Brant retiring; Nelson on board

Patty Brant

Patty Brant

Amanda Nelson

Amanda Nelson

Beginning with this issue of the Caloosa Belle, July 28, you will see a new byline in your community newspaper.

LaBelle native Amanda Nelson will be reporting much of the important community news and longtime editor/publisher Patty Brant is retiring.

At the end of the month, after 31 years at the CB, Patty will retire to spend more time with family and, hopefully, pursue her interest in writing books.

It won’t completely be goodbye, however. From time to time, you will see her byline on stories about local folks and local issues.

Patty came to work at the Caloosa Belle in 1985, working her way up from typesetter to editor and eventually the title of publisher.

In 1987, Independent Newspapers, Inc., bought the Caloosa Belle and merged it with the INI-owned paper, the LaBelle Leader. Since then, the CB has been part of a network of papers surrounding Lake Okeechobee, as well as others in the INI family.

“Over the years I have worked with some great people with the newspaper and the community. I have learned much through the patience, attitude and hard work of people like Martha Puletti, Ailsa Dewing. Sonny Stalls, Katrina Elsken, Barbara Calfee, Dale Conyers and so many more. The paper and the community have been an important part of my life and I am grateful for the people I have worked with and the experiences I have had,” Patty said.

Amanda will be taking up the mantle on a part time basis. You may be aware that, as of November, she will be sitting on the Hendry County School Board.

Amanda said she is looking forward to writing about some of the local news events in the community.

She is a former Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) Teacher at Edward A. Upthegrove Elementary School. Prior to teaching VPK, she taught Kindergarten for approximately 12 years in Hendry County. She was the Brilliant Orange Teacher at Country Oaks Elementary in 1999 (award for outstanding first year teachers). Amanda also received the Golden Apple award, and was named as the Upthegrove Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year in 2010. In 2012, she wrote and published a children’s book that she uses to go to area schools and events to promote education and literacy.

During this time she also wrote monthly education articles for the Caloosa Belle. Amanda was recently elected to the Hendry County School Board District 3, and will be sworn in later in November. She hopes to become an educational advocate and make positive changes within the local school system.

Amanda is a lifelong resident of Hendry County. She and her husband, Danny, reside in Felda. Her family members were some of the original founding fathers of this community. She attended Hendry County schools, and graduated from LaBelle High School in 1991. After graduating from FGCU with a degree in Elementary Education, Amanda made it her goal to return to her home in Hendry County to help give back to her community. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, volunteering, being outdoors and spending time with her family and friends.
Please welcome Amanda and send your news to

The Caloosa Belle is published every Thursday.

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