Saturday, December 29, 2007

Home Sales In LaBelle Up

Sales Pick Up From Last Month

LABELLE, FL. -- From December 18  to December 25, there were 7 homes sold in the LaBelle area for an average price of $155,429.  All sales were in the Port LaBelle subdivision except for the 3rd Avenue sale in the city of LaBelle. The home on North Obisbo is reportedly a former "Habitat for Humanity" low-income buyer property recently foreclosed and the new owner bought it "as-is."

The rush of home sales may be attributed to buyers wanting to take possession before January 1 in order to gain Homestead property tax exemptions.

1) $164,000 on 3rd Ave
2) $124,000 on El Paso Ct
3) $166,000 on School Cir
4) $100,000 on Schooner Dr (Country Village)
5) $82,000 on N Obisbo Cir
6) $227,000 on S Balsam Cir
7) $225,000 on S Montana Cir

Friday, December 28, 2007

Gun Club Hosts Event

Gun Class And Meet Open To Public

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The Glades County Gun Club will have a shooting event on Saturday, January 12, 2008.  It will take place at the Glades County Sheriff's Gun Range located north of the Sheriff's office on SR78.  The gates will open at 8:00 AM
 
There will be a club member's shoot after the dew dries.  At 8:30 approximately, there will be a short class on gun handling and gun safety by a Certified NRA Range Safety Officer. The class is open to the general public, for adults and children, as part of our firearms educational pledge to Glades County.
 
Member David Whidden says. "Come on out, meet the members, learn more about the club."  The gun club is open for membership at all times, just ask any member for assistance in signing up.  If you have waited until a convenient time to learn the safe handling of firearms, or for your child or children to learn the safe handling of firearms, this is the place to begin.  Many kinds of firearms available for your perusal, and to teach children to identify them for what they are and to conduct themselves safely around them.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Talk To Teens About Alcohol

Warnings For Parents This Holiday

LABELLE, FL. -- Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is encouraging parents to talk to their teenagers about safe driving practices on New Year's Eve.  Attorney General McCollum emphasized the importance of having parents engage their children in conversations about the dangers of underage drinking and driving, particularly on a holiday night with potentially high numbers of intoxicated drivers.

"Young people need to know that they are responsible for their safety and only by making smart decisions can they protect themselves and potentially those around them," said Attorney General McCollum. "With an increased number of drivers on the road during the holidays, teen drivers need to be especially cautious behind the wheel and should be strongly admonished not to drink."

The Attorney General also noted that parents and adults should never provide alcohol to underage children, regardless of the situation. Underage drinking is illegal and dangerous, and when you add a vehicle to the equation, it can be deadly.

The Attorney General released the following tips for parents to encourage safety on New Year's Eve:

Make sure your child has a plan for the evening and that you know it, including where they'll be staying if they don't plan to return home.   Know all of the hot spot destinations.    Communicate with other parents, particularly the ones who may be hosting any parties your child may attend.  

Take stock of the alcohol in your home and make sure none of it is unaccounted for.  Know who is driving and encourage your children to offer to drive if they have had nothing to drink.     Encourage seatbelt use­the best accessory!   Do not rent hotel rooms for New Year's Eve partiers. If your children plan to return home for the evening, stay up and wait for them.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ortona Christmas Decoration Contest Winners

Light Up Ortona 2007 Winners Announced

ORTONA, FL. -- Judging the outdoor Christmas lighting displays for the Ortona Community Association was no hard task for Frances Bryant and Bill Heflin of Moore Haven, who for many years have won first place in such contests at their home on Avenue C in Moore Haven.
 
Recognizing the time, effort, expense and beauty of the exhibit proudly displayed by Wanda & Wesley Pearce of 2450 Ortona Road, the Judges declared them Grand Prize Winner granting them OCA�s official North Pole Award. 
 
Following closely in rating were two who tied for first place:  Lisa Knight of 3265 Riverview Drive, and Edward and Dorothy Triplett of 3525 Riverview Drive.  Ms. Knight was given the Best of Show for design and layout, and Mr. and Mrs. Triplett received the Joy To The World award for the variety of themes in their giant display. 
 
Mrs. Bryant said it was a real pleasure to have 30 awards to give out recognizing the efforts of so many participants.
 
Other winners were:
 
Angels Award                                      Leticia Skipper 3270 Ortona Rd
Bright Star Award                                Sheldon & Greta Barroquillo 3320 Riverview Dr       
Candle Lighters Award                       Paul & Liz Dicke 12175 Dolphin Ln
Candy Canes Award                           John & Shirley Nugent 12210 Helm Ln
Christmas Spirit Award                       Jonathan & Mandy McRoy 13475 Ortona Rd
Christmas Trees Award                     Dean and April Beavers 3540 Riverview Dr
County Christmas Award                   Deona Campos, 12625 Aqua Ln
Country Porch Award                         Sal & Dorinda Campos 12920 Williams Rd
Florida Christmas Award                    Lilla Porter 145 Friendly Ln
Garland Award                                    Sheldon & Greta Barroquillo 3320 Riverview Dr
Jingle Bells Award                               Hiram & Nancy Riley 12685 Shady Ln
Nativity Award                                     154 Park Lane Meadowlark   
Polar Bear Award                                Tina Derringer 3050 Riverview Dr
Reindeer Award                                  Earnest & Jean Styles 3230 Riverview Dr
Rudolph�s Award                                 Lawrence & Betty Steger 12705 Williams Rd
Santa Clause Award                           Sal & Dorinda Campos 12920 Williams Rd
Santa�s Helper Award                         Tina Derringer 3050 Riverview Dr                 
Shepherd�s Award                              Leticia Skipper 3270 Ortona Rd
Snowman Award                                Leticia Skipper 3270 Ortona Rd
Tallest Tree Award                              Hal & Nan Griffin 13940 Live Oak Ln
White Christmas Award                     154 Park Lane Meadowlark
Winter Wonderland Award                 Tina Derringer 3050 Riverview Dr.
Honorable Mention                              Bob & Diane Cook 12210 Dolphin Ln
Honorable Mention                              Earnest & Joy Cox 12200 Helm Ln

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sheriff Dispatchers Need Retraining?

Dispatcher Fails To Relay Correct Directions To Deputy

LABELLE, FL. -- Ever wonder why it may take a Hendry deputy, EMS, or the fire department longer than you imagine to come to a location for assistance?  The problem may lie in ill trained dispatchers who are not relaying simple but critical address directions to the the road officers, EMS and fire personnel.

In what may be an ongoing problem, Hendry County Sheriff dispatchers seemingly do not relay complete directions from citizen complaint calls.  Monday afternoon, a brush fire was spotted in the field behind the Port LaBelle Inn and the Sheriff's dispatcher was notified that the specific location was the "northwest corner of Birchwood and State Road 80."  The fire location was additionally described to the dispatcher as the "old golf course" behind the Port LaBelle Inn.

A man and child passenger was reported illegally driving a four-wheel ATV in the field, catching the grass on fire. The man was seen taking his shirt off and beating the fire out. 

Fortunately the fire was put out by the ATV driver, but unfortunately the Sheriff's dispatcher did not relay the correct direction on Birchwood  so the hapless deputy was searching a mile south of the actual location.

Incidents like this happen routinely, as can be heard on a scanning radio tuned to the Sheriff's dispatch frequency, where emergency personnel can't find the location because dispatcher's don't give complete information, but  instead apparently summarize complainant's direction leaving out critical  directional information.

Are You Happy?

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

LABELLE, FL. -- As the world prepares for Christmas Day, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year. I'll be spendng a quiet holiday at home, visiting friends and family via Live video broadcast. Stop in and say "hello."



Say Hello To Don live On Video

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Santa Visits Pioneer Plantation


Annual Party - Gifts For The Children


PIONEER PLANTATION, FL. -- The annual special visit from St. Nick was held at the Pioneer Community Center sponsored by the Homeowners Association and assisted with toys distributed by Sheriff Ronnie Lee and the Marines Toys for Tots program.


A covered dish supper was enjoyed by all. Santa was represented by Nicholas Simicich of Pioneer. So St. Nicholas was really there.


Photo: Santa with Millie and Charles Martinez (courtesty of John Hollingsworth)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cities Not Using Planning Program

State Program May Be Discontinued For Lack Of Use

LABELLE, FL. -- Since the "Local Government Comprehensive Planning Certification Program's" creation in 2002, only five of the state's local governments have chosen to apply for certification. Three local governments were certified by the Department of Community Affairs including the cities of Lakeland, Miramar, and Orlando, but Naples and Sarasota withdrew their applications.

The four certified cities have been subject to less state and regional oversight of their comprehensive plan amendments which has allowed them to expedite the amendments' approval. Counties, regional planning councils, and the Department of Community Affairs generally report they did not experience problems as a result of the cities participating in the program.

The state program is intended to expedite the process of adopting comprehensive plan amendments, as an alternative state review process program. It has been recommended that the Florida Legislature review this pilot program,  to consider whether the Local Government Comprehensive Planning Certification Program be continued or discontinued.

Zero Tolerance For Drunk Drivers

FHP Gets Tough For Holiday

LABELLE, FL. -- Colonel John Czernis, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, said the FHP's statewide traffic enforcement plans for the upcoming Christmas and New Year�s holidays will use zero tolerance enforcement strategies to target aggressive and hazardous violators throughout the state.

Troopers will place special emphasis on aggressive driving, D.U.I, speeding, and safety restraint violations.  This year's Christmas holiday enforcement period will begin at 00:01 hours on Saturday, December 22, 2007, and end at midnight, Tuesday, December 25, 2007. The New Year�s holiday enforcement period will begin at 00:01 hours on Saturday, December 29, 2007, and end at midnight, Tuesday, January 1, 2008.
 
"I�ve asked our troop commanders to ensure that all available personnel are assigned to either routine patrol duties or specific enforcement operations throughout both holiday periods," Colonel Czernis stressed, "which  includes all personnel normally assigned to administrative duties."
 
Motorists are urged to contact the FHP or local law enforcement officials when reporting an impaired, aggressive, or dangerous driver by dialing *FHP (*347) from their cell phones. Callers may remain anonymous. Motorists who experience car trouble on the highway or otherwise need assistance from the FHP are also encouraged to use *FHP.  For real-time traffic and road condition reports as well as maps and other safety tips, the public is urged to use our Live Traffic Crash service on the FHP website at www.fhp.state.fl.us

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Drug Discount Card Available

Discount Drug Card Launched

LABELLE, FL. -- Governor Charlie Crist has announced the launch of the Florida Discount Drug Card, which will provide eligible Floridians savings on drugs at over 3,000 participating pharmacies.  An easy-to-use Web site, www.FloridaDiscountDrugCard.com, is available to help consumers learn which drugs are discounted and find participating pharmacies. Participants can also choose a mail order option by calling the Florida Discount Drug Card help line.

"Access to affordable prescription drugs enhances every person�s quality of life as well as the vitality of our state, and many working families and seniors struggle to afford their medications," Governor Crist said.  "The Florida Discount Drug Card is easy to use and will help lower the cost of prescription drugs for many who need them."

Individuals qualify for the card if they are age 60 and older and do not have prescription drug coverage or if they are in the Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage gap. Individuals, families and seniors under age 60 may be eligible if they have an annual income of less than 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level and do not have prescription drug coverage. 

Qualifying annual incomes for individuals under age 60 are up to $30,636 for an individual, $41,076 for a family of two and $61,956 for a family of four.  Income limits for other family sizes are also available on the Web site.

There is no application fee for the Florida Discount Drug Card; however, there is a one time $1.50 activation fee added onto the posted cost of the first prescription filled only.  If the pharmacy�s usual and customary price is lower than the Florida Discount Drug price, the customer will pay the lower price.  Additionally, if the customer qualifies for any other prescription discounts, they will always pay the lowest price.

What's Your Holiday Wish?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Two Local Student Scholars To Compete

Linda McVey and Jessica Concha - Math And Science Scholars

LABELLE, FL. -- Two local graduating seniors are among 95 from high schools throughout the state to be designated District Sunshine State Scholars in Mathematics and Science for the current year. 

Named are Cathy McVey of LaBelle High School and Jessica Concha from Moore Haven High School.

They will compete on Wednesday, January 9, 2008 to become one of the ten Regional Scholars to vie in March 2008 for the title Statewide Sunshine State Scholar in Mathematics and Science for 2008.
 
The Sunshine State Scholars Program was established in 1997 to recognize the achievement of Florida's graduating seniors who have demonstrated excellence in both mathematics and science.  All Scholars receive district recognition and individual awards from the program.  The ten Regional Scholars and their selected teachers receive further recognition from the Governor and Cabinet, the Florida Legislature, the Florida Department of Education, and private businesses.
 
The Sunshine State Scholars Program is coordinated through the Florida Institute of Education at the University of North Florida.  The program receives support from the Florida Department of Education, the Florida Lottery, the Florida Education Foundation, Florida mathematics and science teachers' and supervisors' organizations, and private corporations.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

From Golf Course To Cow Pasture


Port LaBelle Inn Land Now Home For Cows

LABELLE, FL. -- The owner of the Port LaBelle Inn is now pasturing six cows on his acreage adjoining the motel. Richard Siebel says in order to save on property taxes he has fenced off the land and will place cattle there in order to qualify for an agricultural exemption from the Hendry County Tax Appraiser's office next year.

The land would have to be put in agricultural use by January 1, 2008 to qualify. It is now classified as leisure and recreational use. The county master plan lists the land as a regional park.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Rain Expected This Weekend

Hendry-Glads Agriculture Report
Gene McAvoy, Hendry County Extension Agent

LABELLE, FL. --  Gene McAvoy, of the Hendry Agricultural Extention office in LaBelle says area growers continue to plant, harvest and irrigate crops with the fall tomato crop approaching the end in the Manatee Ruskin area.  Harvesting of most vegetables was underway with snap beans, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, pepper, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes, watermelon and various specialty items coming to market.

The short-term forecast from the National Weather Service in Miami indicates that a surface trough moving in from the Bahamas will bring abundant moisture to the area over the weekend producing a 60% chance of thunderstorms and heavy rain Saturday and Sunday.  A cold front will begin moving across South Florida on Sunday will bring clear skies and cooler more seasonable temperatures next week with day time highs in the mid 70s.  Low Sunday night/Monday morning will be in the low 40s.

South Florida Water Management District Report

In an unprecedented move to protect the region's dwindling water supply, water managers on Thursday voted unanimously to allow residents to water their grass just once a week. The new water restrictions which take effect Jan. 15, are the most stringent limitations ever imposed by the South Florida Water Management District.

Surface water and groundwater levels across much of the District remain unseasonably low and already are showing signs of decline with the start of the dry season in November.  The water level in Lake Okeechobee, the source of water for the Florida Everglades and the primary back-up water supply for five million South Floridians, is at its lowest elevation ever recorded for the month of December. 

At 10.16 feet above sea level this morning, the lake level already is so low that water from the lake cannot be used to replenish the regional supply.  Even with average dry season rainfall, water managers expect the lake level to drop over the coming months below its all-time low of 8.82 feet above sea level, recorded on July 2, 2007.   With out major inflows this winter, water managers indicate evaporation alone could drop the lake to around 7 feet by May.
 

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Glades Commission Meeting This Week

Fertilizer Plant Causes Emergency - Fires Out Now

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- With about 60 citizens in attendance the Glades Commission meeting Tuesday was amended to allow a Board motion to declare a local state of emergency due to toxic fumes from ongoing fire at fertilizer plant south of Moore Haven. But before the meeting was adjourned, Public Safety Director Bob Jones called and reported that the fire was out and an evacuation shelter that had been set up was closed.

Under the reorganization of the board,  Commissioner Paul Beck was elected Chairman  and Commissioner Russel Echols was elected Vice-Chairman.

The board decided that twice monthly commission meetings will be held on the second Tuesday of each month at 9 am, and the fourth Monday of each month at 6 pm, with the exception of Monday May 26, 2008 which will change to Tuesday May 27 at 6 pm, and Tuesday November 11 will change to Monday November 10 at 9 am.

In Other Actions

Buckhead Ridge Fire Chief Tom Vallee addressed the Board questioning why was the county building work was delayed so long because now there is water damage and mold in the building due to leakage from the damaged roof.  County Manager Wendell Taylor and County Attorney Richard Pringle noted that the County is defendant in litigation with the original contractor who had received partial payment but the work did not pass inspection and the contractor was not licensed, and they wanted to preserve the conditions for documentation of their defense in the lawsuit.

The Board adopted a resolution requesting South Florida Water Management District and US Army Corps of Engineers to delay procurement of lands in Glades County until alternate studies had determined if other locations could be used stating �First look at your own property before moving to property of others.� 

The two entities already have removed almost $100 million of Glades County property from the tax rolls with very limited or no PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) with the resulting devastation of property tax revenue to the county.  Highlands County and Okeechobee County have expressed interest in adopting similar resolutions in effort to protect their interests. 

Chairman Beck stated if we did not put a stop to it, Water Management and the Corps would take all of Glades County and make it one giant STA (Stormwater Treatment Area).

The Board authorized Taylor to advertise for bids to re-roof the Buckhead Ridge Fire Department building, work which had previously been contracted but halted when inspection revealed improper work and lack of licensure by the contractor.  Because the County is now defendant in litigation initiated by the contractor seeking final payment, Taylor and Pringle had not proceeded with final repairs in order to preserve evidence of non-performance.  The Board directed the attorney to seek all costs associated with completing the work including repairs of damage from leakage and mold.

Waste Issues Weighed In

Commissioner Donna Storter moved that 4 recycling dumpster trailers be purchased so one could also be added for Muse as well as Moore Haven, Lakeport and Buckhead Ridge.  Motion passed, with Taylor requesting direction for placement site location in the communities.

The Board formally directed Taylor to develop a possible plan for the Board�s  consideration at the  March 11, 2008 meeting for discussion of county-wide mandatory solid waste collection.  Public input will be sought at that meeting to determine the preferred parameters, if any, for all facets involved. 

Direction had already been given at the January 22, 2007 workshop for development of a plan.  Muse residents had requested in July that the issue be placed on the January ballot as a referendum but the majority of the Board objected. 

Commissioner Storter says,  "input is needed greatly as the City of Moore Haven, which already has mandatory pickup, is promoting county wide collection.  The level of service will determine the cost.  I personally believe that mandatory collection of waste will be beneficial overall. However, my position has been that the residents of all areas, rural or suburban subdivisions, should expect the exact same level of service if they are mandated to pay the same rate, and if the service cannot be equally provided, it should not be mandated. "

Evicting The Chamber Of Commerce?

The Board declined Taylor�s proposal to work to dissolve the Chamber and evict the Chamber from the County-owned building.  Taylor, in an effort to protect county-owned property, had all the locks to the building changed and was holding all keys because the lease had expired in 2003.  Citing the need for input from newly elected Chamber officials, the Board directed Taylor to invite them to the January BoCC meeting. 

The consensus of the Board was to support the formation of a new Chamber of Commerce, or the reformation of the old one which faces multiple State tax liens of over $25,000.  Commissioner Echols, as member of the board of directors of the Economic Development Council, volunteered to work with the new Chamber officials to determine how the county could assist.






Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Store Prices Accurate Says State

Kohl's The Exception, But Undercharged

LABELLE, FL. -- If you're out doing holiday shopping, chances are excellent you will be charged the correct price.  That's the conclusion reached by Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson following a pre-holiday scanner survey in which 43 stores in 25 cities were inspected for scanner accuracy.

In all, only 15 errors were detected at the checkout line among 2,150 items scanned -- an error rate of less than 1 percent -- and all but three of the errors were in customers' favor.

Only one of the 43 stores visited by Bronson's inspectors last week failed its inspection, which requires an accuracy rate of 98 percent.  It was a Kohl's department store in Tallahassee, which failed its inspection due to excessive undercharges.  Such a finding will trigger more frequent inspection visits in the future until the problems are corrected.

While scanning errors are relatively uncommon, mistakes do occur.  It means that consumers need to be aware of the price that they should be charged, Bronson said.

For example, among errors detected during last week's sweep was a $10 overcharge for a doll at a Jacksonville Super Target store.  The error and all others found during the visits were immediately corrected by store management when they were informed of them.

Bronson's Division of Standards tests checkout scanners, as well as most other devices that sell products by weight or measure.  Consumers who believe that they have been overcharged, or who detect problems with a store's scales, are encouraged to call the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 1-800-HELPFLA (1-800-435-7352).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Video 'Lifecast' From Southwest Florida Online


Watch live video on Justin.tv


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In The Service

Pvt. Lewis Graduates From Basic Training

PAHOKEE, FL. -- Army Pvt. Joshua P. Lewis has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.
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.

He is the son of Mark Lewis of S. Elm Ave., Pahokee, Fla., and Susan Lewis of Fox Run Road, Brandon, Miss. Lewis is a 2006 graduate of Pearl High School, Miss.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Another LaBelle Killing

Man Found Dead In Street

LABELLE, FL. -- On December 2, 2007 Deputy Sheriff�s responded to the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Suwanee Avene in reference to gunshots. Deputies found 24-year old Tyrone Maurice Love lying dead in the middle of the street.

Tyrone�s body was transported to the Medical Examiner�s Office in Lee County. Hendry County Sheriff Ronnie Lee said the incident was "definitely not a drive by shooting," as there appeared to be a scuffle before the shooting. Mr. Love lived at 405 Calhoun Street in Labelle.

An investigation is underway and anyone with any information concerning this incident is asked to contact the Hendry County Sheriff�s Office at 863-674-4060 in Labelle or 863-983-1440 in Clewiston

State's Revenue Falling

Florida Among States With Budget Shortfalls

LABELLE, FL. -- A slumping housing market and skimpier sales tax collections will force as many as 20 states to go back and patch holes in their budgets in 2008. Most states will muddle through the current economic slowdown, but if the country dips into a recession, then even more than 20 states likely will have to make cuts to their current budgets.

The stalled housing market is pinching states across the board, but it's more severe for states such as Arizona, California, Nevada, and Florida that rely heavily on real estate taxes. A drop in home sales and prices mean states take a smaller cut - both in real estate-related and sales taxes as most people who buy homes also purchase new appliances and carpeting and spend big money on home improvements.

Florida, for example, is particularly dependent on sales tax revenue because it does not have a state income tax. California is struggling to plug a projected $9.8 billion deficit for 2008-2009, while Florida is looking at a $2.5 billion estimated budget shortfall.

Other states facing shortfalls include Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Virginia. Unlike the federal government, which can run a deficit, states must balance their books. That means if tax revenues come in less than what a state had projected, then a state either has to cut programs or find other sources of revenue. The fiscal year begins July 1 for all but four states (Alabama, Michigan, New York and Texas). - Source Florida OPPAGA

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Mormon Beliefs - Romney Avoids

What Do Mormons Believe - Romney Avoids Issue

LABELLE, FL. -- Republican candidate for U.S. President Mitt Romney today avoided an explanation about his religious beliefs in a speech delivered in Texas at the George Bush Musuem and Library. Many Americans believe Mormonism is a cult because it states the Book of Mormon is a new revelation from God, a complimentary writing equal to the Bible.

Romney said that as president he would "serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause," and said and explanation of his religious beliefs go against the profound wishes of the nation's founders, and would not let his beliefs interfere with running the county as President.

In Hendry county, the Mormon church through various legal entities, owns thousands of acres of land.

A summary of Mormon beliefs (and a link to offical Mormon site)

A summary of Mormon beliefs Part 2


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Death In Crash Near LaBelle High School

Truck Overturns Killing LaBelle Man

LABELLE, FL. -- Charles William Fradenburg, 23 of LaBelle died in a violent crash while driving a 2006 Ford pickup truck on Cowboy Way, directly across from LaBelle High School Wednesday morning at 11 a.m.

The vehicle was eastbound on East Cowboy Way and entered the right hand curve approaching Castleton Terrace. After exiting the curve, it crossed the westbound lane and partially entered the north shoulder. The driver attempted to recover by steering to the right but then traveled across both lanes of East Cowboy Way and onto the south shoulder, steered back to the left and began to rotate clockwise.

The vehicle then struck a palmetto tree with its right side and overturned approximately 1 to 2 times, ejecting the driver. The vehicle then struck two palm trees with its right side and came to rest upright facing northwest on the south shoulder.

Investigators say Fradenburg was not wearing a seat belt and an investigation is pending for alcohol use.related to the crash.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Photographer Scheduled At Garden Club

Nature Photographer Mark Renz To Speak

LABELLE, FL. -- Everyone is invited to the Hendry-Glades Audubon and the Greater LaBelle Garden Club program and autograph session featuring Mark Renz at the Dallas Townsend Agricultural Extension Building in LaBelle, Monday, Dec. 10 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Renz is the author of several books about Florida's fossil sharks, mammals and reptiles. He knows our rivers and creeks cut through the sediments of time exposing bits of prehistory in the form of bones and teeth so that's where he searches. And while his favorite tools of the trade are a mask and snorkel, Renz also packs his camera.

"It's not just the past that fascinates me," he adds. "I am equally drawn to the present. I don't want to miss a moment, a critter or a place in time. I absorb it all and record it as I go. Digging up bones and clicking a camera's shutter allows me to savor the moment and pass it on."

Renz will be focusing on the present when he brings his slide program, "Blue Planet Special."  For information call: Steve Buczynski, Audubon Chapter President  (863) 902-0856 or Margaret England (863) 674-0695.

------

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Vegetative Waste In Hendry County

Commentary By T. W. Bill Neville

Having to watch the Board of County Commissioners struggle with the hows and wherefores of attracting and keeping new industries, I'm reminded of the story a woman bragging to her friend. She proudly told her friend that she was personally responsible for her husband being a millionaire. Her friend wanted to know what he had been before they married, and the wife replied, "A billionaire."

This story, although many dollar signs above any of the most recent, proposed, developmental proposals, leads me to address what I see as a pattern of disappointments and confusion as outlined in Mrs. Jeannie Horlacher's Letter to the Editor, "What the code allows" of November 29, 2007.

Her continuing efforts on behalf of residential property owners brings to mind the continuing inability of the County to attract industries other than waste oriented based companies. Maybe it's like the realtors keep reminding us as the three most important things about business properties. "Location, Location, Location."

Ms. Horlacher has admirably taken on the lonely, thankless task of citing the continuing lethargic, knee-jerk responses to development proposals not in compliance with the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, as written and in force. With the continuing non-conforming operation of mines throughout the county, she now cites the tabled proposition of a vegetative recycling plant being given a special zoning approval in an Agricultural zoned area.

With no intent, other than to amplify Ms Horlacher's cited concerns and alternatives, I would like for you to consider the following: I understand that the reason the vegetative waste proposal was tabled until the BOCC meeting on December 11 was because the term vegetative waste is not described in the county codes.

If you Google the words "vegetative waste" you learn that vegetative is defined as, "A sedentary lifestyle leading to a physically or mentally inactive life, which it occurs to me is a total "waste", within itself, without making it a public issue. Without intruding on this "vegetative" state of mind and fruitlessly scrambling to rewrite the CLUP, a heavy dose of logc and common sense could productively allow for juris prudence to prevail. Continuing inaction until "rigid mortification" sets in is always an alternative as long as you leave someone still standing to perform the "last rites!" Or is that the "last rights?"

So, God willing! Logic and common sense will prevail at the Hendry County BOCC meeting on December 11, and the CLUP will remain sacrosanct as it concerns "wasted" efforts.