Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Sheriff Ronnie Lee said the driver was identified as Larry Donell Chavers, age 29 of 1125 Mississippi Avenue, Clewiston. Chavers was charged with Fleeing and Eluding a Law Enforcement Officer, Driving While License Suspended or Revoked, Hit and Run Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Resisting an Officer, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine With Intent to Sell, and Possession of Marijuana over 20 Grams. Deputies also seized $2,290.00 from Chavers they suspect of money being used in drug transactions.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
CLEWISTON, FLORIDA -- A combination homecoming and baby shower was
held Saturday at the Pioneer Community park in mid-Hendry county, and
a good fun start for the summer season. The baby shower was to
celebrate the expected July 5th arrival of a baby girl to Kate and
Garret Gates of Marshall, North Carolina.
Kate is the daughter of Mary and John Hollingsworth, long-time
residents of Pioneer. Also back to Pioneer to help celebrate were
Kate's brothers and many friends who grew up in Pioneer and now live
in many other places scattered around the country. Guests were from
Pioneer, LaBelle, Clewiston, Moore Haven, Cape Coral, Fort Myers,
Lehigh Acres, Palm Beach Gardens, Long island, New York and North
Carolina. A water slide was set up for the younger guests to cool off
and swim into the summer season.
The Hendry/LaBelle Recreation Board and Coalition for Eco-Recreation would like to invite community organizations, youth groups, and individuals to a 1 1/2 hour LaBelle Nature Park Air Potato Roundup on Saturday June 3 from 9:00 a.m.- 10:30 a.m. Air potato is an invasive plant species that has been listed as one of Florida's most invasive plant species since 1993. The Recreation Board will provide trash bags and some tools for the event. Hats, gloves, long pants, sturdy shoes and insect repellant are recommended. Participants are encouraged to bring their own rakes and shovels. Water will be provided for participants. The Coalition for Eco-Recreation will be at 380 Riverview Drive (corner of Frasier and Riverview Drive) at 11 a.m. after the Air Potato Roundup. Call Margaret England at 674-0695 for information.
Friday, May 26, 2006
LABELLE, FLORIDA -- The National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress, asks Americans wherever they are at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day to pause in an act of national unity (duration: one minute).The time 3 p.m. was chosen because it is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday. The Moment does not replace traditional Memorial Day events; rather it is an act of national unity in which all Americans, alone or with family and friends, honor those who died for our freedom. It will help to reclaim Memorial Day as the sacred and noble holiday it was meant to be. In this shared remembrance, we connect as Americans.
More information is at the government's website http://www.remember.gov Wherever you are, observe the Moment at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day. Ask others to rememberrelatives, friends, church, neighborhood, or co-workers to observe the Moment at places such as your neighborhood, local pool, picnic grounds, etc., for one minute of Remembrance. Participation can be informal as ringing a bell three times to signify the Moment. A song for Memorial Day Momen can be played by clicking here (3 MB mp3 file): http://www.remember.gov/moment/documents/OnThisDay-mixedmastered.mp3
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
This year, student science scores are reported by achievement levels for the first time for fifth, eighth and eleventh graders. During the 2007-2008 school year, these achievement levels will be a component in determining school grades. "Science teaches our students about the world around them, and we now have the tools to measure their performance in this important area,� said Governor Jeb Bush on the release of the test results today. �We need to support and challenge our students in this critical subject so they will be ready to succeed in post secondary education and the work force."
�Establishing achievement levels is a critical step toward measuring student learning,� said Education Commissioner Winn. �These rigorous standards will help prepare students to compete globally in the field of science.�
Statewide, about 35 percent of students scores at their grade level, not good, but more than double the rates that Hendry students showed. In January, the State Board of Education approved achievement levels for science for the first time. To establish these achievement levels, the Department of Education collected input and heard recommendations from teachers, administrators and other expert groups. To see individual scores in science and reading by school, district and individual go to http://fcat.fldoe.org
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
FCAT Scores Show Low Level Readers In Our Schools
LABELLE, FLORIDA (May 23, 2006) -- Here we go again. The state
department of education has again released the FCAT scores for
students around the state and in each district in reading and math
for third through tenth grade. Hendry county students and (Glades as
well) always show up at the bottom of the barrel in FCAT scores
compared with the rest of the state. Most typically the reading
scores for high school students is the worst of the worst. The
youngest kids, in elementary grades, generally do the best in the
FCAT tests and come in near average. The older students though, get
progressively lower scores, so that in middle school, scores are way
below average, and in high school way way below average, especially
in reading skills.
Of Hendry's tenth graders, 525 of whom took the reading tests, only
15 percent scored a "3" or higher, that is, an "or better score." A
level "three" is considered by the state as "on grade level." 85
percent of the students received scores on the one and two level, the
lowest levels. At the "one" level, the lowest possible, 60 percent of
Hendry tenth graders came in at the lowest reading skill level. Check
out http://fcat.fdoe.org for details for each school and district in
reading and math.
Two Med Helicopter On Ground, More En route To LaBelle
LABELLE, FLORIDA (May 23, 2006) -- At noontime Tuesday, a
reported two-vehicle crash on Cowboy Way at the Christian School in
LaBelle had medical personnel scrambling to find enough medical
helicopters to transport accident patients to various west coast
hospitals. Although details and names are pending an investigation by
the Florida Highway Patrol which was en route from State Road 80 and
County Road 833, an apparent head-on collision resulted in numerous
adult and child injuries. A Lee county helicopter landed at the
Hendry helipad about 20 minutes after the 911 call and was able to
transport only one of the patients and returned for a second patient later. A second helicopter landed about
10 minutes later just south of the helipad to take more patients.
A call was also made to Collier county to transport two children, and
Tampa General for additional helicopters. Reportedly the children were to be flown to Lee Memorial and the adults to Saint Mary's Hospital in Palm Beach County. Further details are
pending an FHP report. An unrelated accident occurred about the same
time at Industrial Loop and State Road 29 with no reported injuries , and another call to Cowboy Way as a patient has reported shortness of breath.
although safety personnel were required to check it out.
MOORE HAVEN, FLORIDA (May 22, 2006) -- At the Glades county
commission meeting Monday night, the new county logo-county seal was
displayed for the first time. The design was by Muse resident Anne
Friedman, who won the county-wide design contest last fall.
In other business, the public hearing on the Muse Village compliance
agreement was postponed until June 13 since two issues that the state
Department of Community Affairs mandated had not been completed. As
is usual in county commission business other issues were also
postponed including the landfill discussion with Waste Management, a
contract with Lykes Brothers, and a continuing agenda item; the
Fernwood Lane problems with Ken Alvey in Muse.
In new business the board approved Jeanette Peoples' request for
Julie Perry and Betty Garvey to serve 5-year terms on the library
board. Approved were funds to AIM Engineering for work on the
county's new industrial site and on the master plan layout.
The county manager reported that bids have been granted for $288.515
from Florida Highway Products for work on 9 Mile Road in Muse and
streets in the Bowden subdivision in Moore Haven. Avant Brown said
because resurfacing cost have inflated, his budget is short a half
million dollars and next year to be short $200,000. He attributes
part of the shortfall from the loss of gas stations in the county
from which fuel tax revenues are collected.
Dr. Carlle Fllori asked the commissioners why the county attorney was
not present and Chairman Jones explained the attorney gets additional
compensation for night meetings.
Monday, May 22, 2006
MOORE HAVEN, FLORIDA (May 21, 2006) -- A passenger in a car was
killed in a collision with a truck near US 27 and County Road 78 at
10 p.m. Sunday. Dead is Brian D. Keene, age 24, a passenger in a 1996
Mercury driven by David Forsman, age 26 of Fort Pierce. According to
Florida Highway Patrolman Corporal Al Middleton, Forsman drove
directly into a truck driven by Pedro Martinez of Hialeah. Martinez
had no injuries, Forsman is in critical condition at Lee Memorial
Hospital. Charges are pending against Forsman
Sunday, May 21, 2006
�In this period of increased tropical activity, it is vital for all Floridians to prepare,� said Governor Bush. �Families and businesses that prepare are safer and recover quicker than those who don�t plan and don�t take action.� Coinciding with National Hurricane Preparedness Week, the tax holiday begins today and ends on the first day of the 2006 Hurricane Season, June 1. The 12-day holiday will save Floridians an estimated $41 million. During this period, no state or local sales tax will be collected on hurricane preparedness items.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
MOORE HAVEN, FLORIDA (MAY 17, 2006) -- Rosalio Morales has graduated
from the Light-Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic Advanced Individual Training
(AIT) course at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C. The course is designed
to train soldiers to perform maintenance, troubleshoot, and repair
wheeled vehicles and related mechanical components, which include
internal combustion engines and power trains, spark- and
compression-ignition engines, wheel-hub assemblies, hydraulic-power
brakes, suspension and steering systems, and learned to operate a
wheeled vehicle crane, hoist, and winch assembly. Morales is the
son of Felipe and Maria Morales of Cypress Ave. S.W., Moore Haven,
Fla. In 2005, he graduated from Moore Haven Junior-Senior High School.
CLEWISTON, FLORIDA (May 16, 2006) -- Dustin Brown, age 25, of 830
Hendry Isles Boulevard was airlifted to the hospital with serious
injuries Tuesday afternoon after his vehicle clipped a truck in the
opposite lane on State Road 29 South about a half mile south of Helms
Road. The Fort Myers occupants of the truck were not injured. A third
vehicle driven by Jose Munoz-Fortanel of LaBelle hit the second
vehicle. Charges are pending according to Florida Highway Patrolman Burtcher.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
ORTONA, FLORIDA (May 14, 2006) -- 30- year old Antonia Guzman or 728
H Avenue in Moore Haven died Monday at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort
Myers from injuires in a crash the day before,. According to Florida
Highway Patrol Corporal Joe Franza, Guzman ran off the pavement on
State Road 78 at the entrance to the Glades Landfill at 2:15 a.m.
Sunday morning and flipped his 1995 Jeep and then hitting a power
pole. Although he waswearing a seat belt, he was partially ejected
from the vehicle. He was transported to the hospital where he died the next day.
According to Ellen Hawk Geake, chairman of the Glades County Democratic Executive Committee, '"The upcoming election is very important to the Florida Democrats. Janet Reno will deliver a positive message and help unite the party. Although we are small counties, if we work together, we can see a large Democratic victory in our local and state races. Janet Reno has always worked hard to help the Democratic Party in Florida, and we are very fortunate she has agreed to come to Hendry County.�
State Senator Dave Aronberg will be the master of ceremonies. Senator Aronberg is also chairman of the Florida Mainstream Democrats. The dinner will be held on Friday, June 9, at the John Boy Auditorium in Clewiston. Social hour starts at 6:30. Tickets are being sold at $35.00 each and available from any Hendry or Glades DEC member or by sending a check to the Hendry/Glades DEC, PO Box 1015, Moore Haven, FL 33471, or contacting Ellen Hawk Geake, Glades County chair at 863-983-2922, or Grenville Williams, Hendry County chair at 863-983-2960.
LABELLE, FL. (May 16, 2006) -- Attorney General Charlie Crist today
arrest of a Broward County woman for her involvement in a South Florida
land fraud scam. Sonia Hall, 35, is accused of participating in an
elaborate scheme that defrauded international victims out of valuable plots
of land in Highlands and Okeechobee Counties, today worth as much as
$910,000. In the last two years, county officials have seen
unprededented volumes of land transfers as vacant lots sales have
mushroomed throughout South Florida.
An investigation that began last July uncovered a land fraud ring
that created fraudulent deeds to transfer ownership of building lots in
several Highlands County and Okeechobee County subdivisions. The scheme
targeted landowners who lived in Canada or Puerto Rico. From June to
December 2004, members of the ring created the deeds and forged the
victims' signatures, making it appear as if the victims had willingly given
up ownership of their properties. Hall, a Notary Public, then notarized the
signatures indicating she had properly witnessed the signatures and
examined the victim's identification. Some of the signatures Hall notarized
were of individuals who died several years earlier.
"This is an outrageous abuse of public trust for financial gain,"
said Crist. "We intend to bring all who were involved in these
unscrupulous actions to justice."
The scheme was uncovered when the Highlands County Clerk's
Office in Sebring, Florida
contacted a victim regarding a problem with the deed he supposedly signed
over. The victim, who never signed the deed, contacted Hall directly and
discovered she had fraudulently notarized his signature.
The properties were transferred through various individuals to an
offshore corporation. At the time of the transfers, the properties were
worth more than $500,000. Today, they are worth a combined $910,000,
according to the propertie's developer.
Hall is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit organized
fraud, a second-degree felony, and six counts of false or fraudulent
acknowledgment by a notary, a third-degree felony. If convicted on all
charges, she faces up to 45 years in prison and fines up to $40,000. The
case was jointly investigated by the Highlands County Sheriff's Office, the
Broward County Sheriff's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and
the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The case will be prosecuted by the
Attorney General's Office of Statewide Prosecution. The investigation into
the other ring members is ongoing.
Friday, May 12, 2006
CLEWISTON, FL. -- Workers from Sprint came in early Friday morning to the new Sheriff's sub-station in Clewiston at the Town Center to install wiring for the many computers and phones. Hendry county IT employees, under the direction of director John Hollingsworth scrambled to get everything ready for Hendry Sheriff personnel to take over. Photo above shows Mary Radcliff, a Sheriff's office dispatcher supervisor working with Hendry Clerk's Office IT specialist Mike Miller solving some minor glitches Friday morning. Photo by John Hollingsworth.
CLEWISTON, FL (May 10, 2006) -- A 19-year old woman passenger, Jenna A.
Staup died on State Road 80 about 13 miles west of Clewiston Wednesday
morning at 7:20 after the driver was attempting to pass another vehicle in
the fog. Paul David Staup, 21 of West Palm Beach was driving without lights
and hit a car driven by Colonia Pino, 37 of Mexico. Pino suffered minor
injuries and ws taken to Lehigh Memorial Hospital. Staup was taken to Lee
Memorial with serious injuries. According to FHP Cpl. G. A. Fremuth,
charges are pending against Staup.
LABELLE, FL. -- Price Dettjen, 40 lost control of his truck Wedesday at
about 5:30 P.M. on State Road 80 east of Everhigh Acres Blvd. and drove
into water about four feet deep. The truck's load shifted and turned the
truck on its side after hitting the opposite stream bank. The 2002 Hino
ended up with $10,000 in damage but Dettjen came out with minor injuries
and was transported by Hendry EMS to Hendry Regional Hospital for
treatment. FHP Trooper John McGrede charged him with failure to drive
within a single lane.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
MOORE HAVEN, FL. (May 9, 2006) -- The Glades Commission awarded
certificates to Moore Haven High School Honor Students and Teacher of
the Year Crystal Drake at Tuesday's meeting.
Approved was revising the section of the Land Development Regulations
regulating the subdivision of land into Planned Unit Developments, being
method of managing growth as conditions of approval are definitive and
Mr. Taylor reported on courthouse project funding in the total amount of
$1,452,000 approved by the legislature and expected to be signed by
Governor Bush, citing the October 24, 2005 damage to the courthouse from
Hurricane Wilma was between $3 & $4 million. He stated he had heard
nothing about funding for the EOC. Commissioner Bob Giesler noted that
former State District 77 Rep. Joe Spratt was in attendance and that he
was responsible for many dollars for Glades County Courthouse and
City-County Public Works Authority funding. Chairman Jones noted that
Bert Harris and Tom Rossin also did a lot for Glades County.
The Board agreed that until further notice, no yard-waste fires, no
household trash fires, and no open campfires will be allowed in Glades
County, but the ban does not affect Division of Forestry permitted
Richard Jones of the Glades County Sheriff's Office was
granted authorization to upgrade the county's emergency paging
communications systems which will include 130-mph wind resistant
antennas, and generators. Sprint phone lines currently costing $13,099
per year will be eliminated when the $33k system is installed. Three
receiver/repeater sites will utilize both the old VHF and new 800 MHz
equipment with the Moore Haven site covering Moore Haven south to Indian
the site in Lakeport will cover north thru Buckhead Ridge; the Muse site
will cover Palmdale, Ortona, Port LaBelle and Venus; the courthouse site
will be converted for portability.
LABELLE, FL. -- Escalating fuel prices are impacting not only the motoring
public, but the state's agriculture industry as well, Florida Agriculture
and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson said today.
To help consumers gauge gasoline prices around Florida, Bronson unveiled a
web site that will provide weekly updates on the average price of regular,
mid-grade and premium gasoline, as well as diesel fuel, in 20 Florida major
metropolitan areas. The web site is located at
Bronson said the state's 44,000 farmers have seen fuel prices increase by a
reported 68 cents a gallon in the past year, adding well in excess of $100
million to their agricultural production costs. Growers are highly
dependent on fuel for operations on their farms, transporting their crops
to market, and to receive shipments of seeds, plants, fertilizer and other
materials they need to operate their farms and ranches. Costs for all of
those activities have increased.
In an effort to ease both Florida and the nation's dependency on foreign
oil, Bronson is spearheading an effort to have Florida farmers grow fuel
crops to support this production. Known as "Farm to Fuel," the initiative
stems from the "25 x '25" vision, which calls for 25 percent of the
nation's energy needs to be produced by America's farms, ranches and
forests by the year 2025.
"Florida is well positioned to be a leader in this effort because of our
available farmland and our mild climate," Bronson said. "The goal is to
reduce the country's dependency on foreign oil, and at the same time to
provide alternative crops that our farmers can grow to keep our industry
At Bronson's urging, the Florida Legislature, which concluded its 2006
session last week, provided $5 million this year for grants in support of
bio-energy research and demonstration projects in addition to $10 million
slated for other renewable energy technologies.
"We see this initiative as holding real promise to assist our country in
reducing its dependence on foreign oil and in giving our growers
alternative crops that may be the difference in whether or not they keep
their land in agriculture," Bronson said.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
PORT LABELLE, FL. (May 7, 2006) -- Electric in the Port LaBelle area went
out early this morning. The area has suffered abnormal amounts of electrical
outages for many years and this morning's episode began at about 4:45 a.m.
and lasted almost an hour. Florida Power and Light is the electric utility
for most of Hendry county and recently has made some equipment upgrades to
switches in the Port LaBelle area north of SR80, after numerous complaints
to the Florida Public Service Commission by area customers. The giant
utility company has mostly ignored customer complaints about poor service
until the PSC gets involved. See http://members.aol.com/browne/fpl.html for
LABELLE, FL. -- The City of LaBelle has issued a mandatory water restriction
effective immediately for all users of the City of LaBelle water system.
Due to a pump failure all water usage should be restricted to a bare
minimum. NO irrigation or outside uses will be allowed. This is a
temporary situation until the equipment can be repaired. Please conserve
as much water as possible until Monday, May 8, 2006 or until further
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Alleged Selling Drugs Near A School And Other Charges
CLEWISTON, FL.(May 4, 2006) -- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement
and the Hendry County Sheriff's Office announced today the arrest of a
Clewiston Police Department sergeant after an undercover investigation
revealed his alleged involvement in selling drugs while on duty. FDLE
special agents arrested Sgt. Brian K. Kniceley, 42, this afternoon at the
Clewiston Police Department. Kniceley is charged with two counts of
official misconduct, one count unlawful compensation or reward for
official behavior, and two counts sale of marijuana within 1000 feet of a
The four-month investigation began in December 2005. FDLE special agents
uncovered that Kniceley was using police databases to gather criminal
information and other personal information on persons and then supplying
the information to known contacts in exchange for money. An undercover
police officer made contact with Kniceley and during a conversation,
Kniceley told the undercover officer that he could get information for him.
In March, Kniceley again met with the undercover officer and provided him
with criminal and personal information allegedly gathered from police
databases. Kniceley also told the undercover officer it would be easy to
find the person with the information he had given him. For the
information, Kniceley accepted $100. Agents say Kniceley was in uniform
and on duty at the time of the exchange.
Kniceley continued contact with the undercover officer and told him he
could get him some marijuana. In April, Kniceley contacted the undercover
officer twice and told him to come to his home in Clewiston to purchase
the marijuana he had discussed. On both occasions Kniceley received money
in exchange for the marijuana. During one of the transactions agents say
Kniceley was in his police uniform and on duty.
The investigation was concluded with assistance from the Clewiston Police
Department and their officers assisted in the arrest of Kniceley this
afternoon. Kniceley will be booked into the Hendry County Jail.
LABELLE, FL. -- Strengthening the Voice - "Farm Bureau Foundations"
workshop is scheduled for May 18 at LaBelle, according to Hendry Extension
Agent Gene McAvoy. This Leadership curriculum was developed exclusively
for the Florida Farm Bureau by experts at the University of Florida IFAS.
After completing the seminars farmers and ranchers will understand the
relationship between the Farm Bureau Federation and Insurance and establish
a local strategy for pursuing the Farm Bureau vision, and describing the
influence of Farm Bureau on political issues. Florida Farm Bureau is
covering the cost of all materials and costs associated with this
training. If you know of someone who you think would benefit from learning
more about Farm Bureau ask them to attend this workshop. May 18 at the
Hendry County Extension Service, LaBelle, FL from 4 PM to 8 PM. Meal to
be provided Contact Eva Webb to reserve your place at 561-722-1984 or
email her at email@example.com
Bergeron jumps on alligator back and gets pulled into water
CLEWISTON, FLORIDA (May 1, 2006) -- Multi-millionaire land owner Ron
Bergeron, Sr., 62 of Davie, Florida reportedly has been injured in a fight
with an alligator on his ranch in southern Hendry county. Bergeron owns
thousands of acres in Dade, Broward and Hendry county. His several square
miles of land in Hendry county are adjacent to the western border of the Big
Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation just north of the Collier county line.
Bergeron, a land developer and industrial office park owner, reportedly
tried to show off for visitors jumping on an alligator's back for a ride,
but the reptile bit his hand and dragged him into 15 feet of water. He was
giving a tour of his ranch Sunday to large befactors to the Boys and Girls
Clubs. The very remote ranch is at the end of the Big Cypress' Reservation
Road in southeastern Hendry county.
Bergeron has been a long-time supporter of Davie's rodeo arena, whose
grounds beared his name and
also enjoys wrestling alligators. "Ron is like Tarzan in the Everglades,"
Good friend and Bob's Barricade owner Happy Alter said in an interview
several years ago, "He ties them up without hurting them and then lets them
go. He is the only one I feel relaxed with in the Everglades." Alligator
harassment is illegal in Florida. The incident had not been reported to the
state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, spokeswoman Dani Moschella
said earlier this week.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
"Dead End" really was
LABELLE, FL. (May 2, 2006) -- A motorist fleeing from a Hendry County
Sheriff's Office patrol car drove into the Caloosahatchee River in the
early morning hours Tuesday. The Florida Highway Patrol reports that at
about 1:45 A.M. the 1996 Chrysler Sebring convertible went airborne over
the elevated river bank at the north end of Main Street adjacent to the
Barron Library at a high rate of speed after striking a "dead end" warning
sign at the south bank of the river. The driver, unnamed pending
notification of next of kin, died as the car was submerged. The car and
driver had to be located by divers. The driver was not using a seat belt
and it is unknown at this time whether alcohol was involved.