Sunday, May 15, 2022

Florida Keys' Watercolor Kapers by Bob Kranich


Island Flavor, (Part 6, Excerpt 50)

This is the 6th part of a new story titled, Island Flavor. Our German spy was commanded to move his operation from Miami to Key West to spy on the Submarine base there. He has been successful. One day he sees a military vehicle outside and two MPs heading towards his door.

Island Flavor

He looked out his window and saw two guys in business suits walking up the drive. He ran down the stairs and went quietly out the back door. As they were knocking on the front door he eased over the back fence and walked hurriedly through the neighbor’s yard and over to Duval Street. He was down the street and buying a bus ticket to Miami as the two guys were getting back in their car.

“Well, Janie, it’s all done. Here is the deed to the house, our dream home in Key West. Mike did a great job with the ads and working with the Monroe County tax office. Not a bad price for a few years’ back taxes, plus interest. Let’s go down next week for a few days.”

“Sounds good, Al,” Janie exclaimed with a squeal.

They pulled up to their Key West house.

Janie said, “Let’s name it Island Flavor.”

“That sounds ok to me. Let’s use this key the county clerk gave us,” Al agreed.

“That was real nice. The county had the locks changed, both front and rear for us, Al.”

“Yep, there, we’re in like Flynn!” Al said proudly.

“Look, Al, there is a little bit of furniture. There is one easy chair in the living room. Look in the kitchen, only one chair at the kitchen table. Just a few pots and pans. It looks like a bachelor pad.”

“Let’s take a look upstairs, Jane.”

They went up. One bedroom was bare. In the other room they found a bed and dresser.

“This was definitely a one man’s abode,” Al exclaimed, “Hey, Janie, look in this turret room.”

There was one chair in the center and a small end table next to it. Laying on the end table was a pair of binoculars.

"This guy must have been spying on his neighbors!” Al exclaimed.

“No neighbors Al. Look out of this tower window. It’s looking towards the naval base!”

“Well, who knows? Let’s go downstairs and bring in the things we brought.”

“Now that we’re set up, let’s go grocery shopping,” Janie suggested.

“Good idea, Honey. I’m getting hungry, and let’s buy one more kitchen chair!”

Coming in from shopping Al said, “We've got the groceries and the chair. Now let’s eat!”

“That was good! Thank you, Dear. Now I’ll put the rest of these groceries up. You know I’ve been thinking, there would be a lot more storage in this house if they had built a pantry under these stairs. Instead they just closed it up,” he said as he slammed his hand against the stairwell wall.

“Hey, it moved!”

“What moved dear?” Jane asked.

“The stair wall. No honey look it’s a door! Look you can open it. It’s a door disguised as a wall.”

They both peered inside. It was dark. Al went part of the way in. His eyes became accustomed to the dark.

“There is a lamp on a small table,” he said as he clicked it on.

“Look, there’s a typewriter,” Janie said.

“Well Janie, if it is a typewriter, it’s a pretty weird one! No, I think we’re on to something here. If I’m not mistaken, what we have here is a transmit and receive station. See, here is a Morse Code typing key and this I’m sure is a radio transmitter. Now let’s look at this strange typewriter. It does have a keyboard with 26 letters of the alphabet. But these four rotors, they, too, have the 26 letters of the alphabet on each one. I bet it’s a code machine! Let’s look on the bottom. There’s a small metal tag. It says, Kriegsmarine Engima. Marine is naturally water. I bet it’s the German Navy’s Engima code machine! You know, Janie, it is only three years after the war.”

“What are we going to do, Al?”

“We’ll go back up to Miami. I want to put in a call to the U.S. Army CIC Branch.”

Just as soon as they got back to Miami, Al put in his call.

“US Army, Miami information,” the Army operator said.

“I would like to be connected to the CIC Branch please,” Al said kind of forceful.

“Sir, there is no CIC Branch.”

Al repeated getting slightly impatient, “I mean, Counter Intelligence Corps.”

“Sir, that group was disbanded after the war.”

“Well, possibly you could tell this disbanded group, I found a hidden broadcasting station with a Kriegsmarine Engima machine in the house I just bought in Key West!”

“Sir, who am I taking to?”

“Al Krenshaw.”
“Just one minute sir.”

Someone came on the line, “Mr Krenshaw, this is Bob Jones speaking. Please tell me once more what you just told the operator.”

Al proceeded to repeat what he had told the operator, and what he and Jane had found.

“Al, please listen carefully. We’re on this. Do not go back to your home in Key West until I call you back. Please give me some time. Also do not visit the house on 9th Street either. Do you understand?”

“Yes, but...”

“Al, I will get back to you. Just trust me. Thanks, Al. We’ll be in touch.”

Al told Janie what took place on the phone. They went about their business in Miami. But they waited…and waited. A couple of weeks later they got the call, “Al Krenshaw.”

“Yes, this is Al Krenshaw.”

“Al, this is Bob Jones, CIC remember.”
“Yes Mr. Jones.”

“Al it’s ok to go back to your Key West home now. We caught him! Peter Schmidt, Alias Peter Smith. We picked him up when he broke into your Key West home and was carrying out the Enigma machine and the other equipment. He must have realized in order to cover his tracks he needed to dispose of the items. He was a German spy, came in off a U-boat in ‘42. We’re on the trail of his Miami counterpart, and we’ll have him shortly.”

“Bob, uh, Mr. Jones, thank you for all of this,” Al said.

“Al, you must remember...actually you must forget. You never called me, and I never talked to you!”

From The Author:

This story is fictional. Any resemblance to any person or place is purely coincidental. The historic sources are in the Author’s Notes of Definitions and References in the rear of the book.

(However, Jane and Al Krenshaw’s speech and mannerisms bear some resemblance to my Mom and Dad, Al and Jane Kranich. God rest their souls.)

My second full-length book , Florida Keys’ Watercolor Kapers is composed of 336 pages. There are 12 stories running from 6 pages to as many as 72 pages. It is fully illustrated with 88 watercolors and sketches. The watercolors I made roaming around Key West after I finished my 750 mile hike from Georgia to Key West. (See book or Don Browne’s SouthWest Florida Online News records, A Walk Across Florida.) As you read these stories you will experience Key West, the Keys, and the Caribbean. These stories span the time of the early 1800’s to 1969. bkranich.wixsite.com/bobkranich

Friday, May 13, 2022

Joe Thomas - Historian Speaks On 1926 LaBelle Lynching

 LABELLE, FL. -- Local historian and retired history professor Joe Thomas was featured Friday on a NBC-2 news story about a 1926 lynching in LaBelle. 

See https://lynchinginlabelle.com/ for more informaton on the history project.

Heartland Homes Demands Higher Prices From Purchasers

PORT LABELLE, FL. -- Heartland Homes of Florida LLC, is allegedly raising prices on existing contracted new home purchasers by tens of thousands of dollars, according to complaints posted on Google Reviews last week.

Hendry County's largest home building company, having built hundreds of new homes in Port LaBelle says they are experiencing "issues related to materials, services, and labor to build and complete our homes," as new complaints are posted on Google Reviews.

Drone Photo by Don Browne - New Heartland Home under construction

A slew of apparent new home purchasers last week received emails from Heartland Homes notifying them of large price increases. One post on Google Reviews by Yanelys Avila a week ago said: 

"I signed my purchase agreement 5 months ago, the house was supposed to be built in 12 months but as of right now the construction hasn't even started and to make everything even worse last night I got an email "no even phone call" informing me that my purchase price will be increase for almost $40,000."

She warns other,  "Please be aware, the price in the purchase agreement is not a warranty that it will be the actual price you will pay, they may increase it to their convenience at any time even when the agent at the moment of signing ensures you multiple times that the price in the agreement is the final price. By the way, it will be almost impossible to communicate with an agent there after you sign, you are better off driving there to ask a question which is very inconvenient when you live hours away from LaBelle."

Sarah Ortiz said in a Google Review , "We signed a contract on 2/25/22 for one price which we were promised a locked in rate. Now 2 and a half months later we are getting our first communication from Heartland Homes for an increase of over $30,000 and when we contacted them about the rate change, they told us they can not predict if prices will increase again or not. Now does that sound like a locked in rate to you? After Jessica and Martha expressed that we were purchasing at the perfect time because they knew rates would be going up…… We have contacted a real estate attorney to review whether this is an unethical business practice. We were sold false pretenses that our future home would cost a certain price and that’s obviously not the case. WOULD YOU PURCHASE A HOME IF YOU DIDN’T KNOW WHAT THE FINAL PRICE WOULD BE!?!? I’m extremely disappointed in the communication and false illustrations that they have provided thus far. Furthermore after speaking with Tiffany who couldn’t answer most of my questions as a consumer, she told me that I had only 2 weeks to give them an answer as to whether we would proceed with the next step forward? After further review we have found that we were not the only ones sold under these false pretenses. My husband and I are getting attorneys involved."

Adrian and Melody Rivera posted:

"My in-laws signed a contract on June 26, 2021. They were told that the house would be finished in 9 months. Yesterday, May 4, 2022, like everyone else under contract with Heartland Homes, we received an email stating that there will be a price increase due to material prices, among other reasons.

"The price increase is $60,000! The email indicates that only 24% of the house has been completed, which has already been “under construction” for 11 months. At this rate we don't know when the house will be finished. No one sent us updates on the house, updates on progress, or updates on possible price increases. All we got was an email about a 60k price increase and have a nice day.

"We are so devastated with the lack of communication and professionalism that this company has shown. My in-laws are heartbroken that this was going to be their dream home and they would continue to build their family. We look forward to pursuing a resolution with Heartland Homes, but at this point we are all very frustrated and beyond furious with the way this has been handled."

Hearland Homes Responds

Heartland Homes responds to the complaints with a post saying "As everyone is aware, inflation continues to take a toll on our current economy and the construction/home-building industry has not been excluded. We all have been paying higher prices for fuel, groceries, and the remainder of our daily needs, along with finding fewer items on the shelves or waiting for items to arrive longer than normal. Heartland Homes has and continues to experience these same issues related to materials, services, and labor to build and complete our homes. We have consistently fought to obtain materials, reduce costs and hold our scheduled time frames since the end of 2020, and we are continuing the same thru the first quarter of 2022.
Heartland Homes has experienced significant delays in government agencies, material deliveries, contracted services, and finding new members to add to our team. Often, we find these areas to be inconsistent with deliveries, approvals, or providing the services needed on our scheduled dates.

We are living and working in unusual and inflationary times impacting our personal and business lives. Heartland Homes takes this decision seriously and with regret but feel there is not an alternative solution to the delays and changes in cost we are currently experiencing. Each of our customers is important to us to continue forward and build a quality product."

Walk Away And Forfeit Deposits? 

It is not clear if customers with a contract would lose their down payment if they don't agree to pay more, or if Heartland Homes will cancel the contract and try to sell to another buyer at the higher price.

Who Is In Charge At Heartland Homes?

Heartland Homes of Florida LLC is owned by Dwayne House and Kevin Berth. Career Financial Corp, owned by Dwayne House buys vacant Port LaBelle lots at a discount from market values, Heartland Homes builds for a home buyer on the lot, and when finished the deed is tranferred from Career Financial to Heartland Homes who then transfers the home and lot to the new owner.

Heartland Homes "borrows" a general contractor's license from Anthody Felix Laquidara of 5408 SW 6TH AVE, CAPE CORAL,  Florida. Lacquidara also "lends" his general contractor's license to ARELLANO BROTHERS FRAMING COMPANY and PAINTS & COATINGS, INC both companies are at 17660 East St, Fort Myers, Fl

Obituaries - Nelson, McDuffie, Avant

Jennifer Lynne Nelson age 75 of Alva, Florida passed away on May 5, 2022.
Cremation arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Fort Myers.

Ethel L. McDuffie, aged 97 born June 10, 1924 passed away peacefully ,May 9, 2022, to be with the Lord. She was born in Okeechobee and came to Clewiston with her husband and two small children in 1944 and made her home here for the rest of her years. As a child of the Great Depression, she learned from an early age to be resilient, tenacious, and strong.

She was a wife, a mother of three, grandmother of eight, great-grandmother of thirteen, and great-great grandmother of six.

She is survived by her son Jimmy (Debbie), daughter Harriet McDuffie Rice; grandchildren Norman Taylor, Kenneth McDuffie (Dusty) Kristi Hingson (Wade), Stephen Taylor (Velda) Kenneth McDuffie (Dusty), Nikki Wiseman (Marion), Lauren Sanders (Benjamin), and Victoria Rice; great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband William Hooker McDuffie, her daughter, Juanita Taylor, and son-in-law Glenn N. Taylor, and her granddaughter Kayleen Massa.

She was loved and respected by all who met her, and her family will spend the rest of their lives missing her fiery spirit and her unwavering love and dedication to them.

John L Avant 58, of Clewiston passed away at home Monday May 9, 2022. He was born in Ozark, AL to the late Kenneth and Joyce (Thomley) Avant.

He worked for South Florida Water Management and loved his job.

He was an avid Alabama Football fan, and loved fishing. He enjoyed a simple life.

Surviving are his wife Treva (Walker) Avant
daughters Jessica Swindle and Alyssa Avant
son Jeffery Swindle
step sister Dusty McDuffie
several grandchildren

A Memorial Service is pending.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Roger Hatton Dies At 77

Roger Carnahan Hatton, 77, went to be with his Lord, Friday, May 6, 2022. He was surrounded by loving family and under expert care at Shanti Niketan Hospice House, Glasgow, KY, when he passed away. Roger was born to the late Robert Carnahan Hatton and the late Marjorie Aileen Black Hatton on December 4, 1944, Chicago, IL. He was a Christian and a member of First United Methodist Church, Clewiston, FL.

He was raised in Pahokee, FL, and attended Pahokee High School; was graduated from Darlington School, Rome, GA (’62); and received a B.S., Business Agriculture, from University of Florida (’66).

Roger was a stalwart farmer, business innovator, people-builder, and change-maker in South Florida and South Georgia. His father founded R.C. Hatton Farms in the 1930s and Roger incorporated the business in 1964. He and his sister, Carol, grew the business substantially during the 1970s and 1980s. In recent years, Roger and Paul Allen formed new ventures: Performance NAPA Auto & Truck Parts and Performance Packaging. The multifaceted enterprise is still headquartered in Pahokee, FL.

R.C. Hatton and their team have likely touched you. Their parts, equipment, and exceptional service have kept countless vehicles on the road and many operations’ fleets and machinery functioning at full throttle. If you like fresh sweet corn, green beans, or cabbage, there is a good chance you’ve enjoyed theirs. If you’ve eaten pure cane sugar, there’s no doubt they’ve sweetened moments in your life.

Roger was an intellectual with an exuberant spirit. He enjoyed visiting with family and friends, reading, travel, his antique car collection, learning things deeply, and seeing visions and projects through.

Roger is survived by his wife of 29 years, Denise Inman Hatton, and their son, Jonathan Adsit Hatton; his previous wife of 22 years, Jo Britton Hatton, and their four children: Sarah Isolde Hatton and Laura Clay Hatton; Robert Carnahan “Rob” (Sharon) Hatton and son Calvin Carnahan Hatton; and Amy Hatton (William Chase “Chuck,” M.D.) Thornbury and children, Britton Grace and William Chase III; two sisters, Roberta Hatton Salvatore and Carol Mae Hatton Arline; and many dear nieces, nephews and cousins. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers, Richard Hatton and Thor Hatton.

A Celebration of Life visitation will take place on Tuesday from 5-7pm, Milward-Man O’ War, Lexington, KY. Services will be held on Wednesday, Manchester, KY: viewing from 11:00-11:30am, Britton Funeral Home; graveside service at 12pm, Manchester Memorial Gardens. Pallbearers will be Mark Allen and Dan Allen; and Aaron Congleton, Dale Helvey, Trip Whidden and Silvestre Corona.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 21 at 10am, First United Methodist Church, Clewiston, FL.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Woman Dies In Canal Crash In Hendry County

CLEWISTON, FL. --  A 53 year old female from West Palm Beach died in a crash into a canal Tuesday at 6:42 a.m.

Vehicle 1 was traveling west on an unnamed dirt road, west of Collins Slough Road in eastern Hendry county. Vehicle 1 traveled off the roadway right, entered a water filled canal and overturned. 

Driver 1 was pronounced deceased on scene. The crash remains under investigation.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Donald A. Peeples Dies At 93

Donald A. Peeples age 93, 0f Moore Haven, Florida passed away on Sunday, May 8, 2022 at his home.

Donald was born on August 6, 1928 in Citrus Center, Florida to the late Joseph and Sweet Hogan Peeples. He married Dorothy Crosby. Donald was a cattle rancher his entire life. He was a caring man, who always loved spending time with his family and friends.

Donald is survived by his loving wife; Dorothy Peeples, son; Jimmy Peeples and his wife Carol, grandchildren; Steven, Annie and her husband Darrell, and Mary and her husband Pat, great grandchildren; Hunter, Ava, Jenny, and Rochelle along with many extended family members and friends.

Donald was preceded in death by his son; Donnie Peeples and all of his siblings.

Celebration of Donald’s life will be celebrated on Thursday, May 12, 2022 at the Pavilion in Ortona Cemetery, where visitation will be one hour immediately before the celebration. He will be laid to rest in Ortona Cemetery.

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

Monday, May 09, 2022

Consumer Alert - Hendry Restaurant Warnings

LABELLE, FL. -- Four Clewiston area restaurants and one in LaBelle were issued food service warnings or violations in April inspections by the Florida Division of Food Safety.  33 other Hendry restaurants "passed" inspections although every restaurant had violations spotted by inspectors.

The Division is under Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nicole "Nikki" Fried. Some critics say Fried is overly controlled by business lobbyists and therefore is hesitant to take action against Florida business owners who violate laws and regulations.

Lover's Rock Cafe operated by Campbell Berisford in Harlem had 16 food safety violations of which 14 were warning citations on April 13. By April 27 they had corrected all violations.

Thomas Diner operated by Mary McKenzie in Clewiston had 13 violations April 13 and a stop sale order was issued and a follow up required.

The Clewiston Inn operated by SHRIJI HOSPITALITY LLC was issued a six warnings on April 8 for six food safety violations. By April 18 had corrected all violations except one, "Observed manager Shailesh Patel manager certification expired as of 03/28/2022."

Beef O Brady's in Clewiston operated by SP3 UNITED LLC had 11 violations on April 12 including "Time/temperature control for safety food, other than whole meat roast, hot held at less than 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Chicken 104f on cook line, was discarded."

Papa John's operated by DVS Pizza LLC in LaBelle was fined $160 on April 22 for "Manager or person in charge lacking proof of food manager certification and no other certified food service manager employed at this location." They were issued a warning in November 2021. "**Warning** - From follow-up inspection 2021-11-03: Manager or person in charge lacking proof of food manager." certification and no other certified food service manager employed at this location."

Johnnie Mae Benson - Obituary

Johnnie Mae Benson was compassionate, caring and loving for her family and especially her children. She was one of twelve children born on December 26, 1933 in Pavo, Georgia to the union of Buster, Sr and Pearl Mae Moore Everett. She exemplified the true beauty in living and if you knew her, you had to lover her. Johnnie Mae was born and raised in Pavo, Georgia and also received her former education there as well.

God called her to her heavenly home that he had prepared for her and her earthly life came to a close on April 29, 2022.

Johnnie Mae fell in love and married John Henry Benson and from that union five children were born; John, Johnnie Pearl, Joyce “Dianne”, Willie, and Wilhelmina.

While the family living in Florida, Johnnie Mae was employed by Hendry County School Board as a custodian and then worked at Clewiston Nursing Home and retired after twenty years of service.

Johnnie Mae was a member of the Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church and would always talk about how she enjoyed the services. She loved to dress and would always say how good God had been to her. Johnnie Mae knew this world was not her home and God’s will must be done.

She leaves to cherish her memories her loving children; John B. Benson and his wife Jamie of Fort Lauderdale, Johnnie Pearl Reid of Naples, Joyce Dianne Brown of Naples, Willie Benson of Clewiston, Wilhelmina Lundin and her husband David of Marco Island, along with seven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren and a host nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Wake Service
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Friday, May 13, 2022
Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church
700 Georgia Avenue
Clewiston, Florida,

17 Hendry County Arrests - Probation Violations Top List

LABELLE, FL. -- The HCSO reported Hendry County Arrests from May 2 to May 8 including five probation violations, three drug possessions, four DUI, two driving without license, one resisting LEO, two failure to appear, and one molestation.

Martin Rodriguez, 53 from LaBelle, was arrested on May 3, 2022 by Deputy Afonso and was charged with Possession of Cocaine and Possession of Drug Equipment.

A 15 year old female from LaBelle was arrested on May 3, 2022 by Deputy Eldridge and was charged with Probation Violation.

Derrell Javez Odom, 29 from Clewiston, was arrested on May 3, 2022 by Cpl. Drew and was charged with Trespassing, Resisting LEO w/o Violence, Open Container in Public Area and Possession of Cocaine.

Daniel Franklin Atkisson III, 37 From Englewood, was arrested n May 4, 2022 by Cpl. Hull and was charged with Probation Violation.

Jogli Hernandez, 46 from LeHigh Acres, was arrested on May 4, 2022 by Cpl. Drew and was charged with DUI.

Angel Lucille Browning, 23 from LaBelle, was arrested on May 4, 2022 by Deputy Escobedo and was charged with Probation Violation.

Cheyenne Dakota Wells, 27 from LaBelle, was arrested on May 4, 2022 by Deputy Coronilla and was charged with Flee/Elude LEO and Driving without a Valid License.

Christopher John Ball, 25 from Clewiston, was arrested on May 5, 2022 by Cpl. Drew and was charged with Lewd or Lascivious Molestation.

Kevin Michael Hall, 47 from Clewiston, was arrested on May 5, 2022 by Deputy Foreman and was charged with Probation Violation.

Josmany Perez, 35 from Naples, was arrested on May 5, 2022 by Deputy Foreman and was charged with Failure to Appear.

Ryan Lee Haydon, 33 from LaBelle, was arrested on May 5, 2022 by Deputy Foreman and was charged with DUI.

Liborio J Marquez, 39 from LaBelle, was arrested on May 5, 2022 by Sgt. Hernandez and was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, the Sale of Methamphetamine and two counts of Use of a Two-Way Communication Devise to Facilitate a Felony.

Lauren Marie Wellmeyer, 23 from Madisonville, LA, was arrested on May 6, 2022 by Sgt. Olvera and was charged with Failure to Appear.

Thomas James Hester, 42 from Florida City, was arrested on May 6, 2022 by Deputy Afonso and was charged with Probation Violation.

Malik Ozell Rawls, 29 from Pahokee, was arrested on May 8, 2022 by Sgt. Scelfo and was charged with DUI,.

Jesus Ruiz, 60 from LaBelle, was arrested on May 8, 2022 by Sgt. Hull and was charged with Driving with License Suspended/Revoked.

Maria Beatriz Letobar, 53 from LaBelle, was arrested on May 8, 2022 by Sgt. Hull and was charged with DUI.

Friday, May 06, 2022

Death On US27 Crash In Glades County

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- A 58 year old male from Tampa died in a crash Thursday at 12:45 p.m.

From the FHP report:

Vehicle 1 was traveling south on State Road 78, approaching the intersection with US-27. Vehicle 2 was traveling west on US 27, approaching the intersection with State Road 78. Vehicle 3 was traveling west on US-27, behind Vehicle 2.

Vehicle 1 failed to stop at the posted stop sign and entered directly into the path of Vehicle 2. As a result, the front of Vehicle 2 collided with the rear left of Vehicle 1. Vehicle 1 rotated into the path of Vehicle 3. The front of Vehicle 3 collided with the front of Vehicle 1. Vehicle 1 then overturned and came to rest on the paved median of US-27.

Vehicle 3 also came to rest on the median of US 27. Vehicle 2 came to rest on the outside lane of US-27. A 58 year old male from Tampa died in the crash.

Vehicle 2 had three other female passengers, with none to minor injuries. The crash remains under investigation.

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Jorge Rea Guilty In Drug Case In Moore Haven

MOORE HAVEN, FL -- Jorge Rea, 36, of LaBelle, was found guilty of three counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance and one count of Driving While License Suspended/Revoked (Habitual). 

The jury returned the guilty verdict this afternoon following a three-day trial in Moore Haven.

Deputies with the Glades County Sheriff’s Office were conducting traffic enforcement in June 2021 when the defendant sped by in a pick-up truck. He was clocked by radar at 49 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone.

The defendant pulled into a nearby driveway. He told the deputies he was driving someone else’s vehicle. Deputies did a search of the truck and inside was Fentanyl, crack cocaine, and methamphetamine. Rea was taken into custody.

Assistant State Attorney William Dorman III prosecuted the case. Sentencing has been scheduled for May 31st

.

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Medicare Savings Program May 11




Medicare Costs Add Up! You Might be Eligible to Save on Out-of-Pocket Expenses.

Medicare Savings Programs are state programs that help people with their Medicare costs. Each program has different benefits and eligibility requirements; to learn more about these programs click here.

You can also join a SHINE hosted webinar on Wed., May 11 to learn more about Medicare Financial Assistance.

SHINE counselors are available to screen for eligibility and provide application assistance. To request SHINE counseling, call the Elder Helpline at 866-413-5337 or visit www.floridashine.org to submit a contact request.

15 Arrests By Hendry Deputies - Burglary, Drugs and Larceny Tops

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County arrests from April 25 to May 1 including 3 larceny, 2 DUI, 3 burglary, driving with suspended license, resisting arrest, probation violation, 3 possession of drugs, possession of counterfeit license, and 3 failure to appear.

Emanuel Sanchez, 23 from Clewiston, was arrested on April 25, 2022 by Deputy George and was charged with Resisting LEO, Reckless Driving, DUI and Driving with Suspended/Revoked License.

Joseph Clement Barrow, 33 from Clewiston, was arrested on April 25, 2022 by Cpl. Drew and was charged with Possession of Marijuana and Probation Violation.

Timothy Mejias, 34 from LaBelle, was arrested on April 26, 2022 by Deputy Foreman and was charged with two counts of Larceny and Possession of Cocaine.

Alyssa Nicole Belin, 31 from LaBelle, was arrested on April 26, 2022 by Deputy Foreman and was charged with two counts of Larceny.

Raven Breanna Williams, 27 from Jesup, GA, was arrested on April 26, 2022 by Deputy Escobedo and was charged with Failure to Appear.

A 15 year old male from LaBelle was arrested on April 27, 2022 by Deputy Coronilla and was charged with Flee/Elude Police and Agg. Assault on LEO.

Leah Elizabeth Neely, 40 from Clewiston, was arrested on April 27, 2022 by Deputy Benitez and was charged with Burglary and Larceny.

David Hernandez, 38 from Clewiston, was arrested on April 28, 2022 by Deputy Barrientos and was charged with Failure to Appear and Out of County Warrant.

Juan Alberto Ramirez Secaida, 26 from Clewiston, was arrested on April 29, 2022 by Deputy Barrientos and was charged with Failure to Appear.

Cory Clarence Kerns, 33 from LaBelle, was arrested on April 30, 2022 by Deputy Coronilla and was charged with Burglary.

Gabino Soliz, 45 from LaBelle, was arrested on April 30, 2022 by Deputy Coronilla and was charged with Burglary.

Jaime Ruiz Ambrosio, 32 from LaBelle, was arrested on May 1, 2022 by Sgt. Hernandez and was charged with Operating a Motor Vehicle without Valid license and hit and run.

Jamie Ruiz Ambrosio, 32 from LaBelle, was arrested on April 30, 2022 by Deputy Coronilla and was charged with DUI.

Damian Tamayo Orue, 32 from Clewiston, was arrested on May 1, 2022 by Cpl. Drew and was charged with Possession of Counterfeited Drivers License and Operating a Motor Vehicle without Valid License.

Christian Gandara, 29 from LaBelle, was arrested on May 1, 2022 by Sgt. Scelfo and was charged with Possession of Cocaine.

Obituaries - Michelle Bryant, Elizabeth Ann Brewington Baer

Michelle Renee Bryant 53 of LaBelle, passed away Sunday May 1, 2022. She was born in Avon Park, FL to the late Granville Leroy and Eva Mae (Albritton) Bryant.

She was a devout Christian, and belonged to Christ Central Church.
She volunteered in numerous Community and Church events, and was recognized for doing so.

She loved her time with Rokyu Karate for many years. She also loved roller skating, crafting, word puzzles/games , Disney and Super Heroes.

She worked at McDonalds, as well as other area restaurants.

She was predeceased by her father: Granville Leroy Bryant; an infant son: John Michael Velasco; brothers: Granville L. Bryant Jr. "Lucky", and Glen L. Winn; aunts: Shirley Chavis and Patricia Mathers; and her grandparents.

She is survived by her daughter: Melissa A Velasco
mother: Eva Mae Bryant
brothers: George B. Bryant "Packy" and Marvin H. Turner
sisters: Debra L. White and Lisa Darlene Watson.

A Memorial Service is Pending.

BAER, Elizabeth Ann Brewington, passed away peacefully at home on April 29, 2022, with George her loving husband of 23 years by her side. 

Lisa was born September 1,1950 in Lumberton, NC to the late Odell and Eldyes Chavis. 

She is survived by her two sons, Jerry Cross and his daughters, Jennifer and Julie Cross and Harvey Brewington, Jr. She also leaves siblings, Carl Chavis, Shirley Gittings and Dorothy Anderson. Lisa also leaves step children, Tracey (Reggie) Robinson and their children Erinn and Emanuel, Matthew (Kristen) Baer and Jason (Daniyel) Baer and their children Aidan and Silas Baer and many more loving family and friends that include Kelsey and Trinity Cornelison. 

Lisa also had a passion for her dog babies, currently Sugar and Missy who she loved and took comfort from. 

Lisa was strong in spirit and wasted no time with regrets. 

Her husband and loving companion George will host a Celebration of Life on Saturday September 3, 2022 at her "Little piece of Heaven" on Trader Road in LaBelle Fl.

Monday, May 02, 2022

Meals For Seniors In Hendry/Glades

LABELLE, FL. -- Hope Connections is offering meals at no cost to residents of Hendry and Glades counties who are ages 60 and older. Three Hope Connections Cafés will offer hot, healthy meals daily from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Participants may also enjoy socializing, BINGO, activities, arts and crafts, discussion groups, and expert presentations on topics such as accident prevention and healthy aging. Hope Connections staff members are available to assist participants who speak Spanish.

Reservations are recommended, but not required, and can be made by calling 863-675-1576. Transportation is also available for those who need help getting to the Hope Connections Cafés, which are located in:Moore Haven - 200 Second Street, Moore Haven, FL 33471
LaBelle (Nobles Senior Center) - 475 East Cowboy Way, Labelle, FL 33935
Clewiston Senior Center - 1200 S W C Owen Avenue, Clewiston, FL 33440

With more than 40 years of experience as a local, not-for-profit healthcare organization, Hope Healthcare is dedicated to providing care and comfort for people of all ages. A compassionate team of staff and volunteers offers practical, spiritual and emotional support for the entire family. For more information about Hope Healthcare and Hope Connections, visit HopeHCS.org.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Florida Keys' Watercolor Kapers - Island Flavor

Florida Keys' Watercolor Kapers - Island Flavor
by Bob Kranich

Island Flavor, (Part 5, Excerpt 49)

This is a new story titled, Island Flavor. Our German spy who was dropped off by a “U” boat in the Miami area has just got a new assignment. He has to immediately change his spy business from the Miami area to Key West. He is going to buy a house down there and set up to spy on the submarine base.

Island Flavor

With his new job, the Key West bank account and his Miami house for collateral, he was now the new owner of the house he saw the day before.

Peter immediately went about getting things in order at his house. He went down to Duval Furniture and bought a few things: bed, dresser, chair, and lamp for the bedroom. A couch, chair, end table and two lamps for the living room. Small kitchen table and two chairs. But his special purchases were a medium size chair and small end table for the turret and a small rectangular table. He had a special use for this table.

Next, on a recommendation from the furniture salesman, he found a carpenter. He wanted someone who was self-employed.

Saturday, there was a knock on his door. “Hello, I’m John West. Sam James at Duval Furniture said you needed a carpenter.”

“Yes, come in. I’m Peter, Peter Smith. I have a special job for you. It may seem a little bit unusual, but trust me, I need it. I want you to enclose this area below the stairs. I’m going to build a dark room. I need for you to use the same wood for paneling as you see in this house and I need a door. It must have hidden hinges and opener.”

“That is kind of strange, Mr. Smith.”

“Yes, it is, but I want to keep my supplies safe. If you can do it, I will pay you for your time.”

“Yes I can. I can start today.”

When it was done, Peter gave the carpenter a little extra for a tip and asked for his confidentiality. It was in this small room under the stairs that Peter put the small rectangular table and one of the kitchen chairs. Luckily the wood walls enclosed an electric receptacle on the wall. Peter now had his transmitting room. He set up his Enigma machine and transmitter. He brought in a lamp, and he was in business!

He wasted no time doing his spying job. He went to work and kept his eye on the comings and goings through the main gate of the Navy Base. Evenings found him eating at the bars and restaurants on Duval Street. He was continuing picking up bits and pieces of military conversation. Mornings saw him sitting on his chair in the tower, shutters open and watching the Navy Base. Weekends found him prowling all of the poplar places up and down Duval Street. He could be seen any place there was a civic gathering.

On the appointed day and time, exactly two weeks since he had left Miami, he was sitting in his transmitter room under the stairs. He had the Enigma rotors to the correct settings.

He typed out his call sign on his key.

His key sounded an answer.

Set up_

All in place_

Sonar training_

Base occupancy, 5-7,000_

Subs-5, Tender-1_

PS out_

His key responded:

U out_

He smiled and said to himself, we’re in business!

Jane and Al’s house in Miami:

“Well, Janie, let’s go up, and check on that address the Monroe County Court House clerk gave us.”

“You mean the owners of the Key West Victorian house, Al?”

“Yep. Let’s go. I got the address here. It’s on East Ninth Street, a couple blocks east of Palm Avenue. I was looking at the map, and it looks like we should take 42nd Ave up past the airport from Coral Gables. We will almost run right into it. We’ll just turn left on Ninth.”

“Al, there it is! The small bungalow on the right,” Janie pointed.

They pulled up and parked curb side. The place looked a little messy and unkempt. They walked up the sidewalk. Al stepped up on the porch and knocked on the door. There were a few old flyers in the mail box and one or two on the porch floor. No answer. Al knocked much harder.

“Let’s walk around back, and take a look.”

“Do you think it will be all right, Al?” Janie asked.

“Who’s going to complain?” Al answered.

They went around back. “Not much back here,” Al murmured.

They walked back out front. There was an older guy sitting on the front porch of the house next door. Al walked up to the guy.

“Hey old timer, know anything about the house and its occupants?”

“Morning. I know a little.”
He was sitting on an old overstuffed chair. An undershirt barely covered his chest, and white hairs were sticking out. He had a glass of iced tea in his hand. He looked like he was enjoying his day.

“I haven’t seen anyone for about a year. Although I sometimes feel someone is over there. If you want to go back a few years, a real estate lady brought a guy there in ‘42. I’ve lived here at this house the last thirty years. The guy must have bought it, because he would come out early every day, catch a bus for Miami Springs and return late at night. I would see him before I went to work and late after I came home. He did that for a couple of months and then disappeared. A few weeks later a guy, who looked just like his brother started leaving early and returning just like the first guy.

Then in ‘46 I saw both of them together one time. But neither one after that. This last year it’s been real quiet.”

“The place looks desolate. But the grass is kind of ok?” Al questioned.

The old man answered, “Well, a kid comes by about once a month and cuts the grass. Kind of high when he does. I once asked him about it, and he said some guy contracted him to take care of it.”

“That’s interesting,” Al mused.

“Oh, by the away, you’re not the first ones to be asking about that house. A couple of guys came by last month. Knocked on the front door. Then they went around back and looked in the windows. They came over to talk to me. Said they were salesmen. Ha, salesmen my foot! I know CIC* guys when I see them.”

“CIC, what does that mean?” Al asked.

“Counter Intelligence Corps. I worked around a couple of these guys at the Miami Beach Training Center in ‘44. They were a US Army special unit. They worked with the FBI doing background checks on military personnel. Special investigation of people of foreign ancestry. I told them the same thing I just told you.”

“Sir, we appreciate you talking to us. Thanks a lot.”

“Take care, and good luck looking for them. Ma’am,” he nodded to them both.

Al and Janie drove off.

“What are we going to do, Al?”

“We’ll just run those ads, get Mike our lawyer on stand-by, and buy that house,” Al stated forcefully.

Peter kept up both his spying and work routine. He was picking up a lot of tidbits of information. He transmitted on schedule every two weeks.

Naval District HQ K Y_

Rear Admiral James Kauffman_

Administrative offices moved Miami_

Key West sub killer group_

Ships, Destroyers 3_

B-18s

Costal Bomber task force_

Colonel Louis Merrick_

Munitions dump Fleming Key_

Anti-sub vessel, Icarus 165 ft._

Key West sub pens-3, subs-5_

Military population, 10,000+

There were times in 1943, when the U-boat did not rendezvous. Peter was reading in the newspapers that in 1942 the German U-boats were ravaging the Atlantic Coast, and Gulf, sinking 400 ships. At least 35 were off the Florida coast. In 1943 the US improved their anti-sub defense by using convoys and destroyer escort.

Then it happened. In 1944, Peter had no more contacts and no more orders. However, he continued to spy, keep records and tried to contact the U-boat at the prescribed times. But no luck.

One day in May 1945, it was a month after the surrender of Nazi Germany, Peter noticed a green Army, 1941 four-door Ford sedan driving through his neighborhood. The next day it was parked on his block just a few houses down from his. Peter hurriedly packed his suitcase.

From the Author:

My second full-length book , Florida Keys’ Watercolor Kapers is composed of 336 pages. There are 12 stories running from 6 pages to as many as 72 pages. It is fully illustrated with 88 watercolors and sketches. The watercolors I made roaming around Key West after I finished my 750 mile hike from Georgia to Key West. (See book or Don Browne’s SouthWest Florida Online News records, A Walk Across Florida.) As you read these stories you will experience Key West, the Keys, and the Caribbean. These stories span the time of the early 1800’s to 1969. bkranich.wixsite.com/bobkranich

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Firehouse Theatre Fundraiser May 6

LABELLE, FL. -- The Firehouse Community Theatre, Inc. is excited to present "A Night of Mariachi Music" May 6.

Two bands will rock the house "Grupo Doble Estilo: and Norteno Elegante"

Tickets are $20. You can call 863-675-3066 to order your tickets and pay at the door.
Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. and the show starts at 7:00 p.m.

This is a fundraiser for the Firehouse Community Theatre. (The Theatre is a 501-C3 Non-Profit Organization)

Please get your tickets now and support your local theatre!

Lake Okeechobee Getting 1,500 Native Trees This Week





FWC planting trees, enhancing Lake Okeechobee habitat

LAKEPORT, FL. -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is planting approximately 1,500 native trees in the northwest marsh of Lake Okeechobee beginning this week.

This new habitat addition, which is a continuation of seven years of planting efforts, is designed to enhance the marsh’s native plant community, while providing woody structure for nesting and roosting birds.

Records from the early 20th century indicate that bald cypress trees were prevalent throughout portions of Lake Okeechobee. These large and abundant cypress trees were essential nesting habitat for wading bird colonies. However, logging activities, wildfires, hydrologic changes and cattle grazing have eliminated most of the trees from the lake.

In 2015, the FWC began replanting native trees in Lake Okeechobee’s northwest marsh. Since then, over 17,000 trees and shrubs have been planted. Although bald cypress has been the most common tree planted, at least 22 other native tree and shrub species, including pond apple, red maple and cabbage palm, have been included in planting efforts.

The addition of trees and fruit-bearing shrubs to the northwest marsh has increased nesting and foraging opportunities for local bird and wildlife communities, including the endangered Everglades snail kite. By planting the trees at different elevations throughout the marsh, the project aims to increase nesting and foraging opportunities for local bird communities at multiple lake levels.

Management activities, such as aquatic plant management, prescribed burns and native plant transplanting, help improve habitat for fish, waterfowl, wading birds and other wildlife populations, while also allowing improved recreational opportunities for anglers, boaters and hunters. These activities are part of an integrated management approach used by the FWC on many lakes and wetlands throughout Florida.

For general waterbody information, fishing forecasts, virtual tours, plant control operation schedules and annual workplans, boat ramp information, and more, visit the “What’s Happening on My Lake” website at MyFWC.com/Lakes.

The FWC, with its partners, continually works together to enhance and restore fish and wildlife habitat in Florida. For more information about the FWC’s Aquatic Habitat Conservation and Restoration projects, visit MyFWC.com/AquaticHabitat.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Florida Wildlife Scavenger Hunt This Weekend

FWC’s WildQuest this weekend!

This Friday through Sunday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will host the second weekend of its annual Florida WildQuest event, a fun and family-friendly scavenger hunt experience. This weekend’s event takes place on six wildlife management areas in different regions of the state. Florida residents and visitors are encouraged to grab their mobile device and join us on a wild adventure with scavenger hunt missions that will help participants discover some of Florida’s best spots to see animals and enjoy the outdoors.

WildQuest players of all ages will have opportunities to learn about and explore the habitats and wildlife that call our WMAs home. Complete missions and earn points for a chance to win wilderness-inspired prizes. Go on a WildQuest at the following areas this weekend:

April 29-May 1
Apalachicola River Wildlife and Environmental Area, Apalachicola
Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Hickory Mound Unit, Perry
Caravelle Ranch Wildlife Management Area, Palatka
Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area, Crystal River
Lake Wales Ridge Wildlife and Environmental Area, Royce Unit, Lake Placid
Split Oak Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area, Orlando

To join a scavenger hunt, players will need a mobile device and the free GooseChase app. Visit FloridaNatureTrackers.com to learn how to play. WildQuest is designed to be a safe, socially distanced outdoor event for individuals and small groups. Players who join on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. will have the opportunity to meet and interact with FWC staff. When interacting with staff and other visitors, masks should be worn if social distancing guidelines (6 feet apart) cannot be met.

Florida has one of the nation’s largest systems of state-managed wildlife lands. The WMA system includes more than 6 million acres managed primarily for wildlife conservation and nature-based public use. The areas featured in WildQuest will engage players in learning about Florida wildlife, habitats and recreation opportunities. The FWC maintains, enhances and restores native natural habitats for the benefit of plant and animal populations as well as for the people of Florida.

To learn more about Florida’s WMA system, visit MyFWC.com/WMAs

Synthetic Opiods Added To Controlled Substance List

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Ashley Moody today filed an emergency rule to add eight deadly synthetic opioids to the Schedule I of controlled substances in Florida. 

The drugs, categorized as nitazenes, have no medical use and can cause adverse health effects, including overdose deaths. These synthetic opioids are linked to at least 15 deaths in Florida since 2020, including two in Pasco County. This emergency order makes it a felony for an individual to possess, sell, manufacture or deliver any of these eight drugs.

Forensic labs in Florida first began identifying cases of nitazenes in 2020. Since then, 268 cases have been identified; however, the prevalence of these substances likely exceed those reported. The number of nitazene cases rose to 171 in 2021, compared to 13 found in 2020. As of March 18, 84 cases had been identified in Florida. Nitazenes may appear in many common forms, including powder, liquid and counterfeit prescription pills.

The eight synthetic opioids Attorney General Moody is emergency scheduling are:

N-pyrrolidino etonitazene—10x more potent than fentanyl;
Etodesnitazene—Up to 10x more potent than fentanyl;
Isotonitazene—5x more potent than fentanyl;
Protonitazene—2x more potent than fentanyl;
Metonitazene—Equipotent to fentanyl;
Butonitazene—20x less potent than fentanyl;
Metodesnitazene—100x less potent than fentanyl; and
Flunitazene—100x less potent than fentanyl.
To view the order, click here.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Sewer Pipe Repairs Will Close Schooner Drive Tuesday

PORT LABELLE, FL. -- On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, Hendry County’s contractor, Strickler Bros. Underground, Inc., and their subcontractor, Russ Berner Construction, Inc., will be conducting roadwork on the west end of Schooner Drive in Country Village located in LaBelle, FL.

The work includes paving of the existing roadway section that was damaged during utility construction.

The speed limit will be reduced through the project area.

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

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

Flagmen will be present to help direct traffic.

The work is expected to have a completion time of approximately one (1) day.

Operations will begin on Tuesday (04/26/22) at 7:00am 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.

19 Arrests By Hendry Deputies - Drugs Biggest Category



LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry County Sheriff's office reports the following 19 arrests by Deputies from 4-18 to 4-24 including six probation violations, one DUI, 11 counts of possession of drugs or weapons, and two driving with no or suspended license.

Jorden Dwayne Whidden, 34 from LaBelle, was arrested on April 18, 2022 by Cpl. Drew and was charged with Probation Violation.

Anthony Raymond Kats, 35 from Ft. Myers, was arrested on April 18, 2022 by Cpl. Drew and was charged with Possession of Drug Equipment, Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Marijuana.

Hokeem Venry Hannam, 25 from Ft Lauderdale, was arrested on April 19, 2022 by Deputy Afonso and was charged with Possession of Marijuana.

Elexis Elisha Holligan, 25 from Clewiston, was arrested on April 19, 2022 by Deputy Rivera and was charged with Battery and Aggravated Assault.

Jivonie Amonny Lennon, 20 from Moore Haven, was arrested on April 20, 2022 by Deputy George and was charged with Driving While License Suspended Habitual Offender and Probation Violation.

Ivorynia Tamika Bryant, 41 from Ft Myers, was arrested n April 20, 2022 by Deputy Eldridge and was charged with Failure to Appear.

Clifton William Dunnaway, 26 from Clewiston, was arrested on April 20, 2022 by Deputy Coronilla and was charged with Probation Violation.

Edgar Leonel Jimenez Domingo, 20 from Immokalee, was arrested on April 21, 2022 by Deputy Rosado and was charged with Failure to Appear.

Carlton Donishus Williams, 32 from LaBelle, was arrested on April 21, 2022 by Deputy Foreman and was charged with Probation Violation.

Jacob Edward Mott, 20 from LaBelle, was arrested on April 21, 2022 by Deputy Hernandez and was charged with Battery and Criminal Mischief.

A 13 year old male from LaBelle was arrested on April 21, 2022 by Deputy Vokaty and was charged with Possession of Weapon on School Property.

David J Lewis, 34 from Clewiston, was arrested on April 22, 2022 by Deputy Bustamante and was charged with Probation Violation.

Cornelius Brian Hurst, 34 from Clewiston, was arrested on April 22, 2022 by Deputy Barrientos and was charged with Driving with Suspended/Revoked License, Larceny, Possession of a Weapon by Convicted FL Felon, Possession of Drug Equipment, Failure to Register Motor Vehicle, Attached Registration License Plate Not Assigned and Possession of Cocaine.

Desmondlaterria Cornelius Ingram, 38 from Clewiston, was arrested on April 22, 2022 by Deputy Barrientos and was charged with Possession of Cocaine and Probation Violation.

Fernando Jose Solis, 31 from Clewiston was arrested on April 23, 2022 by Deputy George and was charged with Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle.

Eugeio Gomez Pelaez, 61 from Clewiston, was arrested on April 23, 2022 by Deputy Rivera and was charged with DUI.

Benito Aguirre, 36 from LaBelle, was arrested on April 24, 2022 by Sgt. Olvera and was charged with Lewd or Lascivious Molestation.

Sarah Michelle Garner, 31 from LaBelle, was arrested on April 24, 2022 by Deputy Afonso and charged with two counts of Possession of Controlled Substance without Prescription and Possession of Methamphetamine.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Earth Day - Photo Essay

 

FELDA, FL. -- Today is Earth Day. 

Earth Day is an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First held on April 22, 1970, it now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EarthDay.org including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries. 

The official theme for 2022 is Invest In Our Planet.

A photograph from the Spirit of the Wild Wildlife and Environmental Area south of LaBelle in Hendry County, Florida on Keri Rd. 

Pine tree "snags" or dying or dead trees stand out from the cell tower located on Sears Road north of the Spirit of the Wild WEA.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Waterways Exhibitions Closes Next Week At Library

Water/Ways Exhibition in LaBelle Closes Next Weekend

The Museum on Main Street traveling exhibition, Water/Ways, closes on April 30, 2022 at the Barron Library in LaBelle. 

Hosted in partnership with the Smithsonian with support from LaBelle Downtown Redevelopment Corp., Water/Ways explores water’s importance and impact on our day-to-day lives. There are just two more communities on the exhibition tour this year, so make your plans to visit soon!

Amelia Island Museum of History, May 7–July 2
African American Cultural Society, Palm Coast, July 9–Sept. 3




Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Obituaries - Albert Hahn III, age 67; Cheryl Mersy, age 57

Albert James Hahn III, 67 of LaBelle passed away Saturday April 16, 2022.

He was born in St. Louis, MO to Albert James Hahn Jr and the late Patricia Anne (Burke) Hahn
He was a Veteran of the United States Navy. He worked as a Contractor for the Department of Defense.

Surviving are his wife: Burnice (Styles) Hahn
son: Albert James Perry Hahn
sisters: Mary Ann Hahn, Katherine Carpenter, Susan Wegschied, and Virginia Bihari
grandchildren: Claire Harper Hahn and Chloe Louise Hahn

A Memorial Service is Pending.

Cheryl M Mersy 57, of Clewiston passed away Tuesday April 12, 2022.

She was born in El Paso, TX to the late Frank Christ Pung and Ida (Heinekamp) Pung.
She was an Executive with her families Fire Alarm and Security business.

Surviving are her Son: Matthew Bonner
Spouse: Stanley Bonner
Mother: Ida Pung
Brother: Gary Pung
Sisters: Beverly, Mary Jane, and Jeannine

A Memorial Service is Pending.

Monday, April 18, 2022

When To Get Tested For COVID-19

When to Get Tested for COVID-19

Get tested for COVID-19:

If you have COVID-19 symptoms
At least 5 days after known or suspected close contact to COVID-19
For screening (schools, workplaces, congregate settings, etc.)
Before and after travel
When asked by a healthcare professional or public health official
Attending an upcoming event or gathering? Reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by getting tested as close to the event date as possible.

Self-tests are one of several options for testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 and may be more convenient than laboratory-based tests and point-of-care tests.

If you have had COVID-19 in the past 90 days and recovered, you do not need to be tested unless you develop new symptoms.

The Coronavirus Self-Checker is an interactive clinical assessment tool that can help you decide when to seek testing or medical care if you think you have COVID-19 or have come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

14 Arrests By Hendry Sheriff Deputies This Week

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Deputies made the following arrests from April 11 to April 17 including 4 DUI, 2 Resisting Arrest, 4 Possession of Drugs, and 2 for Probation Violation.

Damunte Rayyon Webber, 22 of Clewiston, was arrested on April 11, 2022 by Sgt. Scelfo and was charged with Obstruction Without Violence and Battery on LEO.

Sedric Sentrellmorris Lawson, 37 from Clewiston was arrested on April 11, 2022 by Sgt. Scelfo for Corruption by Threat Against Public Servant, Disturbing the Peace and Resisting Officer Without Violence.

Kelly Ann Rucci, 44 from LaBelle, was arrested on April 12, 2022 by Deputy Earl and was charged with Two Counts of Possession of Drug Equipment, Possession of Synthetic Cannabinoids, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Fentanyl, Possession of Cocaine and an Out of County Warrant.

Danielle Ashley Pent, 34 of Moore Haven, was arrested on April 12, 2022 by Deputy Earl and charged with two counts of Probation Violation.

Angelina Ellen Koff, 52 of LaBelle, was arrested on April 13, 2022 by Deputy Aguirre for two counts of Probation Violation.

Leticia Bell Lowrey Hendry, 45 from LaBelle, was arrested on April 14, 2022 by Deputy Afonso and was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Resisting LEO Without Violence and an Out of County Warrant.

Lacie Lauren Steadly, 24 from Clewiston, was arrested on April 14, 2022 by Deputy Rivera and was charged with DUI.

Charles Reggie Cypress, 30 from Clewiston, was arrested on April 14, 2022 by Deputy Bustamante and was charges with Failure to Appear.

Daniel Shane Gran, 29 from LaBelle, was arrested on April 14, 2022 by Deputy Afonso and was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine.

Robert Patrick Guillory, 51 from Clewiston, was arrested on April 14, 2022 by Deputy Barrientos and was charged with being an Out of State Fugitive.

Josue Modesto Alvarez, 31 from Clewiston, was arrested on April 16, 2022 by Cpl. Drew and was charged with Failure to Register Motor Vehicle, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of a Controlled Substance w/o a prescription, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Equipment.

Brandon Michael Hawkins Villarreal, 31 from LaBelle, was arrested on April 17, 2022 by Deputy Coronilla and was charged with DUI.

Raul Luis Olguin Gonzalez, 50 from LaBelle, was arrested on April 16, 2022 by Deputy Coronilla and was charged with DUI.

Michael Tyler Terrell, 29 from LaBelle, was arrested on April 17, 2022 by Deputy Foremen and was charged with DUI.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Ag Lot For Sale - SR80 At Everhigh Acres Rd

Advertisement

$2,900 - On State Road 80 - Agricultural Zoning

Historic formerly owned by Joe B. Hendry. Size is approximately .15 Acre along the north side of State Road 80, east of LaBelle. At the curve 2.5 miles east of the Pioneer Shell station and Hendry Isles Blvd., and just across from Everhigh Acres Road. 

Formerly owned by Joe B. Hendry, Jr., whose family was one of the largest landowners in Hendry county, including the land which is now Port LaBelle, and the largest cattle ranchers in the state. Mr. Hendry who died in 2003, bought this lot in 1949. 

Now zoned agricultural (A-2). State Road 80 is four-laned from Fort Myers, to LaBelle and to Clewiston, and all the way to the east coast of Florida. 

Lot is triangular shaped (see map link below and photo). Size is approximately .15 of an acre, the side parallel to SR80 is approx. 150', the side along the Hilliard Canal, about 80' and the north side which is the Hendry county line is aprox. 125'. 

The canal flows on the east of the lot to the Caloosahatchee River a mile to the north. It may be possible to fish, hike or bike from the property along the canal to the river and explore the SFWMD land along the Caloosahatchee River from Moore Haven to LaBelle. 

The property has Hendry County Strap No. 1324306A000001.000. 

See Photo looking north along the canal and See Video. Click for a Map view. E-mail owner, text or call 800 863-800-0010. Owner will take Cash or Trade.

Mystery Car Shopping Report - Napleton KIa

LAKE PARK, FL. -- Consumer advocate, Earl Stewart this week broadcast one his weekly mystery shopping reports of a South Florida automobile dealership, demonstrating how consumers can be scammed or mislead when shopping for a new vehicle.

Stewart, a consumer advocate and automobile dealer himself, has been advocating for changes in the automobile dealership business, where unwary consumers are routinely overpaying at dealerships through bait and switch tactics, unwanted accessories, hidden charges, and misleading advertising gimmicks.

Stewart says for the last year, automotive dealers have been making record profits even while selling fewer vehicles since 2021 due to shortages of inventory nationwide. He finds it unconscionable that dealers cheat and lie to customers making extra thousands of dollars profit on selling and financing of cars and trucks.

This week's shopping report is of Napleton North Lake Kia. Napleton was fined $10 Million recently by the Federal Trade Commission.

Previous story on Napleton's FTC $10 Million Fine

Friday, April 15, 2022

Harley Rae Pryor - Youngest Qualifier In Rodeo Event

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- This year’s youngest qualifier in the American Rodeo is Moore Haven's 13-year old Harley Rae Pryor, daughter of Storey-Lundy Farms grower Weston Pryor.

Story and photo: courtesy Florida Sugarcane Growers and Heartland Living Magazine

Harley competed against some of the best in the world in breakaway roping and took third place in this year’s competition at Arlington, TX in March.

Harley's grandparents Janet and Byron Storey are fourth- generation ranchers in Moore Haven. They raise citrus and sugarcane.

Obituaries - Garcia, White, McCauslin, Towner

Rachel Katy Garcia, age 64 of Clewiston, Florida, passed away after a brief illness at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Rachel was born in Uvalde, Texas on June 19, 1957 to Joaquin and Rachel Quesada Garcia. She married Jose Garcia; he preceded her in death on May 11, 2011. Rachel was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and sister to her family and a good caring friend to her friends.

Rachel leaves fond memories with her son; Michael Garcia and her daughter; Misty Garcia, grandchildren; Niyah, Makayla, and Selean, brother; Joaquin Jake Garcia, III, hier sisters; Mary Rodriguez, Annabelle Rodriguez, and Jessica Rider and many extended family members an close family friends.

Rachel's life will be celebrated on April 19, 2022 at 3:30 p.m at Ridgelawn Cemetery. Visitation will be from 1-3 p.m., April 19, 2022 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston. She will be laid to rest next to her loving husband, Jose.

Audra Ann White, age 47, passed away April 8th, 2022 in her home here in Labelle, Florida surrounded by her family. 

Audra was born July 10th, 1974 in Salinas California. After her mother, Betty Ann Langley, passed away when Audra was 6 years old from metastatic breast cancer, her grandparents Frank and Bertha King so gladly took her in and raised her here in Labelle. She then married her high school sweetheart, Nathan White, and shared four daughters together. 

She was a kindergarten teacher many years ago, and after having her first daughter decided to become a stay at home mom. She was an amazing daughter, granddaughter, aunt, cousin, niece, a faithful friend, devoted wife, dedicated mother, and loving grandmother. 

Audra leaves behind her husband, Nathan White, her four daughters, Logann Davis age 24, Camrann White age 21, Dylann White age 19, and Brenann White age 16. As well as her only grandchild, James Davis age 2. 

A celebration of Audra’s life was held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 14th, 2022 at the Mudge Venue where visitation began at 12:00 p.m. She was laid to rest in Fort Denaud Cemetery immediately following the service.

Nancy Jo McCauslin, age 92 of LaBelle, Florida, passed away on April 10, 2022 at Orchid Cove at Lake Placid in Lake Placid, Florida.

Nancy was born on March 22, 1930 in Tuscan, Mississippi to the late E. P. and Arbie Chasteen Graham. She worked at Berry Juice Plant for many years before retiring. She was a loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother and great great grandmother to her family and will be dearly missed.

Nancy leaves fond memories with her children; Julie Hampton and Bonnie Pratt both of LaBelle, her grandchildren; Melinda Cornelison, Melissa Agent, Ashley Kelley, Christopher Cooper and Darron Cooper, great grandchildren; Brianna Kelley, Bailey Kelley, Trinity Cornelison, Kelsey Cornelison, Dillon Bustin, and great great grandchild; Rhyatt Bustin, along with many extended family members and friends.

Nancy was preceded in death by her son; Donald McCauslin.

Graveside celebration of her life was held on Thursday, April 14, 2022 at Fort Denaud Cemetery at 11:00 a.m.

Graveside celebration of Life was handled by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

On April 6th, 2022, Terry L. Towner, of Addison, NY, and Moore Haven, FL, passed away peacefully in his sleep with his wife Barbara by his side. 

After achieving a forestry degree from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse University, Terry went on to become a surveyor and serve his country in the Army in Vietnam. When he returned to the States, he helped build the Pinnacle in Addison, bought and sold real estate, and started a Christmas Tree Farm. 

An avid outdoors man, Terry loved hunting, fishing, camping, and walking in the woods. His adventurous spirit led him and Barbara to buy a sailboat and sail to destinations including Mexico, The Bahamas, Chesapeake Bay, Guatemala, the Florida Keys, and Belize. 

Their other travels took them to China, Vietnam, on an African Safari, to climb the pyramids of South America, across rope bridges in the Amazon and other places. 

Most of all, Terry loved his family. He worked hard to create an environment on his Addison property where his children and grandchildren could gather and be with each other. 

Terry is survived by his wife Barbara, his children Ramon Towner, Nikki (Randy) Dye, and Scott (Rebecca) Towner and his grandchildren Nikita Dye, Cameron Dye, Jesse Towner, Jordan Towner, Josiah Towner, Zachary Towner, Victoria Towner, Michael (Jojo) Towner, Melody (Matt) Robb, Brian (Wendy) Gorton, Laura (Dan) Meyers, and several great-granchildren, nephews and nieces. 

He is predeceased by his daughter Melody, his parents Llewellyn and Adrea, and his foster son David Gorton. 

There will be no funeral services, but a memorial service will be held at a future date at the discretion of the family.


USDA Developing Next Dietary Guidelines

Let Your Voice Be Heard: Help Shape the Next Dietary Guidelines!



By Stacy Dean, Deputy Under Secretary

Every five years, USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services partner to provide the latest, science-based nutrition guidance to empower Americans to make dietary choices that will improve their health and lifestyles. These guidelines are a cornerstone of federal nutrition policy, which we are leveraging to promote and elevate nutrition security. Poor nutrition is a leading cause of illness in the U.S. and by focusing on the quality of what we eat, we can help reduce diet-related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease that impact historically underserved and marginalized communities.

Today, USDA and HHS kick off the process of developing the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans by posting proposed scientific questions for public comment.

Your feedback on the proposed questions – and throughout the development process for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans – will help us change lives and ensure a healthier, more prosperous future for all Americans. Our departments are committed to equity and transparency at every point in the process, which is why this first step starts with you – the public. The public comment period opens tomorrow. We invite you to read the proposed scientific questions and comment before May 16, 2022, to inform the process from the very start!

Additional Resources:
Looking Ahead: The 2025-2030 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Process
News Alert announcing the public comment period for proposed scientific questions
HHS Blog about proposed scientific questions
Sign up to receive email updates on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans development process and other related news, including future opportunities for public involvement
Frequently Asked Questions about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
USDA's Commitment to Enhancing Food and Nutrition Security

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Ruth Mosher Roy Dies At 105

Ruth Mosher Roy was born September 16, 1916 and died peacefully on April 9,2022. 

Her early years were spent in Center Mills, in the town of Horseheads, across the street from her great grandfather’s grist, plaster, and lumber mills. 

She attended school in Montour Falls, N.Y. and graduated from Cook Academy. She earned her B.A. and later on her M.A. in Education from Elmira College. 

She fell in love and married Gerald M. Roy on September 24, 1939. 

She worked at Cornell University before she had children. She taught at Southside High School in Elmira after her children were grown until she retired in 1978. 

She was predeceased by her husband Gerald, son Robert Roy, son-in-law Richard Wade, grandchildren Timothy Roy, Sarah Roy, and Jill Beese. 

She is survived by her children Elizabeth Wade, Rhonda Roy, Tom (Ann) Roy and George “Rick” (Nancy) Roy. Grandchildren Barbara (Duane) Frantz, Lynn Wade, James(Sherri) Wade, Kristen (Partrick) Macarchuk, Logan (Kelsey) Roy, Emma (Ryan) Dodge, Isabel Roy, Albert (Rosemary) Roy, Andrew (Lauren) Roy, and Matthew (Alicia) Roy. 

There are 14 great grandchildren and 8 great great grandchildren. 

A Memorial service will be May 3rd at the Church of the Good Shepherd, LaBelle, Florida. 

Ruth’s interment will be later this summer at the Tioga Point Cemetery in Athens, Pa., Deacon Rick Roy, officiant.

Port St. Lucie Truck Driver Dies In Hendry County Crash

 CLEWISTON, FL. -- From the FHP crash report: A 54-year old man from Port St. Lucie, Fl died after a crash at 10:05 am Thursday.

Vehicle 1 (box truck), was traveling west on State Road 80, on the outside lane, approximately one half mile west of County Road 833. Vehicle 2, (disabled flatbed truck), was stopped on the north shoulder and outside lane of State Road 80, approximately one half mile west of County Road 833. 

Vehicle 1 slowed and swerved to avoid, but the front right portion of Vehicle 1 collided with the rear left portion of Vehicle 2. Vehicle 1 continued west, crossed the grass median and overturned. Driver 1 was pronounced deceased on scene. 

The crash remains under investigation.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Barefoot In The Park At Theatre This Month

LABELLE, FL --The Firehouse Theatre is pleased to present a romantic comedy by Neil Simon; "Barefoot in the Park". 

A newlywed couple live in their first home, an apartment on the top floor of a brownstone in New York City. One is optimistic about their future together, while the other worries about the various flaws in the apartment. 

During the course of four days, the couple learns to live together while facing the usual daily ups-and-downs. The wife wants her husband to become more easy-going like running "barefoot in the park".

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 romantic comedy.

The show runs April 22, 23, & 24 and then April 29, 30 and May 1. (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, April 11, 2022

14 Arrests By Hendry Deputies Reported

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry Sheriff's Office reports arrest from April 4 to April 10 including 
five probation violations, four drug charges, two burglaries, and two grand theft. Three juveniles under 18 were arrested.

Juan Godines Lopez, 37 of Immokalee was arrested on April 4, 2022 by Cpl. Bustamante and was charged with Failure to Appear.

Gregory Raynard Brazile, 40 of LaBelle, was arrested on April 4, 2022 by Sgt. Olvera and was charged with an Out of State Warrant.

Camara Somoya Slowley, 24 of Clewiston, was arrested on April 4, 2022 by Deputy Barrientos and was charged with Aggravated Assault and Battery.

A 16 year old black male was arrested on April 4, 2022 by Sgt. McNeil and was charged with Probation Violation.

Jena Denise Owens, 27 of Clewiston, was arrested on April 6, 2022 by Deputy George and was charged with Driving with License Suspended/Revoked, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Child Abuse/Neglect and Probation Violation.

Taylor Raye Daniels, 24 of Clewiston, was arrested on April 6, 2022 by Deputy George and was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance and Probation Violation.

Taylor Raye Daniels, 24 of Clewiston, was arrested on April 6, 2022 by Deputy Earl and was charged with Smuggling of a Controlled Substance into a Detention Facility.

A 12 year old Hispanic male was arrested on April 6, 2022 by Detective Geraci and was charged with Larceny and Burglary.

A 14 year old Hispanic male was arrested on April 6, 2022 by Detective Geraci and was charged with Larceny and Burglary.

Andy Rodriguez Alfonso, 41 of Clewiston was arrested on April 6, 2022 by Cpl. Drew and was charged with DUI.

Michael Deleon, 37 of LaBelle, was arrested on April 7, 2022 by Deputy Coronilla and was charged with Battery on LEO, Firefighter, EMT.

Brinton Artiviergonzale Ingram, 36 from Clewiston, was arrested on April 7, 2022 by Deputy Foreman and was charged with Probation Violation.

Rueben Justus Edwards, 41 of Clewiston, was arrested on April 9, 2022 by Deputy Barrientos and was charged with Probation Violation and Driving with License Suspended.

Madelin Hernandez Velasquez, 33 of Clewiston was arrested on April, 9, 2022 by Deputy Rivera and was charges with Battery and Obstructing Justice.

Marcelina Reyes, 39 of Clewiston was arrested on April 9, 2022 by Deputy Barr and was charged with Probation Violation.

Ivalissa Leah Vargas, 34 of LaBelle, was arrested on April 10, 2022 by Deputy Aguirre and was charged with Grand Theft.

Wesley John Duclos, 36 of LaBelle, was arrested on April 10, 2022 by Deputy Aguirre and was charged with Grand Theft.

Manuel Enrique Ortiz, 26 of LaBelle was arrested on April 10, 2022 by Deputy Eldridge and was charged with Smuggling Controlled Substance into a Detention Facility and three Counts of Contempt of Court.

Sunken Boat At Ortona Lock Area

Notice to Navigation

Notice is given of the salvage of the sunken private vessel on the south bank of the Caloosahatchee River, west of Ortona Lock. The Channel is still open to navigation, but caution should be taken when navigating through this area while salvage operations are ongoing.

2. Contact Information

For up-to-date Lock information contact the shift operator 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at:

St. Lucie Lock & Dam 772-287-2665 or 863-662-9148

Port Mayaca Lock & Dam 561-924-2858 or 863-662-9424

Julian Keen, Jr. Lock & Dam 863-946-0414 or 863-662-9533

Ortona Lock & Dam 863-675-0616 or 863-662-9846

WP Franklin Lock & Dam 239-694-5451 or 863-662-9908

Canaveral Lock 321-783-5421 or 863-662-0298 (6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.)

Hendry Hospital Raises $176,00 At Social Event

Clewiston, FL  – Hendry Regional Medical Center Foundation exceeded its fundraising goal at their Annual Social Celebration raising over $176,000 Their event held on March 26th was the culmination of their annual giving campaign.

Through the generosity of local donors, the HRMC Foundation will provide new vital sign machine monitoring systems to the Emergency Department and Outpatient Services area totaling more than $350,000.

In addition to its annual fundraising campaign to purchase critical life-saving medical equipment, the Hendry Regional Medical Center Foundation recently received a $25,000 donation from U.S. Sugar. The support will allow the medical center to purchase a new endoscopic surgery system.

“On behalf of our hospital personnel and our patients, we are incredibly grateful to the people of U.S. Sugar for helping us exceed our fundraising goals and purchase much-needed medical equipment,” said RD Williams, CEO of Hendry Regional Medical Center.

On an annual basis, the Foundation provides funds to Hendry Regional Medical Center for special projects and facility improvements, all aimed at improving healthcare for the residents of Hendry County and its surrounding areas.