Monday, January 31, 2022

Great Backyard Bird Count 2022

What is the Great Backyard Bird Count? From February 18 to 21, 2022, people across the world make a concerted effort to watch and count birds around their homes and communities for those four days. This is the bird count that celebrates the ordinary and wants to learn more about the mundane. Every bird is worth counting, whether it’s the Northern Cardinal you watch out your window while having a cup of coffee, or the Tree Swallows that fly to their roost trees during your drive home. You can watch from home, or on a neighborhood walk, or even from a favorite birding location.

To take part, all you have to do is count birds for fifteen minutes (or more!) between February 18 and February 21, anywhere you’d like, and then submit your list to Simple as that, and you’re part of a global citizen science project! Watch for information about events being offered during the GBBC 2022.

You are invited to join Hendry-Glades Audubon volunteers for an escorted driving trips at STA 5/6 (Stormwater Treatment Area 5/6 on February 19, 20, and 21st. We’ll focus on the wading and wintering birds at the site. To register go to For information email

Hendry Sheriff Arrests 30 In Two Weeks

Hendry County Arrests the weeks of 1-17 to 1-30

Daniel Lee Long, 47 of Clewiston, was arrested on January 18, 2022 by Deputy Dominguez for Aggravated Assault on Officer Firefighter, EMT, Failure to Register a Motor Vehicle and Resisting Officer without Violence.

Bradley Dyer Smith, 46 of Alva, was arrested on January 19, 2022 by Deputy Coronilla for Failure to Appear.

Tyrone Andre Brown, 27 of Clewiston was arrested on January 19, 2022 by Deputy Barrientos for Destroying Evidence.

Eric Michael Medina, 43 of LaBelle, was arrested on January 19, 2022 by Deputy Coronilla for Probation Violation.

John Allan Williams, 31 of Cape Coral, was arrested on January 20, 2022 by Cpl Bustamante for Probation Violation.

Juan Ramos Ramos Suar, 26 of LaBelle, was arrested on January 20, 2022 by Deputy Afonso for Failure to Appear and Contempt of Court.

Justin Michael Neff, 29 of Clewiston, was arrested on January 21, 2022 by Sgt Nunemaker for Battery.

Troy Allen Whitehead, 43 of Lehigh Acres, was arrested on January 21, 2022 by Cpl Hull for Probation Violation, Driving with License Suspended Third Offence, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Narcotics Paraphernalia and Evidence Tampering.

Angela Marie Hanson, 19 of LaBelle, was arrested on January 21, 2022 by Cpl Hull for Trafficking in Methamphetamine more than 14 grams, Possession of Narcotics Paraphernalia and Probation Violation.

Esteban Mata, 38 of LaBelle, was arrested on January 22, 2022 by Deputy Coronilla for Probation Violation.

Fredi Perez Gomez, 42 of Belle Glade, was arrested on January 22, 2022 by Cpl Drew for a DUI.

Kelvin Nicholas Redmon, 30 of LaBelle, was arrested on January 23, 2022 by Cpl Hull for Probation Violation.

Kimberly Nichole Anderson, 34 of LaBelle, was arrested on January 23, 2022 by Deputy Coronilla for Probation Violation.

Ramiro Ramos Gonzalez, 39 of LaBelle, was arrested on January 23, 2022 by Deputy Champagne for DUI and no valid Drivers License.

Daylan Little Jeremiah Hall, 28 of Clewiston, was arrested on January 24, 2022 by Deputy Eldridge for Probation Violation.

Javier Villarreal, 45 of Belle Glade, was arrested on January 24, 2022 by Deputy Givins for Failure to Appear.

A 15 year old Hispanic male of Okeechobee, was arrested on January 24, 2022 by Sgt Nunemaker for Fleeing to Elude at High Speeds, No Valid Driver’s License, Grand Theft of a Firearm, Possession of a Concealed Firearm, Use of a Firearm in Commission of a Felony, Possession of Cannabis under 20 grams, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Firearm under 18 YOA and Probation Violation.

Brittney Sade Williams, 32 of LaBelle, was arrested on January 25, 2022 by Deputy Rodriguez for Larceny/Commit Grand Theft $750 less than $5K, Embezzlement, Fraud/Swindle, Petty Theft and an Out of County Warrant.

Marcos Baltasar Lucas, 28 or LaBelle was arrested on January 25, 2022 by Deputy Eldridge for DUI.

Jasheed Daquone Stephens, 19 of Clewiston, was arrested on January 25, 2022 by Deputy Perez for Larceny and Fraud – illegal use of Credit Card.

David Marrero, 47 of Moore Haven, was arrested on January 26, 2022, by Deputy Coronilla for Driving with License Suspended.

Bobby Donovant, 30 of LaBelle, was arrested on January 27, 2022 by Cpl Lopez for an out of State Warrant.

Jose Luis Alvarez Chavez, 23 of Miami Gardens, was arrested on January 27, 2022 Cpl Hull for Felony Failure to Appear.

Rodolfo Alexander Aguilar, 32 of Clewiston, was arrested on January 28, 2022 by Det Whelpley for Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon and Tampering with Evidence.

Reynaldo Gonzalez, 67 of Clewiston, was arrested on January 28, 2022 by Deputy Zavala for Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon Without Intent to Kill.

Aaron Custodio, 31 or LaBelle, was arrested on January 29, 2022 by Deputy Eldridge for Aggravated Fleeing with Injury or Damage, six counts of Possession of a Weapon by a Convicted Felon and Possession of Cocaine.

Rock Feller Chery, 47 of Clewiston, was arrested on January 29, 2022 by Deputy Barrientos for a DUI.

Francisco Ramirez Hernandez, 37 of Belle Glade, was arrested on January 29, 2022 by Deputy George for DUI, Flee/Elude Police, Resisting Officer without Violence, Operating Vehicle without Valid License and Refusing to Submit to DUI Test.

Trey Angelo Herrera, 20 of Clewiston, was arrested on January 29, 2022 by Deputy Benitez for Possession of Cocaine.

Michael Mitchel Patterson, 25 of Clewiston was arrested on January 30, 2022 by Deputy George for Unlicensed Carrying of a Concealed Weapon, Possession of a Firearm in Commission of a Felony and Possession of Marijuana with intent to sell.

Alexis Rey Ortiz, 26 of Clewiston, was arrested on January 30, 2022 by Sgt Scelfo for Driving While License Suspended Habitual Offender and for Probation Violation.

Stephen Anthony Bivona, 28 of LaBelle was arrested on January 30, 2022 by Deputy Afonso for Grand Theft and two counts of Resisting Officer Without Violence.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Elvis Show At Firehouse Theatre March 25

LABELE, FL. -- ELVIS show coming to LaBelle as a fundraiser for the Firehouse Community Theatre in LaBelle. Please get your tickets below.

Elvis tribute artist Grand Champion Matt Stone is the number one young Elvis tribute artist in the State of Florida. Both a perfect visual and vocal representation of the King of Rock and Roll, Matt Stone has mastered the persona of Elvis.

ELVIS SHOW is March 25th at 7pm at Firehouse Community Theatre. Doors will open at 6pm.
241 N Bridge Street, LaBelle, FL 33935

Get tickets by calling the ticket hotline at 863-675-3066 or go online at:

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Helms Road At SR29 Detour January 28

LABELLE, FL. -- Beginning Friday, January 28, 2022, Hendry County’s contractor, OHLA USA, Inc., will be closing west bound Helms Road from west of Wilson Road to SR29 to motorists as part of the signal improvements project at SR29 and Helms Road in LaBelle, FL.

Motorists heading west bound on Helms Road can utilize Wilson Road as a detour route to reach SR29.

Motorists should expect possible delays throughout the duration of the project and allow extra time for their commute. Visual message signs and traffic control signage will be in place to alert traffic.

The work is expected to have a completion time of approximately one (1) day. Operations will begin on Friday (01/28/22) at 8:00am and end at 4:00pm.

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.

Cold Weather Shelters Open In LaBelle and Clewiston

Cold Weather Shelters

Open Saturday, January 29, 2022 @ 9pm
Open Sunday, January 30, 2022 @ 9pm

Those seeking shelter must be in place by 11pm or the facility will close and volunteers will be released


United Way House
133 N. Bridge St.


Janet B. Taylor Auditorium
1100 S. Olympia St.

Help With Medicare For Seniors - Confused?

"What's Your Zip Code" - Will You Qualify For Medicare Discounts?

Confused about the advertisements offering free benefits like dental, vision, and drugs? So were we, and we attempted to navigate through the confusion and hype offered by insurance companies and called Medicare and Social Security directly today.

First we tried to get official information from Medicare directly to see how to qualify for extra help in paying for Medicare. We called 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227.)

The operator answered within a few minutes and put us through the screening questions, asking for social security number, name, address. 

Then asking how much Part B Medicare would cost this year and how to quality for extra help, we heard the operator apparently reading from a script explaining how to apply for Social Security and Medicare, information we were't asking for.

It was eventually confirmed that this year's Part B was $170.10 for folks already signed up for Part B. We would have to call Social Security to find out about extra help benefits to pay Medicare premiums, and given the number 1-800-772-1213, and notified they are open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Calling Social Security, we were put on hold for 25 minutes, and the operator answering went through the verification process again. 

Asked about enrolling in Part B and the penalty for those who are not currently enrolled, the monthly premium increase 10% for each year not enrolled, so it would double to $340.20 for someone who had waited 10 years to enroll in Part B. 

We were told the Federal government, that is Social Security, does not directly give extra help on paying for Medicare, but each state offers their own plans and restrictions. To get the answer for getting extra help for Part D or help paying Part B as promoted by the insurance company advertising, we were told to call the state's Medicare number.

In South Florida it's SHIP for Florida - SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders), a private non-profit agency at 1-800-963-5337. This office is in Tampa and upon reaching them, were told we need to call the Fort Myers Area Agency On Aging For Southwest Florida at 239-632-6900.

(UPDATE: The new number for Fort Myers AAA for SW Florida is 866-413-5337, then hit #2 for a Shine counselor.)

Working through the 'punch this number and that number', we waited on hold for a SHINE counselor. These are volunteers, trained to help with Medicare questions. After 20 minutes on hold, the phone line disconnected. We didn't try calling back.

Next, we tried to find answers online. Searching on Google for "Florida Medicare Extra Help" we found a selection of websites to choose among. Along with official government sites were lots of insurance company sponsored offerings. We chose what we though was an official Medicare site (not remembering government sites are ".gov"), and were taken to:

This is one of a large selection of helpful pages online by a private organization, Q1Group. is a neutral online resource to "educate seniors, Medicare beneficiaries, advocates, agents, and members of the general public who are interested in Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and/or Medicare Advantage plans." They provide information on the Medicare Part D program and plans. 

We found this page of additional help on explaining Medicare, Medicaid, "Extra Help" and Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) published again by

And we check here for Medicare Savings Programs (help from Medicaid paying Medicare premiums).

Unable to yet find an official Medicare page answering the question of who qualifies and of how to get Medicare Part D Extra Help or help paying Medicare Part B, we looked to the above pages as giving some answers we could not find elsewhere.

(UPDATE - Here's a very good summary for getting financial help paying for Medicare and what assets and income qualifies, courtesy of SHINE: )

We tend not to believe all of the TV advertising claims and expected them to be misleading, It turns out they are probably overstating who can actually quality for all the extra benefits cited. 

While it's true the benefits and savings depend on the "zip code,"  to get extra help on Part D in 2022, your total resources must be no more than to $14,010 for an individual or $27,950 for a married couple living together to get a 25% subsidy and a sliding scale for even lower resources to get up to a 100% subsidy. 

Resources include the value of the things you own. Some examples are:

Real estate (other than your primary residence); (But not including property you need for self-support, such as rental property or land you use to grow produce for home consumption);
Bank accounts, including checking, savings and certificates of deposit;
Bonds, including U.S. Savings Bonds;
Mutual funds;
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs); or
Cash at home or anywhere else.

Income Limitations

To add to the limitations "To qualify for extra help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs in 2022, your annual income must be less than $20,385 for an individual ($27,465 for a married couple living together).

For the latest information as of January 2022 see

To add to the already confusing rules and regulations, we found this from the Social Security Administration for 2021 (we couldn't find the rules for 2022). 

These give lower limits for resources and income for the "Medicare Savings Program" and "Extra Help" but indicate each state may have different limits, some higher, some lower! Another chart gives the resource and income limits for the Medicare Extra Help program.

So, what did we conclude? Expect to spend lots of time on the phone if you want to speak to someone, don't expect you will quality for all the free and Medicare discounts advertised on TV unless you have a low income and meager cash reserves, stocks and other resources . And expect to looks at lots of pages of information online to try to figure out all of the complicated variations possible.

- additional information helpfully provided by Dr. Susan E. Johnson, PhD of

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Jerri Sue Thompson Dies At 67

Jerri Sue Russell Thompson of LaBelle, Florida, passed away on January 22, 2022 at Hope Hospice in Lehigh Acres, Florida. She was 67 years old.

Jerri was born in Miami on September 26, 1954 to Edward Russell and Delores Dunn Russell, and grew up in Tice. She married in 1974, and welcomed her beloved son James Wayne (“Jimmy”) into the world ten months later.

Jerri worked several jobs over the years, but her longest stint was in the delicatessen at Winn-Dixie on Main Street in LaBelle, where she was well known among her coworkers for her laugh and smile.

Jerri’s son Jimmy married Tonnette Boyd in 2000, and six years later they made Jerri a grandmother with the birth of James Wayne, Jr. For the rest of Jerri’s life, her son and grandson were her life’s joy.

Jerri threw herself into researching her family’s ancestry, spending years compiling data that went back for centuries so she could pass on the knowledge to future generations. Jerri was an avid sports fan, following the Atlanta Braves and Miami Dolphins with enthusiasm. It was always a safe bet to buy sports memorabilia every birthday and Christmas to guarantee a smile. Jerri also found a second home through social media, reconnecting with distant relatives and old friends through Facebook, where she spent untold hours keeping up with world events and sharing the details of her day.

Jerri was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, and spent the next two decades fighting, living, and defying all the odds. Diagnoses of bone cancer in 2016 and congestive heart failure in 2019 didn’t slow her down either, as she traveled and enjoyed her family as much as she pleased. It was only this past December that Jerri took a turn for the worse, before the Lord finally called her home.

Jerri is survived by her son Jimmy, grandson James, and daughter-in-law Tonnette, her sister Connie McDonald and brother Mike Russell, her nieces Melissa Martin, Laura Davis, and Linda Williams, her nephews Jason McDonald and Eddie McDonald, her grandnieces and grandnephews, her many cousins, and a host of friends.

Craig William Bartoshuk Dies At 68

FORT DENAUD, FL — Craig William Bartoshuk, resident of Fort Denaud, Florida, died peacefully in his sleep on January 18, 2022.

Born on April 12, 1953, in Dearborn, Michigan, Craig was an adventurer with many accomplishments. Growing up in his father’s footsteps, Craig learned to play the accordion, joined the order of the Masonic DeMolay, and became an Eagle Scout. Complimenting his achievements, Craig was a free spirit and dreamed of circumnavigating the world by boat. 

In his early 20’s, he headed west to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he worked as a scaffold salesman by day and built a 38-foot Yorktown sailboat by night. His hard work, self-reliance and visionary approach were evident as Craig spent the next five years constructing the boat in drydock at “Pete’s Harbor” in Redwood City, California. 

Ultimately, he sailed the boat, named “Tangerine,” through the Panama Canal and onto Miami, Florida, where he took a break from living on the sea.

After a couple of years, Craig engaged his sea-going spirit once again. He moved to St. Thomas, in the British Virgin Islands, where he ran a company that provided tourist sailing experiences for “Islands In The Sun Cruises.” It was there that he earned his United States Coast Guard Captain’s License.

Around this time, his parents, Pete and Florence, moved to LaBelle, Florida and Craig decided to join them. It was there that he met his future wife Mary, and the two of them tied the knot in 2000. 

Together they lived in nearby Fort Denaud, where they enjoyed their pets and volunteered for many good causes, including but not limited to the Caloosa Humane Society and the American Legion. 

Mary introduced Craig to raising butterflies, and the two of them designed and built quite a butterfly garde on their property. Craig also began a lawn-care company that he maintained until his failing health would not allow it.

Craig William Bartoshuk is survived and greatly missed by his wife, Mary; and two brothers, Paul, who lives in Michigan, and David, who lives in California, and their respective families.

In honor of Craig’s lifelong spirit and community service, the family asks that each of us take time to do something good for someone else, as Craig did throughout his life.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

John Mabry Sentenced In Child Molestation Case

CLEWISTON, FL. -- John Kevin Mabry, 49, of Clewiston, was adjudicated guilty and sentenced today, to 84 months in prison, for one count of Lewd or Lascivious Molestation on a Child 12 Years of Age or Older, a Second-Degree Felony. 

He is also now a designated Sex Offender. Mabry was arrested in November 2019 following an investigation by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. He was arrested the same day a complaint came in, after he was caught touching a girl as she slept, in a home where he had been staying.

Assistant State Attorney Christine Cummins of the Special Victims Unit prosecuted the case.

Fort Denaud Bridge Closed 1 - 3 PM January 25

Fort Denaud Bridge to Be Temporarily Closed for Emergency Repairs

LABELLE, FL.  – Please be advised that the Fort Denaud Bridge will be closed for emergency repairs on Tuesday, January 25, 2022 from 1 pm – 3 pm.

Motorists must seek an alternate route and 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.

Scam Alert - Jury Duty Fines

TALLAHASSEE, Fl.-- Floridians are warned of a recent surge in jury duty scams across the state. According to reports, at least five counties have warned of jury duty scams in the past year—including two warnings already in 2022. 

The scam involves an imposter contacting a Florida resident and claiming the resident missed jury duty and must pay a fine. The imposter then claims if the fine isn’t paid immediately, the citizen may be arrested or forced to pay late fees.

Reports of jury duty scams have surfaced in at least five Florida counties in the past year, including: Citrus County, Collier County, Lake County, Polk County and St. Johns County.

To guard against jury duty scams, follow these tips:

Know that jury duty summons will come by mail, not by phone or email;

If no jury duty summons is received, then ignore a phone call from anyone claiming to be calling about jury duty;

Contact a local court clerk’s office using the Florida Courts map to see if there is a valid jury duty issue;

Never give personal or financial information over the phone to a stranger, especially if the caller acts aggressively;

Recognize that anyone asking for payments to be made through a gift card is a scammer; and

Be wary of Caller ID, as this can be spoofed, making a phone call look like it is coming from a real source.

Report suspected jury duty scams to the local County Clerk’s office using the Florida Clerks website and to local law enforcement. Anyone who encounters a jury duty scam, or any other type of fraud, can also file a complaint with the Florida Attorney General’s Office online at or by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM.

The Girl On The Bridge by Bob Kranich

“Florida Keys’ Watercolor Kapers” by Bob Kranich

The Girl On the Bridge, (Part 2, Excerpt 43)

This is a new story titled, The Girl On the Bridge. It’s kind of a funny story of my Uncle and Me fishing on a bridge and a pretty girl my age cones by to fish also.

The Girl On the Bridge

“Hi, young lady. What’s biting? I’m from Key West. My name’s Norman…Norman Kranich. This is my nephew, Bob Kranich. He’s down visiting from Tampa. He just walked the fact the entire way from Georgia to Key West!”

“Oh, I didn't give you a chance to answer. How’s fishing?”

She answered, “I haven’t caught anything. Maybe I had a bite. It took all of my bait. Oh, nice to meet you both. My name’s Pat. I’m down from Miami visiting my Aunt and Uncle. They live in Marathon.”

I found myself staring...that voice, it was so sweet, and those eyes…deep blue!

“Well Pat, Bob and I are going to try to catch some bait.”

Norman opened up his tackle box, “Here Bobby, put this on, and throw it out like this.”

Uncle Norman positioned himself between Pat and me. He cast out. It took me a couple of casting tries. By this time my mind was off fishing. I made like I was fishing, looking out and turning my reel a time or two, then locking the drag. Now and then I tried to sneak a look past Uncle Norman, who was unexpectantly and expertly blocking the view.

She had let her sun hat drop back off her head, and it was held by a chin strap against her back. I could now see her long brown hair. It was beautiful!

Well, young lady, how long will you be down here visiting?” Uncle Norman asked.
“A couple more days, Mr. Kranich. I’ve got to go back to work Monday.”

“Just call me Norm. What do you do for a living?”

“I’m a secretary for an airline,” she answered.

She kind of looked past Uncle Norman, “What do you do Bob?”


“Oh, he is an engineering designer. He works at contracting,” Uncle Norman offered before I could get started.

“That sounds interesting,” she said.

“I’m sure it is,” Uncle Norman answered. “He is also a college guy, and just got out of the U.S. Army.”

“I got a bite, Bob. It’s hooked. Yep, a shiner. Good bait,” he said as he reeled it in.

Just then my rod jerked. “Got something, Uncle Norman,” I pulled it in.

“Good Bobby, now we both got some bait. Hook yours on like this. Now throw it out, and maybe we’ll catch a snapper. You know they run under this bridge when the tide is flowing.”

“What are you using for bait, young lady? Bring your line in, and try this lure to catch a shiner. That will change your luck. The snapper will bite on live bait,” Uncle Norman suggested.

She brought hers in, hooked on the lure, and threw it out. It didn’t go very far.

“Bring it back, and I’ll throw it out for you. Here, Bob, hold my rod,”

She reeled it in, and Uncle Norman cast it way out for her. He was now out of my way. I got a great view of her, and my heart leaped.

Before we could say anything, she pulled in a shiner.

“Here, let me show you how to hook it on,” Uncle Norman handed me his rod, and he proceeded to hook the shiner on her rig.

He then positioned himself back between us, “Now we all are ready to catch a Red Snapper. See the tide is flowing.”

She was the first one to get a hit, “I’ve got one!”

“Reel it in!” Uncle Norman yelled.

She pulled it in over the rail. It flopped on the road, “How do I get it off?” she asked.

“I’ll help,” I started to say.

“Here, hold my rod, Bobby,” Uncle Norman handed me the pole, grabbed the large fish by the gills, and wrestled the hook free. “You got an ice chest?”

“It’s in the car.” She came right back, and he dropped it on the ice.

“Uncle Norman! Something is playing around on both of ours,” I hollered.

He rushed over and took ahold of his rig, just in time. We both got hits and both got big snappers. We got them off the hooks and on the ice.

Then my world changed.

“Well, Norman, Bob, it was nice talking to you both, and thank you for the help fishing. But I’ve got to go. My aunt said I need to be back for lunch by noon. It’s past eleven. I had better be on my way,” Pat said as she picked up her fishing rod and the ice chest.

There went my chances, I thought as she turned around and waved as she got in her convertible and drove off.

That evening, we were all eating red snapper prepared by my Aunt Dolores, a great cook.

Uncle Norman said, “You know we met a beautiful girl on the bridge at No Name Key today. In fact we fished with her, and guess what, Bobby didn’t even get her phone number!”

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.

Monoclonal Treatments Withdrawn In Florida


TALLAHASSEE—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration revised the Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for bamlanivimab/etesevimab and REGEN-COV. The revised EUAs do not allow providers to administer these treatments within the United States.

As a result of this decision made by the federal government, all monoclonal antibody sites in Florida will be closed until further notice.

Individuals with appointments have been directly contacted regarding cancellations. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, please contact your health care provider for more information and resources on treatment options. Resources for emerging treatments can be found at Pharmacies that have received allocations of anti-viral treatments can be found at

As stated in one of the pre-print studies cited on the NIH website, "despite observing differences in neutralizing activity with certain mAbs, it remains to be determined how this finding translates into effects on clinical protection against B.1.1.529."

Florida officials have disagreed with decisions that blocks access to any available treatments, even when there is no evidence of efficacy.

Rabies Alert For Glades County - Un-Vaccinated Cat Found

Moore Haven, FL – The Florida Department of Health in Glades County issued a rabies alert for the Moore Haven area. This is in response to an un-vaccinated cat that tested positive on January 24, 2022.

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

The recent rabies alert is for 30 days. The center of the rabies alert is at Daniels Road, and includes the following boundaries in Glades County:

North from Yaun Road to Alvin Ward Park.
East from US Highway 27 to Herbert Hoover Dike.

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

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:
• Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
• Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Glades County Animal Controlat 863-946-0771.
• Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
• Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
• Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
• Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
• Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas, where they might come in contact with people and pets.
• Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the Florida Department of Health in Glades County at 863-265-6050.

For further information on rabies, go to or call the Florida Department of Health in Glades County at 863-265-6050, or local animal control at 863-946-0771.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Order Free COVID-19 Tests - Four For Every Home

Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests

Every home in the United States is eligible to order 4 free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 rapid antigen tests. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days. These tests give results within 30 minutes (no lab drop-off required).

COVID-19 self-tests (also referred to as home tests or over-the-counter tests) are one of many risk-reduction measures, along with vaccination, masking, and physical distancing, that protect you and others by reducing the chances of spreading COVID-19.

Self-tests can be taken at home or anywhere, are easy to use, and produce rapid results. You can use self-tests, regardless of vaccination status, or whether or not you have symptoms.

Follow all the manufacturer’s instructions for performing the test.

Order Test Here

Obituaries - Charles Drawdy, Lyoid Fussell, Antonio Marroquin, Jean Stempler

Charles "Chuck" Robert Drawdy, 74 of LaBelle, Florida passed away Saturday, January 22, 2022 in his home. He was born in Brunswick, Georgia. 

He was an United States Army Veteran and retired as Lock Leader for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2004. Chuck was a member of the American Legion Post 130 of LaBelle and the VFW Post 10100. He was commander of the American Legion Post for 6 years.

Chuck was preceded in death by both of his parents, and his first wife; Linda.

He left behind a loving wife of 19 years; Joyce E. Drawdy of LaBelle, Florida, his step-mother; Mavis Drawdy, a brother and six sisters; six children; Stacy Braden (Tracy Braden), Raymond Thompson (Elizabeth Thompson), Sara Frazier (Mike Frazier), Aric Cornett, Mendy Welch, Kevin Cornett, 10 grandchildren, and 13 great grandchildren.

A Life Everlasting ceremony will take place on Wednesday, January 26, 2022 at the American Legion Post 130 in LaBelle, Florida.

A visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. Monday, January 31, 2022 at the Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle. Graveside Service will be held at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, February 1, 2022 at Fort Denaud Cemetery - LaBelle.

Lyoid D. Fussell, Sr.
Lyoid was called home by his Heavenly Father on January 21st. 

He was preceded in death by his wife of 37 years Lois in 2017. 

He leaves behind four daughters Ann Fussell, Cindy Whitfield, Ramona Handley and Rhonda Skipper. He also leaves behind two sons Thumper Fussell and Randy Rimes. 

In addition he leaves behind 8 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. 

Lyoid was a general contractor for 40+ years in LaBelle where he owned Fussell Steel Buildings. He had retired to his own little 40 acre paradise in Venus where he lived out his final years keeping up with the oak limbs, feeding the local wildlife and studying the word of God. 

His exuberant smile and laughter will be sorely missed by his friends and his family. All of which garner peace knowing he is now receiving the answers from his Heavenly Father that he sought here on Earth. His family will be hosting a memorial celebration at his 40 acres at 265 Marks Rd, Venus Florida on January 29 at 3 pm. 

In lieu of flowers we invite his friends and family that can attend to bring a dish for a pot luck dinner in his honor.

Antonio Marroquin 90, born December 22, 1931, passed away January 21, 2022 among his family.

Origianlly from Texas, he moved to LaBelle in 1956. He enjoyed playing cards and mowing lawns. He will be missed by many friends and family.

He was preceeded in death by his wife of 51 years Margaret Cisneros Marroquin, 2 sons Antonio Jr. and Frank Sr., and a grandson Antonio III.

He is survived by his daughter Juanita (Ruben) Puente,; daughter Mary Margaret (Tomas-predeceased) Perez; and son Raymond Marroquin Sr.

He has 18 grandchildren, 29 great grandchildren, and 5 great great grandchildren.

The family will receive friends on Thursday January 27th from 5 to 8 PM at the Akin-Davis Funeral Home 560 E. Hickpochee Ave. LaBelle.

A Funeral Mass will be held on Friday January 28, 2022 at 10 AM at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Church. Interment will be at Ft. Denaud Cemetery.

Dorothy Jean Stempler, age 96 of Clewiston, Florida passed away on January18, 2022.

Dorothy was born on June 4, 1924 in Linesville, PA to Elton and Gertrude Dikeman Partch. 

She married Jack Stempler; he preceded her in death in 2005. 

Dorothy loved to travel, she traveled to every country in the world, she loved to go on cruises, was a member of the LaBelle Moose Lodge, enjoyed playing bridge, a long time member of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in LaBelle.

Dorothy will be missed by her son David Stempler (Kevin Perez) of Hauppauge, New York, her grandson; Jason Stempler.

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

SR 29 At SR 82 Roundabout Opening In February

IMMOKALEE, FL. -- The Florida Department of Transportation is expected to open the newly-constructed roundabout at the intersection of SR 29 and SR 82 in mid-February. 

Construction for the roundabout started in the fall of 2019 as part of the SR 82 Road Widening Project from Gator Slough Lane to State Road (SR) 29. 

The project improvements include widening SR 82 from Gator Slough Lane to SR 29 from a two-lane undivided roadway to a four-lane divided roadway. The roundabout at the intersection of SR 82 and SR 29 will improve the overall safety and enhance connectivity throughout the corridor.

Additional improvements include construction of 5-foot-wide paved shoulders, which will also serve as bike lanes, a 54-foot-wide median, a 10-foot multi-use trail along the south side, and a 5-foot sidewalk along the north side. LED lighting will also be added throughout this segment. The cost of the project is $29 million and the estimated completion is summer 2022.

FDOT invites the community to learn more about how to drive the roundabout by visiting the project website at Materials in English and Spanish including a video and informational flyer, are available for viewing.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Frost Advisory - Glades, Hendry, Collier, Palm Beach

Event: Frost Advisory


WHAT...Temperatures around 33 to 36 degrees will result in frost formation. * WHERE...Glades, Hendry, Inland Palm Beach and Inland Collier Counties. * WHEN...From 2 AM to 8 AM EST Monday. * IMPACTS...Frost could kill sensitive outdoor vegetation if left uncovered.

Instructions: Take steps now to protect tender plants from the cold.

Target Area:

Inland Collier County
Inland Palm Beach County

Shelters will open in Clewiston at the John Boy auditorium and in LaBelle at the United Way House Sunday.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

New Musical At Firehouse Theatre In Feburary

LABLLE, FL. -- The Firehouse Community Theatre will present "Vanities, the Musical"  (Music and lyrics by David Kirshenbaum and book by Jack Heifner.)

Three best friends journey through high school, college and their professional life, as they remember all their adventures.

Vanities is a celebration of the enduring power of friendship, even when relationships hit bumps in the road. The story is full of warmth and charm and will put a smile on your face!!

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

Support the actors and community theatre,  get your tickets now for this musical directed by Maureen Doucette.

The show runs February 11th, 12th and 13th and February 18th, 19th and 20th. (The Friday and Saturday evening show starts at 7pm and the Sunday show starts at 2pm.)

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

Friday, January 21, 2022

Obituaries - Dee Jay Byerly, Nelda Harrelson

Dee Jay Byerly

This is the story of Dee Jay Byerly. Dee Jay was a witty man with a dark sense of humor, smart mouth, and a huge heart. His smile lit up his family and his laugh was contagious. He was a loving husband and an amazing father.

Dee Jay’s story starts on August 31, 1964 in Downey, California. 

The youngest of 4 children to Earl Byerly and Gladys Waldo Byerly. He was welcomed into the world by his older siblings: Connie Byerly Pinkerton, Ron Byerly, and James Byerly. Dee Jay moved with his parents to Scranton, Iowa where he attended grade school, eventually graduating from Scranton High School in 1983. After graduating high school, he spent time living in California and Arkansas where he started a career as a truck driver. 

In time, he returned to Scranton where he reconnected with a childhood friend by the name of Loretta Sailer. Dee Jay quickly fell in love with Loretta and daughter Lexi Sailer McNeil who referred to him as her “little buddy”. 

The 3 amigos then moved to Arkansas where Dee Jay and Loretta became husband and wife and welcomed daughter Freedom Byerly Schott in 1993. In 1995, Dee Jay and his family moved back to Scranton, where he spent years raising his daughters and providing for his family. He worked as a truck driver for several years before accepting a position with the City of Scranton. 

He worked for the city for over 17 years as general city maintenance and Water and Wastewater Operator, eventually becoming the Superintendant. In 2017, Dee Jay and Loretta seized an opportunity to live their lifelong dream of moving from the Iowa cold and retiring in warm and sunny spot. He spent his final years living his best life in LaBelle, Florida.

Through the years, Dee Jay saw his siblings married off. Connie to Bill (Macrae, AR), Ron to Sharon (Carroll, IA) and Jim to Norma (Cottonwood, CA). He said goodbye to both of his parents. He gave away his daughters Lexi to Josh McNeil (Fort Dodge, IA) and Freedom to David Schott (Renton, WA) and in 2019 he proudly welcomed his first grandson, Axel Schott.

Dee Jay enjoyed life. He loved cracking jokes and playing games with his family and friends. He liked kicking back by the fire pit and enjoyed throwing a pole in the river and praying for a bite. He LOVED his family, and he loved playing trucks with his grandson – who just lit up EVERYTIME he heard his Grandpa’s voice! 

He loved filling his belly with his wife and daughters’ cooking and his son-in-law Josh’s exquisite BBQ, listening to 70’s and 80’s rock music, late night Mortal Combat battle royals and wasting endless hours watching TV and funny videos on YouTube.

Although this is only a brief summary of Dee Jay’s life – a life that ended way too soon, his unmatched wisdom and joy will live on though our memories. Dee Jay was many, many things; but loved was what he was the very most. 

He will never be forgotten and will remain forever in our hearts. His spirit lives on through the eyes of his wife, the laughter of his daughters, and the heart of his grandson and those he touched throughout his life.

Nelda Harrelson

Let it be known she was a Angel among Us. She had many names, Some called her Mom or Mama, Some called her Granny or NANNY and some called her Sister. Some called her a friend or Aunt but all called her kind.

We are heartbroken to inform you of the passing of Nelda Harrelson. She was born April 16th, 1942. 

She grew up in Clewiston and Moore Haven before moving to Arcadia for a while. She returned to Moore Haven for a while longer before moving to Key Largo for a few years. She spent her last years in Moore Haven, the place she felt most at home near her family. 

She touched the hearts of many in the places she lived and the people she met. She held a special Love for the many children she babysat while Raising her own children in Moore Haven.

She is survived by her brother James(Sue) Harris. She is survived by her children Ernest Roberts, Wesley(Kim) Roberts, Pam(Glenn) Beck, Honorary SON Rusty(Sharon). Grandchildren: Brandy(Mike) Barber, Brandon(Hope) Roberts, Jarren(Kayla) Beck, Kira Beck, Reba(Dorian) Woodward, Samantha Smith, Lowell Roberts. Honorary Grand-daughters Crystal McCain, Sumer Baker.

Great Grandchildren: Kendall, Ryan, Jolene, Jenna, Mallory, Waylon, Levi, Alpena, Abigail. Honorary Grand-daughter Taylor McCain.

Homecoming Life Celebration for Nanny/Granny/Nelda be Saturday January 29th,2022 at 10 am at the Moore Haven Church Of God.

In Lieu of Flowers She asked for donations to go towards The Bread Of Life Foundation in Ecuador to help get the Children computers for School. If you would like to donate Please make check to Moore Haven Church Of God " In Memory of Sister Nelda.

Scam Alert - Fraudulent COVID Testing, Vaccinations, Treatments

Hendry and Glades Counties, Fl. – Now more than ever, residents should rely on trusted sources of information for access to COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, and monoclonal antibody treatment locations. As demand for testing increases, so does the risk for potential scams.

Residents are urged to be on the lookout for fraudulent COVID-19 products and practices, especially as it pertains to testing. Further, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has seen unauthorized fraudulent test kits for COVID-19 being sold online.

Helpful tips for residents:

• Rely on trusted sources of information for COVID-19 testing and locations.
• Check to make sure a COVID-19 testing location is legitimate.

Residents are encouraged to be cautious of:

• Unexpected phone calls or visitors offering COVID-19 tests or supplies.
• Offers or advertisements for COVID-19 testing on social media sites.
• Purchasing at-home testing kits from street vendors.
• Individuals going door-to-door selling at-home testing kits.
• Links that seem questionable or are from unverified sources offering COVID-19 testing options.

Resources for reporting fraud and scams:

Complaints about fraudulent activity related to COVID-19 testing can be reported to the State of Florida Attorney General at or call 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226).

Complaints regarding laboratories associated with COVID-19 testing sites can be reported to the Agency for Health Care Administration by emailing

If you suspect COVID-19 health care fraud, report it immediately to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General at TIPS.HHS.GOV or call 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477).

If you suspect illegal activity relating to FDA-regulated products, including fraudulent COVID-19 treatments, vaccines, and tests, report it to the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations.

Grief Counseling Program At Hope Healthcare

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Jan. 21, 2022) – People struggling with grief after the loss of a loved one can explore a creative outlet for emotional release and self-expression during Open Studio, a six-week Zoom series designed for adults ages 18 and older.

Participants will connect with their peers and discover new coping skills while engaging in a favorite artistic activity, such as singing, dancing, painting, writing, crafting or any creative practice. They will learn to describe their journey through the process of writing; and, if desired, share their story and reflect on their experience with fellow group members.

Led by Hope Bereavement Counselor Nicole Thoma, MSW, the group will meet virtually from 1 to 3 p.m. Mondays beginning Feb. 7. Participants will need a quiet setting with Wi-Fi access during the sessions; no prior art experience is required. Open Studio is provided at no charge, thanks to generous community support.

Space is limited, and registration is required before Thursday, Feb. 3. Those who are interested in participating should contact or 239-415-7219.

With more than 40 years of experience as a local, not-for-profit organization, Hope Healthcare is dedicated to providing care and comfort for people in life’s closing chapter. A compassionate team of staff and volunteers offers practical, spiritual and emotional support for the entire family. For more information, visit

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Lots For Sale - LaBelle, Fl (Ad)

Lots For Sale - LaBelle, Florida

W. Seminole Ave, 0.259 acres in LaBelle, Fl 3395, Hendry County. 

Oversize Corner lot 21-22 $40k ea. what a great place for a family home in this so close to Fort Myers and I-75 Subdivision. 

Owner is motivated to sell. Call Lavaeda 954 822-8159 or 954-549-5643

Place a classified ad on Southwest Florida Online (click here)

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Obituaries - Stempler, Claro, Barrios, Rivas, Lowe. Ragan

Dorothy Jean Stempler, age 96 of Clewiston, Florida passed away on January18, 2022.

Dorothy was born on June 4, 1924 in Linesville, PA to Elton and Gertrude Dikeman Partch. 

She married Jack Stempler; he preceded her in death in 2005. Dorothy loved to travel, she traveled to every country in the world, she loved to go on cruises, was a member of the LaBelle Moose Lodge, enjoyed playing bridge, a long time member of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in LaBelle.

Dorothy will be missed by her son David Stempler (Kevin Perez) of Hauppauge, New York, her grandson; Jason Stempler.

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

Ismael T Claro Jr. 77, of Clewiston passed away January 16, 2022 at home.

He was born in the Phillipines to the late Ismael T Claro Sr and Paulina (Tarona) Claro.

He worked in Agriculture.
He is survived by 5 sons: Angelo, Ismael, Moses, Jesus, and Joseph Claro
a daughter: Paulina Oaks
2 sisters: Yolanda and Mila Claro
19 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

The family will receive friends on Friday January 21, 2022 from 5 to 7 PM at the Akin-Davis Funeral Home 438 E. Sugarland Hwy. Clewiston.

Carmen Barrios, age 78 of LaBelle, Florida passed away at with her daughter and her grandchildren around her.

Carmen was born in Cuba on June 18, 1943 to Manuel and Juana Amorez Benitez. She was married to Lazaro E. Barrios. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and sister who will be missed by her entire family and friends.

Carmen leaves behind her loving husband; Lazaro E. Barrios, daughters; Illilian San Marty, Julia Barrios, her son; Lazaro Barrios, five grandchildren, and three great grandchildren, along with her brother; Fidel Benitez and sister Maria Del Carmen Benitez.

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

Maria Aurora Rivas, age 96, of Lutz, Florida passed away on January 15, 2022 in Tampa Lakes Health and Rehabilitation.

Maria was born in Santi Spiriti, Cuba on October 19, 1925 to the late Julio J. and Maria Josefia Del Aguilera De Valdivia. She married Jose L. Rivas, Sr; he preceded her in death.

Maria leaves behind her children; Jose L. Rivas, Jr, Jorge L. Rivas, Julio Rivas, Maria Ingelmo Carmen Rivas, Ann Smith, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren, sister; Silvia De Valdivia Nuzell.

Maria will be cremated and her cremains will be placed in Fort Denaud Cemetery.

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

Carolyn Ann Lowe, age 77 of Palmdale, Florida passed away on January 14, 2022 in Rivera Beach.Florida.

Carolyn was born on November 11, 1944 in Miami, Florida to Joseph F. and Mary Elizabeth Pickington Moore. She worked as a waitress for many years. She was a loving mother, grandmother and sister who will be dearly missed by everyone who loved and cared for her.

Carolyn leaves behind her Children, grandchildren and brother.

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

William H Ragan 82, of LaBelle passed away January 11, 2022 in Clewiston.

He was born in Ft. Myers, FL to the late Roland and Clara (Wilson) Ragan.
He Owned and Operated Dixie Door & Windows, and Bills Custom Glass & Mirror.
He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and gardening.

He was predeceased by his son: William H "Bo Hunk" Ragan Jr, a brother: Ronald , and a sister: Barbara.

He is survived by his wife: Tammy
sons: Ethan, and Frankie
daughters: Mary Milam and Alice Marie
brother: James Earl
sisters: Ruby (Jim) , Wanda, and Patricia (Randy)
3 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild

The family will receive friends on Monday January 24, 2022 from 5 to 6 PM. Funeral Service will be at 6 PM at the Akin-Davis Funeral Funeral Home 560 E. Hickpochee Ave. LaBelle.

COVID Testing Saturday At LaBelle Health Department

LABELLE, FL. -- The Health Department in LaBelle (1140 Pratt Blvd, LABELLE) will host the mobile testing unit to provide free COVID-19 testing on Saturday, January 22nd and Saturday, January 29th For Hendry and Glades residents; no appointment; drive-thru testing.

PCR tests only; no rapid tests available at these testing events.

The PCR test may take up to 72 hours or more for results.

StatLab provides the results. 1-844-469-5227

NOTE: The Health Departments will not have access to your testing results.

UPDATE: Weekly new positive tests in Hendry have increased rapidly in the last weeks; 16 new cases week ending December 17, 64 week ending December 24, 330 week ending December 31, 684 cases week ending January 7, and January 14 at 843 cases. Week ending January 20, 678, January 29, 483 cases.

UPDATE: In Glades county similarly increasing numbers the last weeks at 3, 16, 26, 75, and 110 new cases. Week ending January 20, 92 new cases, January 28, 72 cases.

Saturday, January 22nd -9:00 am to Noon
Saturday, January 29th -9:00 am to Noon

Photo: Health Department aerial by Don Browne

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Motorcyclist Dead After Crash On SR 80

 LABELLE, FL. --  At 2:48 p.m. Tuesday a 79 year old man from Pembroke Pines, Fl. died in a motorcycle crash on SR80 and Everhigh Acres Rd. in Hendry County. He was not wearing a helmet.

From the FHP crash report: 

Vehicle 1 (motorcycle) was traveling east on State Road 80. Driver 1 failed to negotiate a curve to the right, traveled off the road and collided with a guardrail. 

Driver 1 became separated from Vehicle 1 and came to rest in the median. Driver 1 was pronounced deceased on scene.

Hendry Sheriff's Department Arrests 13 Last Week

HCSO Arrests for January 10 to January 16, 2022

Rafael Alfredo Montejo Luna, 57 of Florida City, was arrested on January 10, 2022 by Deputy Eldridge Outstanding Warrant on Charges of Homicide.

Matthew Andrew McIntyre, 37 of LaBelle, was arrested on January 11, 2022 by Sgt. Olvera for Probation Violation.

Thomas Tommy Garza, 22 of LaBelle, was arrested on January 11, 2022 by Deputy Rodriguez for Probation Violation.

A 15 year old black male from LaBelle was arrested on January 11, 2022 by Sgt. Hernandez for Probation Violation.

Araceli Castro, 27 of LaBelle, was arrested on January 12, 2022 by the HCSO Narcotics Unit for Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute Within 1,000 feet of a Specified Area, Use of a Communication Device to Facilitate a Felony, Possession of Marijuana over 20 Grams and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Christina V Velasquez-Loarca, 22 of LaBelle, was arrested on January 13, 2022 by Deputy Coronilla for DUI.

Kodie Shane Richardson, 25 of Muse, was arrested on January 13, 2022 by Cpl Hull for Flee with Disregard of Safety to Persons or property, Possession of Meth with Intent to Sell, Possession of Drug Equipment, Reckless Driving and Vehicle Theft.

Thomas Bert Wilson, 21 of LaBelle, was arrested on January 15, 2022 by Cpl Bustamante for Armed Robbery, Kidnapping and Burglary.

Guarionex Nieves Mercado Nieves, 40 of Clewiston, was arrested on January 15, 2022 by Deputy Ramirez-Reyna for Possession of Controlled Substance Without Prescription and Driving with Suspended/Revoked License.

Maurice Lorenzo Brown, 49 of Fort Myers, was arrested on January 15, 2022 by Cpl Bustamante for Probation Violation.

Tracie Matilda Rivera, 37 of Clewiston, was arrested on January 16, 2022 by Deputy Zavala for Aggravated Battery.

Maria D Rico, 36 of LaBelle, was arrested on January 16, 2022 by Deputy Afonso for two counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription.

Marcus Lazar Hardy, 27 of West Palm Beach, was arrested on January 16 by Sgt Scelfo for Trespassing and Carrying Concealed Weapon without permit.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Rafael Montejo-Luna Accused Of Killing Wife


CLEWISTON, FL. -- A Clewiston man accused of killing his wife was taken into custody by US Customs on December 16, 2021, on the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office arrest warrant as he returned to the United States from Cuba. 

 Rafael Montejo-Luna, 57, was turned over to the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office on January 10, 2022.

The Warrant for the arrest of Montejo-Luna was first issued on November 3, 2021 after Montejo-Luna failed to meet with law enforcement, after agreeing to do so. Deputies wanted to speak with Montejo Luna regarding the death of his estranged wife, 57 year old Aleyda Garcia of Montura Ranch Estates, Clewiston, Florida.

On April 24, 2021, Hendry County Deputies responded to the home of Aleyda Garcia in Montura, after receiving a call from her son who had reported he was unable to reach his mother and requested a deputy go by the home to check on her. Deputies were unable to make contact with Aleyda, so they made entry into the residence. It was then they found Garcia deceased.

It was learned by detectives through investigation that the Luna’s were in the process of a divorce. Montejo-Luna had moved from the residence to the Miami area. 

Hendry County Deputies had responded to the Luna home on several occasions regarding arguments between the two. After the death of Montejo-Luna’s estranged wife, Detectives made several attempts to meet with Rafael, which met with negative results.

Currently Montejo-Luna is being held in the Hendry County Jail on $500,000 bond.

Scam Alert - Fake Sheriff's Office T-Shirt Offer


LABELLE, FL. -- Members of the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office have received numerous calls from the public regarding a spam message that is being circulated.

We want to inform everyone that this product is NOT affiliated, endorsed, sold or sponsored by the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office or any of it's members.

If you receive a text, message, and/or an alert regarding the sale of Hendry County Sheriff’s Office t-shirts (or any product) please delete. Clicking the link may unintentionally lead to your device sharing information with the sender.

If you have any questions, you may contact our office at 863-674-5600.

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
from Florida Humanities Council

Today, Florida Humanities is reflecting on the important connection between the iconic civil rights leader and the state of Florida — particulary St. Augustine. The historic city, referred to by Dr. King as "small Birmingham," played a major part in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1964, the campaign to end racial discrimination in St. Augustine culminated with non-violent demonstrations of nightly marches, sit-ins, wade-ins and swim-ins that garnered national media attention.

Florida Humanities has resources and programs that tell this important chapter of Florida history that you can explore today and beyond:

• Florida Stories walking tour app includes a fascinating tour of Lincolnville, the St. Augustine African-American community that was the epicenter for the movement.

• As part of Florida Humanities’ Speakers Bureau, J. Michael Butler, Kenan Distringuished Professor of History at Flagler College, offers the riveting presentation, The Magnificent Drama: Martin Luther King in St. Augustine

• FORUM Magazine's Winter 1994/1995 issue about the civil rights era in Florida includes the in-depth feature article, St. Augustine 1964: All Eyes on Florida (page 22).

"As we continue to push forward to realize Dr. King's dream, we must also stay informed of the stories of our past as a way to fuel motivation, inspire action and influence change for the future." 

Tap the buttons below to enjoy a humanities-rich King Holiday!

LISTEN to a recorded walking tour of Lincolnville, an historic African-American community

WATCH a recorded presentation of The Magnificent Drama: Martin Luther King in St. Augustine

READ from Forum Magazine St. Augustine 1964: All Eyes on Florida

Friday, January 14, 2022

Iguana Owner Gives Up 89 Reptiles To FWC

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — According to a news report by NBC-2 news,  Iguanaland, Inc. in Punta Gorda was found to be possessing 89 green iguanas that were not permitted under new rules of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. 

Allegedly, investigators with the FWC collected the reptiles at the facility in rural Punta Gorda at 33900 Bermont Rd. in Charlotte County.

Records indicate the company is currently owned by Karen Yon Park. Last year the company was transferred to her name by Taesoon Park. Together they owned Tyherp LLC until it was dissolved in 2020.

New rules designed to protect Florida from high-risk, nonnative reptiles like iguanas were slated to take effect April 29 last year and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission took efforts to help people who had green iguanas and another reptile, tegus come into compliance.

As part of the new rules, owners had 90 days from the effective date to apply for a no-cost permit and mark the reptiles with a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag, also known as a microchip. Also rules were implemented for outdoor caging to prevent escape by the invasive reptiles.

Working with a variety of partners, the FWC held Tag Your Reptile Day events throughout the state to offer owners an opportunity to have their pet green iguanas or tegus microchipped for free.

Park has had complaints from neighbors for years, citing escaped reptiles coming on to their property. 

FWC said each of these charges against Park, un-tagged iguanas and improper caging is a second-degree misdemeanor and may result, if convicted, in 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500 per conviction.

Photo: Jim Conrad - Wikipedia

Obituaries - Robert McKinnon, Adolphus McFadden, Jose Terga

Robert E. McKinnon age 59, of Moore Haven, Florida passed away unexpectedly on January 5, 2022 in Moore Haven, Florida.

Robert was born on July 18, 1962 in Scotland to Robert and Catherine McGuire McKinnon. Robert graduated from Devry University with a Bachelors Degree and worked as a manager for Staples Office Products for many years.

Robert will be missed by his loving parents; Robert and Catherine McKinnon, his sisters; Liz Lebar and Denise McKinnon, and many extended family members.

Cremation rites will be accorded by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Adolphus "Junior" McFadden, age 90 of LaBelle passed away on January 6, 2022 in Lehigh Acres after a long illness.

Junior was born in Charleston, South Carolina to the late Adolphus and Maebelle Able McFadden on March 29, 1932. He worked as a caretaker for citrus groves most of his adult life. He marred Lucille Neal and they had three children. Junior was always a loving, caring and giving man.

Junior leaved fond memories with his wife; Lucille McFadden, his children; James Bradford, Ruby Williams and Mary Alice McFadden, his thirteen grandchildren and his many great grandchildren and extended family members.

Junior will be honored with a memorial service at a later date.

Cremation rites have been accorded with Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Jose A Terga 90, of Clewiston passed away January 11, 2022.

He was born in Cuba to the late Jose A De La Terga and Maria J Tenorio.

In Cuba he owned an ESSO Station- El Angel. In Clewiston he owned the Fina Station and GR's gas station.

He was a member of the Free and Accepted Mason's in Cuba.

He was predeceased by his wife Adria in 2008.

Surviving are his daughters: Adriana Soto, Angela Terga, and Maria Terga.
a brother: Mario Terga
6 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren

The family will recieve friends on Monday January 17th from 10AM to 12PM at the Akin-Davis Funeral Home 438 East Sugarland Hwy Clewiston. Funeral Service will be at 12PM. Interment will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Arbor Day Florida January 21

By Calin Ionita, Forester Florida Forest Service

Many people may recognize Arbor Day on a National scale to be celebrated on the last Friday in April; however, that is not the case for every state. Florida in particular celebrates Arbor Day on the third Friday in January which means for the year 2022, that will fall on Friday January 21 st . 

You may be wondering why Florida celebrates Arbor Day at a different time than other states. Tree experts and professional forestry workers have done studies and research over the years and they have found out that the best time to plant trees is when temperatures are cooler. 

Cooler temperatures help younger trees to become well rooted into the ground which gives them a great foundation before the hotter and warmer weather approaches. 

Due to Florida’s unique ecosystem and weather patterns, January is the ideal time for tree planting in Florida.

Arbor Day was originated in Nebraska City by a local journalist named Julius Sterling Morton on April 10 th , 1872. In total, an estimated one million trees were planted within the state of Nebraska that day.

Julius combined his editorial skills with his knowledge of trees to create a message of ecological importance to his community. This message was so positively received throughout the years from both the community and the Agriculture Board of Nebraska that in April of 1885, the board agreed to instate Arbor Day as an official State holiday. 

As the importance of environmental protection became more and more evident throughout the years, Arbor Day became nationally recognized in the 1970s.

Arbor Day is important because it raises awareness of the essential relationship between the environment and its people. When communities build and sustain a healthy environment for trees, those trees reward us by providing many benefits including materials for building, fuel, shade, food, windbreaks, wildlife habitats and beauty just to name a few. 

The United States has many cities that are recognized as “Tree City’s” (city’s that focus on healthy tree growth). One of the standards to become a tree city is to promote and celebrate Arbor Day.

According to 2020 statistics from the Arbor Day Foundation, the United states has over 3,500 tree cities. Florida on its own encompasses over 180 of those tree city’s. This goes to show that Arbor Day is essential for spreading the word of the continued support of environmental health.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Obituaries - Charles Chance, age 81; William Gibson, age 80

Charles E Chance 81, of LaBelle passed away Sunday January 9, 2022 at Hope Healthcare Services Lehigh Acres.

He was born in Paducah, KY to the late Earvin and Gladys (Yates) Chance.

He was an Owner/Operator in the Trucking Industry.

Surviving are his wife: Shirley (Roberts) Chance
sons: Charles Chance, James Chance, Thomas Dotson, Lloyd Dotson, Keith Chance, Mike Chance, Rocky Chance, Paul Chance and William Johnson.
daughter: Crystal Chance-Rodriguez
sister: Pat Sue Kemp
24 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren

The family will receive friends on Friday January 14th from 11 AM to 1 PM at the Akin-Davis Funeral Home 560 E. Hickpochee Ave. Labelle.

Funeral Service will be at 1 PM at the funeral home with Pastor Mike Chance officiating.

Interment will be at Fort Denaud Cemetery.

William O Gibson, age 80, of Clewiston, passed away January 2, 2022 in Lehigh Acres.

He was born May 1, 1941 in Birmingham, AL, to the late Richard and the late Beulah (White) Gibson. He married Billie Ruth Allen in 1987 and she preceded him in death on January 8, 2021. He worked for most of his life as a small engine mechanic. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather who will be dearly missed by everyone who knew and loved him.

William leaves behind his children; W. Kevin Gibson, Brian Gibson, son William Allen Davies (wife Mistie) in Titusville, FL; daughters Jane Sadette Davies Purcell (husband Darren) of Norman, OK; and Laura Beth Davies Jones (husband Scott) of Clewiston, grandchildren Victor William Engel (wife Anne), Frances Renee Rios (husband Rolando), William Kale Gibson, Justin Cade Gibson, Aubrey Nicole Thompson, Dylan Thompson, Robert Edward Purcell, and Ethan Michael Purcell, Elisabeth Jane Palmer, Ryan Michael Palmer, William Evans Davies, Emma Kaitlin Davies, Bruce Franklyn Jones, Evelyn Kay Jones, and Leslie Nicole Jones, along with many extended family members.

Cremation arrangements are being handled by Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Clewiston

Algal Toxin Alert For Lake Okeechobee

Moore Haven, FL - The Florida Department of Health in Glades County has issued a Health Alert for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins in Lake Okeechobee.This is in response to water samples taken on January 3, 2022 - January 5, 2022. 

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

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

What is blue-green algae?

Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria that is common in Florida’s freshwater environments. A bloom occurs when rapid growth of algae leads to an accumulation of individual cells that discolor water and often produce floating mats that emit unpleasant odors.

Some environmental factors that contribute to blue-green algae blooms are sunny days, warm water temperatures, still water conditions and excess nutrients. Blooms can appear year-round but are more frequent in summer and fall. Many types of blue-green algae can produce toxins.

Is it harmful?

Blue-green algae blooms can impact human health and ecosystems, including fish and other aquatic animals.

For additional information on potential health effects of algal blooms, visit

Find current information about Florida’s water quality status and public health notifications for harmful algal blooms and beach conditions by visiting Protecting Florida Together is the state’s joint effort to provide statewide water quality information to prioritize environmental transparency and commitment to action.

What do I do if I see an algal bloom?

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection collects and analyzes algal bloom samples. To report a bloom to DEP, call the toll-free hotline at 855-305-3903 or report online.

To report fish kills, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute at 1-800-636-0511.

Report symptoms from exposure to a harmful algal bloom or any aquatic toxin to the Florida Poison Information Center, call 1-800-222-1222 to speak to a poison specialist immediately.

Contact your veterinarian if you believe your pet has become ill after consuming or having contact with blue-green algae contaminated water.

If you have other health questions or concerns about blue-green algae blooms, please call the Florida Department of Health in Glades at (863)-302-6021.

Grandma'a Grove RV Park Rash Of Vehicle Burglaries

Grandma’s Grove Experiences Rash of Vehicle Burglaries

LABELLE, FL. -- On the morning of Thursday, January 6, Hendry County Sheriff’s Office received approximately 19 calls from residents of Grandma’s Grove reporting their vehicles had been unlawfully entered during the nighttime hours.

Deputies along with Investigators and Crime Scene personnel processed the vehicles for fingerprints and spoke with victims and residents of the park. It was determined that while there was not a large amount of items or cash taken, it was reported that there were stolen credit cards, wallet, $60 in cash and a purse, phone and personal documents. It is worth noting at this time, all of the vehicles entered were left unlocked.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of locking your vehicle at night and removing valuable items,” Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden said. “This continues to be a problem. We can only do so much,” Sheriff Whidden continued. “By leaving your vehicles unlocked, valuables in your car, windows down and keys or keyfob in the vehicles, you are inviting the thief to take what belongs to you”.

It is also important to file a police report when this happens, some insurance companies and credit card companies may require a report be filed with local law enforcement. If your driver’s license is stolen you may take a copy of the police report to the Drive’s License Office and they will replace it at no cost.

The loss of items such as checks, credit cards, driver’s licenses and personal documents such as Birth Certificates and Social Security Cards, may be timely to replace and costly.

If anyone may have seen anything suspicious or has any information regarding these thefts please contact the Hendry County Sheriffs’ Office at (863)674-5600.

Truck Theft Reported At Grandma' Grove RV

LABELLE, FL. -- At approximately 5:15am, Hendry County Sheriff’s Deputies responded TO Grandma’s Grove, located at 2250 W. State Road 80, in the unincorporated area of LaBelle, after a resident reported his truck being stolen.

The victim reported hearing a vehicle start up, and then noticed headlights thru the window of his residence. He quickly exited his home to find his 2020 Dodge Ram truck gone.

It was also reported that same morning, in another area of the RV Park a vehicle that was parked in a lot that appeared unfamiliar to them. Further investigation revealed the 2002 Chevy Blazer had been reported stolen from Collier County.

We are asking if anyone has any information regarding either vehicle to contact the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office General Crimes at 863-674-5600.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Vaccines At Health Department Saturday January 15

Hendry & Glades, FL - The health department in LaBelle is offering free Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations and booster doses on Saturday, January 15th from 8:30am to 1:00pm. No appointment required.

Pfizer Vaccine for children age 5 years and older (parent must be present and sign consent form)

Moderna Vaccine for adults 18 years and older.

Receiving Your COVID-19 Vaccination

Remember to bring the following:
A valid Florida driver license or valid Florida identification card.
If you are receiving your second dose or booster, please bring your vaccination card with you to your appointment.

Weekly new positive tests in Hendry have increased rapidly in the last five weeks; 16 new cases week ending December 17, 64 week ending December 24, 330 week ending December 31, 684 cases week ending January 7, and January 14 at 843 cases.

In Glades county similarly increasing numbers the last five weeks at 3, 16, 26, 75, and this week 110 new cases. 

For additional information regarding COVID-19 vaccine boosters, visit

Where to Go
1140 Pratt Blvd, LaBelle, FL 33935, (863) 674-4041

Monday, January 10, 2022

Obituaries - Jose Cardona, Robert McDonald, Maria Raya, Edward Brown

Jose Ramon Mayan Cardona 57, of LaBelle passed away Saturday January 8, 2022.

He was born in Cuba to the late Manuel Rogelio Mayan Lissabet and Elia Socorro Cardona Fernandez,
He worked in Construction.

Surviving are a son: Jose Alejandro Mayan
a daughter: Lisandra Mayan
2 grandchildren.

Arrangements are being handled by the Akin-Davis Funeral Home-LaBelle Chapel.

Robert (Bob) Glen McDonald Sr. died at 75 years old, on January 4th, 2022 in his home in LaBelle, Florida after a 5 year battle with cancer. 

 Bob was born July 22nd, 1946 in Farmington, Michigan to Lila (Groat) and George McDonald, he was one of 12 children. 

 Bob’s siblings are Barb and Peter Vollrath, Ross (deceased) and Karol McDonald, Fred (deceased) and Linda (deceased) McDonald, Babe (deceased) and Paula McDonald, Carl (deceased) and Linnie McDonald, Bill (deceased) McDonald, Dorothy (deceased) McDonald, Marie Kohl and Glenn, Edie and Tom Husted, Jack (deceased) and Mari McDonald, Katie and Tom Winkler. 

Bob is survived by his soul mate and ‘the pants wearing woman in charge’ Paula DeMott, his son Robert Jr and wife Rebecca, granddaughter Kathleen and grandson Sean, his special grandchildren Randy DeMott, Daniel Rennie, Brandon Rennie, Courtney Levanduski, Matthew Zenner, and Madison Zenner, his former wife Brenda and Bill Shevchik. And his ‘goof’ Stella.

What about Bob, where does one begin. He was larger than life. The greatest salesperson, an entrepreneur, lover of the outdoors, dancing, singing and overall general merriment. He was in the relentless pursuit of a great time. Bob lived to feel the sunshine on his skin, be the first person in the pool, with a cold beer and music jamming. He loved riding his motorcycle, driving fast cars and hitting the trails with his lady and dog on the golfcart.

Bob loved to cook for family and friends. He could be found smoking and cooking meats and birds of all kinds for everyone to enjoy. Bob loved his garden of delicious tomatoes and fruit trees.

Bob was a master plasterer for over 50 years owning McDonald & Sons Plastering, which he eventual solid to his son Robert. Bob also had many other gigs along the way, including owning a vacuum sales and repair shop, and a barber shop. He worked on the line construction, owned rental properties, and was an electrical groundman. Bob was one tough guy that never shied away from hard work.

As a devoted Michigan sports team fan, Bob religiously watched his Lions, Tigers, Redwings, and Wolverines. He loved to golf, hunt, swim and soak up the sun.

Happy Pappy, you will be sorely missed, you left your mark on everyone who had the pleasure to spend time with you, whether it was your silly jokes, the changing the words to all our classic songs, your love of play, the constant life advice, your beautiful voice, or simply your love!

We know your Irish eyes are smiling down on us now and you are having a good time!

Maria Teresa Raya, age 55 of LaBelle, Florida passed away at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California on January 1, 2022.

Maria was born on April 6, 1966 in Mexico, to the late Luis Casillas and Trinidad Avina. She married Martin Raya. She was a member of the Catholic Faith. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother who will be dearly missed by everyone who knew and loved her.

Maria leaves behind her loving husband; Martin Raya of LaBelle, Florida, her children Adrian Barron, Oscar Raya, Lizbet Vela, grandchildren; Alan Barron Raya, Dairan Barron Raya, Darey Raya Arriela, Damian Raya Arriela, Dariel Raya Arriela, Aliyah Vela Raya, Pedro Vela Raya.

Mass of Christian Burial for Maria will be held at 9:00 a.m. Thursday, January 13, 2022 at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church with Father Juan Carlos Sack presiding; visitaiton will be from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle. Burial will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery in Labelle.

Mass of Christian Burial is being handled by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Labelle.

Edward M (Ted) Brown 56 of LaBelle passed away January1, 2022. He was born in Hialeah to the late Edward P and Karen (Collier) Brown.

He was a Plumber.

Surviving are son: Edward II
mother: Karen
sisters: Colleen, Cathie, and Eileen

A Celebration of Life is pending.

Arrangements are being handled by the Akin-Davis Funeral Home-LaBelle chapel.