Saturday, October 30, 2021

Paula Porterfield Bischel Dies At 74

LABELLE - Paula Porterfield Bischel passed away October 15, 2021 in Riviera Beach at age 74.

She was born Nov. 20, 1946 in Fort Myers, Florida to the late Paul and the late Anne Lorraine (Taylor) Porterfield. 

Paula married Ralph W. Bischel; he preceded her in death on September 3, 2009. 

Paula enjoyed sewing, caring for her cats and being a loving and caring mother and friend. Paula was the owner and operator of Porterfield Oil Company in LaBelle for many years. 

She was a member of the Methodist faith. Paula leaves behind her loving son, Loren Daniel Bischel of LaBelle; and many extended family members. 

Paula's life was celebrated, Thursday, October 21, 2021, at Akin-Davis Funeral Home at 11 a.m. with Rev. W.T. "Bill" Maddox officiating. Visitation was one hour before service time also at the funeral home. Burial will be next to Ralph in Fort Denaud Cemetery.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

LaBelle Ministerial Association Meets November 1

LABELLE, FL. -- A meeting of the LaBelle Evangelical Ministerial Association will meet on Monday, November 1, 2021, at First Baptist Church LaBelle at 330 N. Main Street, LaBelle, FL.

The main discussion will be about the Community Thanksgiving Service which will be in Barron Park at 7 pm November 23, 2021. Pastor L.W. Howard is scheduled to be the speaker. We hope you can come and be part of the planning for this community service.

Obituaries - Susan Williams, Age 61; Cora Schaefer, Age 61

Susan L Williams 61, of Ft. Denaud passed away October 24, 2021 in Miami.

She was born Miami to the late Charles and Alice (Hermansen) Williams.
She was the Deputy Clerk of Court for Hendry County for many years.
She is survived by her Husband: Gary Williams
Brothers: Dick (Linda) Williams and Ronnie Williams.

A Memorial Service is Pending.
Arrangements are being handled by the Akin-Davis Funeral Home- LaBelle Chapel.

Cora June Schaefer 61, of Lehigh Acres passed away at home on October 22, 2021.

She was born in Rochester, NY to the late William F. and Ginger (Holin) Schaefer.
She worked as a Baker, most recently at Panera Bread.
She is survived by her Son: Tyler Thomas
Brother: Scott Schaefer
Sister: Lois Wing.

A Memorial Service is Pending.
Arrangements are being handled by the Akin-Davis Funeral Home-LaBelle.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Obituaries - Edgar Carlsen, age 97; Deanna Hall, age 82

Edgar Carlsen age 97, passed away on October 16, 2021 in Monticello, Florida.

Graveside service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 at Alva Cemetery - Alva, Florida.

Deanna June Hall, age 82, of LaBelle, passed away October 21, 2021 in Clewiston.

She was born Nov. 10, 1938 in Zanesville,OH , to the late Ralph and the late Evelyn (Nichols) Melvin.

She worked as a Bookeeper.

Survivors include one son: Destry Hall
one daughter: Missy Saldivar
5 Grandchildren & 13 Great Grandchildren,

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Phillips Road Closure October 28

LABELLE, FL. -- On Thursday, October 28, 2021, Phillips Road in LaBelle will be closed from 9am – 12pm for road maintenance activities.

Hendry County’s contractor, Pavement Maintenance, LLC (PMI), will be conducting road maintenance activities which will require temporary closure of the road.

The work consists of priming and sanding portions of the existing roadway where emergency repairs were made.

Motorists should allow extra time for their commute.

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

How To Keep Bats From Your Building

Bats in buildings? Fall is the time for exclusions.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is reminding the public that fall is an ideal time to exclude bats from your home or other structure. While Florida’s 13 native and beneficial bat species typically roost in trees, caves or other natural spaces, they can also be attracted to human-made structures.

Bat maternity season, the time when bats give birth and raise their young, ended Aug. 15. Fall is the ideal time to bat proof your home, after bat pups have been weaned and can fly and search for food on their own. Fall is also when you may legally exclude any bats that might occupy a structure on your property. It is only legal to use exclusion devices from Aug. 15 through April 15.

Exclusion devices, which allow bats to exit a structure but block them from returning to roosts, are the only legal and appropriate method to remove bats from your home or building. It is illegal in Florida to kill or harm bats. Bat exclusion is a multistep technique where all potential bat entry and exit points in a building are identified. To legally exclude bats, exclusion devices must be left up for a minimum of four nights and must be conducted when the overnight temperature is forecast to be 50ºF or above.

Bats are ecologically and economically beneficial. They serve critical functions worldwide due to their roles in insect pest control, and as pollinators, seed dispersers and fertilizers. Florida’s bats are insectivores and a single bat can eat hundreds of insects, including mosquitoes and other garden and agricultural pests, each night.

Florida is home to 13 resident bat species, including threatened species, such as the Florida bonneted bat. There are several ways that Florida residents and visitors can help our bats:

Preserve natural roost sites, including trees with cavities and peeling bark.
Dead fronds left on palm trees can provide roosting spots for bats.
Install a bat house on your property.
Report unusual bat behavior, as well as sick or dead bats: com/BatMortality.

For more information about how to properly exclude bats as well as other tips to bat proof your home, visit and click “Bats in Buildings.” Learn more about bats in Florida and ways you can help them thrive by visiting

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Increase In Florida WIC Benefits

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program is continuing the temporary increase to WIC’s Cash Value Benefit (CVB) of fruit and vegetable purchases for women and children. The approved benefit dollar amounts are as follows: $24 for children age 1-4 years, $43 for pregnant and postpartum women, and $47 for fully and partially breastfeeding women per month.

The Florida WIC food package includes fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and vegetables up to the
dollar amount on the WIC EBT card per participant in the family. For example, a pregnant
woman with a 3-year-old child will have a total of $67 CVB on their WIC EBT card per month.
WIC includes frozen or canned fruits and vegetables with no added sugar, syrup, artificial
sweeteners, fat, or oil. Organic fruits and vegetables are allowed.

The WIC program provides nutrition education, nutrition counseling, breastfeeding support, and
a variety of nutritious foods for eligible pregnant women, breastfeeding and post-partum women,
infants, and children up to age five who meet eligibility guidelines. See further details at Call for an appointment to apply for WIC today.

You may contact the WIC offices at the Health Departments in Hendry and Glades Counites: LaBelle WIC Office 1140 Pratt Blvd., LaBelle, FL 33935. Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. (863) 674-4078; the Clewiston WIC office, 1100 South Olympia Street, Clewiston, FL 33440 Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. (863) 983-1494; and the Moore Haven WIC office, 1021 Health Park Drive, Moore Haven, FL 33471, every 2nd and 4th Tuesday (monthly) from 8:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. (863) 983-1494.

For breastfeeding assistance, you may leave a message on the WIC breastfeeding hotline with
your contact information and a brief message at (863) 633-9401.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Recommendation On Flu Vaccine 2021

LaBELLE, FL - The Florida Department of Health in Hendry County encourages everyone to get their flu vaccine before Halloween.

Dr. Nancy Witham is the Medical Director for the Health Departments in Hendry and Glades Counties. She has been a medical provider for over 25 years and has always recommended the annual flu vaccine. Dr. Witham provided some answers to common questions regarding flu, the vaccine and prevention.

Q – What is the recommendation for getting a flu vaccine?

A - Yearly flu vaccines are recommended for everyone 6 months and older.

Annual flu vaccination is recommended strongly for parents and all caregivers of children younger than 6 months of age to help prevent flu infection in those too young to take the vaccine themselves.

Q – What are recommendations for people 65 and older?

A – The enhanced or high-dose flu vaccine is available for people over 65 which is designed to create a stronger immune response.

Q – How do flu vaccines work to protect me?

A – Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about 2 weeks after Vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with circulating flu Viruses.

Q – When is the best time to get the flu vaccine?

A – It is recommended that everyone over 6 months should be vaccinated by the end of October; “Flu Vaccine Before Halloween”.

Q – Is it safe to get a flu vaccine along with a COVID-19 vaccine?

A – Yes, you can get a COVDI-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time.

Q – Can the flu vaccine give you the flu?

A – NO, the flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. The flu shot (injection) does not have a “live” virus in it. All flu shots are inactivated vaccines.

Q – Are there other types of flu vaccines?

A – There is a nasal-spray type called Flu-Mist. It is made from a weakened but live flu strain, and it is considered a “live” virus. Talk to your healthcare provider BEFORE receiving this type to make sure it is right for you.

Q – What are side effects from getting the flu vaccine?

A – While the vaccine cannot give you the flu, some side effects are possible. Soreness, redness and/or swelling where the shot was given Headache, fever, muscle aches, nausea, and fatigue. Side effects are minimal and don’t last long.

Q – Where can I get the injected flu vaccine (flu shot)?

A – Talk with your healthcare provider, but most healthcare providers and pharmacies provide flu vaccines. The health departments provide free flu vaccines to children under the age of 18. Most insurances cover the cost for adults.

Dr. Nancy Witham - Health Dept. Medical Director

LABELLE, FL. - The Health Departments in Hendry and Glades Counties welcomes Dr. Nancy Witham as the new Medical Director. 

Dr. Witham has had a life-long interest in public health. She has been a resident of Southwest Florida since 1992 and established a small pediatric clinic in LaBelle. During her time in LaBelle, she worked closely with Hendry County School Board and the establishment of the Healthy Kids program in Hendry County – one of the first in the state!

She is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (Now called the Perelman School of Medicine). She received her Pediatric specialty training at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (Affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania).

Dr. Witham has always served her community and country throughout her life. During her time as a primary care pediatrician, she cared for many children from Hendry and Glades counties. She stated that she is thrilled to be able to continue to help them in a different role.

Prior to her medical training, she was a schoolteacher with the US Peace Corps in Ghana, West Africa. After her medical training, she served 4 years in the US Navy, overseas in Indonesia, and then as a pediatrician and faculty member at the Naval Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina. 

She joined Lee Physician Group in 1995. She provided care for children in Lehigh and Fort Myers. While mostly in Lee County during that time, she had opportunities to work with the dedicated staff at the health department in Hendry and Glades. She said, “Now that I am retired from primary care, I can devote more time to my passion with public health and I can’t think of a better group to help serve and protect the health needs of our area.”

“We are very excited to have Dr. Witham as part of the team. Her years of experience and passion for public health make her a valuable addition”. said Jennifer Hood, Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties.

Florida Keys' Watercolor Kapers by Bob Kranich

The Sponge Adventure, (Part 6, Excerpt 37)

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 three guys have just experienced a huge waterspout which as a real storm. They have just come out of it and are making sure all and everything is ok.

The Sponge Adventure

Then, as quick as it started, the wind slowed, and the waves eased off into huge swells. The rain was still coming down, but now Bob could see past the bow. It was getting faintly light.

Bob opened the interior door to the lower deck. “You guys still there?”

“Yep, Boss, what was that?” Amos asked.

Bob could see both Amos and David getting up off the floor.

“Don’t know, but I have a guess. Look away off to the southeast. I think we had just the outside touch of a giant waterspout.”

“You think just a part of it?” David asked. “I wouldn’t want to see all of it! Thank the Lord, we’re all in one piece!”

Just then the radio cracked out, “Warning! Warning! Huge water spout spotted 50 miles south of Tortugas in the Florida Straights. Moving east. All boats keep a watch out and steer clear!”

“Thanks a lot!” Amos said, “They’re a little late!”

“How does the gear look, guys?”

“Ok, Capt’n. There’s a lot of loose lines, but we made it,” Amos answered, “It was good we stowed the nets this evening after they dried.”
“Well guys, check everything, and give me a report. Then rest up. I’m going an hour or two toward the Tortugas. I’ll get you up and we’ll have breakfast. If nothing is broke, we’ll try for some more shrimp on our way back home.”


“Amos, thanks for that breakfast. We’ll rig up one 55 foot net. I just don’t like pulling two. This is about where we hit ‘em last week. So let’s do it! The depth finder says about 1,200 feet to the bottom, so let’s half that. If we hit ‘em we’ll unload and then double back toward Tougas.”

Bob pushed the throttle forward as he felt the drag of the net and the Pelagic (mid-water) trawl doors. Captain Bob tried to stay off the ocean floor to minimize the damage to the environment.

Hours later,

“Well, it worked again. We hit them, unloaded and doubled back, unloaded and then got a third load on the way home. Thanks guys. We’ll get in about four and go straight to Steadmans and unload. Check the cooler and hang on, we’re heading in!”

Leaving Steadman's…

“Well men, over a thousand pounds of Royal Red shrimp, some tuna and a nice haul of Calico scallops. What do you think, not a bad catch! Some money for each of us, and some for the backers. Tell you what, let’s come back tomorrow, check out the boat, do a good cleaning, some maintenance, and then take a break. We’ll come back next Monday.”

“Sounds good, Capt’n,” they both agreed.

After a full day of maintenance, things were all put back in place in the lower quarters, nets cleaned and mended, and rope and cables repaired. The storm had taken some toll.

Everyone they talked to were surprised and interested in their storm adventure, families, dock workers, and the captains. It seemed they were the only ones out in it.

Next morning…

“Well guys, here’s your checks. We did real good, so there’s some extra in them.” (Captain Bob always added a bonus if the catch total was more than expected. It kept his men happy and dedicated. He knew that good, enthusiastic, and talented workers were hard to find. He had two of them and he aimed to keep them!)

“Captain, I’m going to launch the skipjack tomorrow. Can you help?”

“Sure can. How about a shake-down cruise?”

“How did you guess? I’ve got provisions loaded for three days, and the sponge gear is stowed,” David said proudly.

“Ok it’s a deal, how about you Amos?” Captain Bob asked.

“I’d like to David, but the wife’s got plans. But count me in on another trip. You heading up Big Pine Key way?”

“Yes, the area I was telling you about, the old sponge fishing area. See you tomorrow, Capt’n.”

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 Online Florida News records, A Walk Across Florida.) As you read these stories you will experience Key West, the Keys, and the Caribbean. These stories span the time of the early 1800’s to 1969.

7 Arrests On Drug Charges At Evans Road Address

LABELLE, FL. -- On Friday, October 8, 2021, the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant at 669 Evans Rd., LaBelle, FL as a part of a lengthy investigation into a local Drug Trafficking Organization that affected multiple counties in South Florida.

Over the last several months, the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit has been investigating Michael L. Faz and several other co-conspirators involved in this Drug Trafficking Organization. The investigation revealed that the Drug Trafficking Organization had been responsible for trafficking pound quantities of methamphetamine, and ounce quantities of heroin into Hendry County.

Beginning in January of 2021, the HCSO Narcotics Unit began identifying members of the Drug Trafficking Organization, and were successful in purchasing large quantities of narcotics from various members of the Organization. The HCSO Narcotics Unit was able to successfully identify, disrupt, and dismantle this Organization. Further arrests and information regarding this investigation are anticipated at the completion of this investigation.

Additionally, the HCSO Narcotics Unit also investigated several other unrelated street level narcotics dealers/violators during the last several months. The HCSO Narcotics Unit held a warrant round up operation following the search warrant execution at 669 Evans Rd., LaBelle, FL; in which several of these subjects were taken into custody for narcotics related crimes.

Cleoson S. Casseus, 35, on 3 counts Sale of Methamphetamine, 3 counts of Sale of Heroin, 4 counts Public Order Crime /Use of a Two-Way Device to Facilitate a Felony, 1 count of Trafficking of Cocaine over 28 grams. Casseus is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail on $330,000.00 bond

Nashard L. Simons, 40, 1 count Sale of Cocaine, 1 count Public Order Crime /Use of a Two-Way Device to Facilitate a Felony, Resist Officer without Violence. Simons is currently being held on $167,500.00 Bond.

Jay CD Alexander, 43, 2 counts Sale of Methamphetamine, 1 count of Production of Narcotics and two Out of County Warrants for Probation Violation. Alexander is currently being held at the Hendry County Jail with No Bond.

Sara C. English, DOB: 37, 2 counts Sale of Schedule 1 or 2 Controlled Substance (Fentanyl and Oxycodone), 2 counts Public Order Crime /Use of a Two-Way Device to Facilitate a Felony. English is currently being held at the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office with No Bond.

Sandra J. Thaxton, 31, - 1 count Sale of Methamphetamine. Thaxton is being held with No Bond on two Glades County Warrants for Failure to Appear Grand Theft, and Trafficking in Stolen Property.

William T. Smiley, 43, - 1 count Sale of Methamphetamine. Smiley is currently being held on $35,000.00 bond

Malinda J. Sanchez, 44, 1 count Possession of a Controlled Substance without Prescription, 1 count Possession of Drug Equipment/Paraphernalia. Sanchez was released on October 9, 2021 on $9,000.00 bond.

Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit is also looking for 34 year old Cody Allen Hoffman and 43 year old Michael Lee Faz on drug charges.

Cody Allen Hoffman currently has an active warrant for Sale of Methamphetamine within 1,000’ of a Specified Area.

Faz also has active warrants for the following charges; several charges for Delivery or Sale of Methamphetamine and Sale of Heroin.

If you know the whereabouts of Hoffman or Faz please contact the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office at 863-674-5600.

Jennifer Hood New Health Officer-Administrator At Health Dept.

Hendry & Glades Counties, FL - Jennifer Hood was appointed as the Health Officer and Administrator for the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties in September 2021. 

Mrs. Hood brings more than 21 years of diverse rural public health experience and served in various roles within the Florida Department of Health – Hendry and Glades since 2000. She has served as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Assistant Director of Nursing, Nursing Director, and the Assistant Administrator for the health departments in Hendry and Glades Counties. She also worked as a Community Health Manager, a Tobacco Prevention Specialist, and a Family Support Worker with Healthy Families and Healthy Start.

Some of her responsibilities over the last twenty years have included direct management and supervision of multi-disciplinary teams serving in a wide variety of health programs including clinical services in 3 locations between Hendry and Glades Counties, Communicable Disease Surveillance and Investigation, Tuberculosis, and School Health oversight. She has directed the supervision of Healthy Start, Healthy Families, Drug Free Hendry County, Chronic Disease, Tobacco Cessation Programs, and the Ryan White program. 

 Some of her accomplishments include: Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification, served in Public Health responses including Hurricane Irma Glades ESF 8 Health & Medical representative, H1N1, Zika, Hepatitis A, and Covid. She currently serves on the Healthier Hendry/Glades task force, Healthy Start/Healthy Families Advisory Committee, member of the Community Alliance, and the Regional HIV/AIDS Consortium.

Mrs. Hood received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Florida in Gainesville. She received her Master of Science in Nursing in 1999 at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Jennifer was selected by the Department to be a participant and successfully completed the Public Health Executive Leadership Program from the University of South Florida College of Public Health in 2019.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Lastest Arrests In Hendry County, Florida

LABELLE, FL. -- Arrest in Hendry County as reported by the Sheriff's Department:

 Shelburn David Williams, 46, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/11/2021 by D/S D. Coronilla on charges of DUI

Donald Ray Locklear, 43, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/11/2021 by K9 D/S M. Afonso on charges of Possession of Methamphetamine

Alan Manuel Betancourt, 33, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/11/2021 by D/S D. Coronilla on charges of Driving While License Suspended/Revoked Habitual Offender and Possession of Drug Equipment

Joel Dela Torre, 30, Clewiston – was arrested on 10/11/2021 by D/S K. Rosado for Felony Probation Violation

Joel Justin Ruth, 37, Lehigh Acres – was arrested on 10/11/2021 by D/S C. Earl on three counts of Probation Violation

Marcos Paulo Pujol, 22, Miami – was arrested on 10/11/2021 by Lt. B. Weaver on charges of Possession of Controlled Substance without a Prescription

Julio Antonio Piloto-Regalado, 56, Miami – was arrested on 10/11/2021 by D/S C. Earl on charges of Felony Failure to Appear

Jay CD Alexander, 43, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/11/2021 by D/S C. Earl for two Out of County Warrant

Derrick Esquivel, 40, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/11/2021 by Cpl. G. Hull on charges of Felony Probation Violation, Felony Driving While License Suspended/Revoked-Habitual Offender and False ID Give to LEO

Ramon Monte De Oca, 51, Clewiston – was arrested on 10/13/2021 by Det. L. Whelpley on charges of Sexual Battery on a Minor, Lewd & Lascivious by a person older than 18 years of age and Incest

16 year old male, Port Charlotte – was arrested on 10/13/2021 by Det. J. Perez on charges of Sexual Assault on Minor

Victor Manuel Venancio, 28, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/13/2021 by Det. J. Perez for Felony Child Abuse without Great Bodily Harm

Jennifer Marie Venancio, 35, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/13/2021 by Det. J. Perez on charges of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor and Child Neglect

Paula Elizabeth Ferrer, 38, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/13/2021 by D/S O. Gonzalez on charges of Possession of Methamphetamine, Failure to Appear and Contempt of Court

Lewis Junior Allen, 66, Clewiston – was arrested on 10/13/2021 by D/S K. Barrientos on charges of Destruction of Evidence, Obstruction without Violence and Possession of Drug Equipment

Robert Allen Jones, 50, Michigan – was arrested on 10/13/2021 by D/S D. Coronilla on two counts of Felony Failure to Appear

Charles Andrew Joya, 24, Clewiston was arrested on 10/14/2021 by D/S S. Bustamante for Felony Probation Violation

17 year old male, Belle Glade – was arrested on 10/14/2021 by D/S S. Bustamante on Felony Warrant for Battery on LEO

Sherrie Lynn Macknew, 45, Ruskin – was arrested on 10/14/201 by D/S S. Bustamante for Felony Failure to Appear

Sirron LaSalles Jackson, 33, Lehigh Acres – was arrested on 10/15/2021 by Sgt. Z Scelfo on charges of DUI

Jason M. Kats, 33, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/15/2021 by D/S A. Eldridge on charges of Possession of Cocaine and Out of County Warrant

Cesar Vera, 20, Clewiston – was arrested on 10/16/2021 by D/S C. Miller on charges of DUI

Maria Vargas Villa, 45, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/16/2021 by D/S M. Ramirez-Reyes on charges of DUI

Linton Enjoli Harris, 40, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/16/2021 by Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Vice-Narcotics on charges of Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell and Felony Probation Violation

Jahzi Eugene Michael Coleman, 28, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/16/2021 by D/S A. Champagne on charges of Felony Burglary to and Occupied Dwelling and Battery

Kiwanis Day For The Kids At Barron Park

LABELLE, FL.  -- The LaBelle Kiwanis Kids Day had gorgeous weather, great entertainment, fun games, and lots of smiles! Kids and families filled up the beautiful Barron Park on Saturday, October 16th for the the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle.

The Kiwanis has sponsored the Annual Kiwanis Kid’s Day event for over 30 years. 

There are too many people to thank individually, but Kiwanis would like to extend a huge thank-you to the numerous volunteers, community partners and agencies that participated, and thanks to the parents and family members who brought their kids out to enjoy a fun-filled day in LaBelle.

Pictured: Kellan and Jayna Williamson with Mary the Clown (Mary Bartoshuk)

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Obituaries - Machado, Morales, Davila, Mendez, Bush, Martinez

Eulogio E. Machado, age 83 of Clewiston passed away at home with his family around him on October 11, 2021.

Eulogio was born on July 13, 1938 in Cuba to the late Reinardo and Rosa Carmanite Machado. He married the love of his life Ana M. Ortega on May 5, 1961 in Cuba. He worked for over 45 years in the sugar processing field first for Glades Co-Op, then later for Florida Crystals. He was of the Catholic faith. He was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather, who will be dearly missed by his entire family.

Eulogio leaves behind his loving wife of 61 years; Ana Machado of Clewiston, his daughter; Ana Rosacker of West Palm Beach, one grandson; Brenton, and many extended family members.

Eulogio's life will be celebrated on November 5, 2021 from 5-7 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Josefina Morales, age 48 passed away on October 11, 2021 at her home.

Josefina was born on November 2, 1972 in Mexico to Dionicio Morales and Martina Gaspar. She was a loving mother, sister, grandmother, friend and was always willing to help her family and friends.

Josefina leaves behind her loving companion; Florencio Atanacio, children; Ramiro Morales, Lorenzo Morales, Trinidad Gaspar, Naxieli Gaspar, her two adorable grandchildren; her siblings; Felix Morales, Paulino Morales, Renedia Morales and Guadalue Morales.

Celebration of Josefina's life was held at 11:00 a.m. on October 15, 2021 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle where visitation was one hour before. Burial will take place in Fort Denaud Cemetery - LaBelle

On October 9, 2021, Maria Victoria Davila of Clewiston, FL passed away at the age of 88 years.

She will be lovingly remembered by her daughter Bertha (Jose) Sanchez; grandchildren Joanna (Jesse) Gutierrez, Bertha Alicia Villafuerte (Armando Agapito), Miguel A. (Anabel) Sanchez, Jose R. (Barleni) Sanchez, Jr., and Lon Sanchez; Great grandchildren Luis Alberto Cardona, Maribel Sanchez, Miguel Angel Sanchez, Jr., Esteban Sanchez, Sebastian Sanchez, Bailen Rose Sanchez, Lazaro Jowell Sanchez; and numerous other family members and friends.

A Visitation/Prayer Service will be held on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, 438 E. Sugarland Hwy., Clewiston, FL 33440.

She was predeceased by her loving husband of 32 years, Roberto Davila and daughter Sabrina Villafuerte.

Maria was a Christian and enjoyed going to church at Iglesia Vida Nu

Fidelina Mendez, age 42, passed away on October 9, 2021 at her home.

Fidelina was born in Mexico on March 29, 1979 to Marcos Mendez and Barbarita Palacios. She married Manuel Leal. She was a member of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in LaBelle. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and sister who will be greatly missed by her entire family and close friends.

Fidelina leaves behind her loving husband; Manuel Leal of LaBelle, her three sons; Luis Leal, Manuel Leal and Juan Carlos Brizeno, her two daughters; Yaharia Leal and Mary Carmen Leal, one grandchild; her siblings; Simon, Andres, Bertha, Ramona, Letrecia, Consuelo, and Maria.

Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church. Visitation will be held Monday, October 18, 2021 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in LaBelle from 5-7 p.m. Burial will take place at Fort Denaud Cemetery in LaBelle after the mass.

Sonja Rene' Bush age 27  of North Fort Myers, Florida passed away on October 5, 2021 in Cape Coral.

Sonja was born in Fort Myers, Florida on January 18, 1994 to Don Bush and Tracy Nault.

Sonja leaves behind her grandmother who raised her; Sandra Bush, grandfather; Mickey "Earl" Newman, mother; Tracy Nault and her stepfather; Steve Hall, sisters; Christen, Reva, Ashley, Ann Marie, and their families, brothers; B.J. and Bubba and their families, aunts; Lisa Rene' Bush, Sonja Lusk, Holly Newman and Christie their families, uncles; Vinnie Newman, David Lusk, Dale and his wife Heyda, and their families, great aunts; Patsy, Beverly, Lisa, Bunnie, and their families, Many beloved cousins. Best friends; Luke Jackson, Cindy, Kayla, Ada, Shandy, Mili, Mikela, and all of her friends and dear teachers.

Sonja was preceded in death by her grandmother; Beverly Newman, grandfather; Larry Bush. step grandfather who helped raise her; Elia Chialda, great grandparents; Don and Juanita Bush, and great grandmother; Velma Newman.

Graveside service was held on October 13, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. in Alva Cemetery.

Arrangements were handled by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Fort Myers.

Susie Hazel Martinez, age 84, of LaBelle, passed away October 5, 2021 in LaBelle.

She was born May 14, 1937 in Hardee County, Florida, to the late John Wesley and the late Doris (Summerall) Woods. She married Pablo B. Martinez; he preceded her in death on December 14, 1999. Susie was a loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother who enjoyed spending time with her family.

Susie leaves behind her loving children; Tracy Martinez of LaBelle, Florida, Paul Martinez and his wife Betty Jean of Boerne, Texas, Juan Martinez and his wife Rosalinda of San Antonio, Texas, Mary Martinez of LaBelle, Florida, and Gloria Martinez also of LaBelle, Florida, grandchildren; Jennifer Sanchez, Michael Rodriguez, Jason Martinez, Clifford Green, Eugene Martinez, Ethan Taylor, Nicolas Paul Martinez, Pablo B. Martinez, III, Samuel Ryan Martinez, a grand dog Tiny; nineteen great grandchildren and one great great-great grandchild, and numerous nieces, nephews and extended family members.

Graveside service celebrating her life will be held at 10:00 a.m. on October 22, 2021 in Felda Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. on October 21, 2021 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Labelle.

Man Dies In Hendry County Crash

CLEWISTON, FL. -- From the FHP report:

Vehicle 1, a sedan was traveling south on County Road 835, at the intersection of Rogers Road at 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning. 

Vehicle 1 failed to negotiate a curve to the right, traveled off the roadway, collided with a stop sign and canal and became engulfed in flames.

Positive identification for Driver 1 remains pending.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Social Security Payments Rocket To Record High Next Year

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 5.9 percent in 2022, the Social Security Administration announced today.

This is a record high increase in benefits due to increasing inflation of prices or goods and services in 2021.

The 5.9 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2022. Increased payments to approximately 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2021. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits). The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $147,000 from $142,800.

Social Security and SSI beneficiaries are normally notified by mail starting in early December about their new benefit amount. Most people who receive Social Security payments will be able to view their COLA notice online through their personal my Social Security account. People may create or access their my Social Security account online at

Information about Medicare changes for 2022, when announced, will be available at For Social Security beneficiaries receiving Medicare, Social Security will not be able to compute their new benefit amount until after the Medicare premium amounts for 2022 are announced. Final 2022 benefit amounts will be communicated to beneficiaries in December through the mailed COLA notice and my Social Security's Message Center.

The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated. To read more, please visit

American Legion LaBelle Blood Drive

LABELLE, FL. -- As a thank you for helping save lives, all blood donors will receive a Halloween T-shirt and a $20 eGift card!

American Legion Post #130
12:00 PM – 06:00 PM
699 Hickpochee Avenue
Labelle, FL 33935

Schedule your appointment:

Plus, all donors will receive a wellness checkup**, including:
Blood Pressure • Pulse • Temperature • Iron Count • Cholesterol Screening

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

"Deathtrap" Thriller At Firehouse Theatre

The Firehouse Community Theatre, Inc. presents "Deathtrap". It is the longest running comedy-thriller on Broadway, and was nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Play.

It is a story of an aging playwright who desperately needs a hit and concocts a plan to lure a young playwright to his Connecticut home, who has written an astounding thriller.

Come see this play with twists and turns, laughter, and an awful lot of whiskey and gin being guzzled down!!

Call 863-675-3066 to get tickets. Leave a message and someone WILL call you back.

Support our actors and community theatre; please get your tickets now for this great comedy-thriller!

The show runs October 30th & 31st, and November 5th, 6th & 7th (The Friday and Saturday evening show starts at 7pm and the Sunday show starts at 2pm.)

The Firehouse Community Theatre Inc is located in beautiful downtown LaBelle at 241 N. Bridge Street.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Hope Healthcare Offers Grief Support

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Oct. 11, 2021) – Hope Healthcare is offering a support group for adults age 18 and over who have lost a loved one as a result of COVID-19. Open to the community at no cost, the support group provides an opportunity to discuss emotions such as anger, guilt, blame or resentment and learn from the experiences of others.

Despite COVID-19’s continued presence in the community, participants can discover positive healthy steps that lead toward healing by creating meaningful rituals and receiving validation for the experience of loss. Hosted by Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Mary Lisa Grimmer, the group is held weekly on Tuesdays from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Registration is required. To sign up, contact Mary Lisa Grimmer at 239-489-9184 or email

With generous community support, Hope Healthcare is able to offer additional counseling programs including grief support for adults, teens and children, bereaved parents, and those who have experienced the loss of a loved one. To learn more, visit

Hope Healthcare, which includes Hope Hospice and Hope Kids Care programs, is a not-for-profit health care organization dedicated to providing care and comfort to every individual and their loved ones as they fulfill life’s journey. For more information, call 239-482-4673 or visit

Latest Arrests By Hendry Sheriff's Department

The latest arrests last week as reported by the Hendry County Sheriff's Office:

Ivan Manuel Sanchez Cordes, 25, Haines City – was arrested on 10/04/2021 by D/S C. Miller on charges of Driving While License Suspended/Revoked and Possession of Controlled Substance without a Prescription

Larnce Balentine, 45, Hollywood, Fl – was arrested on 10/04/2021 by D/S F. Drummond on Felony Probation Violation

John Russell Bass, 55, Felda – was arrested on 01/04/2021 by D/S D. Givans for Felony Failutre to Appear

Robert Benjamin Howard, 39, At Large – was arrested on 10/05/2021 by D/S S. Bustamante for Felony Criminal Mischief

Juan Ortega, 26, Clewiston – was arrested on 10/06/2021 by D/S D. Givans for Felony Failure to Appear

Jay C D Alexander, 43, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/06/2021 by Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Vice Narcotics Unit for Sale of Methamphetamine and Production of Narcotics

Nashard Lemont Simons, 40, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/06/2021 by Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Vice Narcotics Unit for the Use of Two Way Communication to Facilitate a Felony and Sale of Cocaine

Max Alan Dye, 34, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/06/2021 by Sgt. M. White for Possession of Controlled Substance without a Prescription and Possession of Drug Equipment

Jameshia Alshayvia Jazon Harvey, 23, Clewiston – was arrested on 10/06/2021 by D/S K. Rosado for Felony Probation Violation

Jorge Enrique Lopez Baltazar, 36, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/07/2021 by Cpl. G. Hull on charges of Felony DUI – 3rd Violation within 10 years, Felony Driving While License Suspended – Habitual Offender, DUI and Violation of Probation

Cleoson Saul Cassseus, 34, Tampa – was arrested on 10/07/2021 by D/S C. Earl on numerous charges of Use of Two Way Communications to Facilitate a Felony, Delivers of Methamphetamine, Sale of Heroine and Trafficking Cocaine

Luis Angel Fundora, 29, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/07/2021 by D/S A. Pierre on charges of Felony Probation Violation and Felony Failure to Appear

Mauro Lopez Garcia, 31, Immokalee – was arrested on 10/07/2021 by D/S A. Pierre for Felony Failure to Appear

Manuel Martin-Perez, 48, Immokalee – was arrested on 10/07/2021 by D/S A. Pierre for Felony Failure to Appear

Marcos Diaz Martines. 36. Immokalee – was arrested on 10/07/2021 by D/S A. Pierre for Felony Failure to Appear

Juan Godines-Lopez, 37, Immokalee – was arrested on 10/07/2021 by D/S A. Pierre for Felony Failure to Appear

Malinda Jean Sanchez, 44, LaBelle – was arrested on 10/08/2021 by D/S L. Dominguez on charges of Possession of Controlled Substance without a Prescription and Possession of Drug Equipment

Sara Catherine English, 37, LaBelle – was arrested for Use of Two Way Communication to Facilitate a Felony, Delivery or Sale of Opium and Misd. Failure to Appear

Jose Jesus Godoy, 40, Deland – was arrested on 10/09/2021 by D/S K. Barrientos for Felony DUI

Friday, October 08, 2021

Mary Garcia Dies At 83

Mary R Garcia, age 83, of Moore Haven, passed away October 5, 2021 in Clewiston.
She was born July 22, 1938 in Julesburg, CO, to the late Patricio and Marcelina (Guerra) Estrada.

Survivors include her husband: Aurelio Garcia
two daughters: Guadalupe Burkett and husband JD and Joan Garcia
two brothers: Robert Estrada and Arthur Estrada
two sisters: Patricia Rodriguez and Julia Serrano
Granddaughter: Monique Burkett

She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother.
She was a very active Member of St Joseph the Worker Church for 65 years, and loved the church.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at 10:00 am at Saint Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, Moore Haven with Father Marcial Garcia officiating.

Interment will be Wednesday, October 13, 2021 in Ortona Cemetery, Moore Haven.

Visitation will be Tuesday from 5 to 7 PM at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Nikki Fried Releases DeSantis Blocked Data

Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, an independently-elected member of the Florida Cabinet, held a virtual press conference to release and discuss school district COVID-19 data which Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration has worked to block. 

This data shows clear evidence that school districts requiring masks resulted in up to four times lower COVID-19 cases per capita than school districts that did not require masks. Commissioner Fried released the data in advance of today’s Board of Education meeting, which will determine punishment for eleven Florida school districts requiring masks.

On August 12, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services public record requested COVID-19 data from the Florida Department of Health, including daily cases, deaths, and hospitalizations for every Florida county and every age, as well as ICU capacity. 

Nearly two months later, these public records have not been provided; Commissioner Fried therefore directed her department to compile and analyze all publicly available COVID-19 data from school districts, so that the public may know how COVID-19 has impacted Florida schools and the effects of mask-wearing policies.

Fried Claims Governor Releases Misinformation On Masking In Schools

“For months, Governor DeSantis has worked to undermine masks in the fight against COVID-19, releasing misinformation about so-called ‘forced masking’ at every turn, despite nearly all experts agreeing that masks work. When brave local elected school leaders dared to defy the Governor and require masks in schools, his petty response has been to defund our school districts. Because his Administration has refused to provide the COVID-19 data I requested months ago, I have directed my staff to compile all publicly available COVID-19 school data. This data clearly shows the truth: the Governor is lying about masks in schools,” said Commissioner Fried. “Every way you look at the data, kids were better off in schools requiring masks than those that did not. School districts that did nothing suffered four times higher COVID-19 cases than school districts that required masks, in direct contradiction to the Governor’s disinformation. I stand with students, parents, teachers, and President Biden in support of our school districts that have taken action to keep kids healthy, keep parents working, and keep communities safe.”

VIDEO: A livestream of today’s press conference can be viewed here on Facebook Live.

Surgeon General/DOH Feud With Nikki Fried Over COVID Masking

The Florida Department of Health issued a press statement this afternoon alleging Florida's Ag Commissioner released misinformation about school COVID masking, infection risks and rates.

The DOH said in part:

Today, the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, Nikki Fried, released misinformation regarding school data that lacks epidemiological accuracy and credibility. The Florida Department of Health, the State's public health agency and lead on all infectious disease control, welcomes the opportunity to debunk a multitude of issues found during the seven minute, thirty second presentation on inaccurate data representation.

There is no evidence that schools are high risk locations of spread. A study supported by CDC and completed by the State Epidemiologist, alongside the State Surgeon General and other top experts at the Department of Health, found that fewer than 1% of students had school-related COVID-19.

Second, a brief data quality check revealed several calculation errors, which include a critical error in the inaccurate estimate of average cases per capita, which were then used as the basis for their analysis.

Additionally, the data set is not complete or representative of the entire state. This results in false interpretation of data. Further review of the data by a qualified epidemiologist should have occurred prior to publication.

The DOH claime the following are myths, adding lawyer-like arguments to 
prove their case: 

(Editor: we have omitted those detailed DOH arguments noting that many national experts disagree with Florida's school COVID masking policies and opinions of the Governor and newly appointed Surgeon General)

DOH claimed the following were false from Nikki Fried's announcement:

1. This data shows clear evidence that school districts requiring masks resulted in up to seven times lower COVID-19 cases per capita than school districts that did not require masks.

2. 22 school districts that required masks saw fewer COVID-19 total cases per capita than those that did not.

3. Five largest school districts had average 0.48 peak cases per capita, while five smallest school districts had 3.51 peak cases per capita.

4. Seven times higher student COVID-19 peak cases per capita in the smallest school districts, without mask requirements, than in the largest school districts, where masks were required.

5. 600 times higher peak cases per capita in maskless Highlands County (12 cases per capita) than in masked Miami-Dade and Broward Counties (0.02 cases per capita).

World's Most Powerful Radio WBCQ Fails In Purchase

Broadcaster's Sister Nixed Huge Broadcast Radio Sale? 

The world's most powerful commercial radio station, WBCQ operated by Allan Weiner in Monticello, Maine has failed in an attempt to purchase another large broadcaster in South Carolina. 

WHRI, owned by the Family Broadcasting Corporation of South Bend, IN withdrew their offer to sell after a contract with a one-year time limit expired.

"Family Broadcasting Corporation, hereby withdraws the application in light of the termination of the Asset Purchase Agreement previously reported pursuant to 47 CFR §1.65 of the FCC’s rules. Family Broadcasting Corporation has not and does not intend to enter into a local marketing agreement with the proposed assignee," wrote attorney Joseph C. Chautin, III to the FCC August 13, 2021.

Allan Weiner, owner of WBCQ, an international short wave broadcaster has been broadcasting primarily conservative religious programming and a nightly ultra conservative talk show hosted by Hal Turner, a convicted felon and provocateur of all things politically right wing.

Additionally Weiner has contracted with World's Last Chance ministries to finance a 500,000 watt international broadcast station beaming to the world 24/7 promoting bizarre theories including flat earth beliefs.

Galal Doss, a wealthy businessman from Egypt runs World's Last Chance,  broadcasting bizarre prophecies, anti-Catholic messages and videos, and claims the earth is flat. The religious group says calendars should be based on moon phases, instead of solar calendar now used world-wide, while their programming and videos offer some very peculiar interpretations of Bible verses.

See previous Flat Earth believers World's Last Chance story: Click Here

The hitch in the prospective purchase was apparently started when Barbara Weiner, sister of Allan wrote to the FCC, who has published a redacted copy of her letter, leaving out the name of a foreign person.

Ms. Weiner, a co-owner of the FCC license for WBCQ-FM, claimed Mr. Weiner is "fronting for a foreign national." She said the man, presumably Galal Doss or a representative of World's Last Resort sent Mr. Weiner $400,00 to buy the property next to WBCQ. 

She said she viewed the closing documents and Mr. Weiner was to be given $100,000 for a finders fee on the transaction. She claimed the individual wanted Mr. Weiner to front for him and buy many U.S. radio stations. 

She claimed Mr. Weiner had a felony record. (Mr. Weiner has a notorious "pirate radio" broadcaster background from decades ago and the FCC had shut down his operations at that time. Mr. Weiner has since claimed he was not found guilty in those events.

She went on in the letter to the FCC saying the individual has sent Mr. Weiner millions of dollars to install a specialized Swiss/German antenna system for the 500,000 watt broadcast station.

Ms. Weiner said the man sent $1,250,000 to her brother to buy WHRI in South Carolina, a powerful international broadcaster with six antenna arrays at the broadcast site. 

She said she has many other documents to prove her statements.

Allan Weiner's attorney's sent a letter to the FCC asking for confidential treatment of certain filings after Ms. Weiner's letter was filed:

See Attorney Letter

Allan Weiner Responds

Mr. Weiner has on his one hour radio show each Friday night since the dead purchase, expressed his dismay of the government for acting "illegally" in delaying the prospective purchase, and verbally threatens those who nixed the deal saying they will eventually get punished.

He wrote on his website:

"I write this memo out of total frustration with my government, pertaining specifically to the FCC.

"About one year ago I tendered an application to purchase WHRI international shortwave radio in South Carolina USA to add to the family of WBCQ free speech radio stations.

"Since then, the FCC has refused to act and grant me my request to purchase the station. Normally this request would take around six weeks to process.

"Repeated attempts to communicate with the FCC and its personnel have gone unanswered. Both by me and my FCC attorney. As a long time shortwave broadcaster, I do not understand why the big holdup. I am an american citizen and have a right to buy a radio station. My attorney has suggested that this has gone beyond just a processing delay and that the FCC is against me broadcasting religious content on the radio. This is directly against my first amendment constitutional rights.

"I am doing all that I can to preserve free speech on the radio airwaves. I am reaching out to you public conveyors of radio truth to let the radio enthusiasts know about this and ask for your help in getting the FCC to grant my request to purchase WHRI. Not only for the sake of free speech radio, but to save these great stations from the scrapyard and keep shortwave radio alive for future generations.

"I am available anytime for further comment and interview at 207-889-0039."

Obituaries - Paniagua, Thielen, Knowles-Sifert, Waybright

Luis Enrique Paniagua, age 57, of Clewiston, passed away October 5, 2021 in Weston.
He was born June 11, 1964 in Mexico to the late Rey Paniagua and the late Maria Marina Jimenez.

He was an Equipment Operator for US Sugar.

Survivors include his wife: Ricarda (Grimaldo) Paniagua
son: Rey Enrique Paniagua
two daughters: Marina Paniagua and Cassandra Paniagua
four brothers: Ubaldo Paniagua, Juan Paniagua, Natividad Paniagua and Rey Paniagua
sister: Maria Martina Paniagua
grandchildren: Yadiel Lee Snow and Lissandra Marie Paniagua

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday, October 14, 2021 at 10:00 am at Saint Margaret's Catholic Church, Clewiston. with Father Jean Woady Louis officiating.

Interment will be Thursday, October 14, 2021 in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston.
Visitation will be Wednesday from 6 to 8 PM at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Margie N Thielen, age 94, of Moore Haven, passed away October 3, 2021 in Delray Beach.
She was born July 23, 1927 in Nashville, GA, to the late Sam and the late Effie Lee (Lewis) Cook.

Survivors include one son: Raymond Donald Thielen Jr.
2 daughters: Regina Marie Brown and Mary Theresa Prescott
9 Grandchildren.14 Great Grandchildren and 6 Great Great Grandchildren,

Funeral services will be held Monday, October 11, 2021 at 10:00 am at Ortona Cemetery Pavillion, Moore Haven with Father Marcial Garcia officiating.

Visitation will be Monday from 9 to 10 AM at Ortona Cemetery Pavillion, Moore Haven, FL.
Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Carol L Knowles-Sifert, age 60, of Lehigh Acres, passed away October 3, 2021.
She was born Dec. 13, 1960 in Elmira, NY, to the late Robert and the late Dorothy (Cross) Howell.

Survivors include her husband: Victor Sifert
daughter: Kristen Knowles
two brothers: Paul Howell and Robert Howell
one sister: Dorothy "Joy" Howell

Graveside services will be held Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at 11:00 am at Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston.

Russell Leon Waybright, age 78, went to be with the Lord Friday, October 1, 2021. He was born on June 28, 1943, in Big Sandy-Magisterial District, Kanawha, WVA.

He was preceded in death by his ex-wife Imo Jean Waybright. His parents Mark Keetley and Maggie Alice Waybright: siblings; Delmer (Barbara) Waybright and Freda (Richard) White, and Ellen (James) Payne.

He is survived by first wife Carolyn Sue Bevard Waybright Crowley- the beloved mother of his surviving children; Kimberly (Rick) Pierce and Mark (Paula) Waybright, step-children; Jason and Raymond Harrell. Grandchildren; Joshua Strine, Kyle Strine, Kelsey (Spencer) Ward, Tonya (Jill) Pierce, Mark Robert Waybright, Jr (Taylor Oglesby). Great grandchildren; Kinsely, Karter, Isabella, Elliot, and Kassadie, numerous nieces and nephews and other family members and friends. Siblings; Delbert Waybright (Josaine), Delores Swartz, Wilma (Edward) Johnson, Dorothy (JR) Strickland.

Russ had great faith in God and beliefs of his Pentecostal religion. He was active member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles # 3938 Lehigh Acres, Florida, and member of the Moose Lodge # 2398 LaBelle, Florida. He was ace of all trades, owning and managing several businesses – JC Penny Automotive Center, Nelson Frame and Axle, LaBelle Brake and Alignment, Crazy Dads Fish Worm Farm, owner of a ceramic shop, Aluminum vinyl Specialist and Elite Construction of Southwest Florida, with his son Mark Robert Waybright for over 20 years, which they enjoyed their working relationship together.

He was the best father working over 80 hours a week at times to provide every want and need for his family. He still found time to spend with his family camping, boating, fishing, and vacationing.

Russ passed away peacefully at Hope Hospice in Lehigh Acres, Florida, surrounded by his son and daughter, their spouses and grandson Mark (Taylor) and fiancé Carolyn Bain. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends, We love you Dad!

A celebration of Russ’ life will be held from 1-4 p.m. on October 23, 2021 at the Eagles of Lehigh Acres located at 607 Williams Avenue. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hope Hospice, you can give online at or send a check made payable to Hope Hospice to: Hope Development Department 9470 Health Park Circle Fort Myers, Florida 33908

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Fort Myers.

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Michael Cuevas Arrested For Alleged Child Sex Crime


On Friday, September 24, 2021 at approximately 12:50 pm, Hendry County Sheriff Office Criminal Investigation Division along with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office took 41 year old, Michael Cuevas, of Immokalee into custody on a Hendry County arrest warrant for the Use of a Computer to Seduce, Solicit or Lure a Child to Commit Sexual Conduct.

In April of 2021, 41 year old Cuevas began a Facebook private message with a 15 year old LaBelle, male as a friend on Facebook. During the conversation, Cuevas asked the child to travel to Immokalee to hang out with him. Cuevas stated to the child that they would “smoke weed and drink” and offered the child oral sex.

This all took place after the child told Cuevas that he was 15 years old. An undercover investigation was conducted, and through ongoing communication, Cuevas attempted to lure the undercover detective, who Cuevas believed was a 15 year old male, to meet with him in Immokalee at a local motel.

Thru this continued investigation Hendry County Detectives obtained an arrest warrant. Once the warrant was acquired, the undercover detective contacted Cuevas for the last time and it was then that Cuevas agreed to meet the 15 year old at a motel in Immokalee.

Hendry County Detectives met with Collier County Sheriff’s Office and together responded to the Budget Inn Motel. It was there that Detectives made contact Cuevas when he arrived at the agreed upon location taking him into custody and placed him under arrest on the Hendry County Warrant.

Cuevas is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail with a $50,000.00 bond on charges of Obscene Communication (Use of Computer to Seduce/Solicit/Lure a Child.

Monday, October 04, 2021

Food Vouchers And More At LaBelle Health Department Saturday

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 may take up to 72 hours.

Saturday, October 9th at the Hendry County Health Department – LaBelle
1140 Pratt Blvd, LaBelle, FL 33935
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

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, Octobre 9, Departamento de Salud del Condado Hendry 1140 Pratt Blvd, LaBelle
9:00 a.m. a 1:00 p.m. Pruba de PCR: (Resultados disponibles en 48-72 horas.
No hay pruebas rapidas disponibles en este evento)

Drone photo credit: Don Browne

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

Pfizer Vaccine for ages 12 years and older. Booster doses available to those who meet the criteria.

Hendry County - The Florida Department of Health will offer the mobile vaccination unit at the Health Department in LaBelle on Saturday, October 9th. 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: Booster doses will be available at this event for those who meet the criteria.

FREE – Food Voucher, hygiene kit, and rain suit to all individuals vaccinated.

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

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

Sabado, Octubre 9. 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: Las dosis derefuerzo estarán disponiblesen esteevento para aquellosque cumplancon loscriterios.

Friday, October 01, 2021

Obituaries - Robbins, McDonald, Adams, Henriques, Hernandez

Jonathan Dustin Robbins, age 28, of Immokalee, passed away September 30, 2021, in Collier County, Florida.

He was born September 7, 1993, in Fort Myers, FL, to the late John Wilson and Tara Robbins.

Jonathan leaves behind his mother; Tara Robbins of Clewiston, Florida, his son; Joseph Robbins, siblings; Mariah Smith, Lauren Doctor, Sarah Robbins, Terrance Robbins, Justin Canady, Aaron Canady, and Haylee Wilson, uncles; Bernard Robbins, Seth Robbins, John Robbins, and grandmothers; Mary Robbins and Patricia Wilson.

Graveside service will be held Sunday, October 3, 2021 at 2:00 pm at Big Cypress Cemetery, Big Cypress Reservation with Rev. Paul Buster officiating. Interment will be Sunday, October 3, 2021 in Big Cypress Cemetery, Big Cypress Reservation.

Arrangements are by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Marshall Mack McDonald, age 73, passed away surrounded by his family on September 29th, 2021 at the home he built with his own hands in Muse, FL. Never an idle man, he worked hard and kept busy until his final days. He is survived by his wife Connie McDonald, children Jason, Curtis, Melissa, Edward, along with 17 grandkids and countless friends who will remember him fondly for his passion for work and family.

He graduated from Fort Myers High School in 1967, served in the Army from 67’ to 70’ with a tour in Vietnam from 68’ to 69’. He had a 35 plus year career with Florida Power & Light and kept your lights on while providing for his family. His work continued into his retirement thru his land and nursery endeavors.

He was a people person and enjoyed life and the company of friends and family. Contrary to prior reports, Pops never met the Pope and apparently was never in the Navy but “Life is Good” and he will be missed and loved. Please direct family condolences to the Atkin-Davis website.

Gregorio Chihuahua Hernandez, age 71, of LaBelle, passed away September 29, 2021 in Lehigh Acres.

He was born Mar. 12, 1950 in Mexico, to the late Cruz Chihuahua and the late Francisca Hernandez.
He worked in Agriculture.

Survivors include his wife: Carmen (Gomez) Chihuahua
son: Ramon Chihuahua
daughter: Carmen Segoviano
brother: Juan Chihuahua
sister: Carmen Gomez
6 Grandchildren

Funeral services will be held Thursday, October 7, 2021 at 6:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle.
Visitation will be Thursday from 5to 6 PM at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL.

Bonnie Jean Adams, age 78, of Lake Placid, passed away September 26, 2021 at home.

Bonnie was born in Clewiston, Florida on January 21, 1943 to the late James Alton and Bonnie Helen Archer Akin. She worked for many years as a secretary for the Hendry County School Board. Was a member of several area churches, and was attending Faith Baptist Church in Lake Placid at the time of her passing. 

She married Charles W. Adams. Bonnie was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and sister who will be dearly missed by everyone who knew and loved her.

Bonnie leaves behind her loving husband of 61 years; Charles W Adams of Lake Placid, daughter; Susan Renee Flynn and her husband Steven of Lake Placid, two sisters; Cecilia Maxham of Cape Coral and Sue Akin of Clewiston, five grandchildren; Dawn, Bradley, Jade, Brooke, and Colt, four great grandchildren; Noah, Reed, Luis, and Dahlia, along with many extended family members of friends.

Bonnie was preceded in death by her daughter; Rhonda Kay Varnadoe

Celebration of Bonnie’s life will be held at 11:00 a.m., October 6, 2021 at the Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, with Rev. Bill Cole officiating, where a visitation will be held one hour before the service. Bonnie will be laid to rest in the Ortona Cemetery near her parents.

Maria Henriques
Nov. 10,1919-Sept 21,2021

Maria Henriques, age 101, of Lehigh acres, formerly of Massachusetts, passed away peacefully, Tuesday, September 21, 2021. Born in Portugal, Maria had a lifetime full of dancing, traveling, gardening, and crocheting.

Maria was preceded by her husband, John, who passed Feb 4, 2012. They were married for 69 years; mother to Ida(Victor) Machado and Lucy(Jim) Arial; sister to John and Jose Palmeira; grandmother to Paul, Lisa, Yvonne and Scott(Machado) and Candida, Jeff and Marc (Arial); great grandmother to 11; and great great grandmother to 2. She will be missed
dearly by all her family.

The family received friends from 6-8pm Wednesday, September 29, 2021 in the Akin-Davis Funeral Home 13932 Palm Beach blvd, Fort Myers, FL 33905. A Mass and Christian Burial was celebrated 10am Thursday, September 30, 2021 at St. Raphael Catholic Church in Lehigh Acres, Florida. Interment followed at Lee Memorial Park. Memorial contributions may be made to Hope Hospice.

US Sugar 90th Anniversary Harvest With Steam Engine 148

Clewiston, FL – Today, U.S. Sugar kicked off the company’s 90th Anniversary of its annual sugarcane harvest with its newest tradition-- historic steam locomotive No. 148 hauled the first string of railcars loaded with sugarcane into the area mill. As the steam engine made its way to U.S. Sugar’s mill, it stopped briefly for Pastors Jeff Smith of Clewiston’s First United Methodist Church and Fred Gamble of True Vine Church in Harlem to lead members of the community in a prayer for local farmers and for a safe harvest.

To watch the pastors’ remarks, you can view them on U.S. Sugar’s Facebook page.

Hundreds of local residents turned out along the route to watch the historic steam locomotive make its run along the local tracks to bring in the first load of sugarcane. Even more people showed up during the multi-hour public availability that U.S. Sugar arranged for viewing and photos with its popular #148 steam locomotive.

U.S. Sugar is located in Clewiston, known as “America’s Sweetest Town,” near the shores of Lake Okeechobee. The company was founded in 1931 by Charles Stewart Mott, a visionary leader who hailed from a long line of farmers. Since the beginning, the company’s success has been rooted in traditional farming values and respect for the land.

Kiwanis Kids Day October 16

LABELLE, FL. -- The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle is proud to sponsor the Annual Kiwanis Kid’s Day Event on Saturday, October 16th from 10am to 2pm

It’s time once again for the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle to present Kiwanis Kid’s Day in Barron Park along the beautiful Caloosahatchee River! 

The event starts at 10am and will finish up around 2pm. There will be music, games, food, and lots of fun for ALL AGES! 

 Community partners, agencies, and businesses will set up in the Barron Park to provide fun things and educational information for kids and their families. Please join us for an exciting, fun-filled, and educational day!