock will remain closed until further notice.


§ The capacity of restrooms will be clearly posted at all facilities to ensure social distancing is maintained for the safety of campers and visitors.

§ Restroom facilities will be cleaned in accordance with CDC guidelines and signage will be displayed to promote hand washing using CDC guidelines.

Day Use

§ Facilities will be cleaned during this phase of operations and maximum occupancy will be clearly posted on all facilities.

§ Rangers in uniform will educate visitors on maintaining the proper group size and social distancing to promote adherence to CDC guidelines for the safety of all.

Life jacket loaner stations will be open with both adult and youth sizes. Volunteers will sanitize the life jackets daily.

Amendments to this plan will take place as we move into the next phase of reopening, or if conditions require us to reenter a passive use or closed phase. Any changes to recreational operations will be communicated to the public via a news release and on social media.

The Visitor Centers at the St. Lucie and W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam will reopen. Please call ahead for hours.

St. Lucie Visitor Center
2170 SW Canal Street
Stuart, Florida

W. P. Franklin Visitor Center

1660 South Franklin Lock Road
Alva, Florida

Most tours and interpretive programs at the Corps Visitor Centers in south Florida will remain closed until further notice. The public will be notified when Visitor Center programs are reopened as part of the future reopening phases.

For more information on Corps Visitor Centers, visit:

Though many sections of the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (LOST) remain temporarily closed through 2022 due to ongoing Herbert Hoover Dike Rehabilitation construction, including culvert replacement and cutoff wall construction, the public may still access some areas of the trail for recreational purposes. When hiking on the LOST, visitors are asked to please observe all signage and do not enter construction areas, and maintain social distancing from other hikers for your safety. An updated map of the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail construction closures and estimated dates for reopening is available at:

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Phillip McCrorey Dies, Aged 80

Phillip L McCrorey, age 80, of Moore Haven, passed away May 8, 2021 in Moore Haven.

He was born June 5, 1940 in Kalamazoo, MI, to the late William Henry and the late Julia (Adams) McCrorey.

He served in the U. S. Navy from 4 JUN 58 to 21 MAR 61.

He was a Supervisor for Gibson Guitar Company.

Survivors include a son: Robert McCrorey
two daughters: Deborah Markus Mann and Elizabeth Dangel,
a brother: Raymond McCrorey
8 Grandchildren & 4 Great Grandchildren,

Memorial Services are Pending in Michigan.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Moore Haven Man In Serious Condition After Crash

 LABELLE, FL. -- Traffic crash Saturday at 11:03 a.m. according to the FHP:

Vehicle 1 was traveling west on State Road 78 at Marshall Field Rd. Vehicle 2 and trailer were traveling east on State Road 78 driven by 63 year old male from LaBelle. 

Vehicle 1 crossed the centerline. The left front of Vehicle 1 collided with the trailer portion of Vehicle 2 in the eastbound lane. Post collision, Vehicle 1 traveled off the roadway, overturned, collided with a fence and came to rest on the westbound grassy shoulder. 

Vehicle 2 and trailer also came to rest on the westbound grassy shoulder. 

Driver 1, 32 year old male from Moore Haven was later transported to Hendry Regional Medical Center in serious condition.

Saturday, May 08, 2021

LaBelle Assembly of God Services

LaBelle Assembly of God Services:

9:45 AM worship service
Kathy Avery worship leader
“Mother at the Cross” John 19:25-27, Pastor Avery
A flower for the Women of the Church
Parking lot Radio Station 87.9 fm Sit in the comfort of your own car and hear the service with you’re A/C on.

11:00 AM worship service
Kathy Avery worship leader
“The Special place of Motherhood ”2 Timothy 1:3-5,
Pastor Avery
A flower for the Women of the Church
Parking lot Radio Station 87.9 fm Sit in the comfort of your own car and hear the service with you’re A/C on.

6:00 PM prayer service
No Service Mother Day

Service Schedule
Bible Study 7:00 p.m. Clifford Avery teaching “The Book of John”
Friday Services

Community Women’s Bible Study 11:30 a.m. The Book of Luke
Kathy Avery teaching.

Men’s Lunch 11:30 am

If you are not ready for In Person Gathering yet,
we do offer :
Face book Live of the Sunday Message 11:00 a.m.
Parking lot Radio Station 87.9 fm Sit in the comfort of your own car and hear the service with you’re A/C on.
Kathy’s Devotionals Each Saturday
Evening. Wednesday Bible Study at 7:00 pm
Kathy’s Children’s story time Saturday.

Obituaries - Mobley, Martinez, Moss, Ruble

Joan Leigh “Joni” Mobley, age 75, of LaBelle, passed away May 4, 2021.

Joni was born July 26, 1945, in Harris County, Texas, to the late Walter Kenneth and the late Lydia Joan Jackson Merritt. She married Lawrence W Mobley; he preceded her in death on July 9, 2003. She was a member of First Christian Church of LaBelle. She loved shopping, telling jokes, and enjoyed spending time with her family and friends. She was an office manager for many years before she retired.

Joni leaves behind her loving children; Keith Mobley of Orlando, Florida and Kent Mobley of Galveston, Texas; four grandchildren and two great grandchildren; sister, Kenni Merritt of Scottsdale, Arizona.

Joni is preceded in death by her son, Kevin Michael Mobley on September 13, 1989; and two sisters, Gerri Fore and Marilyn Merritt.

Cremation arrangements are being handled by Akin-Davis Funeral Home –LaBelle. A celebration of life will be held July 24 in LaBelle.

Jacobo Contreras Martinez, age 33, of LaBelle, passed away May 3, 2021.

He was born Aug. 23, 1987 in Las Negritas,Guadalcazar, SLP, Mexico to J. Gonzalo Contreras Jasso and Paula Martinez Llamas

Survivors include

His Parents J Gonzalo Contreras Jasso and Paula Martinez Llamas
Cousin: Roberto Contreras

He was a Farm Laborer for Pequeno Harvesting.

Visitation will be on Tuesday May 11, 2021 from 5 to 6 PM at the Akin-Davis Funeral Home 560 E. Hickpochee Ave. LaBelle.
Funeral Service will be Tuesday at 6 PM.
Interment is pending in Mexico.

Marlene M Moss, age 87, of Alva, passed away May 1, 2021 in Lake Placid.
She was born Aug. 27, 1933 in Reed City, MI. to the late Leon and the late Leona (Grein) Solomon.
She was a 911 Dispatcher.
She was predeceased by her Son David, Brother Larry Solomon , Sister Shirley Solomon Smith and George Moss.

Survivors include four Sons: Ron Moss, Don Moss, Gary Moss and George Moss Jr,
Brother: Robert Solomon
7 Grandchildren & Many Great Grandchildren
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Marvin J. Ruble, age 74, of LaBelle, passed away April 29, 2021 in Fort Myers.

He was born in Rushville, Indiana on July 24, 1946, to the late Elza and Bonnie Glenn Ruble. He proudly served his country in the United States Army serving in Germany, Korea, and Vietnam. He married Linda Deese on August 5, 1972. Marvin was a plumber and irrigation supervisor. He worked many years for Bob Paul Citrus and Car Two. He was an active member of the American Legion Post 130 of LaBelle, the VFW Post 10100 of LaBelle, serving as Post Commander. He love supporting other veterans and giving back to his community. He was “Santa Claus” at the American Legion Post in LaBelle for many years.

Marvin leaves behind his loving wife of 48 years Linda of LaBelle, daughters; Jennifer Ruble and Bethany Ruble, granddaughters; Jasmine Ruble, Alicia Taylor, Cassy Taylor and grandson; Kareem (Bubba Jay) Smith, brothers; Lee Ruble, Richard Ruble, Darrel Ruble, and Jimmy Ruble, sisters; Loretta Holmes and Georgia Holmes, mother-in-law; Thelma Deese, sister-in-law; Karren Middleton, and brother-in-law; Ed (Roxie) Deese, his VFW and American Legion families and many nieces and nephews.

Marvin was also preceded in death by his sisters Sally York, Sharon Councillor, Royla Dane, brothers; Dale Ruble, Ralph Ruble, Alvin Ruble and David Ruble.

Celebration of Marvin’s life was held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, May 7, 2021 in First Baptist Church of LaBelle, with Pastors Frank Deerey and Preston Long officiating, where visitation was one hour before the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Marvin’s memory to the Veteran’s Memorial Park; the donations can be mailed to or dropped off at VFW Post 10100 or American Legion Post 130. Burial with military rites will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery.

Celebration arrangements are by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Friday, May 07, 2021

Clewiston Shooting Takes Life OF 4-Year Old Child


CLEWISTON, FL. -- Hendry County Major Crimes Unit is currently Investigating the shooting death of a 4 year old child and the critical condition of a 5 year old sibling, both from the Clewiston area.

At approximately 2:54pm this afternoon, Hendry County Major Crimes Unit was contacted by Clewiston Police Department requesting assistance in a reported shooting involving two young children.

Both children were immediately rushed to the hospital where the 4 year old child was pronounced deceased. The 5 year old was airlifted and transported to a nearby Trauma Center.

This Investigation is in its early stages. At this time no additional information is being released.

Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden said, “We are offering our sincerest condolences to the family of these young children. We are determined to provide every resource available to us to conduct this investigation to determine how this tragedy could have occurred”.

No Criminal Liability For School Principal Melissa Carter

CLEWISTON, FL. -- A memo Friday afternoon from Deputy Chief Assistant State Attorney Abraham R. Thomburg indicates a review of the case against Clewiston Central Elementary school principal Melissa Carter and a staff member found no crime was committed. 

Carter was shown in a social media video paddling a first grade student while the student's mother watched, and at the same time making a secret video of the incident on April 13. Staff member Cecilia Self was also present and acted as a translator for the student's mother.

The student was being disciplined for intentionally damaging a piece of computer equipment.

The mother's attorney Brent Probinsky said he believed the incident amounted to both child abuse and aggravated battery, according to the memo.

According to the memo, parent Fabiola Rivera was called by the school and advised she would be charged for the damage to the computer equipment. During the call Rivera claimed the daughter was also damaging things at home and Rivera was afraid to discipline the child by spanking because the daughter threatened to call the police and DCF. 

The mother requested the school spank the child for her and she would come to the school to request the discipline and be present for it.

The video was  recorded without knowledge of any other parties in the room and showed clearly Ms. Carter explaining to the child what was to occur and why. 

At no time, the memo continues did Ms. Rivera raise any objection to what is taking place. She said "thank you" to Ms. Carter and Ms. Self as she left the office.  

The memo says the video released to the media was edited, resulting in an incomplete and misleading account of the incident to the public.

The memo concludes that parent's have the right to use corporal punishment to discipline children and a right to consent that others do so on their behalf. Florida law says spanking does not amount to child abuse.

Attorney Thomburg adds he only reviewed potential criminal liability, and no policy, procedural, or civil issues were addressed in his memo.

Click to read State Attorney Memo

Free Entertainment Via Zoom - Magic And Music Shows

AAASWFL in Fort Myers is inviting older adults and their families to enjoy an interactive online magic show with renowned magician and mentalist Paul Draper as he helps them explore the “Mysteries of the Mind.” Draper will be accompanied with special guests Meadow Perry and Satomi Hofmann, details below. Scheduled events will take place over Zoom and require registration in advance. AAASWFL has been offering these events to combat the effects of isolation since November 2020.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 12, 2021| 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Registration link: Meeting Registration - Zoom
(Special Guest: Meadow Perry)

Thursday, May 27, 2021| 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Registration link: Meeting Registration – Zoom
(Special Guest: Satomi Hofmann)

WHERE: Scheduled events will take place online over Zoom.

WHO: Paul Draper (Host)

Paul Draper is a comedy presenter, magician, mind-reader, and speaker who has appeared on the History Channel, A&E, HBO, Hallmark, the Travel Channel, and HGTV. Draper has appeared with David Copperfield, Lance Burton, and Teller of Penn & Teller, and has headlined in Las Vegas in addition to his seven years as house magician for the Venetian Hotel & Casino.

Special Guests:

Meadow Perry (May 12)

Meadow Perry is an award-winning performer. Perry's Bubble Magic is a show that takes the visual art of bubbles, storytelling, enchanting magic, thrilling music, and sophistication to create a captivating experience. Meadow is a leading member of the Association of International Bubble Artists and is an instructor on the topic of Bubble Sculpting with BubbleU. She is recognized as a world-famous expert in her field and has taught lectures to the most prestigious magic organizations in the world including The International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians.

Satomi Hofmann (May 27)

Satomi Hofmann was recently performing on Broadway in the current cast of Phantom of the Opera, she starred in EFX opposite Phantom originator Michael Crawford and, later, David Cassidy. Credits include Theatre: Mme Giry (Phantom Broadway), Titania (Midsummer…); TV: “Gotham” (FOX), “The Affair” (Showtime), “Family Guy, Live” (Comedy Central); Film: Stuck (Words From Here), Burning Down (Just On Entertainment); Commercial: IBM, SmartWater, Applegate Farms.

Cost: FREE (Must register in advance.)

Vaccinations May 10 In Moore Haven

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Walk-ins for Moderna Vaccine (1st or 2nd dose)

Monday, May 10th 8:30am to 11:00am

Glades County Regional Training Center, 1030 Industrial Dr, Moore Haven, FL 

La Leche League Meets May 11 Online

La Leche League of Hendry County Virtual Breastfeeding Support meeting.

Common Breastfeeding Issues and Concerns
Tuesday, May 11 · 19:00–20:00
Google Meet joining info
Video call link:

La Leche League Meetings provide mother to mother breastfeeding support, information, and education. Participants can look, listen, and ask questions. Some parents help each other and find friends. Attend when you can and leave when you need to; participants are always weLLLcome!

If you are disconnected during the meeting, please stay connected until technical issues are resolved or reconnect. Call or email Maria Richter if you have questions. Office: 863-302-6029, Cell: 863-633-9401

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Canadian Michael Stockton Dead In Port LaBelle Plane Crash

PORT LABELLE, FL. -- At approximately 3:20 pm, this afternoon Hendry County Sheriffs Telecommunication Center received a report of a plane crash.

Hendry County First Responders arrived on scene to find a twin engine Piper Aerostar 600 crashed, approximately 40 yards from the Good Shepard Episcopal Church on Collingwood Parkway in Port LaBelle.

Two individuals were found aboard the plane, one later found to be deceased. The other person was transported for medical care.

The LaBelle Municipal Airport is about 3 miles southwest of the crash site.  On the airport is Mullen's Aviation, LLC, a company owned by James J. Mullen, specializing in Piper Aerostar maintenance. The company received a $26,250 government sponsored Payroll Protection loan last year to protect three jobs.

The crashed plane was registered in Canada. James Mullen, 63 was reportedly the injured person in the aircraft.

According to the FAA Pilot Registry James Jonathan Mullen has a current Commercial Pilot Certificate.

It is unknown at this time the cause of the crash and the FAA has been notified and will be responding to the scene.

Traffic was being rerouted east down SR80 to Birchwood Parkway to travel to homes in the Port LaBelle Unit 4 subdivision adjacent to the church.

UPDATE: Government investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board started looking at the crash scene Friday morning. It appears the plane clipped a tree on the southeast corner of the church property and then flying westerly, crashed into a clump of trees at the church's memorial garden.

Unrelated to the crash, a Piper Aerostar 601, one of several planes owned by Mullen was in Nassau, the Bahama Islands today having flown from LaBelle earlier in the week.

The last time an aviation death occurred in LaBelle was in April 2018 when a glider pilot crashed at the airport while being towed, after losing control of the glider, according to the NTSB final report.

UPDATE: Michael Stockton, 67 from Almonte, Ontario, Canada was the victim in the crash as announced Friday afternoon. The 1973 Aerostar aircraft was owned by Stockton who bought it in September 2019 after the Canadian Certificate of Registration had been cancelled in August 1994. He also owned a second smaller plane.

Restoration Project At Immokalee's Lake Trafford

IMMOKALEE, FL -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Big Cypress Basin of the South Florida Water Management District are partnering on an aquatic habitat restoration project in Lake Trafford in May. The project will enhance native plant coverage that has been reduced over the years due to nutrient build up and hurricanes.

Thousands of native aquatic plants are being transplanted into Lake Trafford, a 1,600-acre natural lake in Collier County, to help restore this popular sport fishing and boating location. The project will plant 15,000 giant bulrush plants; 10,000 coastal spikerush plants; 2,500 lance-leaf arrowhead plants; and 25 pond apple trees in the lake’s shallow water marsh along the north, west and east shorelines.

The FWC is also planting thousands of eelgrass plants, a native submersed freshwater species, and spatterdock (also known as yellow cow-lily) plants along the shallow edges of the lake’s marsh and lakeward of Trafford Slough on the east side of the lake.

This aquatic habitat restoration project is designed to enhance the biodiversity of the native plant community in the lake’s shallow marshes as part of ongoing restoration and habitat enhancement activities for Lake Trafford. Native aquatic plants are important for sportfish populations and provide better opportunities for anglers, while also serving as a valuable food source and habitat for many other fish and wildlife species.

The Big Cypress Basin Board approved and funded $22 million of the original Lake Trafford restoration project and is pleased to provide additional funding to FWC for this expanded restoration effort. This project directly addresses goals and recommendations within the Lake Trafford Management Plan to plant native emergent and submersed vegetation in strategic areas to improve fish and wildlife habitat.

Youths Explore Careers In Mortuary Industry Services May 6

LABELLE, FL. -- Impact Experience explores careers in Mortuary/Funeral Services.

The Mortuary Service industry offers a number of recession proof jobs with great earning potential, minimal training and preparation time to get started.

These rewarding careers offer individuals the opportunity to support and serve families during emotional, difficult times of personal loss.

Please join us…The Zoom Link is Below…


Thursday, May 6, 2021, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (EST)



Arrest In Shooting Death Of Evereonna Sankey


CLEWISTON, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden announces the arrest of 29 year old Larance De’Angelo Humphrey of Tallahassee, Florida.

Continuing to follow up on leads involving the shooting death of 20 year old Evereonna Sankey, Investigators received information that Humphrey was attempting to tamper with evidence that may have led to the shooter in this case.

On May 4, 2021, Investigators were able to obtain an arrest warrant for Humphrey; however, were unable to locate him that same day.

On May 5th, 2021, Larance De’Angelo Humphrey turned himself into the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office on the above warrant.

Humphrey was taken into custody and booked in the Hendry County Jail on charges of Accessory After the Fact to First Degree Homicide (a 1st Degree Felony) and Tampering with Physical Evidence, (a 3rd Degree Felony). He is being held with No Bond.

According to Leon county records Humphrey has on open case from August 2020 for numerous charges including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a controlled substance.

“Our Investigators are receiving leads on a daily basis that are proving helpful in this investigation”, said Sheriff Whidden. “We are encouraging anyone who may have been present during the time of the shooting to please share your videos and/or pictures thru the link provided on our FBpage”, Whidden stated.

Whidden continued, “We are asking that anyone with any information to please either contact the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office at (863) 674-5600 or call Crime Stoppers, at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477), where you will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a $3,000.00 cash reward. 

 Additionally, this case has been approved by The Florida Sheriff’s Association Criminal Apprehension Assistance Program and has pledged the extra $5000 enhanced reward for a total of $8,000.00.

"Our Detectives are working around the clock to seek justice for all victims of this heinous crime and continue to ask for your help”, said Whidden.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Music And Magic Free Programs This Month


Free entertainment sponsored by the Area Agency on Aging of Southwest Florida.

Registration required.
To register in advance click the dates below. Please let your friends know as well and all are invited to attend.

Obituary - Barbara Capece

Barbara Capece passed away on the evening of Wednesday, April 28 at her Port LaBelle home in the care of her family after suffering the rapid onset of pancreatic cancer. She was 81. She loved, was loved, and will be missed by many.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, May 8 at 11 AM at Boyd Funeral Home in Fort Myers. Visitation will be from 10 AM to 11 AM. Facemasks are required for the in-person service. Remote live stream and interactive virtual participation is available. A mask-optional outdoor informal lunchtime gathering will be held afterward at Manatee Park. Charitable donations in lieu of flowers are welcomed to benefit the Quality Life Center of Southwest Florida. Those wanting to attend the service or to express personal remembrances can contact John Capece at 863-354-0554 or Robert Capece at 863-254-8182.

Barbara is survived by sons Robert Louis Capece and John Christopher Capece; daughter-in-law Nargiza Capece (soon to deliver Barbara's first grandchild); sister Robyn Neary; nieces Lisa Casolino and Dawn Swailes; nephews Peter Neary, Paul Salony, Gregory Swailes, Daniel Siena, and Michael Neary. Barbara was predeceased by her mother Joan Swailes, brother Robert Swailes, and sister Deborah Swailes.

Born Barbara Ann Fox on February 29 (leap year day), 1940 in Brooklyn, New York, she was the eldest of four children. As Barbara Ann Swailes, she helped her mother, Joan, raise Robyn, Deborah and
Robert. After finishing high school she married Alfred Anthony Capece. As a military wife she lived in Orlando, Japan, Virginia, and Germany until settling in Fort Walton Beach, Florida for ten years.

But life and family then took Barbara back to New York where she worked for Merrill Lynch on Wall Street as a stock trading license processor. After her younger son was off to college and his overseas
military service, Barbara moved to Baltimore where she owned and operated a small downtown retail store with her partner, Hany. 

Returning to Florida, she lived in Gainesville and LaBelle to be nearer to her son John and his wife Nargiza, where together they managed various community and national small non-profit organizations, including the hosting of university students. Many of these young visitors to our nation and community looked to Barbara as a surrogate mom, particularly during the holidays.

Since 2010, Barbara relaxed at her home looking out on Port LaBelle Marina where she enjoyed the trees, water and wildlife. It was there she watched her final sunsets retelling the stories of a lifetime with family and friends.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Obituary - Ron Menges, Age 79

Ron died May 3, 2021 in Woodland Hills, California at the age of 79 years. Ron was born on March 10, 1942 in Brooksville, Florida.  

He grew to be 6 feet 4 inches tall, played football in high school, and paid for it for the rest of his life. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a B.A. degree in Art, he was told by his major professor that he should not expect to make a living from his art. So, he immediately left for Los Angeles, living in his van until he found work – and boy, did he make a living from his art! 

He excelled in the movie business, as a special effects artist, and eventually as an art director. His milieu was space movies, such as “2001” and “ Star Wars”. His first paid gig was working on “Birdman of Alcatraz,” and later he honed his skills in movies such as “Ghost Busters,” “Edward Scissorhands,” and “True Lies.” 

In December, 1986, he married the love of his life, Bess Wiley, whom he met while working on “2010.” Ron and Bess lived for several decades in Palos Verdes, California, supporting one another in the challenging, fascinating, ever-changing movie industry. 

When Ron was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, his art career came to a sudden halt, and Bess tried to keep him home as his illness progressed. When he needed more care he was accepted into the Motion Picture and Television Fund in Woodland Hills, a residential facility built and dedicated by Kirk Douglas and his wife, Diana. MPTF ensures folks whose careers were dedicated to entertaining others will always have outstanding medical care and a safe place to live, allowing them to age with dignity.

Anyone who knew Ron knew his heart was as large as he was tall. His boundless love extended to the animal kingdom, and he shared his life and home with numerous cats, dogs, a parrot named “Tawanda,” and a rescue donkey named “Joseph.” And there was the orphaned fawn, found as a newborn near its deceased mother’s remains. “Bucky” had his own room in Ron’s house, complete with water bed.

His nephew Keba described him saying “Ron is a giant tree in our Forest.” His nephew Markham always called him “Uncle Hulk.” The entire staff at MPTF refers to him as “The Mayor.”

Our well-loved husband, brother, son, father, uncle, cousin, grandpa, and great-grandpa will be sorely missed by his wife, Bess, daughters Ronell Mind and Laurel Rennacker, sisters Pam Borelli and Terry Hamilton Wollin, and BFF, Jim Borrelli. He was predeceased by his parents, sister, Marsha Gress, brother Jeffrey Menges, niece Celeste Freeman.