Saturday, June 27, 2015

Speed Contributes To Death Of Tigran Sarkissian

FORT MYERS, Fl. -- Tigran Sarkissian, 29 of Fort Myers was killed after losing control of a 2015 BMW motorcycle early Saturday at 12:56 a.m.

A red BMW sport-style motorcycle operated by Sarkissian, was traveling south on State Road 93 on the dedicated single lane exit ramp to Southwest Florida International Airport, in Lee County, Florida.

He carried no passengers and was wearing a helmet. The motorcycle passed a yellow, cautionary sign posted at the beginning of the exit ramp that recommended a speed of 40 miles per hour on the level and relatively straight roadway. A short distance later, it passed a second cautionary sign posted on the right shoulder that warned of an impending severe left curve and also recommended a speed of 25 miles per hour.

Sarkissian lost control due to his speed being too fast for the conditions, said the FHP. The cycle tipped onto its left side and slid uphill and collided with a guardrail post.  Sarkissian was pronounced deceased on scene.

Wesley Hair Dies In Motorcycle Crash In Orange Grove

LAKE PLACID, FL. -- Wesley Scott Hair, 31 of Sebring Fl. died in an early Saturday morning crash on a motorcycle.

According to the FHP, a 2012 Kawasaki ZX6R motorcycle was traveling south on Highlands County Road 17 south of Glen Ridge Road. For an unknown reason, driver Hair failed to control it as it entered a downhill left hand curve and then traveled off onto the western grass/sand shoulder and entered a orange grove on the west side of the roadway.

It collided with an orange tree which caused Hair to become separated from the cycle, which continued to travel in a southerly direction in that orange grove and came to final rest facing a southerly direction on its left side under another orange tree.

Hair came to final rest on his stomach facing a westerly direction in between the point of impact and the motorcycle where he expired on scene from injuries received in this crash. The exact time of this crash is unknown due to a lack of witness's and the time and is based upon an estimate from the Highlands County Paramedics on scene. He was wearing a helmet.

The body was taken to the District 10 Medical Examiner's Office.

Sugar Cane Burning - Target Of Sierra Club

CLEWISTON, FL. -- The Sierra Club has launched a campaign to stop the pre-harvest burning of sugarcane fields in South Florida. The goal of the Stop Sugar Field Burning Campaign is to help residents put an end to the practice and stop the sugar growers from "profiting at the expense of public health."

Florida’s sugarcane growers burn their fields before harvesting to dispose of the foliage, but this generates large plumes of smoke and puts communities throughout Palm Beach, Glades and Hendry county at risk, says the Sierra Club.

Julia Hathaway, Sierra Club organizing representative, said: “We need to build on the successes of Brazil and Australia and tailor green harvesting techniques to Florida. It is just not acceptable for an industry to externalize the costs of doing business onto society. It’s time to end a practice that makes our community sick.”

She added, "We can make this happen, but we will have to come together and be a voice for those people who live in the Everglades Agricultural Area. These communities are among the most affected and yet have the least financial and political recourse. This is a public health issue and an issue of environmental justice."

Recent studies have shown that the particulate matter and the emissions produced by sugarcane field burning are far more hazardous than ever thought. Research has shown direct links to respiratory, cardiovascular and other serious diseases. Some of the chemicals emitted when the sugarcane is burned are carcinogens.

Last harvest season, which runs for approximately half the year, an estimated 300,000 of 440,000 acres of sugarcane were burned. After the burns, the fields contain only the bamboo-like stalks. This allows the harvesters to go faster and decreases the tonnage that has to be taken to the mill for processing, maximizing profits for an a lucrative industry.

But while Florida sugar corporations say they burn to stay profitable, countries like Brazil and Australia have shown that “green harvesting” is a cost-effective, healthier alternative to sugarcane burning.

Green harvesting makes beneficial use of the entire plant and there is no burning. The plant’s “waste” product can be left on the ground as a mulch for some soil types, transported to a facility with air scrubbers to produce electricity, or turned into products like bioplastics or biofuels.
James Stormer, recently retired Environmental Administrator for the Palm Beach County Health Department, says research conducted here in 2010 by the University of Florida found the species of sugarcane grown in Florida when burned in a combustion chamber and showed contaminants on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) air pollutant list.
Found were polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbonyl and volatile organic compounds as well as fine particle particulates, organic carbon, and elemental carbon. The researchers detected hazardous air pollutants the EPA is required to regulate, including naphthalene, formaldehyde, benzene and styrene. These toxins can cause impacts ranging from drowsiness and headaches to neurological and liver damage.

-from press release by Sierra Club

Double Fatality In Truck-Car Crash

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Aida Perez Garcia, 60 of Cape Coral and Onesimo Medaldo Rodriquez, 66 of Cape Coral, are dead after a truck crashed into the car in which they were passengers at 3:05 p.m. Friday.

A 1997 Ford F-350 one-ton truck, driven by Ryan Todd Powers, 39 of Lehigh Acres was traveling east on Milwaukee Blvd. approaching Homestead Rd. S. in Lee County.

A 2013 Volkswagon Passat, driven by Pedro Cabrera Rodriguez, 48 of Cape Coral was traveling north on Homestead Rd. S approaching Milwaukee Blvd. The truck driver violated the right of way of the car as both vehicles entered the intersection, said the FHP.

Subsequently the front of the truck struck the left side of the car. Both rear seat occupants were pronounced deceased at the crash scene as a result of the incident. Neither passenger was wearing seat belts according to the FHP crash report.

The car's driver, Mr. Rodriquez was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital with critical injuries. The truck driver had no injuries and was charged with violation of right of way.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Shane Parker, Karson Turner Win Awards At Conference

LaBelle, Fla. – Hendry County wins big at the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) Annual Conference last week with multiple award winners, designations and board appointments.

The most noteworthy winner of the conference was Shane Parker, Public Works Director, who won Florida Association of County Engineers and Road Superintendents (FACERS) Rural County Engineer of the Year. The FACERS awards are the most prestigious professional recognition in Florida for transportation and public works personnel.

Chairman Karson Turner who presented Parker with the award said “Shane represents the highest level of professionalism and accountability. We are thrilled to have a local professional like Shane be recognized throughout the state for his great accomplishments for Hendry County.”

The 2015 Presidential Advocates Award winners were also announced with Chairman Turner winning two awards for Medicaid and Vice-Chair of Health & Human Services. These awards are presented to county commissioners who have shown exceptional leadership in partnering with FAC during the 2015 session to advance the counties’ legislative agenda.

Commissioner Janet Taylor was appointed as Chair to the Florida Counties Foundation (FCF) Board of Directors. FCF provides high quality and comprehensive educational opportunities for county commissioners and staff. Commissioner Taylor and Chairman Turner were recognized for achieving the highest rank in FCF, Torchbearer status, at the awards luncheon.

County Administrator Charles Chapman was elected Treasurer of the Florida Association of County Managers and County Attorney Mark Lapp continues to serve on the Board of Directors and as Vice-Chair of the General Governmental Committee for the Florida Association of County Attorneys.

“The meaning of all these awards and positions either directly-with or affiliated-through our state organization shows the level of leadership and engagement Hendry County has on Florida issues when it comes to local government,” states Chapman. “We will continue to stay engaged and represent Hendry’s interests.”