Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ham Radio Participates In Annual Exercise

LABELLE, FL. -- Amateur radio in LaBelle showed off emergency operation skills Saturday at Hendry County's Emergency Operations Center. Setting up mobile antennas and portable transcievers next the center's helipad on State Road 80 west of LaBelle, ham radio operators made and received contacts from other radio operators  around the nation in an annual day to practice communication skills that are needed in emergency situations.

Should local communications be cut off for any area, FCC licensed radio operators volunteer their equipment and skills to send and receive messages and information to and from areas where damaged phone lines, and cell towers are inoperative, often happening after hurricanes, floods and other emergency situations.

Ham radio operators in the U.S. and Canada take one weekend a year to practice and prepare for such emergencies on "Field Day." Field Day is always the fourth full weekend of June, beginning at 1800 UTC Saturday and running through 2059 UTC Sunday.

The Amateur Radio Relay League says, "40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio's science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio."

Serious Crash Halts Traffic On SR 80

LABELLE, FL. -- A multiple car crash Saturday afternoon shut down the west bound two lanes of State Road 80 west of of LaBelle at Congen Road. One vehicle overturned and a second was badly damaged.

Two ambulances carried an unknown number of injured away from the scene Saturday. Numerous emergency personnel were on hand to divert traffic and attend to the scene for several hours.

The highway at this location curves and has been the scene of previous crashes.

Photo by Don Browne

Madison Allen Working At Law Firm For Summer

Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A. is pleased to welcome law student, Madison Allen of LaBelle to the law firm to supplement her law school experience by working as a clerk at the firm during the summer.

Allen is a Southwest Florida native and grew up in LaBelle. She was dual enrolled at Florida SouthWestern and earned her associates degree before graduating LaBelle High School in 2012. Allen then attended Florida Gulf Coast University where she earned her undergraduate degree in 2015 and will soon enter her final year at Stetson University College of Law. 

While at Stetson, Allen has served as the Pro Bono Chair, a Student Bar Association Representative, and a member of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers. She also received the Lee County Association for Women Lawyer’s Scholarship at its Judicial Reception held last month.

As part of Henderson Franklin's Summer Associate Program, Allen will be exposed to a broad range of practice areas and will attend hearings, trials, depositions, mediations, arbitrations and meetings with clients. She will also perform research, assist in the drafting of pleadings, discovery and analyze various legal issues. Each summer associate is paired with a Henderson Franklin attorney mentor who assists the summer associate with the transition from law student to lawyer.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hendry Residents Face Rising Taxes And Costs

The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting held on Tuesday, June 13 at Clewiston City Hall.
·         RFQ #2017-13 – Construction Management Services for Historic and Non-Historic Projects in Hendry County – The Board approved to move forward with Construction Management Services contract. This contract is mainly for the Old Hendry County Courthouse repairs. Work on the non-historic surroundings of courthouse are currently under construction. Once the current project is completed, the needed historic renovations will be assessed for cost.
·         Adoption of Ordinance Requiring Connection to the Port LaBelle Utility System – The Board approved an ordinance requiring all landowners in Port LaBelle to connect to the water system. The ordinance also requires landowners whose property abuts a wastewater collection line to connect to the wastewater system.
·         Possible Closure of Offices on Monday, July 3, 2017 – The Board voted to close County offices on Monday, July 3, 2017 in honor of Fourth of July holiday.  This vote for closure applies only to July 3 of this year. Offices will be closed 7/3 and 7/4.

·         Resolution Authorizing the Submission of a Grant Application to FL Department of State - The Board adopted a resolution approving the submission of a grant application to the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources (DHR) for $500,000 for Fa├žade Preservation activities at the Old Hendry County Courthouse.  The Board also made the commitment for the required 10% local match (cash and in-kind services).  The DHR offers assistance to county governments through competitive grants to construct, repair and maintain historic properties, contingent upon an annual appropriation by the Florida Legislature.  The Old Courthouse was completed in 1927 and is considered the most significant and prominent historic structure in Hendry County.

·         ALTAIR Training Solutions, Inc. – Notice of Significant Default under Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption – The Board motioned to schedule a public hearing to revoke ALTAIR’s tax exempt status.  The company failed to meet job creation criteria required to qualify for the exemption along with their failure to pay regular taxes since 2014.

·         Update of Solid Waste Franchise Agreement. – Update of Solid Waste Franchise Agreement - The Board directed the Truth in Millage rate set at $240 with two day a week waste pick-up. The Board and staff are to negotiate with the Solid Waste hauler and seek out solutions which would help reduce costs to residents.

·         Fire MSBU TRIM Rates – The Board approved a recommendation to increase East Fire MSBU rates by 35% for TRIM notices.  The increase is due to the implementation of a bill passed by the State Legislature in 2016 exempting properties with an agricultural designation from fire assessments.  Additional funding requirements over the last few years are also needed to operate the fire MSBU. 

Ruby Garcia Speaks At Kiwanis On Crime Prevention

Hendry County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Specialist Ruby Garcia spoke to Kiwanis members how together we can and will succeed in making our community safe.

Pictured: Past Kiwanis President Nikki Yeager and Ruby Garcia

Photo by: Helen Mead