Sunday Morning News for Hendry and Glades County, Florida - 2 weeks ago

Sunday Morning News

Sunday Morning News

for LaBelle, Clewiston, Moore Haven and the Lake Okeechobee area

 Online Since 1996 - "Your Newspaper Without The Paper"

August 23, 2009
This is an archived page. Search for stories at: News Archives (page left)
More Daily Local News Stories on the Sunday Morning News/Southwest Florida Online News Blog pages: http:/ Including searchable index, photos, videos, and archives of all 2000 stories since May, 2004

Video Stories: videos

LaBelle Wharf Project Underway

Barron Park Gets New Docks

LABELLE, FL. -- The City of LaBelle has received a Florida Boaters Improvement Program grant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in the amount of $165,000 for the LaBelle Barron Park Wharf project at on the Caloosahatchee River.

Based upon a conceptual plan and with the assistance of a local engineer and surveyor, the City was able to secure the necessary permits from the Department of Environmental Protection, South Florida Water Management District, and US Army Corps of Engineers.

At the July City Commission meeting, Honc Marine submitted the lowest and winning bid for $114,056 for the major construction elements, and was awarded the contract to begin construction. A symbolic ground breaking ceremony was held on August 18, 2009, with Mayor Paul Puletti, City Commissioners Hilda Zimmerly and David Lyons, Michael Boyle, several design team members and the contractor.

Barron Park, a popular community recreational area, enjoys a long history as one of LaBelle's favorite attractions where locals and visitors fish, picnic, play and gather for regional events, festivals, and concerts. Along the river, the Park is minimally landscaped with well-worn grass and few trees.

The wharf project will not only make the Park safer and more user friendly, it will complement its picturesque location along the river with a new retaining wall, a shoreline sidewalk with bench seating and planting beds, dockage for up to 4 boats, and a 25-foot fishing pier.

The new dock space is designed for smaller recreational boats (24-feet in length and less) and is limited to short-term, daily use. No shore-side utilities such as electric and water will be provided. Sailboats with keels and other boats with a draft greater than 2-2.5 feet will not be accommodated.

Susan English Accused Of Grand Theft

Former Hendry County Jail Administrator Charged With Grand Theft

LABELLE, FL. -- Former Hendry Sheriff Deputy Major Susan Russe Sibbald English has been charged with grand theft and official misconduct. English worked at the Hendry county jail in LaBelle as administrator under former Hendry Sheriff Ronnie Lee.

English, 52 years of age, has been under investigation since at least March by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. She is charged with allegedly cashing checks from the Hendry County Jail canteen and taking over $120,000 between March 2006 and October 2008.

Reportedly English wrote and cashed 107 checks from the jail account and the funds were used for her personal use according to the charges. The checks would have words such as ''cash drawer'' or ''petty cash drawer.''

Ronnie Lee promoted English from Captain to Major, giving her a salary of $65,940.

English turned herself in for booking at the Hendry county jail in LaBelle. She owns a home on 2.44 acres with her husband James Ray English at 4552 Russe Lane, east of the Fort Denaud Cemetery in western Hendry county.

Previous Sunday Morning News story on jail theft allegations

Flora And Ella's Restaurant - No Food Manager

Eight Food Safety Violations - Six Critical At Flora and Ella's

LABELLE, FL. -- The state of Florida's Division of Hotels and Restaurants is required to do periodic spot inspections of restaurants, hotels and motels each year, and publishes the results of each inspection online. The Sunday Morning News looked at the most recent health inspection of LaBelle's Flora and Ella's Restaurant at 550 W. State Road 80, probably the most well known restaurant in Hendry county.

A state food safety inspector observed the violations May 21, 2009 finding eight violations including six critical, which may be typical of a random spot check at this restaurant. The inspector found among other things, no certified food manager and a dirty microwave.

A summary of the violations found during the inspection are listed below. The department cites violations of Florida's sanitation and safety laws, which are based on the standards of U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Food Code. In general, critical violations are those that, if not corrected, are more likely to contribute directly to food contamination, illness or environmental damage.

Although the report uses the industry-standard term "critical", varying degrees of severity and potential risk to the public require inspectors to assess each situation in determining the appropriate action. In addition, while an establishment may have multiple violations, the inspectors' training and judgment formulate the overall result of the inspection to ensure the public health and safety. While most establishments correct all violations in a timely manner (often during the inspection), the division's procedures are designed to compel compliance with all violations through follow-up visits, administration action or closure when necessary.

Violation    Observation
03B-03-1    Critical. Potentially hazardous food not held at 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above. 122 F chili in kettle Corrected On Site. reheated and dial turned up
03B-03-1    Critical. Potentially hazardous food not held at 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above. soup in steam table Corrected On Site. reheated
05-09-1    Critical. No conspicuously located thermometer in holding unit. small salad cooler
22-19-1    Critical. Observed interior of microwave soiled. food debris, service station
33-12-1    Observed dumpster rusted out on bottom.
37-11-1    Observed attached equipment soiled with accumulated dust. fan guard in bakery reachin cooler
53A-09-1    Critical. No currently certified food service manager on duty with four or more employees engaged in food preparation. 5+ on duty
53A-19-1    Critical. Observed expired Food Manager Certification. Debbie Klemmer, certification expired 5/11/2009 Is another CFM for establishment.

Two Hendry Residents In Serious Condition

Crash On State Road 80 - Two Injured

LABELLE, FL. -- A crash on State Road 80, one mile west of Goodno Road on Friday afternoon has left a LaBelle woman and a Clewiston resident in serious condition.

Kristina Lopez, 22 of LaBelle was driving a 2003 Huyundai westbound and crossed the centerline. Voncille Burden, 71 of Clewiston swerved to avoid Lopez, but was hit. Voncille's vehicle rotated and overturned once, coming to rest upright.  Both victims are in stable condition at Lee Memorial Hospital.

Lopez was charged with failing to drive within one single lane.

In The Service - Amanda Hudson

LaBelle Woman Graduates At Lackland AFB

LABELLE, FL. -- Air Force Airman Amanda Hudson graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.
The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.
Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.
She is the daughter of Debbie and Mike Hudson of Evans Road, Labelle, Fla.Hudson is a 2006 graduate of Labelle High School.

Tom McGill Still Wanted In Hendry And Okeechobee County

McGill No Show For Court - Bond Company Forfeiting $8,500

LABELLE, FL. -- Law Enforcement is still looking for Thomas William McGill Jr. who failed to show for a court hearing in LaBelle April 14th. McGill is charged with possession of a concealed weapon by a convicted felon and grand theft in Hendry County.

His bail bondsman from Arcadia will be out $8,500 if McGill isn't brought in by September 9th. Three outstanding Okeechobee county warrants will leave bondsmen there $55,000 poorer as well, if McGill ever gets jailed, and a bonding company puts up the money, and he flees again. That's the bond amount he will have to come up with to get out of an Okeechobee jail.

McGill, born September 15, 1980, 5' 11'', 170 pounds, was convicted May 26, 2004 of 1st and 3rd degree larceny, and therefore cannot possess a weapon or ammunition.

According to the crime report filed in the criminal court case, McGill is wanted on the latest charges after an investigation of the theft of a safe containing $25,000 from the La Mexicana convenience store on South State Road 29 led to finding McGill and stolen property on B Road south of LaBelle.

The report says on December 14, 2008 Hendry Sheriff's investigators arrived at a parcel of land leased by Thomas McGill, Sr. and encountered McGill, Jr. on the premises. McGill Jr. would not allow deputies to enter the property. McGill told deputies he called his father for permission to enter and then told investigators his father refused permission. However, McGill Sr. later said he received no call from his son.

McGill's mother Patricia McGill later gave permission to enter the mostly wooded lot, and investigators found 33 22-caliber bullets in a door panel in McGill's truck. On the property they found a travel trailer owned by Isaias Delacruz that had been stolen in November 2008 while parked at LaBelle Dodge, according to the report.

Also found were an air conditioner air handler, a bank ATM machine, a power nail gun, truck tool box, and power paint sprayer.

McGill was finally arrested in Arcadia, Florida February 23, 2009 after an officer spotted him apparently sleeping in a vehicle parked at an Amoco gas pump while the engine was running. Found in the vehicle, according to the report filed by Arcadia authorities were vicodin pills, a crack pipe, and marijuana.

McGill was let out of jail the next day on $8,500 bond put up by an Arcadia bondsman, but failed to show up for a Hendry court date in LaBelle July 7.

The Circuit Judge in LaBelle has ordered an arrest warrent to pick him up and to hold McGill this time around, so he won't be able to bond out again.

In Okeechobee county, he has arrest warrants out for burglary of a structure while armed, $30,000 bond; grand theft firearm, $10,000 bond; and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, $15,000 bond.

McGill is reported to be armed, so do not attempt to approach or apprehend him. If you know of his whereabouts please contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477) or Hendry County Sheriff's Office at 674-5600.

Previous Thomas McGill Jr. Wanted Story 

 LaBelle In 3-D Webcam 

LaBelle's Live Daily Webcast Features 3-D!

Inspired by the latest 3D movies and television broadcasts, Don Browne is incorporating live 3-D live video in some portions of his daily broadcasts on Browne, a featured broadcaster/producer on the worldwide live webcam network, began showing live video in 3D from LaBelle, Fl. in his informal live daily broadcasting.

He's on the internet daily, where anyone using 3D glasses with red and cyan (blue-green) lenses can see the stereo 3D vision broadcasts at
The glasses necessary for the internet 3D broadcasts are "standard" 3D lens colors and are different from the Super Bowl 3D glasses or polarized glasses at movie theaters, so he urges to make sure viewers have the standard red/cyan glasses.  (Above: To see in 3-D use red and cyan 3D glasses. Photo by Don Browne)

Port LaBelle Inn and Hotel
Rooms and Suites
Meeting Rooms - Restaurant and Lounge

Southwest Florida Online On Google
News Now On Google Hosted Site - Easy Search For Key Words And Subjects

LABELLE, FL. -- After 12 years of publishing Hendry and Glades county news and informaton pages on the internet, the Sunday Mornng News and Southwest Florda Online webpages, formerly hosted by AOL, have moved to Google hosted webpages.

AOL announced in October 2008 that AOL will no longer be hosting webpages and blogs on their network. AOL continues its free news and entertainment services along with free email service, but ended hosting of individual webpages and blogs.

The Sunday Morning News , is now on Google hosted pages. The new Google hosted web pages offer new features including an easy "search site" button to search the entire Sunday Morning News and Southwest Florida Online webpages using Google's search engine.

Enter a word in the  "search site" box at the upper right hand corner of any page,  and all pages that include that word will pop up. Also very handy is the "sitemap" link on the left panel of every page, providing an alphabetized list of all the pages.  Click on the "sitemap" link and all the site's web pages pop up for easy navigation.


The Way Back Machine - News Searching
Look Back At 11-Year Sunday Morning News Archive

LABELLE, FL. --  Looking for an internet page from years ago? You can find many archived web pages from the past at the "Way Back Machine", a feature of, keeping for posterity webpages from the past.

The Sunday Morning News is archived as far back at February 1999, and includes over 100 weekly editions of the Hendry and Glades area news pages.  The archive says it  posts the web pages about six months after the pages are collected. The last 10 years of the Southwest Florida Online pages and issues of all the previous years of the Sunday Mornng News and information web sites are archived at for anyone looking for old pages.

The "Way Back Machine" can search for any web address, just type it in and see what the web page looked like in the past.*/   - Sunday Morning News "Way Back" Archive from 1999 

Sunday Morning News Polls
LABELLE, FL. -- Over the last year we've published reader polls on many subjects. The latest poll asks if the stock market crash and banking crisis has yet affected you. To respond to the latest poll or any of the previous polls, and see the results of other reader's answers go to:
Sunday Morning News Polls - Current and Past Polls

 Over 750,000 Visitors To LaBelle's Live Video Webcast
Click Here To Visit The  Live LaBelle Videocast and Chat Room

Vistors from all over world visiting LaBelle, Florida via Live internet broadcast - Now In 3-D Video!

Don Browne has been publicizing LaBelle and Hendry-Glades county for over 10 years though his Southwest Florida Online web pages featuring news and information about the Hendry-Glades-Lake Okeechobee region. In mid-November 2007 he added a live video cast from a webcam mounted on his laptop computer to spread the word around the world about Southwest Florida, and the LaBelle/Hendry/Glades county area. In February 2009 live 3-D video was added to the daily webcasts.

In the past two years, almost a million visitors from teens to seniors have come from all over the world to visit LaBelle's only  LIVE "lifecasting" video cast, including viewers from  Brazil, Sweden, Russian Federation, England, and a surprise visit from a French man who was climbing Mourt Everest, the world's highest mountain.  A map on the webcast's video page shows from where the many thousands of visitors are coming each week.
Links about LaBelle's live webcast:

USA Today - Article On Live Video Broadcasting mentioning Don Browne

Orlando,(Fl.) Sentinel YouTube Video About Don Browne and Florida's Live Video Bloggers

Indianapolis (In.) Star - Article About Don Browne And Live Video

How To Watch Free Streaming Sports and TV channels worldwide

Follow Don On Twitter

Watch Don's YouTube Videos

Contest Clue - Near Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis

Sunday Morning News - Spanish Translation - and Other Languages

Read The Sunday Morning News In Your Favorite Language

LABELLE, FL. -- A beta version of the Sunday Morning News blog is now available in Spanish and 10 other languages.  Microsoft is trying out a new online translation service that will allow webpages to be read in 11 different languages. Click  here to see this page in Spanish.

Although not a perfect translation, read your local news in Spanish, or use the translations boxes on the page to choose which language you prefer. Save the page to your bookmarks if you want to come back to the Spanish version at any later time.

This Page Translated To Spanish
Sunday Morning News Blog In Spanish

Commentary by T. W. Bill Neville
Social Democracy?  That's the politically correct designation for the OBAMANATION that, take it or leave it, is what all the "hope and change" evolutionary hypergentics have enabled for today, and countless generations to come.
With the White House in complete control of the media, they continue to try and interject a "sense" of "hope and change" for the better into every proposed and implemented change.  I don't know about you, but the only "sense" they've aroused in me is my olfactory "sense", and I think IT stinks.
After 80 years of witnessing the progress of the U. S. to world class status, I now feel like an illegitimate stepson witnessing the last will and testament of my birth nation.
Abysmal is as abysmal does, and without some semblance of common sense and a true sense of empathy and taking responsibility for the, to date, grievous bills and actions, I truly believe we will be a third country nation in the very near future.
As my Dad used to say, "Don't let the bastards grind you down.  Read between the lines and reduce every situation down to the ridiculous."  So, as so often is the case, I just heard that "all politicians, upon being elected, should be required to wear suits that look like NASCAR uniforms.  Complete with patches that name all of their sponsors and special interest groups."
Obama's apprenticeship experiences as a neighborhood organizer, working with the ACORN group, in Chicago, have more than likely influenced his philosophy that "From little ACORNS, mighty MARXISTS grow."
Mr. Neville, born in Logansport, Indiana was very active in business and community activities; President of the local Jaycees, and spent 4 years in the Indiana National Guard during the Korean war as a First Seargent.  At age 30, he moved family, wife and three sons with one more on the way to Buffalo where he lived for one year before accepting a plastics field sales position in Chicago where his fifth son was born. 
After opening up new sales territories from Chicago to the west coast, he accepted the regional sales manager position for the western half of the U. S. He retired from that position after 40 years in 1993, and built a home in Labelle, Fl.. "I've always enjoyed 'wordsmithing' and story telling, particularly when I feel that my words might either motivate or alleviate any of the many challenges that we each accept every day of our lives just by being here." 

Local Events and Meetings

Daily/Ongoing-The CREW Marsh Hiking Trails are open to the public from sunrise to sunset every day.  Trail maps are available at the trailhead located at 4600 Corkscrew Rd., 2 miles south of State Rd. 82 or 18 miles east of exit 123 off I-75.  For more information go to or call 239-657-2253.

 Send Your Community Announcements 

(Please use normal text formating and no attachments on your emailed annoucements as we do not open attachments)

Thanks for expressing your opinions!


Where was Ronnie Lee? Where was his second in command Devon Land? Where was his Finance Manager Cheryl Hicks? Where was the audits that are supposed to happen during these terms? Where was the bank that the account was held in? I cannot imagine that this occurred all this time without anyone else knowing about it or should have knowing about it.

I wonder now since she is caught, whether she will start spilling the beans on all the "other" activities that occurred during the Lee Administration term(s)and whom were involved.

Makes one wonder since Lee and his attorney St Laurent were also implicated with the Alva Market's Dick Spence and Mike Scott.

Sounds to me as if FDLE needs to dig and not with a shovel but with the biggest backhoe they can find.


Let's see what English does know now and what she bargains with.
Send your comments and community concerns to Letters To The Editor

Sunday Morning News Classified Ads - reaching Hendry and Glades county readers 24/7

Free Ads For Jobs Wanted, Lost And Found. Place your classified ad in the Sunday Morning News/Southwest Florida Online. 

Monthly Rates: $1 per word ($20 minimum please) and your ad runs 24/7 online on the Classified Ad Page for 30 days. Send your classified ad to us by email, and pay securely online by credit card, debit card or check by either PayPal or Amazon.  Thanks to our community of advertisers and readers for 10 years support of Hendry and Glades county first online area news and information!

Special! Got a car to sell or real estate? Run your ad with for only $59 for as long as it takes to sell (Maximum 6 months). Advertise on the Hendry-Glades Sunday Morning News to support the continuation of your free online local news.

If you enjoy the Sunday Morning News online, check out the iTunes "audio" version and please leave a "Comment" at iTunes -  Sunday Morning News audio podcasts .  Free Podcast At  iTunes

Local Area Websites-
Mormon Church  - Who are they and what do they believe?
LIVE Video Blog - Lifecast live video and audio blog from LaBelle
Ask Your Politician - Ask your questions of local officials

Hendry - Glades County Real Estate

Invest Now In Land For Your Future While Prices Are At The Lowest, Value At Its Best

Port LaBelle Banyan Village - Two nice building lots: Olympia Cir. Unit 12, and Morning Lane Unit 10. Port LaBelle Water lines installed. Newest of Port LaBelle neighborhoods, rural setting, beautiful pine tree lined street setting eight miles east of LaBelle and south of State Road 80. Be the first to build in this great area. Email

Port LaBelle - 9012 Largo Cir. in quiet private area of Port LaBelle, cleared quarter acre lot in beautiful tall pine wooded neighborhood. Close to Labelle Middle School. Most convenient scenic location in Port LaBelle's great neighborhood. Email

Port LaBelle - 9045 W. Justice Cir. one mile south of Labelle middle school, buildable quarter-acre with utilities in quiet private section south of Cowboy Way. Email

Clewiston Harlem - -vacant lot zoned single family , build your home here or buy for investment! Buy you investment lots now while prices are low! Click here for map: 1130 Virginia Ave. Email

For Sale 1.29 Acre on State Road 80 east of Pioneer between LaBelle and Clewiston. Last of Joe B. Hendry's personal land holdings who held this lot since 1949. Lot is located just north of SR80 across from Everhigh Acres Rd on the Hilliard Canal. SR80 will be four-laned here in the next few years. Zoned Agricultural (A-2) Email.

See Hendry County Real Estate page for additional real estate details and photos
Real Estate Sevices
Get a current photo of your Hendry county lot or real estate emailed to you within 48 hours. Low cost photo service for property owners. From $39. Email for info.

Advertise your property or real estate for sale or rent! From $15 monthly for 15 words on our classified ad page. See Classified Ads For information:  email Advertisement

StratoNet - Internet access for Hendry county

Internet access for LaBelle and Clewiston by StratoNet. StratoNet, serving Florida since 1992 offers the LaBelle and Clewiston communities a local internet access number. StratoNet has been in the internet business since 1992, and is one of the oldest internet service providers in the state, and now offers LaBelle and Clewiston area internet users a local phone number to access the internet. Rates include unlimited access to a local phone number to access the internet from the LaBelle area. StratoNet has unlimited free technical support for customers and free personal web page space. Call 888-382-8503 or go to for details.

StratoNet service also in Lee, Collier, and Okeechobee counties as well communties around the nation!

Phone toll-free 1-888-382-8503 StratoNet to sign up today!


Need computer help? Contact Gary Peters by email or visit the website of Gary Peters Computer Services in LaBelle.

More area links:

Are you reading this news page? So are thousands of other Hendry and Glades county residents and area visitors....Place An Ad Online. And many thanks to our local businesses and readers for over 12 years!