Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Stein - Belle Glade Farmer To Hall Of Fame

Fritz Stein Chosen For Florida Ag Hall Of Fame

BELLE GLADE, FL. -- Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson and the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Foundation announced another local farmer, Fritz Stein, who will be inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame in February 2008 at ceremonies at the Florida State Fair.

Fritz Stein owns and operates a 3,300-acre cattle ranch in Highlands County and a 750-acre sugarcane farm in Palm Beach County�s Everglades Agricultural Area.  That would be enough to keep most people busy, but for Stein it is just the tip of the iceberg.  A mind-boggling array of industry groups and civic organizations benefit from his leadership skills.  Through his unselfish dedication to family, farm, and community, Stein represents the finest tradition of the Florida farmer. 

Stein is a third-generation Floridian and a lifelong resident of Belle Glade.  His grandfather, an Everglades pioneer, raised cattle and winter vegetables and instilled a love of farming in his children and grandchildren.  In 1954 Stein earned a degree in agriculture from the University of Florida and returned to the Belle Glade to join the family farming business.  In the 1960s he turned his attention away from winter vegetables and began growing sugarcane.
Stein knew that if he and his neighboring growers worked together and pooled their resources they could build a state-of-the-art sugar-processing facility.  With that goal in mind, he helped organize the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida.  The Cooperative is made up of small and medium-sized farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area who work together to harvest and process their sugarcane and market the raw sugar.  As a founding member of the Cooperative, Stein helped maximize the agricultural potential of the region and bring financial stability to many growers.

He is a past chairman of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, past president of the Florida Sugar Cane League, and past director of the Palm Beach County Soil and Water Conservation District.  He currently serves as a director of the Florida Molasses Exchange and the Florida Sugar Marketing and Terminal Association.  He has been a member of the Western Palm Beach County Farm Bureau for over 50 years.

Stein is an advocate for Florida�s farm workers, campaigning for improved housing, education and healthcare.  For 41 years he has been an active member of the board of the Belle Glade Housing Authority, which provides clean, affordable, safe housing to this disadvantaged population.  As chairman of the board, he helped procure millions of dollars in federal grants and oversaw five major construction projects, growing Belle Glade�s inventory of homes for agricultural workers to 700 units.  Under his direction the Housing Authority has improved the living conditions of thousands of families in the Glades.

As a governing board member of the South Florida Water Management District, he was one of the first farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area to begin voluntarily testing his own water quality, and he encouraged other farmers to do the same. 

He is a founding trustee of Glades Day School, a past president of the Belle Glade Rotary Club, a Glades area fundraising committee member and chairman of the Boy Scouts of America, and a team sponsor for Belle Glade Little League.

Stein�s leadership in his community and his industry has won him numerous accolades.  In 1982 he received the Belle Glade Citizen of the Year Award from the Belle Glade Chamber of Commerce; in 1988 the Chamber of Commerce named him the Agri-Industrial Man of the Year; and in 1990 his family was honored as Farm Family of the Year by the Western Palm Beach County Farm Bureau. 

Fritz Stein and his wife, Lois, live in Belle Glade.  They have six grown children, Sonny, Julie, Robert, Stewart, Michael, and Tim, and eight grandchildren. 

Homestead Owners To Save Only $20 A Month

Florida Politicians Come Up With Tax "Reform" Constitutional Proposal

LABELLE, FL. -- After an aborted try by the Florida Legislature earlier this year to come up with a plan to reduce property taxes, but yet not earn the ire of the real estate industry lobbyists and local government officials, the House of Representative lawmakers Monday, at the last minute, chose to go with a simplified plan proposed by the Florida Senate as time ran out to get the proposal on the January special ballot.

Under the plan, if 60% of Florida voters vote "yes" in January, all homesteaded homeowners would receive an additional homestead exemption of $25,000 for the value of their home above $50,000. But, the catch is the new exemption doesn't apply to schools taxes, so the exemption would average about $15,000 statewide, and a bit less in Hendry county where school taxes make up much more of a tax bite than county taxes.

Non-homestead properties would be capped at 10% a year property assessment increases.  Since the huge assessment increases took place in 2005 to 2006, this cap will mean little if nothing to non-homestead property owners since most observers don't see any 10% and more property value increases coming for some time in the future.

It is estimated that homestead property owners would only save about $240 a year with the additional exemption. But, for those who bought homes more than a few years ago, a new benefit will be owners of homestead property would be able to transfer their Save Our Homes benefit (up to $500,000) to a new homestead within two years of moving.  Homeowners who moved in 2007 may transfer their benefit if they apply for a new homestead Jan. 1, 2008, or Jan. 1, 2009.  The most recent buyers of home would not see much of any savings if any at all if they moved since prices of homes have been steady or declined in the last year.


New School For Immokalee

Immokalee Career Center Groundbreaking

IMMOKALEE, FL. -- November 6th promises to be a very special day in the Immokalee community.  It will be an exciting day for the School District of Collier County as well.

There's a ground breaking ceremony planned for 10 am on Tuesday, November 6th, for the soon-to-be named Immokalee Career Center.  It'll be built at 508 N. 9th Street in Immokalee, on the former site of The Learning Center.  The new career center is expected to open in January of 2009.  It'll be a post-secondary, adult education technical center which will be also used by Immokalee High School students who are dual-enrolled in career education programs.

A name for the new center is in the process of being chosen.  Input is being gathered, and a school naming meeting was held this week at the Bethune Education Center Auditorium in Immokalee.  The School Board will vote on a name in December.

To learn more about the new center or the school naming meeting, please contact Principal Dorin Oxender at 658-7063, or at oxendedo@collier.k12.fl.us.  To learn about the ground breaking, contact the District Communication & Information Office by phone at 377-0180, or at info@collier.k12.fl.us.

Friday, October 26, 2007

November Florida Food Festivals

Eat Your Way Across Florida

LABELLE, FL. -- Like to play with your food?  Then here's your chance.  November's Florida food festivals feature a flapjack eating contest, an oyster shucking and eating contest, a mullet jumping contest, and many more competitions and cook-offs!

"That's the fun thing about food festivals," says Joan Steinbacher, author of "Food Fest! Your Complete Guide to Florida's Food Festivals."  "They have these off-beat competitions that are one-of-a-kind.  And eating contests are very popular, albeit quite messy!"

Land O' Lakes hosts the Flapjack festival where you can eat free flapjacks on Saturday morning -- but make sure to save room for the flapjack eating contest that afternoon! The oyster shucking and eating contests highlight the Florida Seafood Festival in Apalachicola. And the Mighty Mullet Maritime Festival in Panacea boasts the International Mullet Cook-Off and the Mullet-Jumping contest.

Because of the diverse activities, Florida's food festivals are ideal entertainment for the whole family. But don't forget the main attraction -- delicious food!  November festivals feature a huge variety of indulgences -- fresh seafood, chocolate-covered pineapple, finger-lickin' good ribs, hot and spicy chili, craft beers, assorted wines, and much more.

So spend a day or weekend at these festivals and get your fill of tasty Florida fare while enjoying a variety of musical entertainment, children's activities, arts and crafts, and other fun amusements.

Here's a sampling of what's coming to Florida this November:

* Tallahassee - Wine and Food Festival (November 1-2)
* Apalachicola - Florida Seafood Festival (November 2-3)
* Jensen Beach - Pineapple Festival (November 2-4)
* Land O' Lakes -  Flapjack Festival (November 2-4)
* Homestead - Miami-Dade Parks Ribfest (November 2-4)
* Leesburg - Chili Cook-Off (November 3)
* Safety Harbor - Wine Festival (November 3)
* Tampa - Zoofari (November 3)
* Pinellas Park - Cajun Cafe on the Bayou Beer Tasting Festival (November 3)
* Ruskin - Seafood Festival (November 3-4)
* Fort Myers - Taste of the Town (November 4)
* Ponte Vedra Beach - Food and WineFest (November 7-11)
* St. Petersburg - Ribfest (November 9-11)
* Hudson - Seafest (November 9-11)
* Dunedin - Wines the Blues (November 10)
* Clearwater - Chiliblast (November 10)
* Panacea - Mighty Mullet Maritime Festival (November 10)
* Homosassa - Seafood Festival (November 10)
* Plant City - Pig Jam (November 17)
* Yankeetown - Seafood Festival (November 17-18)
* St. Petersburg - Grand Central Chili Cookoff (November 24)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

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Glades County - Site Of 1780 Acre Acquisition

SFWMD November Meeting To Consider Purchase Of Glades County Land

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- At Tuesday's meeting, Benita Whalen, Director of South Florida Water Management's Okeechobee Service Center provided Glades County Commissioners with a copy of a letter from SFWMD Executive Director Carol Ann Wehle informing the Board of SFWMD's project that proposes acquisition of 1,780 acres of land in Glades County south of the Caloosahatchee River and north of SR80 about eight miles east of LaBelle and upstream from Ortona Lock. 

The Governing Board of SFWMD will consider this proposal at a public hearing in its meeting November 13, 2007 at Key Largo Marriott Bay Beach Resort which begins at 9 am.  Ms. Whalen introduced Ms. Agnes Ramsey, SFWMD�s Deputy Director of the Everglades Restoration Planning Department, who gave a brief overview of the project explaining the main purpose was removing nitrogen from the Caloosahatchee River Basin water.

Ramsey presented maps of the areas considered for the project, and referencing the site of former Prudential citrus grove on property now owned by Boma Corp LLC as preferable because of its boundaries of the Caloosahatchee on the north both east and west or Ortona Lock including contiguity to the Corps of Engineers Ortona campground on the south bank of the River across from Ortona Lock, and the existing canals on the east and west sides of the property which would allow processed water from the project to be discharged on both sides of the Ortona Lock. 

The map of the proposed site discussed by Ms. Ramsey depicted an area along SR 80 on the south boundary of the property that may be excluded because of its potential for development.  Glades Commissioners all expressed concern for the removal of property now subject to ad valorem  assessment from the tax rolls with possible limited PILOT (Payment in lieu of taxes) compensation, as well as the non-specific  determination of exclusion of about two miles of State Road 80 frontage with its inherent possibility for development that would enhance the tax base. 

It was suggested that if SFWMD would clean up the Pearce Canal, Moore Haven Canal and other public Lake Okeechobee access points in Glades County, it would make the loss of this property more palatable to Glades County.  Ms. Ramsey mentioned the desire to provide public access on SFWMD project facilities, noting this will abut the Ortona Campground Park and includes wetland forestation that will be protected.  Ms. Ramsey stated that whereas phosphorous pollution comes from sugar cane, only citrus groves produce nitrogen run-off contamination.  Pete Quasius, present at the commission meeting, of the local Audubon club, lauded the Water Management District for its efforts to clean up the water.

LaBelle Crash Leaves One Dead

Early Morning Crash On State Road 29

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Highway Patrol reports that the driver of a 2006 Toyota truck was killed when the vehicle crossed lanes into a ditch on State Road 29 south of LaBelle.  The release of the name of the driver is pending notification of relatives.

At about 2:30 a.m. the vehicle was traveling north on State Road 29 approaching the intersection of County Road 830A. Prior to reaching the intersection, for unknown reason, the truck drifted across the southbound lanes and entered a drainage ditch. At the north end of the ditch the truck struck a concrete culvert causing the vehicle to vault over Heritage Road. It rolled while in the air, landing on its roof in the ditch on the west shoulder of SR 29 north of Heritage Road. The driver was pronounced deceased at the scene. The name of the driver will be released after next
of kin notification.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Homicide-Arson Suspected In Montura

Dead Man Found With Tied Hands And Feet

CLEWISTON, FL. -- On Wednesday October 17, at 7:55 a.m., the Hendry County Sheriff's Office received a call reporting a structure fire at 236 Del Sur in Montura Ranch Estates. Deputies and members of the Montura Volunteer Fire Department responded. Firemen entered the residence to extinguish the flames and discovered a deceased man whose hands and feet were tied. The body of Epitacio Antonio Hernandez-Beltron, age 60 of the same address, was transported to the Medical Examiners office in Fort Myers where an autopsy will be performed.

Sheriff Ronnie Lee said his Criminal Investigators, with the assistance of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Fire Marshall's Office, are investigating the suspected Arson and Homicide.

Hugh English - Florida Ag Hall Of Fame

English To Be Inducted Into Hall Of Fame

LABELLE, FL. -- Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson and the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Foundation have announced that Hugh M. English of LaBelle will be inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame in February 2008 during the Florida State Fair.

Hugh English spent 35 years working for A. Duda and Sons, Inc., one of Florida's agricultural giants. He started with the company as a citrus grove manager and retired as a corporate vice president. Through his work at Duda in the 1960s, English helped launch southwest Florida's fledgling citrus industry. He conducted pioneering research and helped develop production methods now commonly in use.

English was born in 1936 in the small town of Alva in Lee County, where his grandfather settled in 1876. English grew up on the family farm, which encompassed about 500 acres and produced citrus, beef cattle, and vegetables. He began working in his family's citrus groves as a boy. English studied animal science at the University of Florida. During his student years he was active in the Block and Bridle Club and was a member of the Livestock Judging Team.

In 1965 he went to work at Duda's new citrus grove in Felda in Hendry County. In those days there was little information or research to support production of citrus on the flatwoods soils of southwest Florida, so English immediately initiated numerous research demonstrations in cooperation with UF/IFAS research staff and Extension agents. He ran variety and spacing trials and experimented with seepage irrigation and water control techniques. As low-volume irrigation technology was developed, English quickly recognized the savings in water use and began converting to this more efficient system.

Just four years into his career with Duda, English was named manager of the company�s groves in LaBelle. In 1976 he was promoted to general manager of all Duda citrus grove operations, and in 1991 he assumed responsibility for the company's fresh fruit packinghouse and frozen concentrate plant. At the time of his retirement in 2001, English was corporate vice president in charge of the company�s entire Citrus Division. He was responsible for all citrus production, packing, and processing.

His career was demanding, but he still found time to give back to his community and his industry. For many years English has provided leadership to Florida agriculture on environmental, technical, and policy issues. He was chairman of the Big Cypress Basin Board and a member of the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District. While serving on the Southwest Florida Ag Council, he helped build legislative support to construct and staff the University of Florida's Southwest Florida Research and Education Center near Immokalee.

English has always been active in the promotion of the citrus industry. When Central Florida�s citrus industry was nearly destroyed by the freezes of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the industry began a rapid expansion in the southwestern part of the state. English helped organize the Gulf Citrus Growers Association to advance the citrus industry in this new location.

In the early 1990s English was appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles to a three-year term on the Florida Citrus Commission. He was vice chairman of the commission in 1992 and chairman in 1993. During his term he traveled to Europe and Asia to enhance export opportunities for Florida citrus growers.

English was a member of the Making American Agriculture Productive and Profitable (MAAPP) Committee, created by the American Farm Bureau's board of directors in 2003 as a two-year agricultural study group. The group worked together to come up with a vision for the future of American agriculture and to develop policy recommendations that would help make it productive and profitable. The MAAPP Committee Report was published by the American Farm Bureau in 2006.

In 1979 English's family was named Farm Family of the Year by the Hendry County Farm Bureau, and in 1988 English won the University of Florida's Citrus Club Man of the Year Award. In 2000 he received the University of Florida's Alumni of Distinction Award and was elected to the Citrus Hall of Fame.

Hugh English and his wife, Beverly, live in LaBelle. They have two grown daughters, Katherine and Caroline, and one grandson.

Two Burglary Arrests In Montura

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Two men have been arrested and charged with burglary of several homes in the Montura area. On October 18, Lt. Joe Lee, of the Hendry County Sheriff's Office, arrested Vernon Dwayne Stevens, age 24 of 275 North Datil Street, Clewiston and Raymond Alberto Diaz, age 43 of 215 Nogal Street, Clewiston. According to Sheriff Ronnie Lee, with the arrest to these two men, several unsolved burglaries in the Montura area have been cleared. Both men are charged with Burglary and Theft. The investigation into these burglaries continues and more charges are expected.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Jesus Arrested For Marijuana Possession

CLEWISTON, FL. -- While investigating a domestic violence complaint, Deputy Nathan Kirk went to the residence located at1231 Liberty Avenue in Clewiston, Deputy Kirk, with the use of his K-9, located several baggies of marijuana packaged for sale, one electronic scale, one marijuana grinder and cigarette rolling papers. The occupant of the bedroom, Jesus Claro, age 23, was arrested and charged with Possession of Marijuana With Intent to Sell and Possession of Marijuana Over 20 Grams. Other charges are pending.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

LaBelle Home Sales Slow

LABELLE, FL. -- From September 25 to October 16 there were only four homes sold in the LaBelle area for an average price of $130,500. The sales were:

1) $133,000 on Albany Road in Port LaBelle Unit 4
2) $83,000 on Edison Avenue in LaBelle
3) $156,000 on Rainbow Circle In Port LaBelle Unit 4
4) $150,000 on East Sunflower Circle In Port LaBelle Unit 4

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Are You Smarter Than 49 Of Your Friends?

MENSA Wants You!

LABELLE, FL. -- Are you curious about everything? Do you enjoy playing board games, solving mind-numbing puzzles and speaking in puns? Are you interested in meeting others who think as quickly as you? Do you want to hang out with people who get your jokes? Then, you belong in Mensa. Join us for the tenth annual Mensa Testing Day. Score in the top 2% on the Mensa Admission Test and you'll be invited to join the organization.

Southwest by South Mensa will administer the Mensa Admission Test on Saturday, October 20 at Colonial Bank Corporate Headquarters, 27200 Riverview Center Blvd., Bonita Springs, FL, 2nd Floor, in the Community Room. . Anyone interested in taking the Mensa Admission Test should arrive in time to register at 9:30 AM: Test begins at 10:00 a.m. "Pre-registration is highly recommended as there is a limited amount of space for those being tested."

The test fee is $40 and a photo ID is required.  The test is open to anyone age 14 and older, but parental permission is required for anyone age 14 – 17.  Call Glenn Davis, Certified Proctor- 239/992-2120 or email GLDavis88@aol.com for more information or pre-registration.

"One in fifty people qualifies for Mensa membership,: said Jeff Avery, president of Mensa.  "You know 49 people who aren't as bright as you are, don't you?"  The local Mensa Chapter serves all of Collier and Lee County, as well as portions of Charlotte and Hendry County.

Mensa hosts a variety of activities each month including discussion forums and social gathering at local restaurants. Members may also attend national events, receive the Mensa Bulletin magazine or join Special Interest Groups that range from astronomy to chocolate.

Mensa is an organization open to anyone who scores in the top two percent on an accepted, standardized intelligence test.  For more information about the organization, visit  www.us.mensa.org.

Documentation of prior testing:  Persons can also qualify for membership in Mensa by providing documentation of prior test results.  Mensa accepts over 200 standardized IQ tests as qualification for membership.  Contact the Mensa Membership Officer, Glenn Davis, 239/992-2120 GLDavis88@aol.com

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cabbage Palms Saved At Lake Okeechobee

Corps Of Engineers Moves Trees

LAKEPORT, FL. -- Approximately 600 cabbage palms have been uprooted from the banks of Harney Pond and Indian Prairie Canals—tributaries of Lake Okeechobee—over concerns that their presence could jeopardize the integrity of the dikes. Cabbage Palms, also known as Sabal Palms, are native to Florida and were adopted as the official state tree in 1953.

Cabbage Palms are slow growers and provide excellent roosting and nesting habit for raptors. Because of these attributes, the environmental stewardship staff set out to salvage as many of these trees as possible. Over 100 palms were flagged in Indian Prairie Canal to be transplanted at various lakeside sites. Six of largest trees will be introduced into the Clewiston office butterfly garden. The bulk of the palms will be planted at the Swallow-tailed Kite Nature Trail off Highway 78 near Sportsman Canal.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

In The Service

Airman Graduates From Training

BELLE GLADE, FL. -- Air Force Airman 1st Class Joseph J. Kinglocke has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. During the six weeks of training, the airman studied the Air Force mission, organization, and military customs and courtesies; performed drill and ceremony marches, and received physical training, rifle marksmanship, field training exercises, and special training in human relations.
In addition, airmen who complete basic training earn credits toward an associate degree through the Community College of the Air Force.  Kinglocke is the nephew of Linda Glover-Brown of S.W. Seventh St., Belle Glade, Fla. The airman is a 2007 graduate of Lake Worth High School, Fla.

$1.5 Million Judgment Against Hendry Sheriff

Sheriff And Plaintiffs Stipulate A Settlement Amount

LABELLE, FL. -- After a complicated multi-year, multi-lawyered series of Federal and State court cases, Sheriff Ronnie E. Lee Sr. has had a final judgment issued against him as Hendry county Sheriff. The judgment filed October 9 in the Hendry Circuit Court is in the amount of $1,500,000.

The Sheriff was found negligent in carrying out his duties and that his department's negligence caused the death of a Ft. Myers woman in 1998. The court cases resulted from Lee hiring a jailed inmate, Terry Lynn Gartno as a confidential informant and allowed him out of jail early. Gartno killed a woman in a traffic crash in Ft. Myers during a period of time Gartno had been working for the DEA and the Hendry County Sheriff in making drug buys.

Larry Norman Waddell, as personal representative of the estate of Kristina Waddell, who was killed in the traffic crash, was awarded damages in the amount of $600,000. Gary Leonard Wheeler was also awarded $600,000.  The third plaintiff, Erik S. Hemerson was awarded $300,000.

June 17, 2007 Story - Hendry Sheriff Loses Circuit Court Case

Monday, October 08, 2007

16 Drug Arrests In Hendry

Drug Undercover Operation Takes In 16 Suspects

LABELLE, FL. -- An undercover operation by the Hendry County Sheriff's Office has resulted in 16 arrests.  According to Sheriff Ronnie E. Lee Sr., on October 4th Jean Carlos Zamora, age 19 of 1271 Twin Lakes Mobile Home Park in Clewiston was arrested and charged with four counts of Sale of Cocaine, one count of Sale of Ecstacy, and one count of Possession of Marijuana.

On October 5th Deputies executed a search warrant at 793 Kissimmee Avenue in LaBelle.  Sheriff Lee said approximately 50 pieces of Crack Cocaine, 5 grams of Marijuana, multiple prescription pills packaged for sale, and drug paraphernalia were located within the residence.  Due to the amount of traffic to the residence, Deputies set up an undercover operation and arrested 9 people for the Attempted Purchase of Cocaine.

Jeffrey Leroy Beard, age 48 of 793 Kissimmee Avenue, was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana With Intent to Sell, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine With Intent to Sell, Possession of a Controlled Substance Without a Prescription, and Operating a Drug House.

The following were charged with Attempted Purchase of Cocaine:

Carmen Murray, age 43 of   was also charged with possession of Marijuana.
Matthew Swenson, age 28 of 440 Ft. Keys Street, LaBelle.
Peggy Rutledge, age 36 of 1334 Garden Street, LaBelle.
David Samuel Eniss, age 36 of 275 Catamount, LaBelle (Muse, Glades County)
Saul Gonzalez, age 52 of 118 Euclid, LaBelle.
Keith Luster, age 29 of 4611 Darby Lane, Moore Haven, FL.
Jorge Sanchez, age 40 of State Road 29 south, LaBelle.
Israel Garcia, age 38 of 720 Bennett Avenue, LaBelle.
Dallas Johnson, age 18 of 1414 North Wardell St. Mount Dora, FL.

Wesley Howard, age 26 of 2007 Anchor Lane, LaBelle, was charged with Attempted Purchase of Marijuana.

Jeffrey Green, age 25 of 320 6th Avenue, LaBelle and Joseph Wilson, age 36 of Swanee Avenue, LaBelle, were both charged with Resisting Arrest.  Laricka Forbes, age 25 of 811 Caloosahatchee Avenue, LaBelle, and one female juvenile were arrested for obstructing an Officer.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Lennox Joseph Arrested For Clewiston Murder

CLEWISTON, FL. -- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office announce the arrest of Lennox Joseph, 32, for the murder of a Clewiston man in May of this year. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents took Joseph into custody last night at the Miami International Airport as he was trying to re-enter the country. Joseph is charged with one count of second-degree murder.

According to witnesses, on the evening of May 14, 2007, Joseph and another man entered a home at 570 Fleetwood, in Clewiston, Fla. After entering the home the two men allegedly exchanged gunfire with the victim John Tull, 44. Tull died at the scene and Joseph was later found at a Delray Beach hospital suffering from gunshot wounds to his face and arm. Shortly after Joseph’s release from the hospital he fled to Jamaica. A warrant was issued for his arrest. Police believe the shooting was a result of a dispute over a drug transaction.

Joseph was booked into the Miami-Dade Jail under no bond. Police are still searching for the second suspect. The investigation is on going.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

FHP Emergency Contact Service

LABELLE, FL. -- One year ago today, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) implemented a new emergency contact information system that allows Florida motorists to voluntarily provide emergency contact information online using their Florida driver licenses or Florida identification cards.

The information can then be accessed by law enforcement officers to notify designated contacts if a motorist is seriously injured or killed in a traffic crash. In the event of an unfortunate emergency, having this information readily at hand will allow law enforcement officials to quickly get in touch with those listed as a contact.

On this first year anniversary, Florida motorists are urged to go online and enter their emergency contact information. To date, over 743,000 Floridians have already done so. However, with over 18 million licensed drivers and identification card holders in our state, many more need to take the time to go online and enter their information.

Anyone with a valid Florida driver license or identification card can go online and enter their emergency contact information at www.hsmv.state.fl.us. The information is kept secure, and is only used by law enforcement officials in case of an emergency. It�s easy to do; it requires only a few minutes; and it�s very important!

In The Service

Student Graduates From Military Training Program

INDIANTOWN, FL. -- Army Reserve Pvt. Wendy C. Mazariegos has graduated from basic military training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C., to be a member of the Army National Guard or Reserve Split-option Program.
The program allows students between their junior and senior year of high school to attend national guard or reserve weekend drills while still in school and pursue a military career specialty after they graduate from high school.
During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises.
She is the daughter of Adulfo Mazariegos of S.W. Seminole Drive, Indiantown, Fla., and cousin of Rocio Lopez of Cedar St., Georgetown, Del.  Mazariegos is a student at South Fork High School, Stuart, Fla.

More Montura Drug Arrests

Three Men Arrested At Playground

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff Ronnie Lee announces the arrest of three narcotics violators at the playground area of the Montura Club House by members of the Hendry County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Division.

On September 29th investigators observed five individuals hanging out on the playground area of the Montura Club House. When Investigators made contact with the individuals, it was observed that they were consuming alcohol in a public area. During further investigation it was discovered that three of the individuals were in possession of marijuana.

Christopher David Brown, 22 was arrested for possession of marijuana and open container. Michael Antonio Arroyo 19, was arrested for possession of marijuana. Fransisco Brocaro Legra 25, was arrested for possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. All three reside in the Montura Ranch Estates area.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Aging Council Holding Town Meeting

Elder Helpline Available For Seniors

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council is holding a Town Hall meeting for residents of Hendry and Glades counties at the First United Methodist Church, 300 Avenue L SW in Moore Haven to raise community awareness of the Elder Helpline.
The meeting, to be held on October 11 at 8:30 AM, will be the first in a series designed to educate the public in the ways the Elder Helpline provides information to seniors, their caregivers, and concerned friends or neighbors while connecting them with the appropriate services for seniors in Southwest Florida. Questions about prescription drug plans, concerns with elder abuse, need for in-home services such as meals or transportation issues can be addressed by the Elder Helpline.
"The Elder Helpline has been serving our communities for many years, and has recently undergone an expansion by adding new staff and call lines," says Leigh Schield, Executive Director of the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) of Southwest Florida. 
"During the prescription drug enrollment frenzy last year we realized that we needed to expand and be prepared for the increasing needs of the communities we serve.  Over 10 percent of the 500,000 seniors in our service area are over 85 and there�s a probability that 60,000 seniors will need assistance related to Alzheimer�s disease in the coming years," Schield added
The counties served by the AAA include Lee, Collier, Hendry, Glades, Charlotte, DeSoto and Sarasota. To reach the Elder Helpline call 1-866-413-5337 or (239)-332-3019.  For more information, contact the Area Agency on Aging at 239-332-4233.

Glades Library Lecture Coming

Indians And African Americans In Early Florida

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- On Saturday, October 13th at 2 pm, the Glades County Public Library will host a lecture entitled "Red, Black and White: Race and Community in Early Florida�". This lecture will explore the relationships between Indians and African Americans in eighteenth and nineteenth century Florida.  Runaways of different kinds, Seminole Indians and fugitive slaves found various ways to unite, and in many ways become a community.   Although they usually came from vastly different backgrounds, Native Americans and Africans found ways to create common ground.  Even African Americans who remained slaves among the Seminoles discovered that they could enjoy freedoms and opportunities that defy the general meaning of slavery.

The featured speaker is Dr. Andrew Frank of the History Department at Florida State University. Dr. Frank studied at Brandeis University and the University of Florida. He is the author of �Creeks and Southerners: Biculturalism on the Early American Frontier� and the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships. The public is cordially invited to the 50 minute lecture which will be followed by a question and answer period and discussion. Refreshments will be served following the program. The lecture is made possible by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council; the event is free and open to the public.

The October 13th event is the first in a series of three lectures on the history of Central Florida. Upcoming lectures are on November 17th and November 24th. The topics are: �Before the Exodus: The Hispanic Presence in Florida Before Castro� and �When Cattle Was King: Ranching at the Turn of the Century�. All lectures are on Saturdays at 2 pm at the library. The lectures are part of a larger project initiated by the Core Ensemble, a music theatre company, which is creating a performance piece based on oral histories and stories of Glades County.

For more information about the lectures, call the library at 863-946-0744, Project Director Margot Emery at 561-582-0603 or email margot@core-ensemble.cc .  The Glades County Public Library is located at 201 Riverside Drive in Moore Haven.