Wednesday April 7, 2021

The Lee Board of County Commissioners awarded an extra (SHIP) grant totaling $294,884 to local partners for affordable housing. The grants awarded include Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties, in the amount of $100,000 for construction of two, single-family houses, for two very low-income households, with priority for households with special needs. The SHIP program is funded by revenues collected by the state from a surcharge on documentary stamps and distributed to counties and local governments as grants. The Commissioners also voted to accept a $180,000 Grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for a water quality and treatment research project. The research will take place at the C-43 Water Quality Treatment and Testing Project Boma site in Glades County, which includes 12 tanks containing wetland vegetation.

The Glades Electric Educational Foundation is awarding $47,000 in scholarships to high school seniors this year. The foundation awarded eight $5,000 scholarships to be disbursed over four years and seven one-time $1,000 awards. A press release reports that 15 high school seniors throughout Glades, Hendry, Highlands, and Okeechobee counties, were selected as scholarship recipients. Students were chosen based upon academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, essays, and financial need. Scholarships are funded by unclaimed capital credits. Scholarship winners will be honored at the Glades Electric Educational Foundation’s Youth Scholarship Banquet, to be held on April 27 at 6 p.m.

National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day is observed every year on April 10th.  Since that date falls on a Saturday this year, Hendry and Glades County Health Department will offer free HIV testing for anyone on Friday, April 9th, and Monday, April 12th, from 8:30 to 11:30 and from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Clewiston, LaBelle, and Moore Haven locations. Brenda Barnes of the Florida Department of Health says this national observance day encourages those under age 25 to speak out about HIV/AIDS. Today’s young people are the first generation who have never known a world without HIV and AIDS. The CDC reports that in 2018, youth aged 13 to 24 made up 21% of the nearly 38,000 new HIV diagnoses in the United States (US) and dependent areas.

The Hendry County Health Department in LaBelle and Clewiston will be providing COVID-19 vaccinations (first dose-Moderna Vaccine) by walk-ins and appointments. Today from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Hendry County Health Department in LaBelle and tomorrow from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Clewiston office. This week, all Florida residents 18 and older became eligible to receive any COVID-19 vaccine as prescribed by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Hendry County School Board met last night for their regularly scheduled meeting. The meeting opened after the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer with a presentation by Sara Sanchez and several of her staff and students from Westside Elementary School. Mrs. Sanchez took the opportunity to showcase the Warrior Way, through the faces and voices of the students. Young Warrior Lilly Centerfield took centerstage, to speak about leadership. She left the board with twinkles in their eyes and big smiles, and a gift, as she presented them with a book she put together called the ABCs of Hendry County. In the book, various students used each letter of the alphabet to describe what they love most about Hendry County in just one word. There are was also a presentation of Teacher graduates from the Leadership Academy which is a completely voluntary 60-plus hour training course on how to be a better leader. There were 7 teacher-grads from 4 schools including Eastside, Clewiston Middle, Central and Westside. Lastly, the board approved a motion to make face coverings at school voluntary outside, still maintaining, however, that face coverings are mandatory inside all Hendry County School District buildings. The next meeting will be held on April 20 in LaBelle, at a new location.

Officials said three people were injured after a train hit a truck yesterday morning in western Palm Beach County. The incident happened near the Hendry County line just before 9:30 Tuesday. Palm Beach County Fire Rescue said when the crew got there, they found the truck on its side and the train stopped at the scene. Authorities said one person was transported to a local hospital by Trauma Hawk, which was spotted in John Stretch park shortly after the crash. Two additional patients were also taken to a local hospital. The cause of the crash has not been released.

Hendry County’s consultant, will be conducting survey work for future sidewalks on Carolina Avenue from 13th Street to 11th Street and Florida Avenue from 10th Street to 7th Street in Harlem. Roadwork begins today. Flagmen will be present to direct traffic when necessary.  The speed limit will be reduced through the project area. Expect lane closures and possible delays throughout the duration of the operations and allow extra time for their commute. Residents or motorists with any questions or concerns can contact the Hendry County Engineering Department.

A community is once again in mourning as several community leaders and constituents lament the loss of US Congressman Alcee Hastings. Mayor of Pahokee Keith Babb regarded him as his hero and his mentor, Former Congressional Aide Ellen Geake said he spent a lot of time in Hendry County thanks to his good friend Janet Taylor, as Geake says he represented portions of Hendry County. Commissioner Mali Gardner says he was a huge advocate for the Glades. Hastings was the longest serving member of the Florida Congressional Delegation, serving since 1993. Hasting died yesterday from pancreatic cancer according to sources. He was 84.