Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Editorial - Workplace Sexual Harassment

In light of the #MeToo campaign and all the allegations against prominent figures, sexual harassment is on the forefront of headlines across the nation.  Whether it’s a Hollywood executive, an all-star sports figure or eminent politician, the issue of unlawful harassment continues to show its pervasive face across our contemporary world. Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace is very real, and it happens every day.

In its most fundamental definition, sexual harassment is unwelcome behavior that happens to workers because of their sex. It occurs when a person’s submission to or rejection of sexual advances is used as the basis for employment decisions about him or her, or submission to sexual advances is made a condition of his or her employment (quid pro quo harassment). It may also occur when sexual conduct or gender-based hostility is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment (hostile work environment
harassment). Regardless of the intent, sexual harassment in the workplace should never be tolerated.  Fortunately, there are remedies.

As the agency charged with shining a light on discrimination in the State of Florida, the Florida Commission on Human Relations is committed to eradicating all forms of harassment that can impact each and every one of us. The Commission offers trainings to businesses, agencies and individuals, teaching them how to avoid creating or permitting a working environment where sexual harassment exists.

I encourage all employers and employees to become aware of the issue of sexual harassment and carefully address inappropriate behavior. Remember, you do not have to keep it to yourself. If you think you are a victim of sexual harassment, you can file a complaint with the Commission by visiting our website at http://fchr.state.fl.us, or by contacting us directly at (850)488-7082.

By knowing what to do and who to call, business owners, managers and employees can assist the Commission in its goal to shine a light on sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination in the workplace.

Michelle Wilson, Executive Director
Florida Commission on Human Relations

Three Dead In Head On Crash


MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- As of 5:48 am Wednesday, the Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a Ford SUV versus Box Truck head on crash on State Road 29 and Chaparral Avenue in Moore Haven.

Between the two vehicles there were multiple occupants, three of which are confirmed deceased and several transported to three local area hospitals. State Road 29 in this vicinity is currently closed. Glades County Sheriff's Office. and DOT are providing traffic control for Northbount SR-29 at CR 78 and Southbound SR-29 at CR 74.

More detailed information will be provided later today.

Holiday Haircuts At World Class Barbershop

World Class Barbershop Of LaBelle

World Class Barbershop Of LaBelle, owned by Hugo Vargas, invites area residents and visitors to visit the barber shop located at 216 South Main Street in LaBelle for the holidays for an expert trim or haircut.

Among services Hugo and his barbers offer are regular & scissor cuts, flat tops, shaves, and hair styling for all ages.  

World Class Barbershop is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 am until 5 pm and Saturday from 7 am until 2 pm. 

Phone: (863) 674-1775

World Class Barbershop is a sponsor of Southwest Florida Online.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

FGCU Nursing Students Travel To LaBelle


LABELLE, FL. -- Eight Florida Gulf Coast University Nursing students completed a semester of "Thursday's in Public Health". They traveled from their Lee County Campus every Thursday to LaBelle where they learned about all aspects of Public Health.

For several months, the students shadowed the departments at FDOH Hendry (School Health, Environmental Health, Preparedness, Migrant Health, Women's Health, Immunizations, Epi, etc.) They also had the opportunity to visit the Shelters in Hendry County immediately after Hurricane Irma. On Thursday, Nov 16th, the students toured the Hendry County Emergency Operations Center.

Pictured: Brenda Barnes from FDOH Hendry/Glades and Brian Newhouse-Emergency Management Director for Hendry County along with the FGCU Nursing Students.

Winter Wonderettes On Stage


The second play of the Firehouse Community Theatre’s 25th anniversary season continues with the musical/comedy The Marvelous Wonderettes - Winter Wonderettes created by Roger Bean.

This production will run for 8 shows December 7th - 17th. This seasonal celebration finds the girls entertaining at the annual Harper’s Hardware Holiday Party. When Santa turns up missing, the girls use their talent and creative ingenuity to save the holiday. Featuring great 60’s versions of holiday classics such as “Santa Clause is Coming to Town,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Run, Rudolph, Run” and many other Christmas favorites.

For tickets and more infomation for all shows call (863) 675-3066 and leave a message. If you would like to choose your seats please visit our web site at www.firehousecommunitytheatre.com.


Pictured (left to right) Ashley Curry, Loralei Weber, Jamie Bartley, Brittany Morrison

Monday, November 20, 2017

Kathleen Crawford Dies At 57

Kathleen Gail Crawford, age 57, of Clewiston, passed away November 16, 2017 in Clewiston. She was born March 24, 1960 in Johnstown, PA, to Robert and Shirley (Wyatt) Nuttall.

Survivors include her husband: Terry G. Crawford Jr., two sons: Martin Crawford and Casey Crawford, mother Shirley (Wyatt) Nuttall, three brothers: Ken Nuttall, David Nuttall and Dale Nuttall,

Memorial Service is pending. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Holiday Picture Taking At Church On Sunday

LABELLE, FL. -- Christmas pictures this weekend as Mary Robinson  will be firing up  her Canon Camera and be taking Christmas pictures both individual and family November 26th with retakes December 3rd at the LaBelle Assembly of God in LaBelle

You will receive an e-mail copy and the pastor will give you a 4x6 print.. Pictures will be taken after the 11:00 a.m. service at no cost. LaBelle Assembly is located on Fraser Avenue across from the Edward  A Upthegrove Elementary School. For more information call 675-0900 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Susan Kelsoe Dies At 62

Susan La'Raye Kelsoe, age 62, of Clewiston, passed away November 14, 2017 at Hendry Regional Medical Center.

She was born June 30, 1955 in Clewiston, FL, to the late Byrl Dean and Gloria Maureen (Platt) Ingram Sister of the Late Frank "Bubby" Ingram and a Great Grand Son Samuel Vaughn .

She worked for with her husband in the produce business as the Controller since 1999. Survivors include her husband: Lee A "Leon" Kelsoe, two sons: Lee Kelsoe and Neal Varnum, and one daughter: Jessica (Eric Crain) Kelsoe, Also survived by 8 grandchildren: Brittney Proffit, Meagan, & Corey Kelsoe, Laice, Lauryn, Leeana Varnum, Caylin Dupree and Kendal Smith, also 7 great grandchildren and A Sister Connie Ingram of Clewiston.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 11:00 am at First United Methodist Church, 331 W Osceola Ave. Clewiston with Pastor R. Rod Ruby officiating.

Interment will follow in Ridgelawn Cemetery. Visitation will be Monday, November 20, from 6:00-8:00pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home.

Kiwanis Tree Sale And Kids Shopping Day Coming

 LABELLE, FL. -- The Kiwanis Key Club Students of LaBelle High School and the Kiwanis Builders Club Students of West Glades School will have their annual Christmas tree sale fundraiser starting the day after Thanksgiving! Trees sales will continue until they are all sold.
 
Your purchase helps to support the leadership development of the students of our local Key Club and Builders Club.
 
Stop by the LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store to choose the perfect tree for your family and don’t wait too long…the trees go fast!  The LaBelle Kiwanis Thrift Store is located at 155 S. Bridge Street in LaBelle. Trees will be priced according to size.

Kids' shopping day will be 8:00 til 10 Saturday December 9 for ages 4 to 12 at the Thrift Store.

Debris Pickup Through November 19

LABELLE, FL.-- Contractors will be completing their final pick-up of woody debris Sunday, November 19.  Residents still needing woody debris picked up need to have all debris placed within 6 feet of the curb in a 35 gallon can, plastic bags or tied in bundles not to exceed 40 pounds. Items tied in bundles are not to exceed 4 feet in length and 4 inches in diameter.

Alternative pick-up options are available for a fee.

Residents who place woody debris out for pick-up after Sunday will need to check with their franchise hauler regarding pick-up requirements.

Contractors will continue pick-up of construction and demolition debris until further notice.

For questions regarding debris pick-up in Hendry County, please call (863) 675-5222.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Key Power Driving School - Fraudulent Testing

LABELLE,FL. -- The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has issued a final order terminating its agreement with Key Power Driving & Traffic School, Inc.naming contract signers Dwayne House and Felix “Walter” Mir as operating a third-party commercial driver license (CDL) testing company with locations in Miami and LaBelle conducting fraudulent testing of commercial truck drivers at the two schools. 

House is a prominent real estate owner and developer in Hendry County 

During an investigation into third-party CDL testing sites in Florida, the department found that Key Power Driving School’s practices posed an immediate, serious danger to public health, safety and welfare.

Individuals tested by Key Power on or after January 1, 2017, will be notified by the department that they must be retested by a compliant third-party CDL testing administrator. If individuals fail to be retested within 60 days of receiving the notification, their CDL will be cancelled.

During the investigation, conducted in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the department learned that Key Power violated its agreement with the state and conducted fraudulent testing activities such as omitting vital portions of the required three-part skills test and manipulating testing data on CDL skills test score sheets. With department representatives on-site, the pass rate for tests dropped significantly, from 60 to just 11 percent, which is a key indicator that Key Power may have given passing scores to individuals who had not taken the test, not completed mandatory portions of the test or had not performed required driving maneuvers.

“The correlation between DHSMV presence at testing sites and extreme pass-rate fluctuation indicates rampant manipulation of information and data,” stated Robert Kynoch, Director of Motorist Services. “The department is committed to ensuring that Florida’s commercial drivers are properly trained and tested and will not tolerate any disregard for public safety.”

“Driving a commercial vehicle is a tremendous responsibility and privilege, and the proper administration of knowledge and skills testing for drivers is critical to maintaining safety on Florida roads,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “The revocation of DHSMV’s agreement with Key Power demonstrates our commitment to ensuring appropriate testing standards are maintained in the pursuit of A Safer Florida.”

DHSMV is responsible for compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations and Florida Statutes and does so by monitoring all third-party administrators and third-party testers who administer the CDL skills test to more than 500,000 CDL drivers in Florida. DHSMV maintains agreements with more than 150 private and governmental third-party CDL testing administrators throughout the state. Anyone with information about fraudulent or unsafe practices conducted by any third-party CDL testing site in Florida should immediately contact the CDL Help Desk at (850) 617-2606.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Obituaries - Eplin, Ethridge, Clark

Ann E Eplin, age 89, of LaBelle, passed away November 15, 2017 in Lehigh Acres. She was born July 11, 1928 in Printer, WV, to the late Kenna Ray and the late Etta (Nelson) Byrnside.

Survivors include two sons: Don Eplin and Jerry Eplin, and three daughters: Brenda Williams, Judy Van Natter and Ruby Eplin, Great-Grandchildren, Many; Great-Great Grandchildren, Many; 15 grandchildren. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Patricia Ethridge 82 of Clewiston died Monday 11-13-17 at Hospice of Palm Beach County, born March 16, 1935 in Long Island New York to Mary Walton and Patrick Wade, married to Walter Ethridge Feb, 14. 

She was a kindergarten teacher and mother of six. She loved spending time with her family and friends. 

She is survived by her sons Ernie B. Gurganious of Grand Junction CO. Walter C. Gurganious of Clewiston Fl. Daughters Janet L. Blair of Clewiston Fl. Tina M. and son in law John Jensen of Lakeland Fl. Angela M. Sutton of Clewiston Fl. Patricia has 21 grandchildren and 31 great grandchildren. 

She is proceeded in death by her parents, husband Walter Ethridge, and two sisters and a brother. Daughter; Debra Todd, granddaughter; Debra M. Carithers, grandson; Charlie C. (Gator) Kellar Jr., great grandson; Dustin C. Patterson and three son in laws; Larry A. Todd, Paul D. Sutton, and Ronald Blair.

A grave side service will be held at Ridgelawn Cemetery. Wed. Nov. 22 at 1:30p.m. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Ray Parker Clark, age 76 passed away at his home with his three children and wife by his side on November 8, 2017 in Clewiston, Fl. He was born in Winter Haven, FL, to Jack R and Coley (Bowers) Clark. 

The family moved to Clewiston when he was in the fourth grade. He married Marion Gale Bembry in 1963. He went to work for United States Sugar Corporation after he graduated from High School until 1973 at which time he went to work for Evercane Sugar Refinery. He retired from Evercane Refinery in 2000. Ray was a dedicated fan of the Clewiston Tigers and rarely missed a Clewiston Tiger game. He coached Pop Warner football in Clewiston for 15 years.

In later years after retirement he enjoyed spending time at his beloved campground, "the RiverBend Campground” in Hiawassee, Ga. He will be forever remembered as a quiet man who led by example. He was a loving caring husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother and uncle who will be greatly missed by his entire family and all of his friends.

His is survived by his very loving wife of fifty four years, Marion Gale Clark of Clewiston, children: Stephen Clark, Shawn Grooms and Carson Clark, brother: Pat Clark, sister, Sharon Coots and her husband Raymond. Four grandchildren, Erica and Micah Grooms, Caela and Alyssa Clark and six great grandchildren. He also had several nieces and nephews that he loved very much.

Ray was preceded in death by his parents Jack and Coley Clark and one brother: Michael Clark.

A memorial celebration of Ray’s life was held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 11, 2017 in Evangel Assembly of God Church. Cremation arrangements were handled by Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Clewiston.

Emergency Rental Assistance Extended

 If you are a homeowner or renter getting rental assistance from FEMA and still have a need for that funding and are eligible for it, you should complete and submit an application for Continued Rental Assistance. FEMA may provide up to two months of initial rental assistance for eligible applicants.
You may qualify for continued assistance if you:
  •   Demonstrate your disaster-related financial need; and
  •   Show you are developing a longer-term or permanent housing plan or demonstrate progress toward one. A contractor’s estimate of repairs can point to progress.
    A permanent housing plan is one that would put you back into permanent safe, sanitary and functional housing within a reasonable time frame. You must continue to work toward obtaining permanent housing to remain eligible for Continued Rental Assistance.
    You must document your need to continue rental assistance by providing:
  •   A copy of your current lease;
  •   Receipts showing the proper use of federal disaster housing assistance;
  •   Current household income status; and
  •   Any household financial obligations you may have.
    Extensions on rental assistance may be granted for three-month periods, up to a maximum of 18 months from the date of the presidential disaster declaration: Sept. 10, 2017.
    Homeowners:
    If your FEMA Verified Loss exceeds the amount of initial Rental Assistance award you received, the application to request Continued Temporary Rental Assistance will be mailed to you after you receive your initial rental assistance award.
    If your FEMA Verified Loss does not exceed the initial Rental Assistance award, you will need to call the FEMA Helpline800-621-3362 for voice, 711 and Video Relay Service (VRS); if you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585and ask for an application for
Continued Temporary Rental Assistance. You also may visit a disaster recovery center. To find one near you visitwww.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers or call the FEMA Helpline. DRC information is also available on the FEMA Mobile App.
Renters:
You will need to call the FEMA Helpline as listed above and ask for an application for Continued Temporary Rental Assistance.
Your request will be evaluated to determine if you are eligible for the extension, but there is no guarantee of rental assistance past the first two months.
For more recovery information, visit www.FEMA.gov/IrmaFL, or follow us @FEMARegion4 on Twitter and on FEMA’s Facebook page.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Disaster Recovery Center Opens In Clewiston

CLEWISTON, FL. -- A Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) opens Tuesday, November 14, for five days in Clewiston to help Florida storm survivors. Disaster Recovery Centers offer in-person support to individuals and small business owners. Recovery specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the State of Florida are available to provide assistance to anyone filling out their applications or updating their status. Voluntary organizations are available and offer a variety of services to help survivors recover.

The State of Florida does not offer Food For Florida (Disaster SNAP/D-SNAP) at DRCs. A list of Food for Florida sites is available online.

The DRC is at the following address:

Clewiston (Hendry County)
The John Boy Auditorium - Beardsley Room
1200 S WC Owen Ave.
Clewiston, FL 33440

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
THIS LOCATION CLOSES SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18, AT 7:00 P.M.

Western Union Paying Millions To Fraud Victims

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced today that the United States has begun the remission compensation process to provide recovery for Western Union Company (Western Union) fraud victims from the $586 million civil forfeiture.

As part of agreements with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed earlier this year in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Western Union, a global money services business headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, agreed to forfeit $586 million. According to admissions contained in the deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) and the accompanying statement of facts, between 2004 and 2012, Western Union processed hundreds of thousands of transactions for Western Union agents and others involved in an international consumer fraud scheme. As part of the scheme, the perpetrators of fraud schemes contacted victims in the United States and falsely posed as family members in need or promised prizes or job opportunities. Victims were then directed to send money through Western Union to purportedly help their relative or claim their prize. Various Western Union agents were complicit in these fraud schemes, often processing the fraud payments in return for a cut of the fraud proceeds.

Through the remission process, victims of fraud who sent a money transfer through Western Union between Jan. 1, 2004, and Jan. 19, 2017, may be eligible for compensation for their losses. The Department of Justice will send petitions for remission to over 500,000 potential victims. These petitions will provide information and instructions regarding making a claim for compensation online or through the mail. Individuals who believe they may be victims but who do not receive a petition may obtain a petition form online at www.WesternUnionRemission.com(link is external). The deadline for filing a petition is Feb. 12, 2018.

“Knowing that its agents were involved in fraudulent schemes – and knowing that it had a legal obligation to detect and report this criminal conduct to the authorities – Western Union failed to act, leading to massive victim losses,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco. “Returning forfeited funds to these victims and other victims of crime is one of the Department’s highest priorities. I want to commend our prosecutors, the FTC, and our law enforcement agent partners for their hard work that led to vindicating the rights of these victims.”

“American consumers lost money while Western Union looked the other way,” said Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen of the FTC. “We’re pleased to start the process that will get that money back into consumers’ rightful hands.”

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has been at the forefront of protecting consumers from fraud schemes for many years,” said Inspector in Charge Daniel B. Brubaker of the United States Postal Inspection Service’s Philadelphia Division. “While enforcing the laws that protect the innocent victims of these crimes, we are honored and take pleasure in returning the proceeds of international mass marketing fraud activity to their rightful owners, the victims, whenever possible. We would like to thank the victims who reported the fraudulent activity and worked with us during the investigation. We would also like to thank our law enforcement and regulatory investigative partners, particularly the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the Department of Justice’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and the FTC for their contributions to this collaborative effort.”

More information regarding the remission process, including eligibility criteria, updates, and frequently asked questions is available at www.WesternUnionRemission.com(link is external) or by calling (844) 319-2124. Gilardi & Co. LLC is serving as the remission administrator in this matter. Neither Gilardi & Co., LLC nor DOJ will ask for any payment in order to participate in this remission process. For more information on how to protect yourself from fraud, please visit www.consumer.ftc.gov or www.postalinspectors.uspis.gov.

Sandy Woodall And Mary Giddens Galapagos Islands

LABELLE, FL. -- Take a virtual trip to “The Galapagos “as Sandy Woodall and Mary Giddens share their recent trip to these incredible islands on Monday November 20 at 7pm. You will have an opportunity to learn about the amazing birds, mammals, and landscape of the Galapagos Islands.  

This free program open to this public will be hosted by Hendry-Glades Audubon at the Hendry County Extension Dallas Townsend Building at 1085 Pratt Blvd. In LaBelle

Friday, November 10, 2017

Thomas Gray Dies at 80

Thomas Copland Gray, age 80, of Clewiston, passed away November 3, 2017 at home.

He was born November. 22, 1936 in Central City, PA, to the late Stephen and Mary (Gray) Balough. He served in the Navy and later on in life was the tax collector for Pinellas County .

Survivors include his wife: Mary M (Morlock) Gray, one son: Thomas Charles Gray and one daughter: Kimberly Gray Lankford, Brother: Inez Pool, Bonnie Lepro and Connie McGoughlin,

Memorial services were held Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 5:00 pm at Turning Point Church Of God, Clewiston with Pastor Troy Ezell officiating. Military Honors will be held prior.

Cremations Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Construction Debris Pickup Begin This Week

LaBelle, Fla. – Contractors will begin pick up of construction and demolition debris in Hendry County Thursday, November 9 in Clewiston and Monday, November 12 in LaBelle.

The contractors will start in Harlem then make their way to Hookers Point and the City of Clewiston before heading west into Mid-County. Mid-County includes the communities of Montura Ranch Estates, Ladeca, Pioneer and the Leon-Dennis Subdivision (Al Don Farming Road).

If you are located in these areas, please have all construction and demolition debris stacked by the road and ready for pickup.

Construction and demolition debris includes building materials, drywall, lumber, carpet, and plumbing.

Information regarding pickup schedules will be shared with the public as it becomes available.

For questions regarding debris pick-up in Hendry County, please call (863) 675-5222.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Harry Coverston Discusses Religion December 7

Dr. Harry Coverston, a designated scholar for the Florida Humanities Council in its Civic Reflections Program, will discuss the paths that four of the major religions in the United States take in their attempt to answer humanity's enduring questions in "Many Paths, One Destination". 

 Dr. Coverston, a fifth generation Floridian and fourth generation educator, quips that with great grandparents named "Reed" and "Wright" it was almost preordained that he end up in the classroom. A practicing Episcopal priest and lecturer in religious studies, the humanities, and the philosophy of law throughout Florida, Coverston describes himself as a recovering attorney as he spent a number of years as a Florida Public Defender before returning to his first love, the classroom. 

 He is no stranger to Southwest Florida as his father, the late Sam Coverston, was Vocational Agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor at LaBelle High School in the 1950s as well as serving on the LaBelle City Commission before returning to his family's ancestral hometown Bushnell. 

 The program will be held at LaBelle's Dallas B. Townsend Agricultural Center, 1085 Pratt Boulevard, LaBelle 3935, at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 7. The public is welcome, and there is no admission charge. 

 Advance tickets available at www.eventbrite.com/ are required since many attendees come from out of town. More information on this program is available at www.eventful.com/ with the date and "Many Paths" listed in the search. Call (863)674-0034 and leave your name and telephone number for assistance in making reservations.


Walk Across Florida-Finally The Keys!

Excerpts from A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich
I crossed the bridge over Tavernier Creek Waterway. I was now on Plantation Key. In 1871 an article written in Harper’s Monthly Magazine reported that since Plantation Key had very good soil it was able to have large trees and a plantation of coconut palms and pineapples. This is the reason for the name Plantation. Plantation Key once had a large Indian mound on it—meaning that it must have supported a group of natives for a long time but the ravages of time and development have obliterated it. This Key was also one of only two island locations other than Key West that had a boat building operation on it in the early 1900’s.

As I walked along I saw that there were lots of small shops, motels and boat-bait-fishing marinas. Everyone was looking at me so I waved. It was lots of fun!

On the left side on the road I saw a sign, Coral Shores School. A man on the side of the school with a bunch of kids around him saw me and waved me over. He said that his name was David Monroe and he was the DCT vocational teacher. (The Diversified Career Technology program was for students in 9-12th grades. It gave them an opportunity to receive on-the-job training through the cooperative efforts of employers in the business/industry community.) He was interested in hiking and asked if I would talk to his kids on the subject. It sounded real interesting to me, and I sure didn’t have anything else to do. So I held a class right there on the spot.

The topics included gear, trip planning, map reading, food and supplies. I showed them my sketches, told them what I was doing and described some of my adventures. Then, as to be expected, every one of them wanted to try on the pack.

After I finished the class and everyone had the chance to try on the pack, I bid farewell.

About the Author: After getting out of the Army Bob Kranich backpacked from the Georgia border to Key West in a 40 day adventure walk across Florida. His recently published book A Walk Across Florida is available from his website or Amazon.com

Monday, November 06, 2017

Veteran's Day Hendry County

LABELLE, FL. -- Friday, November 10th at 9 a.m. at LaBelle High School, the National Honor Society presents the Annual Veterans Day Ceremony Tribute.  Veterans, family & friends are invited to attend at the LaBelle HS Auditorium. Followed by Breakfast served by the FFA students.

Veteran's Day: Saturday, 11/11/17 at 11:11 a.m. will be the Annual Veteran's Day Ceremony held at the LaBelle Veteran's Park on corner of SR80 & Main St, followed by lunch at the VFW.

Everyone is welcome to come honor our Veterans

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Woman Injured By Driver With Suspended License

CLEWISTON FL. -- A 2011 Kia Sorento driven by Melvin Thomas, 76 of Clewiston was traveling west on Harlem Academy Avenue, east of 11th Street at 9:45 p.m. Saturday.

Eura Lewis, 76 of Moore Haven was walking north across Harlem Academy Avenue and entered into the path of the car. The front of the car collided with Lewis and she was pushed westward onto the pavement. No skid marks were observed in the roadway. Lewis was not walking in a designated marked/unmarked crosswalk or intersection.

Charges to the driver were driving with suspended license (habitual) and causing serious bodily injury.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Greg Asbed - McAruthur 'Genius' Grant Recipient



LABELLE, FL. -- Greg Asbed, of LaBelle is the recipient of one of this year's McAruthur Foundation Grants. He  is a human rights strategist developing a new model—worker-driven social responsibility—for improving conditions for low-wage workers within the twenty-first-century labor market.

Worker driven social responsibility emerged from the decades-long work of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an organization co-founded by Asbed, with Lucas Benitez and Laura Germino, in 1993 to redress injustices in the Florida tomato industry, including forced labor, sexual assault, and wage theft. 

Asbed was a principal architect of the coalition's Fair Food Program (FFP), a mechanism by which the purchasing power of consumers and large food companies is tapped to compel growers to improve farmworkers' working conditions. Growers agree to adhere to a code of conduct in the treatment of workers, and workers are educated (by other workers) about their rights and responsibilities. Purchasers have a zero-tolerance policy for abuses by their suppliers and also agree to pay a penny-per-pound premium that goes directly into growers' payrolls as a line-item bonus on workers' paychecks. 

Asbed helped devise the Fair Foods Standards Council, an independent monitoring organization, to ensure compliance through regular audits and complaint investigations. Since 2010, the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange and over a dozen purchasers, including Walmart, have signed on to the Fair Food Program. With the success of the FFP in the tomato industry, Asbed envisioned the potential for wider economic and social change, and together with colleagues, he designed the WSR framework.

Asbed's expertise is being sought by international organizations for the development of customized variants of the WSR model to address such issues as child labor in Africa and gender-based violence in domestic work settings in Mexico.

The MacArthur Fellowship is a "no strings attached" award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments of $31,250 over five years.

Veteran's Day At Ortona Pavilon

ORTONA, FL. -- The Veterans Day Ceremony will be held at the Ortona Cemetery Pavilion on Saturday, November 11 at 11:00 am. 

The speaker will be George Powell from Okeechobee, music will be sung by Meagan Seiler and Rylee Patterson. 

There will be snacks provided by David and Gail Williams and desert is donated by Susan and Butch Jones. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come.

Glades Hurricane Debris Pickups Now Completed

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Irma made landfall September 10th causing widespread damage to Glades County. The debris company had two local contractors hauling debris since October 2nd (32 days of continuous hauling). They made two sweeps throughout the entire county for debris and vegetative pickup and one pass of C&D or construction debris. 

Monitors have reported that green limbs are now being placed on the roadside for pickup and this is not hurricane related debris. Glades County has completed picking up all hurricane related debris as of today. 

Please do not place any other debris out for pickup, you will now be responsible for removing and disposing of any yard debris & C&D debris.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Help With Hurricane Recovery Problems







































LABELLE, FL. -- Free question answering session this weekend in Clewiston and LaBelle for hurricane recovery issues at the Taylor Auditorium on Olympia Street and Townsend Center on Pratt Blvd Saturday only.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Board Voted Marijuana Ban - Dog Deaths Revisited

The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) regular meeting held on Thursday, October 26 at the County Commission Chamber in the Hendry County Courthouse in LaBelle, Florida.
PUBLIC HEARINGS
  • Hendry County Board of County Commissioners (Represented by Margaret Emblidge, AICP) – The Board moved to accept a County ordinance proposing a ban on Medical Marijuana Treatment Center Dispensing Facilities pursuant to Chapter 2017-232, Laws of Florida. The Board would like more substantial information on the issue as it related to Hendry County and will also see how the State of Florida responds in the coming legislative session.

  • Petition Number RZ17-0004 Steven & Katherine Heintz (Represented by H.L. Bennett, P.E., P.L.S.) – The applicant is requesting a rezone on the subject property from Residential/Low Density and Residential/high Density to the Planned Unit Development zoning district to allow for a mixed use residential community. The Board noted that this project is a positive step in the direction of more site-built homes in Hendry County and provides incentive for further future development in the County.

  • Ordinance Revoking Ad Valorem Tax Exemption for Bionitrogen Plant FL Hendry, LLC - The Board moved to revoke the ad valorem tax exemption status for the Bionitrogen Plant after the project fell apart due to bankruptcy.

  • Ordinance Amending Tourist Development Plan and Tourist Development Tax Ordinance – The Board approved the amendment of the Tourist Development Plan and Tax Ordinance which includes amendments to the use of tourism revenue and additional tourism tax.

HEARING OF THE PUBLIC
  • Members of the public addressed the Board with concerns after the Board voted at the October 10 meeting to reduce the number of days an animal is to be impounded in the County shelter from 5 days to 3 days. After hearing from members of the public and Animal Control Supervisor, Doug Morgan, the Board directed Mr. Baker to submit a detailed report that is due by the January 23, 2018 Board meeting. The Board will revisit the issue at that time.

BUSINESS BY DISTRICT
Chairman of the Board, Mike Swindle asked staff if there are plans for a post-hurricane debrief to discuss the County’s response before, during and after Hurricane Irma. Staff plans to conduct a series of debrief meetings both internally and externally. The Board requested that meetings be held in both Clewiston and LaBelle to ensure that both sides of the County have the opportunity to be part of the discussion.

Friday, October 27, 2017

White Goods Pickup In Glades County

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- From Glades County:

The 1st & 2nd round for yard debris has been completed in the entire area of Glades county. They have started C&D (white goods) pickup today. 

BHR & Lakeport have been completed for all debris. THE TRUCKS WILL NOT PICKUP HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, FURNITURE, MATTRESSES, ELECTRONICS OR ANY OTHER NON-HURRICANE DEBRIS. BUT WILL PICKUP ROOFING MATERIALS, WHITE GOODS (water heaters, refrigerators, w/d, freezers) construction type debris.

Disaster Employment Assistance Ends Oct 31 - $275 For 26 Weeks Possible

The Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Program provides assistance to businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Irma. To apply for DUA, go to www.floridajobs.org or call the Florida Disaster Unemployment Assistance Line at 1-800-385-3920.

The rather complicated rules and procedures to qualify, if passed garners an applicant up to $275 weekly for 26 months. The program is designed for those who can't qualify for normal unemployment benefits, i.e. self-employed persons as well as other suffering due to disaster.

To file a claim for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) due to Hurricane Irma please click HERE.

To be eligible for DUA, you must file your claim by Tuesday, October 31, 2017, for the following counties:

Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lafayette, Levy, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sarasota, Seminole, Sumter, Suwannee, Union and Volusia.

If you need assistance with filing your initial DUA application, please call 1-800-385-3920. For any other questions about your DUA claim, please call 1-800-204-2418.

If you need to submit Proof of Earnings for a DUA claim, please upload the documents through your CONNECT inbox or fax to 1-800-222-7934.

As of September 30, 2017, the DUA line will extend its hours to include Saturdays 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., in addition to our normal business hours, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

WHAT YOU NEED TO FILE:

You must provide the following information to complete your application:
Social Security number.
Alien registration number and expiration date (if applicable).
Name and address of your last employer.
If you worked in another state during the past two years, have the name and address of the out-of-state employer.
If self-employed and have proof of self-employment for the past two years. (For example, W-2 statements, state or federal tax returns, bank records of accounts, statement from a bank showing your business account, or a copy of title or deed to a business property.)
If you were scheduled to work but could not work due to the disaster, you must have the name and address of the employer and date you were scheduled to work.

Disaster Food Assistance This Weekend - Long Lines Expected

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Department of Children and Families will be on Forrey Drive between Cowboy Way and State Road 80 at the Sports Park on the east side of the city of LaBelle on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. taking applications for two months of food assistance for disaster victims.

If you qualify, you will get an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card good for 90 days to spend at any store for food. Your benefits are loaded onto the EBT card and it works just like a debit card at most grocery stores.

General Program RequirementsYou may qualify for Food for Florida if you meet the conditions below:
You do not already get help through the regular state SNAP; current SNAP households may qualify for supplemental disaster or replacement benefits (Current SNAP household already received automatic payment for two months food on their EBT cards earlier this month).
You were living in or, in some cases, working in the declared area at the time of the disaster.
You have at least one of the disaster-related effects or expenses below:
Home or business damage or repairs.
Temporary shelter or evacuation expenses.
Home or business protection.
Personal injury, including funeral expenses.
Income loss, or delayed or no access to income.
Food loss, in some cases, with no other disaster expenses.

Eligibility is based on your “disaster gross income” (DGI). When you apply, your caseworker follows the steps below to get your DGI: Add take-home pay, unearned income (like public assistance payments), and liquid resources (like bank accounts and cash on hand). Then subtract unreimbursed disaster-related expenses.

The maximum DGI is set each year based on household size. If your DGI is less than the maximum, you may qualify for Food for Florida.

Editor's Note: While the formulas for determining eligibility are complex, they can be calculated by using either actual disaster expenses against family income, or using a "standard" expense deduction formula which includes disaster-related expenses, such as loss of income and property repairs. Here is the chart.

Florida DCF certification staff must review your case to see if you qualify. You may apply for benefits in one of two ways: Apply in person at an application site, or Pre-register online and report to a local site to show proof of identity.

Visit the Food for Florida website to apply.

Editor's Note: It is probable that there will be long lines at the site this weekend with an hour or more waiting. It is suggested to go to the online website noted above to apply before you go to the LaBelle location.

Visit the ACCESS Service Center Locations page to find a center near you where you can apply.

Delia Reyes-Rosario Dies At 83

Delia Reyes-Rosario, age 83, of LaBelle, passed away October 26, 2017 in LaBelle. She was born Apr. 23, 1934 in Humacao,Puerto Rico , to the late Juan and the late Natalia (Rosario) Reyes.
Survivors include one son: Ramon Ayala of LaBelle, FL and one daughter: Carmen Santana of Orlando, FL, Sister of one brother: Dusty Reyes and three sisters: Elba Rolon, Constancia Rolon and Juanita Reyes, Grandchildren, Ramon Ayala, Jr.;, Derick Velez
Funeral services will be held Monday, October 30, 2017 at 11:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle. The family will receive friends for 1 hour prior. Interment will be Tuesday, October 31, 2017 in Sarasota National Cemetery, Sarasota, FL.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Obituaries - Fussell, Giddens, Montalvo

Lois Evelyn Fussell passed away on October 22, 2017 in Sebring, Florida.
Lois was born on February 27, 1937 in Sunniland, Florida to Chester and Annie Walker., preceeded in death by her sister Shirley Handley. .
Lois left behind her husband of 36 years Lyoid Fussell, and a brother Novell Walker. She was blessed with 4 children, 3 step-children, 9 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren, and numerous loved ones. She will be missed by many
Graveside Service will be held at Fort Denaud Cemetery LaBelle, FL. on Wednesday October 25th at 11AM. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.
Grace F. Giddens, age 100, of Clewiston, passed away October 21, 2017 in Clewiston.
She was born Sep. 26, 1917 in Milledgeville, Georgia, to William Penn and Cora Christine (Jackson) Frazier. Grace married Claud Giddens; he preceded her in death on June 24, 1988. She was a long time member of First Baptist Church of Clewiston. She was a loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother who will be greatly missed by her entire family.
Survivors include one daughter; Christine Beatty of Clewiston, ten grandchildren, twenty-one great grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren.
Grace is also preceded in death by her two sons, Robert "Bobby" Giddens, Richard M. Giddens, MD, four sisters, one brother, and one son-in-law; Lionel Beatty.
Celebration of life will be held at 11 am Thursday, October 26th in First Baptist Church with Pastor Mike Brannan officiating, visitation will be from 9:30 am until the service also at the church. Burial will take place in Ridgelawn Cemetery next to her husband, Claud. Celebration arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home – Clewiston
Eddie Montalvo, age 20, of Clewiston, passed away October 19, 2017 in Clewiston  He was born Jan. 18, 1997 in Belle Glade, FL, to Eduardo and Maria (Duprey) Montalvo.
Eddie was a self-employed contactor. He is survived by his Mother Maria (Duprey), three brothers: Marc Perez, Alex Perez and Mauricio Perez., and two sisters: Wilmarie Perez and Ednamary Montalvo all of Clewiston,

Low Interest Disaster Loan Deadline November 9

SBA disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters to cover uninsured losses from the disaster. Interest rates are as low as 3.305 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations, and 1.75 percent for homeowners and renters. Loan terms can be up to 30 years.

The filing deadline to submit applications for physical property damage is Nov. 9, 2017. The deadline for economic injury applications is June 11, 2018.

Economic injury disaster loans are also available to provide disaster related working capital to small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred.

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use  711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.

Additional information on recovery centers and the disaster loan program may be obtained by calling SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Loan applications can be downloaded from www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to a recovery center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155. For more information about SBA recovery assistance, visitwww.sba.gov/disaster.

Ineligible For Disaster Assistance?

FEMA Letter Says You Are Ineligible for Disaster Assistance?
That May Not Be the Last Word

ORLANDO, Fla. – Applicants for FEMA disaster assistance should not consider the initial determination letter from the agency ruling them ineligible for disaster assistance as the final word. FEMA offers these tips to keep in mind if you receive such a letter:

·         Applicants must read their letters carefully.
 It may explain any problems that could be corrected. You may need to provide additional information or documents. If a mistake has been made, you should let FEMA know right away by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) or visiting a Disaster Recovery Center.

  • Everyone has the right to appeal any FEMA decision.
Appeals may relate to eligibility, the amount or type of help provided, a late application, a request to return money, or continuing help. If you were determined ineligible due to insurance coverage—but had under insured or uninsured losses—you can appeal the decision by submitting your insurance settlement paperwork. The appeal must be sent and postmarked within 60 days after you receive the letter.
  • In your appeal letter, explain why you think the decision about the amount or type of assistance is not correct. You will need to include your full name, the nine digit FEMA registration number and the four digit disaster number.
  • Be sure to sign the letter and include a copy of a state-issued identification card, such as a driver’s license. If you cannot do that, write: “I hereby declare under the penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.”
  • Date the appeal letter and include the FEMA application number and the disaster number (DR-4337) and mail or fax it to:
  
FEMA National Processing Service Center
P. O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055
            FAX: 800-827-8112; Attention: FEMA

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Jean McDaniel Dies At 50

Jean R. McDaniel, age 50, of LaBelle, passed away October 18, 2017 in Lehigh Acres.
She was born Oct. 20, 1966 in Ft. Myers, FL, to the late Tifton R. and the late Betty Jean (Eatman) McDaniel.
Jean Renee McDaniel 50, of Labelle passed away Wednesday October 18, 2017 at Hope Hospice in Lehigh Acres. She was born in Ft. Myers. She was predeceased by her parents Tifton and Betty Jean. Surviving are her son Robert R. McDaniel; sisters: Stella (Doug) Smith, Mona (Dixie) Sharpe, Susie Crews, and Dawn McDaniel; beloved niece Jeni Bowen as well as several other nieces and nephews. 
Services will be private, contributions may be made to Hope Hospice in her memory. Arrangements are being handled by the Akin-Davis Funeral Home LaBelle Chapel.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Debris Pickup Reaching Final Stages

Debris removal services will be completing their final pass for horticulture debris pick up on public roads in the Cities of Clewiston and LaBelle beginning Monday, October 23.
Residents living on public roads in these areas are asked to put their debris by the road for this final pickup.
Residents are asked to stack and separate debris for efficient pick up as seen in the graphic below:
Household hazardous waste items should NOT be placed with debris. It must be taken to the household hazardous waste facilities which are located on both sides of the County.
·         LaBelle - 1360 Forestry Division Road, LaBelle, FL. 33935
Wednesdays:
7:30 am - 12:30 pm / 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Thursdays:
7:30 am - 12:30 pm
Saturdays: 8:00 am -12:00 pm
·         Clewiston - 1381 Evercane Road, Clewiston, FL. 33440
Tuesdays:
8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Saturdays: 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Household hazardous waste items include:
·         Pesticides, Herbicides, Fungicides & Insecticides
·         Batteries, all types                                                                           
·         Liquid Paint & Thinners
·         Motor Oil, Brake & Transmission Fluid, Gasoline & Antifreeze
·         Solvents & Degreasers
·         Nail Polish & Remover
·         Oven & Drain Cleaners
·         Mildew Removers
·         Swimming Pool Chemicals
·         Cleansers: Upholstery/All Purpose, etc.
·         Fluorescent Tubes (Containing Mercury)  
·         Thermometers (Containing Mercury)
For more information on household hazardous waste, please visit: www.hendryfla.net/household_hazardous_waste
Since beginning work on September 22, debris haulers contracted by Hendry County have picked up 198,300 cubic yards of debris throughout the County.
Debris pick-up is now occurring on private roads with permission from HOA and POA.
The County is working to obtain right of entry for Phillips Road and will have Hendry County employees on site to help expedite processing right of entry forms.