Saturday, January 31, 2015

LaBelle Teen And Sister Arrested In Drug Murder Gone Bad

LaBelle High Student Arrested For Murder, Sister Arrested For Threatening Witness

LABELLE, FL. -- David Nathan Garrett, Jr., age 16 was arrested at LaBelle High School Monday and charged with the murder of Donald Avery, 17 a Lakewood High School student in the St. Petersburg area.

Garrett was living in St. Petersburg in October of last year when Avery was found bleeding from a shooting, and later died at the hospital. An investigation says Garrett met Avery to conduct a drug deal when Garrett, then a student at St. Petersburg High School, shot the teen several times with a handgun.

Garrett had three prior arrests for possession of marijuana police say, but he denied any involvement in the murder. Garrett's family moved to LaBelle shortly after the shooting. The Garrett family had lived before in Alva and in western Hendry county in Double J Acres.

Police say his sister Karissa Smock, 21 of St. Petersburg was also arrested Monday and has been charged with tampering with a witness in the first-degree murder case her brother is charged with after she allegedly threatened to kill a witness to the shooting. She has a Pinellas county arrest record in five other cases since 2012, charged with battery, assault, and filing a false crime report.

Garrett's father, David Nathan Garrett, Sr., age 39 at one time living in Alva, also appears in the Pinellas county arrest records with six arrests.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Giant Air Show Grounded By Lack Of Support

PUNTA GORDA, FL. – About to celebrate their 35th year, the Board of Directors of the not-for-profit Florida International Air Show have cancelled the annual 2015 show planned to take place March 27-29 at the Punta Gorda Airport in Charlotte County, Fl.

Several factors impaired the organization’s ability to successfully host the 2015 Florida International Air Show including the lack of a sponsor this year, as well as the lack of support from Charlotte County government, said the air show organizers. They cited problems with event permit fees to the loss of in-kind services including Fire and the Charlotte Sheriff’s Office support, to the refusal of support from the Charlotte Harbor Visitor’s Bureau to which the Air Show organization has paid significant bed tax for 34 years. Other factors cited include rising fuel and smoke oil costs for the aircraft participants, increases in insurance coverage costs, and hotel rate increases and sequestration.

“It was such a difficult decision,” said Chairman Tyler Ezzi. “We are an all volunteer organization and since it’s inception in 1981, the Show has donated more than $3.2 million in proceeds to charities throughout southwest Florida. We volunteer because we are all passionate about giving back to our local community and we love the Show.” Ezzi added, “We love bringing this high quality, unique, family-friendly event to Punta Gorda and southwest Florida. It routinely attracts more than 50,000 attendees and showcases the field of aviation, our Country’s military air support, veterans’ service, and our local community.”

Named one of the “Ten Best Air Shows in the World” by USA Today, the organization hopes to resurrect the Air Show for 2016 and is looking for additional support outside of the immediate area. “Unfortunately, the Charlotte County businesses and community do not or can not help support the Florida International Air Show to the extent we need to stay in business. As a regional event drawing tens of thousands from Tampa to Marco, and benefiting charities throughout SWFL, the future livelihood and success of the Air Show in achieving our mission of giving back depends on casting a wider net for support as a southwest Florida event.”

The Florida International Air Show organization, in a statement Friday, thanked the hundreds of sponsors, businesses, and organizations, as well as the thousands of volunteers and the school districts, who have supported and participated in the Shows over the past 34 years.

(Video: AirShow footage from 1999 featuring the U.S. Air Force B-1 Bomber)

Connie Kay Means Dies At 68

Connie Kay Means, age 68, of Clewiston, passed away January 27, 2015 in Fort Myers. She was born Jan. 12, 1947 in Clinton, IN, to the late Harold and the late Norma Jean (Wilson) Rash. 

She was a resident of Clewiston since 1972. Connie worked for many years as a cook in the Clewiston High School cafeteria. She loved taking care of her family and was a caretaker at heart.

She is survived by her sons: David (Amanda) Means of Tustin, CA, Craig (Maria) Means of Clewiston, daughters: Kimberly (Christopher) Willis of Clewiston, Annette Ezell of Canton, NC
brother: Mark Rash, sisters: Sandra Arvin and Cindy Ramirez, all of California; grandchildren: Jeremy Bryant; Chynna Bryant; Richard Miller; Tyler Miller; Brooklyn Ezell, Adriana Segura; Pedro A. Segura; Mariely Segura; Sydney Means; Ashley Means; Jacob Means, Dwight Willis and great-grandchildren: Cricket Bryant; Kaylee Yebba and Melvin Bonilla. 

She was preceded in death by her husband, Clarence "Sandy" Means III and sister: Christine Rash.

A memorial service will be held Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, 7:00 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in Clewiston with Brother Richard Blount officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

Cremation Arrangements by: Akin-Davis Funeral Home-Clewiston

Lake Okeebhobee Water Being Pumped Into Vast New Storage Area

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- To increase storage of freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee and help protect the Caloosahatchee Estuary, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has begun full-capacity pumping into the new Nicodemus Slough water storage area in Glades County.

Located south of Fisheating Creek on the western bank of the lake, the Nicodemus Slough project is intended to provide interim water storage until projects such as the Caloosahatchee River (C-43) West Basin Storage Reservoir are completed. In a cooperative agreement with Lykes Brothers, the District is leasing the property for an investment of $2 million a year for 8 years, with an option to extend the agreement.

To send water onto the 16,000-acre project area, four pumps are each moving 30,000 gallons of water per minute. It may take approximately six weeks of round-the-clock operations to fill the vast site. The project can store an annual average of 34,000 acre-feet of water, or about 11 billion gallons.

“Working in concert with efforts to capture water on public and private lands and move water south, Nicodemus Slough provides some relief now to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries,” said SFWMD Executive Director Blake Guillory. “The project also adds to our critical storage options in the interim while regional projects now under construction — and making progress — are completed.”

With Lake Okeechobee’s level at 14.74 feet NGVD today — about a foot higher than this time last year — the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been releasing water out of the lake to both estuaries. In response, the District worked to accelerate construction and testing operations in order to begin full-capacity pumping several weeks early onto the Nicodemus Slough site.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lost Job? Come To Florida Says Rick Scott

Florida Governor Rick Scott today invited oil and gas industry employees laid off around the country as part of the global fallout from declining oil prices to consider living and working in Florida.

Scott said, “We welcome workers in the energy sector who may be affected by layoffs in other states to move to Florida and build a great career here. Not only does Florida offer a great quality of life with exceptional weather year-round, but we have no state income tax and a world-class education system. Our private sector is booming - we have added over 728,000 jobs in four years and we have over 269,000 online job openings. Florida is on a mission to be the global destination for jobs and we have plenty of opportunities available for families.”

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity developed Information about the job seeker’s work experience and education entered into the site will be forwarded to the CareerSource Florida network professionals in the region chosen by the job seeker for potential matches with available positions or future opportunities.

According to Scott, Florida’s economy continues to experience strong growth, with an annual job growth rate exceeding that of the nation since April 2012. He says all 10 of Florida’s major industries have experienced over-the-year job gains, and private sector employment increased by 225,700 jobs last year.