Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Clewiston Man Guity On Sex Charges

CLEWISTON, FL. (JAN. 25, 2005) -- Attorney General Charlie Crist announced
that a south Florida man has pled guilty to several counts related to child
pornography and sex acts involving children and was sentenced to 20 years
in prison. The case was prosecuted by the Attorney General's Office of
Prosecution, which has worked with the Hendry County Sheriff's Office and
the 20th Circuit State Attorney's Office since the earliest stages of the

Buddie Darrell Edwards Sr., 50, of Clewiston was charged after the
FDLE Crime Lab Computer Recovery Unit in Tampa recovered more than 16,000
images of child pornography from the hard drive of a computer Edwards gave
to his son. Some of the images were determined to show Edwards engaged in
explicit sexual conduct with his own minor relatives, while others appeared
to be downloaded from the Internet. The sexual battery crimes took place in
several locations including Boynton Beach, where Edwards worked, and in
Clewiston, where he lived with his mother.

"Sex crimes involving innocent children are the most despicable offenses on
Earth," said Crist. "I am proud that the work of prosecutors
and law enforcement has ensured that this is one predator who will remain
off the street for many years to come."

Edwards pled guilty to nine counts of possession of child pornography and
one count each of capital sexual battery and lewd and lascivious
molestation. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Edwards was sentenced to two
20-year prison terms, to run concurrently, as well as mandatory sexual
offender treatment and counseling, sexual offender probation, and costs of
the investigation and prosecution. He will also be required to register
with the state as a sex offender.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Local Freezing Temps Predicted

jAN. 23, 2005) -- From the National Weather Service:

The national weather service in miami, fl has issued a freeze warning
for monday morning and a freeze watch for tuesday morning for glades,
hendry, and eastern collier counties.

Low temperatures monday morning are forecast to drop into the upper
20s to lower 30s across the area. the coldest readings will be seen
across glades and hendry counties.

A freeze warning is issued when freezing temperatures are forecast to
threaten outdoor plants. those with agricultural interests in the
warned area are advised to harvest or protect tender vegetation.
also, potted plants normally left outdoors should be covered or
brought inside away from the cold.

Freezing temperatures are also possible across these same areas on
tuesday morning. as such, a freeze watch is in effect for these same
areas for tuesday morning. a freeze watch means that freezing
temperatures are possible. stay tuned to noaa weather radio and other
local media for further
details or updates.

Clewiston Bass Devours Mariner

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Four Clewiston High students defeated four Ft. Myers
Mariner H.S. high acheivers Sunday afternoon on television's A Team
on local Ft. Myers station NBC-2, hosted by Craig Wolf.
Leading the Clewiston academic team in correct answers by a wide margin was
Corwin Bass, a CHS junior. The Clewiston student team took an early lead in
the question-answering match and never gave up the lead after correctly
answering dozens of difficult questions on math, science, language arts,
and social studies. The Final Score: Clewiston 200, Mariner 0.

Hendry Jobless Highest In Florida


LABELLE, FL. -- Although decreases in the unemployment rate were the norm
throughout the state in December, Hendry county again came in with the
highest jobless rate in the state. Hendry county had a rate of 8.7 percent
without jobs for those seeking employment in December. The lowest jobless
rate in the state is ironically in another rural county, Lafayette county
with only 1.5 percent unemployed. Hendry county has traditionally had the
highest umemployment rates in the state.

Local officials have attempted to raise Hendry's employment with varioius
schemes over the years including tax breaks for manufacturing companies.
Local government agencies have believed that only manufacturing jobs are
high paying compared to service jobs, neglecting to see the trend for
offshore manufacturing throughout the nation and the decline in domestic
manufactuing due to high costs here. Economists point out that vast majority
of people employed now in the U.S. are in service businesses including
retail, finance, and insurance which pay as much as manufacturing jobs.

The Hendry tax incentive scheme in Hendry originated at U.S. Sugar which is
the only major manufacturing company in the county. U.S. Sugar processes
sugarcane and citrus products. A few other small companies have been granted
property tax breaks as a result of the Hendry tax ordinance but it remains
to be seen whether their applications for tax abatements were legitimate in
their promised to add jobs for Hendry county. So far, all incentives given
by government officials have not made a dent in bringing Hendry's jobless
rate down from the highest in the state.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Tomato Crops Unpicked

LABELLE, FL. -- Acres of Florida tomatoes remain unpicked while the general
public still perceives a shortage, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles
H. Bronson was told by growers during a tour of South Florida tomato farms

"I was shocked to see acre upon acre of unharvested tomatoes," Bronson said
after visiting tomato farms in Homestead. "The perception of a tomato
shortage still remains in the mind of the public. As a result, consumers
aren't buying tomatoes, retail grocers and restaurants aren't placing
orders, and our growers are facing disaster because they can't sell their

Bronson said that, while there was a short-term shortage of tomatoes
immediately after the state's destructive hurricane season, Florida's
farmers replanted and there now is an abundance of fresh tomatoes.

"Florida's tomato farmers worked hard to get back in business following the
hurricanes, but are now frustrated as their crop remains in the field
because they can't find buyers," Bronson said. "Even with this abundant
tomato supply, we're still hearing stories that some restaurants and
fast-food establishments are still limiting tomatoes or not serving them at

Retail grocery prices for tomatoes, which had peaked at nearly $4 per pound
in October and November, have begun returning to more normal levels.
Bronson was told by growers that they are receiving 15 to 20 cents per
pound for their tomatoes.

Bronson told growers he has directed his Division of Marketing and
Development to assist them in moving the current tomato crop into the

"We want American consumers to know that Florida is back in the fresh
tomato business," Bronson said. "We encourage corporate buyers for grocery
chains and restaurants to move swiftly to help satisfy consumers' pent-up
demand for this delicious and healthy product."

Florida's devastating hurricane season - which destroyed tomatoes in the
field and delayed planting of new crops - had contributed to a short-term
shortage of fresh tomatoes in much of the country. The situation was
exacerbated by problems in other tomato-producing areas (heavy rains during
the harvest season in California and a continuing pest problem in Mexico).
As a result, many consumers saw empty tomato bins in their grocery stores
or restaurant menus indicating that tomatoes were available only by special
request or, in some cases, not at all.

An unprecedented four major hurricanes -- Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne
-- battered Florida's farmers in August and September, leaving in their
wake uprooted crops, flooded fields and a battered infrastructure. Many
Florida tomato growers replanted their crops after Charley and Frances only
to see them destroyed soon after by Jeanne.

"Florida's farmers have rebuilt, replanted and revived much of our state's
agriculture industry," Bronson said. "This is vital not only for our
state but for the entire nation, since Florida farmers produce 80 percent
of this country's domestically grown vegetables during the winter months."

Friday, January 14, 2005

At The Glades County Commission

New Board Members and Complaints About Airfield Noise

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- (Jan. 10, 2005) The Glades County Commissioners
appointed two new members to the Glades County Building Planning Zoning
Board of Adjustments this week. District 5 commissioner Giesler nominated Ed
Ewers, retired east coast contractor living in Buckhead Ridge, and
District 3 commissioner Beck nominated Sam Griffin, former county

The Commissioners heard Sara (Sally) Johnson Dellar, resident of Fernwood
Lane, voice her complaints concerning noise and invasion of privacy she
suffered because of the business activity at Ken Albee's private landing
strip, which he uses for skydiving club activities just due north of her
homestead property. BCC assigned County Manager Smith, Planning Director
Shatto, County Attorney Pringle, and Chairman Jones to research the
facts on the activities relative to Ms. Dellar's claims. A report is to be
given at January 24 meeting. Concern was expressed that the "club"
privileges may be a front for commercial activity, considering the
advertisements printed about the skydiving. Albee's airstrip is Glades
County's only publicly used airport in the county with ultralight aircraft,
skydiving, and private aircraft uses.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Brighton Indians To Quit Glades EMS Service

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Glades County EMS Director Bob Jones reported to the
Glades County Commission this week on dialogue between him and Seminole
Tribe leaders and the Tribe's decision to discontinue use of and funding
($425k annually) for the Glades County EMS station in Brighton Reservation,
effective February 7, 2005. The Tribe is planning to provide its own fire
protection and emergency services on all reservations, and the decision to
start with Brighton was not due to any problem with Glades County.

Discussion followed concerning perhaps contracting with the Tribe to serve
the Lakeport area east to Indian Prairie, as Buckhead Ridge is served by
contract with Okeechobee County. Otherwise, the two remaining ambulance
stations may have to be relocated (from Muse Fire Tower to Pollywog
Crossover and 29, and from Moore Haven to County property near the Road
Dept facility on SR78) to be more
centrally positioned to serve residents.

In other matters, Jones commented that the new billing service only
yesterday mailed out the first billing for EMS services since October,
citing their problems with set-up, addressing, and privacy notices.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Okeechobee Birds Recovered

From the Florida Wildlife Commission --
Just prior to the holidays, Lieutenant Pat Reynolds assisted Okeechobee
County deputies with a stolen bird case. Okeechobee County had information
that the birds were being kept in Hialeah. Eventually, the owner of the
birds and her veterinarian were able to identify and claim the birds.
Local authorities arrested a subject for possession of stolen property,
while Okeechobee County detectives filed theft charges. A Capuchin monkey
was also seized because of caging and permitting violations; as a result,
Lieutenant Reynolds issued citations. It was later discovered that the
monkey had been stolen from the Cape Coral area. Theft charges are being
filed in that county as well. Other birds with suspicious paperwork were
documented and later determined to have been stolen from the Tampa area.
The birds are now missing - the man said they were stolen from him while he
was in jail. These thefts occurred in the aftermath of the hurricanes
while people were concentrating on recovery efforts.

Former Clewiston Doc Faces Sex Charges

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Clewiston Police Department,
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Broward County State
Attorney's Office announced the arrest of a former Clewiston doctor accused
of kidnapping and sexual battery last month. FDLE Special Agent Scott
Gibson and investigators with the Louisiana State Penitentiary arrested Dr.
Daniel Phillip McIntire Jr., 48, currently residing in Ruston, La., at the
Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola when he showed up for a job
interview for the position of prison physician. McIntire is charged with
one count of kidnapping and 11 counts of sexual battery victim

FDLE began investigating the allegations against McIntire at the request of
the Clewiston Police Department in August 2003. McIntire was practicing
medicine in Clewiston when police received information that the doctor
allegedly drugged and sexually battered at least two female victims.
Shortly after the investigation began McIntire left his practice in
Clewiston and moved to the Palatka, Fla. area where he practiced medicine
in Hawthorne. McIntire fled Florida after a search warrant was served at
his residence in Palatka. Police have recovered video evidence documenting
the alleged attacks.

The FBI was contacted when it was learned by investigators that McIntire
left the state. The FBI obtained a warrant for Unlawful Flight to Avoid
Prosecution (UFAP) and joined in the search for McIntire. McIntire was
being held in the West Feliciana Parish jail in Saint Francis, La. but has
waived extradition back to Florida and will be returned to Broward
County. The investigation is on going and special agents are asking anyone
who might have information regarding this case to contact FDLE Special
Agent Scott Gibson at 1-800-226-2028.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Marijuana Growers Busted In Montura

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Eleven men were taken into federal custody on charges of
conspiracy to possess and possession with the intent to distribute 1,000 or
more marijuana plants, according the the U.S. Attorney office in Ft. Myers.
A reported 30,000 plants were confiscated. Arrested in Montura, a large
rural subdivision lots of an acre or more in size, were Alexis Miguel
Gonzalez, Jorge Luis Gutierrez, Pedro Garcia Gutierrez, Ermundo Hernandez,
Luis Hatuey Penalver, Jose Rigoberto Perez, Panfilo Chaves Perez, Juan
Roche, Yoandy Rojas Guevara, Noslen Hernandez Romero and Armandou Vidal.
The arrestees were taken Friday to the federal courthouse in Fort Myers for
the first appearance hearing and then transported to the Hendry County Jail.
The marijuana plants were located at 255 N. Zambria St., 425 N. Kennel St.,
820 S. Trebol St., 730 S. Kennel St., 855 N. Zambria St., and 630 S.
Riverside St. The Montura area has been a known drug distribution and
prostitution area for years and the lots is popular as land investments for
Miami and Ft. Lauderdale area residents who buy up the relatively cheap
acres in the huge subdivision. Most of the homes in the area are mobile
homes spead thinly among the vacant lots and a neighborhood crime watch team
in recent years has tried unsuccessfully to keep criminal activity under

The Hendry Sheriffs Office, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency office in
Miami, and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Ft. Myers, and others were involved
in the investigation and arrests.

Pit Bull Attack In Port LaBelle

LABELLE, FL. (Jan. 6, 2004) -- A pit bull attack was called in to the
Hendry Sheriff's office Thursday about 7 p.m. A caller said a female was
walking her dog in the 2000 Clipper Circle neighborhood of County Village
when a pit bull attacked and killed her dog. Deputies responded and ordered
the Animal Control Unit to come the nest day for an animal pickup.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Report Says U.S. Sugar State's #1 Polluter

CLEWISTON, FL. --- The group Environment Defense says U.S. Sugar, based in
Clewiston, is Florida's biggest industrial polluter. The sugar giant joins
the Foamex company, that makes foam bedding and carpet material in Orlando,
as the worst polluters in the state, although U.S. Sugar contibutes more
than twice as much pollution as the Foamex company. The study says U.S.
Sugar is not only number one in polluting the air and ground in Florida but
is the number five polluter in the nation. The rankings come from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release charts for 2002.

Toxins identified in the study as cancer-causing air pollution caused by
the U.S. Sugar operations include naphthalene, benzene and formaldehyde. See
a charts of the ranking of Hendry county's cancer-causing air and ground
pollution at href="www.scorecard.org/env-releases/county.tcl?fips_county_code=12051#major
_chemical_releases"> Scorecard.org

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Special Prosecutor Request On Henderson Case

State Attorney Steve Russell on Monday, January 3rd, 2005, requested the
Governor's Office assign another State Attorney to handle the James
Henderson case. This includes any alleged criminal activity Henderson might
have been involved in, since his alleged escape from the Hendry County Jail
on Thursday, December 30, 2004. The request was made to avoid any
appearance of impropriety, as Henderson's mother is employed by the State
Attorney's Office.

At the time of the alleged escape and the murder of Daniel Woosley in
LaBelle, Russell also requested that the Florida Department of Law
Enforcement work with the Hendry County Sheriff's office on the
investigation. Until such time as the Governor appoints a Special
Prosecutor to handle the proceedings, a Ft. Myers prosecutor is assisting
on legal matters, as necessary.

Sheriff Says Henderson Connected To Murder

LABELLE, FL. -- Murder suspect James Henderson, 19 has been linked by
physical evidence to the murder of Jennings Hardware store owner Daniel
Woosley according to Sheriff Ronnie Lee. Henderson was arrested in the
rural Glades County community of Muse just a few miles north of LaBelle
earlier this morning and later transferred to the Criminal Investigation
Unit on Bridge Street in LaBelle for questioning which is ongoing at of
noon Wednesday. Henderson was in a stolen vehicle again when captured. The
Chevy Cavalier was reported stolen Tuesday at 11 p.m. in Immokalee in
Collier County. Henderson had abandoned in Collier county the Ford 150 pick
up truck he allegedly stole from Woosley in LaBelle around the time of the

Newly elected Sheriff Lee held a news conference earlier today wearing
his traditional "cover", his black felt cowboy style hat. In Lee's previous
administration as Hendry Sheriff four years ago, deputies were required to
wear hats or "covers" everywhere other than indoors. Lee reportedly acted
on a tip he had received on January 1st as to the location of Henderson. It
remains unclear whether the tipster if any might be eligible for the $5000
reward offered early this week for Henderson's arrest.

Lee told reporters he was glad to have captured Henderson. Henderson
escaped from the jail and the murder occurred during the last day of former
Sheriff Steve Worley's administration. The Florida Department of Law
Enforcement and Glades County Sheriffs Office participated in the overnight
stake-out and this mornings arrest of Henderson.

Henderson Arrested

LABELLE, FL. -- James Henderson made a reappearance at the Hendry county
jail this morning after being arrested in Muse by FDLE agents, and Glades
and Hendry deputies. Henderson escaped the jail last week while serving a
sentence for auto theft and now is under suspicion in the murder of Dan
Woosley. Woosely was found dead only hours after Henderson walked out of the

Hendry Sheriff Ronnie Lee has not allowed much information out about the
case and has apparently dispensed with the office of Public Information
after taking office January 1, and not using the former Sheriff Sergeant who
worked as Public Information Officer for many years. Sheriff Lee was
formerly a State Attorney's Investigator, and Hendry Sheriff beforeSheriff
Steve Worley's term. For the last several years Lee was the chief
agricultural investigator for U.S. Sugar Corp. in Clewiston. A news
conference will be scheduled this morning at the Hendry Sheriff's office,
although it is expected the Sheriff will be as tight lipped as always and
not reveal much that is already known, and will excuse himself for not
answering questions because the investigation of James Henderson in the jail
escape and murder is still pending.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

News Release From Hendry Sheriff

LABELLE, FL. (January 3, 2005) -- On Thursday, December 30, 2004, at
approximately 6:00 pm, Hendry County Sheriffs Office Correction Official
discovered Hendry County Inmate, James Robert Henderson, 19 years of age,
missing from a work detail in front of the Hendry County Sheriffs Office.
Henderson was sentenced to a nine-month jail term in the Hendry County Jail
for two counts of grand theft auto. He was last seen wearing a black and
white jump suit.

The Hendry County Sheriffs Office and the Florida Department of Law
Enforcement is currently investigating the escape of James Robert Henderson
and a reward of $5,000 for information leading to the capture of Henderson.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Escape. Anyone with information
regarding the whereabouts of James Robert Henderson are urged to contact
Hendry County Sheriffs Office at (863) 674-4060 or (863) 983-1440, FDLE
Special Agent Scott Gibson at (863) 386-6085 or Crimestoppers at
1-800-780-TIPS (8477).

Local Businessman Found Murdered

Release Date: January 3, 2005

On Thursday, December 30, 2004, at approximately 8:00 pm, Hendry County
Sheriffs Officials received a call reporting a possible homicide at 1650
SR29, LaBelle, Florida. Upon the arrival of Hendry County Deputies, they
found local businessman, 39-year-old Danny Woosley, inside his residence
lying on the floor from what appeared to be a gunshot wound. Deputies on
scene were also able to determine that the suspect(s) took Woosley's 1992
blue F-150 Ford pickup truck from the scene.

Early Sunday morning the victim's vehicle was recovered in rural Northern
Collier County. The vehicle is currently being processed as well as all
evidence found at the scene by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
At this time Investigators with the Hendry County Sheriffs Office are
following all tips and leads that are currently coming into the Sheriffs
Office. Investigators with the Hendry County Sheriffs Office are requesting
anyone with information regarding Robert James Henderson, contact Hendry
County Sheriffs Office at (863) 674-4060 or (863) 983-1440 or FDLE Special
Agent, Scott Gibson at (863) 386-6085 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS

Henderson May Be With 14-Year Old

LABELLE, FL. -- Murder suspect and Hendry county jail escapee James
Henderson, 19 may be in the company of a run-away 14-year old girl who
escaped from the Oasis Youth Home in Fort Myers around 2 a.m. Friday. The
Florida Department of Law Enforcement has joined with Sheriff Ronnie Lee to
investigate the murder of Daniel Woosley and offers a $5000 reward for the
capture of Henderson. Henderson allegedly drove a blue and grey Ford 150
pickup truck away from the murder scene at 1650 SR 29 South in LaBelle. The
truck was recovered Sunday in a field in northern Collier county and
investigators spent Monday searching for clues in the vehicle. Henderson was
in jail on vehicle theft charges and had although a local resident was
brought back from Oklahoma to face local charges after being arrested there.
Henderson escaped from the Hendry jail only several hours before Woosley's
body was discovered and had reportedly dated Woosley's daughter.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

19-Year Old Escapee Sought

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry deputies are still looking for 19-year old James
Henderson who escaped from the Hendry County Jail hours before the body of
local hardware store owner Daniel Woosley, 39 was found just a mile south of
the jail. Henderson had been in the local lockup since September on two
counts of grand theft auto and apparently just walked out the rear gate of
the jail compound as the gate was opened.

Woosley, president and co-owner of the Jennings Harware store in LaBelle,
was reported dead at his home at1650 SR 29 South a few hours after Henderson
was found missing. During the murder investigation, witnesses reported a
two-toned Ford 150 pickup truck leaving the scene that had an archery decal
on the truck. Woosley was an avid archer and repaired archery equipment at
the store as well as taught archery to local youth. An unidentified female
runaway is reportedly in the Oasis Youth detention center in Ft. Myers where
a tip said Henderson might be headed to see her. Woosley's daughter
reportedly has a relationship with Henderson.

Friday night deputies were searching a Port LaBelle neighborhood across
from Country Oaks Elementary School when a caller said a man in an orange
shirt and jeans was lurking in the bushes near the entrance gate. Deputies
were unsuccessful in locating the person. Adding to the confusion over the
murder and jail escape was the changing of the Hendry Sheriff and much of
the existing personnel at the Sheriff's office. Lt. Mike Moore turned in his
badge Friday afternoon, while ex-Sheriff Steve Worley handed over the
Sheriff's office to former Sheriff Ronnie Lee at midnight Friday. During the
change process lips were sealed about the details of the murder case.