Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Man Seriously Injured When Vehicle Hits Scooter

CAPE CORAL, FL. -- Paul Vieira, 46 of Cape Coral, FL was seriously injured when his motor scooter was hit from behind while he waited behind a stopped bus at 3:20 p.m. Tuesday.

Paul Fredzy St Julien, 39 of Cape Coral, FL was charged with careless driving when his Toyota Sienna crashed into Vieira.

Three vehicles, including Vieira were traveling northbound on US 41 (SR45) in the outside lane approaching the intersection with North Key Dr. The third vehicle stopped due to a Lee County Trans bus stopping at posted bus stop on the east side of the road.

Vieira stopped behind the third in the outside lane. St. Julien failed to stop and while he attempted to stop and avoid impact by steering to the right, the left front of his minivan struck the right side of the rear tire of the scooter. and traveled down the left side of the vehicle. The impact caused the scooter to overturn onto its side and continued northbound travel on its side and struck the rear of the third vehicle.

Vieira was thrown from the scooter which was observed on its left side in the outside lane of northbound US 41 after impact. It had been moved from final rest due to it being on fire and was moved from the area of the driver.

None of the other drivers were injured.

Florida Attorney General Fights Sex And Labor Trafficking

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi today issued a statement that she is committed to making Florida a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking, and during Human Trafficking Awareness Month this January, she asks all Floridians to engage in the fight to identify and protect potential victims. 

Human trafficking is modern day slavery, and it exploits children, women and men. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center estimates that more than 20 million people are enslaved worldwide, and the average age that children are first used for commercial sex is between 12 and 14 years old. 

Florida ranks third in the nation in the number of calls to the National Human Trafficking hotline, and Attorney General Bondi encourages an all-hands-on-deck approach to eradicating human trafficking.

"Floridians can help battle human trafficking in our state by educating themselves about the signs of sex and labor trafficking and how to report suspected cases,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “We will continue to work with public and private partners in our effort to eradicate human trafficking. I encourage Floridians to visit today to find useful information on human trafficking."

During Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Floridians can learn about human trafficking by visiting

Man Fleeing Sheriff's Deputies Killed By Semi Truck

ARCADIA, FL. -- Octavio Lopez, 35 of Dekalb, Illinois was killed about 1 p.m. Tuesday after being hit by a semi truck on State Road 70. Lopez was attempting to flee from Desoto County Deputies.

A truck tractor trailer driven by Driver Fidel Escalante Rojas, 40 of Indiantown, FL was traveling westbound on SR 70 east of Hansel Avenue. Lopez while openly carrying a knife, was running on the north shoulder of SR 70 against traffic, actively fleeing on foot from Desoto County Sheriff  Deputies who were attempting to serve a felony warrant on him.

Lopez dropped the knife onto the north shoulder of SR 70 and ran in a south west direction, directly into the path of the approaching semi. As a result, the front of the truck struck the pedestrian within the westbound travel lane of SR 70.

Lopez was pronounced deceased on scene, he came to final rest on the center lane divider of SR 70. The crash remains under investigation.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Daniel Cantwell Dead In US41 Crash

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Daniel Cantwell, 59 of Fort Myers died in a three-vehicle crash Tuesday afternoon at 5:15.

Cantwell was stopped westbound on Hickory Dr, waiting to turn left onto US-41 as Azucena Arenas, 18 of Ft Myers was traveling northbound on US-41 in the center lane of travel. Jose Cruz, 54 of Fort Myers in a third vehicle was stopped in the southbound, left turn lane at the intersection. 

Cantwell pulled out in front of  Arenas, the front of her vehicle struck Cantwell's at the driver door area. Cantwell's vehicle over turned and struck and came to rest with the third vehicle. Cruz' vehicle veered across the southbound lanes of US-41 to the west shoulder. 

Traffic was closed southbound for 2 hours for the investigation. Cantwell was trapped in his vehicle and was removed by San Carlos Fire Department personnel. Traffic was limited in both directions on US-41, for approximately 3 hours.

Cantwell's passenger Martha Cantwell, 57 suffered serious injuries. Arenas and her 7-year old passenger had minor injuries.

Help For Parkinson's

New La Belle Monthly  Parkinson’s Disease Support Group
LABELLE, FL. -- A support group for Parkinson's will be held the second Tuesday of the month at 1 p.m, beginning Jan. 13th, 2015 at Hope Services at the Nobles Senior Center in LaBelle.

A PD support group is a self-help group run by and for people who have in common a particular challenge or life situation willing to talk freely.

 A PD support group is a place to be yourself. The most difficult “step” is walking in the door. The “program” is about making yourself and others feel welcome.

This PD support group is an informal, self-managed groups of persons with Parkinson’s and their care partners whose purpose is to share real- life wisdom and information and offer mutual support in a spirit of self-acceptance. It is also a place where other family members and friends can feel welcome and supported.

No one is an “expert” – but everyone has experience to share!

Location: 475 East Cowboy Way, LaBelle, FL 33935. For more information please call 239 985-7727

Prevention: The Key To Health

Another year has come and gone and many people will have a New Year’s resolution. (Maybe to lose weight, to eat healthier, to exercise more or to quick smoking) Resolutions are great but prevention is the key to being healthy. We need to focus on preventing diseases and other health problems instead of trying to correct them once something happens. 

Most people have no problem taking their cars in for service in order to prevent mechanical problems. Try to think of your body and overall health in the same way. Proper checkups, eating healthy and regular exercise are some things we can do to help prevent our bodies from “breaking down”.

Be physically active each day - Eat a nutritious diet - Get Preventive Screenings—Avoid risky behaviors

Preventive health care is so important! About half of all deaths from heart disease are sudden and unexpected, so there's little opportunity for treatment. Prevention is the key. Thousands of coronary artery bypass procedures are performed every year. Surgery is not the cure for all heart attack-prone people. Treatments for heart disease aren't cures either. 

Procedures can't slow the buildup of fatty deposits in arteries which causes most heart disease. The buildup of fatty deposits in arteries often begins in childhood, but it may be decades before clinical disease shows up. That's why more effort must be focused on prevention. Risk factors that we can change, treat or control include: tobacco use, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, lack of physical activity, being obese or overweight, and diabetes. By focusing on prevention, we can have a major impact on our health.

Regular physical activity is important for your overall health and well-being. Include activities that you enjoy and can easily fit into your daily routine—such as walking your dog, working in your garden, or riding your bike. Being active for 30-60 minutes on most days can help you build strength and fitness, relax and reduce stress, gain more energy, and improve your sleep. These benefits all add up to decreasing your risk of heart disease and other conditions, such as colon cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure.

It’s important to follow the basics: eat a healthy diet by choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables. Avoid fats, added sugars, and salt. Eat in moderation. Eating right makes you feel good, and it can reduce your risk for diseases like heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, stroke, and osteoporosis

Do you know your cholesterol numbers or what your blood pressure is? Do certain diseases and conditions run in your family? When faced with choices that may impact your health and the lives of those you love, it’s important to remember that there are options and resources to help you make healthy decisions.

-Pat Dobbins, Hendry-Glades Health Department

Monday, December 29, 2014

Motorcyclist Dies In Crash Sunday

ENGLEWOOD, FL. -- A motorcyclist died in a crash in Charlotte county Sunday evening at 8:18 p.m. said the Florida Highway Patrol.

Daniel Paul, 50 of Englewood was traveling east on State Road 776 in the inside lane on a Harley-Davidson Fatboy and Nathaniel James Nelson, 38 of Fort Myers in a 2008 Toyota Corolla  was stopped in the inside lane of eastbound SR 776, with the intersection of Spinnaker Blvd, for a red light.

Paul attempted to pass by Nelson's vehicle. This caused the left side of the cycle to collide with the right rear of the car.

The motorcycle continued through the intersection running the steady red light. The cycle was then laid onto its side and slid east on SR 776 coming to final rest in the inside lane.

The Toyota proceeded through the intersection coming to a controlled stop on the inside shoulder.

Paul came to final rest in the inside lane of SR 776 and was transported to Englewood Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.

Kirk Steele Dies In Motorcycle Crash

FORT MYERS, FL. -- A 25-year old Bonita Springs man died in an early morning motorcycle crash Monday at 12:35 a.m.

Steele on a 2014 Suzuki motorcycle was northbound on State Road 45 at a high rate of speed according to the FHP as 2013 Ford pickup truck driven by Thomas C. Mahn, 53 of Fort Myers was southbound on State Road 45 and attempted to turn left onto Sunrise Boulevard, thereby  entering the path of the motorcycle.

The cycle struck the right rear of the truck with the front of the motorcycle. Steele was pronounced deceased on scene.

Charges are pending investigation and use of alcohol by Steele.

Nutrition Program For Woman And Children Now 40 Year Old

LABELLE, FL. -- This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, more commonly known as the WIC Program. The WIC Program is funded by the United State Department of Agriculture and was established in 1974 to improve the health of the nation's children during times of critical growth and development.

"I congratulate the Florida WIC Program for 40 years of service to keep Florida families healthy,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. "In partnership with local grocers, WIC has improved the health of women, children, and babies, while becoming more efficient through a system of electronic benefit transfer (EBT).”

Florida WIC provides services to pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children up to their fifth birthday based on nutritional risk and income eligibility. The primary services provided are nutrition screening, risk assessment, nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding support and referrals to healthcare and other social services. Nutritious supplemental food is provided at no cost to participants.

Over the past four decades, studies have shown that pregnant women who enroll in WIC during the early months of pregnancy have fewer low birth weight babies, experience fewer infant deaths, see the doctor earlier in pregnancy and eat healthier. WIC participation by infants and children is associated with improved diets, including increased nutrient intake (or intakes of iron, potassium, and fiber), fewer added sugars, and a greater variety of foods.

Earlier this year Florida WIC implemented a statewide data system that provides participants with greater flexibility in redeeming benefits and increases benefits security. The new system uses an electronic card much like a credit card rather than the paper checks used previously. Florida is the first state to simultaneously implement a new WIC participant data system and bring Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) services online. Implementation of WIC EBT helps 475,000 WIC participants and 2,000 grocers.

Florida WIC is administered through the Florida Department of Health and is available in all 67 counties. To learn more about the WIC Program or to find out if you are eligible, call toll-free at 1-800-342-3556 or visit your local WIC office by finding the location

Gas Still Dropping But Not As Low In Some Places

Gas Prices Way Lower This Week But Not Everywhere

LABELLE, FL. -- Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 7.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.38/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 8,237 gas outlets in Florida. This compares with the national average that has fallen 9.6 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.28/g.

But prices vary wildly in less populated areas like Hendry county, Florida where average prices are $2.68. By driving 30 miles to Fort Myers motorists can save about 30 cents per gallon.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 98.5 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 39.5 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 50.6 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 100.5 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

“The dramatic decline at the pump continues to reap significant savings for the motoring public- over $525 million less spent every day versus this past summer, or $375 million less than the same time last year,” said Patrick DeHaan, analyst with GasBuddy. “The slump in crude oil has wavered slightly and we're in the fourth quarter of the game. However, there is still a chance that crude prices resume their slump again, and carry the pump plunge into overtime," DeHaan said.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

10-Year Old Motorbike Rider Critical After Crash

MOORE HAVEN, FL. --  A 10-year old motorbike rider is in critical condition after crashing into a truck Sunday.

The FHP says an all terrain motorbike was traveling west across the south grassy shoulder of Higgins Street in Glades county Sunday at 2:15 p.m. when a truck and towed trailer were northbound on Hendrix Street.

The truck driver, Robert Lee McPherson, 75 of Moore Haven came to a stop for a stop sign at northbound Hendrix and Higgins and then proceeded north into the intersection.

10 year old Johnny Lee Crawford failed to yield to northbound traffic on Hendrix and attempted to maneuver around the front of the truck.

McPherson attempted to bring the truck and towed trailer to an abrupt stop and as a result, struck the right side of the motorbike at the intersection. Upon impact, the bike overturned and the boy came to rest between the truck's right rear (tandem) wheels.

Crawford was later transported by air to Saint Mary's Hospital (Palm Beach) and is in critical but stable condition.

Man With Child Crashes Into Fire Station

LEHIGH ACRES, FL. -- Ronald E. Wilk, 21 of Lehigh Acres was northbound on Joel Blvd approaching E 10th St. and unknown reasons, lost control of his 2001 Ford Escort Sunday morning about 11:40 crashing into the Lehigh Acres Fire department building.

After Wilk lost control of the car the FHP said the car traveled east onto the shoulder and then crashed into the Lehigh Acres Fire Department located at 1000 Joel Blvd,

Wilk and a one-year old passenger were transported to Lee Memorial Hospital for injures sustained.

Wilk was charged with careless driving by the FHP.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Google's Holiday Doodle For 2014 - Traveling Anyone?

Google features an animated story about holiday travel today on the main search page.

The Interview - Best Movie Of Year?

Media Coverage Brings Top Rating to Comic Adventure Movie

With all the media hype and commentary about The Interview with Seth Rogan and James Franco, it's apparently paying off in great movie reviews for Sony Picture now, the film now showing all over the country.

Encouraged by "free speech" advocates, positive movie reviews started popping up on websites this week days before the moving was actually shown in theaters.

IMDB, the very popular Internet Movie Data Base, today gave an 8.5 out of 10 stars with almost 69,000 rating the 112-minute action comedy picture.

Rotten Tomatoes, the competing online movie review site, however had a less rosy rating of 50% from critics on it's "tomatometer." Rotten Tomatoes audience score was a bit higher at 67% liking the film

Did you see it? Make your comments...

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Concrete Truck Overturns On I-75

Driver And Passenger - Serious Injuries In Dump Truck Turnover

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Jose L. Calvo, 57 of Cape Coral, Florida, driving a dump truck hauling dry concrete mix, was traveling northbound on I75 at the #143 mile marker at about 5:30 p.m. and for reasons unknown at this time, veered to the right and struck a guard rail located approximately 1/2 mile south of Bayshore Road.

As a result, the truck overturned onto its right side causing the dry concrete mix to be spilt onto I75. The driver was ejected from the vehicle. Both the driver and the passenger, Norberto Flores, 23 was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital with serious injuries.

Northbound traffic was diverted off of Exit 141(Palm Beach Boulevard) while emergency crews attended to the scene. I75 Northbound remains was closed at #143 mm for scene cleanup for several hours.

An investigation continues, said the FHP.

Jimmie Laird Dies At 79

Jimmie R. Laird died December 22, 2014 in Clewiston, Florida.

Jimmie R. Laird was born on February 16, 1935 in Imperial, Nebraska to the late Charles and the late Geraldine (Bixler) Laird. He grew to manhood on a farm and was educated in the Public Schools of Hayes County, Nebraska, following high school graduation; he was drafted into service of his country in the United States Army, serving in Germany. Following his service to his country, he enrolled in the University of Nebraska and graduated in 1960. He spent his entire work career as an insurance claims adjuster during which time he managed to obtain a law degree and an associates in claims management. He was a member of St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Belle Glade for many years, an Elks Lodge Life time member and a life time member of the American Legion, V.F.W. and Am Vets.

He departed this life on December 22, 2014 in Hendry Regional Medical Center. He leaves to mourn his passing, his loving wife; Bonnie, son Kirk and children; Katie, Angie, Alex and Gregory; daughter; Celia Hornig and Rev. Mark and their children, Josh, Rachel, Rebecca and Sarah, daughter; Cindy and her husband Harry LaBonde and their children; Alison, Briana and Nicholas and many great grandchildren, as well as many close family members and friends.

A memorial service celebrating his life will be December 30, 2014 in St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Belle Glade at 10:30 a.m. His cremains will be interred at Hayes County Cemetery in Nebraska at a later date.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston

Counting 158,000 Christmas Birds In South Florida

CLEWISTON, FL. -- The South Florida Water Management District is joining with the Hendry-Glades Audubon Society once again as the group conducts its portion of the 115th Christmas Bird Count in Stormwater Treatment Area 5 (STA-5) in Hendry County on January 3 at 7 a.m.

Data collected during the annual bird counts—which span North America and beyond during the weeks surrounding Christmas—are critical to studies of the long-term health and status of bird populations, according to Audubon. The STAs, managed by the SFWMD, attract large numbers of birds and also provide the public with a variety of recreational opportunities, such as hiking, biking and excellent bird watching.

During the 114h Christmas Bird Count, Audubon teams in STA-5 and the surrounding area documented 123 avian species and more than 158,000 individual birds.

Throughout South Florida, the District provides recreational access to its public lands while continuing to manage them to support environmental restoration, water supply, water quality and flood control missions. At present, the District owns approximately 600,000 acres of land that are open to the public. Many of these properties are in their natural state or have enhancements such as picnic tables, informational kiosks, primitive campsites and hiking trails.

Stormwater Treatment Areas are the water-cleaning workhorses of Everglades restoration. They are also known as renowned havens for wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

For more information on recreational opportunities throughout the District’s 16-county region, visit

WHEN: January 3, 2015
TIME: 7 a.m.
WHERE: Click here for a map and written directions.
RSVP: Margaret England, Hendry-Glades Audubon Society
(863) 517-0202

Motorcyclist Killed In Crash

SEBRING, FL. -- Shane Robert Breen, 18 of Holly, Michigan was killed when a car crashed into his motorcycle Monday afternoon about 2:09 p.m.

A 2014 Toyota Corolla, driven by Ruth Ann Lacombe, 43 of Sebring  was traveling northbound on US 27 (SR 25) in the left turn lane at Avon Blvd. as a 2000 Yamaha motorcycle was traveling southbound on US 27 in the right land approaching W Avon Blvd.

Lacombe made a left turn into the pathway of Breen and his motorcycle front collided with the Toyota's right rear side. After impact Breen separated from the motorcycle which overturned on it's right side and continued to slide southbound in the center lane and came to final rest in the center lane facing in an easterly direction on it's right side.

Breen came to final rest in the right lane. Lacombe drove to a controled stop on W. Avon Blvd facing west. Lacombe was charged with violation of right of way and turning in front of oncoming traffic. Lacombe and two passengers including an 8-year old girl had no injuries.

DUI Motorcycle Crash Puts Man In Hospital

Motorcyclist Charged With DUI, Driving With Revoked License

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Christopher Pennington, 34 of Naples suffered serious injuries after crashing his 2009 Yamaha motorcycle into a car Monday evening about 5 p.m.

The motorcycle and a 2012 Toyota Tundra driven by Josue Aponte, 36 of Fort Myers, were westbound on CR 865 (Gladiolus Dr) approaching Coca Sabal Ln. The motorcycle was in the outside lane and the Toyota was in the inside lane.

Pennington swerved across the center lane and entered the inside lane. While in the inside lane, the left side of the motorcycle collided with the right rear side of the Toyota. Pennington lost control and the motorcycle fell on its left side and traveled northwest across the center lane. The motorcycle and Toyota was moved prior to the FHP's arrival.

Aponte had no injuries.

Pennington was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital and charged with DUI, Driving while license revoked and improper lane change.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Rose Furman Dies At 79

Rose M. Furman, age 79, of LaBelle, passed away December 21, 2014 in LaBelle. She was born May 29, 1935 in Cleveland, OH, to the late John and the late Hermine (Cernohorsky) Pretz.

She is survived by two sons: Karl Furman, Vernon Furman, five daughters: Michele Bart, Katrina Taylor, Emily Luce, Mary Kibbler, Laura Furman, one brother: Carl Pretz, nineteen grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her brother John Pretz and sisters: Lillian Bolek and Vera Puleo.

A memorial service will be held Monday, December 29, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at Christ The King Lutheran Church, 350 CR 78, LaBelle, FL 33935 LaBelle with Pastor Nick Moskovites officiating.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Gas Prices Lower Except In Hendry

Hendry-Glades Gas Prices Higher

LABELLE, FL. -- Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 8.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.49/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 8,237 gas outlets in Florida. This compares with the national average that has fallen 10.8 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.42/g, according to gasoline price website

But in Hendry county prices are still 20 cents per gallon higher than Florida average prices. The lowest price in the LaBelle area is $2,69 at Circle K. Motorists can save by driving to Lehigh Acres in Lee county where prices are $2.53 at Citgo.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 87.1 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 33.5 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 41.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 80.4 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

“As Americans take to the road for Christmas travel, they've all been given a gift that keeps on giving: falling gas prices,” said Patrick DeHaan, petroleum analyst. “Americans are saving over $13 million dollars an hour versus gas prices a year ago- adding up to over $315 million every day. Big declines were witnessed in Montana, Michigan, Indiana, Idaho, and Ohio, where average prices fell over 20 cents on average just in the last seven days but everyone has been a winner."

"Just in the last 24 hours, the national average has declined nearly 7c/gallon, one of the largest single day decreases ever. However, I'm worried the decline may soon begin slowing- oil prices have held in the mid-$50s, and the concrete may be setting in. If it does, and oil prices fail to drop below $50/bbl, gas prices likely won't drop more than another 10-20 cents per gallon. Either way, a sneak peak at our soon to be released 2015 gas price forecast reveals a yearly national average far lower than what we saw this year," DeHaan said.

Melissa Timo - Navigating The Big Water

LABELLE, FL. -- Florida Public Archaeology Network Coordinator for Southwest Florida Melissa Timo will present a special program, Navigating the Big Water, at the third of the 2014/2015 Special Speaker Programs made possible byLaBelle Heritage Museum's collaboration with the Clewiston Museum in its two year grant bringing special programs to both Clewiston and LaBelle. 

The LaBelle program will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at LaBelle City Hall, 481 West Hickpochee Avenue (State Road 80). The presentation is open to the public, and attendees are reminded that entry is at the rear of City Hall.

Pictures of historic paddlewheel steamboats usually conjure up thoughts of the mighty Mississippi River or Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It may come as a surprise, but steamboats also played a very important role in the early development of Florida. The transportation of goods and people on the frontier peninsula oft times occurred on rivers and lakes. Miss Timo’s presentation will reflect a picturesque history of this bygone steamboat era using Maritime Archeology on the CaloosahatcheeRiver and Lake Okeechobee. Miss Timo is no stranger to regular attendees of LaBelle Heritage Museum's own monthly program meetings; most recently was her program on historic cemeteries and the care of their graves.

Miss Timo is the Florida Public Archeology Network (FPAN) Outreach Coordinator for the Southwest Region, which includes Lee, Collier, Glades, and Hendry Counties. She has worked as an archeologist for thirteen years and done extensive research on the short –lived Spanish settlement that was established by Tristan de Luna at Pensacola Bay in 1559.

Four With Serious Injuries After Pig Incident On I-75

NAPLES, FL. -- Claudine Jean Louis, 43 of Miami and three passengers were hospitalized with serious injuries Sunday after Louis attempted to avoid a pig on I-75.

The 2000 Nissan Xterra was traveling east on I75 (SR 93) about 2:35 p.m. in the inside lane approaching the 101 mile marker. Louis stated that a pig was in the inside lane and she veered left to avoid the animal causing the vehicle to lose control and travel onto the grassy median.

She attempted to regain control of the vehicle and over corrected to the right causing the vehicle to travel in a southeast direction striking the guardrail with its side portion. After impact, the vehicle overturned over the guardrail into the embankment 135 feet. The Nissan came to rest in the wooded area, facing in a southwest direction on the south shoulder of I75.

Louis was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers and three passengers were taken to NCH Downtown Naples hospital. The crash investigation is pending.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Science Of Healthy Eating - Fast Food Or Vegetables?

Cake Or Carrots? - How The Brain Decides

When you open the refrigerator for a late-night snack, are you more likely to grab a slice of chocolate cake or a bag of carrot sticks? Your ability to exercise self-control may depend upon just how quickly your brain factors healthfulness into a decision, according to a recent study by Caltech neuroeconomists.

"In typical food choices, individuals need to consider attributes like health and taste in their decisions," says graduate student Nicolette Sullivan, lead author of the study, which appears in the December 15 issue of the journal Psychological Science. 

Since we know that taste appears before health, we know that it has an advantage in the ultimate decision. However, once health comes online, if you wait - allowing the health information to accumulate for longer - that might give health a chance to catch up and influence the choice, said the new study.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Betty Louise Smith Dies At 80

LABELLE, FL. -- Betty Louise Smith, age 80, a longtime resident of Muse, Glades County, FL, passed away December 19, 2014 in LaBelle, FL. She was born Mar. 4, 1934 in Moore Haven, FL. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, Buddy (W.J.) Strickland and Gaynell Strickland of Moore Haven, FL and grandson, Gary A. Hall, Jr. of LaBelle.
Survivors include her three daughters: Jullie Kay Hall, Judy Fuller (Wade) and Cheryll Brooks (Tony), son: Richard E. Smith (Laura), eight grandchildren: Teresa Robinson; Danielle Brooks, April Brooks; Lisa Augilar; Lynn Hall; Justin Hall, Robert Smith and Josh Smith; twenty-three great-grandchildren and fifteen great-great grandchildren.

She loved flowers, did puzzles and crocheted as a hobby. She was a member of the Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014, 1:00 p.m. at Kingdom Hall Of Jehovah's Witnesses, 538 Glades Avenue, LaBelle with Elder Gary Schuch officiating. A memorial luncheon will take place at 2099 Summerall Road, Muse immediately following the memorial service.
Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

70-Year Old Crashes Into House

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Gonzalo Nunez Collado,70 of Fort Myers / Florida fortunately suffered no injuries after losing control of his 2001 Toyota Sienna Saurday at 11:54 am. after running into a home on Glenwood Ave.

Collado  was traveling eastbound on Glenwood Avenue approaching Carolina Avenue and lost control and began traveling in a southeast direction, and entered the grass yard of 606 Carolina Avenue. This yard is on the south side of Glenwood Avenue.

The vehicle continued traveling in a southeast direction, exited the yard, and entered Carolina Avenue, continued traveling in a southeast direction, exited the roadway and entered the grass yard of 4700

Glenwood Avenue. Subsequently, the front portion collided with a fence and the vehicle continued traveling in a southeast direction through the yard and collided with the landscaping in the lawn of and then the front portion of the vehicle then collided with the home located at 4700 Glenwood Avenue. The Toyota came to rest facing southeast, while connected to the front area of the home.

Collado was charged with careless driving.

Can You Balance On One Leg For 20 Seconds? Testing Brain Health

Simple Test May Signal Brain Health In Older Adults

One-legged standing time may be a simple test used to measure early signs of abnormalities in the brain associated with cognitive decline, cerebral small vessel disease and stroke says a new study from the American Heart Association.

Struggling to balance on one leg for 20 seconds or longer was linked to an increased risk for small blood vessel damage in the brain and reduced cognitive function in otherwise healthy people with no clinical symptoms, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.

“Our study found that the ability to balance on one leg is an important test for brain health,” said Yasuharu Tabara, Ph.D., lead study author and associate professor at the Center for Genomic Medicine at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine in Kyoto, Japan. “Individuals showing poor balance on one leg should receive increased attention, as this may indicate an increased risk for brain disease and cognitive decline.”

“One-leg standing time is a simple measure of postural instability and might be a consequence of the presence of brain abnormalities,” said Tabara.

The study consisted of 841 women and 546 men, average age of 67. To measure one-leg standing time, participants stood with their eyes open and raised one leg. The maximum time for keeping the leg raised was 60 seconds. Participants performed this examination twice and the better of the two times was used in the study analysis. Cerebral small vessel disease was evaluated using brain magnetic resonance imaging.

Researchers found that the inability to balance on one leg for longer than 20 seconds was associated with cerebral small vessel disease, namely small infarctions without symptoms such as lacunar infarction and microbleeds. They noted that:

34.5 percent of those with more than two lacunar infarction lesions had trouble balancing.
16 percent of those with one lacunar infarction lesion had trouble balancing.
30 percent of those with more than two microbleed lesions had trouble balancing.
15.3 percent one microbleed lesion had trouble balancing.

Overall, those with cerebral diseases were older, had high blood pressure and had thicker carotid arteries than those who did not have cerebral small vessel disease. However, after adjustment for these covariates, people with more microbleeds and lacunar infarctions in the brain had shorter one-legged standing times. Short one-legged standing times were also independently linked with lower cognitive scores.

Although previous studies have examined the connection between gait and physical abilities and the risk of stroke, this is among the first study to closely examine how long a person can stand on one leg as an indication of their overall brain health.

Small vessel disease occurs due to microangiopathy of arterioles in the brain, making these arteries less flexible, which can interfere with blood flow. Small vessel disease typically increases with age. Loss of motor coordination, including balance, as well as cognitive impairment has been suggested to represent subclinical brain damage. Tabara and colleagues also found a strong link between struggling to stand on one leg and increased age, with marked shorter one-leg standing time in patients age 60 and over.

Although the study did not assess participants’ histories of falling or physical fitness issues, such as how fast they could walk or any gait abnormalities, Tabara said the one-leg standing test is an easy way to determine if there are early signs of being at risk for a stroke and cognitive impairment and whether these patients need additional evaluation.

Photo credit: Yasuharu Tabara

Celebrate With Some Healthy Gifts This Holiday Season

The holiday season is a time of giving and the Florida Department of Health encourages Floridians to give the gift of healthy activity to family and friends. Helping others achieve and maintain good health is one of the most valuable gifts you can give that will positively impact their lives for years to come.

Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong said "Select nutritious food gifts, choose a family outing with physical activity for everyone and find ways to encourage others to reach their health goals during this season.” 

Buy a loved one a Florida State Parks pass and give the gift of the great outdoors
This gift allows Florida residents and visitors to breathe the fresh air, exercise outdoors and enjoy our beautiful state in any of the 160 state parks throughout Florida. Learn more
Cook a healthy meal or take a healthy cooking class together
A common way to express affection during the holidays is through food. Spend some quality together while preparing lower fat, lower calorie options for gatherings with family and friends. Or consider creating new memories by providing a gift to attend local healthy cooking classes.
Give the gift of activity and support
Baskets and stockings are typically filled with candy, yet you can reshape this idea and create a health basket for a loved one containing items that can help with daily life. Include an activity tracker or pedometer, with a note attached that says, "You can do it!” Fill it up with fruit and other healthy snacks to help others start the New Year feeling better and motivated to stay healthy.
Maintain, Don't Gain Challenge
Healthiest Weight Florida's newest initiative, Maintain Don't Gain Holiday Challenge, contains helpful tips and reminders that can be useful to those who are striving towards their healthiest weight goals. For more information and to sign up visit the Maintain, Don't Gain Holiday Challenge. Healthiest Weight Florida is a public-private collaboration bringing together state agencies, not for profit organizations, businesses, and entire communities to help Florida's children and adults make choices about healthy eating and active living.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Obama Takes Only Female Questions At Press Conference

President Obama meets the press for his final 2014 press conference, and takes questions from White House correspondents that the President described as both "naughty and nice." This year the President took questions only from the female members of the White House press corps.

Expected live from the White House Friday at 1:30 p.m., there was a considerable delay waiting for the President's arrival at about 1:55 p.m. To see the beginning of the President's remarks forward the video ahead 25 minutes where he enters the room.

Christmas Eve Service At LaBelle Assembly

LABELLE, FL. -- You are invited to a Christmas Eve service at LaBelle Assembly of God, a family centered Church that welcomes everyone. Services are casual dress.

Christmas Eve Wednesday December 24, at 7:00 p.m. join us as we share the Christmas story as told by Pastor Cliff Avery and join in singing the carols like Silent Night and Joy to the World.  Lamps and candles will be adding to the event. 

Following the Christmas story we will be receiving Holy Communion. Special music will be provided by David Miller Jr. , Katie Bryce and Kathy Avery. We sincerely invite you to be with us Christmas Eve.
The Church is located at 139 Fraser Avenue across from the Edward A. Upthegrove Elementary school. For more information call 675-0900.

Obituaries - Munter, Sutton, Merath

Suzanne R. Munter, age 64, of Clewiston, passed away December 13, 2014 in West Palm Beach.

She was born June 21, 1950 in Cincinnati, OH, to the late William and the late Irma (Brindley) Ritzmann. Suzanne married Ernest L. Munter, Jr. 

She was a member of Faith Lutheran Church of Clewiston. She was a teacher who loved teaching special needs children. She graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a Master's Degree. She was Girl Scout leader for many years. She loved sewing, so much that while in rehabilitation after her knee surgery she sewed scrubs for all the nurses. 

Survivors include her loving husband of 44 years: Ernest L. Munter, Jr., one daughter: Melissa and her husband Jeremiah Mosley of West Palm Beach, FL, two brothers: William and his wife Patricia Ritzmann of Lawrenceburg, IN, Robert and his wife Jody Ritzmann of Aurora, IN Grandchildren, Abbygail Mosley, Christian Mosley; Jeremiah R. Mosley, Courtney Stigall and Nicolle Munter.

She was preceded in death by her Son, Timothy Munter

Funeral service was held at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Faith Lutheran Church Clewiston with Pastor Alan Koch officiating. Interment was Thursday, December 18, 2014 in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston.

The family would like donations be made in Suzanne's name to her church: Faith Lutheran Church.

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

Ann "Jean" Sutton, age 76, of Clewiston, passed away December 14, 2014 at Palms West Hospital in Loxahatchee.

She was born Dec. 26, 1937 in Moultrie, GA, to the late Stokes and the late Annie (Royal) Murphy whom is the sister to the late Opal (Royal) Hancock. 

She was over human resources/insurance dept. for U.S. Sugar Corporation for 42 years. Mrs. Sutton graduated Clewiston High School June 2, 1955. She also attended Florida State University (Home of Seminoles) for 2 years then graduated. She married Billy Lee Sutton; he preceded her in death. They had one child, Valerie Ann Sutton "Patacco", also preceded her in death.

Survivors include: Son in law John Patacco, Granddaughters: Michelle Kelley, Wendy Patacco, and Melanie Patacco. Grandson in law: Chase Redish, Cadeem Ford, Edwin Willingham, 4 Great-grandchildren: Chelsea Belcher, Isaiah Young, Caden Ford, and Cali Ford and last but not least, her dog BRANDI, her pride ann joy.

Life Celebrating service was held Friday, December 19, 2014 at 11:00 am in Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Pastor Gary Folds officiating. Interment was in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation was Thursday from 06:00-08:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Dianne J. Merath, age 74, of Clewiston, passed away December 16, 2014 and now is with the Lord.

She was born on April 23, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin minutes before her twin brother; Dennis. Her parents were Milton "Pickles" Merath and Florence Muzia Merath.

She volunteered at Hendry Regional Medical Center for the last five years since she moved here from Wisconsin and was a part time care giver for a local elderly resident of Clewiston. She had also been a grade school teacher and a member of the Sisters of Sorrowful Mother Convent for 26 years.

She is survived by her twin brother; Dennis Merath and his wife Martha, Kenneth Merath and his wife Vonda, Tim Merath, sisters; Geralynn Olson and Barbara Svetlik and her husband Steve.

Dianne is preceded in death by her parents, brothers; Gregory, Gerald and sister; Maureen.

She had made many close friends in Clewiston, especially Dr. Nune and her two sons; A. Jay and Karthik.

Dianne requested a simple burial with no service. The family of Dianne would like to give thanks for all the cards and flowers sent by her many friends in Clewiston.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Obituaries - Catarina Barraza, Dorothy Andrews

Catarina Cardenas Barraza, age 81, of LaBelle, passed away December 13, 2014 in LaBelle.
She was born August 17, 1933 in Buda, Texas, to the late Benjamin and the late Petra (Garcia) Cardenas.

She is survived by four sons: Christopher Barraza, Jesus Barraza, Jr., Raul Barraza, Isreal Martinez and six daughters: Maria Ana Barraza, Ester Maria Barraza Cisnero, Alejandra Barraza Shewmaker, Judy Yolanda Martinez, Bertha Alicia Barraza, Maria Angelita Rupkey; 31 grandchildren and 45 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Jesus Barraza; sons, Jesus Barraza, Ray Barraza and daughter, Lucia Barraza.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, December 19, 2014 at 10:00 am at Our Lady Queen Of Heaven Catholic Church, LaBelle. with Father Chester Domaszewicz officiating.
Visitation will be Thursday from 06:00-08:00pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL.

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Dorothy Mae Andrews, age 78, of Clewiston, passed away December 15, 2014 in Clewiston.
She was born Jan. 19, 1936 in Baker to the late Mallie Clayton and the late Nettie Mae (Pitts) Spurlin. 

She was a resident of Clewiston since 1943 and graduated from Clewiston High School. Dorothy was a loving mother who was full of life. There are no fitting words to express how precious and special she was to so many friends and family. She was an inspiration to us all and will be sorely missed. The world will be less bright without her.

Survivors include her sons: Mark Hushel (Jane) Andrews of Lakeland and Timothy Mallie (Michelle) Andrews of Madisonville, TN, daughter: Cynthia Andrews Scott of Clewiston, thirteen
grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband: Hushel Andrews, son: Franklin Layne Andrews, daughter: Francelia Lucille Turner, brother: Mallie C. Spurlin, Jr and sister: Ramona Garrett.

Funeral services will be held Sat, December 20, 2014, 2:00 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in Clewiston with Rev. Maurice Watson officiating. Visitation will be Friday, Dec, 19, from 6-8 p.m. at the Akin-Davis Funeral Home in Clewiston.

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Keeping Safe During Flu Season

Flu Season Has Arrived! What You Need To Know
The 2014-2015 flu season is off to an early start, so please strongly consider getting vaccinated to protect yourself, your family and others against the flu. Activity levels are highest in children but overall influenza activity is widely spread across the state.

The flu vaccine is safe and continues to be the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu. The flu vaccine is offered in many locations including pharmacies, clinics, health centers, and even by some employers and schools. Contact your healthcare provider, county health department or visit to find a flu vaccine center near you.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that all individuals six months of age and older receive the flu vaccine each year. Since infants younger than 6 months of age are too young to get vaccinated against influenza, it is important that family members (including pregnant mothers) and other caregivers for these children be vaccinated to help protect them from the disease.

It is especially important that people who do become infected with the influenza virus stay home when they are sick and parents keep sick children at home to prevent spreading the flu.

Additional steps to prevent flu include coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow, washing your hands frequently, and keeping your hands away from your face. Symptoms of the flu include headache, fever, severe cough, runny nose or body aches. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see your healthcare provider immediately for guidance on treatment. Early treatment with antivirals is important and can help people get better more quickly as well as help to prevent severe complications.

The best way to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy during flu season is to:

1) Get vaccinated

2) Stay home if you are sick

3) See your healthcare provider if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

For more information please visit

-submitted by Pat Dobbins, Hendry-Glades Health Department

Pvt. Josue Gonzalez Completes Army Training

LABELLE, FL. -- Army Pvt. Josue Gonzalez has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises.

Gonzalez is the son of Jose and Sandra Gonzalez of LaBelle, Fla.

He is a 2013 graduate of LaBelle High School, LaBelle, Fla.

25 Free Tai Chi Classes Start Jan. 13

World's Most Popular Exercise At L.J. Nobles Center

LABELLE, FL. -- LaBelle's Senior Center on Cowboy Way will once again host a 25-session class in Tai Ji Quan, popularly known as Tai Chi.

The 12-week, twice weekly class will start January 13 and be held on Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. at the L.J. Nobles Senior Center in LaBelle. Registration is required and class size is limited. Only those who are aged 50 and above and who can attend all class sessions will be registered. Call the toll free elder helpline at (866) 413-5337.

About Tai Ji Quan

Tai Ji Quan, "Moving For Better Balance" (pronounced Tie Jee Chuan) is a specialized program for older adults developed by Dr. Fuzhong Li of the Oregon Research Institute and recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as an evidence based program to develop balance skills and prevent falls, through daily practice of eight coordinated Tai Ji Quan movements.

Participants will learn balance skills, good body alignment, and eight coordinated movements in a gentle and flowing motion.

Requirements: age 50 or older, able to walk (canes and walkers are ok), interested in improving balance, flexibility, and strength, able to attend all Tuesday and Thursday 10 a.m. sessions from January 13 through April 7, and willing to practice daily outside class.

The program is sponsored through a grant by the Florida Department of Health and administered by the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida. Don Browne will be the certified Tai Ji Quan - Moving For Better Balance instructor.

Watch a Video: Tai Ji Quan Moving For Better Balance as demonstrated by two LaBelle class participants

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Toys For Tots And Santa Claus Target Kids Today

LABELLE, FL. -- Volunteers met today with Santa Claus and lovely Mrs. Claus in LaBelle for the annual Marine Corps Toys For Tots Drive.

(photo courtesy Mary Bartoshuk)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Rev. Jill Dugal New Pastor Of First Church

LABELLE, FL. -- Rev. Jill A. Dugal is new pastor of the First Church of God, LaBelle, Florida. Pastor Jill, is originally from Canada, and is a ordained as a minister with the Church of God (Anderson). 

She was ordained in 2007 and has served as pastor at LaBelle. Prior to accepting the call to pastor at LaBelle, she has a long history of service in the life of the church, including ministry as a counselor, personal evangelism, pulpit supply minister, and interim pastor at First Church of God in Cape Coral, FL.

She studied for ministry through Anderson School of Theology Center for Christian Leadership and Andersonville Theological Seminary and presently studying in Biblical Christian Counseling.

Pastor Dugal's "Vision is to continue being a beacon in this Community and desire to see it's development of shining brightly to reach not only the lost, but to aid in assistance wherever the need arises.

"Prayer is essential and key in advancement of any program or outreach and grateful for the importance that this church puts on prayer.

"As the funds increase the church has been able to make small improvements in beautifying the church to make the atmosphere more appealing. As new people come in and more volunteers become available it helps in the growth of the church.

"In the future there are hopes to cultivate home groups as an operative outreach ministry. There are people who will not enter a church setting but will go in someone's home for study and learning God's word. Also attainable is the idea of beginning a singles ministry.

"The vision for First Church of God is to keep on moving forward and allowing the Lord to lead each step of the way along this delightful journey of internal growth and outreach.”
The church Schedule is:
Sunday school 10:00 a.m.
Sunday Worship 11:00 a.m.
Wednesday Bible Study 7:00 p.m.
The church is located on Highway 80 & Florida Street next to the Women's Club. For more information contact Jill Dugal ( (863) 675-1388 mobile (239) 229-3341

American Legion Christmas Meal Program Asks For Help

LABELLE, FL.-- The American Legion Post 130 members prepare and volunteers deliver over 600 meals to local Veterans, needy families and shut-ins (those confined to their homes by illness, disability or lack of mobility). 

If you or anyone you know need Christmas meals, please call the Legion at 863-675-8300 ASAP (by Monday morning, 22nd) with the correct address, phone number & the number of meals to be delivered. 

All meals must be pre-ordered for delivery or be picked up before noon on Christmas morning. Volunteers are welcome and needed for serving and delivery of the meals. You may also call Nikki 239-564-2005.

Driver Killed In Midnight Crash Into Trees

NAPLES, FL. -- Casey Weeks, 28 of Naples was killed in a crash on U.S. 41 at 12:05 Friday morning.

A 2004 Ford Ranger was southbound on US-41 in the outside lane entering the left curve just north of Barefoot Williams Road when it traveled off the right side of the roadway onto the grassy shoulder when Weeks  over corrected steering to the left and lost control.

The SUV rotated counter clockwise across the southbound lanes into the median where the right fender struck a tree and the vehicle overturned and struck a second tree in the median then crossed the northbound lanes of US-41.

The vehicle came to rest on its left side on the east shoulder of US-41 faced south. The driver was ejected as it overturned and came to rest on the east sidewalk. Passenger Barry Few, 25 had minor injuries.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Alico To Store 34 Billion Gallons Of River Watershed Water

CLEWISTON, FL. -- In an ongoing effort to increase water storage to protect South Florida’s coastal estuaries and natural systems, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board today approved agreements with various land owners including Alico in Hendry county that more than double the overall water retention capacity in its Dispersed Water Management program.

In the largest storage contract, the District reached an agreement with Alico, Inc., on 35,192 acres of ranchland that will retain an annual average of 91,944 acre-feet of water from the Caloosahatchee River Watershed. This is an amount equal to approximately 34.5 billion gallons of water. This property also has the potential of sending water back into the Caloosahatchee River during the dry season.

The approved contracts will add a total potential of 95,812 acre-feet of storage to the program, or about 36 billion gallons annually. This is the equivalent of 1.5 inches of water in Lake Okeechobee, a 730-square-mile lake at the heart of South Florida’s water management system. The program currently has a retention capacity of 93,342 acre-feet across 43 sites.

“Storing water on ranchlands has proven to be an effective tool in the District’s ongoing effort to protect the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries,” said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Daniel O’Keefe. “Today’s action shows this agency’s commitment to the Dispersed Water Management program, and we support its continued expansion to protect South Florida’s natural systems.”

Animal Rescue In The Park Saturday

LABELLE, FL. -- Animal Rescue, Inc. will have a fund raiser day at Barron Park Saturday featuring lots of games, music, food and activities for kids.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bill Vasden Sentenced For Energy Crop Fraud - Investors Lost Millions

FORT MYERS, FL— An "energy" crop producer promoter has been sentenced to prison for his role in fraudulent investments, sold to farmers and investors in fuel and energy producing crops in Florida. 

United States District Judge John E. Steele has sentenced William A. Vasden, Jr. (38, Tampa) to four years’ imprisonment for wire fraud and making false statements. The Court also ordered restitution for the victims in this case. Vasden pleaded guilty in March 2014.

According to court documents, Vasden was the president of a Tampa-based company known as USCJO, Inc. that claimed to grow fuel and energy producing crops in Florida for a profit. The investigation revealed that from August 2010 through November 2011, Vasden defrauded at least three investors and/or buyers out of more than $3.2 million.

Vasden coordinated multiple seminars and meetings around Florida in which he solicited farmers and investors to contract with his company to plant renewable energy crops that he claimed could be refined into usable biofuel and biomass. 

During the meetings and seminars, Vasden falsely claimed that he was a farmer whose family owned thousands of acres of land. He also claimed that he was growing and selling the harvested crops to end-user consumers and to the United States military for a substantial profit. 

He lured investors into paying him to plant the crops based on promises of substantial investment returns. He also fraudulently induced a buyer to enter into purchase order agreements for a substantial amount of money to sell citrus chips. In fact, Vasden never purchased the proper equipment to produce the promised results. He used the money from his victims to fund his extravagant lifestyle.

From October 2010 through April of 2011, Vasden provided false statements in an application for a federal clean energy grant. Those government funds were ultimately withheld when Vasden’s fraudulent activities were discovered.

This case was investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (Sebring Field Office) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Fort Myers Office), with assistance from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services—Office of the Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tama Koss Caldarone.

Enrique Padilla Graduates From Army Basic Training

Army Pvt. Enrique Padilla has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches and field training exercises.

Padilla is the son of Leticia Padilla and step-son of Robert Alanis, both of Labelle, Fla.

He is a 2014 graduate of Labelle High School, Labelle, Fla.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

12 Healthy Holiday Habits For All

12 Healthy Habits to Get You Through The Holidays
1. Start With a Vision - Start your holiday with a clear vision of how you would like it to go. Share your visions and thoughts with your family and friends and ask for their input as well.

2. Set Goals and Prioritize – Its okay to say “no” sometimes. Saying yes when you should say no can sometimes leave you feeling overwhelmed. Family, friends and colleagues should understand if you can't attend every party or participate in every activity.

3. Organize and Simplify – Try to find ways to organize you activities and create a “to-do” list so you can check things off as you get them accomplished to help you feel more organized and productive during the holiday season.

4. Take Care of “You”– You must find time to take care of yourself - physically, mentally and spiritually. Go for a walk, get enough sleep, read inspiring literature, spend time with close friends to talk and laugh, listen to music, go outdoors, spend some quiet time alone, meditate, and try to be tobacco free.

5. Think Safety – Whether you are traveling long distances, hanging lights, or simply walking in a busy parking lot, it’s important to pay extra attention to the safety of you and your family around the holidays.

6. Try to Stay Financially Fit - We are all responsible for our own happiness and health during the holidays. Whether or not you have a good holiday is a function of your decisions and not the conditions around you. Try to make realistic financial commitments and time commitments that you can keep this holiday season.

7. Try to Eat Well – There are a few things that you can do to keep things under control: Limit your portions, don’t go to a party hungry; steer clear of items high in fats; watch out for high calorie foods and beverages. Drink lots of water! Sample and taste new things, but try not to over-do it!

8. Stay Active - Find opportunities to stay active to help you feel better, more energized, focused and fit for the demands of the season.

9. Get Connected – Encourage those you love to help you create meaningful traditions and routines that can be part of future holidays. Get in touch with extended family and old friends.

10. Explore New Experiences but Set Limits - Trying something new – especially a refreshing exercise, like Tai Chi. It is a great way to keep fit, relieve stress, and meet new friends this holiday season. Read a new book, write in a journal, visit a library, study something new, and try to watch less TV.

11. Give - Commit random acts of kindness. Small gestures (that don’t cost anything except for your time) can make a huge difference in someone’s life. Other things you can do: volunteer, visit the elderly, read to a child, or donate clothes, toys, and food to a needy family.

12. Have Fun - Play, dance, sing, laugh, and enjoy. Experience the joy, excitement and wonder of the holiday season. You are never too old to act like a kid once in a while!

- submitted by Pat Dobbins, Hendry-Glades Health Department

Obituaries - William Harn, Lazaro Ibietatorremendia

William H. Harn, Jr., age 77, of Lake Placid, passed away December 4, 2014 in Lake Placid.

He was born Mar. 26, 1937 in Hicoria, FL, to William Harley and Bertha Mae (Howard) Harn. Mr. Harn married Lucy P. Kelsoe. He served in the Air Force .

Survivors include his wife: Lucy P. Harn, one daughter: Holly (Juan) Orozco of Juneau, AK, one brother: Marlyn (Judy) Harn of Clewiston, FL and one sister: Earline (Deceased Husband Bill) Bearden of Fort Myers, FL Step Daughter, Lorie (Glen) Russell of Auburndale, FL; Step Son, Michael (Sydney) Cameron of Clewiston, FL; Grandchildren, J.R., Harley, Michael, Alyssa, Brett, Tommy, and Randy; 

He was a locomotive engineer for many years for U.S. Sugar Corporation.

He was preceded by both of his parents, one sister; Betty White and his first wife of 33 years, Sharon Harn and his daughter; Kathy.

Funeral service will be held Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 2:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Dr. Todd Buck officiating. 

Interment will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation is Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Lazaro Ibietatorremendia, age 86, of Clewiston, passed away December 7, 2014 in Miami.

He was born Mar. 4, 1928 in Cuba, to the late Jose Maria and the late Isidra (Navarro) Ibietatorremendia. Mr. Ibietatorremendia married Hilda Ramos.

He was a sugar chemist for Moore Haven Sugar House for many years, Okeelanta Sugar Corporation for a few years before his retirement. He was a member of St. Margaret Catholic Church.

Survivors include his wife: Hilda Ibietatorremendia son: Juan Ibietatorremendia of Miami, FL, one sister: Maria Fernandez of New Jersey, Granddaughter, Gabriel, Juan Alejandro Ibietatorremendia; Emanuel Silva, Sara, Angelia and one; Great Granddaughter, Sara Lyn.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, December 12, 2014 at 11:00 am at Saint Margaret's Catholic Church, Clewiston, with Father Jiobani Batista presiding.
Interment will be Friday, December 12, 2014 in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation will be Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Talkin' Monkey's Dr. Deb Speaks At Kiwanis

LABELLE, FL. -- At a recent LaBelle Kiwanis meeting, Deborah D. Misotti, Ph.D. of the Talkin’ Monkeys Project was the guest speaker. 

The Talkin’ Monkeys project is a primate sanctuary that provides a life-long home for animals that have been rescued from an abusive private home or released from a research laboratory or breeding facility. Their main focus is to provide a home for these animals but they also strive to connect people to earth-friendly lifestyles.

The Talkin’ Monkeys Project incorporates Earth-friendly activities into their daily operations. They reduce, reuse and recycle whenever and wherever possible and they love share their knowledge and experiences to everyone. 

“Dr. Deb” shared a very interesting story about meeting Jane Goodall and how Ms. Goodall was impressed with the Talkin’ Monkeys Project. The sanctuary tries to focus on things that we all can do to make a difference. Their program introduces concepts such as volunteerism and sustainable living. 

Volunteerism is important for The Talkin’ Monkeys Project. Donations of funds and items that help keep the primates safe and happy are important and always welcome, but the hands-on help is always needed just as much.
Volunteering at the Talkin’ Monkeys Project is such an important role at the sanctuary. Volunteers can assist with mending toys for the primates, feeding the primates or help to clean cages. The Talkin’ Monkeys is a 501c3 nonprofit sanctuary.

If you’re interested in learning how to become a volunteer or for more information, please contact Debbie Misotti at Phone: (863) 983-2335

New Year's Day Hike To Paradise Lake

LABELLE, FL. -- Start the New Year with a hike hosted by the Fisheating Creek Florida Trail Association Sub-Chapter to Paradise Lake at the Fisheating Creek Water Management Area in Glades County, Fl.

The Paradise Lake Trailhead is located in Palmdale, FL on US 27 just north of the traffic light at the intersection of Hwy 29 on the east side 27. Meet at the Trailhead Parking lot on 27 at 9:00 am .

Hikers may choose to take the short loop to the Memorial Cypress or continue on the long 7.5 mile round trip hike to Paradise Lake which will end between 2;00 pm and 3;00 pm. This event is limited to 20 participants.
Bring plenty of water and lunch. .A hat, sunscreen, & closed toed shoes are recommended . Optional items include a camera or binoculars.

Please call or email leaders to sign up. Leaders: Deanna Filkins 863-234-8181; Margaret England 863-517-0202

Video: Fisheating Creek by Don Browne

$370,319 For Hendry Road Repairs Coming

LABELLE, FL. -- Florida Department of Transportation’s Small County Outreach Program announced Thursday the 20 rural areas in Florida receiving transportation improvement funds through the “Rural Areas of Opportunity Program”.

Hendry County was awarded $370,319.00 for road repairs with $295,000 being awarded to the City of Clewiston and $75,319 to the City of LaBelle.

Clewiston’s funding will be utilized for a drainage and street paving project located on W. Pasadena Avenue between W.C. Owen and Circle Drive. The project is in the early stages and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015. “This project represents a vital step for the City as we prepare for business expansion in Clewiston through the 27 corridor” says Sean Scheffler, Public Works Director City of Clewiston.

Michael Boyle, Superintendent of Public Works City of LaBelle, said “this appropriation is the culmination of 3 years of advocating for road improvement funds that make it economically feasible for the city to sustain our budget while maintaining our infrastructure.” The funds have been allocated for the overlay of Bryan Ave from Bridge Street to Grant on the east side. The project is expected to be completed by the middle of 2015.

“Maintaining and improving our roadways through Hendry County is vital as we continue to position ourselves for future growth and economic opportunities” says County Administrator Charles Chapman.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Motorcyclist Killed In Crash

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL. --  Bethany Catherman, 63, of Fort Myers was killed Saturday at 1:36 p.m. after a motorist attempted a left turn and hit her motorcycle.

A 1995 Toyota Celica driven by 27-year old Andrew Pineda of Port Charlotte was traveling south on CR-765 (Burnt Store Road) approaching Cape Horn Boulevard as a 2008 Honda Shadow driven by a Catherman was traveling north on CR-765 (Burnt Store Road) approaching Cape Horn Boulevard.

Pineda attempted to initiate a left turn onto Cape Horn Boulevard but failed to notice the cycle approaching. As a result the motorcyclist attempted to avoid collision with the car by steering right, but lost control and the motorcycle slid on the roadway on its right side and into the path of the car.

The front of the car then collided with the motorcycle and came to final rest within the intersection on northeast side of Burnt Store Rd, along with the motorcycle. The cyclist came to final rest partially underneath the car. The roadway was closed for 3 hours for investigation.

Pindeda had minor injuries and was cited for failing to yield on a left turn. The name of the motorcyclist was originally withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

It's Christmas Time For The Shelter Dogs And Cats

LABELLE, FL. -- The Caloosa Humane Society in LaBelle has decorated it's Christmas tree this year with cat and dog ornaments. Patrons are asked to bring a gift for the dogs and cats at the shelter and leave it under the tree.

Caloosa has up to about 50 dogs and several dozen cats at any one time, all available for adoption. Volunteers are always welcome to help around the facility and to walk or pet the cats and dogs.

Located on Pratt Blvd. next to the Hendry Health Department and across from the dog park. Open Monday through  Saturday.

Agricultural Research Center Open House

LABELLE, FL. -- The University  of Florida's Southwest Florida Research and Education Center held it's first open house for the public Friday at it's center north of Immokalee. Tours of the site were available to the public and a lunch was served by Immokalee students including "I-burgers," chicken, salads, chocolate chip cookies, and cake.

Photo: Dr. Monica Ozores-Hampton, assistant professor of vegetable horticulture and Nathan Holt, graduate student, agricultural & biological sciences lead a tour of the center's farming areas Friday afternoon.

The center, now directed by Dr. Calvin E. Arnold was established in 1958 by Dr. Paul Everett and dedicated in 1986 as a UF/IFAS station on 320 acres serving citrus grower, farmers and the public for Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. 

Dr. Everett developed plasiculture mulch, fertilization, and irrigation systems still in use today.

The site includes labs, the original 1955 buildings, dormitories for 15 visiting scholars and graduate students, a FAWN weather station, and test plots for citrus, peaches, sugar cane, and vegetables.

50 acres are devoted to vegetables, 80 acres in citrus, 100 acres for wildlife and 90 acres for buildings, roads, and a water reservoir.

What is believed to be the largest lysimeters in the U.S. are at the site, to measure field-scale water and nutrient dynamics.

Field tests are currently being done on genetically modified corn to evaluate effectiveness against fall armyworms and tomatoes are being grown to evaluate insecticides for control of whitefly and southern armyworms. Jalapeno peppers are grown for insecticide evaluation for pepper weevils.

A study on biological control of Brazilian Pepper is also being held at the center, as well as studies for citrus greening, the most serious citrus disease worldwide and is epidemic in Florida. All of the grove test trees at the center have greening. Tests are ongoing for composting, UV reflective mulch and soil applied insecticides to control citrus greening.

A test of "low-chill" peach trees is also ongoing. There are over 1,000 acres of peaches growing in Central and South Florida from varieties evaluated at the center. This variety is available in April when no other varieties are in stores yet.

33% of Southwest Florida land is devoted to agriculture with 1.04 million acres in pasture, 115,631 acres of sugarcane, 125,551 with citrus trees (95% for juice), 65,300 acres devoted to vegetables, and 7,564 in ornamental plants.

Vegetables are the largest grossing crop with $706 million sold last year, followed by citrus at $326 million, sugarcane at $190 million, ornamentals at $85 million, and cattle at $69 million.

Tomatoes is among the most expensive crop to produce in Florida, costing about $17,500 per acre to produce and harvest 1,400 25-pound containers. Bell peppers take about $18,500 per acre to produce 900 28-pound bushels. Oranges take about $3,800 per acre while Iowa field corn (for animal feed) about $800 per acre.

Prices being very volatile, growers often have quite a gamble to receive "break-even" prices for their crops. In 2013 bell peppers sold for $12,88 per bushel but the cost to produce was $19,47, while oranges brought 76 cents per box more than cost and tomatoes brought 15 cents per carton over cost. 

Academic program areas at the center include Agricultural Economics (Dr. Fritz Roka), Citrus Horticulture (Dr. Bob Rouse), Entomology (Dr. Phil Stansly), Plant Pathology (Dr. Pam Roberts), Soil and Water Science (Dr. Kelly Morgan), Vegetable Horticulture (Dr. Monica Ozores-Hampton) and Water Resources (Dr. Sanjay Shukla).

The center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and tours can be arranged for groups.

Santa And Mrs. Claus Come To Park And Parade Friday

LABELLE, FL. -- Santa Claus with Mrs. Claus came to town Friday night for the annual Christmas Parade on Main Street in LaBelle, Florida. The parade goes down Main Street and ends at the park for a night with Santa and the kids in Barron Park along the Caloosahatchee River in Hendry county, Florida.

Watch the video above, click to go directly to video sections:
00:17 Santa Claus waves to parade visitors from truck tailgate
00:30 LaBelle Middle School Band plays
01:00 First Baptist Church spire on Main Street
01:12 Cloggers dancing
01:50 LaBelle High School Marching Band
02:40 Hendry County Emergency Management float
02:50 Clogging gals
03:05 Girl Scouts
03:28 Christmas Horses
03:50 Gal rides backwards on horse
04:09 Christmas in Barron Park with Santa and Mrs. Claus (Mary Bartoshuk)
4:44 Lighted giant oak tree along the Caloosatatchee River
4:50 Kids play on snow hills in Barron Park
5:00 Kids visit Santa and Mrs. Claus

Friday, December 05, 2014

Vision Testing At LaBelle School

LABELLE, FL. -- LaBelle schools were recently visited by the Florida Heiken Children’s Vision Program. The Heiken Vision Program provides comprehensive eye exams and prescription glasses to financially disadvantaged school children.

Kevin Long, RN-Senior Public Health Nurse-LaBelle Schools Liaison from the Florida Department of Health in Hendry County coordinated the annual vision screenings for all Kindergarten, 1st, 3rd, and 6th grade students in LaBelle Schools (In coordination with LaBelle School Health Licensed Practitioner Nurses). The LaBelle High School Allied Health Academy also participated in completing the screenings and Nikki Yeager, of LaBelle also volunteered to assist.

Once the students were identified Ms. Lucinda Kelley, Director of the Exceptional School Education Program for LaBelle schools, coordinated the Heiken visit to Country Oaks Elementary School and LaBelle Middle School. The Heiken program is scheduled to return to LaBelle to visit LaBelle Elementary School and Ed Upthegrove Elementary School later in December.

Over 100 LaBelle students have been examined (or are scheduled to be examined) and some will be fitted for glasses.

The Heiken Program is sponsored by the Children’s Trust, The Florida Department of Health and the Miami Marlins Baseball Team

The Heiken Children’s Vision Fund was created in 1992 by the Dade County Optometric Association, and merged with the Miami Lighthouse in 2007. The program provides free comprehensive eye examinations including dilation and prescription eyeglasses to financially disadvantaged students throughout Florida who have failed state-mandated school vision screenings and do not otherwise have access to exams.

Pictured: Dr Scott Gardner, O.D., Heiken Consulting Optometrist and McKenzie Winn, Kindergarten Student at Country Oaks Elementary School.

Where To See Florida Lighted Holiday Boat Parades

Southwest Florida visitors and residents will have a boatload of fun this holiday season celebrating on the water. Here's a listing of lighted boat parades on waterways throughout the area.

Bonita Springs Boat Parade

December 13th 2014, 5:00pm

This year returning to the original parade route, which starts at Big Hickory Fish Nook Restaurant and travels up the river to Holly Lane, ending at The Fish House Restaurant on Bonita Beach Road!. The US 41 bridge in Bonita Springs, over the Imperial River is an excellent vantage point to see the parade. Parking is limited. Plan to park at neighboring plazas; Kmart, Fresh Market, Riverview Terrace Office Park and walk to the venue .Website (239) 495-0455

Captiva Lighted Boat Parade

December 13th, 6:00 pm 2014

As part of the Captiva Holiday Village festivities, the Captiva Lighted Boat Parade will start at 6 p.m. just outside Roosevelt Channel, Marker #2. The route will follow Roosevelt Channel to ‘Tween Waters Inn and back. There is no entry free for the boat parade; however, a minimum of 100 lights is required for entry; more are encouraged. Prizes will be given for the best-decorated vessels from any of three categories: power boats 36-feet or more, power boats 35-feet or less, and sailboats of all sizes. An awards party will take place at Key Lime Bistro on Andy Rosse Lane after the parade. Captiva Cruises will be offering passenger tickets for those without a boat to cruise in the parade and be part of the fun, or groups can arrange their own private charter on one of the Captiva Cruises boats. Public viewing of the parade from land is available at The Green Flash Waterfront Restaurant, ‘Tween Waters Inn, Jensen’s Marina, and McCarthy’s Marina. Flyer

36th Annual Cape Coral Holiday Boat Along

December 20th , 2014 7:00pm Website

The focal point of this event is a parade of approximately 100 boats decorated in a festive holiday fashion with lights, costumes, elves, and whatever else their captains can think of. At Four Freedoms Park, the landlubbers watch the boats gather in the Bimini Basin before they begin meandering through the canals of south Cape Coral. Along with providing an ideal seat to watch the illuminated vessels, the park features holiday music, a visit from Santa, food and beverages for sale. This is a unique celebration of Christmas Florida-style. Boats can register by contacting Sea Tow in Cape Coral. Sea Tow (239) 573-3128

26th Annual Christmas Boat Parade

December 6th 2014 6:00pm

Come enjoy some Christmas spirit at the Annual Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade! Last year nearly 30 boats were participating and this year promises to be even more exciting. This year will remember Pearl Harbor and honor World War II veteran Russ Winset who will be accompanying the parade on the lead boat. The parade will pass by such establishments as Big Game Waterfront Grill, Parrot Key Caribbean Grill, Matanzas, Nervous Nellies, Doc Fords and Bonita Bills where you can kick back and enjoy the fun. This event is brought to you by the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce.s If you would like to participate in the boat parade registration please contact the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce at 239.454.7500 Website

Lights of Love Christmas Boat Parade

December 6th 2014 6:00pm

The Lakeport Lights of Love Christmas Boat Parade, set for Dec. 6 at Harney Pond Canal in Glades County, will also be a toy drive. Entry fee is one new, unwrapped toy per person. The toys will be given to the local toy drive for Lakeport children. Santa will arrive at 6 p.m. There will be a prize for the best decorated boat. Registration for the event will be through Dec. 1, To register, or for more information, call Tom at 863-946-1146, or Lois at 443-463-2785, or Lorraine at 863-227-4301.

2014 Marine Industries Christmas Boat Parade

December 13th 2014 6:00-8:00pm

Naples City Dock

The parade may be viewed from: Pincher’s Crab Shack, Riverwalk Restaurant, Naples City Dock, Naples Landing, Kelly’s Fish House, The Boat House Restaurant and Bayview Park 100% of the proceeds benefit Ricky King Foundation. Donations will be accepted by the Marine Industries Foundation. 100% of donations will be given to The Ricky King Fund which provides the unmet financial medical needs of local children. Make donation checks payable to The Ricky King Fund. Send check and parade entry form to MIACC Foundation, P.O. Box 9887, Naples, FL 34101. Website Route

Christams Boat Parade

December 20th 2014 6:00pm

The Okeechobee Yachette Club will host their third annual Christmas Boat Parade on Saturday, Dec. 20. Decorate your boat and meet the group on Taylor Creek by the Burger King and State Road 70 bridge between 5 and 5:30 p.m. in Okeechobee. The boat parade starts at 6 p.m. For more information, call Arnie at 863-634-4777.

Gasparilla Marina Christmas Boat Parade

December 13th, 2014 6:00pm

Gasparilla Marina Christmas Boat Parade. Saturday, Dec. 13, 6 p.m.
The parade of boats leaves the marina at 6:00 p.m. heading north on the Intracoastal to Palm Island, then back to the marina for the awarding of prizes at the marina’s Waterside Grill restaurant. 15001 Gasparilla Road, Placida. Tel: 941-697-2280

Punta Gorda Boat Parade

December 20th, 2014 6:00 pm

Viewers get up very close to the boats at this parade that includes carolers, performers and great decorations. The 7.5-mile route is within the canal system of Punta Gorda Isles starting at Albatross Lagoon and finishing with a Grand Parade Circle at Yellow Fish Lagoon.

No entry fees, no judging, just a great time! No worries from winds or tides. It's Smooth Sailing as the entire parade is within protected waters of the PGI canal system.

25th Annual Peace River Lighted Boat Parade

December 14. 2014 6:00pm ( Yes, It is on Sunday)

The festive display of lights and gorgeous reflections on the water make this annual event a definite must see! Viewings from land or on the harbor by chartered cruise or personal watercraft.
Admission: Free Tel: (941) 769-0002 Website

Venice Christmas Boat Parade

December 6th, 2014

Christmas in Venice...the lights, the palm tress, the waterways. Celebrate the holiday season by decorating your boat and joining in the fun! There is no better way to start the Christmas Season than by joining the fun and participating in the Venice Boat Parade of Lights. Contact Information John Osmulski at 809-8100 or email us at Website

Boat Parade listings courtesy

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Police Officer Arrested On Stalking And Battery Charge

Policeman Charged With Attacking Deputy Sheriff In Parking Lot

CLEWISTON, FL. -- On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, Hendry County Investigators arrested 47 year old Fernando Herrera on charges of Aggravated Stalking and Battery on a Law Enforcement officer.

It was reported on Monday by a current certified law enforcement officer with the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office that on Saturday, November 29, 2014, he was attacked by off-duty Clewiston Police Officer Fernando Herrera in the parking lot of the Shell Gas Station on State Road 80 in the Pioneer Plantation community. It should be noted that Herrera was in his uniform pants, duty boots and a black t-shirt.

The off duty deputy explained that he had stopped at the convenience store to purchase some items. While walking to his car he heard someone yell “hey” and when he turned around he was attacked from behind by Officer Herrera. Herrera knocked the deputy to the ground and continued to punch him.

After the deputy was able to gain control of Herrera, Herrera stood up and engaged in a heated conversation with the deputy. The deputy related to supervisors that Herrera alluded to the fact that he had a gun in his truck and things could have been much worse. Herrera went on to say that he had thoughts of burning his house with the deputy inside.

Herrera turned himself in on December 2, 2014 to authorities at the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office and was released on $7,000.00 bond.

This is an ongoing investigation and there may be possible pending charges, said the Hendry Sheriff's office.

Hendry court records indicate on December 2, a petition for an injunction for protection was filed against Fernando Herrera by Robert Archer. A temporary injunction for protection has been recorded and a hearing is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. December 8 before Circuit Judge James Sloan.

Rural Roadways Get Funding For Improvements

Governor Rick Scott announced today that 20 rural areas across Florida have been selected to receive $9 million in transportation improvement funds. This funding is part of Governor Scott’s Rural Areas of Opportunity Program that is designed to help Florida’s rural communities continue to grow and create opportunities for families and job creators.

Speaker pro tempore Matt Hudson said, "These projects reflect region-wide priorities, and underline the Governor’s and Legislature’s commitment to setting our priorities in the spirit of regional cooperation. We are extremely pleased the Small County Outreach Program (SCOP) is contributing to these important projects in Hendry County for the benefit of the safety of our residents, people traveling into our communities and the enhancement of our roadway system."

The communities selected for funding, the projects and the award amounts are listed below:

South central and Southwest Florida
Lake Placid, Highlands Co Green Dragon Dr $100,000

LaBelle, Hendry Co Bryan Ave $75,319

Okeechobee, Okeechobee Co SW 2nd Ave/ SW 8th St $57,750

Clewiston, Hendry Co Pasedena Ave $295,000

Wauchula, Hardee Co Orange St $1,175,574

Northeast Florida

Interlachen, Putnam Co North Francis St $750,000

Live Oak, Suwannee Co Itchetucknee Rd $915,900

White Springs, Hamilton Co 1st St $61,544

Bell, Gilchrist Co Strickland Ave $121,200

Jennings, Hamilton Co Johns St $84,908

Northwest Florida
Wausau, Washington Co 4th St/Ollie Rd $399,042

Alford, Jackson Co Tennessee St $360,086

Malone, Jackson Co 8th St $129,360

Monticello, Jefferson Co S Waukeenah St $137,863

Quincy, Gadsden Co MLK Jr Blvd $234,529

Wewahitchka, Gulf Co Old Hwy 22A $62,712

Graceville, Jackson Co White Ave/ Pearl St $195,840

Southeast Florida
South Bay, Palm Beach Co Martin Luther King Blvd/
Palm Beach Rd & Main St $1,416,687

Pahokee, Palm Beach Co East Main Pl $1,374,512

Belle Glade, Palm Beach Co SE Ave G, SW AveH,
SW 12th St, SE 7th St,
South Canal St,
West Ave A $1,038,834

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Obituaries - John Hughes, Alvin Page, Jr.

John Morgan Hughes, age 52, of Moore Haven, passed away November 28, 2014 in Clewiston. 

He was born July 29, 1962 in Miami, FL, to the late Falcon Oris Hughes and the late Creasey Rose (Foxworth) Hughes.
He is survived by his wife: Debra Ann (Harris) Hughes, son: Robert Dale Dunson, Jr., daughters: Leslie Anne (Dunson) Whitehead, Shelley Rose Hughes, brothers: Nathan Hughes, Dale Hughes, Wallace Hughes, grandchildren: Jenna Whitehead, Kaitlyn Dunson, Chase Dowd and Paisley Farnam, along with many other Adopted Children and Grandchildren.
John was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend with a heart of gold. He was a simple yet selfless man. He planted strong roots as a foundation for his family. His passion was Fishing, Florida Gator football and entertaining family and friends.
Funeral services were held on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 11:00 am at Ortona Cemetery Pavilion, Moore Haven. Interment was on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 in Ortona Cemetery. 

Visitation was held Wednesday, one hour prior to service at Ortona Cemetery Pavilion. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to John's family in care of Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Alvin Page, Jr., 90, a resident of Aqua Isles, LaBelle, FL, died Wednesday, November 26, 2014 at Gulf Coast Medical Center. 

Al was born February 22, 1924 in Tulsa OK, the oldest of seven children, all of whom predeceased him. The family moved to Wichita, Kansas where Alvin and Mary Lou Cunningham were married in 1944. They had two children, Mike and Shary. 

Sgt Page served in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes & Central Europe during World War II and was Honorably Discharged November 19, 1945. After the war, Big Al joined the Wichita Fire Department and retired as District Chief in 1977, then worked at Cessna Aircraft in Wichita. In 1994, he moved to Morrilton, Arkansas where he met Muriel Hora, his long time traveling companion and dear friend. 

He helped manage Lewisburg Bay Mobile Home Park for Roger and Shary. His last big move was to LaBelle, Florida. Each year he drove back to Arkansas, Kansas and Texas to visit friends and family. He loved playing pinochle and bridge and later enjoyed the friendships and games at the Saddle Up. He lived a long, wonderful life. 

Al is survived by his daughter, Shary, and son-in-law Roger Weckwerth of LaBelle, FL; daughter-in-law, Connie Page of LaBelle, FL., grandchildren Annette (Kevin) Albright of Wichita, KS, Stephanie Page, Lehigh Acres, FL, Wendy (Donny) Wilson, Wooster, AR, Wick (Stacey) Weckwerth, Heber Springs, AR, and Michael (Jennifer) Page, Jr. of Haysville, KS, sister-in-law, Lottie Page, Cleveland Texas, five great grandchildren, six great great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
He is predeceased by his parents, Alvin Page and Helen Vera Stratton Page, his son, Michael A. Page, Sr., and his siblings, Leta Mae Arnold, Patsy Jane King, Betty Lou Stroud, Sebern Page, JoAnn Bates, and Lester Frank Page.
Memorials may be made to the Kansas Firefighters Museum, 1300 So. Broadway, Wichita, KS 67211, or the LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation, P.O. Box 1844, LaBelle, FL 33975.
Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle. A Celebration in honor of Al's life will be held at a later date.