Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Health Alert For Lake Okeechobee Algal Toxins

Moore Haven, FL - The Florida Department of Health in Glades County has issued a Health Alert for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins in Lake Okeechobee. This is in response to water samples taken on September 21, 2021. 

The public should exercise caution in and around various locations in Lake Okeechobee. For specific locations please visit

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

Do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have contact with algae, discolored water, or smelly water.
Keep pets away from the area. Waters where there are algae blooms are not safe for animals. Pets and livestock should have a different source of water when algae blooms are present.
Do not cook or clean dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms. Boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins.
Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.
Do not eat shellfish in waters with algae blooms.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Florida Keys' Watercolor Kapers - The Sponge Adventure

The Sponge Adventure, (Part 5, Excerpt 36)

by Bob Kranich

This is 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. The guys have just taken the Sea Breeze out of Key West trawling. There are just off the Continental shelf. They don’t know it but a real storm is on the way!

The Sponge Adventure

“Aye Capt’n! We’re on it!” Amos said.

“Captain!” David knocked on the wheel house door, ”Sea turtles, there’s three of them.”

“We can’t catch’em David, they’re protected.”

“Yep, Capt’n. But I’ve got a hunch.”

“What’s that David?”

“Calico scallops.* They might be feeding on the Calico larva. I thought I detected signs on some fish we just brought in.”

“Tell you what David, I’m going to flip around 180 and then get the net out. We’ll move in off the shelf a bit and hit bottom. Just a short run, 15 minutes or so.”

“She’s out, Capt’n!” David yelled.

“That’s 20 minutes, guys, bring her up.”

They went through the same motions. Nets up and in, booms up and then the modified boom superstructure pulling the net with the catch over the rear.

“Look Capt’n, I was right!” David exclaimed with glee.

Amos was dumping out the nets. A huge pile of Calico Scallops poured out on the deck.

“Well guys, it’s a good catch! That’s the good news. Now for the bad. We’re going to anchor, and shuck them out here. I want to get those shells back on the bed so the juveniles have a chance to live and grow.”

“Ooooh, Captain!” they both said.

“It’s a good catch,” Amos reminded David and he started up the freezing compartment.

“We’ll pack them in there. Now let’s get going. I’ll help.” Bob said, “This is going to make this trip worthwhile, guys. Think about that.”


“Sun’s going down. Amos rustle us up some grub, and we’ll eat, and rest up,” Bob said yawning.

Middle of the night…

Captain Bob woke up, sat up on the bunk. He could hear David and Amos forward breathing heavy, almost snoring. He thought, something's strange, something's up. The boat was rocking quite a lot and the wind was blowing a lot more than when they bunked down. He slipped on his clothes and boots and went out through the lower area to the rear deck.

The full moon was up there, but the clouds were racing by. The wind was blowing in gusts and the swells were long and deep…and becoming large choppy waves.

He hurried back through the galley and hollered, “Hey guys, Amos! David! Something's up! I think we got a storm on the way!”

The two men started to move. Bob went up the steps to the wheel house. He flipped on the radio…nothing but static.

Just then Dave came up. “What’s up, Capt’n?”

“Make sure everything is tied down, and batten down the hatches. Let’s get the anchor up.”

“Amos is on it, Capt’n. I’ll help him.”

By this time the moon was gone, the wind was screaming through the booms and rigging. Waves were up, and the boat was rocking violently…from left to right and front to rear. “Anchors up, Capt’n.” David came through the door, hanging on to steady himself.

“You guys watch the gear aft. I’m going to head for the Tortugas.”

“Watch out, and don’t do anything crazy! You guys are worth more to me than this boat!”

The motor roared into life. Bob checked the compass and pointed the boat north-northwest. Even though Tortugas was due north, the wind and waves were hitting them from the west. He had to over steer, partially into the wind. The big and high outrigger booms were banging left and right.

He was going to holler to the guys when he heard the winch tighten up the topping tackle which lowered and lifted the booms. Amos had tied a rope around his waist and David was holding and watching as Amos jumped out and momentarily engaged the winch.

Bob could barely see back through the inside of the wheelhouse through the rear quarters. Amos was crawling back through the rear door. David was holding on and reeling him in, hand-over-hand as he pulled on the rope.

Bob put his attention back out front. He couldn’t see very far, just up to the bow. All he could do was point the boat with the shaking compass. Rain was coming down in torrents and blasting across from port (left) to starboard (right). This combined with the ups and downs as they climbed one huge wave and then went crashing down into the trough with mountains of water all around.

The higher center of gravity caused by the two booms and the rear boom superstructure didn’t help any. They made the boat lean way over...first one side and then the other. Waves were awash over the deck.

Bob thought, sure this is an ocean-going trawler...but not an ocean-going storm trawler! We should be in port now, not trying to fight a least not one so violent as this!

Just then the boat climbed up and over a giant wave...Bob heard the motor race as the prop came out of the water. Then they went rushing down hitting the bottom of the wave. Another wave hit them from the side, totally engulfing the boat. They came out of it, and as they climbed another wave, huge sheets of water were pouring off the deck.

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.

Craig Frey At October Audubon Program

LABELLE, FL. -- Welcome to the 2021 - 2022 season of the Hendry-Glades Audubon program series! Our second program of the season “Agricultural Extension: What it is And What Are the Benefits?” presented by Hendry County Extension Director Craig Frey is right around the corner coming to you in person or via Zoom at the Dallas Townsend Agricultural Extension Office 1085 Pratt Blvd. Labelle on Monday, October 11 , 2021 at 7pm!

Craig Frey is the Multi-County Commercial Vegetable Extension Agent for Southwest Florida and County Extension Director for Hendry County. He has served in these roles since May 2020. Craig has a Doctor of Plant Medicine degree and M.S. in Horticulture from the University of Florida as well as a B.S. in Engineering, with a concentration of mechanical engineering, from Messiah College, in Grantham, PA. He is passionate about sustainable vegetable production and is thankful for the opportunity to work in commercial vegetable extension in some of the most productive counties in Florida

You won't want to miss this presentation! Masks and Social Distancing are required at in person events hosted by Hendry-Glades Audubon. If you are unable to attend in person, you can still join us via ZOOM! The link to the zoom meeting is available on the Hendry-Glades Audubon Facebook page or you may request link by contacting or Margaret England 863-517-0202 or

-Submitted article

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Tour De Hendry County Cyclists Race 84 Miles

 CLEWISTON, FL. -- Motorists might have been surprised Saturday morning to encounter hundreds of bicyclists speeding down State Road 80 between Clewiston and LaBelle. 

The Tour De Hendry County Gran Fondo 2021 was organized by Clewiston resident Dennis Chapman, an avid bicyclist. 

The 84-mile road race route started at the Evangel Assembly of God on Berner Road and traveled westward down SR80 to Flaghole Road and a journey through Montura Ranches to Keri Road. Then onward to SR 29 in LaBelle, down Cowboy Way, then eastward back to Clewiston on SR80.

207 bicycle racers signed up for the event, coming from all over Florida. The Evangel church help provide support and space on the church grounds for the large event courtesy of Pastor Mark Witt, and Hendry Sheriff's Department  escorted the racers along the route.

Some of the top cyclists sped along at 25-30 miles per hour, managing to get back to Clewiston in about three and one-half hours. A few were spotted having had some bad luck with flat tires along the long route.

Chapman managed to score about 30 kid's bicycles at Walmart to hand out to lucky children, as kids had fun peddling around a track at the church.

Drone video by Don Browne - Road Racers along SR 80/US27 in Clewiston

Additional Drone Video westbound cyclist peloton on Keri Road

Friday, September 24, 2021

Vaccine Authorized For Booster Doses - Who Should Get It

LABELLE, FL. -- The Pfizer vaccine has now been authorized for booster doses.

The Pfizer booster can be administered 6 months after the second dose. At this time, combining vaccine types is NOT recommended. (If you received two Moderna vaccines or one J&J vaccine, you should NOT receive the Pfizer booster).

Those who qualify for the booster include:

Adults who are 65+
Adults who reside in a long-term care facility regardless of age
Adults over 50+ with underlying medical conditions
Adults 18+ with underlying medical conditions based on individual risk
Adults 18+ who are at an increased exposure to COVID due to employment (This includes healthcare workers, jail staff, daycare staff, school staff, and grocery store workers)

Additionally, a distinction was made between "additional doses" and "booster doses".

A booster refers to a dose given to those who had built enough protection after the first two doses, but protection has waned over time.
An additional dose is for someone who didn't get enough protection after the first two doses, such as the severely immunocompromised.

Information regarding booster doses for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson Vaccines will continue to be researched.

Visit the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions page for information about COVID-19 vaccinations. Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination | CDC

Get answers to questions or help finding a vaccine near you. Help is available in English, Spanish, and many other languages.
CDC Resources in Languages Other than English

Call: 1-800-232-0233
TTY 1-888-720-7489
Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL):1-888-677-1199

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Obituaries - Harjo, Howell, Pyle, Karinski, Henderson, Gonzalez

Ramsey Harjo, age 62, of Seffner,FL passed away September 20, 2021 in Seffner, FL.
He was born Aug. 30, 1959 in Ft Lauderdale, FL.
He was predeceased by his parents Mr. Harjo and Ruby Osceola Harjo.
He worked as a Carpenter.

Survivors include his wife: Victoria (McDuffie) Harjo
daughter: Dialani Harjo
brother: John Harjo

Graveside services was held Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 10:00 am at Big Cypress Cemetery, Big Cypress Reservation with Rev. Paul Buster officiating.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Patt B Howell, age 59, of Lehigh Acres, passed away September 20, 2021 in Fort Myers.
He was born Apr. 27, 1962 in Honduras, to the late Lacey Clyde and Iris Ann (Diamond) Howell.
He owned a Pest Control Company.

Survivors include his wife: Dorothy Joy Howell
son: Tim
three daughters: Christina, Julie and Brittany
mother: Iris Ann (Diamond) Howell
two brothers: Alton and Toby
one sister: Claris
8 Grandchildren

Graveside services will be held Wednesday, September 29, 2021 at 11:00 am at Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston.
Interment will be Wednesday, September 29, 2021 in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

John L Pyle, age 84, of LaBelle, passed away September 19, 2021 in LaBelle.
He was born Jan. 5, 1937 in Monticello, KY, to the late Glanton and Martha (Lowe) Pyle.
He was the owner of a Carpet Store prior to retirement.

Survivors include his wife: Penny (Bunch) Pyle
son: Glanton
three daughters: Terri, Carol and Mary
5 grandchildren & 7 great grandchildren
He was a very loving man

Funeral services were held Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 11:00 am at First Christian Church, LaBelle with Pastor W. T. Maddox Jr. officiating.
Visitation was Thursday from 10 to 11 AM at First Christian Church, LaBelle, FL.

Eddie Robert Karinski, age 26, of Alva, passed away September 19, 2021.
He was born Jan. 7, 1995 in Chicago, IL, to Ronald and Ann (Shutty) Karinski.
He worked as a Screener for an Aluminum Company.

Survivors include two daughters: Elliana and Rhylee
mother: Ann Shutty-Tolley
father: Ronald Karinski
two sisters: Natasha Karinski and Roselyn Karinski
three brothers: Darren Tolley, Joseph Tolley and Dale Tolley.

Funeral services will be held Friday, October 1, 2021 at 12:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Fort Myers.
Visitation will be Friday from 11am to 12 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Fort Myers, FL.

Hilda Lee Henderson, 96, passed away on September 19, 2021 in LaBelle, FL. She was born on February 17, 1925 in West Palm Beach, FL to the late Luther and Minnie (Jernigan) Raulerson.

Survivors include 2 daughters, Linda Goolsby of Jamestown, North Carolina, Sharon Miller of LaBelle, FL and one son John M. Henderson Jr. of Bronson, FL; Four sisters: Dorothy Mosier, Jeanette Volpato (Tom), Susan Carr (Ron), Barbara Barker (Sam); 2 brothers: Lloyd Raulerson, Vernon Raulerson and 2 brothers who proceeded her in death, Harold Raulerson and Earl Raulerson.

Grandchildren: Dana Harris, Amy Johnson, Ashley Henderson, Robert S. Miller (Nancy), and Kari Whidden (Chris).

Great Grandchildren: Tyler Harris, Amanda Davidson, Courtney Gonzalez, Amber Hamric, and Chance Taylor.

She had numerous great great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank the staff of Orchid Cove at LaBelle for their continued care and support.
Arrangements made by Akin Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL.

Jose David Gonzalez Tapia, age 33, of Moore Haven, passed away September 18, 2021 in Fort Myers.

He was born Sep. 7, 1988 in Mexico to David and Maria Celia (Tapia Martinez) Gonzalez Castro. He was a loving and caring son, father, brother, and fiancé who will be greatly missed by everyone who loved him.

Jose leaves behind his loving parents; David Gonzalez - Castro and Maria Celia Tapia-Martinez, Sisters; Rubicella Gonzalez-Tapia, Yoselyn Gonzalez-Tapia, brother; Luis Angel Gonzalez-Tapia, children; Anai Lizete Gonzalez, David Gonzalez, Natalia Camila Gonzalez, fiancée; Karla Cecilia Umanzor and many extended family members and friends.

Funeral services will be held Friday, September 24, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Father Jiobani Batista Officiating. Visitation will be Friday from 5-6 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

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

DeSantis Lets Parents Choose To Quarantine Or Send Kids Back To Class

Governor Ron DeSantis was joined by newly appointed State Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to announce that the Florida Department of Health issued a new rule, allowing parents to decide whether their child should be taken out of school after an exposure to COVID.

Emergency Rule 64DER21-15 prevents exclusion of students from in-person schooling; gives rights to parents and legal guardians and their children; provides health protocols for symptomatic or COVID-19 positive students; and allows parents and legal guardians to choose which protocols to implement when their student has had direct contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. It is effective as of today, September 22, 2021.

“Parents have the right to have their healthy kids in school,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “The idea that schools are somehow a big problem when it comes to spread of the virus has been refuted yet again. Not only is the forced quarantining of healthy children disruptive to a student’s education, but many folks in Florida are not able to work from home. With this rule, we are following a symptom-based approach to quarantining students in Florida.”

State Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said “We must make sure that we are doing what is right for parents and for students. There’s not a single high-quality study that shows that any child has ever benefited from forced quarantining policies, but we have seen demonstrable and considerable harm to children.”

Last week Hendry County schools had 53 students quarantined, 31 from the elementary schools.

UPDATE: as of 9/27/2021 Hendry schools had 27 students quarantined, 7 from elementary schools
UPDATE: as of 10/1/2021 Hendry schools had 8 students quarantined
UPDATE: as of 10/8/2021 Hendry schools had 3 students quarantines, 3 tested positive

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Hendry Hospital Resumes Elective Surguries

Clewiston, FL (September 22, 2021) – Hendry Regional Medical Center will resume elective surgeries Monday, September 27, with safety guidelines in place.

For the past month surgeries and other elective procedures were placed on hold while the dedicated staff at HRMC stood on the front lines and battled the COVID19 pandemic within the community.

New and existing elective surgery procedures will resume with safety guidelines in place. Ongoing safety measures include: no visitors, screening questions for all patients prior to entry, temperature checks, and all staff and patients required to wear face masks.

Patients seeking elective general surgery require a COVID19 test, and results obtained prior to the surgery date. Patients must receive a negative result as part of the required pre-operative testing.

Patients undergoing outpatient surgery and/or procedures may have one designated visitor who will be permitted to assist with the arrival and registration process if needed. This visitor will leave the facility during the procedure/surgery, remain near the premises, and will be contacted by phone post-procedure/surgery.

Hendry Regional Medical Center has two state of the art surgery suites with an additional procedure unit. To schedule an appointment with a HRMC general surgeon call 863-983-5026.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021


LaBelle, Fla - The Health Department in LaBelle has coordinated with StatLab to provide FREE testing for COVID-19. 

Testing will be provided as a “drive-thru” service. Testing will be provided by StatLab 1-844-4MYLABS (1-844-469-5227) 

Results are expected within 48 to 72 hours. NOTE: The Health Department will not have access to your test results. StatLab will email or call you with the results.

Saturday, September 25th at the Hendry County Health Department – LaBelle
1140 Pratt Blvd, LaBelle, FL 33935
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Above: Drone Photos by Don Browne - LaBelle Health Department Testing Site

El Departamento de Salud de Florida en los condado de Hendry en LaBelle ha coordinado una unidad movil para ofrecer PRUEBAS GRATUITAS para COVID-19 para adulto y ninos.

Sabado, Septiembre 25, Departamento de Salud del Condado Hendry 1140 Pratt Blvd, LaBelle
9:00 a.m. a 2:00 p.m. Pruba de PCR: (Resultados disponibles en 48-72 horas.

No hay pruebas rapidas disponibles en este evento)

Monday, September 20, 2021

Seminole Tribe Partners With Compulsive Gambling Council

SANFORD, Fla. (Sept. 20, 2021) -- The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling (FCCG) is launching a new, no-cost Online Program for Problem Gamblers (OPPG), created with partnership support from the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Compulsive or problem gambling is classified as a behavioral addiction by the American Psychiatric Association, and research shows this disorder is similar to substance-related disorders based on brain origin, physiology, association with other mental health problems, and treatment.

Floridians can now access online interactive support immediately, on-demand. No insurance is needed and no additional payments for in-person services are charged.

Designed using the latest science, combined with data generated from decades of assisting problem gamblers, the FCCG’s OPPG program offers meaningful and effective ways for people in Florida to get help.

“We want to lead the way for advancing problem gambling support services available in the United States,” said Jennifer Kruse, Executive Director of FCCG. “And we are proud of our almost 30-year relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Seminole Gaming. Without them, we could not have created this program.”

The 8-week online program, accessed through the FCCG’s 24-hour HelpLine (888-ADMIT-IT), allows the user to self-pace exercises, videos, and readings, while interactive questionnaires provide individual feedback on participant results from licensed mental health professionals.

Informed by research from the fields of psychology, psychiatry, mental health, and problem gambling, the program’s core content was developed by several of the world’s leading experts, incorporating interventions shown to help problem gamblers obtain a path to recovery.

“This program is rooted in FCCG’s extensive experience with problem gamblers, drawing upon data from 30 years of managing the helpline for one of the largest states in the USA,” said Dr. Rory Reid, a research psychologist and International Certified Gambling Counselor with over 20 years of clinical experience working with problem gamblers. “The content targets important issues faced by problem gamblers.”

The OPPG eliminates barriers that keep people from seeking traditional face-to-face help services, including cost, travel times, remote geography, childcare challenges, stigmatization of gambling, methods of learning, and fears about confidentiality.

“One of the big questions globally in the gambling field is, ‘why don’t more people who experience problems seek gambling help services?’ The Florida Council’s OPPG tackles this challenge head on,” said Paul Pellizzari, Vice-President of Global Social Responsibility for Seminole Gaming and Hard Rock International.

Release of OPPG marks Responsible Awareness Education Awareness Week, September 19-25, an annual national event promoted by the American Gaming Association. The FCCG, Florida’s authority on issues related to gambling addiction, will be traveling to all six Seminole Gaming and Hard Rock Casinos in Florida to promote OPPG and other services as part of Seminole Gaming and Hard Rock’s PlayersEdge program, which includes ongoing efforts to educate casino employees who interact with gamblers.

In addition to the new online program, the FCCG’s 24-hour confidential and multilingual HelpLine provides many resources for gamblers, loved ones, and others in need of assistance, including referrals to:
Professional treatment services provided by certified gambling addiction mental health professionals
Self-help support group options
Self-exclusion programs for land-based and online forms of gambling, including cryptocurrency and stock trading
Resources for limiting access to cash and restricting transaction permissions
Self-help literature

“OPPG is another way we can offer hope for positive change,” Ms. Kruse said. “Problem gamblers can better understand their behavior, improve emotional regulation, develop sustainable personal coping strategies, and reduce the shame often associated with the disorder.”

Gambling addiction is treatable for those who seek help. For anyone in need of assistance, contact the FCCG’s 24/7 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine via phone (888-236-4848), text (321-978-0555), email (, chat (, or social media (e.g., Facebook and Twitter), and by downloading the 888-ADMIT-IT mobile app. Every contact is completely free and confidential, and multilingual support is available.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

ATV Crash Kills Immokalee Teen, Injures Driver

CLEWISTON, FL. -- A Sunday morning ATV crash around 10 a.m. resulted in the death of a 14-year old male from Immokalee. From the FHP crash report:

Vehicle 1 (all terrain vehicle ) was traveling east on Neely Davis Road near county road 830. Driver 1, a 13 year old from Immokalee failed to negotiate a curve and lost control. Vehicle 1 overturned and came to rest on Neely Davis Road. 

Passenger 1, age 14 from Immokalee was pronounced deceased on scene. 

Driver 1 was transported to Lehigh Regional Medical Center with serious injuries. Two other passengers, both males from Immokalee aged 15 and 16 had no injuries. No one was wearing a helmet.

The investigation is ongoing.

Fort Myers Trooper Pingry Succumbs To COVID

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes and Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Acting Director Lieutenant Colonel Troy Thompson released the following statement regarding the passing of FHP Trooper Brian Pingry:

“It is with great sorrow that we share the passing of one of our own – Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Brian Pingry. Trooper Pingry was a highly regarded member of the Florida Highway Patrol for more than seven years and will be truly missed by the entire Florida Highway Patrol and FLHSMV family. We send our deepest condolences to the Pingry family – please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

– FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes
– FHP Lieutenant Colonel Troy Thompson

Trooper Brian Pingry was a member of the 129th Florida Highway Patrol basic recruit class and served more than seven years with the Florida Highway Patrol in Troop F – Fort Myers. He was a Field Training Officer where he trained and mentored new troopers. Trooper Pingry succumbed to complications from COVID-19 in Lee County. Please respect the family’s wishes for privacy at this time as they grieve this devastating loss.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Obesity Rates Double Since 2018

The number of states in which at least 35% of residents are obese has nearly doubled since 2018 – and disparities persist – according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Up from nine states in 2018 and 12 in 2019, the 2020 Adult Obesity Prevalence Maps show that 16 states now have an adult obesity prevalence at or above 35%: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware (new this year), Indiana, Iowa (new this year), Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio (new this year), Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas (new this year), and West Virginia.

Disparities in obesity persist

Adult obesity prevalence by race, ethnicity, and location is based on self-reported height and weight data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Combined data from 2018-2020 show notable racial and ethnic disparities

Among states and territories with sufficient data:
0 states had an obesity prevalence at or above 35% among non-Hispanic Asian residents. However, some studies have indicated that the health risks associated with obesity may occur at a lower body mass index (BMI) for some people of Asian descent.
7 states had an obesity prevalence at or above 35% among non-Hispanic White residents.
22 states had an obesity prevalence at or above 35% among Hispanic residents.
35 states and the District of Columbia had an obesity prevalence at or above 35% among non-Hispanic Black residents.

Adults with obesity are at increased risk for many other serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and poorer mental health. Individuals should talk regularly with their healthcare provider about their body mass index, family history of chronic disease, current lifestyle, and health risks.

What it will take

To change the current course of obesity will take a sustained, comprehensive effort from all parts of society. We will need to acknowledge existing health disparities and health inequities and address the social determinants of health such as poverty and lack of health care access if we are to ensure health equity. These maps help by showing where we need to focus efforts to prevent obesity and to support individuals with this disease.

Community-level data on adult obesity prevalence is available at the CDC’s PLACESexternal icon website.

Obituaries - Gloria Cavazos, 85

Gloria Cavazos, age 85, of Fort Myers, passed away September 15, 2021 in Fort Myers.
She was born Oct. 12, 1935 in Hebbronville, TX, to the late Ascensio and Dionisia (Solis) Gutierrez.

Survivors include one son: Alfredo Cavazos III
four daughters: Anna Maria Alvarez Glorianna Lerma, Evangelina Martinez and Dionicia Vasquez Cavazos
four brothers: Ramiro Gutierrez, Homer Gutierrez, Reynaldo Gutierrez and Eloy Gutierrez, and one sister: Sonia Aguiaga
17 Grandchildren & 26 Great Grandchildren

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at 10:00 am at Our Lady Queen Of Heaven Catholic Church, LaBelle. with Father Jiobani Batista officiating.

Interment will be Wednesday, September 22, 2021 in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle.
Visitation will be Tuesday from 5 to 7 PM at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL.

Free COVID Testing At Hendry Health Department September 18

LaBelle, Fla - The Health Department in LaBelle has coordinated with StatLab to provide FREE testing for COVID-19. Testing will be provided as a “drive-thru” service. Testing will be provided by StatLab 1-844-4MYLABS (1-844-469-5227) Results are expected within 48 to 72 hours.

Saturday, September 18th at the Hendry County Health Department – LaBelle
1140 Pratt Blvd, LaBelle, FL 33935
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Photo: Hendry Health Dept. by Don Browne

El Departamento de Salud de Florida en los condado de Hendry en LaBelle ha coordinado una unidad movil para ofrecer PRUEBAS GRATUITAS para COVID-19 para adulto y ninos.

Sabado, Septiembre 18, Departamento de Salud del Condado Hendry 1140 Pratt Blvd, LaBelle
8:00 a.m. a 4:00 p.m. Pruba de PCR: (Resultados disponibles en 48-72 horas.
No hay pruebas rapidas disponibles en este evento)

Friday, September 17, 2021

Boil Water Notice Lifted For Country Village

(September 17, 2021) – LaBelle, Fla. – The precautionary boil water notice in effect for Country Village has been lifted.

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

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

Claudia J. Bowers Dies At 76

 Claudia J. Bowers, age 76, of Clewiston, passed away September 14, 2021 in Clewiston. 

She was born Apr. 26, 1945 in Vero Beach, FL, to the late Claude L. and the late Meta (Ingram) Crosby.  Claudia married Kenneth Bowers. She worked as a secretary for many years. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and sister who will be dearly missed by everyone who loved her.


Claudia leaves behind her loving husband; Kenneth Bowers, sons; Kenneth Bowers, III, Dwight Bowers, and one daughter; Mimi Bowers Watson, seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.


Claudia was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers; Monte L. Crosby and Lloyd I. Crosby and one sister; Edwina King.


Cremation rites will be accorded and a celebration of life will be planned for a later date for family and friends.


Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Clewiston

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Elderly Glades Sheriff's Volunteer Crashes SUV

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- An 85-year old female, a volunteer with the Sheriff's Volunteers on Patrol program, was driving a Glades Sheriff’s Vehicle Tuesday at 11:45 am and traveling southeast on 8th Street in the Buckhead Ridge Community of Glades County. 

Driver then placed the vehicle (an SUV) in reverse gear.

Vehicle began traveling backward in a northeasterly direction across both lanes of 8th Street. As a result, the left rear of Vehicle 01 collided with a metal fence on the grassy shoulder. There was no injuries to the driver.

Agriculture Technician Jobs Open Immediately

IMMOKALEE, FL. -- UF/IFAS GCREC is Hiring! Work with strawberries, hops, blackberries, artichokes and so much more. Working for the greater good - agriculture!

Hortlab is in search of 3 OPS research technicians, below are the job descriptions:
- Collect plant and soil samples for nutrient analysis;
- Harvest and grade fruit and vegetable crops;
- Set up and maintain irrigation in the field;
- Data collection, entry and management.

If you know anyone who has interest in field research and horticultural crops, please let them contact Dr. Shinsuke Agehara at or at 813-419-6583. Training will be provided, and the hiring will be done immediately.

Obituaries - James Weatherford, 75; Helen Hartman, 66

James Steven “Steve” Weatherford, age 75, of Alva, passed away September 9, 2021 at 9:00 p.m. at Hope Healthcare Services in Lehigh Acres with his family around him.

Steve as he was known to everyone was born on August 31, 1946 in Miami, Florida to Frank Lee and Rita Dare Caison Weatherford. Steve was raised by his grandfather, James Lemuel Weatherford who went to be with the Lord in 1968. Steve never met a stranger and always had a friend everywhere he would go. He enjoyed fishing, playing softball and horseshoes in his younger days, and watching the Miami Hurricane Football Team. He especially loved spending time with his family and building strong bonds and memories with his grandchildren. He worked as a local truck driver for most of his life.

Steve leaves behind his loving wife Alice Harris Weatherford of Alva, Florida, his three daughters; Nancy Perkins of Buckingham, Stephanie Sposato of Labelle, and Sara Elizabeth Smutney of Fort Myers, his grandchildren; Anthony Perkins, II, Kendall Weatherford, Jack Kaune, Jason Smutney, Jr, Josie Smutney, Averie Dunn and Wade Sposato, three great grandchildren and one on the way, one sister; Tina Clapper of Plantation.

Celebration of Steve’s life was held on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home – LaBelle, where Pastor Bill Maddox did officiate. Visitation was one hour before the service. Burial will take place at Fort Denaud Cemetery – LaBelle.

Helen Joyce Hartman, age 66, of Okeechobee, passed away September 8, 2021 in Lehigh Acres.
She was born July 2, 1955 in Tampa, FL, to the late Willby and Virginia (Glisson) Hall.

Survivors include spouse Richard Hill
son: Shawn M Craft
two daughters: Amanda Paris Razo and Miranda Craft,
one brother: Clinton Hall
four sisters: Sheila Messick, Gail Hall, Tina Hernandez and Jennifer Hernandez
10 grandchildren & 2 great grandchildren

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Friday, September 10, 2021

FREE COVID Vaccinations And Extra Goodies At Health Department

FREE COVID-19 Vaccinations (Pfizer) for Adults and Kids Available at Hendry County Health Departments in LaBelle and Clewiston

Pfizer Vaccine for ages 12 years and older.

Hendry County - The Florida Department of Health will offer the mobile vaccination unit in LaBelle and Clewiston. The community will have the opportunity to receive FREE Pfizer Vaccine for ages 12 and older. 

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: No booster doses will be available at this event.

(Drone Photo: Hendry Health Department by Don Browne)

FREE – Food Voucher, hygiene kit, rain suit and socks to all individuals vaccinated. Please see the date and locations below:

Saturday, September 18th at the Hendry County Health Department – LaBelle
1140 Pratt Blvd, LaBelle, FL 33935
8:00 a.m. to 11:30

Saturday, September 18th at the Hendry County Health Department – Clewiston
1100 S. Olympia, Clewiston, FL 33440
1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Evento de vacunacion Covid-19, Departamento de salud de; condado Hendry

Sabado, Septiembre 18. Vacuna Pfizer para mayores de 12 anos (se require el consentimiento de los padres y los deben estar presentes para los ninos de 12 a 17 anos).

Gratis- cupones de alimentos, botiquines de higiene personal, impermeables y calcetines para todas las personas vacunadas. Nota: No habrá dosis de refuerzo disponibles en este evento.

Florida Keys' Watercolor Kapers by Bob Kranich

The Sponge Adventure, (Part 4, Excerpt 35) by Bob Kranich

This is the fourth 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. The guys have just taken the Sea Breeze out of Key West trawling. There are just off the Continental shelf.

The Sponge Adventure

It was also a safe stopping place and had water from local wells. As time went on, it became the center of activity of old Key West for the sponge, turtle, fish, and shrimping industries.

David was moving the throttle forward. Where he was in the rear Bob could feel the surge of power. He loved that, it gave him a great feeling both inside and out. He finished coiling some rope, made sure all the lines were secure, and took a last look at the two boom lifting tackles. The booms were up vertical and snug against the mast. Bob went up front along the side rail and into one of the side doors to the wheel house.

“How’s it going, David?”

“Feels fine, Capt’n.”

“Just as soon as we get past the sub base…pour it to her!”

“Aye aye, Sir!” David answered.

As they cruised by the west side of Key West, they could see the Sub-Tender, U.S.S. Bushnell,* together with two subs tethered alongside. The subs looked like toys next to the huge mother ship. Then a couple of Navy two-motor patrol planes out of Boca Chica Naval Air Station flew by overhead gaining altitude. Boca Chica was just two Keys up from Key West and became very important and grew during the Second World War.

Amos hollered up from the galley, “How about some coffee and donuts guys?”
“Be right down, Amos. Thanks. I’ll be right back, David, then I’ll take a turn at the wheel, so you can go down and eat.”

Cap’n, I figure if you’re going out a ways and then trawl, I’ll make some sandwiches, and put them in the fridge. Then we can eat as we work.”

“You read my mind, Amos. Thanks for the coffee and donuts.”

“Well David, Amos read my mind, you probably heard. While you are in the galley with Amos, I’ll go out twenty miles. Then just this side of the Continental Shelf we’ll rig for fish, mid-trawl.* I want to try at the edge of the drop-off.”

“Then we’ll head due west for another 20 miles along the edge of the shelf. Possibly we’ll get some tuna or mackerel. If that doesn't work we’ll head north towards Tortugas. Tonight we’ll either anchor off the island there or dock.”

David took over the wheel from the captain. The seas were not heavy, just gentle swells. They were making about 8 knots (9 miles per hour). A few clouds floated lazily along.

“We’re getting close Capt’n,” David said bringing Bob out of his thoughts.

“Ok, David, I’ll take over. You and Amos get the net adjusted, and winch the otter boards* over the side.”

“Nets and boards out Capt’n,” David yelled.

Bob had both wheel house doors open. He could also see out the back window of the enclosure. He left the wheel momentarily and looked out. He then went back in and adjusted the engine for a boat speed of about 3 knots. (2.5-3 knots equaling about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 miles per hour is a good speed for trawling. Not too fast but enough to keep the net open. They used flotation on the upper edge and weight on the lower edge of the net. This and the speed controlled the vertical opening.)

They cruised along due west with the swell hitting them from the left (south). Dave was at the transom (rear) watching the net. Amos was locking the winch which controlled the modified “T” boom superstructure. This had the cable and hook which lifted the catch in the net when it was pulled in. The towing booms or outriggers were horizontal out both sides pulling on the net.

“Amos, how about those sandwiches? I’ll take a Coke,” the Captain said.

“Sounds good,” David hollered.

As he ate his sandwich Bob looked about. He thought, we’re all alone out here except for that one sport fishing boat heading out way behind us. Probably going for marlin. Of course there are the gulls perched on the rigging of this ship. They are just waiting for us to pull the net up. They are looking for fish just as we are!

“It’s been a couple of hours. Let’s bring it up guys.” Captain Bob cut the engine way back and went out and to the rear to help.

Amos worked the winch. First the net was pulled up. Then he lifted both booms. This brought the net over the rear of the trawler. David hooked the net up, and then up went the boom superstructure. Now the net was over the rear, aft of the hold’s* hatch.

“Looks like we’ve got some mackerel. There is some by-catch* in there too.”

“Throw them over as fast as you can,” The captain said. “They may not die.”

They had about 20 mackerel, legal size. The rest were undersize mackerel and assorted non-commercial fish. They opened the hatch and threw the mackerel into empty boxes and shoveled some ice on top. The hatch was insulated, and so was the hold. The ice would keep five to seven days depending on just how hot the weather was. They also had a refrigeration unit that would freeze a small part of the hold. They would only use it if needed.

Bob went back to the wheel house, stopped, turned, and hollered, “Tell you what guys…Clean her up some, and I’m going to cruise for about half an hour. Then we’ll drop the nets for another half an hour and after that, we’ll turn North and head for the Tortugas.”

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.

61 Year Old Female Dies In Glades Crash

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- A 61 year old female from Jupiter, Fl died in a crash in Glades county Thursday night at 9:45.

From the FHP report:

Vehicle 01 (Fiat 500X) was eastbound on S.R. 78 approaching the intersection of Linda Road.

Vehicle 02 (Semi Truck), driven by a 43 year old male from Apopka was westbound on S.R. 78, just south of the intersection of Linda Road.

Vehicle 01 crossed over the center line and into the path of travel of Vehicle 02.

As a result, the front left portion of Vehicle 02 collided with the front left portion of Vehicle 01.

Vehicle 02 came to a controlled stop in the westbound lane of S.R. 78. Vehicle 01 rotated counterclockwise and came to final rest, facing north in the eastbound lane, partly in the westbound lane.

The Driver of Vehicle 01 was pronounced deceased by Glades County EMS. She was not wearing a seatbelt according to the FHP. The truck driver had no injuries.

The Florida Highway Patrol Traffic Homicide Unit continues to investigate this traffic crash.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

County Road 720 Closure September 10

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Due to unforeseen circumstances, Hendry County’s contractor, OHL USA, Inc., will be continuing to conduct roadway construction services requiring road closure at the railroad crossing on CR720 in Clewiston, FL on Friday, September 10, 2021.

The work includes milling and resurfacing of the existing roadway adjacent to the railroad along with additional roadway sections.

Operations will require the CR720 railroad crossing to be closed. Visual message signs and traffic control signage will be in place to detour traffic.

Motorists should allow extra time for their commute.

Operations will resume on Friday (09/10/21) at 6:00am and end at 5:00pm.

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.

Guard Guilty In Attempt To Smuggle Drugs Into Jail

Fort Myers, Florida – Leslie Samuel Spencer (49, Port Charlotte) has pleaded guilty to attempted distribution of methamphetamine and MDMA (commonly referred to as “Molly”). He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to court documents, Spencer worked as a correctional officer in Fort Myers at the Charlotte Correctional Institution’s offsite work camp. In March 2021, Spencer agreed to smuggle three ounces of methamphetamine, one ounce of MDMA, a small amount of synthetic marijuana, and two cellphones into the prison and provide it to an inmate in exchange for a payment of $400.

On March 31, 2021, shortly before his shift was to begin, Spencer met with an undercover FBI agent in the parking lot of a retail store located off Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Fort Myers. There, the undercover agent provided Spencer with sham drugs, two cellphones, and $400 in cash. Upon leaving the store, Spencer was arrested.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael V. Leeman.

Obituaries - Miguel Alvizo, Tammy Walker, Lilia Martinez, Reuel Wood

Miguel Angel Alvizo 46, of Clewiston Passed away September 5, 2021.
He was born in Mercedes, TX to Jose Xavier Alvizo and Maria Rosa Ramirez.

He was a Harvest Operator.
He is survived by his Father: Jose Xavier Alvizo
Brother: Zacarias Alvizo
Half Brother Nathaniel
Arrangements are being handled by the Akin-Davis Funeral Home Clewiston.

Tammy E. Walker age 50, passed away on Sunday, September 5, 2021, at the Hope Hospice in Lehigh Acres, Florida. Born in Clewiston, she was the daughter of Steve and (Connie) Walker and Katherine and (Dwight) Barksdale.

In addition to her parents, she leaves five children, Alexia Storey and her fiance Jerome, Steve Storey and his wife Ashley, Luke Storey and his wife Gaige, Macy Zammerilla, Nicholas Zammerilla and six grandchildren, Peyton Deas, Kenzie Deas, Alana Baxter, Lillie Baxter, Alyce Storey, Steve Storey Jr. and many nieces and nephews. She was the sister of Tina Thigpen, Sabrina Kinder and Marvin Kinder.

Lilia R. Martinez, age 96, of LaBelle, passed away September 5, 2021 in LaBelle.
She was born Feb. 7, 1925 in Fontanale, Cuba to the late Vicente Lamelas and Sixta Ponce.

She was the Owner of Martinez Store.

Survivors include: loving surviving Daughter Marcia Martinez Friedman, loving Grandsons Andrew Friedman and James and wife Tia Friedman, Great grandson Auzzie. Granddaughter Lindsey Friedman and husband Mike Pena, loving Great grandchildren Valentina, Chloe and James Pena.
Step-son Ceferino Quintana.

She was predeceased by a Son Joaquin Martinez, and Sisters Nereida and Arjelia Lamelas.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, September 16, 2021 at 11:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Father Jiobani Batista officiating. Interment will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston.
Visitation will be Thursday from 10 AM to 11 AM at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

The passing of Reuel Lowell Wood “Woody” Born to a Quaker family on December 26, 1911. 

Lowell or “Woody” as he was more commonly known grew up and attended primary through Highschool in Knightstown, Indiana. Upon graduation he moved to Buffalo, NY where he worked for Consolidated Aircraft, and attended night school for production and design engineering. 

During the Second World War he worked at BELL Aircraft Corporation and notably was Chief Production Engineer for the BELL P-39 AiraCobra aircraft. 

Woody was a master designer, craftsman, engineer, manufacturer, and production specialist. He mastered both metal, and wood material design and building. His mechanical acumen was second to none. He was a successful business man in the tool and die industry. 

He was an avid aircraft, auto, and motorcycle enthusiast. Notably he held a Private Pilots license, and an active Florida Drivers license til 107 years old. 

Woody’s Love of Music and Dance spanned a lifetime of commitment and enjoyment. He was a multitalented musician with brass and woodwind instrument, and played the piano. He enjoyed “Big Band” music and was an avid ballroom dancer until 109 years old. 

Woody was a resident mechanical genius and problem solver serving the needs of anyone and everyone who came to him for help. He made time for everyone. Woody was the embodiment of his Quaker upbringing, and it is widely agreed upon by all who knew and LOVED him that he lived life as close to that of Christ ever witnessed. 

It has also been said that “Woody lived Life to the fullest, up to the moment that he left us.” 

Woody went to be with his heavenly family and our Lord and savior in the early morning hours of September 4th. 

He will be sorely missed. He is survived by: The Wilbur Wood family of California. The Burl Wood family of Lindsey, CA. The Phil Wood family of Baxter, IA. The Mary Bevins family of Washington State. The family of Woody’s sister Vivian. Nephew Bill (Gayle) Besosa; Great Nieces, Janine (Steve) Richardson; Anne (Larry) Cremeans; Maria (Nick) Nichols;Cindy Besosa; Great Nephews Steve Saenz; David Besosa; Four Great-great nephews and niece, and five Great-great-great nephews and niece. Pre deceased by niece Carmen Saenz. Daughter Pat (Mick) Kilbourne; Grandsons and grand daughters Richard (Lori) Williams, and their four children Lindsey, Owen, Evan, and Heath Lowell. Robin (Brett) Jones, and their two sons Tyler and Jacob. Billy (Brandi) Williams, and their four children Morgan and Jack; Tracy (Joe) Vignaroli and their children Gunner, Gavin, and Gianna. Dear Friends; Don (Donna) Meister; Loving and dedicated caregiver Gloria (Marcos) Roldan; Dance Partner and Loving friend Irene Snyder. 

His entire extended “GREATEST GENERATION” Dance family of the Kennedy Center.

10:30 am - 11:00 am
Friday, September 10, 2021
Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church
310 Campbell
LaBelle, Florida

Celebration of Life
11:00 am
Friday, September 10, 2021
Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church
310 Campbell
LaBelle, Florida

Committal Service
Fort Denaud Cemetery

Robert Mathias Guilty Of Drug Related Charges

 LABELLE, FL. -- Robert James Mathias, 44, of Moore Haven, was found guilty as charged of Resisting/Obstruction of an Officer without Violence, Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Possession of Paraphernalia. The jury returned the guilty verdict following a one-day trial in Glades County.

In 2019, deputies with the Glades County Sheriff’s Office, found Mathias asleep in a van by the river, at the Alvin Ward Boat Ramp. He had his turn signal on and was parked. 

Deputies looked inside and saw a marijuana pipe in the center console and what appeared to be a baggie of methamphetamine in a shoe next to the defendant. Deputies had Mathias step out of the van and placed the shoe with the drugs on top of the vehicle.

The defendant then grabbed the shoe and threw it towards the river. Deputies retrieved the items which did test positive for meth.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 5th. Assistant State Attorney Will Dorman prosecuted the case.

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Country Village Water Shut Off Starts September 13

(September 7, 2021) – LaBelle, Fla. – Port LaBelle Utility System will be shutting off water for a planned fire hydrant exchange. 

Hendry County’s Contractor, Strickler Bros. Underground Inc. will be replacing fire hydrants throughout the Country Village subdivision. The water will be off from 11 am – 2 pm for a total of three hours per day.
Monday, September 13th
Tuesday, September 14th
Wednesday, September 15th

Residents will also be under a precautionary boil water notice starting Monday September 13th. The Port LaBelle Utility System will notify all customers when the precautionary boil water notice has been lifted.

The interruptions will also affect the Florida Southwestern State College campus in LaBelle.

Residents with question or concerns are asked to call the Port LaBelle Utility System Office at 863-675-5376.

Monday, September 06, 2021

Boil Water Notice For Port LaBelle

(September 6, 2021) – LaBelle, Fla. – A precautionary boil water notice has been issued for the Port LaBelle Utility System service area.

The precautionary boil water notice will be lifted when satisfactory bacteriological sampling results are obtained.

Port LaBelle customers may have noticed low water pressure at homes Monday afternoon. 

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

Drone Photo by Don Browne - Port LaBelle Water Plant

UPDATE: (September 8, 2021) – LaBelle, Fla. – The precautionary boil water notice in effect for the Port LaBelle Utility System service area has been lifted.

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

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

Obituaries - Marisol Ferrer, Aged 69

Marisol Acosta Ferrer, age 69, of Clewiston, passed away September 2, 2021 in Fort Myers.
She was born June 10, 1952 in Havana,Cuba , to Mario Acosta and Migdalia Ferrer

Survivors include her husband: Rolando Marque
sons: Robert Marquez and Rolando Marquez Jr
daughter: Yaqueline Marquez
parents: Mario Acosta and Migdalia Ferrer
three brothers: Mario, Manuel and Miguel
seven sisters: Mayra, Marta, MariaElena, MariaCristina, Lissette, Margo and Carmen
12 grandchildren: Jose Julacy; Robert Jr; Richie; John Sebastian; Jaylen; Maiangel; Julius; Sarai; Jiancarlo; Kimberly; Katalina: Neli Leah
great grandchild: Jose Jr

Friday, September 03, 2021

Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Free In Immokalee

IMMOKALEE, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis announced that new monoclonal antibody treatment sites will open in Collier county. In total, the state has opened 21 sites, serving more than 13,000 patients. These treatment sites will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., have the capacity to serve more than 300 patients per day, and are located at:

Old Dollar General
1500 Lake Trafford Road
Immokalee, Florida 34142
Hours: 7 days a week, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Monoclonal Antibody Therapy for COVID-19

Monoclonal antibody treatments can prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death in high-risk patients who have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19. These treatments are widely available in Florida.

Treatment is free and vaccination status does not matter. If you are 12 years and older and are at high risk for severe illness due to COVID-19, you are eligible for this treatment.
In clinical trials, monoclonal antibody treatment showed a 70% reduction in hospitalization and death.

For high-risk patients who have been exposed to someone with COVID19, Regeneron can give you temporary immunity to decrease your odds of catching the infection by over 80%.

Patient Portal to register for an appointment

Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Support Line
(850) 344-9637

Obituaries - Rev. Robert Howell, Tammy McCluskey, John Doak, Cinthia Tapia

Cinthia Tapia, age 36, of Clewiston, passed away September 1, 2021 in Clewiston. She was born Jan. 30, 1985 in Hialeah, FL, to the late Jose Rodriguez and the late Yolanda Hernandez.

She graduated from Tallahassee Community College. She was a Loan Processor for First Bank.

She was a woman of very strong faith, that was willing to help anyone in need and found great happiness in helping them.

Survivors include her husband: Renaldy Tapia
sister: Dayamit Cabanas

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, September 15, 2021 at 6:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, 438 E. Sugarland Hwy. Clewiston

Visitation will be Wednesday from 5 to 6 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

John Charles Doak age 31
born December 18,1989
passed away August 30, 2021

He was born in Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Damon R. Doak and Barbara J Stanton both Deceased.

He was raised in LaBelle, FL and Graduated High School at LaBelle, High

He has worked for Walmart for several years and he loved his job. He loved living in town, he loved movies, and most of all his family.

His memory will live on through all of us, for the love we all shared for him now bonds us all together.

He is survived by his devoted Grandmother Mary L Stanton and his Aunts. Susan Stanton and Cynthia Stanton of LaBelle, Florida who raised him to be the respectful man he was

He also leaves behind two sisters Joy Doak of Cocoa, FL and Jennifer Armington of Rock Creek Oh and 2 nephews, and 4 nieces.

Those we love don't go away, They walk beside us everyday, Unseen, Unheard, but always near. Still loved, Still missed, and very dear.

Service Times for September 24, 2021 are Pending and will be updated once available

Tammy Elaine McCluskey, age 50, of LaBelle, passed away August 29, 2021 in LaBelle.

She was born Mar. 19, 1971 in West Hollywood, FL, to the late Fred Cloyd and the late Elizabeth Louise (Hattaway) McCluskey.

She graduated from Edison College. She was a Guardian Ad Litem for the State of Florida.
She also worked as a Substitute Teacher for Hendry County Schools.
She taught sewing, quilting and arts & crafts at LaBelle 4-H, and volunteered 2 years at LaBelle Middle School for sewing and quilting. She also repaired sewing machines.

She always helped everyone and everybody loved her.

She was a 3 time cancer survivor.

She was preceeded in death by her brothers William Fred "Billy" and Donald Edward McCluskey

Survivors include one daughter: Sabrina McCluskey
one brother: Moses (Liz)
four sisters: Susan (Tommy) Deras, Darlene Caldwell, Beth (Charles) Lovett and Bonnie Dotson
grandson: Zachary Lee McCluskey

Funeral services will be held Monday, September 13, 2021 at 6:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle.

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

Missionary, Rev. Robert W. Howell, age 98, of Lehigh Acres, FL departed his earthly life for his heavenly home on Saturday, 8/28/2021 at Gulf Coast Hospital in Ft Myers, FL.

Robert Walton Howell was born May 17, 1923, in Utila Cays, Bay Islands, Honduras to the late Edward and Edith Howell. 

He served with the Merchant Marines during WW2. During his time on the ships, Robert surrendered to God’s call to return to Honduras as a missionary. He served there full-time for 64 years and continued preaching well into his retirement. He planted over fifteen churches along the northern coast of Honduras, served as a pastor in several of those churches, and loved the Honduran people dearly. 

In his spare time, he enjoyed building boats, singing, and reading his Bible. He was passionate about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and the hope of salvation. He lived a rich, full, and fascinating life. He loved to share stories about his childhood on the Islands, his adventures on the ships, and his experiences while following the Lord. He was charming, he loved to laugh, and he enjoyed life.

Robert was a beloved husband, devoted father, loving grandfather, and passionate pastor and teacher. His life impacted everyone who met him. He will be greatly missed.

Proceeded in death by his daughter Mary Jo Howell, 1st wife and mother of his children Dorothy Howell, 2nd wife Helen Howell, and Son Martin "Marty" Howell.

Survived by two sons and two daughters: Cheryl Howell (Widow of Martin Howell), Paul Howell (Lois), Robert "Bob" Howell (Sherry), Joy Howell (Patt), and Carol Howell-Sifert (Vic).

Twelve grandchildren: Amber (Howell) Vance, April Howell, Erik Howell, Katie Howell, Brianna Howell, Josh Howell, Aaron Howell, Christina (Howell) Vanaman, Julie (Howell) Vanaman, Tim Howell, Brittany (Howell) Crow, and Kristen Knowles.

Eighteen great-grandchildren: Jonathan Vance, Joey Vance, Javin Vance, Jackson Vance, Amberlyn Vance, Analiese Vance, Kaylyn (Howell) Mills, Dalton Howell, Caleb Howell, Andrew Howell, Noah Vanaman, Riley Vanaman, and Claire Vanaman, Matthew Vanaman, Natalie Vanaman, Reese Vanaman, Jude Vanaman, and Charlotte Crow.

One great-great-granddaughter: Hope Mills.

"His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Matthew 25:23

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21

There will be a brief graveside service for anyone who would like to attend at Ridgelawn Cemetery on Sugarland Hwy., Clewiston, FL on Friday, 9/03/2021 at 1:30 pm.

There will be no tent or chairs provided, so please bring your own umbrellas.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston, FL.

In lieu of flowers, the family is accepting donations to be allocated to his ministry in Honduras through the Robert W. Howell Memorial Fund GoFundMe page
Help us to continue the work for Christ in Honduras with the people Robert Howell loved.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Health Planning Council Job Openings

The Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida has several open job positions. Contact us at

Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator

HPCSWF is looking to fill multiple positions for Health Insurance Marketplace Navigators to cover a 10 county area including Lee, Collier, Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Hendry, Glades, Highlands, Sarasota and Manatee counties. These positions will vary from part-time to full-time.

Housing Resource Identification

The Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida, Inc. is seeking an organization or individual to contract with to provide housing resource identification services in DeSoto, Glades, and/or Hendry Counties. Our Housing Resource ID partner would be dedicated to
helping individuals or families to identify, locate and acquire housing.

Program Coordinator

Under supervision of the Director of Planning, this position provides coordination for the administration of Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida and the Southwest Florida Healthcare Coalition. The primary duties of the Program Coordinator will include coordinating meetings including documenting attendance and creating and distributing agendas and minutes, maintaining and updating contact lists and associated databases, updating the website, and compiling data.

Audubon Announces September 13 Eagle Watch Program

LABELLE, FL. -- Welcome to the 2021 - 2022 season of the Hendry-Glades Audubon program series! Our first program of the season “Eagle Watch: Monitoring Bald Eagle Nests in Florida” is right around the corner...coming at you live and in person (but also available virtually!) at the Dallas Townsend Agricultural Extension Office 1085 Pratt Blvd. Labelle on Monday, September 13th, 2021 at 7pm. We will have the honor of hosting Shawnlei Breeding from the Audubon Florida Center for Birds of Prey through Zoom! You won't want to miss this presentation.

If you are unable to attend in person, you can still join us via ZOOM! You will NOT need to preregister via the computer! The link to the zoom meeting is available on the Hendry-Glades Audubon Facebook page or link can be sent by contacting or Margaret England 863-517-0202 or