Thursday, May 19, 2022

Long Time LaBelle Bus Driver Retires

Hendry County School Board members and attendees celebrated retiring bus driver Denise Brookins for 33 years of service at Tuesday night’s meeting. Brookins drove buses for LaBelle transportation, and also performed an array of other duties for the school district during her over 3-decade tenure. Superintendent of schools Michael Swindle says drivers like Denise are what makes the job they do a crucial part of the operation. Many times, giving food, clothes and smiles to kids who may be in need of either or all three. Swindle says she’s welcome to change her mind anytime, and if she wants to keep up her license, she can sub drive or flex drive. The district is currently hiring for bus drivers, on both sides of the county.

Mental Health Services in Hendry County Schools

Experts say, depression and anxiety are on the rise; this rise in cases is specifically affecting kids. Teenagers, for example, have endured lockdowns, distance learning, in-person learning, masks on, then off. Not to mention social media pressures, civil unrest and a war half a world away. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens has 10 counselors including a behavioral health practitioner, a certified state therapist, a psychologist, and drug and alcohol counselor. The Governor was applauded last year for providing $120 million for district Mental Health Assistance programs and $5.5 million for Youth Mental Health Awareness and Assistance. Lynette White, Director of Exceptional Student Education and Student Services for Hendry County Schools says, “We are thankful to have the funding as it has helped us work more directly with students through student counseling, family counseling and preventative interventions at the school sites.” White says the district purchased an evidence-based social-emotional learning program.  It provides lessons across Grades 6-12, that serve as intervention tools for students. White says Grades 6-12 also receive 5 hours of Mental Health Awareness training. 

National Nurses Month

In honor of National Nurses Month, Governor Ron DeSantis announced his approval of over $125 million for nursing education for the 2022 – 2023 Fiscal Year. Additional funding for nurses in this year’s budget will include student loan reimbursement and scholarships for nurses, expanding infrastructure at colleges and universities that provide nursing education, and salary and recruitment incentives for nurses within the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Governor says this investment will support those who serve the complex health care needs of our communities. Nurses comprise the nation’s largest health care profession, and in Florida, DeSantis says, we will always have their backs. To view the National Nurses Month in Florida Proclamation, click here

Roadwork in LaBelle

More roadwork that could affect your daily commute. Today roadwork will be on B Road near the intersection of SR 29, Cedarwood Parkway near the intersection of Helms Road, and the intersection of Forrey Drive and Helms Road in LaBelle. These work areas may be blocked off for a period of time for milling, paving and striping, and pavement marking services. The speed limit will be reduced through the project area. Motorists should use extra caution when traveling through the work zone. Flagmen will be present to help direct traffic. The work should be done in 2 days, with an estimated completion date of May 20th at 5pm.  Please note that this schedule is tentative and subject to change. The Hendry County Engineering Department will notify of any changes.

Free Virtual Workshop

June 15th is National World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder abuse affects one in 10 adults over the age of 60, yet only one in 24 cases are reported to authorities. A free upcoming workshop will provide older adults with the information they need to make informed decisions to protect themselves and others against elder abuse. The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida is holding a free Virtual Seminar to raise awareness about Elder Abuse. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, June 15th 10am – 11:30am. You can register to attend here:  Meeting Registration – Zoom  To sign up for the workshop visit