Monday, April 30, 2012

Hendry Dems To Pick Convention Delegates

Democrats To Vote For Convention Delegates

LABELLE, FL. -- On Saturday, May 5, Hendry County Democrats will vote on delegates to attend the 2012 Florida Democratic Convention to be held in Tampa June 1 - 3. Joe Thomas, chair of the Hendry County Democratic Committee, said voters living in Congressional Distict 16 will vote at LaBelle City Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and those living in Congressional District 23 will vote at a special Democratic Caucus Booth at Harlem's Brown Sugar Festival also from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m in Clewiston.

Hendry County's elected delegates will select the Congressional District delegates to the 2012 Democratic National Convention to be held in Charlotte N.C. September 3rd.

Candidates for the two 16th Congressional District delegate slots are Allison Benton Davis of Felda and Joe Thomas of LaBelle. Janet Taylor and Rupert Mighty from Clewiston are running for the two 23rd Congressional District seats. 

This is the first time Florida Democrats will caucus in their home counties for Congressional District delegates who will then select delegates to the Democratic National Convention; this makes it easier for Hendry County Democrats to actually have a voice in electing delegates.

Voters should bring a state issued photo ID with them to their respective caucus sites and, if available, the card issued by the Hendry County Elections Office showing their regular voting precinct as well as congressional district, county commission and school board district numbers.

Gas Prices Lower Than A Year Ago

Price Finally 9.6 Cents Lower Than Year Ago Except Hendry/Glades

LABELLE, FL. -- Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 7.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.78/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has fallen 3.3 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.81/g, according to gasoline price website FloridaStateGasPrices.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 9.6 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 14.5 cents per gallon lower than a month ago.

But all is not so grand in western Hendry/Glades county, where prices are at $3.99 at most all gas stations. To avoid the artificially higher prices, one must travel 30 miles to Lee county where prices are at least 15 cents lower. Or  shop in Clewiston where Hess has $3.87 regular.

The national average has decreased 8.6 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 10.4 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

"Unsurprisingly, the average price for a gallon of regular self-serve continues to drop in a majority of communities across the United States," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "The national average now stands nearly 10-cents per gallon lower than the same date a year ago, but will we hear an end to complaining about gasoline prices at the pump? Perhaps the rhetoric will wind down, but with summer around the corner, any sudden increase in price of gasoline will have Americans virtually calling for the heads of politicians in November," DeHaan said.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hendry Crash Totals Vehicle

LABELLE, FL. -- A 1999 Chevrolet Malibu crossed the center lane on State Road 29 south of LaBelle at 8:14 a.m. Friday, causing a one-ton truck to leave the highway to avoid the car.

Jose Alfredo Cisneros, Jr., 19 of Moore Haven was southbound on SR 29 while Uriel Mendoza Rodriquez, 48 of Immokalee was northbound on SR 29. 

 Cisneros crossed the centerline of the roadway and Rodriquez swerved to avoid colliding. The left front of of the car struck the left side of Ford F-350 truck in the northbound lane. 

Post collision, Rodriquez encountered a blowout of the truck's right rear tire, then lost control, then began
to rotate clockwise in both the north and southbound lanes. Both vehicles came to final rest on the east grassy shoulder of the roadway.

Both drivers suffered minor injuries and were transported to Lehigh Regional Medical Center. The Malibu had $10,000 damage and the truck $6,000.

Clewiston Police Activity This Week

Runner Tazed After Flight Attempt - 64 Camera Citations
CLEWISTON, FL. -- Clewiston Police Chief Don Gutshall reports this week "One of our newest officers, Jackie Garrett, got a full introduction to Clewiston policing Saturday night. Upon a traffic stop, the driver climbed over his passenger and jumped from the passenger window. 

"The suspect then fled headlong down the street until Jackie caught up to him near the middle school. After a brief standoff and a second attempt to run, a quick dose of electricity was administered and all resistance quickly ended. A DUI arrest was made."

A couple of recent shoplifting episodes at a local retail store have turned out to be part of a statewide shoplifting ring. The cases have been turned over to FDLE for further investigation and prosecution.

Next Tuesday, (May 1st) Hendry Sheriff Steve Whidden and Clewiston Chief Don Gutshall will be joining other law enforcement veterans for the annual May Day law enforcement appreciation show on the local radio station. Tall tales and old memories will be the focus for discussion.

This week’s Clewiston Police activity:

1079 Commercial / Residential Security Checks
553 Complaints Investigated
11 Criminal Arrests Made
31 Traffic Citations issued
64 Red Light Camera Citations issued
1 City Ordinance Violation
88 Merchant Escorts Provided
23 Alarms Responded To
2 Traffic Accidents Investigated

-from City of Clewiston

Zimmerman Hearing Discloses $204,000 In PayPal

Zimmerman Collects Money But Doesn't Tell Court

SANFORD, FL. -- George Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara appeared in Seminole County Court this morning on the Trayvon Martin 2nd degree murder case, for which his client is accused. The hearing was scheduled last Friday morning by Circuit Judge Kenneth R. Lester, Jr.

Zimmerman was not in attendance at the hearing.

On the agenda was a request to unseal the Zimmerman criminal file making it open to the public, and discussion about $204,000 in donations received from a Zimmerman website now held in a PayPal account pending what the court orders.

The Orlando Sentinel has filed a motion to unseal the file. Filings have been sealed by the Court automatically, pending review. Judge Lester this morning said the file would be unsealed, and the attorneys can motion to seal any particular filing upon hearing.

Wanting to keep certain information secret, O'Mara disclosed his concern about discovery (statements) of witnesses, and has purposely delayed in receiving then from the State. Once disclosed to O'Mara by the State, they would be available to the public. O'Mara says certain witnesses may be reluctant to be identified and don't want their names known.

The Judge says he won't restrict the public from getting the witness information, but again said the attorneys can file a motion to keep them secret on a case by case basis.

O'Mara explained to the judge that he didn't know about the funds collected by Zimmerman online TheRealGeorgeZimmerman.com. Because there were copycat websites, O'Mara said the website was closed down, and the money collected put into a O'Mara trust account.

The State argues that the money, about $150,000 at the time, was not disclosed at a bond hearing last week, where bail was set at $150,000. Zimmerman's parents testified they had little savings and would mortgage their home to get Zimmerman out on bail.

Zimmerman was released Monday after his parents put up the $15,000, or ten percent of the bail provided by a bondsman.  O'Mara said he didn't know about the $204,000 until Wednesday when Zimmerman asked him what to do about the PayPal account that had the money in it.

The family members that testified last week said they didn't know the website money was "available" at the time and so didn't disclose it to the court.

The Judge said he wanted to know who created the web account and who had authority to access the money. He said he may have no authority on the matter. O'Mara responded he wanted to keep secret the donors to the Zimmerman defense fund.

Judge Lester did not make a ruling on the matter of the funds and what affect it may have on the bond set. The State asked that the bond be set higher.

A murder case like this may end up in the million dollar attorney fee category. O'Mara typically earns $400 an hour for his criminal defense work. He has spent over 100 hours on the case so far, or about $40,000 in time plus unstated fees.

The next hearing is and arraignment on May 8 at 1:30 to set a trial date. Zimmerman will not be present but will be represented by attorney O'Mara.




Thursday, April 26, 2012

LaBelle's Bryan Boyle Back In Jail

Multiple Offender Boyle's Second Arrest For 2012

LABELLE, FL. -- Bryan Boyle was booked back into the Hendry County jail Wednesday afternoon and released on bail the same day. This is Boyle's 2nd trip to jail this year. Boyle was arrested and booked into jail seven times in 2011.

35-year old Boyle, living with his mother at 4502 Springview Circle at a home owned by his recently deceased grandmother, has been in and out of jail multiple dozens of times over the last 19 years.

His last arrest on February 16 was for contempt of court. This week's arrest was for allegedly failing to complete requirements set by the probation office, another contempt of court charge.

County Judge James Sloan set bail at $903 and Boyle was released the same day arrested.

Boyle was let out of jail in February after spending six weeks in jail, to take care of his grandmother. Under house arrest, he violated the conditions set by the Court by riding an ATV around the streets of Port LaBelle, and was re-arrested. His grandmother died April 12.

Boyle's most serious recent arrest was in December, charged with felony possession of meth and drug paraphernalia.

Update: On May 10th the LaBelle State Attorneys Office file a notice with the court that they are not going to go forward with the prosecution of Boyle on the two felony drug charges.

More Boyle Arrest  Stories




LaBelle Home Sales - Last Two Weeks

Fort Denaud Home Sold For $1,150,000

LABELLE, FL. -- From April 10 to April 24, 2012, there were seven homes sold in the LaBelle area for an average price of $200,143. The prices ranged from $13,000 for a manufactured home to $1.1 million on Fort Denaud Road. All are in Hendry county.

The sales included:

1) $13,000 on Bischel St
2) $15,000 on Case Rd
3) $34,000 on Clipper Ct
4) $1,150,000 on Fort Denaud Rd
5) $111,000 on Park Dr
6) $23,000 on Phillips Rd
7) $55,000 on Villa Dr

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

$5,000 Reward For Glades Arson Info

Citizens Urged To Be Vigilant For Suspicious Activities

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- In early April, a series of suspicious wildfires threatened the community of Moore Haven in Glades county, Florida, and the Florida Forest Service says they need the public's help in the investigation. A reward is being offered for information.

“We urge residents and business owners in the area to be vigilant of any suspicious activities and report them to authorities,” said Senior Ranger Danny Callahan of the Florida Forest Service. 

If you have any information about the cause of the Moore Haven area fires, please call 1-800-342-5869 or call your local Florida Forest Service. There is a reward up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of any person responsible.

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Alvina Marie Ward, age 60, of Moore Haven passed away Friday, April 20, 2012 at home in Moore Haven. Alvina was born March 17, 1952 in Clewiston, FL. She is the daughter of the late Alvin Lloyd and the late Audrey (Langdale) Ward.

She worked for the Glades County Tax Collector as a clerk for 33 years and was a member of the First Baptist Church of Moore Haven.

She is survived by her daughters; Angela Snow Colegrove (Keith) and Kell Ahern (Robbie), brother; Alvin Ward Jr. (Lorie), sister; Brenda Choban (Joe), sister in law; Joann Purvis, grandchildren; Kelsey Ahern, Chloe Ahern and Collin Ahern. She was preceded in death by her brother Jack Eugene Smith.

The funeral service will be held 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 26, 2012 at First Baptist Church of Moore Haven, Moore Haven, FL with Rev. Sherrill Tillery officiating. Interment will be in Ortona Cemetery.

Visitation hours will be Wednesday, April 25, 2012 from 06:00-08:00 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, 438 E. Sugarland Hwy., Clewiston, FL.

Onetta Armour Parrish  died April 20, 2012 in Manchester, TN. She was born Sept. 28, 1918 in Cash, Arkansas. She was predeceased by parents Henry and Ann Armour, husband - Virgil E. Parrish and siblings - George, Jack, Ray, Mildred & Edoth.

She is survived by: Daughters; Georgia (Elliot) Bradley - Lakeland, FL, Anita (Ray) Westberry, Manchester, TN, Grandchildren: Ronnie Pinder, Teresa Connor, Danita Thomas. Larry Westberry
Great Grandchildren; Kati Pinder, Alan Clifford, Ashton Thomas, Amanda Clifford, Trey and Samantha Westberry

Mrs. Parrish was a homemaker and loved gardening and sewing. In the 70s, she and her daughter, Anita, owned and operated the Arcade Dress Shop on Bridge St.

She was a member of LaBelle Church of Christ on Hendry Street until moving to Manchester, TN in '97. In Manchester, she was a member of the Red Hill Church of Christ. Graveside service is Wednesday April 25 at 3 p.m. at Ft.Denaud Cemetery in Hendry County, Florida.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Prominent Hendry Businessmen Sued By FDIC

Pat Langford And "Bo" Davidson Sued By Feds Over Bank Irregularities

LABELLE, FL.-- The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit March 13th against the former officers of the Florida Community Bank, including three prominent LaBelle businessmen.

The failed bank was taken over by the FDIC in January 2010, serving as a receiver of the assets of the bank.  Some $62 million was allegedly lost due to the bank directors' negligent operation of lending policies.

Hendry county businessmen Beauford E. Davidson, Patrick B. Langford, and Bernard T. Rasmussen are defendants in the case along with other former directors Jon R. Olliff, James W. O'Quinn, and Daniel G. Rosbough. Former bank president and CEO Stephen L. Price is also charged, all accused of being "grossly negligent" and "reckless" in operating the bank.

Davidson, long-time LaBelle dry cleaner store owner and Langford, co-owner of widely-advertised car and truck dealer Langford Ford. Davidson was a former Hendry School Board member for many years, and Langford a current Board Member has served even longer. 

Davidson, Langford, and Rasmussen have all been associated with the Florida Community Bank as directors for decades. The bank had it's beginning days in 1962 as the Hendry County Bank with the late founder, Kenneth J. Curtis, and Lewis J. Nobles, Jr., two of the original directors.

Rasmussen is a director of the Barron Free Library, Inc., the public library in LaBelle.

Daniel Rosbough owns an Immokalee fruit company and had interests in various failed groves and distributing and shipping concerns.

Olliff and Price were officers of the defunct Tri-County Community Bank of Lehigh Acres. Olliff, a dentist, is a director of Community Health Association, Inc., in Lehigh Acres. O'Quinn owns Collins Plaza LLC and owned a failed investment business and closed Immokalee area farming companies. 

Among the problem loans overseen by the directors and cited by the FDIC were a $6 million loan to Lake Eve Development in 2005 and 2006 with continued renewals and loan extensions calling for interest only payments, violating the bank's policies.

Other interest only loans were given to Bermont Loop LLC for $17.6 million even though the developer allegedly had no plans to develop the property, and therefore no way to pay the loan back from profits.

The FDIC says $25.6 million was lent to Arboretum Development LLC exceeding the bank's lending limit.

More Southwest Florida Online stories on Florida Community Bank

Hendry-Glades Library Resources Includes Free Courses

Glades County Library Provides Extra Services To Hendry Residents

MOORE HAVEN, FL. --  The Glades County Library is providing services to Hendry residents including traditional books, internet books, DVD, and CD borrowing privileges, wireless wifi, and and free online courses available through the Heartland Library Cooperative. 

Residents of Hendry County may go to their local library and request a “reciprocal borrow sticker” to be placed on their Hendry County Library card and this will entitle them to privileges at the Glades County Public Library including a Glades library card. 

The resident with a reciprocal sticker must physically come in to the Glades County Library in order to provide the necessary information to be entered into the Glades Library system to receive a Glades library card. 

If you are 18 or over, you only need proof of residence. A picture ID with your current address will do. Or a utility bill in your name will do as well. If you are under 18, you may get a library card however, you will need to be accompanied by an adult.

Come and try the “self checkout” machine at the library. You may check out two books with the self-checkout machine using only your library card.

Now that you have your library card, you can now borrow books, DVDs, CDs or use our wireless computer service with your laptop. Also, there are computers available for your use with your library card.
There are classes available on how to use your Kindle and on how to download books to your Kindle. You can also download books to e-readers other than kindle or to your home computer or laptop. Audio books may also be downloaded.

You can use the computers at the library or, using your Glades County Library card, you can sign up for free courses on line through the Heartland Library Cooperative and do your studies on your own home computer at your leisure and at your own pace. 

There are Universal Classes in 41 different major areas of study. Within each of these areas there are numerous courses in business, pleasure and continuing education. Some of these courses offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for those who need them to maintain licenses or certifications.

-contributed by Austin Moorhouse

Hendry-Glades Gas Prices Remain High

Prices Lower In Florida But Not Hendry-Glades County

LABELLE, FL. -- Average retail gasoline prices in Hendry and Glades county, Florida remain high at an average of $4.04 while prices in Florida have fallen 6.1 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.86 a gallon yesterday.

By crossing the county line into Lee county, motorists can save 15 cents per gallon at the Handy Store in Alva, about 15 miles west of LaBelle. Price there is $3.89.

LaBelle's highest price, at $4.08 is at the Shell station on West Hickpochee.

The national average price has fallen 4.2 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.85 a gallon. Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 5.0 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 2.9 cents per gallon lower than a month ago.

The national average has decreased 0.7 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 1.5 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"Average gasoline prices nationally continue to slowly drop," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "I'll go on the record and say that come Wednesday, I expect the national average in the U.S. will actually be lower than it was on the same day in 2011. Perhaps looking at the big picture with prices having failed to reach new records so far in 2012, we can restore some gas-sanity in this country. Prices go up and down every year, every season, regardless of who's name is on the ballot," DeHaan said.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Don't Get Scammed By Mortgage "Relief"

Mortgage "Assistance" Scam Alert

LABELLE, FL. -- Mortgage relief scams have reached an all–time high, with an estimated $3 billion in losses nationally, last year alone. Cash–strapped homeowners are vulnerable to unscrupulous individuals, offering promises of relief from financial burden. 

Scammers claim that they will negotiate with mortgage lenders to save homeowners from foreclosure ... for a fee. Some are bold enough to claim affiliation with government programs. In each case, scammers make promises, take a struggling homeowner’s money and then fail to deliver.

Under the Federal Trade Commission's Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule, it’s illegal for a company to ask for payment until the company gives you a written offer of loan modification or other relief from the lender AND the homeowner accepts the offer. 

Companies must disclose that they are not associated with the government in their advertisements and telemarketing calls. The company cannot tell you to stop contacting your lender. They must tell you that your lender may not agree to change the loan and failure to pay your mortgage could result in the loss of your home or damage your credit rating. The company must also remind consumers of their right to reject the offer without any charge.

Beware of the following scams that are currently in circulation:

Mass Joinder "Lawsuits"

A recent twist on foreclosure rescue schemes involves mass joinder lawsuits – the joining of two or more legal issues to be heard in one hearing or trial that overlap sufficiently to make the process more efficient and help courts avoid hearing the same facts/parties multiple times. 

As part of this scam, distressed homeowners receive an invitation from a “specialized” law firm inviting them to join a mass joinder lawsuit as a way to get a loan modification or avoid foreclosure. The firms charge fees between several thousand dollars to over $10,000 and claim that they will join the case with other homeowners in similar circumstances to file suit against their lender. 

Many claim that they can stop foreclosures, reduce loan balances, or interest rates or remove the mortgage debt from the home so that the homeowner is free and clear of their existing mortgage. Frequently, there is no attorney reviewing each homeowner’s case or the attorney of record is not even licensed to practice in the state where the homeowner lives. Often, homeowners are left in worse financial shape than when they began.

The "Forensic Audit"

In the forensic audit scam, a mortgage loan “auditor” contacts a distressed homeowner with an offer to have an attorney review mortgage documents to determine if the mortgage company followed the law when filing the mortgage. In exchange for an up–front fee of several hundred dollars, these companies claim that a homeowner can use their audit findings to stop foreclosure, speed loan modification, reduce mortgage debt or cancel the loan entirely. However, there is no proof that a forensic loan audit will accomplish any of these things.

"Rent –To –Buy" Schemes

Rent –to– buy schemes involve a company convincing a homeowner to surrender title to their home while remaining in the home as a renter with a promise that they can repurchase the home at a later date. The company claims that this will give the homeowner a better credit rating and more financial options. 

However, the terms of the deal are so typically expensive that the homeowner will not be able to repurchase the home. In other instances, the scammer may slowly raise the rent until the homeowner can no longer afford it and is evicted.

Phony "Counseling" Scams

In this scam, a company contacts a homeowner promising to negotiate with the lender for a fee in phony counseling scams. In some cases, they claim to be attorneys. They may advise the homeowner to stop talking to their mortgage company or advise the homeowner to make the mortgage payments directly to them while they deal with the lender. Once they’ve collected their money, they stop returning phone calls and then disappear.

Dealing With Attorneys
Attorneys are generally exempt from the rules if they meet three conditions: they are engaged in the practice of law, they are licensed in the state where the consumer or the dwelling is located, and they are complying with state laws and regulations governing attorney conduct related to the rule. 

To be exempt from the advance fee ban, attorneys must meet a fourth requirement – they must place any fees they collect in a client trust account and abide by state laws and regulations covering such accounts.

-from Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Crash With Injuries On Hendry CR833



Truck Overturns - Driver With Serious Injuries

CLEWISTON, FL. -- The Florida Highway Patrol reports a crash with injuries Saturday afternoon about 2:42 p.m. on Hendry County Road 833 north of CR835 in south central Hendry county, Florida.

Ramiz Ahmetovic, 51 of Urbandale, Iowa was approaching a curve that curved to the left on CR833, and attempted to negotiate the curve. For unknown reasons the driver failed to maintain control of his vehicle, a 1999 Volvo tractor/trailer as the vehicle travelled unto the east shoulder of CR-833.

The vehicle then overturned on its right side sliding into the guardrail on the curve on the east shoulder of CR-833. After colliding with the guardrail it rolled over onto its hood and roof.

The vehicle was found at final rest upside down facing northwest. The driver was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital by helicopter where he was treated for serious injuries with a gash to the head.
Florida Highway Patrol troopers were dispatched at 3 p.m. and arrived at 4:27. A partial road block was in the northbound lane until 7:10 p.m. as a truck and trailer blocked the roadway. The vehicle suffered $38,000 in damage.

(Video: Helicopter departure - courtesy John Hollingsworth)

How Moral Are You? Quiz Gives Answers

Take A Morality Quiz - Liberal And Conservative Views Differ

LABELLE, FL. -- A new book, "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics And Religion" says people's morality values vary across cultures and political parties and suggests there are six "moral foundations" to which all people adhere to a lessor or greater extent.

By taking a Morality Quiz questionnaire developed by social psychologists, one can see how his or her sense of morality compares to other groups.

The theory and book, by University of Virginia Associate Professor of Psychology Jonathan Heidt says political liberals subscribe to a great sense of fairness and caring along with political conservatives, but conservatives also care much more about loyalty to the group, and deference to authority and respect for traditions.

Heidt has found six "moral foundations" believed to be innate and universal across all people that guide individual and group behaviors and opinions.

Heidt and other social and cultural psychologists, trying to understand why morality varies so much across cultures, created what they call a Moral Foundations Theory from their studies. What they found, helps explain why moral values vary so tremendously in people around the world, and between political parties, yet exhibit so many similarities.

Heidt says people adopts a particular set of moral values and then "Each culture then constructs virtues, narratives, and institutions on top of these foundations, thereby creating the unique moralities we see around the world, and conflicting within nations too."

Heidt says, "The current American culture war, we have found, can be seen as arising from the fact that liberals try to create a morality relying primarily on the Care/harm foundation, with additional support from the Fairness/cheating and Liberty/oppression foundations. Conservatives, especially religious conservatives, use all six foundations, including Loyatly/betrayal, Authority/subversion, and Sanctity/degradation."

You can find out your own "moral foundations" profiles, and compare them to liberal and conservative views by taking a Morality Quiz short questionnaire for Southwest Florida Online readers at www.YourMorals.org. (After filling out the brief questions to register, scroll down the questionnaire page to do the "Moral Foundations" questionnaire first. )

Heidt lists the six moral foundations as:

1) Care/harm: This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
2) Fairness/cheating: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
3) Liberty/oppression: This foundation is about the feelings of reactance and resentment people feel toward those who dominate them and restrict their liberty. Its intuitions are often in tension with those of the authority foundation. The hatred of bullies and dominators motivates people to come together, in solidarity, to oppose or take down the oppressor.
4) Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it's "one for all, and all for one."
5) Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
6) Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).

List Credit: MoralFoundations.org

Buy The Book At Amazon:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Alfreda Luckey, age 85, of Fort Myers, passed away Monday, April 16, 2012 in LaBelle. She was born March 18, 1927 in Akron, AL, the daughter of the late John Alfred Knighton and the late Birda Mae (Graham) Knighton.

Survivors include her three children: Owen L. Luckey, Jr. (Kathleen), two daughters: Diane Jackman (Jackie) and Regina Johnson (Charlie, deceased) and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her son, James Alfred Luckey who was killed in action in the Vietnam War and her husband of sixty-seven years, Owen L. Luckey. She was good mother, loving wife, and a devout Christian.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 10:00 a.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, 13932 Palm Beach Blvd in Fort Myers with Pastor Roger Bradley officiating. Interment will follow at Fort Myers Cemetery, Fort Myers. Visitation will be Monday, April 23 from 6-8 p.m. at Akin-Davis Funeral Home in Fort Myers. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hope Hospice, 9470 HealthPark Circle, Fort Myers, FL 33908.

Carolyn Wisdom Cantrell, age 75, of Clewiston passed away Tuesday, April 17, 2012 in Clewiston, FL. Carolyn was born March 15, 1937 in Mt. Pleasant, TN. She is the daughter of the late John Franklin and the late Annie Dell (Cheek) Wisdom.

She is survived by her daughter; Sheila Anne Dykes, Sons; Mark Perryman, Barton Perryman, and Thomas Perryman, ten grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

A graveside service will be held at 10:00, April 20, 2012 at the Hopper Cemetery in Lewisburg, TN.

Zimmerman Bond Will Be $150,000

Out Of State Residence May Be Allowed

SANFORD, FL. -- Accused murderer George Michael Zimmerman appeared in Circuit Court in Sanford, Florida this morning at 9 a.m. for a hearing on the possibility of being released on a $15,000 bond as requested by his defense attorney.

Zimmerman is in jail for the February 26th murder of Trayvon Martin and facing life imprisonment if convicted by a jury.

Orlando defense attorney Mark O'Mara presented witnesses, and argued for the release of his client on $15,000 bond before Circuit Judge Kenneth M. Lester, Jr. Friday morning.

Assistant State Attorney Bernardo de la Rionda represented the state of Florida in prosecuting Zimmerman and asked for no bond and opposed any bond less than $1,000,000.

(photo: Mark O'Mara speaks to court, George Zimmerman seated at desk.)

O'Mara questioned Zimmerman's father Robert Zimmerman, Sr. by phone and asked if he would be willing to put a second mortgage on his home in order to provide bail for his son. Zimmerman, Sr. a disabled veteran and former judge said he would be willing to do so.

Mr. Zimmerman said his son was not violent and would tend to "turn the other cheek."  Cross-examined by the Assistant State Attorney, Mr. Zimmerman commented on his son's previous 2005 arrest, saying he never read the police report, but said he was aware his son was required to do anger management courses, but believes his son does not have an anger problem.

Mr. Zimmerman described his son's wounds the night after the February incident, when Trayvon Martin was killed, saying he saw a swollen face and wounded back of the head. George Zimmerman alleges Martin attacked him.

Gladys Zimmerman, a Peruvian by birth and the mother also testified by phone.  She said the family doesn't have much savings but has some equity in their home which they could pledge for a bond.

O'Mara questioned Investigator K. D. Gilbreath, testifying as one of the two lead state attorney's office investigators who filed an affidavit that lead to Zimmerman's arrest for murder. Questions were asked about an interview of Martin's girl friend five weeks after the event. She was allegedly on the phone with Martin during the night of his death.

The affidavit was prepared by the two investigators and Assistant State Attorney de la Rionda and signed by the the two investigators.

O'Mara questioned the wording of various sentences and choice of words in the affidavit and questioning on how the investigator knew the facts to be true. Questioning also ensued about how Martin's mother was asked to identify a 911 recording of a voice calling for "help" while Zimmerman's parents were not asked to identify the voice. Zimmerman alleges it's his voice, Martin's mother alleges it's Trayvon's.

Rionda aggressively pursued the allegation that Zimmerman had followed Martin, and continued following after the police dispatcher told him he didn't need to follow Martin.

Gilbreath admitted to O'Mara that he didn't know who started the fight between Martin and Zimmerman and there was little evidence that Zimmerman followed Martin other than a witness claims to have seen someone about the same time go by their residence. Admitted was Zimmerman told police within an hour and a half, he was attacked and assaulted by Martin.

Gilbreath had no evidence to dispute Zimmerman's claim he was assaulted first. He did say in response to a question by the judge, that the shooting took place as the two were in "close proximity" evidenced by powder burns on Martin's sweatshirt.

Zimmerman claimed to police Martin put hands over Zimmerman's nose and mouth so he couldn't breathe and bashed his head against concrete. Rionda attempted to allege those facts did not make sense from the evidence presented.

O'Mara asked why the investigator had not looked at Zimmerman's medical records showing a broken nose sustained that night. The records were offered to Gilbreath after the hearing.

Zimmerman, wearing a dark suit and tie, but bound by leg and arm shackles, made a 10 second statement to Martin's parents, taking the witness stand, saying he was sorry about the death, and did not know Martin was not armed.  Martin's parents were in the courtroom. Rionda again aggressively attacked Zimmerman on the stand.

Concluding the hearing, the judge said "this a common type hearing," and "run of the mill" hearing and found $150,000 bond is sufficient, and GPS will be required for monitoring, and allowed Zimmerman to be allowed living in a secret place for his protection, and if the state, corrections authorities, and defense can agree, he may be allowed to live out of state.

Another court hearing will be scheduled for next Friday, April 27.

photo credit: CNN/In Session

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Court Issues Orders In Zimmerman Case

Two Judges Disqualify Themselves In Zimmerman Case


SANFORD, FL. -- Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler of the 18th Circuit Court in Sanford, Florida has executed an order disqualifying herself from further proceedings in the State of Florida v. George Zimmerman.

Additionally, Judge John D. Galluzzo indicated to the court he has a conflict, and will not be the judge in the case against Gerorge Zimmerman.


Chief Judge Dickey is in receipt of a Notice of Judicial Conflict from Judge John D.Galluzzo, certifying to Chief Judge Dickey that Judge Galluzzo has a conflict in performing his duties as a circuit judge in any matter in controversy where Mark M. O’Mara is the attorney of record because of their prior business and personal relationship and the requirements of Cannon 3E of the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct.

Judge Galluzo was a former law partner of O'Mara, Zimmerman's defense attorney.


Zimmerman has been accused by the State of Florida of the 2nd degree murder of Trayvon Martin.  

Recksiedler's husband had been affiliated with Zimmerman before current attorney Mark M. O'Mara took the case in defense of Zimmerman.

Circuit Judge Kenneth R. Lester will preside over a bond hearing for George Zimmerman on Friday, April 20, at 9 a.m., in courtroom 5-D of the Criminal Justice Center in Sanford.

In the three-page order dated April 18, 2012, Judge Recksiedler made findings that each basis, in and of itself, were “legally insufficient” for disqualification. In addition, the order further states “[e]ven though this Court finds that neither of these, standing alone, is legally sufficient for disqualification, the cumulative effect of the events and the totality of the circumstances provides a legally sufficient basis for this Court to grant the Motion to Disqualify.”

The order directs the case to be returned to Chief Judge Alan Dickey for reassignment. Per the current court order, a copy of this document is not available at this time.

Because Judge Galluzzo is the next judge in the normal rotation of the criminal division, the Chief Judge has directed Criminal Administrative Judge Debra Nelson to appoint the next judge in the criminal division rotation,

Judge Kenneth M. Lester, Jr., is to now preside over the George Zimmerman case.

Chief Judge Dickey issued the following statement regarding the reassignment of this case: “Even though Judge Recksiedler had to grant the motion for disqualification in this case, she is very capable of presiding over this or any other criminal case and I have complete confidence in Judge Lester as well.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Glades Wins-Hendry Loses In Scott's Budget

New $5M Emergency Ops Center In Glades Slated
MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- State Representative Denise Grimsley (R-Sebring) expressed her appreciation to Governor Rick Scott on Tuesday for approval of projects important to Florida's "Heartland" region including Glades county. The Governor signed the $69.9 billion state budget in a Jacksonville-area ceremony. Among projects approved was $5 million for construction of an Emergency Operations Center in Glades County.

But Scott targets some environmental items and vetoed a $2.3 million wastewater treatment plant in LaBelle, and $3.5 million for a forced main sewage line at Airglades Airport in mid-Hendry County.

"This was a tough budget year, and I think we made a compelling case that this inland EOC facility was of strategic importance to the region, especially in the event of a hurricane impact on either coast," said Representative Grimsley. 

"The Governor clearly agreed, and Glades County will benefit in two ways: better infrastructure for delivering crisis response and one less expense for county taxpayers to shoulder." Hendry county had a new operations center built on State Road 80 west of LaBelle two years ago.

Representative Grimsley served as chair of the House Appropriations Committee and worked to procure the funding with fellow Glades County Legislative Delegation member, Senator J.D. Alexander (R-Lake Wales), who served as chair of the Senate Budget Committee.

"I appreciate Senator Alexander for his partnership, as well as county officials who helped shepherd the issue," said Representative Grimsley. "It was truly a team effort."

The Fiscal Year 2012-2013 budget takes effect on July 1, 2012.

LaBelle's Earth Day 2012 At Barron Park



A Fun Day For All At Barron Park

LABELLE, FL. -- The LaBelle-Hendry County Recreation Board is sponsoring Earth Day 2012 at Barron Park in downtown LaBelle, Saturday, April 21st. Festivities will begin at 10 a.m. and to until 3 p.m. at the riverfront park.

Scheduled are  clowns, bounce houses, Child Identification Kits available and provided by the LaBelle Masonic Lodge. Members of the Sheriff’s Volunteers in Public Safety (VIPS) will be on hand to speak with individuals who are interested in learning more about the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office and volunteer opportunities. 

There will be free food, refreshments, and entertainment. Sheriff Whidden and the Florida Cracker Boys Band will be performing along with the Showtime Cloggers, and singer Carolyn Ford.

(video: scenes from LaBelle's 2011 Earth Day)

Chapman Announces Hendry Campaign

LABELLE, FL. -- Tris Chapman is the incumbent for Hendry County Board of County Commissioners, District 3 and vying for a second term as commissioner.

Mr. Chapman is a veteran businessman with deep roots in the Florida citrus industry. He was an executive with Tropicana for over 20 years. After the freezes in the late 1980s, he decided to move with his family south to Hendry County and join Southern Gardens Citrus as Vice President and General Manager. 

His wife, Donna, is an elementary school teacher at Country Oaks and children, Kyle and Lindsay, are graduates of LaBelle High School, Edison State College, and FGCU.

Tris Chapman demonstrated his remarkable work ethic from the very beginning of his career as he worked his way up Tropicana’s corporate ladder from laborer to Director of Citrus Processing Operations while attending college at night and on weekends. 

He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida (USF) in Social and Behavioral Sciences in 1980 and an MBA from USF in 1990. He is a firm believer in the ‘Best Practices’ and ‘Continuous Improvement’ models for success in both business and government.

In 1999, Governor Jeb Bush appointed Chapman to the Florida Citrus Commission where he served two, three-year terms. Chapman recently stepped down after 12 years as a Director of the Florida Citrus Processors Association. He served as that organization’s President from 2008 until 2010; he was a founding member and Vice President of the Hendry-Glades Leadership Board; he has been a Director for Fiberstar Corporation since 2004; he served as a Board member of Hendry County’s two regional planning organizations: FHREDI and SWFRPC, where he is credited with getting the votes to endorse SR-80 expansion and repair of the most dangerous intersection in Florida, US-27/SR-80.

Chapman asked to be appointed to the Hendry County Economic Development Council upon his election to the BOCC in 2008. Chapman believes that economic development is the key to growth and much needed job creation for Hendry County. 

He has directed a great deal of his time and energy to this critical initiative. “I am pleased with the steps that we have taken recently.” Chapman and five other members of the EDC Board hired Gregg Gillman less than a year ago and he is already making a strong impact by marketing Hendry’s attributes to potential clients. 

Chapman goes on to say: “I am particularly excited that we are taking giant steps forward with the lifeblood of our community, transportation. The expansion and repair of SR-80, the extension of South Central Florida Express railroad, and the airport expansion, are all well into the planning and/or construction phases.” 

Chapman says that the natural gas line installation to be completed in October will also help lead to new business development. “We need these critical infrastructure improvements to breathe new life and new jobs into our community to secure our future.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hendry County Crime This Week

Zamora, Jose.jpg SECOND SUSPECT ARRESTED IN LOCAL GROWHOUSE OPERATION

On April 12, 2012, Hendry County Deputy Nathan Krause conducted a traffic stop on 45 year old Jose E. Zamora of 539 West Alverdez Ave., Clewiston, Florida.

Zamora was arrested in connection with operating a marijuana grow house at the same address. After verification from Clewiston Utilities Department that there was a power diversion within the home, and developing further probable cause, a search warrant was obtained to enter the home.

On April 2, 2012, Hilda Zamora was arrested on the same charges. Hendry County Narcotics Investigators located live adult marijuana plants, lighting, and other materials utilized in the cultivation of marijuana.

Mr. Zamora was arrested as a co-defendant and transported to the Hendry County Jail on charges of Grand Theft, Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell, Producing Marijuana, Trafficking in Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Equipment. He is currently being held in the Hendry County jail on $106,500.00 bond.

Diego, Yunior.jpg TWO ARRESTED IN GROWHOUSE OPERATION

On April 11, 2012, Hendry County Narcotics Investigator arrested two men associated with a Marijuana Grow Operation at the residence located at 13706 Murcott Avenue, La Deca Acres, in central Hendry County.

Espinoza, Angel.jpg Investigators obtained a search warrant for the residence and made contact with the owner/custodian of the property 33 year old Yunior Acosta Diego and 25 year old Angel Isreal Espinoza.

Once inside the residence Investigators located 90 live Marijuana plants with a total weight of six pounds, and clear plastic baggies with processed marijuana that weighed 120 grams. The plants confiscated by Narcotics Investigators were not mature enough to produce any product at the time they were found; however, within three months they would have been in their first harvest stage. Each plant would have produced approx. a half a pound of product. It is estimated that the plants would have brought approximately $76,500.00 every three months. In addition drug paraphernalia along with materials utilized in the cultivation of marijuana were confiscated and taken into custody.

Both Yunior Acosta Diego (top photo) and 25 year old Angel Isreal Espinoza (bottom photo) were arrested and transported to the Hendry County Jail. Both subjects were charged with Grand Theft, Theft of Utilities, Marijuana Possession with intent to Sell, Producing marijuana, Possession of Marijuana over 20 grams. Deigo was released on $59,500.00 bond and Espinoza is currently being held in the Hendry County Jail on $59,500.00 bond.

Holmes, Dan G..jpg PALM BEACH COUNTY SEX OFFENDER ARRESTED IN HENDRY COUNTY

On April 10, 2012, Hendry County Deputies arrested 40 year old Dan Gerard Holmes of Palm Beach County. Hendry County Deputies were notified by Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Fugitive Task Force Agents that they had located Holmes who had an outstanding warrant from Palm Beach County for Failing of Sexual Offender to Properly Register.

Hendry County Deputies responded to a mobile home located at Lot 12 in Twin Lake Mobile Home Park. Task Force members approached the residence and spoke with the individual who answered the door advising her they were looking for Holmes. She stated to Officers that she had not seen the suspect. However, after Palm Beach County Fugitive Task Force entered the residence and located Holmes in the rear bedroom of the home.

On April 14, 2012, Holmes was released to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

SHOOTING VICTIM REMAINS IN CRITICAL CONDITION

On Saturday night, April 14, 2012, Hendry County Deputies responded to 415 N. Hacienda in Montura to a reported shooting that had occurred. Upon the arrival of deputies, a 31 year old male was found lying in the yard suffering from what appeared to be gunshot wounds to the face and upper chest.

Victim’s of the home told Deputies and Investigators on scene that the victim was attempting to gain entry into the residence. After telling the victim to leave several times with no avail, shots were fired by the residents of the home. Law Enforcement personnel on scene were also told that the victim had come to the home earlier in the day armed with a knife and he was told to leave at that time.

When he returned later the occupants of the home felt threatened as he continued to try to gain forced entry to their home. One of the occupants of the home told deputies that the victim had called her earlier and told her that he had been to her house in Clewiston and destroyed it and he threatened to kill her. She provided deputies with a house key and they were later able to confirm her report.

Medical personnel responded to the scene and the victim was transported to an area trauma center where he remains in critical condition.

Charges are pending based on further investigation.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Moore Haven Library - Free Online Classes

Over 500 Free Classes Available Online - Earn CEU Credits

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The Glades County Public Library in partnership with the Heartland Library Cooperative and Recorded Books of Prince Frederick, MD, is pleased to announce the introduction of Universal Class Library Edition, a powerful new free online continuing education service designed specifically for use by the patrons of public libraries.

Universal Class offers Glades County Library patrons a unique online education experience. With a growing catalog of over 540 courses, Universal Class is committed to providing only the most affordable and highest quality online training. 

Over 300,000 students around the world have benefited from Universal Class’ unique instructional technologies. With real instructors guiding the learning, engaging video-based lessons, a collaborative learning environment, graded lesson tests, certificates of achievement and Continuing Education Units available for selected courses, students enjoy an engaging and measurable learning experience that helps them master and document their educational goals.

Universal Class offers courses in Exercise and Fitness, Entrepreneurship, Arts and Music, Home and Garden Care, Cooking, Computers and Technology, Health and Medicine, Homeschooling, Job Assistance, Law and Legal, Parenting and Family, Pet and Animal Care…plus 100’s more.

Details on the categories of over 500 classes available from Universal Class may be found at Universal Class or at the Glades County Public Library.

Contact: Glades Librarian, Mary Booher, 863-946-0744

LaBelle's Carolyn Kennedy Dies At 78

LABELLE, FL. -- Cynthia Carolyn Kennedy, age 78, of LaBelle passed away Thursday, April 12, 2012 at home in LaBelle. Cynthia was born March 1, 1934 in Boissevain, VA. She is the daughter of the late Roy Ambrose and the late Minnie Belle (Leathco) Wolfe.

Carolyn was a member of the First Christian Church. She was also a Real Estate Broker for many years.

She is survived by her daughter; Susan Kennedy, brother; Donald L. Wolfe (Paulie), grandson; Bryan Boyle and great grandchildren; Anslee Boyle, Ashton Boyle and Alyson Boyle

The funeral service will be held 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at First Christian Church, Ford Avenue, LaBelle, FL with Pastor W. T. Maddox Jr. officiating.

Calling hours will be Saturday, April 21, 2012, 1 hour prior to service at First Christian Church, Ford Avenue, LaBelle, FL.

Arrangements by Akin-Davis Funeral Home - LaBelle

Hendry Candidate List Grows - Kulpa Announces

Lots Of Sheriff Candidates Line Up

LABELLE, FL. -- Candidates for Hendry County's local political office positions are lining up for the coming November elections, including former Hendry Tax Appraiser Kristina Kulpa.

Kulpa lost the last election twice to Phillip Pelletier, once in the general election, and once again in Hendry Circuit Court where she tried to convince the Judge she should have won, but but some irregularities at the voting booth, she claimed  unsuccessfully .

As usual, the Sheriff and School Board Superintendent offices seem to have the most interest for candidates. Six candidates have qualified to run for Sheriff including incumbent Steve Whidden. Three candidates are running for school superintendent, including incumbent Rick Murphy and four for Election Supervisor as Lucretia Strickland retires after many years in the position.

No one is up yet to challenge long time County Judge James Sloan. And lots of "low-money" positions are still open at water and hospital districts and the Port LaBelle Development District among others.

The following Offices will be up for election and as of April 12 have qualified with the Hendry County, Florida Supervisor of Elections. (No name next to the office means no one has qualified yet.)

Included are phone numbers and email addresses as listed by each candidate with the elections office. (In the past we have noted the majority, if not all candidates, don't seem to respond to emails or return phone calls. Voters might wish to test each candidate's willingness to respond to voter's inquiries.)

Clerk of Circuit Court
*(Dem) Barbara Cox Butler, P O Box 44, Clewiston, FL  33440
Phone: 863-673-0209  email: barbara@hendryclerk.org
(Rep) Larry Wilcoxson, 100 South Hall Street, Ste. A, LaBelle, FL  33935
Phone: 863-812-0962  email: larrywilcoxson@gmail.com

Sheriff
(Rep) E. Carmona, 1079 Luckey St., LaBelle, FL 33935 phone: 863-673-6029 email: ecarmona_25@hotmail.com
(Rep) Mark R. Chamberlain, P O Box 1180, Clewiston, FL 33440 phone: 863-983-7844 email: mark@chamberlain4sheriff.com
(Rep) Raymond A. Van Houten, 590 Brittany Lane, LaBelle, FL 33935 email: ray4hendry@gmail.com phone: 863-944-3996
(Dem) Matthew A. Beatty, 410 E. Osceola Ave., Clewiston, FL 33440 email: mattbeatty065@yahoo.com phone 863-983-5959
(Dem) Steven Maldonado, P O Box 273, LaBelle, FL 33975 phone:863-673-1971
email: steven@maldonado2012.com
*(Dem) Steve Whidden, 2100 Scott Rd., LaBelle, FL 33935 phone:863-612-0678

Property Appraiser
*(Dem) Phillip L. Pelletier, 1601 Fort Denaud Rd., LaBelle, FL 33935 email: pelletiergp@yahoo.com phone: 863-673-3280
(Rep) Kristina A. Kulpa, 1000 G. Road, LaBelle, FL  33935
Phone: 863-675-3302  e-mail: kakulpa@hotmail.com

Tax Collector
*(Dem) Peggy S. Hampton ,P.O. Box 1019, LaBelle, FL  33975
Phone: 239-250-4032  email: peggyshampton11@aol.com
(Rep) Tom Corbitt, 199 Caloosa Estates Dr., LaBelle, FL 33935 Phone: 863-612-0868
email: tr_hac@yahoo.com

Superintendent of Schools
(Rep) Paul Puletti, 110 Hardee St., LaBelle, FL 33935 email:paulpuletti@hotmail.com phone: 863-675-5921
(Rep) Joel Williamson, 140 Evans Rd., LaBelle, FL 33935 phone: 863-675-4098 email: jedwardw3@gmail.com
*(Dem) Richard A. Rick Murphy, 1832 Red Rd., Clewiston, FL 33440 phone: 561-248-8100 email: rickmurphy521@yahoo.com

Supervisor of Elections
(Rep) Kevin Drummond, 4717 Sandlewood Ln., LaBelle, FL 33935
Phone: 863-234-3480 email: electdrummond@gmail.com
(Dem) Kim Harris-White, P O Box 661, Felda, FL 33930-0661 phone:863-257-0070 email: hendryvotes4kim@gmail.com
(Dem) Brenda Hoots, 580 N. Hacienda St., Clewiston, FL 33440 Phone: 863-885-1756 email: brenda.hoots@yahoo.com
(NPA) Rose Raulerson-Mason, 469 Maple Dr., LaBelle, FL 33935
Phone: 863-234-6401 email: rosemason4hendry@aol.com

County Judge (Non-partisan)
James D. Sloan, P O Box 1695, LaBelle, FL 33975

County Commission District #1
*(Dem) Janet B. Taylor, P O Box 764, Clewiston, FL  33440
Phone: 863-228-0612  email:  commish@gate.net
County Commission District #3
(Rep) Tristan G. Chapman, 405 Live Oak Ln., LaBelle, FL 33935
(Dem) Don Davis, 93 S. Hall St., LaBelle, FL  33935, Phone:  863-234-1581
County Commission District #5

*(Dem)  Karson C. Turner, P.O. Box 1688, Clewiston, FL  33440
Phone: 863-983-4101. email: kasont@embarqmail.com

School Board District #1 (Non-partisan)
*Dwayne E. Brown P O Box 684, Clewiston, FL  33440

School Board District #2
Hendry Hospital Authority District #1
Hendry Hospital Authority District #3
Hendry Hospital Authority District #5
Hendry Soil and Water Conservation District Seat #2
Hendry Soil and Water Conservation District Seat #
Port LaBelle Community Development District Seat #2
Port LaBelle Community Development District Seat #4
East County Water Control District Seat #1

East County Water Control District Seat #3
Joseph L. Whalen, 1402 4th St. E, Lehigh Acres, FL 33936 phone: 239-633-9423 email:whalenconsulting@aol.com

East County Water Control District Seat #5
Edward T. Weiner, 20048 Lake Vista Cir., Lehigh Acres, FL 33936 phone: 954-648-5458 email:etwra@aol.com

Central County Water Control District Seat #2
Miguel A. Solar, 303 Camino Real Blvd, Clewiston, FL 33440 Phone: 954-471-6888
*Jessie Necolettos, Jr., 680 S. Arboleda Street, Clewiston, FL  33440 Phone: 983-6864

Central County Water Control District Seat #4
Billy Haithcock, 545 N. Isora St., Clewiston, FL  863-233-2437
*Charles Bamburg 830 N. Utopia St, Clewiston, FL  33440

City of Clewiston, 3 Seats

* Incumbent

Unbelievable Past Of Hendry Clerk Candidate

Republican Contender For Hendry Clerks' Office - An Arresting Past

LABELLE, FL. -- On March 20th, Larry D. Wilcoxson submitted his intention to run for the Clerk of the Court for Hendry County, Florida. He opened his campaign with $100 of his own money. He has yet to file 161 petitions required for his candidacy, due at noon May 7th. Or pay a $6,018 filing fee in lieu of petitions.

Wilcoxson, 33 years old, a Republican, in the past associated with the Tea Pary of Florida, ran in 2010 for the Florida House in District 101 in Collier county.

With no political experience other than his failed 2010 run, and none managing a department as large as the Hendry Clerk's office, Wilcoxson hopes to take over the office occupied by Democrat Barbara Butler.

Wilcoxson has a Master's degree in Divinity from Martin University, the only predominantly African America university in Indiana and a degree in Criminal Justice.

While having no real experience in managing a large budge and Clerk's office, Wilcoxon does have some familiarity with the court system.

He was arrested in 2006 charged with three counts of child molestation in Indianapolis, Indiana. Wilcoxson was a substitute teacher at Longfellow Middle School.  The alleged victim was a 13-year old girl.

He had previously been fired for allegedly exposing himself to a female school custodian at Indianapolis' Donnan Middle School while he was substitute teaching there, according to press reports.

In 2008, he was a defendant along with the Indianapolis School System and the Indianapolis Police Department in a Federal Civil Rights suit brought by Valerie Davis of Indianapolis.

In 2010, during a press interview he responded to the molestation charges saying he was targeted by police who roughed him up and used racial epithets during an investigation of the sexual molestation case, to which he claims to have had no connection.

In August 2003, Collier Sheriff's deputies arrested Wilcoxson AKA "Scooby" Wilcoxson for charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated battery with a weapon. He spent almost a month in Collier jail until he bonded out on $20,000 bail. The state attorney dropped the charges in October.

In 2006, Collier county records indicate Wilcoxson was the defendant in several traffic cases and a paternity suit.

(photo: "Scooby" Wilcoxson in 2003 - Collier Sheriff's Department)

Southwest Florida Online contacted Wilcoxson on March 27 for an interview. Wilcoxson did not respond until ten days later, April 6. He was again contacted on April 9th for an interview appointment, but did not respond.

Links:
Search Link For Wilcoxson News Stories 
2010 Campaign Website
2010 Campaign Finance/Donors Etc
2008 Federal Civil Rights Case
2006 Molestation Charges
2003 Collier Arrests

Gas Prices Fall Except Hendry-Glades

Hendry-Glades Prices Still Higher

LABELLE, FL. -- Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 3.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.92/g yesterday, except in Hendry and Glades county. This compares with the national average that has fallen 1.4 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.89/g, according to gasoline price website FloridaStateGasPrices.com.

Average prices in Hendry county are above $4.00 a gallon. At the Handy Food Stores and Shell gas is not $4.04. But travel across the county line to Lee county and gas is $3.89 at the 7-Eleven on Joel Blvd. or $3.94 at the Handy on Joel.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 10.8 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 11.6 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 9.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 9.3 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"The only thing I remain sure of with gasoline prices is that things will remain quite volatile the next four to six weeks," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "Spot prices, a leading factor in retail gasoline prices, continues to swing wildly from region to region. Last week we saw a refinery fire on the West Coast drive up spot prices nearly instantaneously, an event that could occur in virtually any area. It's these events, the unforeseeable reaction, that gives me reason to say that prices may continue to swing upward and downward," DeHaan said.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Scam Alert - National Reply Center

"Funeral Advantage Program Assists Seniors" "2013 Death Benefit And Free Wal-Mart Gift Certificate" Say Misleading Letters

LABELLE, FL. -- In the mail this week tens of thousands of people aged 50 and over have received a folded post card type advertisement that misleadingly looks like a check or a government mailing.

Using a flying "dove" that looks like strikingly like an eagle, and type face that looks like an official document, the mailing is titled "Funeral Advantage Program Assists Seniors", with a state abbreviation on the right.

The mailing is from National Reply Center, who gathers information from seniors and sells it to insurance companies who then contact the recipients. The company makes mailings to many states and has received complaints nationwide for it's misleading business practices.

The sales pitch alludes to a program "created to help pay for one's funeral and any other expenses." Mailed from Columbus, Ohio, the postage-paid reply postcard is sent to National Reply Center, Indianapolis, Indiana. (The offer may also be for Medicare Supplemental Insurance or drug coverage.)

The message says the recipient "may qualify for the Funeral Advantage Program that will pay your family in the event of your death an insurance cash benefit up to $20,000 TAX FREE."

Your are asked your date of birth and phone number. Guess what? You're going to get a phone solicitation to sell you insurance at higher than normal rates.

The company doesn't directly sell insurance but uses this advertising format to collect information and sells it to other companies who will then offer life insurance, death benefit insurance, and Medicare supplemental insurance pitches to the consumer who sends in the card.

National Reply Center of Indianapolis has received an F rating from the Indianapolis Better Business Bureau on October 20, 2011. The BBB says the company failed to respond to a complaint about it's advertising and sales techniques.

State insurance regulators have ordered the company to cease and desist including the state of Wisconsin who ordered them to cease and desist from sending direct mail advertisements to Medicare beneficiaries in Wisconsin until "the advertisement is filed with the Commissioner" and to "reply promptly and provide all information requested to inquiries." This action was based on allegations of using Medicare insurance advertising not in compliance with the law.

Updates: Another mailing from National Reply Center has been received August 15, 2012 with slightly different offer wording. The latest headline on the outside of what deceivingly looks like a check might be inside says, "2012 Death Benefit Information" and is mailed from Columbus, Ohio, Permit #843.

The back side says "Postcard received after the deadline may NOT receive this information in a timely manner." The business reply card they want you fill out with your phone number and date of birth is to be mailed to National Reply Center, Box 3012, Indianapolis, Indiana 46209-9301.

Inside the revised mailing the headline is "Senior Final Expense Benefits For Florida Residents" with the come-on that "You may qualify for Senior Final Expense Benefits that would pay your family in the event of your death an insurance cash benefit up to $35,000 TAX FREE." And then the invitation in capital letters "TO SEE IF YOU QUALIFY, mail this postage-paid card today." It looks like they've upped the amount from $20,000 to $35,000, probably to test which number gets the most responses.

And then adds "Requests received after 15 days may not be processed."

In March 2013, new mailings went out from National Reply Center, this time saying "2014 Death Benefit And Free Wal-Mart Gift Certificate Information Enclosed." A business reply card asks for name, date of birth, phone, and spouse's information. The mailing announces a "Senior Final Expense Life Insurance Program" to pay for funeral expenses "not paid by Social Security." It says to fill out and return the card within five days to receive a free quote and Wal-Mart Gift Certificate.

Bad Luck For Casino Balloon Festival




Winds Cancel Liftoff Of Thirty Hot Air Balloons At Festival

IMMOKALEE, FL. -- More than 30 custom hot air balloons were slated to rise in the skies above Immokalee early Saturday morning, but high winds prevented the launch of the brightly colored balloons. 

(Video: two of the colorful balloons that manages to inflate during the windy morning.)

The Seminole Casino advertised heavily for the 1st Immokalee “Balloons Over Paradise” event taking place April 14th and 15th just west of the Immokallee Regional Airport.  Pilots were scheduled to navigate their hot air balloons to compete for a share of $4,000 in prize money in several ballooning events. 

Hundreds of spectators showed up at early at 6 a.m. to see the colorful balloons engage in games throughout the morning, only to have the events cancelled because of winds blowing between 10 and 15 m.p.h, a bit high to safely launch the wind driven balloons. 

About half the vendor tents were empty Saturday morning, while hundreds of visitors milled around taking photos of the dozen balloons that were inflated. By 8 a.m. all the balloons were deflated by their crews due to the winds.

One of the competitions that may take place Sunday if winds cooperate, is the "hare and hound" competition, where one balloon takes off first and is the hare balloon. The other balloons are called the hounds, and they will launch a predetermined time after the hare.

The hare will land and lay out a large fabric X, about 50 feet in diameter. The hare will then radio the coordinates to the hounds. The hound balloons will attempt to drop their markers as close to the center of the X as possible. The closest marker achieves the highest score.

In the "convergent navigational task," the target is a grid at the festival site. Pilots will fly in and drop their markers on the grid. Scoring is based on the marker’s accuracy and how the pilot flew over the target.

For both contests, the first place prize is $500, second place is $300 and third place is $200.

The colorful balloons will attempt another launch Sunday morning at 6 a.m. with an illuminated light show to the music of a live 4-piece string ensemble. Festival-goers will be able to walk among the balloons as they inflate for what is hoped will be a mass ascension into the skies if winds cooperate, and hopefully remain in the air for several hours. 

Specialty hot air balloons at the event include the Flying Purple People Eater, The  Ham-Let, the world’s largest flying pig; and Miss Daisy, a flower that winks.

Event goers also can enjoy live music by eight acts through the day including John Anderson and Kathy Kosins, food by area vendors and gourmet trucks, arts and crafts, dog shows, carnival games and activities for kids.

The kids’ stage features a puppet show, presentation by local meteorologist Michael Mogil, storytelling, musical zoo sounds and fairy-tale characters. Carnival games include Angry Birds, bean bag toss, tic-tac- toe, milk can toss, skee ball, face painting, tug of war, rock climbing, bungee run, velcro wall, bounce houses, sack races, sumo wrestling and more. Games costs range from 10 cents to one dollar.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Caloosahatche River Advisory - Harmful Algae


Advisory – Caloosahatchee River Exposure

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry & Glades County Health Departments have issued an advisory to warn people against exposing themselves, their pets or their livestock to the waters in the Caloosahatchee River.

This advisory applies to the river's freshwater segments from the Moore Haven Locks extending westward through LaBelle to the Lee County Line, as well as the river's tributaries because of possible sporadic but potentially harmful algae blooms.

If the river waters look greenish, off-color, smells different or if you see dead or distressed animals or marine life, local health officials are recommending not to fish in the waters, not to participate in recreation in the waters and do not to drink the water.

Algae may grow in lakes, canals and rivers throughout the region for the foreseeable future and tracking all of them is impractical.

The Army Corps of Engineers is planning "pulsed" releases of water from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee in the next few days with the intent to bring more fresh water into the river, to possibly alleviate the algae problem down stream.

Local health officials may upgrade this advisory to a health warning if toxic blooms are identified in public areas.

Why Zimmerman Was Arrested In Martin Murder

Probable Cause Affidavit Shows Alleged Intent Of Zimmerman

A probable cause affidavit filed in the case of Florida vs. Zimmerman indicates investigators believe George Zimmerman thought Trayvon Martin was going to commit a crime and followed him so he wouldn't get away. The ensuing scuffle lead to Zimmerman shooting Martin in the chest.

Investigators for the Jacksonville State Attorney's Office T.C. O'Steen and K.D. Gilbreath filed an affidavit of probable cause in the murder case of Trayvon Martin, outlining the role of George Zimmerman in what has become a 2nd degree murder charge.

Among the facts the two found were that Zimmerman "profiled" Martin, who "was not committing a crime." Zimmerman was said to have felt Martin did not belong in the gated Sanford, Florida community and called the police.

(Zimmerman lived there, and Martin was staying at his father's girlfriend's house at the Retreat At Twin Lakes. Martin, a junior in high school was on a suspension from Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School in the Miami Gardens area of  N.E. Miami near the Broward county line.)

During the call, Zimmerman made reference to people he felt had committed and gotten away with crimes in the neighborhood. Later, he said, "These assh_les, they always get away," and also said "These f_cking punks."

During this time, Martin was on the phone with a friend and was afraid and "attempted to run home" while being followed by Zimmerman, who according to the affidavit "didn't want the person he falsely assumed was going to commit a crime to get away before the police arrived."

Zimmerman got out his vehicle and followed Martin even after the police dispatcher told him not to follow, they say.

A struggle ensued and witnesses heard calls for help, and some were recorded on 911 calls to police. The affidavit says Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton reviewed the 911 calls and "identified the voice crying for help as Trayvon Martin's voice."

Zimmerman admitted shooting Martin, A fired bullet casing was identified as coming from Zimmerman's gun and the medical examiner confirmed Martin died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

The April 11th two page document signed by the two veteran law enforcement officers says they reviewed the evidence available, including audio recordings, reports, phone records, photographs, and videos and presented their conclusions in the affidavit "for a determination of probable cause for second degree murder."

They added that the facts presented in the affidavit are not a "complete recitation of all the pertinent facts and evidence."

State's Probable Cause Affidavit
More Zimmerman-Martin Stories

Testing For Sexually Transmitted Diseases

19 Million New Sexually Transmitted Diseases In Youths Aged 15 To 24 
April is STD Awareness Month, an annual observance to raise public awareness about the impact of sexually transmitted diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention persons from ages 15 to 24 years account for nearly half of the 19 million new STD cases each year. 

To increase STD screening among young persons, CDC is partnering again with MTV, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and other partners on the GYT (Get Yourself Tested) campaign. Additional information about STDs is available at http://www.cdc.gov/std.

STDs affect people of all races, ages, and sexual orientations, though some individuals experience greater challenges in protecting their health. Because many STDs have no symptoms, those at risk need to get tested and find out if they are infected. 

CDC's current testing guidelines include:
-Annual Chlamydia screening for all sexually active women under age 26, as well as older women with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners.
-Yearly gonorrhea screening for at-risk sexually active women (e.g., women age 25 and younger, those with new or multiple sex partners, and women who live in communities with a high burden of disease).
-Syphilis, HIV, Chlamydia, and hepatitis B screening for all pregnant women, and gonorrhea screening for at-risk pregnant women at the first prenatal visit, to protect the health of mothers and their infants.
-Screening at least once a year for syphilis, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV for all sexually active gay men, bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men.
-HIV screening for everyone between the ages of 13 and 64. Those at high risk for HIV infection (e.g., injection drug users and their sex partners, persons who exchange sex for money or drugs, sex partners of HIV-infected persons, and heterosexuals or men who have sex with men who themselves or whose sex partners have had more than one sex partner since their most recent HIV test) should be screened for HIV at least annually.

Talk with your doctor or health care provider about STDs and ask about recommended vaccinations and testing. Health care providers should take a sexual health history of their patients and follow up with appropriate counseling, vaccination, testing, and treatment.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Trayvon Martin's Killer Officially Accused Of Murder


Political Backroom Maneuvers At State Attorney Office?

JACKSONVILLE, FL. -- State Attorney and Special Prosecutor Angela Corey, announced George Zimmerman has turned himself in at Sanford, Florida in Seminole County after a "capias information" was filed for his arrest in the alleged murder of Trayvon Martin.

The State Attorney in Sanford, Florida had previously declined to prosecute the case. Marches and protest took place in Sanford and Miami asking for the arrest of Zimmerman.

She was appointed to the Special Prosecutor role three weeks ago by Florida governor, Rick Scott. Saying an intensive investigation was made in a "difficult homicide case" and her office is a "seeker of truth," pledging to look out "for our precious victims" while using the rules of the constitution to protect the defendant.

Corey, 57, elected as State Attorney to the 4th Judical Circuit in 2008, the first woman to hold the office, said the decision "did not come lightly"  in determining whether Zimmerman was to be charged for murder, and says she does not prosecute by public pressure.

She has worked in the State Attorneys Office since 1981. She was fired in 2006 by the then State Attorney Harvey Shorstein, but after her election in 2008 reportedly fired 10 assistant state attorneys, over half of the investigators, and 48 support employees.

In a press conference Wednesday, Corey said her team "has worked tirelessly, looking for answers in Trayvon Martin's death." Full text of speech.

The official paper was filed April 12th "through the undersigned designated Assistant State Attorney" Bernardo de la Rionda for the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit in Sanford, Florida where the shooting occurred.

The Florida Law 782.04 under which Zimmerman is to be prosecuted outlines the unlawful killing a human being when perpetrated by a dangerous act and evincing a depraved mind, but without premeditation.

Corey said her office made the decision to prosecute Zimmerman last week.

(photo: George Zimmerman's jail booking photo)

44 days after the Sanford, Florida shooting death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin, state and federal investigators have been looking into the facts surrounding the incident to decide whether charges may be brought against 28-year old neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman, a 5'9' Hispanic man, told police he was attacked by Martin, a 6'3" black teen on February 26, 2012 after Zimmerman made a call to the Sanford Police Department reporting a suspicious person walking in the rain around the gated condo and townhouse community of the Retreat At Twin Lakes.

Zimmerman made a first appearance before a Seminole County Judge at 1:30 a.m. Thursday, April 12. Orlando attorney Mark M. O'Mara was there to speak for him before the judge. Zimmerman has plead not quilty. The court appearance took only a few minutes.

After the hearing O'Mara said he would be asking for a bond to be set by the court in a few weeks for his client to get out of jail. The next scheduled court date is May 29 for Zimmerman's arraignment.

How To Steal Electric And Water? Smart Meters

Hackers Modify Smart Meters For Free Water And Electric

LABELLE, FL. -- In a recently made public May, 2010 FBI bulletin, news has been released about an investigation in Puerto Rico where individuals were able to modify so-called "smart" meters to lower their electric bills.

Utility companies including electric and water utilities have recently been installing electronic meters at customer homes and businesses. Instead of manually reading meters, the new digital smart meters can be read remotely.

Hackers have discovered using magnets or specially built optical devices can modify the meter reading ability and read less water or electric than is actually being used by the customer.



A Puerto Rican utility company asked the FBI to investigate theft of power and resulted in the finding of alterations being made to the digital readings of the electric meters. In that case, the FBI said employees of the meter manufacturer and power company employees conspired to charge customers $300 to $1000 to modify the meters to show less electric being used.

The method required an optical converter device attached to a computer to modify the meter. Another possible way, says the report, is to place a strong magnet on the meter which interferes with the ability to measure power being used.  Customers would typically place the magnet on the meter during times of high usage and then remove it later, so the company would still see some utility use but save the customer up to 50% off the normal bill.

In Hendry county, the Port LaBelle water utility replaced it's original meters several years ago with the new digital smart meters. Florida Power and Light has plans to gradually replace all it's customers meters with smart meters over then next few years. Some customers have already received their new meters in Port LaBelle.

Glades Sport Car Track In Trouble? Or Not?


Neighborhood Groups Say "Vehemently Opposed"

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- A representative of three homeowner groups told the Glades County Commissioners they don't want a proposed sport car racing facility in their neighborhood. Nonetheless, the board voted Tuesday unanimously for a change in zoning from agriculture to residential, allowing the developer to proceed with plans for car tracks, a hotel, and other commercial like development of a 274 acre parcel to proceed.

A public hearing in Moore Haven, Tuesday at 9 a.m. was held to change Glades County's Future Land
Use Map for 74 acres within the community of Port LaBelle, from Agriculture to Residential to bring it into consistency and compatibility with the adjoining properties and in compliance with the County’s Land Development Regulations.

The proposal was brought by landowner Armboz, Inc., as a first step in getting authority to build a 274 acre sports car racing facility. The 74 acres would allow home to be built providing what the developer calls a "buffer" to his proposed sports car tracks and facilities. 

The developer has indicated it's desire to build two car tracks, a kart track, a 50-room hotel and many other commercial type amenities in the midst of a rural community of residential homes, under the guise of a residential "driving park" for owners of high powered sports cars.

Armboz says they want to market the property to out of area high performance car owners who will visit the facility to drive their cars around the tracks at speeds up to 105 mph, and store their vehicles at the site in garages under second floor apartments for owners.

The Commissioners heard from Rose Quale, President of Villas At River Run Condo, John Hollingsworth President of Laurel Oaks Villa POA 5, Diane Penn, President of Port LaBelle Ranchettes POA who all deferred to Scott Wegscheid, a resident of the Ranchettes and a real estate developer and appraiser, granting him their allotted three minutes to speak to the board.

Wegscheid requested that future meetings with hearings on the Armboz application be considered at the 6 p.m. meetings instead of 9 a.m. to enable other residents who work to be able to attend. 

In addition to the inconvenient meeting time for many, Southwest Florida Online pointed out in a weekend story that the county did not follow it's rules pertaining to posting signs on the property to advise the public of a zoning change meeting. Two small plastic signs were posted on one side of the property but had no dates, times, or places for a meeting printed on the signs. The remaining three sides of the property in question had no signs advertising a meeting.

Wegscheid described the Port LaBelle area affected by the application as a rural community designed for quiet home-town lifestyles and said the groups he represented would not support anything that would change that.

Mr. Wegscheid further stated they were offering no opposition to the change from agricultural to residential sought at this hearing for a parcel in the heart of the residential neighborhood, but emphasized that the groups he represented would only support single family residential zoning for the parcel. 

The application indicated commercial uses would be included in the zoning change to "residential" for stores, day care and other uses.

Wegscheid made essentially the same objection, wanting only single family use, at a prior public meeting with the Glades Zoning Board, who then voted to recommend the zoning change from ag to residential to the county commission.

He quoted the zoning application, showing what the developer really wanted, as saying “the redesign that can occur through this amendment will lead to a greater compatibility with the surrounding residential uses by buffering them from the motorsports club and adding similar uses along the perimeter.”

Wegscheid continued, “It is our opinion that the proposed uses which include bars, cocktail lounges, private and bottle clubs, fuel station, outdoor storage yard, recreational RV parks, gun range indoor firing, and driving club are incompatible with existing use in this area. 

"We vehemently oppose the proposed use and will do everything in our power to prevent from every being constructed. As citizens of Glades County we have the reasonable expectation that our lifestyle, which we each have so much invested in, will not be changed by any such new development.”

He stated the reason for zoning laws is to maintain continuity of use so that the uses of property are appropriate and used in appropriate areas and will protect landowners’ investments and lifestyles. He further
stated “...nearly all of the uses named in the application are incompatible with our residential neighborhoods.”

Mr. Wegscheid stated he is a state certified General Real Estate Appraiser with 25 years in the Glades County market area, and certified as an expert witness in Glades County Court and asserted that in his opinion, this race track will reduce the value of the existing residential properties in the community.

Rose Quale addressed the Board: “I am concerned that the following comments attributed to staff in the Glades County Democrat dated March 29, may unduly influence community.”

She then quoted several staff statements from the newspaper including, “Hilton said the project would not negatively impact the surrounding area which is mostly rural neighborhoods and vacant property;”

She continued reading from the article that opposition to the project will “go away once the project is explained to the public in detail.” She concluded with the quote: “...and there are only five houses in Glades County near the project.” She questioned the validity of the statements.

Storter Questions Staff
Commissioner Donna Storter questioned a portion of the staff report that said ”Requested Future Land Use Residential Land area used predominantly for housing of up to 7 units per acre.”

Storter wanted to know if the “up to 7 units” was a possibility or a probability. It was clarified that this is the definition used in the county’s Land Development Regulations for “residential” quoted by staff and only the change from agriculture to residential for future land use is being approved today.

Commissioner Storter stated she had had a barrage of complaints about the Glades Democrat newspaper article from which Mrs. Quayle read when Mr. Hilton gave an unauthorized press release or so it seemed, she said. 

Storter stated, “Some of those things he had actually said to me, and it was quoting him directly and this would be like Kelly Brantley telling people how Judge Lundy is going to rule; we are quasi-judicial, nobody speaks for us, but us; that’s his opinion and I think that she had a very valid concern that we may seem to be unduly influenced by those statements.”

The Board moved to approve the change 5-0.

-story prepared from public notes by Commisioner Donna Storter, photo Facebook, JTH