Monday, February 27, 2017

State Road 29 Widening Workshop March 7

LABELLE, FL.-- The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District One, is hosting an Alternatives Public Workshop as part of the Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study for proposed improvements to State Road (SR) 29 from CR 80A (Cowboy Way) to CR 731 (Whidden Road) in Hendry and Glades Counties, Florida.

FDOT will hold the workshop from 5 pm to 7 pm on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at the LaBelle Civic Center, 481 Highway 80 West (behind City Hall), LaBelle, Florida. The meeting will be in an informal, open house format. You may attend at any time during the open house to view project displays and speak with project team members. We will show a video slide show continuously during the workshop that will describe the project and the study process.

Please note that a third build alternative has been added as a result of comments received at the Public Information Workshop held on November 3, 2016. The study proposes adding two lanes to the existing SR 29 from County Road (CR) 80A (Cowboy Way) to CR 731 (Whidden Road) in Hendry and Glades Counties.

FDOT is sending this notice to all property owners whose property lies, in whole or in part, within 300 feet on either side of the center line of SR 29, Main Street and Bridge Street, from Cowboy Way to US 27 (even though they may not be directly affected). We encourage all interested people to attend and express their views regarding the project and information presente

Saturday, February 25, 2017

At The Swamp Cabbage Festival Saturday

LABELLE, FL. -- Festivities started this morning with a mile long parade up Bridge Street in LaBelle to kick off the 51st annual Swamp Cabbage Festival. Food vendors lined the streets and filled Barron Park while a street preacher shouted over a super loud public address system at Veteran's Park on SR80 and Main Street.

The festival continues through Sunday with music and activities in the park.

Photo: Fried goodies beside the Curtis Honey House on Bridge Street in LaBelle, and Festival Queen on a John Deere

Friday, February 24, 2017

Ave Maria BBQ And Music February 25

AVE MARIA, FL. -- Ave Maria Development will host Blues, Brews & BBQ on Saturday, February 25 from 11am to 5pm in the Ave Maria Town Center.

The public is invited to attend the free event featuring outdoor concerts by local favorite blues bands, The Good Bad Kids, Little Eddie and the Fat Fingers, Deb & the Dynamics, and Marty Stokes. The outdoor concert festival will also feature savory BBQ from Jonesez BBQ and Smokin R’s as well as food offerings from Tropical Smoothie, Gino’s Trattoria and the Pub & Grill of Ave Maria, beer tent, local merchant booths, and a West Coast Muscle Car Club and Cool Cruisers show. 

Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets. The public is encouraged to rev up their engines— bike or car— and spend the afternoon in the February Florida sunshine in one of the area’s most beautiful outdoor venues, Ave Maria Town Center.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Sugarcane Week March 13

CLEWISTON, FL– The city of Clewiston has declared the week of March 13-19, 2017, Sugarcane Farmers Appreciation Week in recognition of the vital contributions the sugarcane industry makes to the state of Florida and the country as a whole.

The proclamation signed Feb. 20 by Clewiston Mayor Mali Gardner applauds Florida sugarcane farmers for generating more than $3 billion a year in economic activity and being leaders in technology and environmental stewardship of the state. Sugarcane farmers produce approximately 50 percent of the cane sugar and 25 percent of all sugar produced in the United States. They also donate generously to community causes and programs and have provided daycare centers, playgrounds, libraries, youth centers, swimming pools and other community benefits.

The proclamation was presented to the executive committee of the Clewiston Sugar Festival, which accepted it on behalf of the festival and sugarcane farmers.

“Florida sugarcane farmers are a great asset to our community and a strong force behind our economy,’’ said Hillary Hyslope, executive director of the Clewiston Chamber of Commerce and board member of the Clewiston Sugar Festival. “It’s wonderful to see they are getting the sweet recognition they deserve. Without them, Clewiston wouldn’t be called America’s Sweetest Town.’’

The Clewiston Sugar Festival will be held March 18 at Civic Park on US Hwy 27 in Clewiston. The annual, free event features performances by country singer stars Trace Adkins and Tracy Lawrence, who will be joined by other musical guests Parmalee, Runaway June and JJ McCoy.

Now in its 31st year, Clewiston Sugar Festival celebrates the region’s annual sugarcane harvest and the importance of sugarcane in Glades-area communities and Florida’s agricultural industry. It will have a variety of delicious food vendors, arts and craft booths, an antique car show, tractor displays and a kids’ park with games and inflatable jump houses.

Photo: executive committee of the Clewiston Sugar Festival. Top row, from left, Clewiston Commissioners Julio Rodriguez, Vice Mayor Michael Atkinson, Mayor Mali Gardner, Kristine Petersen and Phillip Roland. Bottom row, from left, Clewiston Sugar Festival Executive Committee members Belinda Smith, Elaine Wood, Jennifer Black, Clewiston City Manager Al Perry and Ashly Sergent.

Free Tax Filing At United Way

HENDRY COUNTY, FL. -- In order to help local residents keep more of their hard earned money, United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee provides free tax filing services. The free VITA service (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) is available at the LaBelle and Clewiston United Way Houses, as well as the Harlem Public Library on March 8th. Individuals and families making less than $60,000 per year qualify for the free service.

United Way’s Free Tax Preparation program helps low- to moderate-income households meet their basic needs and build financial assets. Residents who earn a household income of $60,000 or less can have their federal tax returns prepared, e- filed and direct deposited for FREE by United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. United Way IRS-certified volunteers who are passionate about taxes will prepare the return and determine if the tax payer is eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and/or Childcare Credits. Returns are filed electronically, making tax refunds available as quickly as from commercial tax preparing companies.

Last year, 3,500 individuals and families were able to utilize the earned income tax credit and other available credits through free tax preparation resulting in $4.6 million coming back to our five-county region and saving an average of $200 per family in tax preparation fees.

United Way VITA services will be available through the tax filing deadline of April 18 at United Way Houses. The LaBelle United Way House is open year-round. Make your appointment today at the most convenient VITA site by going to the following website simply call United Way 211 by dialing 2-1-1 or 800-887-9234.

If the tax payer has access to a computer and would like to file their own taxes free of charge. United Way can help with that too! Logon to It’s simple, fast, and secure while offering online assistance with the process.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

LGBTQ Student Ruling Reversed By Jeff Sessions

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has today reversed the government's previous guidance on access to restrooms and school facilities on the basis of gender identity of LGBTQ students.

The Department of Justice and the Department of Education today withdrew guidance for educational institutions, issued in 2015 and 2016, that took the position that the prohibitions in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and implementing regulations against discrimination on the basis of sex require access to sex-segregated facilities on the basis of gender identity rather than biological sex. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued the following statement:

“The Department of Justice has a duty to enforce the law. The prior guidance documents did not contain sufficient legal analysis or explain how the interpretation was consistent with the language of Title IX. The Department of Education and the Department of Justice therefore have withdrawn the guidance. Congress, state legislatures, and local governments are in a position to adopt appropriate policies or laws addressing this issue. The Department of Justice remains committed to the proper interpretation and enforcement of Title IX and to its protections for all students, including LGBTQ students, from discrimination, bullying, and harassment.”

Obituaries - Tifton McDaniel, Danny Hansen

Tifton Randal McDaniel, age 82, of LaBelle, passed away February 18, 2017 in LaBelle.

He was born Nov. 8, 1934 in Goodno, FL, to the late John Gibson and the late May Louise (Cockram) McDaniel. He was an avid outdoorsman. Tifton loved spending time with family and friends.

Survivors include daughters: Stella Smith (Doug), Susie Crews (Bo), Mona Sharpe (Dixie), Renee McDaniel and Dawn McDaniel, grandchildren: Roy Holt, Jr. (Becky); Glenn Holt (Amy); Shane Bell (Cathy); Denny Bell; Jeni Bowen (Chris); Jeremy Sharpe; Robert McDaniel; Sydney H. Garcia(Shorty) , Jacob Mott and Juan Perez, Jr. and seventeen great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Jean McDaniel in 2013.

Funeral services will be held Friday, March 3, 2017 at 2:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle with Pastor L.W. Howard officiating. Interment will follow in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle. Visitation will be Thursday March 2 from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle.

Danny J. Hansen, age 66, of LaBelle, passed away February 21, 2017 in LaBelle. He was born Dec. 14, 1950 in Fort Myers, FL, to the late Harry Hansen and Mary Elizabeth (Messer) Hansen.

Danny enjoyed hunting, fishing, wood working and most of all loved to spend time with his family.

He is survived by his wife: Claudia (Jones) Hansen, two sons: Daniel Hansen (Alethea) and Blake Nipper (Marisa), and one daughter: Tina VanNote (Chris), mother: Mary Elizabeth Hansen Bowman, grandchildren: Daniel Hansen, Taylor Nipper, Payton Nipper, Taylor Spradlin, Emma Spradlin, Leah Nipper, Chris Van Note, Ashley VanNote, Paul VanNote, numerous great grandchildren and Dodie Nipper. He was preceded in death by his father: Harry Hansen and two brothers: Richard and Bud Hansen.

Funeral services will be held Friday, February 24, 2017 at 10:00 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle with Pastor Dennis Edgar officiating. Interment will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Moringa Tree With Bob James At Garden Club

LABELE, FL. -- LaBelle Garden Club will meet Monday, February 27th , 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Dallas B. Townsend Agricultural Center at 1085 Pratt Blvd., Labelle.

Speaker this month is Bob James of Ft Myers who will give a Power Point presentation about the Moringa tree, telling of the health benefits of the Moringa tree, leaves, seeds and powder. He will bring a full line of Moringa products, plants and handouts. Bring your questions – pictures – & plants to exchange.

Anyone is welcome to bring a treat for refreshments.. Bring any recipes you would like to share too.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Tooth Fairy And Kevin Long Visit School

LABELLE, FL. -- On February 17th, the 1st grade students at Upthegrove Elementary School received education on a variety of dental topics from Kevin Long, RN, School Health Consultant, LaBelle Schools. Topics covered were: importance of maintaining your teeth, dental anatomy, proper brushing techniques, formation of plaque and cavities and healthy eating habits.

A surprise visit by “Mary the Tooth Fairy” along with toothbrushes for the students concluded the program. Joe Pepe, Administrator/Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties stated. “It is important for all children and adults to brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes, once after breakfast and once before going to bed.”

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends starting tooth brushing as soon as the first baby tooth appears. It is also recommended to start small with a soft toothbrush and a” rice-sized” amount of toothpaste. As more teeth come in and your child gets older, you can begin increasing the amount of toothpaste slowly to the size of a pea. The AAPD recommends that a child go to the dentist by age 1 or within six monthsafter the first tooth erupts. Primary teeth typically begin growing in around 6 months of age.

Pictured: Left to right are Kylee Carmo, Emma Faulkner, Krissi Pack, Nathaniel Ledford with “Mary the Tooth Fairy” Photo right: Mary the Tooth Fairy Bartoshuk and Kevin Long, RN

Ham Radio Operators Volunteering At Swamp Cabbage Parade

LABELLE, FL. -- Ham Radio aficionados and emergency management volunteers will be manning a station during the annual Swamp Cabbage Festival Parade Saturday at a tent at the Barron Library.

Check in time is 8:00 am for assignments at the library - look for the Hendry County emergency management tent or trailer

Wear comfortable shoes for walking, and bring a radio tuned to frequency 446.000 mhz.
If you are a CERT member, wear vest and Cert cap otherwise, there will be a dozen Emergency Operations Center polo shirts and high visibility vests.

Call Bill Roy for any additional information 813-416-6451

Walking Across Florida - Moore Haven To Clewiston

Excerpts from A Walk Across Florida by Bob Kranich

I took Canal Street to 1st Street and headed south towards Highway 27. I had to get across the Caloosahatchee River. Moore Haven is a typical small Florida town. Mostly two-lane asphalt paved streets. One–story concrete and some older wooden structures. I came to Highway 27, crossed over the bridge, and turned left along the canal. (The bridge was rebuilt in the mid 1990’s and today I wouldn’t recognize it, a large curving 4-lane span rising high above the canal. It also relocated Highway 27 through town.)

As soon as I crossed the bridge I turned left along the south side of the canal and headed towards the flood gate and Hoover Dike in the distance. I came to a railroad grade and as I was crossing over, I could see a turntable style railroad bridge on the other side of the canal. (This railroad is now owned solely by U. S. Sugar.)

Once up and over the dike, I ate at a small beach area while I watched some people. It appeared to be a large family fishing in the canal. They seemed to be having a great time, two on lawn chairs with feet stretched out, their fishing poles in holders along side. Three children ran about with their small cane poles throwing their lines out and then impatiently trying another spot along the bank a few minutes later. An older teenager scolded them at times to be still or they would scare the fish away.

This was the section of the Okeechobee waterway that went south towards Clewiston. I decided to camp there in some Australian pines. It was a beautiful place but the mosquitoes were very bad that night.

In the morning I decided to pack up early, start hiking, and eat breakfast a little later. I started down the dike for a short distance and came to a gate across the road. There was a sign:


That took care of my nice hike to Clewiston on the Hoover Dike. Wait a minute, I had an idea. I crossed over the railroad on my way in here, I’d just take it to Clewiston.

I set my pack down and reached in for the powdered milk without looking. Suddenly I felt something crawling on my hand. I gave my hand a fast pull out and a violent shake. It was just a natural reaction, and it was a lucky thing. A black scorpion was propelled off my hand and onto the ground. Before he could start running I stomped him. Again, another reflex. I looked very carefully in my pack and took everything out the scorpion hadn’t brought along any friends. He must have crawled in during the night.

I have done some research and found out that there are three scorpion species in Florida. The reason I didn’t know or actually care before my trip is because I had spent at least four years in two different boy scout troops in Florida. We hiked and camped all over the Tampa area and the center of the state and never encountered any scorpions. Scorpions can range in length from as little as one inch to a long four inches. They have ten legs but the front pair are not for walking but to hold the food they catch. The most respected part is the stinger on their tail that is held up over their body in an arched, ready-to-strike position.

Scorpions sting with a nerve poison. The good news is that no Florida scorpions are capable of a deadly sting. However it is reported that scorpion stings are very painful, much more than a wasp or yellow jacket. A scorpion sting usually swells up and sometimes the person infected will be dizzy. The only good thing about scorpions is that they eat spiders, mosquitoes, cockroaches, termites and all other varieties of insects. They are also nocturnal.

The Hentz Striped Scorpion is dark brown to tan. It has a greenish yellow stripe along the center of the body 2 to 3 inches long. The Florida Bark Scorpion is dark brown and a flat body up to 4 inches long, and the Guiana Striped Scorpion is yellow, 1 1/2 to 3 inches long and only found in south Florida. No positive ID of the one I just stomped--all I could tell was that it was a squishy dark color.

I repacked all of my gear, ate a Pop Tart, drank some water and got back on the road. The railroad track headed southeast. It didn’t appear to be a main line. I saw a few markings occasionally that let me know that it belonged to the Atlantic Coast Line. I suddenly realized that I could have been walking on the original 1921 Moore Haven and Clewiston Railway.

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

Glades County Fire Fighters Honored

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- At the February 14th Glades county commission meeting Public Safety Fire Department Employees and Volunteers were recognized for their many hours of service for teaching the Glades/Hendry County Fire One Class. 

This class allows for any citizen to become certified as a Fire One Firefighter and become a member of the volunteer fire departments within their County. 

Congratulations and thank you to Gerald Watson Jr, Neil Chapman, John Biggs II.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Obituaries - Bascom Smith, Carolyn Mathis, Oren Risher

Rev. Bascom O. Smith, Sr., age 82, of Alva, passed away February 16, 2017 at his home in Alva. He was born October 14, 1934 in Douglas, GA, to the late Charlie O. and the late Elizabeth (Arnold) Smith.

Bascom moved to Fort Myers in 1953, he worked at Gilan Auto Parts, Tanner Auto Parts and Fort Myers Auto Parts. He joined The Church of God of Prophecy in 1953, where he held many positions. He went to Bible Training Institution in Cleveland, TN and took a Bible course at Stetson University. He served as Associate Pastor for 6 years at The Church of God of Prophecy on Marion Street in Fort Myers. 

He was ordained as a Deacon in 1969 and then ordained as a Bishop in 1978. He started Pastoring churches in 1975 in Bokeelia, FL, Perry FL, Punta Gorda, FL and Fort Myers on Marion Street. He retired in 1999 and then was appointed again as an Associate Pastor at The Church of God of Prophecy on Marion Street in Fort Myers, FL. His favorite hobbies were fishing and working on old cars.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mary Jo (Hutcheson) Smith, two sons: Jimmy (Julie) Smith of Fort Myers, FL, Bascom Jr. (Kaylyn) Smith of Jacksonville, FL, three daughters: Mary Kathy (Dan) Newcomb, Tammy Jo Hillman of Fort Myers, Fl, Shirlene Cricket (Tim) Beehler of Dade City, FL, one brother: Colon (Arlene) Smith of Axon, GA, two sisters: Irene Courson of Statesville, NC, Pauline Blanchette of Lehigh Acres, FL, twelve grandchildren, eight great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Bascom was preceded in death by daughter, Karen Jo and five brothers, Robert Johnnie, James, Charles and L.D.

Funeral services will be held Monday, February 20, 2017 at 11:00 am at The Church of God of Prophecy, 3182 Marion Street, Fort Myers, FL with Bishop Robert Davis, Pastor Everett Holloway and Rev. Danny Hulburt officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at The Church of God of Prophecy. Interment will be Monday, February 20, 2017 in Alva Cemetery, Alva.

The pallbearers will be the grandsons: Jimmy B. Smith, Jason Smith, Josh Smith, Caleb Smith, Nicholas Newcomb and Taylor Beehler. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Fort Myers.

Carolyn Ann Mathis, age 69, of LaBelle, passed away February 15, 2017 in Lehigh Acres.

She was born Jan. 28, 1948 in Fort Myers, FL, to the late Finis Williams and the late Minnie (Fussell) Williams and was a lifelong resident of LaBelle. Carolyn was a devoted wife and mother.

Survivors include her husband of fifty-one years: Raleigh Eugene Mathis,sons: Kenny Eugene Mathis, Darren Keith Mathis and Kevin Brent Mathis, daughter: Donna Lynn Marney, brothers and sisters: Elton Williams, Dale Williams, Wayne Williams, Sue Goff and Pennie Davis,, and grandchildren: Logan Mathis, Sarah Marney and Hannah Marney. She was also preceded in death by her brother: Ray Williams and sister: Mary Williams.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 10:30 am at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle with Rev Graham Chancey officiating. Interment will be in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle. Visitation will be Saturday for 1 hour prior to the funeral service at Akin-Davis Funeral Home.

Oren Wallace "Wally" Risher, Jr, age 78, of Fort Denaud, passed away February 12, 2017 in Fort Myers. He was born May 23, 1938 in Washington , DC, to the late Oren Wallace Risher, Sr. and the late Dorothy Mae (Hill) Risher. He was an avid fisherman, hunter and gardener who had a true love for nature. He was a friendly and kind person with a cheerful personality and a warming smile.

His profession was forestry and he worked with the Seminole Indians at Big Cypress in the late 1960's. Later on he was self employed for many years. Wally will be greatly missed by his beloved family.

He is survived by his wife: Regina (Mendez) Risher, son: Mark (Terry) Risher of Arcadia, daughter: Tara "Missy" (Steve) Soud of Fort Myers, sisters: Deanie (Frank) Cardimen of Michigan and Nancy (Elmer) Mott of Arcadia, grandchildren: Dane Risher; Josh Soud; Meghan Soud and Jacob Soud and aunts: Mildred Lewis of Fort Myers Esther Beavers of LaBelle.

A memorial services will be held Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 11:30 a.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle with Pastor W. T. Maddox, Jr. officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hope Hospice.

Friday, February 17, 2017

At The Commission - Migrant Housing, Marijuana

LABELLE, FL. -- The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting held on Tuesday, February 14 at Clewiston City Hall.


· Bid #2017-04 – Construction of CR 78 Sidewalks – Local Agency Program (LAP) Agreement Project - Bids were opened on January 25, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. for the construction of sidewalks along CR 78 for Phase IV – Nobles Road to Kell Mill Boulevard and Phase V from Crescent Avenue SW to Nobles Road. The construction of the sidewalks will complete the right-of way improvements to CR 78 from Kell Mill Boulevard to Crescent Ares Avenue SW that was designed in five phases. Most of the construction and design was funded by the FDOT. The Board approved the lowest bidder Central Concrete Products, Inc.

Awards, Appearances, and Presentations

· Engineer’s Week Resolution – Representative of the Calusa Chapter of Florida Engineering Society were on hand to receive the resolution. The resolution proclaims February 19-25, 2017 as Engineers Week. The Board recognizes and honors all engineers who live and work in Hendry County and who practice the profession of engineering in an honorable, responsible, and competent manner and those students who have chosen to be educated in the field of engineering.

· Presentation from Tetra Tech Regarding the Force Main Project from Airglades Airport to the City of Clewiston – Danny Nelson, P.E. from Tetra Tech lead the presentation. The due diligence phase of this project has been completed. A preferred route has been established along the US27 corridor using existing utility grade easements, then would cut through agricultural lands and then tie into the Clewiston Facility. The total estimated cost for the Force Main is $3.58 million. Later during the meeting the Board approved Tetra Tech to begin the feasibility study and design portion of the project which is expected to be completed by end of 2017.

Public Hearing

· First Reading: Ordinance Establishing a Moratorium on Permitting Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers – This ordinance is based on Amendment 2. The temporary moratorium of nine (9) months on these facilities is to allow Hendry County staff sufficient time to determine what uses are best suited to a particular zoning category and how best to formulate land development regulations that appropriately govern the use of real property for purposes of distributing or dispensing marijuana and related activities. The second reading will be held at the February 28 BOCC meeting in LaBelle, at which time the Board will vote.

Other Business

· Commissioner Karson Turner requested staff and the County Attorney look into the possibility of a one (1) year moratorium on migrant housing and migrant camp permits. This will allow staff to take inventory of currently licensed locations, determine the needs for adequate and safe migrant housing, and ensure locations fit with Hendry County future Land Use regulations. The Commissioner request this item be brought before the board at the second meeting in March.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Little Bit Country Musical Revue March 31

LABELLE, FL. -- Get ready to tap your feet and dance in your seat as the Firehouse Singers present “A Little Bit Country” Musical Revue. You will step back in time and enjoy some of your favorite country songs stating from the 1950’s and then flash forward to some familiar country tunes of present day. 

Come out and support your local theatre and show the Firehouse Singers you appreciate their hard work and dedication to entertain you! This wonderful show is produced and directed by Nick Fidanza. The show runs March 31st, April 1, 2 & 6, 7, 8, 9, 2017 (Thurs, Fri, Sat shows start at 7pm and the Sunday shows are a 2pm matinee).

Front Row Seated: Katie Redmond, at the piano Sally Gillespy, Second Row: Elizabeth Bumgarner, Tina Kirby, Barbara Dinsmore, DeAnne Sawyer, Donna Baines, Sue Wild, Back Row: Ed Soulliere, Bob Heidenreich, Don Dinsmore, Bill Bower Jesse Cuello

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Heart Month In Hendry County

Hendry County— February is American Heart Month and it is a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health and help fight heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in Florida and the nation.

Photo: Staff at Hendry County Health Department in LaBelle

“Approximately 14% of our communities have had a heart attack, angina, or coronary heart disease according to a recent study. Taking small steps to permanently improve your health can have lasting impact to your quality of life” stated Joe Pepe, Administrator/Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties.

Each year, heart disease causes one in four deaths in the United States. There were 42,835 heart attack hospitalizations in Florida in 2014 or an average of 117 heart attack hospitalizations each day. About half of all Americans have at least one of the three risk factors for heart disease which include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. While all Americans are at risk for heart disease, the non-Hispanic black community is at the greatest risk.

The department recently launched a new pilot program in Hendry to combat heart disease called Heart Heath Plus. The pilot program is being conducted in 17 Florida counties that showed the greatest need for heart disease prevention programs. Heart Health Plus implements evidence-based strategies to engage faith-based organizations, health systems and local communities in heart disease awareness and prevention activities.

Hendry County’s Heart Health Plus program is working with churches in Harlem and 2 Hispanic churches to be members of 100 Congregations as part of the Million Hearts campaign. Participants will learn about ways to get healthier and will be offered classes for diabetes prevention, diabetes self-management and tobacco cessation.

Many of the risk factors for heart disease can be eliminated with diet, exercise and taking steps to quit smoking. During American Heart Month, follow these simple tips to keep your heart healthy and fight heart disease.

· Add exercise to your daily routine, even if it’s just taking regular walks with family and friends;

· Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about your heart health;

· Increase healthy eating by cooking heart healthy meals; and

· Take steps to quit smoking by utilizing the Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way Program.

On February 3rd, the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties celebrated Go Red for Women’s Health Day by wearing red and distributing information about women and heart disease.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Learn About Bridge Changes At Swamp Cabbage Fest

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Department of Transportation will have a booth at the Swamp Cabbage Festival to speak with festival attendees, provide project information, and answer questions about proposed improvements to the bridge on SR 29/Bridge Street over the Caloosahatchee River in LaBelle.

The improvements consist of strengthening the steel and concrete beams on the bridge. During construction the bridge will be closed for periods of time and traffic will be detoured.

The festival is Saturday and Sunday February 25 and 26 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Barron Park on Desoto Avenue in LaBelle.

Obituaries- Lionel Beatty, Carl Mueller

Dr. Lionel Eugene Beatty, age 84, of Clewiston, passed away February 10, 2017 in West Palm Beach. He was born May 1, 1932 in Clearwater, FL, to the late Clifford Danvers and the late Betty Agnes (Chalker) Beatty. 

He served in the Air Force. Lionel served the community as the first Hendry County County Administrator for 20 years and a licensed Chiropractor for 10 years. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Clewiston and also served as a Deacon.

Survivors include his wife of fifty-two years: Grace Christine (Giddens) Beatty, son: Matthew Alan (Olga Torres) Beatty of Clewiston, daughter: Michele Leigh (Richard) Jones of Winter Garden, brother: James Clifford (Gladys) Beatty of Lake Placid, mother in law: Grace F. Giddens of Clewiston, grandchildren: Brooke Jahn (Garrett), Taylor Galarneau (Hunter), Jordan and Kenadi Jones, great-grandchildren: Emsley, Lawson and Maddox and many nieces and nephews to whom he was beloved "Unkie".

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, February 15, 2017, 11:00 am at First Baptist Church Of Clewiston in Clewiston with Pastor Mike Brennan officiating, Interment will follow in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation will be Wednesday at First Baptist Church from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Lionel's name to First Baptist Church of Clewiston or St. Jude Children's Hospital. Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - Clewiston.

Carl Noel Mueller, age 78, of Clewiston, passed away February 9, 2017 in Clewiston. He was born Dec. 13, 1938 in Milwaukee, WI, to Robert A. and Agnes (Graczyk) Mueller.

Survivors include his wife: Jacquelynne Alyce (Heinen) Mueller, son: Carl N. Mueller, Jr., daughters: Dawn M. Cole, Sandra L. Avello, Kerry S. Mueller, Robin A. Ramirez, Shari L. Massucco and Tracey A. Palame,of Robert A. and Agnes (Graczyk) Mueller, brother: Robert Mueller, Jr., sister: Katherine Prepodnik, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Cremation Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Obituaries - Binford, Weddle, Pettry

Stanley E. Binford, age 77, of LaBelle, passed away February 2, 2017 in Lehigh Acres.

He was born Jan. 23, 1940 in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Loren H and Florence (Doles) Binford. Stanley was married for 38 to Ethel Binford, she preceded him in death on May 12, 2012. Stanley worked as a Grove Manager for many years around LaBelle. Along with Ethel, they owned and operated B & B Café for many years in LaBelle. Stanley was a friendly man who never met a stranger. He was a great husband to Ethel, loving father to his daughter, Beth and a loving grandfather to his grandchildren; Lizabeth McKinney, Sandra Van Wagner and Timmy Van Wagner.

Stanley leaves behind his loving family; Beth Van Wagner and her husband Tim of LaBelle, grandchildren, Lizabeth McKinney, Sandra Van Wagner, Timmy Van Wagner and a host of extended family members including, nieces, nephews and close friends.

Cremation arrangements being entrusted to Akin-Davis Funeral Home – LaBelle.

Pamela Lynn Davidson Weddle passed on peacefully in her sleep Saturday, February 4th at 4:35 after an eight year battle with cancer. Her husband Jim was with her. 

She was born to William and Phyllis Davidson on November 10, 1953. She is survived by her husband of 31 years, Jim Weddle, daughter Heather Hurt (husband Terry and W.P.), son Nathan Brown, son Mark Glenwood Weddle (wife Athena, Mara,Tristan, Charlie and Eleanore Lynn) mother Phyllis Davidson, mother-in-law Ruby Weddle Kendrick(Noel), brother Timothy (wife Terri, Sarah and Angela), brother Dennis (wife Cathy, Rebekah, and Troy), brother Thomas(wife Sharon,Ashley and Austin), and numerous other family and friends. 

She was preceded in death by her father William F. Davidson in 1996 and her father-in-law Glenwood Weddle in 1997. As she wished, internment of her ashes will be in the Weddle family plot in Brodhead, Kentucky to the right of her beloved father-in-law at a private family service to be held at a later date. 

Sympathy and condolences may be expressed to: Jim Weddle and family, 14 Cypress Ct. SW, LaBelle, Florida 33935. The family would like to take this opportunity to thank the following for their loving and compassionate services: Dr. Ramon. L Carroll, Hendry Regional Medical Center, Hope Hospice staff, and Akins-Davis Funeral Home.

Mrs. Bertha Jane Pettry, age 82 of South Bay, passed away on February 6, 2017 at Hospice of Palm Beach County in West Palm Beach.

She was born in Beckley, West Virginia to John N. and Dolly Athey Daniel. She married Aaron Beldon Pettry on December 18, 1951; he preceded her in death on November 26, 2011. Bertha was a loving wife, sister, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and will be greatly missed by her entire family.

She leaves behind her two daughters: Lillian "Lee" Sutterfield, Dollie Mayo, brothers; Eddie Daniel, Kelly Daniel, sisters; Ruth , Louise , Mary , grandchildren: Dollynn Lee, John Earl, Edward Ray, Mark Edward, Terria Ann, Stefanie Aryn, Aaron Brian, Bertha Katelynn, Great Grandchildren: Brittany Leigh, Shayna Michelle, Timothy Joshua, Aaron Daniel, Madison Paige, John Thomas, Mark Edward, Jolee Inez, Lilee Elisabeth

She was preceded in death by: both of her parents, husband; Arron B. Pettry, great grandson; Marshall Sutterfield.

The funeral service will be held on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at in Akin-Davis Funeral Home with Rev. officiating, visitation will be Monday evening in the funeral home from 6-8 p.m. Interment will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery next to her husband.

Guilty Plea In Muslim Hate Crimes

FORT MYERS, FL. -- James Benjamin Jones, 35, pleaded guilty today to two federal hate crimes for threatening two Muslim grocery stores in Fort Myers, Florida, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III for the Middle District of Florida.

During the plea proceedings, Jones admitted that he threatened the owners of two Muslim grocery stores last year. In June, he threatened to harm the owner of Halal Meat and Grocery, if he did not close down his business. Specifically, Jones threatened the owner “to shut down the business” and said that “four people will come with guns and they will blow up [the owner]” if the store was not closed in one month. 

The defendant further stated that he and others would be “keeping an eye” on the owner to ensure that the owner was closing the business, as Jones and others “will blow up all Muslims and get this land back.” Later in July, Jones threatened the owner of Sahara Mediterranean Market to close his business down. Jones told the owner of this grocery store that he (Jones) was from “the good temple” and that “we decided whatever happened in Orlando is not gonna (sic) happen again. 

We don’t need no halal business in the area either you or the other guys (referring to the Halal Meat and Grocery Store) back there.” Jones then told the owner, “so for your safety and your family’s safety, you got two months to go, to leave.”

“The defendant made violent threats in an attempt to extinguish people’s economic livelihood simply because of their religion,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Wheeler. “The Justice Department is committed to vigorously prosecuting the federal laws that prohibit such conduct.”

Monday, February 06, 2017

Old Timers Dinner February 23

LABELLE, FL. -- LaBelle Heritage Museum's 22nd Annual Old Timers Dinner is set for Thursday, February 23, at the LaBelle Civic Center behind LaBelle City Hall at 481 W. Hickpochee Ave. (SR-80 West) with the doors open at 5 o'clock and the dinner, catered by Cassie's Cracker Cookin' & Catering, at 6 o'clock. This event has become the "unofficial" kick-off to LaBelle's Swamp Cabbage Festival Weekend and draws not only LaBelle residents and former residents returning for Swamp Cabbage Festival, along with seasonal residents but also from surrounding communities including the Seminole Big Cypress Reservation.

Well-known area Florida Cracker raconteur Billy Murphy will be joined by Woody Hanson, direct descendant of Fort Myers first civilian resident Manuel A. Gonzalez and grandson of the "White Medicine Man" W. Stanley Hanson --mentor and advisor to the Miccosukees in the Big Cypress, to emcee the evening's events including the live and fabulous dessert auctions. Some items worthy of being included in the live auction will be made available at the silent auction. Local artist Tracey Langford is donating a new painting of a Seminole village for the live auction, and Terrence McCourt, retired LaBelle Middle School Shop Teacher, has already donated a 40" handmade wooden semi tractor with lowboy trailer and earthmover and a game set with board and four different games for the live auction, and the Seminole Tribe usually donates several items for the live auction. There will also be a 50/50 drawing. The auctions and 50/50 drawing are fundraisers to benefit LaBelle Heritage Museum's programs and operating expenses. Meal ticket sales cover the expenses involved in putting on the dinner itself.

Ticket cost $25 per person and are available online at for credit and debit card sales. Pat Johnson will be at the museum, located at 360 North Bridge St. (SR-29), on Friday and Saturday through February 18 for cash and check ticket sales.

Drinking Habits 2 At Theatre

LABELLE, FL. -- Drinking Habits 2 is a comedy/farce sequel to Drinking Habits running at the Firehouse Theatre February 23-24-25-26 and March 2-3-4-5 as
Sister Augusta and Sister Philamena have grown weary of life in the convent So when they receive word that an orphanage will be closed down unless the convent can raise the money to save it, the sisters plot to make their award-winning wine, hiding it from the ever-watchful eye of Mother Superior.

Meanwhile, Paul is still reeling from having been left at the altar a second time by his former fiancée, Sally. Determined to save the orphanage he grew up in, Paul, along with Mother Superior, Father Chenille, his very pregnant sister Kate and her husband George, decide to mount a play to raise the money the orphanage needs.

But when Mother Superior believes she’s had a vision, George can’t remember his lines, and Kate can’t stop her uncontrollable cravings, things are thrown into chaos just as the curtain rises.

Bird Watching Event To Watch

LABELLE, FL. -- Mark your calendar for the upcoming free programs hosted by Hendry-Glades Audubon which will be held at the Hendry County Extension Dallas Townsend Building 1085 Pratt Boulevard in LaBelle. 

On Monday February 13th at 7 pm Diana Umpierre, representing the Night Sky Conservancy of Florida, will present a program on the “Dark Skies of Hendry and Glades County. 

 At 7 pm on Monday March 20th Dr. Paul Gray, Florida Audubon’s Okeechobee Scientist, presentation will be “Everglades Birds and Restoration”. 

On Monday April 17 at 7 pmCharlie Ewell will share highlights of “Spring Bird Migration”.

For information about Hendry-Glades Audubon or STA 5/6 Bird Trips contact Butch Wilson863-983-2870 or Margaret England 863-517-0202 email:

Church Supper To Go Friday

LABELLE, FL. -- Eat in or take home for family supper. Mary's famous meatballs with Barb's sauce, fresh salad, Ice Tea, desert this Friday, February 10, 2017, Serving 5 PM till 7 PM or until sold out at the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 1098 Collingswood Pkwy. just south of SR 80 in Port LaBelle.
Please call 863-675-4311 for tickets, at $8.00 each.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

River Boat Tours Feb 25-26

LABELLE, FL. -- LaBelle Heritage Museum's "Caloosahatchee Excursion" river tours were so successful at last year's 50th Anniversary Swamp Cabbage Festival that the museum enlisted Riverside Real Estate, Inc., as a corporate sponsor and booked Captain John C. Cookman's M/V River Queen for both Saturday, February 25, and Sunday, February 26, for a total of eight approximately two hour tours of the Caloosahatchee from the LaBelle Wharf at Barron Park to the Fort Denaud Bridge and back. The 40-passenger River Queen now boasts a restroom facility.

Guides for the tours are Hendry County Science Educator and "river rat" Scott Cooper for both 8:30 a.m. tours, LaBelle's own Scott Perry, founder and director of the popular Summer Children's Fossil Camps, for 11 a.m. both days, News-Press columnist and author of "Along the Caloosahatchee" Amy Bennett Williams for the 1:30 p.m. cruise on Saturday, with Joe Thomas, local historian and sometimes professor of Florida History at FSW State College, covering the 1:30 p.m. cruise on Sunday. Margaret England, award-winning president of the Hendry-Glades Audubon Society rounds out this year's guides for the 4 o'clock cruise on both days. Members of FSW State College's Hendry-Glades Center Phi Theta Kappa, International Honorary Society are volunteering to help both days.

Advance tickets are available online at for $30

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Syfrett Feed Company Charged With Misbranding

OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- A civil complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Syfrett Feed Company Inc. of Okeechobee, Florida; its owner and President Charles B. Syfrett I; its Vice President Melissa S. Montes De Oca; and its Operations Manager Charles B. Syfrett II to stop the adulteration and misbranding of medicated animal feed in violation of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), the Department of Justice announced today.

Syfrett Feed Company Inc. manufactures and distributes medicated and non-medicated feed, primarily for food-producing animals and fowl. The complaint alleges that the defendants adulterated and misbranded animal feeds while such feeds were held for sale. The Department filed the complaint at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act is designed to make sure that medicated animal feed has sufficient labeling to ensure its safe use,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Department of Justice will work closely with the FDA to ensure that medicated animal feeds are manufactured in compliance with current good manufacturing practices.”

According to the complaint, the company’s medicated animal feeds failed to list the name of the active drug ingredients on the label of the medicated animal feeds and failed to include adequate instructions for use on the labels of the medicated animal feeds. For example, as noted in the complaint, the defendants did not include adequate instructions when they omitted dose administration instructions, feeding limitations and/or cautionary statements for use of the drugs in combination with other drugs on the label of the medicated feeds.

The complaint further alleges that the feed was not manufactured in conformity with current good manufacturing practices for medicated feeds. Specifically, according to the complaint, the defendants: failed to establish and maintain adequate procedures for the identification, storage, and inventory control of drugs intended for use in their medicated feeds; failed to establish and use adequate procedures for all equipment used in the production and distribution of medicated feeds to avoid unsafe contamination of medicated and non-medicated feeds; and failed to adopt labeling practices that assure that the correct labels are used for the medicated feeds they manufacture.

As noted in the complaint, the company conducted a recall of its non-medicated horse pellet food in April 2014 when customers complained that their horses were falling ill. According to the complaint, 15 horses had to be euthanized after consuming the company’s horse pellet food and in September 2014, two more horses had to be euthanized after consuming the company’s horse pellet food. Following these events, the company discontinued manufacturing medicated and non-medicated feeds for horses, according to the complaint.

According to the complaint, FDA conducted inspections of Syfrett Feed’s facility located at 3079 NW 8th Street, Okeechobee, Florida, in January 2014, June 2015 and June 2016. In 2014, following the inspection, FDA sent a Warning Letter to Mr. Syfrett I, notifying him of the significant current good manufacturing practices deviations and misbranding violations observed during the January 2014 inspection. In September 2015, FDA wrote to Mr. Syfrett I, stating that Syfrett Feed had not taken adequate measures to correct the current good manufacturing practice deviations and misbranding violations noted in FDA’s 2014 Warning Letter and 2015 inspection. According to the complaint, Syfrett Feed did not respond to FDA’s September 2015 letter.

Obituaries- Martin Fradenburg, Marshall Crumb

Martin "Bo" Fradenburg, age 70, of LaBelle, passed away January 26, 2017 while under Hospice. He was born July 21, 1946 in Bessemer, AL, to the late William Jackson and Ruby (Posey) Fradenburg. He was preceded in death by his son Charles W. Fradenburg.

Survived by his wife: Joan H. (Palisay) Fradenburg ; daughters: Lori (John) Wood and Fawn (Mikie) Owens, Grandsons; Austin C. Fradenburg and Michael Owens. , Granddaughters; Casey and Amelia Wood. . Bo served in the Transportation division in the Army, He Worked as a Sheet Metal Mechanic for over 25 years. His hobbies included working on Craftsman Boats and Enjoyed Motorcycles

Services announced at a later time.

Marshall Dean Crumb born May 14, 1939, in Jamestown, New York, to June (Johnson) Crumb and Arthur Crumb, passed away suddenly on January 28, 2017, at his home in Pioneer Plantation. 

For those who didn't know Marshall, he is dedicated to his family with a heart of gold. He is gentle and kind, loving and strong, a man who could do or build anything. He taught his children and grandchildren to work hard at everything we set out to do; be themselves no matter what other's thought; to think beyond the thoughts of other's, to stop and smell the cut-grass, to understand the mechanics of all moving parts, to be proud and humble, to love without condition; to take the high road even when it meant you were in for a long hard road; to be the first to rise and the last to finish; to never give up; and, most importantly to always make time for a cup of coffee with the ones you love.

Loved and adored by: Wife, Mary Lou (Prescott) Crumb; and five (5) children: Michael D. Crumb, Lori L. (Crumb) Wilson married to Son-in-Law Charles A. Wilson, Milton F. Cosmo, Johnny P. Cosmo married to Jennifer (Graven) Cosmo, and Mary A. Cosmo, Esq., married to Ross A. Duff.

Six (6) Grandchildren: Michael D. Crumb, Anthony C. Wilson, Christopher A. Wilson, Matthew C. Beamish, Tyler P. Cosmo, Alyssa C. Wilson.

Celebration of life was held on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, starting at 11:30 a.m. at the Pioneer Plantation Community Center, 990 Panama Ave., Clewiston, Florida 33440, to celebrate together the many memories of Marshall Dean Crumb.

Drama Club Entertains Kiwanis

LABELLE, FL. -- The Junior Thespians of Florida, Drama Club provided some wonderful entertainment for the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle on Tuesday evening, January 3rd.

Pictured: Principal Ken Pickles, teacher Olivia Billings & The Thespian group who will be competing in a National Honor Society Competition. Photo by Helen Mead

At the January 17th Kiwanis Club of LaBelle Meeting, Guest speaker Bruce Boyd spoke about the Kiwanis Florida Foundation, Grants and how the funds help the sponsored youth programs such as Key Club (LaBelle High School), Builders Club (West Glades School) and the Kiwanis Aktion Club.