Wednesday, May 28, 2008
MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will host the field day portion of the free hunter safety course on June 7 in Glades County. Participants must have completed the hunter safety Web course and must bring the printout of the final report to the class.
Participants will spend half the day in the classroom and half in the field. They will learn about current laws, safe gun handling and wildlife identification before taking the final test. The safety course also includes live-firing instruction on a shooting range.
The free safety course will be held at the Glades County Sheriff�s Range, four miles north of U.S. 27 on State Road 78 in Moore Haven, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Space is limited. Reservations are required and can be made online at MyFWC.com/huntered or by calling 561-625-5122.
Those born on or after June 1, 1975, who wish to purchase hunting licenses are required to pass this course. Parents or legal guardians must accompany children under 16 to all the classes. Children under 18 years of age must have a parental release form signed by a parent or legal guardian to participate in the live-fire exercises.
A statewide schedule of hunter safety classes is available online at MyFWC.com/huntered.
MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The Glades County Commission this week appointed Glades County Public Library Advisory Board Member Maxine Quilliam for another 5 year term at the request of Jeanette Peeples, Chair of the Library Advisory Board.
The commission approved up to $50,000 from one-cent sales tax fund for first phase of Ortona Park to purchase playground equipment.
Funds were approved up to $2000 to renovate restroom facility to ADA standards using one-cent sales tax funds at the Palmdale Community Center.
The Commission Ranked Wright Construction at $147,500 (1) and Arjay Construction at $152,440.96 (2) for renovation of former office of sheriff�s administration using one-cent sales tax funds.
The Board directed County Manager Taylor to contact community association leaders for list of fees charged for usage of county-owned buildings, in order to compile a schedule of county-owned community building usage fees. The intent is to make sure that rules and fees charged for using county-owned buildings are fairly applied with no jeopardy of discrimination.
Friday, May 23, 2008
LABELLE, FL. -- On Wednesday, May 14, 2008 Deputies with the Hendry County Sheriff's Office responded to Labelle Truck and Auto Salvage/Labelle Recycling Center located at 185 A Road in Labelle after receiving information concerning stolen vehicles that were allegedly located at the salvage yard.
When the Deputies arrived they were able to make contact with the victim and owner of the stolen vehicles, who was able to identify the vehicles as the ones that he had recently discovered stolen.
Once the victim identified the vehicles Hendry County Sheriff�s Office Investigators, and then continued their investigation into how the vehicles had come to be at the salvage yard. During this the Investigators did conduct an inspection of the business�s records, which revealed numerous discrepancies. Investigators discovered that there were not only discrepancies with the documentation related to the stolen vehicles located on the property, but that there were also discrepancies with the documentation associated with other vehicles located on the property.
During the investigation Investigators were also able to locate two more stolen vehicles belonging to the same victim that had originally lead Deputies to the salvage yard. These vehicles were located at another salvage yard, however it was discovered in the course of the investigation that these vehicles had also originally been sold to Labelle Truck and Auto Salvage and that they had been transported from Labelle Truck and Auto Salvage. There were also documents located at the salvage yard indicating their purchase of them, and these also showed discrepancies.
At the conclusion of the business inspection Investigators seized numerous documents to aid in the investigation that is still ongoing and impounded 36 vehicles including the 4 stolen vehicles due to the lack of proper documentation as required by Florida State Statute. Arrests are pending
CLEWISTON, FL. -- Sheriff Ronnie Lee announces the service of a search warrant, May 20, 2008 by members of the Hendry County Sheriffs Office, at a residence located at 465 North Brida Street in Montura Ranch Estates, Clewiston.
Located inside the residence was a sophisticated indoor marijuana growing operation. The residence was equipped with an indoor air conditioning handler, numerous industrial grow lights, fluorescent lights with ballasts, transformers, electrical panels with timers, breakers, and electrical outlets, and a sophisticated irrigation system with fertilizer tanks and submersible water pumps, which were all aiding in the growth of thirty five live marijuana plants. The marijuana plants were approximately four to five feet in height. Arrests are pending.
CLEWISTON, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff's Investigators executed a search warrant on, May 21, 2008, at a residence located at 575 North Granja Street in Montura Ranch Estates, Clewiston.
Located inside the residence was a sophisticated indoor marijuana growing operation. The residence was equipped with an indoor air conditioning handler, numerous 15 grow lights, air conditioner heat pumps, numerous electrical transformers, air filters, submersible water pumps, two osmosis water systems, and a fertilizer drip system which were all aiding in the growth of seventy live and matures marijuana plants.
The marijuana plants were approximately five feet in height (total package weight approximately 119 pounds).
Juan C. Hernandez-Cassanola age 37 was arrested and charged with trafficking in Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana with intent to Sell, Cultivation and/or Producing Marijuana, Possession of Paraphernalia and Operating a Drug House. Hernandez-Cassanola was arrested and remains at the Hendry County Jail with a bond of $61,000.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
LABELLE, FL. -- Congressman Tim Mahoney (FL-16) is proud to announce that he will bring House Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar (MN-8) to Charlotte, Hendry and Martin Counties on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 to visit key infrastructure projects in his district that are critical for protecting the region's environment while supporting new businesses that will strengthen Florida's economy.
Mahoney's Schedule Will Include:
12:301:30pm - Caloosahatchee River Discussion Hendry House, 412 Fraser St, LaBelle, FL. Roundtable discussion about the importance of restoring the Caloosahatchee River as part of comprehensive Everglades restoration. The Congressmen will hear from representatives from: Water Management (SFWMD), Agriculture, Environmental, Business and County Government.
1:45-2:15 pm - Tour of Lake Okeechobee and Herbert Hoover Dike. Representative Mahoney and Army Corps of Engineers Col. Grosskruger will fly with Chairman Oberstar over Lake Okeechobee and the Herbert Hoover Dike to see critical infrastructure projects that will help the environment and the region's economy.
Since taking office last year, Congressman Mahoney has fought to make infrastructure projects in his district a federal funding priority. Congressman Mahoney believes that these projects will help protect the region's environment while creating the infrastructure necessary to rebuild Florida's economy.
Representative Oberstar serves as the Chairman on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, which has jurisdiction over all modes of transportation and other aspects of our national infrastructure, such as clean water and waste management, the transport of resources by pipeline, flood damage reduction, the economic development of depressed rural and urban areas, disaster preparedness and response. The Committee focuses on how communities across the United States are connected to one another, how infrastructure affects the growth and flow of commerce at home and abroad, and how an effective government can improve the lives of its citizens.
The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, with 75 Members, is currently the largest committee in Congress. Its six subcommittees include: Aviation; Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation; Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management; Highways and Transit; Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials; and Water Resources and Environment.
Nell Knott, 70, of LaBelle, owner of Knottsville Farm Inc., succeeding George Barford, appointed for a term beginning May 22, 2008, and ending November 11, 2010. Sharon Shlakman, 61, of West Palm Beach, retired, succeeding Bernard Kalina, appointed for a term beginning May 22, 2008, and ending November 11, 2010. Jay Starling, 60, of Tallahassee, retired, succeeding William Woodard, appointed for a term beginning May 22, 2008, and ending November 11, 2010.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Victim Miguel Waters, age 23 had been stabbed. Waters was transported to Hendry Regional Medical for treatment, and later to Lee Memorial for further examination. Investigation continues pending arrests.
LABELLE, FL. -- This week the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western University announced that beginning in July, all incoming students will be awarded full scholarships to cover tuition, which is estimated to cost $43,500 annually.
Students will be responsible for living expenses, which includes fees, equipment and books, and this total is estimated to cost $21,800. According to the school's Web site, the goal is to train physician investigators who teach and conduct research on topics such as new treatments, technologies and advancements.
The scholarships will be funded initially through money generated by the school's operations and endowment, and will be fully funded in the future by the endowment. The school will not require a career commitment or repayment if graduates quit or choose to practice in a clinical setting.
BELLE GLADE, FL. -- Army Master Sgt. Tanya W. Toussaint is currently deployed as a member of Task Force Marne, one of more than 20,000 soldiers from the Fort Stewart, Ga.-based 3rd Infantry Division and elements of the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Ky.
Toussaint is a human resources supervisor with 18 years of military service. She is the daughter and stepdaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Rupert Raymond of S.W. Avenue G Place, Belle Glade, Fla. Her husband, Patrickson, is the son of Evelyn LeBlanc of Crenshaw Blvd., Inglewood, Calif.
Army Sgt. Ellen D. Mason is also currently deployed as a member of Task Force Marne. In addition, Sgt. Mason has been decorated with the Army Commendation Medal. Mason is a multichannel transmission systems operator-maintainer with the 3rd Signal Company, Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division. Her home station is Fort Stewart. She has served in the military for more than four years. She is the daughter of Lisa M. Cirino-Lan of Kentucky Ave., Clewiston, Fla.
The soldiers are serving a 15-month tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. With more than 53 patrol bases within their area of operation, the task force has made significant strides in enhancing security in the region. Since the arrival of the task force more than a year ago, violence in the region has been reduced by more than 75 percent.
The decrease in violence has allowed the task force to focus on rebuilding efforts, including local governance and economic development, along with medical treatment missions, providing fresh drinking water and working with local security forces and volunteers to provide a broad blanket of stability to the region.
Monday, May 19, 2008
LABELLE, FL. -- According to data provided by First American Core Logic, loan performance of 400 Hendry county homeowners with sub-prime loans indicates grave issues may be ahead for the local economy.
According to the latest data (as of January 2008), half of the sub-prime loans originated since 2005 are past due. 13% of the loans are now in foreclosure. The average loan balance is now at $144,209 and the average loan age being 23 months.
200 of the 400 loans were adjustable interest rates with interest rates averaging 8.4% at origination and are currently now at 9.15%. Another 100 loans will adjust interest rates this year, presumably at a higher rate.
200 sub prime loans were given to Hendry homeowners in 2006 and 100 loans were funded in 2007 and another 100 in 2005. 200 were for purchasing the homes and 200 were cash-out refinances. The average loan to value was 84% at the time of the origination. That equity has now disappeared. 100 of the loans also included a second lien at origination to allow buyers a smaller down payment or for equityline loans to those who refinanced.
There are 12,294 housing units in Hendry County.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
BELLE GLADE, FL. -- The EDGE Center is raising funds for the revitalization of the Old City Hall by selling personalized engraver bricks. The renovation will cost $1.8 million dollars and so far funds received include $18,900 from Palm Beach County Regions Grant, $362,500 from the State of Florida Dept of Cultural Affairs, and $88,000 from Palm Beach County CDBG Grant.
Over the past year and a half Executive Director, Suzanne Harper has reached out to the Glades communities of South Bay, Belle Glade, Pahokee, and Canal Point to gather input for creating new programs to advance the development of new businesses. With the direction of the Palm Beach County Economic Development Office director Kevin Johns and assistance by staff the EDGE Board entered into an agreement with the City of Belle Glade Commission to renovate the Old City Hall building. The building will be used by the EDGE Center program to house 10 new cultural and technological startup businesses as well as provide a state of the art conference and training center.
The project offers businesses who are community minded the opportunity to receive up to $200,000 in Community Contribution State tax credits in addition to other incentives offered by the Enterprise Zone tax credits.
The plan for the renovation to meet the goal of the EDGE Incubator development for sustainability is just the beginning of the revitalization of Avenue A in Belle Glade from Main Street to 4th Street. The plan includes the development of 40 properties by 30 property owners working cooperatively to revitalize Belle Glades Historical downtown. Through a cooperative effort of planning and financing led by EDGE and County Economic Development Office Staff the $8.35 million dollar project has received a $1.2 grant from the Brownfield Economic Development Initiative, $2.8 million from the Palm Beach County 108 (HUD) loan fund, and $4.35 million dollars in private investment Loan funds. The project is scheduled to start construction during the summer of 2008.
The EDGE Center staff will assist Palm Beach County Commission to monitor the Avenue A project to meet goals set for the project. The new revitalization is scheduled to provide approximately 100 new jobs higher paying jobs within 3 years after the completion of the project. Completion of the 1st phase of revitalization will be completed by September 2009.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Also the County Road 720 North, in the same ares is closed. This would normally be the alternate route. There have been accidents reported this morning at Airglades Airport and U.S. 27, and near Goodno on State Road 80 as well.
Agencies allegedly involved in the site inspections include the Department of Labor and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Local agencies are recommending farm operators have their labor posters, toilets, pesticide and safety records for OHSA and the Department of Labor in order and up to date.
Monday, May 12, 2008
MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- At 3:40 P.M. Sunday Karina Duarte crashed her 2005 Kia Spectra on State Road 78 about 6 miles west of U.S. 27. Passenger Joshua Artavia, age 6 was injured and flown to Lee Memorial Hospital where he died seven hours later. Passenger Christian Artavia, age 8 was not injured.
The Kia was eastbound on S.R. 78 proceeding through a left hand curve in the roadway. The driver of the Kia allowed the vehicle to drift onto the south grass and dirt shoulder of the roadway. The driver over-corrected the Kia to the left causing the vehicle to rotate counterclockwise as it reentered the roadway. The driver then over-corrected back to the right causing the Kia to rotate clockwise as it traveled back to the south shoulder of the roadway.
Once on the shoulder, the driver over-corrected the Kia to the left causing the vehicle to rotate counterclockwise as
the vehicle began to slide with the passenger side leading. The Kia continued this movement along the shoulder until the passenger side wheels struck a raised portion of the shoulder causing the vehicle to overturn. The Kia overturned several times, struck a guardrail which parallels S.R.78, and came to final rest on its left side facing generally south.
The driver and 8 year old passenger were transported to Hendry Regional Medical Center. The 6 year old passenger was transported via MedFlight to Lee Memorial Hospital. Additional passenger: Christian Artavia, 8 years old was from Ft. Myers, FL, Seatbelts were in use.
Friday, May 09, 2008
LABELLE, FL. -- Monthly child support payments averaged $425 in 2005. Across the nation, nearly 8 million people provided $43 billion in monetary support to people living in other households in 2005. Monetary support is primarily for children, although it also includes support for other nonhousehold members, such as parents or other relatives.
Seventy-three percent of support providers made payments for their own children younger than 21 in 2005. The average amount each support provider paid for child support in 2005 was $5,100, for a total of $28.7 billion nationwide. About 2.1 million providers supported people other than their children younger than 21, with 40% of these providing support for their parents.
About 87% of child support providers were male. In 2005, male support providers spent a median of $3,900 and an average of $5,200 for child support.
LABELLE, FL. -- Rising gas prices are affecting more than the family budget. According to news from Florida State University a study has found that more pain at the pump results in more employee stress on the job.
Survey respondents said gas prices were foremost on their mind, with 52% saying that they have reconsidered taking vacations or other recreational activities; 45% have had to cut back on debt-reduction payments, such as credit card payments; and nearly 30% considered the consequences of going without basics including food, clothing and medicine.
In addition, many employees report that gas prices rank as the number one water-cooler discussion topic, ahead of family, sports or work.
LABELLE, FL. -- Congressman Tim Mahnoney this week co-sponsored what he calls "several pieces of fiscally responsible legislation" including the American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008, which passed the House of Representatives. The legislation will now move to the Senate. President Bush has threatened to veto the House package.
"For anyone who calls this a bailout, I would invite them to come to my district and meet some of the thousands of families who are in foreclosure. They are firefighters and teachers who had no other options besides the sub prime mortgage market to realize the dream of homeownership," said Congressman Mahoney. "The legislation that I co-sponsored and that we approved today is fiscally responsible, supported by the Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, and will help us get our economy back on track. I urge the President to do the right thing and work with the Congress to get this legislation passed."
Congressman Mahoney spoke on the floor to support the legislation. Click to view Congressman Mahoney�s Speech (high speed internet suggested)
See Congressman Mahoney�s Speech
The Pew Center on the States estimates that 1 in 26 Florida homeowners will face foreclosure in the coming years as a result of sub-prime mortgages and Florida is 1 of 6 states expected to experience the highest rates of foreclosures over the next two years.
Click here for more information on the Foreclosure Crisis in Florida
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
LABELLE, FL. -- Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey, in conjunction with Florida�s Regional Domestic Security Task Forces and business partners, have unveiled a new alert system designed to bolster the ability of Florida�s businesses to protect themselves and their communities against potential threats. BusinesSafe, a counter-terrorism program created by FDLE, allows businesses statewide to register to receive timely electronic alerts on domestic security-related issues affecting their industry.
Gerald Bailey says "With the click of a mouse, we can directly connect with businesses ranging from restaurants to retailers to service industry providers."
To help reach the state�s business community, FDLE is working in conjunction with private sector representatives on the state�s Regional Domestic Security Task Forces and some of Florida�s major business associations. FDLE is also partnering with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Department of State who between them incorporate, license or regulate hundreds of thousands of Florida businesses.
Are We Safe Yet?
"We are excited to partner with FDLE on this program, which will allow our business licensees to help keep Floridians safe," said DBPR Interim Secretary Chuck Drago. "We are committed to promoting this resource by encouraging DBPR licensees to register with BusinesSafe."
"We are proud to be a part of this effort to get timely alerts to Florida businesses on security issues," said Kurt Browning, Florida Secretary of State. "FDLE has done a great job of creating an effective system to keep businesses aware of security news as well as give businesses a way to get information back to FDLE regarding suspicious activity."
BusinesSafe is accessible to businesses of all types and sizes. Alerts will be sent on an as needed basis and will include domestic security-related breaking news, possible threats, suspicious activity, and specific preparedness and prevention techniques. BusinesSafe is available at no charge to businesses or individuals.
Following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Florida established seven Regional Domestic Security Task Forces to prevent, investigate, and respond to terrorist attacks. Each RDSTF includes partners from law enforcement, emergency management, fire/rescue, health, education, communication officials, and representatives from the private sector.
To learn more about BusinesSafe or to sign up for the alerts, businesses are encouraged to visit FDLE�s Web site, www.fdle.state.fl.us and click on the "BusinesSafe" icon.
LABELLE, FL. -- Thirteen Florida banks including the Florida Community Bank have been placed on a "watch list" of troubled banks by TheStreet.com Ratings Inc. according to an article published this week.
Philip van Doorn, a senior analyist at the company, looked at Florida bank and Savings and Loan data from December 31, 2007 and picked out those with a nonperforming assets ratio greater then five percent, and then added data for March 31 where available.
Florida Community Bank is based in Immokalee and has branches throughout Soutwest Florida including LaBelle. Doorn says large national bank groups are able to raise additional capital in public markets, but local and regional banks are struggling to raise additional money anyway they can from local investors or private equity.
Florida Community is the second-largest institution on the watch list and among those with the worst asset quality. Nonperforming assets, mainly construction and commercial real estate loans, made up 15.1% of total assets as of March 31, and reserves covered just 13.87% of nonperformers, said Doorn.
Doorn pointed out the bank's net charge-offs of $338,000 during the first quarter were far less than its $906,000 provision for loan losses. For all of 2007, Florida Community reported net charge-offs of just $2.1 million or 0.27% of average loans, says Doorn.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Saturday night, May 3, Corporal Donald Davis, of the Hendry County Sheriff's Office, stopped a vehicle at Tenth Avenue and Harlem Academy in Clewiston. The driver refused to allow his vehicle to be searched and Corporal Davis called for a K-9 Deputy to respond.
When the driver heard the request for the K-9 Deputy, he fled the scene on foot. Corporal Davis caught him approximately two blocks away and returned to the vehicle. Corporal Davis then discovered a bag of marijuana (235 grams) in the rear seat of the vehicle.
According to Sheriff Ronnie Lee, the driver, Jonathan Ivory Harper age 30 of Orlando, Florida, was arrested and charged with Resisting an Officer, Possession of Marijuana over 20 grams, and Giving a False Identification to a Law Enforcement Officer. Harper posted a $6,000 bond at the Hendry County Jail and was released.
Monday, May 05, 2008
LABELLE, FL.-- Boy Scout Troop #9 and their leaders came to the LaBelle Nature Park last Saturday May 3 armed with wheelbarrows, rakes, and shovels to mulch the trails leading to the Park's largest oak tree.
The Scouts were joined by volunteers representing Rotary, Kiwanis, Greater LaBelle Garden Club, and Riverwatch. Individuals and organizations are invited to join area volunteers at the next month's volunteer event on Saturday June 7 from 8:00-10:00 a.m. Bring clippers and other tools for cutting exotic vines growing up trees in the LaBelle Nature. Park.
The ten acre LaBelle Nature Park located at Fraser and Hardee Street (one block north of the Log Cabin Restaurant) is leased to the City of LaBelle. The Park is open to the public during the day.
Friday, May 02, 2008
LABELLE, FL. -- On April 23, Sergeant Perry Short of the Hendry County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to the Hendry Regional Convenient Care Center, located on south Main Street in LaBelle, to investigate a possible child abuse.
Elba Santamaria, after picking up her 2-year-old daughter from her baby sitter, had taken her to the Care Center for treatment of a suspected insect bite. The daughter had swollen eyes with hemorrhages on her eye lids, multiple hematomas on her head, dried blood around her nostrils, superficial abrasions on the right side of her neck and swelling to her lower lip.
A nurse notified E.M.S. and the little girl was transported to the Gulf Coast Hospital in Fort Myers for further examination. After she was examined at the Hospital, Investigator Brett Daley was informed that, due to the nature of the injuries, it appeared the injuries were intentionally inflicted.
Investigators Daley and Keith Bennett interviewed the baby sitter, Rosa Betancourt, age 59, and she gave several different stories as to how the child received the injuries while in her care. However, she finally did admit to striking and shaking the child. Sheriff Ronnie Lee said Betancourt was arrested and charged with Battery, Child Abuse, and Child Neglect. She was released from custody after posting a $31,000.00 bond.
LABELLE, FL. -- From April 22 to April 29, there were 6 homes sold in the LaBelle area for an average price of $124,833. This is more than the usual sales reported for a one week period. The home on West Sunflower appears to be a special sale less than the market value for this neighborhood.
1) $136,000 on 6th Ave in LaBelle
2) $89,000 on Chickasaw Ave in LaBelle
3) $135,000 on Kew Ct in LaBelle
4) $150,000 on Nobles Rd in the county
5) $189,000 on SE Raintree Blvd in Port LaBelle
6) $50,000 on W Sunflower Cir in Port LaBelle