Thursday, May 26th, 2022

Hurrican Season

NOAA is predicting 14 to 21 named storms, 6 to 10 hurricanes, and 3 to 6 strong storms with winds of over 1 hundred and 11 miles per hour this year. FEMA Director Deanna Criswell urged the public to be prepared for another active season. NOAA Administrator Richard Spinrad says, “and remember, it only takes one storm to damage your home, neighborhood and community. And Preparedness is key to the resilience that we need and now is the time to get ready for the upcoming hurricane season”. Spinrad is an internationally renowned scientist with four decades of ocean, atmosphere, and climate science and policy expertise. He was sworn in last June.

VITA Program

The United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program happily announces that its volunteers provided free tax preparation services to over 6,800 individuals and families who received around $10.8 million in tax refunds and saved over $2 million in tax preparation fees. The VITA program says this is money that goes back into our local community, which is especially helpful during a time when so many families who are seeing the cost of living rise daily and could use that money to pay higher rent and medical bills, cover escalating prices for food, and gas to get to work. The VITA program serves households earning $66,000 or less by preparing and e-filing their federal tax returns for FREE. For those who still need to file their 2021 tax return, United Way has four year-round VITA sites, one being in LaBelle. Those who prefer to file on their own can do so free of charge at as long as their total household income is under $66,000.

Evidence Search Underway in Hendry Related to Bee Love Slater Homicide

On December 23, 2021 Glades County resident Marcus Thomas was arrested in connection with the homicide of Bolman “Bee Love” Slater, a transgender woman from Pahokee.  Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Detectives have organized a massive dive expedition to search a canal along the northbound lanes of U.S.27, north of Clewiston.  LEO partners from Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Palm Beach, Highlands County, Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC), and Cape Coral Police Department. Over seventy- five (75) personnel including a team of divers are involved with this search. Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden says, “Our Detectives with the Major Crimes Unit are relentless.  We are going to continue to follow up on every lead we get.  We want justice for Slater: and closure for the family.” Detectives with Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit are continuing to seek out information and look for potential evidence related to this crime.

Governor Makes “Time” List for 2022

Time magazine announced Monday that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would be a part of “The 100 Most Influential People of 2022″. The outlet reports, during the pandemic, most people stayed home, and those who didn’t likely moved to Florida. Despite relentless criticism, Governor Ron DeSantis kept schools open, ensured Florida’s economy remained open for business, and allowed individuals to determine their own risk tolerance. Along with other praises, the periodical says DeSantis has demonstrated his environmental credentials with major investments to restore America’s Everglades, preserve and expand wildlife corridors, and protect Florida’s precious waterways.

Housing Counseling and Financial Guidance

So there is a lot going on in the housing market right now. Am I ready to buy? How’s my credit? What’s the homebuying process like?  The United Way House in LaBelle is offering a free service to help potential homebuyers. They provide HUD-certified housing advisors who will give one-on-one housing counseling and financial guidance. Do you want to learn about housing counseling services and aff­ordable homeownership programs? Visit the United Way House at 133 N. Bridge Street, LaBelle now through the month of June from 9 a.m. to noon.