Saturday, July 31, 2021

Woman Dead In 3 Vehicle Hendry County Crash

LABELLE, FL. -- At 2:20 a.m. Saturday morning, Vehicle 1, a pickup from Moore Haven, was traveling east on State Road 80, just east of Lexington Parkway. Vehicle 2, an SUV, from Miami was traveling east, in front of Vehicle 1. 

The front of Vehicle 1 collided with the rear of Vehicle 2. Both Vehicle 1 and Vehicle 2 traveled off the roadway right and collided with a guardrail. Vehicle 1 came to rest partially on top of the guardrail. 

Vehicle 2 came to rest on State Road 80. 

Vehicle 3, a sedan from Clewiston, was traveling east and collided with the rear portion of Vehicle 2. A 38 year old female from North Miami a passenger in vehicle 2 died in the crash.

Vehicle 3 overturned and came to rest on its roof. The fatal crash remains under investigation. All others suffered minor injuries.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Friday's Statement From The CDC - Wearing Masks Indoors

Statement from CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH


On July 27th, CDC updated its guidance for fully vaccinated people, recommending that everyone wear a mask in indoor public settings in areas of substantial and high transmission, regardless of vaccination status. This decision was made with the data and science available to CDC at the time, including a valuable public health partnership resulting in rapid receipt and review of unpublished data.

(Editor's note: Hendry County has "high transmission" and Glades County "substantial transmission")

Today, some of those data were published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), demonstrating that Delta infection resulted in similarly high SARS-CoV-2 viral loads in vaccinated and unvaccinated people. High viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concern that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus. This finding is concerning and was a pivotal discovery leading to CDC’s updated mask recommendation. The masking recommendation was updated to ensure the vaccinated public would not unknowingly transmit virus to others, including their unvaccinated or immunocompromised loved ones.

This outbreak investigation and the published report were a collaboration between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Health and CDC. I am grateful to the commonwealth for their collaboration and rigorous investigation. I would also like to humbly thank the residents of Barnstable County who leaned in to assist with the investigation through their swift participation in interviews by contact tracers, willingness to provide samples for testing, and adherence to safety protocols following notification of exposure.

This outbreak investigation is one of many CDC has been involved in across the country and data from those investigations will be rapidly shared with the public when available. The agency works every day to use the best available science and data to quickly and transparently inform the American public about threats to health.

Port LaBelle Boil Water Notice For 5 Days

PORT LABELLE, FL - A precautionary boil water notice has been issued to the following areas due to an emergency water line repair. The effected areas are:

NE Beechwood Circle
Birwood Circle
Clearview Circle
Pebble Lane
Base Court
Avon Court
Box Court

The order will be lifted when satisfactory bacteriological sampling results are obtained. The anticipated time frame is 5 days.

Residents with questions are asked to please call (863) 675-5376.

Latest From The CDC On Delta Variant

The Delta variant is much more contagious than previous versions of the virus. Therefore, CDC now recommends the following for people who are fully vaccinated (more than 2 weeks from the last dose of the vaccine):

To reduce the risk of being infected with the Delta variant and possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.

Fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission, especially if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is not vaccinated.

If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested 3-5 days after your exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms. You should also wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until your test result is negative. You should isolate for 10 days if your test result is positive.

CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.

Vaccine Dates For LaBelle and Clewiston

Hendry County, FL - The Florida Department of Health will offer mobile vaccination units in LaBelle, Clewiston, and Moore Haven. 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 an 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).

FREE – Food Vouchers, hygiene kits and socks to all individuals vaccinated.
Walk-ins; no appointments required.

Note: Individuals vaccinated with Pfizer Vaccine will be scheduled for 2nd dose. (Mobile Unit will return to provide second doses.)

Saturday, July 31st
LaBelle Veteran’s Memorial Park, 26 E. Hickpochee Ave, LaBelle (Across from the Hendry County Courthouse) 11am-5pm
Clewiston Town Plaza, 959 W Sugarland Hwy, Clewiston 11am-5pm
Glades Co. Health Department, 1021 Healthpark Drive, Moore Haven 11am-5pm

Saturday, August 7th
LaBelle Veteran’s Memorial Park, 26 E. Hickpochee Ave, LaBelle (Across from the Hendry County Courthouse) 11am-5pm
Clewiston Town Plaza, 959 W Sugarland Hwy, Clewiston 11am-5pm
Glades Co. Health Department, 1021 Healthpark Drive, Moore Haven 11am-5pm

Replacement Sewer Lines Going To Two More Port LaBelle Streets

PORT LABELLE, FL. -- Beginning Friday, July 30, 2021, Hendry County’s contractor, Strickler Bros. Underground, Inc., will be removing trees on the West end side of Schooner Drive, LaBelle, FL in Country Village. The work is in preparation for the rehabilitation of a Port LaBelle Utility System gravity sewer line.

Operations will require the road to be temporarily closed with local traffic permitted only.

Motorists should expect lane closures and possible delays throughout the duration of the work operations.

Motorists and pedestrians should use extra caution when traveling through the work zone.

The work is expected to have last approximately two (2) days.

Please note that this schedule is tentative and subject to change. Hendry County will notify the public of any schedule changes.

Residents or motorists with any questions or concerns can contact the Port LaBelle Utility System Office at 863-675-5376.

On Monday August 2, 2021, Hendry County’s contractor, Strickler Bros. Underground, Inc., will begin construction on NE Eucalyptus Blvd for the rehabilitation of a Port LaBelle Utility System gravity sewer line.

The work will be done in the right-of-way with no lane closures. However, motorists and pedestrians should use extra caution when traveling through the work zone.

The work is expected to last approximately sixteen (16) days.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Kissimmee River Restoration Project Completed

LORIDA, Fla. - Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District (USACE) hosted a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the completion of the construction for the Kissimmee River Restoration Project. The Kissimmee River Restoration Project restores more than 40 square miles of the river floodplain ecosystem, 20,000 acres of wetlands, and 44 miles of the historic river channel.

This major restoration effort is a 50-50 partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). Over the past 22 years, the USACE and SFWMD worked together to:

§ Complete backfilling of 22-miles of the C-38 canal between Lakes Kissimmee and Okeechobee.

§ Reconstruct remnant river channels across the backfilled canal to reconnect and restore flow in remnant river channels.

§ Remove two water control structures.

§ Add two gates to the S-65 water control structure.

§ Acquire more than 100,000 acres of land to restore the river and floodplain.

The historic Kissimmee River once meandered for 103 miles through central Florida. Its floodplain, reaching up to two miles wide, was inundated for long periods by heavy seasonal rains. Recurring and prolonged flooding impacted local residents and resulted in Congressional authorization of the Central and Southern Florida Project, which included channelizing the Kissimmee River and floodplain. Construction of the C-38 canal achieved flood reduction benefits, but it also harmed the river-floodplain ecosystem. The decline of the ecosystem spurred federal, state and local partnerships to embark on one of the world’s largest riverine restoration efforts: the Kissimmee River Restoration Project.

Since the project began in 1999, the river and its floodplain improved in many ways, including the conversion of nearly 20,000 acres of drained floodplain to ecologically beneficial wetlands. In addition, the project’s efforts resulted in the recovery of the invertebrate community, a crucial food resource for fish and birds. Today marks the completion of the project's construction activities. Additional monitoring will be conducted to measure the project’s success, and additional projects and restoration efforts in the region will support continued restoration of Florida’s iconic Kissimmee River.

Obituaries - Arturo Martinez, Age 73; Ramona Waldon, Age 57

Arturo Martinez, age 73, of Immokalee, passed away in Fort Myers.

He was born Jan. 24, 1948 in Raymondville, TX, to the late Jose and the late Josefina (Riojas) Martinez.

Survivors include two sons: Ricardo Martinez and Arturo Jose Martinez Jr,
daughter: Maria Martinez
brother: Jesus Martinez
three sisters: Juanita Mendoza, Veneralda Pineda and Maria Elva Cabrera
Grandchildren: Edward Domingo, Pascuale Domingo, Daniel Domingo, Catalina Domingo, Joleen Martinez, Kaydance Martinez, Ricardo Martinez, Izahlynn Martinez

Graveside services will be held Friday, August 13, 2021 at 9:00 am at Fort Denaud Cemetery.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Ramona L Waldon, age 57, of Clewiston, passed away July 24, 2021 in Clewiston.
She was born Dec. 24, 1963 in Clewiston, FL, to Raymond D and Sharon (Clark) Coots.

Survivors include one daughter: Alisha Suzanne Ludlum
parents: Raymond D and Sharon (Clark) Coots
brother: Randy (Linda) Coots

She went to School in Gainesville for Cosmetology.
She worked for US Sugar Corp.

Funeral services will be held Friday, August 6, 2021 at 10:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Rev. Dr. Don G Brock officiating.
Interment will be Friday, August 6, 2021 in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston.
Visitation will be Friday from 9 to 10 AM at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

How To Harvest Palmetto Berries In Florida - Workshop July 31

LABELLE, FL. -- Harvesting saw palmetto berries in Florida requires a permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) as well as a permission letter from the landowner - learn more about the requirements at this meeting.

Topic: Saw Palmetto Workshop
Time: Jul 31, 2021 01:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://ufl.zoom.us/j/95131056083?pwd=amxMVTVCMHlnd3I5ZHltR3oyQnJrZz09

Meeting ID: 951 3105 6083
Passcode: 349826
One tap mobile
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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Street In Montura Area Closed For Repairs August 2

CLEWISTON, FL. --  Woodland Blvd. just west of the intersection of Flaghole Road will be closed for emergency road repairs beginning at 8am on Monday, August 2, 2021, through 5pm on Thursday, August 5, 2021

Motorists traveling to and from Montura Ranch Estates will need to use County Road 833 (Sam Jones Trail) and State Road 80 as alternate routes.

Residents or motorists with any questions or concerns can contact the Hendry County Engineering Department at 863-675-5222.

$500,000 Sewer Line Repair In Port LaBelle Started This Week

LABELLE, FL. --   The Port LaBelle Utility System has received a grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to pay for portions of a new sewer line from the pump station west of the Port LaBelle Inn.

(Aerial Drone Photography by Don Browne)

The total cost of the project is $500,680, replacing the original cast iron pipe within portions of the sewer gravity line system. The line serves the Port LaBelle Inn and the condos and apartments in the area located along the Hendry/Glades county line. The portion being replaced now in in Glades county.

PLUS had a study done by National Water Main Cleaning Co. in 2018, inspecting sewer lines throughout Port LaBelle for leaks with a remote camera and high pressure water flushing the cast iron pipes.


The major project began this Monday and is expected to take four months. No residents are expected to be affected by the project other than construction crews and equipment traveling daily on Oxbow Drive traveling to the site in in a fenced cow pasture at the west end of Oxbow Drive.

Several years back, the Port LaBelle Inn reportedly had sewer problems, possibly related to the old cast iron pipe system in this area. 

Strickler Bros. Underground Inc. and CIE services, provided by Tetra Tech are the project contractors.

Editor's Note: In researching this project, the Department of Environmental Protection, South District did not respond to a call. 

The Glades County Administrator's office shed no light on the project. The Hendry County Administrator's office likewise would not verify they knew anything of the project. 

Calls to the Hendry and Glades County Building Departments led to similar results, claiming no knowledge. 

A call to the Hendry Engineer's office was not returned. The Port LaBelle Utility System office refused to give out any information whatsoever, and referred us to Emily Hunter, Hendry County Communications Coordinator, who did respond to all our questions by email a day later.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Arrest On Narcotics Charge Nets Grow House Discovery At Montura Home

MIAMI MAN ARRESTED AND HELD ON 21 NARCOTIC CHARGES

On July 19, 2021, Montura Deputy L. Dominguez of the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office arrested 29 year old Leonardo Brum Almeida for an outstanding warrant, stemming from an HCSO Vice/Narcotics Unit investigation which began on April 6, 2021.

On April 6, 2021 it was reported to the Sheriff’s Office Vice/Narcotics Unit, that employees with Glades Electric discovered that the electrical meter had been tampered with at Almedia's residence. Observations at the residence indicated that the residence was being used to cultivate marijuana. Almeida was seen quickly loading items into the trunk of his vehicle and leaving the property prior to the arrival of Sheriff's Office personnel.

Deputies were able to locate Almeida after he left his residence and conducted a traffic stop. A probable cause search of the vehicle disclosed approximately 20 pounds of Marijuana, approximately 20 grams of Cocaine and 2,262 pills later identified as Ectasy inside.

During this arrest Almeida was charged with Trafficking Amphetamine, Trafficking Marijuana, Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell and Cocaine Possession charges.

Immediately following the arrest of Almedia, Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Vice Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant at the home of Leonardo Brum Almeida at 270 N. Trebol Street, in the community of Montura Ranch Estates.

Once inside the residence, Investigators discovered the residence was an extensive marijuana grow operation with several rooms that had been converted to facilitate marijuana cultivation. Also inside the residence was a large amount of ecstasy, MDMA, cocaine and another substance suspected to be used as a cutting agent for MDMA. It was clear to Investigators that the property was being used for the sole purpose of manufacturing and trafficking illicit narcotics.

On April 7, 2021 Almeida was released on a $70,500.00 bond.

After a thorough investigation, HCSO Vice-Narcotics Investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Almeida. On July 19, 2021 at approximately 8:30pm, D/S L. Dominguez located and arrested Leonardo Almeida on 21 drug related charges. He is currently being held on a $507,500.00 bond.

Obituaries - Harless, Torres, MIllican, Humphrey, Vorhees, Castillo

Ronald Howard Harless, age 77, passed away peacefully July 23, 2021 at home in Lakeport, FL.

He was born Dec. 9, 1943 in Charleston, WV, to Earnest and Catherine (Brogan) Harless. He retired from St. Lucie Battery and Tire as a salesman for over 30 years. 

Ronald was an avid Trump Supporter; he enjoyed spending time with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He loved traveling in his RV with his wife, Mary. Ronald was passionate about fishing. He was a huge football and baseball fan. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and friend who will be dearly missed by everyone who knew him and loved him. Ronald loved his four-legged companion, Biscuit, who preceded him in death.

Ronald leaves behind his loving wife of 20 years; Mary Harless (Cushman), his children; Ronald Harless Jr (Jennifer), Anita Jones (Freddy), Melissa Stevens, Keith Harless (Julie) Kelly Elvikis (Dave), Jamie Lemmon (Carrie), and Dennis Lemmon (Alison), fourteen loving grandchildren, and ten great grandchildren.

Ronald’s life will be celebrated on August 7, 2021 at 2:00 at Maple Grove Baptist Church, 12777 E. SR78, Moore Haven (Lakeport), FL 33471

The family would like to express thank you for the compassionate care Ron received from Hope Hospice.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Jose Baltazar Padilla Torres, age 65, of Clewiston, passed away July 23, 2021 in Clewiston.

He was born Nov. 23, 1955 in Mexico, to the late Enrique Padilla Martinez and Maria Guadalupe Torres.

Survivors include three sons: Baltazar Padilla Jr, Jessie Padilla and Enrique Padilla
five daughters: Mariselda Navarrete, Yolanda Lebron, Olivia Padilla, Brenda Padilla and Cristina Padilla
mother: Maria Guadalupe Torres
many grandchildren and great grandchildren
4 brothers, 5 sisters

He was a Tractor Operator.
He loved hunting and fishing.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at 10:00 am at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, LaBelle with Father Juan Carlos Sack officiating.

Interment will be Tuesday, August 3, 2021 in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle.

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

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Pastor Thomas Ben Millican, Jr, age 73, of LaBelle, FL passed away July 20, 2021 in LaBelle, FL.

He was born July 8, 1948 in Scottsboro, AL, to the late Thomas Ben and Violet Lynnette (Smith) Millican.

He was a Missionary.

Survivors include his wife: Belinda (Abal) Millican
son: Msgt. Thomas Charles Millican
daughter:Lauri Gayle Ford
one sister: Gayle Thiel
11 Grandchildren & 6 Great Grandchildren,

Memorial services are pending at Iglesia Bautista Nuevo Testamento, LaBelle.

Funeral Service in Rainsville, AL is Pending.
Interment will be in Pisgah Cemetery, Pisgah, AL.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Joyce Peacock Humphrey, age 90, of Clewiston, passed away July 17, 2021 in Wellington, Florida..

She was born Mar. 9, 1931 in Pahokee, FL, to the late John Aaron and the late Millie (Matthews) Peacock. She married Jessie L. Humphrey; he preceded her in death on July 20, 2014. She with her husband owned and operated an insurance agency for many years. Joyce was a member of Canal Point Baptist Church for many years. Joyce was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend, who will be dearly missed by everyone who loved and cared about her. She enjoyed spending time with her family and going to church.

Joyce leaves behind her loving children; two daughters; Diana Thompson (Wally Delbosque) and Louanne Rawls (Michael Rawls), and one son; Larry Humphrey, along with four grandchildren and six great grandchildren, one brother; Harold Peacock, many nieces, nephews and extended family members.

Joyce was also preceded in death by her brothers; Bobby Peacock, John Peacock, Wayne Peacock, Roy Peacock, Floyd Peacock, Billy Joe Peacock, and Alton Jackson Peacock.

Joyce’s life was celebrated on Monday, July 26, 2021 at her church – Canal Point Baptist Church at 11:00 a.m. with Rev. Mickey Bailey officiating. Burial was alongside of her husband in Ridgelawn Cemetery.

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

Joanne L. Darden-Vorhees passed away July 17, 2021 in Clewiston, Florida. Joanne was born in Sarasota, Florida on July 20, 1941, to the late William “Bill” Clyde Darden and the late Hazel Lereada Campbell Darden. 

She grew up in Pahokee and graduated from Pahokee High School. Joanne then attended the Jackson Memorial Hospital Nursing Program earning her nursing degree, and then later in 1993 she graduated from Emory University with degree as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner. 

She began her career in public health here in Clewiston back in 1968 where she dedicated over 53 dedicated years with the Hendry and Glades County Health Departments. 

She was married to Boyd Thomas Vorhees, who preceded her in death on February 4, 2015. 

Joanne was a lifelong member of the First Baptist Church of Clewiston; she served on the board of the Harlem Academy Daycare and was an active member of the local chapters of the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society. 

Joanne leaves behind her only son, Craig Davis (married to Robin Davis) of Royal Palm Beach, Florida; also, her two step-daughters, Cindy Vorhees and Ann Meese; nine grandchildren, Cody Davis, Colton Davis, Brylee Davis, Olivia Fabelo, Brittany Terry, Austin Reeves, Andrew Georgoudiou, Stephanie Meese and Crissy Raines; four great grandchildren, Mackenzie Terry, Penelope Terry, Heather Raines and Ethan Raines; along with one step-sister, Bobbie Tribble; and two cousins, Francis Campbell Martin and Vera KeenWeeks. 

Celebration of Joanne’s life was held at the First Baptist Church of Clewiston on Saturday, July 24,2021 at 11 a.m. with visitation one hour before the service also at the church, where Pastor Raul Zaldivar officiated. 

Burial took place in Ridgelawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be made to the Joanne Vorhees Scholarship Fund that had been setup in tribute to Joanne’s lifelong dedication for the Hendry and Glades County residents. Scholarship Address: Collaboratory – Attn: JVorhees Fund, 2031 Jackson Street, Ft. Myers, FL 33901.

Oscar Sanchez Castillo, age 61, of Clewiston, passed away July 14, 2021 in Fort Myers.

He was born Apr. 1, 1960 in Mexico to the late Abraham and Dolores Castillo Sanchez.
He worked as a Heavy Equipment Operator.
He loved his family very much.
Survivors include his wife: Emma) Sanchez
six sons: Oscar Daniel Sanchez, Rigoberto Sanchez, Roglio Sanchez, Edtberto Sanchez, Juan Jose Sanchez and Emmanuel Sanchez
daughter: Kassandra Sanchez
mother: Dolores Castillo Sanchez
three brothers: Jose Ramon Sanchez, Fermin Sanchez and Valentine Sanchez
sister: Marta Ortiz
10 grandchildren

Memorial Mass is Pending.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Hendry County's Home Building Boom Peaked In April

 

LABELLE, FL -- Spring, 2021 appears to be one of the busiest home building seasons in Hendty county, as builders and lot owners saw opportunities to build on vacant lots throughout the county. 

(Drone photo by Don Browne - Ramrod Circle in Port LaBelle)

Port LaBelle, on the western side of the county has seen some of the largest numbers of new home building activity this year.

The vacant lot owner in the county with the most new home building permits issued, and most homes completed so far is Dwayne House. His company, Career Financial Corp has 96 homes now under construction in Port LaBelle. 

House partners with a local builder to build homes on his large inventory of lots. House, a Miami businessman has extensive property investments in the county including Goodno Ranch and the Port LaBelle Marina, and the former golf course property on the Hendry/Glades county line.

Showing a large increase in home building activity, the Hendry County Building and Zoning Department indicated 277 new home permits have been issued so far in 2021.

The upswing in new home building appears to have begun around December 2020 when 34 permits were issued by the county building department, increasing to 68 permits in April 2021. The numbers have been decreasing since then. The average number of new home permits per month since January 2020 is 21. 

The average contract price the builder charged the lot owner per home over that 19 month period is about $160,000. The owner or builder would sell the home to a buyer at a higher cost to make a profit.

Since January 2020, 362 new homes are under construction in Hendry, and an additional 253  have been completed since January 2020. 

Hendry County collected $1,006,000 in permit fees over the last 19 months on the $96,975,000 in home values of 605 homes finished or under construction.

It remains to be seen whether buyers will be able to afford the dramatically rising prices and will continue buying from the large inventory of homes going up this year. Permit numbers topped out in April.

Monthly new home permits for Hendry county, Fl since October 2020:

Oct 202010
3
34
Jan 202137
22
54
Apr 202168
41
36
Jul 202119

  

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Obituary - Howell Levis Heald. Aged 97

Howell Levis Heald
JUNE 23, 1924 – JULY 21, 2021

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of a loving father, devoted husband, son and brother Howell L. Heald. Howell passed peacefully on July 21, 2021.

He was a charter member of The Greatest Generation. Howell was born June 23, 1924 in Thomasville, Georgia. Following the premature death of his parents, he was raised by his older sister Lucille and her husband in Leesburg FL. He graduated from Leesburg High in 1943 and as he once mentioned “Uncle Sam was waiting for me the second I stepped off the stage”. Howell proudly served his country during WW II in the US Army as a medic. He recalled tearing up (along with a lot of other guys) upon seeing the Statue of Liberty as his troopship sailed into New York harbor on a foggy morning.

Upon returning home, he availed himself of the GI Bill and graduated from the University of Florida where he became afflicted with a passion for all things Orange and Blue. A disease which he successfully passed on to all his family.

Upon graduation, Howell went to work for the FMC Corporation representing their agricultural interests in central, and later southwest Florida. While visiting Daytona Beach he met a young lady from up north, Patricia Boll, which shortly blossomed into a fifty four year marriage. During the next thirty years Howell and Pat raised three boys, planted an orange grove by hand, survived a direct hit by Hurricane Donna (after if leveled Naples), and endured multiple floods and freezes.

In 1965 he moved to the then small agricultural town of Naples, family in tow. In 1982 he decided to strike out on his own and started Farmers Supply in Immokalee which his sons later took over allowing him to enjoy a well earned retirement.

Howell will always be remembered for his steadfast devotion to his family and his ceaselessly cheerful attitude, no matter the adversity. He loved his Gators, even when they didn’t love him, which was often, at least before Steve Spurrier. He had a true love-hate relationship with golf but never stopped trying to master the game. He loved watching his sons, and later his grandsons play all sports, a constant presence in the stands.

Howell was preceded in death by his wife Pat, brothers Wilson and Daniel, sister Lucille and grandson Preston. He is survived by his sons Fred (Diane), Brad, and Kevin (Laura). Also his grandsons Trevor, Tyler, Keegan and Riley.

A memorial service will be held Monday, August second at Hodges Funeral at Naples Memorial Gardens. Visitation at noon to one, followed by a brief service, Honor guard and interment. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Avow Hospice.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Vaccine Schedule For Hendry and Glades County, Florida

LABELLE, FL - The Florida Department of Health will offer mobile vaccination units in LaBelle, Clewiston, and Moore Haven. 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).

FREE – Food Vouchers, hygiene kits and socks to all individuals vaccinated.

Walk-ins; no appointments required.

Note: Individuals vaccinated with Pfizer Vaccine will be scheduled for 2nd dose. (Mobile Unit will return to provide second doses.)

Please see the dates and locations below:

Saturday, July 31st
LaBelle Veteran’s Memorial Park, 26 E. Hickpochee Ave, LaBelle (Across from the Hendry County Courthouse) 11am-5pm
Clewiston Town Plaza, 959 W Sugarland Hwy, Clewiston 11am-5pm
Glades Co. Health Department, 1021 Healthpark Drive, Moore Haven 11am-5pm

Saturday, August 7th
LaBelle Veteran’s Memorial Park, 26 E. Hickpochee Ave, LaBelle (Across from the Hendry County Courthouse) 11am-5pm
Clewiston Town Plaza, 959 W Sugarland Hwy, Clewiston 11am-5pm
Glades Co. Health Department, 1021 Healthpark Drive, Moore Haven 11am-5pm

Woman Pedestrian Killed In Hendry County Crash

CLEWISTON, FL.-- A 30 year old female from LaBelle has been killed in a crash in Montura Ranches in central Hendry County.

From the FHP crash report:

Vehicle 1, a pickup truck driven by a 30 year old male from Clewiston was traveling west on Hunting Club Avenue, approaching South Datil Street. 

Pedestrian 1 was walking west along the north edge of Hunting Club Avenue, in the roadway. The front of vehicle 1 collided with Pedestrian 1.

Pedestrian 1 came to rest on the north grass shoulder of Hunting Club Avenue. Vehicle 1 veered right and collided with a tree on the grass shoulder, east of the intersection. 

Pedestrian 1 was pronounced deceased.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Mark Richards Arrested On Firearm Charges

CLEWISTON MAN ARRESTED ON FIREARM CHARGES

CLEWISTON, FL. -- On Monday July 14, 2021, at approximately 3:25 pm, Deputies with the Hendry County Sheriff's Office responded to 1157 Harlem Academy Ave, Clewiston, after receiving a report of gun shots.

Investigators were able to determine that a man was seen driving on older model vehicle northbound on Harlem Academy when suddenly when they suddenly heard a stream of gunshots.

Hendry County Sheriff’s Office General Crimes Investigation Unit, with the assistance of witness accounts, was able to positively identify the shooter as 27 year old, Mark Wayne Richards Jr. Further investigation revealed that Richards first fired shots at the victim, causing the second subject to act in self defense and fire back.

On Thursday, July 16, 2021, the HCSO General Crimes Investigation Unit was able to obtain an arrest warrant for Richards on charges of Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon without Intent to Kill, Discharge Firearm from Vehicle, Possession of a Firearm by a Florida Convicted Felon and Use/Display of Firearm during a Felony. 

 Later that evening Richards responded to the Clewiston Substation and turned himself in. He was taken into custody and transported to the Hendry County Jail where he is currently being held on $55,000 bond.

Two Arrested In Clewiston Best Western Hotel Drug Bust

HCSO VICE NARCOTICS UNIT ARREST TWO ON NUMEROUS DRUG CHARGES

CLEWISTON, FL. -- On Friday, July 16, 2021, after a lengthy investigation, Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Vice-Narcotics unit conducted a search warrant at the Best Western Hotel, Room 225, located at 1020 W. Sugarland Highway in Clewiston, in relation to a drug trafficking investigation.

As a result of the investigation, the HCSO Narcotics Unit determined that 20 year old Thomas C. Ferguson, of Labelle and Angela Hanson, 19 year old had rented a room at the Best Western and possessed a large quantity of narcotics within, which lead to the successful execution of the search warrant.

HCSO Narcotics Vice Unit along with members of road patrol located approximately 451.8 grams of cocaine, approximately 10 grams of methamphetamine, approximately 19.9 grams of marijuana, needles, several types of pills that were pre-packaged for sale, a digital scale, drug manufacturing equipment, drug paraphernalia, $612.00 cash, several cellular telephones, along with a handgun.

Ferguson was arrested and taken into custody on charges of Trafficking in Cocaine, Manufacturing Cocaine, Possession of Place Used for the Manufacturing of Narcotics, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Ferguson was released on July 18, 2021 on $186,000 bond.

Hanson was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription and an outstanding Felony warrant for Failure to Appear. Hanson is currently being held without bond.

Obituaries - Joanne Darden-Vorhees, Jimmy Curry Sr.

CLEWISTON — Joanne L. Darden-Vorhees passed away July 17, 2021 in Clewiston, Florida. Joanne was born in Sarasota, Florida on July 20, 1941, to the late William “Bill” Clyde Darden and the late Hazel Lereada Campbell Darden. 

She grew up in Pahokee and graduated from Pahokee High School. Joanne then attended the Jackson Memorial Hospital Nursing Program earning her nursing degree, and then later in 1993 she graduated from Emory University with degree as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner. 

She began her career in public health here in Clewiston back in 1968 where she dedicated over 53 dedicated years with the Hendry and Glades County Health Departments. 

She was married to Boyd Thomas Vorhees, who preceded her in death on February 4, 2015. 

Joanne was a lifelong member of the First Baptist Church of Clewiston; she served on the board of the Harlem Academy Daycare and was an active member of the local chapters of the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society. 

Joanne leaves behind her only son, Craig Davis (married to Robin Davis) of Royal Palm Beach, Florida; also, her two step-daughters, Cindy Vorhees and Ann Meese; nine grandchildren, Cody Davis, Colton Davis, Brylee Davis, Olivia Fabelo, Brittany Terry, Austin Reeves, Andrew Georgoudiou, Stephanie Meese and Crissy Raines; four great grandchildren, Mackenzie Terry, Penelope Terry, Heather Raines and Ethan Raines; along with one step-sister, Bobbie Tribble; and two cousins, Francis Campbell Martin and Vera KeenWeeks. 

Celebration of Joanne’s life will be held at the First Baptist Church of Clewiston on Saturday, July 24, 2021 at 11 a.m. with visitation one hour before the service also at the church, where Pastor Raul Zaldivar will officiate. 

Burial will take place in Ridgelawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Joanne Vorhees Scholarship Fund that had been setup in tribute to Joanne’s lifelong dedication for the Hendry and Glades County residents. Scholarship Address: Collaboratory – Attn: JVorhees Fund, 2031 Jackson Street, Ft. Myers, FL 33901.

Jimmy L Curry, Sr, age 77, of LaBelle, passed away July 15, 2021 in LaBelle. He was born June 28, 1944 in Fort Myers, FL, to the late Benjamin and the late Volirie Jean Curry.

He was a Veteran of the U.S. Army.
He retired as a Foreman of a Cattle Ranch.
He enjoyed his retirement by hunting, fishing, horseback riding, airboating and frogging.

Survivors include his wife: Audrey (Crews) Curry
son: Jimmy "Buddy" (Nikki) Curry Jr
one brother: Bill (Laura) Murray
four sisters: Charlann (LW) Howard, Carol (Donald) Pendrey, Patsy (Mark) White and Kay Dyess
grandchildren: Caleb Curry; Camryn Curry; Channcy Curry; and Peyton Lee

He was preceeded in death by his son Jason Lamar Curry in 1998

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday July 21, 2021 at 11 AM at Community Harvest Worship Center, 55 Orange Street LaBelle with Pastor L. W. Howard officiating.

Visitation will be Wednesday from 10 to 11 AM at Community Harvest Worship Center, LaBelle, FL.

Interment will be at Fort Denaud Cemetery.

Fort Denaud Road Under Construction July 26

LABELLE, FL. -- Beginning Monday, July 26, 2021, Hendry County’s contractor, Community Asphalt Corp., will be conducting road work and construction services on the west end of Fort Denaud Road from State Road (SR) 80 to Fort Denaud Bridge Way in LaBelle, FL.

The road work includes milling and resurfacing of the existing roadway.

Operations will require the road to be temporarily closed with local traffic permitted only. Visual message signs and traffic control signage will be in place to detour traffic to SR80 and Huggets Road. Flagmen will be present to help direct traffic.

The speed limit will be reduced through the project area.

Motorists should expect lane closures and possible delays throughout the duration of the road work operations and allow extra time for their commute.

Motorists and pedestrians should use extra caution when traveling through the work zone.

The work is expected to have a completion time of approximately five (5) days.

Road work operations will occur throughout the week, beginning on Monday (07/26/21) to Friday (07/30/21), 7am – 5pm.

Please note that this schedule is tentative and subject to change. The Hendry County

Engineering Department will notify of any changes.

Residents or motorists with any questions or concerns can contact the Hendry County Engineering Department at 863-675-5222.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Obituaries - Oscar Castillo, Adrian Condon, Dennis Daniels

Oscar Sanchez Castillo, age 61, of Clewiston, passed away July 14, 2021 in Fort Myers.

He was born Apr. 1, 1960 in Mexico to the late Abraham and Dolores Castillo Sanchez.
He worked as a Heavy Equipment Operator.
He loved his family very much.

Survivors include his wife: Emma) Sanchez
six sons: Oscar Daniel Sanchez, Rigoberto Sanchez, Roglio Sanchez, Edtberto Sanchez, Juan Jose Sanchez and Emmanuel Sanchez
daughter: Kassandra Sanchez
mother: Dolores Castillo Sanchez
three brothers: Jose Ramon Sanchez, Fermin Sanchez and Valentine Sanchez
sister: Marta Ortiz
10 grandchildren

Memorial Mass is Pending. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Adrian Keith Condon, “KC” age 47, of Cooper City, FL passed away July 13, 2021 in Pembroke Pines, FL.

He was born Feb. 24, 1974 in Dallas, TX, to Cyrus Alton Between Lodges Condon and Lucille Jumper.

He was a Kindred Spirit, a Great Father, and a True Adventurer.
He joins his Daughter Abrianna Condon who preceeded him.

Surviving are: his Mother Lucille Jumper and Father Cyrus Alton Between Lodges Condon
Significant Other: Dawna Bell
Sons: Kyler Bell and John Osceola
Daughters: Kiana Bell and Adrianne Bell
Grandson: Zaedyn Bell
1 Brother and 1 Sister Maternally, 3 Brothers and 4 Sisters Paternally

Visitation was held on Thursday July 15, 2021 at Big Cypress Cemetery, Big Cypress Reservation.

Funeral Service were held Thursday, July 15, 2021 at 11:00 am at Big Cypress Cemetery with Pastor Josh Leadingfox officiating. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Dennis Dale Daniels, age 75, of Moore Haven, passed away July 13, 2021 in West Palm Beach.

He was born Mar. 13, 1946 in Plattsburgh, NY, to the late Charles and Rose (Giroux) Daniels.
He was a retired Union Carpenter/Millwright.
He was a proud Born Again Christian, and attended the Christian Church of Moore Haven.
His passions were his family, Music, Fishing, and Hot Rods.

Survivors include his wife: Marlene (Recore) Daniels
son: Dennis Daniels
two daughters: Pamela Raudenbush and Cheryl Reynolds
8 grandchildren & 6 great grandchildren,

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Florida Keys' Watercolor Kapers by Bob Kranich



The Sponge Adventure (Part 1,Excerpt 32)

This is the first part a story titled, The Sponge Adventure. Captain Bob and his two mates, Dave and Amos fish the Gulf out of Key West in Bob’s sea-going Trawler, Sea Breeze. Dave is interested in the old methods of sponge fishing and has a small skipjack fishing boat he has just restored.

“Let’er rip Capt’n. I’m ready for another batch.”

David had been hosing down the shrimp in the hopper, and then hit the switch that turned on the conveyor which took the catch into the packing house. The men were unloading their catch on the Key West city docks. The packer and processor was the Singleton Fish and Ice Plant. In an hour or so their shrimp would have their heads removed, packed in wooden crates, and iced for shipment. At one time the Singleton Plant was the largest in the world.

David was a 27-year-old Afro-American. He had a close hair cut, was five foot nine inches, and was thin but muscular from the hard work required on a shrimp trawler.

They had been out for three days in the Gulf on Captain Bob’s ocean-going trawler “Sea Breeze.” Talk about a haul! This morning they had stumbled into a mess of shrimp. It was the pink shrimp. They had been “Midwater Trawling”* just offshore near the Dry Tortugas Key.

Their hold was full, and they had come right in to get it unloaded, cleaned and packed. It had taken a couple of hours so far, of shoveling the shrimp into the large stainless steel unloading bucket and winching it to the hopper where David was working.

“Here it comes.” Captain Bob held the unloading dump rope as his other mate, Amos was operating the unloading winch and boom.

Amos, was a 42-year-old Afro-American who had been with the Captain since he bought the “Sea Breeze.” In fact they had worked together before on another trawler. Amos was 6 feet 2 inches tall and well built.

The stainless steel bucket swung out and over the boat and stopped right above where David was working.

“Dump it, Capt’n,” David hollered. The 80 pounds of shrimp tumbled into the hopper.

Pink shrimp* is what is harvested mostly in the Florida waters. There are three other species found in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic waters: Brown, White and Royal Red.* Shrimp replenish themselves fairly fast. Their life cycle is 13 months. That is a rapid reproduction rate.

Captain Bob was 54 and about five foot nine inches. He was filled out but not fat. He had a round face with a full black beard showing faint signs of becoming grey. He was an Anglo of German descent.

David hollered, “The packer wants to know how much more Capt’n?”

“Tell him a couple more loads,” Bob said. “As soon as I get the last to you, Davey, come on board, and we’ll get the boat cleaned up.”

The Sea Breeze was a sea-going trawler.* It was 60 feet in length. This boat was built with the lines of the Greek shrimp boats. Instead of the V-shaped hull it had a rounded cross–section. The bow was high with a deck house located forward. This left the stern for hauling in the nets. The rounded hull shape made a deep and slow roll at sea and a boat that could take rough seas. It was built in 1960 by the Diesel Engine Sales Company (DESC)* of St Augustine, Florida, one of the largest shrimp boat builders in the USA.

Captain Bob’s boat was a traditionally built boat, with a pine keel, white oak frames, and cypress planking. One item to note: when the cypress planking became too expensive, the boatyards shifted to yellow pine. But Bob felt fortunate his boat had the cypress.

Captain Bob Mitchel had this boat for the last five years, since 1964. He was in the fishing business since he graduated from high school in 1933. His fishing was temporarily postponed in 1941 when he joined the US Navy. Bob saw service on a destroyer until the war’s end in 1945. He then bounced right back here to Key West and resumed his love of the sea.

After that Bob saved every penny he could. He was fortunate to find some silent backers that let him run the show. Now Captain Bob was 51% owner of his own fishing boat and business.

“We finally got it cleaned. Thank you guys. It was a lot of hard work, but we made some cash,” Bob exclaimed. “Start her up, Amos, and let’s get her over to our slip.”

The 300 HP Detroit Diesel engine sputtered, coughed, and caught... and the heart and soul of this boat roared! They pulled away from Singleton’s docks and went out into the channel and then to the marina the “Sea Breeze” called home. The marina had three sections: commercial, fishing excursions, and private. Amos shut her down. They tied up to the dock posts and jumped onto the pier.

As the three walked out to the parking lot, Captain Bob said, “Tell you what guys…give me some time to get the paperwork done. Stop by the house tomorrow morning, and I will have your checks ready.” He just didn’t know how long they would be out, so consequently Bob never could have the guys' checks made out ahead of time.

“Here’s my car. See you tomorrow...about 9 am Capt’n?”

“Sounds good, Amos. See you then.”

“You guys want a ride?” Amos asked.

“No thanks, Amos,” Bob and Dave said in unison.

They both lived within walking distance of the marina, six to eight blocks.

“Well, I’m glad it’s Friday, David. I’m tired, What’re you going to do this weekend?” Bob said as they walked along.

“I’m going to be working on the skipjack,” David replied.

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. bkranich.wixsite.com/bobkranich

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Rabies Alert For South Clewiston Area

Clewiston, FL – The Florida Department of Health in Hendry County issued a rabies alert for the Clewiston area. This is in response to a dog that tested positive on July 13,2021.

All residents and visitors in Hendry County should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and domestic animals are at risk if not vaccinated. The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in Hendry County. Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public, but they should not get a false sense of security to areas that have not been named as under an alert.

The recent rabies alert is for 30 days. The center of the rabies alert is at Midstate Loop, and includes the following boundaries in Hendry County:

South of US Highway 27 to Hookers Point Road
East from Francisco Street to Evercane Road.

An animal with rabies could infect other wild or domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies. All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes. Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm blooded animals and humans. The only treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies specific immune globulin and rabies immunization. Appropriate treatment started soon after the exposure, will protect an exposed person from the disease.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.

Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact City of Clewiston Animal Control at 863-983-1474.

Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.

Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.

Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.

Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.

Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas, where they might come in contact with people and pets.

Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the Florida Department of Health in Hendry County at 863-302-6047.


For further information on rabies, go to http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies/index.html or call the Florida Department of Health in Hendry County at 863-302-6067, or local animal control at 863-983-1474.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Obituaries - Chirila, Dominquez, Vasquez, Yoraschek, Gomez

Maria Gomez, age 79 of LaBelle, passed away on July 7, 2021 in Fort Myers, Florida.

Maria was born on July 1, 1942 in Mexico to the late Eduardo and Jovita Alaniz Gomez. She worked as a farm worker for many years before retiring. She was of the Catholic Faith. Maria was a loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and friend who will de dearly missed by everyone who knew and loved her.

Maria leaves behind her children; Maribell Ramos and her husband Juan Angel Ramos, Graciela Urias and her husband Jamie Urias, Lidia Aguilar Rodriguez and her husband Miguel Rodriguez, Jennifer Rodriguez and her husband Guillermo Esquiel, Jose Angel Aguilar, Antonio Aguilar, and Socarro Balderas and her husband Ruben Balderas, grandchildren; John Carlos Ramos, Miguel Angel Ramos, Emanuel Urias, Cristian Urias, Eddie Lopez, Chela Lopez, Ana Paz, Cecilio Paz, Lucy Flournah, Todd Flournah, Letty Balderas, Manuel Inez Balderas, Navidad Garcia, Antonio Iram Aguilar, Alan Aguilar, Edon Aguilar, Jasmine Aguilar, and twenty-five grandchildren.

Mass of Christian burial will be held on July 15, 2021 at 10 a.m. at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in LaBelle, with Father Jiobani Batista presiding. Burial will take place in Fort Denaud Cemetery in LaBelle.

Geraldine “Geri” Yoraschek, age 79, of LaBelle, passed away July 5, 2021 in Fort Myers.

Geri was born Dec. 27, 1941 in Brooklyn, NY, to the late Gerard and the late Marie (Monte) Becker. Geri married Richard Yoraschek. Geri along with her husband operated LaBelle Plumbing Corporation for 29 years. She was a loving wife, mother, sister, and friend who was loved by her entire family and will be greatly missed by everyone who knew and loved her.

Geri leaves behind fond memories her husband; Richard Yoraschek of LaBelle, her daughter; Victoria Yoraschek of Fort Myers, Florida, sister; Carol Chevalier of Pennsylvania, brothers-in-law; James Yoraschek of his wife Loretta of Long Island, New York, Walter Smith of Florida, many nieces, nephews, cousins.

Celebration of Geri’s life will be held at 6 p.m. on July 14, 2021 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home – LaBelle, where visitation will be held one hour prior to service also at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested donations be made to the Rotary Scholarship of LaBelle Rotary Foundation, P.O. Box 1466, LaBelle, FL 33975

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

Santiago Reyes Vasquez, age 84 of LaBelle, passed away while on vacation in Mexico on July 5, 2021.

Santiago was born in Mexico on May 1, 1937 to the late Enrique and the late Maria Vasquez Reyes. He married Sanjuana Gomez. He was a farmer for most of his life, both in Mexico and in the United States. He was of the Catholic faith. He was loved by his entire family will be dearly missed by everyone who knew him.

Sanitago leaves behind his loving wife; Sanjuana Reyes Gomez of LaBelle, children; Santiago Reyes, Jr, Jesus Reyes, Sylvia Delgado, Carmen Ramos, Reina Mendez, eightteen grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren, two brothers; Francisco Reyes and Celso Reyes, four sisters; Maria S. Camilla, Estefana Hernandez, Maria Jesus Alaniz, Antonia Chiuhua, and many extended family members and close friends.

Mass of Christian burial will be held Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church with Father Juan Carlos Sack presiding. Burial will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, July 12, 2021 at the LaBelle High School Auditorium.

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

Loving husband, father,grandfather brother and friend Macario Dominguez, age 49, of Moore Haven, Florida, passed away after a courageous battle on July 5, 2021 at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

Macario was born on January 2, 1972 in Mexico to Francisco Dominguez-Santos and Aurea Lopez-Flores. He worked for many years as semi-truck driver for Wedgworth Inc.He was a member of Saint Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Moore Haven. Macario was the loving husband of Stephanie Lowman Dominguez. He was a kind hearted man who always met a friend everywhere he would go. He will be dearly missed by everyone who knew and loved him.

Macario leaves behind his loving wife; Stephanie Dominguez of Moore Haven, Florida, son Johnathan Dominguez of Moore Haven, Florida, Aaron Lopez and his wife Myrna Reyna of Moore Haven, Florida, three grandchildren; Maricela Ortega, Kamila Cleary, and Aaron Lopez Jr. five brothers; Miguel Dominguez, Justino Dominguez, Flumenico Dominguez, Ernesto Dominguez, Erasmo Dominguez, four sisters; Maricella Dominguez, Bertha Dominguez, Grieselda Dominguez, Miguelina Dominguez and many extended family members and friends.

Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. July 21, 2021 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Clewiston. Mass of Christian burial will be held July 22, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at Saint Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Moore Haven where Father Marcial Garcia will preside; Burial will take place in Ortona Cemetery.

Chelsea Chirila, 31, of Fort Myers, Florida was called home on Friday, July 2nd, 2021.
Raised by Wanda and Bob Chirila in Labelle, Florida with 11 adopted brothers and sisters, Chelsea was an extraordinary and loving person that brought warmth and passion to everyone in her life. Chelsea never met a stranger and greeted everyone with a charismatic energy that could brighten the darkest of days.

With a love for music and the arts, there was not a dance floor, microphone, or camera she would meet without captivating a crowd with her personality. She was nurturing, empathetic, and loved with no limitations or conditions. Chelsea used these remarkable traits to get involved in a number of local foundations and community outreach programs, raising money and contributing her time and resources to the betterment of local youth.

Chelsea was greeted in eternity by her grandparents, J.C. and Madeline Sprouse, whom she shared a very special bond with. She is survived by her mother and father, Wanda & Bob Chirilla,siblings: Amy, Monica, Jonathon, Hope, Faith, Isabella, Holly, Michael, Owen, Sam and Charli, nieces and nephews, and her beloved Boston Terrier, Dairy, along with countless members of her extended family and friends.

Area Agency Sponsoring Free Las Vegas/Broadway Entertainment

The stars perform live on Zoom with free shows for seniors and families

FORT MYERS, FLA., USA, July 12, 2021-- Stars from Las Vegas, Broadway and late-night television are performing free online shows for Florida seniors over the age of 65. “Mysteries of the Mind” is provided by the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida and will continue through the end of September.

Mentalist, magician, medical anthropologist and Las Vegas headliner Paul Draper has teamed up with Broadway performers to present live variety shows on Zoom twice a month, specifically customized for seniors. Magicians, musicians, and other world-class entertainers perform and interact with seniors directly through the video conferencing platform, providing laughter, engagement, enrichment and social connection via virtual technological wizardry. Every show also includes mindfulness exercises proven to help with relaxation, mobility, and overall health


Draper’s internationally acclaimed, award-winning show, Mysteries of the Mind, combines magic, music and mentalism, taking viewers through the secrets of human nature and the wonders of the universe. He breaks the laws of physics and defies the rules of reality. He has performed for Apple Headquarters, Yale University, A&E, YPO, Hallmark, The History Channel, J.J. Abrams and Dick Van Dyke. He has also delivered performances in front of David Copperfield and Adam Cheyer the inventor of Siri.

Draper has appeared as himself in many television shows and documentaries. These include Hell's Kitchen, Pawn Stars, House Hunters and Criss Angel Mindfreak, along with the HBO-sponsored The Comedy Festival at Caesars Palace, Ghost Adventures, and Houdini: Unlocking the Mystery.

He is also on the senior faculty of the worlds most prestigious school for magicians. The International Magicians Society gave him the Merlin award for best corporate magician, while the president of the Society of American Magicians recently honored Draper with a presidential citation as the world preeminent performer and teacher of virtual magic performances.

JULY 14th
Robert Creighton
5:00pm Eastern
Click HERE to register



On July 14, Broadway star Robert Creighton, who is currently starring as Weselton in Disney’s Frozen, will perform. Creighton, best known for his television roles on Elementary, Law & Order, The Family and Life on Mars, has played many well-known roles on Broadway. He played Timon in The Lion King and Amos in Chicago. He also has appeared in The Little Mermaid, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and more.
Click HERE to register

JULY 28th
Wendi Bergamini
5:00pm Eastern
Click HERE to register

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Dakota Redd New Chief Nursing Officer At Hendry Regional Medical Center

CLEWISON, FL. -- Hendry Regional Medical Center today announced Dakota Redd, R.N., as the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO).

Redd has over 35 years of diverse clinical healthcare experience in cardiovascular nursing, emergency medicine, and nursing leadership. He previously held the positions of Administrative Nursing Supervisor, Patient Safety Officer, and Emergency Department Director at HRMC. Before coming to Clewiston, he served as Director of In-Patient Services and Emergency Department at a critical access hospital in Potosi, Missouri.

Redd brings an extensive background in critical access hospital nursing operations. “My focus is community-based, with a passion for the patient experience. I look forward to creating a framework of nursing excellence with an emphasis on tailored care for our patients,” stated Redd.

His leadership style is hands-on and transformative, with a focus on three key areas of patient experience, quality, and communication.

“We are pleased to have Dakota Redd accept the position of CNO,” said R.D. Williams, C.E.O. “His commitment to quality healthcare and the patient experience will elevate our pledge to compassionate, innovative, and high-quality care close to home.”

“Nursing has been a joyous journey and has given me so much. I am looking forward to giving back to the staff of Hendry Regional and the residents of Hendry County,” said Redd. Redd earned his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Maryville University.

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Miami Man Arrested In LaBelle

MIAMI MAN ARRESTED ON NARCOTIC CHARGES

On Saturday, July 3, 2021 at approximately 2:30pm, Hendry County K-9 Deputy, M. Afonso, observed a blue in color BMW traveling at an excessive speed as it entered the City of LaBelle. The deputy conducted a traffic stop in the area of Hickpochee and N. Elm Street.

The driver was identified as 23 year old Jose Luis Alvarez Chavez of Miami. While speaking with Alvarez Chavez and the passenger it was discovered that the driver’s license had been suspended since December of 2019; the driver was then placed under arrest.

While speaking with the driver and passenger, a strong odor of marijuana was emitting from inside the vehicle. A search of the vehicle was conducted, deputies located approximately half pound of marijuana, and Xanex and D-Amphetamine sale pills. Additionally deputies located a firearm and approximately $10,200.00 in cash.

Alvarez Chavez was taken into custody and transported to the Hendry County Jail on charges of two(2) counts of Possession of Controlled Substance without a Prescription, Possession of Marijuana over 20 grams, Possession of Marijuana with intent to Sell, Mfg or Deliver, Actual Constructive Possession of Synthetic Marijuana, Driving While Licensed Suspended and/or Revoked.

Alvarez Chavez was released on July 4, 2021 on $26,000.00 bond.

Clewiston Man Arrested On Drug Charges


CLEWISTON MAN ARRESTED ON MULTIPLE DRUG CHARGES

On Saturday, July 3, 2021, Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Vice-Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant at 813 E. El Paso Ave., in Clewiston.

Upon executing the search warrant deputies made contact with 36 year old Juan Carlos Rico, who was the sole occupant of the residence.

An initial interview revealed that he did have marijuana in the residence and had a Marijuana medical card, but had never had marijuana prescribed to him. Rico admitted to deputies that he was a meth addict and revealed a glass pipe that he used for meth.

The search of the residence revealed numerous related items that would be consistent with not only the use of illegal narcotics, but also equipment and documentation in the sale and trafficking of narcotics.

Rico was taken into custody and transported to the Hendry County Jail on charges of Trafficking Methamphetamine, Possession of a Controlled Substance w/o a Prescription, Possession of Marijuana under 20 grams, Possession of Drug Equipment.

Hendry County Offices Closed Tuesday Afternoon

LABELLE, FL. -- Please be advised that, due to the threat of inclement weather from Tropical Storm Elsa, Hendry County government offices will be closed beginning at 1pm on Tuesday, July 6, 2021.

Offices are expected to resume normal business hours on Wednesday, July 7, 2021.

Additional information regarding closures will be sent out if necessary.

Monday, July 05, 2021

Electric Out For Several Hours In Port LaBelle - Vehicle Crash Cause?

LABELLE, FL. -- The electric has gone out several times Monday for several hours total. It may be the result of someone hitting a light pole on Birchwood Parkway north of SR80. The pole is down and the spot where the pole was is full of water.

This location has been the site of many pole and tree vs. vehicle crashes in the last few years. We suspect the curve on Birchwood, when vehicles cross SR80 or turn from SR80. is unexpected when drivers are distracted or under the influence. 

Traveling either on SR80 or Birchwood south of 80 is a straight stretch of road for miles. Turning on to Birchwood north of 80, if traveling over the Birchwood mph speed limit, one may be surprised by the 45 degree turn suddenly appearing before the driver. There are no warning signs of the curve, only the 25 mph speed limit sign. Lots of trees and light poles are in the median just waiting for the wayward driver.

See lots of previous crash stories in this Birchwood area

Friday, July 02, 2021

Glades County Signs Local State of Emergency For Hurricane Elsa

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Glades County BOCC met this afternoon at 2:30pm to sign a Local State of Emergency in response to Hurricane Elsa. Earlier this morning the National Hurricane Center upgraded Tropical Storm Elsa to hurricane status. At this time Glades County could receive tropical storm force winds Monday morning (7/05/2021).

Glades County Emergency Management will be monitoring the progress of the storm throughout the holiday weekend. The Emergency Operation Center is at a Level 2- Partial Activation.

All Glades County Government Offices will be closed July 5th, 2021 in observance of Independence Day.

Sandbags are available for pick up at the Emergency Operation Center (1097 Health Park Drive, Moore Haven, FL 33471).

John Goodman Arrested On Child Port Charge

HENDRY MAN ARRESTED ON CHILD PORN CHARGES

LABELLE, FL. -- On July 1, 2021, Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit executed a search warrant on a home in Hendry County where 44 year old John Goodman resides.

It was discovered thru investigation that an inappropriate conversation was being had with an undercover agent, and Goodman sent pornographic images of what appeared to be a pre-teen female. This activity occurred using the KIK app

A conversation had between Goodman and the undercover agent was captured and reported to Hendry County Sheriff’s Office. After reviewing the conversation and images forward to the Major Crimes Unit, Detectives were able to positively identify the man as Goodman and were able to also identify the female minor thru previous law enforcement contact.

John Goodman is a former law enforcement officer who was employed with the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office. He began his employment on May 22, 2000 as a Correctional Officer and September 24, 2001 was reassigned to Road Patrol. Goodman was terminated on November 20, 2002 for Moral Character Standards. It is not believed that he worked in law enforcement after that.

Goodman was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Hendry County Jail where he is being held on charges of Distribution of Child Pornography and Using a Minor in the Production of Pornography. He is currently being held on a $75,000.00.

Fort Denaud Road Closing July 8

LABELLE, FL. -- Beginning Thursday, July 8, 2021, Hendry County’s contractor, Community Asphalt Corp., will be conducting drainage pipe removal and installation services requiring full road closure on the west end of Fort Denaud Road from SR80 to Fort Denaud Bridge Way in LaBelle, FL.

Operations will require the road to be temporarily closed with local traffic permitted only. Visual message signs and traffic control signage will be in place to detour traffic to SR80 and Huggets Road.

The work is expected to have a completion time of approximately two (2) weeks and will occur during weekdays, 7am - 7pm.

The speed limit will be reduced through the project area.

Motorists and pedestrians should use extra caution when traveling through the work zone.

Please note that this schedule is tentative and subject to change. The Hendry County

Engineering Department will notify of any changes.

Residents or motorists with any questions or concerns can contact the Hendry County Engineering Department at 863-675-5222.

SUV Crashes Into Sheriff's Vehicle

LABELLE, FL. -- A crash in LaBelle Thursday at 10:15 p.m. as reported by the FHP:

Vehicle 1 (Chevrolet Trailblazer) stopped for a stop sign on Park Avenue, at the intersection of State Road 29. Vehicle 2 (marked Hendry County Sheriff's Office Vehicle) was traveling north on State Road 29, approaching Park Avenue. 

Vehicle 1 initiated a left turn onto southbound State Road 29. In doing so, Vehicle 1 traveled into the path
of Vehicle 2. The right front of Vehicle 2 collided with the front of Vehicle 1. 

Driver 1 was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital with serious injuries. Driver 2 was transported to a local area hospital with minor injuries.

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Corps of Engineer Campground Closings And Re-openings

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District announces additional reopenings and the temporary closure of the Ortona South Campground for campers due to construction, 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).

The Ortona South Campground will be temporarily closed to campers until further notice due to planned construction, and we are not taking reservations until construction is complete.

W.P. Franklin North

The campground gate is 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 recreation.gov. 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 is open.

Ortona North

The Fishing Pier on the north side of the spillway at the Ortona Lock and Dam is open for public use from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., including access via both the North Side Access and the Ortona South Side. The large group shelter will be open to groups of 25 or less and may be reserved at recreation.gov. CDC guidelines are posted at all facilities that are open. The North Side Access to the Ortona Lock is now open.

Ortona South

The gate will be open to the public from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for day use. The wooden fishing pier will be open to the public during these hours. 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 is open and accessible for public use from the Ortona South Recreation Area and the north access area.

Obituaries - Fecundo, Sellers, Rumbarger, Gonzalez

Jose Roberto Facundo, age 83, of LaBelle, passed away June 30, 2021 in Lehigh Acres.

He was born Sep. 8, 1937 in San Benito, TX, to the late Evaristo and the late Luisa (Gonzalez) Facundo.

He retired from A. Duda & Sons as a Driver.

He was a member of Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana.

Survivors include his wife: Aurora (Gallegos) Facundo
three sons: Robert Facundo, Noe Facundo and Michael Facundo
five daughters: Brenda Facundo, Luisa Facundo, Linda Facundo, Aurora Facundo and Candace Facundo,
three brothers: Jr, Juan and Daniel
five sisters: Maria, Dora, Amelia, Lupe and Sara
23 Grandchildren, 12 Great Grandchildren, and 1 Great Great Grandchild

Funeral services will be held Thursday July 8, 2021 at 10 AM at Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana, LaBelle with Pastor John Gallegos officiating. Interment to follow at Fort Denaud Cemetery.

Visitation will be Wednesday from 6 to 7 PM at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL.

Retha June Sellers, age 70, of Palmdale, passed away June 27, 2021 in Sebring.

She was born Apr. 4, 1951 in Greenville, KY, to the late Jimmy Ray and Eula Mae (Mayes) Blake. Retha married Jimmy Lee Sellers.

 Retha was a school bus driver for Hendry County Schools for many years before she retired. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend. She will be dearly missed by everyone who knew and loved her. She enjoyed spending time gardening, working outside, with her two 4 legged children; Peanut and Bubby Dee.

Retha leaves behind beautiful memories with her husband; Jimmy Lee Sellers of Palmdale, mother, Eula Mae Blake, daughter; Julie Brown and husband Bradley of Providence, Kentucky,step-daughter; Lanel Morris and husband Bill of Dawson Springs, Kentucky, step-son; John Sellers and wife Angie, of Newnan, Georgia, seven grandchildren, six brothers; Jackie Blake, Tommy Blake, James Blake, Ernie Blake, Jimmy Blake and Gary Blake, two sisters; Brenda Prow, and Sandy Blake.

Celebration of her life was conducted at Palmdale Baptist Church on Thursday, July 1, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. where a visitation was held one hour prior to the service. Rev. Earl Cline was the officiating minster for the celebration of life service.

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

Kenneth E. Rumbarger, 82, of Moore Haven, FL died peacefully on June 23, 2021, in Palms West Hospital, Loxahatchee, FL with his wife of 16 years, Nancy, by his side.

Ken was born on October 9, 1938, in Petrolia, PA to the late Kenneth W. Rumbarger and Dorothy (Relic) Rumbarger. He graduated from Karns City High School in 1956 and went on to study industrial engineering at Pennsylvania State University. Ken proudly cheered for the Nittany Lions from his season ticket seats for over 50 years.

Ken’s degree in industrial engineering eventually led him to an illustrious career working for Pennzoil, and living in Oil City, PA, Clendenin, W. VA, and Karns City, PA where he retired as the plant manager of Penreco in 1990. Ken enjoyed retirement and often said he found himself so busy he wondered how he ever found time to work.

Ken was active in civic and church communities everywhere he lived. He served as president of the Jaycees and was especially fond of the time he spent coaching baseball in Oil City. Ken was a frequent patron of community theatre, and an especially ardent supporter of productions in which his grandchildren had roles. Ken was very proficient with computers and enjoyed working on the newsletters for his community and producing Christmas cards featuring Nancy’s artwork every year.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy; his children, Robb (Julie); his daughter, Lynn McFadden (Tim); his grandchildren, Trevor McFadden (Molly Smith) and Molly McFadden (James Carr); and his great granddaughters, Isla and Daphne. He is also survived by his sisters, Marilyn Rantilla, Carol Stiehler and Kay Stonebraker (Jerry); his brother, Richard Rumbarger; as well as former spouse and mother of his children, Linda Gannon; his three stepsons and a stepdaughter and numerous nieces and nephews. Ken was preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Beverly and a wife, Patricia.

The celebration of his life will take place in October.

Sira Gonzalez, age 90, of Clewiston, passed away June 21, 2021 in Clewiston.

She was born Oct. 28, 1930 in Cuba , to the late Arturo Camacho and the late Gloria Montaner.

Survivors include her husband: Basilio Gonzalez
a daughter: Mayra Gonzalez
a brother: Roberto Camacho
1 Grandchild & 1 Great Grandchild

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.