Thursday, March 30, 2006

Classic Rock/Talk Station Now Just Rock

LABELLE, FL. -- Classic rock radio station Fort Myers' WRXK 96.1 FM
management has apparently fired or is disciplining again, morning show host
Joe Scott, the oft troubled talk/comedy host of The Joe Scott Show as well
as all other station talent, or at least until station management gets their
act together. Beginning Monday management took off all talk shows and now
runs continuous classic rock songs and commercials. Going bye-bye with Scott
are side-kicks Nicole Wilcox, Steve "Omelette" Normandin, and "Mr. Windy."
The night host Liz Wilde, and sidekick Mickey "The Irish Prick" and
producer Tellulah were also absent all this week. It has been reported in a
broadcast trade news site that afternoon hosts Stan and Haney will move into
the morning slot. Late night syndicated talk show by Phil Hendrie, out of
Los Angeles has also been deleted from the station line up this week.

Joe Scott, long-time broadcaster and radio "bad boy" has had his troubles
with addiction, and general bad behavior over the years, and in recent
months was often late to work or absent. Station management reportedly
disciplined him and his show crew for insubordination repeatedly in recent
weeks forcing show members off the air for days. The comedy talk show had
recently become increasingly less entertaining as cast members came in late
for work, or didn't show up for work or resorted to inane and juvenile
on-air conversations akin to sitting in listening to talk at a local bar

WRXK management, Beasley Broadcasing needs to make up their minds about
just what kind of station they want to make of one of the area's most
powerful radio outlets. Comedy, talk, music, or something else. Maybe that's
what on its way...a format change.

Brutal Attack Behind Clewiston Library

CLEWISTON, FL. (March 30, 2006) -- The Clewiston Police Department reports
the arrest of a suspect in the brutal attack on a city employee which
occurred early Wednesday morning in the area of the public library. The
library was closed all day Wednesday as evidence was collected in the area.
Officers were alerted to the crime before daylight on Wednesday, finding
the female victim behind the library, and worked throughout the morning
into early afternoon before arresting a suspect in the case.

At approximately 1:00 p.m. on March 29, 2006, the Road Patrol Division of
the Clewiston Police Department arrested 45 year old Hector Borjas, a
transient with
family in Miami and originally from Honduras. His original arrest was
unrelated to the attack on the city employee. Throughout the day, the
members of the Clewiston Police Department's Detective Division were able
to collect enough forensic evidence to question the suspect in connection
to the brutal attact.

After a short interrogation, the subject, Hector Borjas confessed to the
crime, he was arrested and transported to the Hendry Jail in Labelle with
no bond on charges of Attempted Murder and Sexual Battery with Force and
Burglary. The victim was hospitalized in serious condition from injuries
suffered during the
attack. She has since been upgraded to stable condition. The police
department has not released information about why the woman was in the area
or any motive for the attack, but sources say she was working near the
place of her discovery. The investigation continues and more charges in the
case are possible. Release of the victim's name is being withheld because
of being a sexual battery case.

Three Arrests On Drug Charges

LABELLE, FL. -- On Saturday March 26, 2006 Hendry County Sheriff's Office
Deputies conducted an operation designed to, investigate, suppress and
deter gang activity in Hendry County. Sheriff Ronnie Lee reports the
operation led
to arrests ranging from Felony Drug Charges to Traffic Offenses. The
following with drug related charges were arrested and booked into the
Hendry County Jail. Angel A. Hildalgo age 21 of 4020 North Edgewater
Circle LaBelle, was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance
With Intent To Sell. Humberto Hernandez age 27 of 1424 Sea Oaks Street
LaBelle, was charged with Possession of Marijuana under 20 grams. Joshua
Glenn Lockmiller age 21 of 982 Nobles Road LaBelle, was charged with
Possession of Cocaine, Possession of marijuana under 20 grams and two
counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Traffic Stop Nets Drug Arrests

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff's Deputies stopped a car on
Davidson Road in Clewiston on the night of March 28th, at about 9:15 pm.
According to
Sheriff Ronnie Lee, Deputies Nathan Kirk and Larry Preece located powder
cocaine, rock cocaine, approximately one half pound of marijuana and
drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle. The driver Ismael Silva age 31 of
1181 Davidson Road Clewiston and a passenger Katrina Silva age 39 of
Clewiston, were charged with Possession of Cocaine With Intent to Sell,
Possession of Marijuana With Intent To Sell and Possession of Narcotic
Equipment. Six hundred and eighteen dollars U.S.currency was also
seized. Bond for Ismmael was set at $69,500.00 and $31,000.00 for

Wildflower Festival Coming

IMMOKALEE, FL. -- April 7th & 8th CREW's 4th Annual Wildflower Festival -
The CREW Land & Water Trust will host a lecture by Glen Stacell (co-author
of A Guide to Common Native Wildflowers of Collier County, Florida) titled
"S.W. Florida Wildflowers" on Friday, April 7th from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at
FGCU (Ben Hill Griffin Hall, Room 107).

Saturday, April 8th, 8:30 AM to Noon, Guided Wildflower Hikes at the CREW
Marsh Trailhead will be lead by Glen Stacell, Roger Hammer (Author of
Everglades Wildflower), Dr. David Cooper and Dr. John Murray. Exhibits by
local organizations and a native plant nursery will be set up. Presentation
of the Wildflower Art and Photography Contest winners will be at 11:30 AM.
The event is free, although donations to support the Trust's preservation
efforts are appreciated. Reservations (239-657-2253) for the guided hikes
are helpful but not required. Hikers are encouraged to bring a beverage and
wear old shoes. The trailhead is located at 4600 Corkscrew Road, 2 miles
south of State Road 82 or 18 miles east of exit 123 off I-75.

Jury Duty Scam

LABELLE, FL. -- TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services
Commissioner Charles H. Bronson today alerted consumers to a growing
identity theft scam in which con artists posing as courthouse workers claim
that the person being called has failed to report for jury duty. The scam
has been reported in 11 states, although it is unclear whether it has
surfaced in Florida, officials say.

"If you get such a call, hang up and avoid providing any personal or
financial information over the phone," Bronson said. "Court workers don't
call on the phone to inform you that you've missed a jury duty summons."

The scam typically involves a call from a person claiming to be a jury
coordinator who informs the person being called that a warrant has been
issued for his or her arrest as a result of the person's failure to appear
for jury duty. When the intended victim protests and reports that they've
never received a summons to report for jury duty, they are asked for a
Social Security number, a date of birth and sometimes even a bank account

Providing that information enables the scam artist to clean out the
consumer's bank account and open up other accounts, obtain credit cards and
establish other lines of credit in the victim's name, Bronson warned.

The scam reportedly has surfaced in New York, Minnesota, Illinois,
Colorado, Oklahoma and other states in recent years, and authorities are
concerned that it will spread.

In The Service

SOUTH BAY, FL. -- Army National Guard Pfc. Dexter A. Josephs has graduated
from the Automated Logistical Specialist Advanced Individual Training (AIT)
course at the U.S. Army Quartermaster Center and School, Fort Lee,
Petersburg, Va. He is the son of Ezra Josephs of S.W. Seventh Ave., South
Bay, Fla. Josephs graduated in 2001 from Glades Central High School, Belle
Glade, Fla., and received an associate degree in 2003 from ITT Technical
Institute, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Violent Death In Pioneer?

LABELLE, FL. (March 30, 2006) -- As the Hendry County Sheriff's criminal
investigation department looks into a possible murder in Pioneer Plantation,
no news has been forthcoming from Sheriff Lee. The incident, which some
residents say was a murder/rape allegedly occurred Tuesday at 2000 Panama
Avenue in southern Pioneer Plantation, a usually quiet neighborhood between
LaBelle and Clewiston.

There have been numerous reported visits by Sheriff's deputies in the Panama
Avenue area in the last several weeks on what may be unrelated domestic
incidents. Nick Smith, Sheriff's department information officer, says he's
not yet been given any information from investigators in order to release
anything to the public. Smith says they are awaiting toxicology reports and
didn't have any information to release as of Thursday morning, including
any name or what actually happened.

The home where the incident allegedly occurred is owned by Carmen Llerena,
although it appears from public records that there is a possibility she may
not have lived there as no homestead exemption has been claimed on the

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Deputies Foil Burglars

CLEWISTON, FL. (March 28, 200) -- Hendry County Sheriff's Office Deputies
responded to a "burglary in progress" call on March 24, 2006 at 1050
Davidson Road in Twin Lakes Mobile Home Park. As the Deputies arrived to
investigate, two
persons exited the mobile home from a window and fled. According to
Sheriff Ronnie Lee, Deputies pursued the two and followed them through a
canal to a residence at 531 Magnolia Lane. A juvenile was located hiding
in a closet inside the house and a second suspect, Fernando Marquez Loya
age 25 of 531 Magnolia Lane, Clewiston, was located in a travel trailer
behind the house.

Loya was arrested and charged with; Burglary to an unoccupied structure,
Entering a residence without permission and With intent to commit an
offense within and booked into the Hendry County Jail. The juvenile was
arrested with the same charges plus, having stolen property from the
burglarized residence in his possession and turned over to Juvenile

Monday, March 27, 2006

Heartland Workshop April 3

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Florida 's Heartland Rural Economic Development
Initiative, (FHREDI),
Glades County, the City of Moore Haven, and Glades County School Board,
Glades County Economic Development Council, Inc., and community leaders
are encouraging residents from around Glades County to participate in
the third and final visioning workshop Monday, April 3, from 6 to 9 p.m.
at the Farris Davis American Legion Post 299 Hall on River Road in Moore
Haven. Hear from experts on current activities in the county. Identify
your treasures. Tell us what you want for the future of Glades County.
For more information on the "Creating the County We Want" workshop,
please phone Glades County Economic Development Council Executive
Director Tracy Whirls at 946-0300 or 227-2438. Refreshments will be

LaBelle Nature Park Clean-Up

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry/LaBelle Recreation Board and Coalition for
Eco-Recreation would like to invite community organizations, youth groups,
and individuals to a 1 1/2 hour LaBelle Nature Park Clean-up on Saturday
April 1st from 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

The Recreation Board will provide trash bags, gloves and some tools for
the event. Hats, gloves, long pants, sturdy shoes and insect repellant
are recommended. Participants are encouraged to bring their own rakes
and shovels. Clean-up. Water will be provided for participants. After the
Clean-Up representatives of area organizations and individuals are invited
to attend the monthly meeting Coalition for Eco-Recreation on Saturday
April 1st at 11 a.m. at Margaret England's home at 380 Riverview Drive at
the corner of Fraser Avenue and Riverview Drive. Call Margaret England at
674-0695 for information

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

More Hendry Drug Arrests At Traffic Stop

CLEWISTON, FL. (March 20, 2006) -- A traffic stop for an expired tag led
to the arrest of 2 people on Drug Charges. According to Sheriff Ronnie Lee,
on March 15, 2006 at approximately 3 am a Hendry County Sheriff's Office
stopped a vehicle at the intersection of Francisco Street and U.S.
Highway 27 for an expired state of Mississippi license tag. As the
Deputy interviewed the driver, he detected a strong smell of marijuana
coming from the vehicle. Further investigation of the vehicle and its
passengers led to the arrest of; Joel Anthony Sotore age 19 of 500 Del
Sur Avenue, Clewiston, Fl., for possession of marijuana under 20 grams
and Conrad Darren Mueller age 38 for possession of marijuana under 20
grams and possession of drug paraphernalia. Both men were booked into
the Hendry County Jail.

Prostitution Operators Busted

LABELLE, FL. -- A prostitution operation was raided March 20 according to
the Hendry Sheriff's Office. Using an undercover operative the Hendry
County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigative Division infiltrated a House
of Prostitution located at 879 West Cowboy Way Lot #9 in LaBelle and
arrested 2 people in connection with its operation. According to a report
by Sheriff Ronnie Lee, Manuel Huerta age 35 of 879 West Cowboy Way Lot #9
in LaBelle was charged with; Receiving Monies of Prostitution Taking Place
in his Presence and
Prostitution, Fabiola Santiago Perez age 34 of 879 West Cowboy Way Lot
#9 was charged with Prostitution. Huerta and Santiago were both booked
into the Hendry County Jail.

Sources tell the Sunday Morning News that prostitution is fairly common in
Hendry and Glades county especially where women are brought into the area
to service the migrant worker's housing areas.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Juveniles Arrested At School And Store

From The Hendry Sheriff's Office This Week

LABELLE, FL. (March 20, 2006) -- A Hendry County Sheriff's Office School
Resource Officer and a LaBelle High School Administrator discovered a
student skipping school in the parking lot of LaBelle High School.
According to a report by Sheriff Ronnie Lee, the student was hiding in a
white in color vehicle which
also contained some tobacco products which are not allowed on school
property. The owner of the vehicle was summoned and when asked if there
was anything else that should not be on school property responded there
was nothing and gave permission to search the vehicle. The ensuing
search produced a quantity of marijuana. The owner of the vehicle was
arrested for possession of marijuana, while the other student was
arrested for disruption of a school function. Both juveniles were
transported to the Hendry County Jail for processing by Juvenile

In other teenageer arrests, juveniles were observed by a Winn Dixie employee
putting store merchandise in their Book Bags and proceeding outside the
store without paying for them. According to Sheriff Ronnie Lee, a Winn
Dixie employee followed the juveniles into the parking lot and detained
them while the Hendry County Sheriff's Office was being called. The
juveniles were transported to the Hendry County Jail for processing by
Juvenile Authorities.

On March 6, 2006, Henry Godwin reported to the Hendry County Sheriff's
Office that a man armed with a pistol attempted to rob him on Kissimmee
Avenue in Labelle. Mr. Godwin said as he ran from the scene, the suspect
threw a brick, striking him in the back of his head. While Deputies were
attempting to locate the suspect involved in the attempted robbery, they
observed a grey Lincoln Town car, reportedly at the scene of the
attempted robbery, on Suwannee Avenue in Labelle.

Deputies attempted to stop the car, however, the driver ignored the siren
and emergency lights and refused to stop until he was forced to stop on
Withlacoochee Avenue. The driver of the car, Mark Diez Brown age 31, was
searched as well at the car he was driving, and Deputies located crack
cocaine, hashish, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Johnnie Johnson age 29,
identified by
the victim as the suspect in the attempted armed robbery, was located on
Kissimmee Avenue and taken into custody by Deputies. Sheriff Ronnie Lee
said Mark Diez Brown was charged with possession of cocaine, possession
of marijuana and possession of narcotic paraphernalia. Johnnie Johnson
was charged with aggravated battery, criminal mischief and robbery with
a firearm.

Auxiliary Deputy Course Starting

Sheriff Ronnie Lee reports that April 18, at 6:00 pm will be the
beginning date and time for the Hendry County Sheriff's Office Auxiliary
Deputy Course. The Course will run for 6 weeks with sessions on Tuesdays
and Thursdays from 6pm-10 pm and 8am-4 pm on Saturdays. Each session will
be at the HCSO Training Facility located at the Hendry County Gun Range
near Pioneer Plantation. Sheriff Lee stated that the Hendry County
Sheriff's Office is picking up the cost for HCSO applicants and that
there is still time for interested persons to enroll. Auxiliary Law
Enforcement Officers play an important roll for Law Enforcement Agencies
in many locations throughout Florida and the Nation. Many Law
Enforcement Professionals started their careers as Auxiliary Officers.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Oversupply Of Homes For Sale In Port LaBelle?

Can You Afford To Buy A $250,000 home?

LABELLE, FL. (March 18, 2006) -- As the real estate market cools all over
South Florida, evidence in Port LaBelle may be confirming the oversupply of
new homes in two of the state's poorest counties as well. A count of new
homes now occupied in Port LaBelle versus homes under construction and
unoccupied new homes indicates that builders and financing institutions
may be facing some stiff problems ahead. The largest building "boom" in 20
years has been taking place in Glades and Hendry county, primarily in the
Port LaBelle subdivisions.

The 32,000 acre subdivision is now largely huge areas of vacant lots owned
by out-of-staters who purchase lots beginning in the 1970s. In the last few
years speculators and builders have been busy buying up as many lots as they
could from absentee lot owners. CHL and its various corporate entities
bought hundreds of lots as low as $200 a piece in the last several years.
CHL is probably the largest Port LaBelle vacant lot owner at the current
time. The company set up model homes on SR80 east of LaBelle and then began
building dozens of homes and selling them fairly quickly until recently.
Other builders and real estate speculators saw what was going on as lot
sales prices increased dramatically in 2004 and 2005 and bought vacant lots
by sending out form letters to owners in some cases with the assistance of
local real estate brokers offering to buy the lots at way below market
prices, although the out-of-state owners were glad to accept since prices
had been stagnant for 25 years, vacant lots in Port LaBelle almost
impossible to sell at prices exceeding the original owner's purchase prices,
even though they had owned the lots for as long as 25 years.

We have split Port LaBelle into five sections, each with slightly different
growth and sales patterns. Overall, in the last several years 82 new homes
have been built and are now occupied in the sections we counted. Some appear
to be occupied by renters, as home sales have slowed. Builders are putting
some of their construction people in the homes or are actually advertising
new rental homes in local papers. There are 77 homes under various stages of
construction and 22 homes are completed but not occupied. There are now 99
homes under construction and completed but not occupied, versus 82 homes
occupied in the sections we counted.

We have split Port LaBelle into sections as follows: South Port LaBelle,
being in Hendry county and south of State Road 80, but not including a
small section west of Eucalyptus Blvd. and south of Cowboy Way where new
homes primarily were built before the building "boom" by CHL. Secondly,
North Port LaBelle, being north of SR80 in Glades county, and Laural Oaks an
existing community of 49 homes north of SR80 in Hendry county. In Glades
county, the Port LaBelle Ranchettes, an existing community of 44 homes, and
lastly Oak Haven, a new upscale community south of SR80 and west of
Birchwood in Hendry.

The highest percentage of unoccupied and homes under construction is in
South Port LaBelle stretching from the LaBelle Middle School area in the
east to the Country Oaks Elementary in the west and from State Road 80 on
the north and Helms Road on the south. This is by far the largest section of
subdivided vacant lots in Port LaBelle and in Hendry county. There were 34
new homes occupied, while 54 were under construction, and 14 were
unoccupied. It's not known exactly how many of the under construction and
unoccupied homes might have been under contract with buyers, but presumably
only a small percentage as "for sale" signs were seen throughout the area.
Homes were priced in the mid $200,000 price range and included frame stucco
construction as well as CBS homes with and without garages. All power lines
are above ground on poles which some see as unsightly in the mostly untreed
South Port LaBelle subdivision.

In Glades county, the North Port LaBelle area, on the north side of SR80 had
32 new homes occupied, 10 under construction and four unoccupied. Prices in
the mid $200,000 with CBS construction as well as modular homes trucked in
and installed on stem wall foundations. In Laurel Oaks, just southwest of
the North Port LaBelle section but in Hendry county there were seven CBS
homes with two car garages under construction in the existing community of
49 homes. It was presumed these were speculative homes being built by one
owner. Prices were in the $300,000 plus range.

In the Glades county Ranchettes section only four homes were being built,
and four unoccupied in the existing 44 home high-end subdivision. It was not
known what asking prices were, but most likely in the $500,000 and above on
multi-acre lots. In Hendry county, the high-end Oak Haven subdivision of 16
new homes had only two new homes under construction on multi-acre lots. It
was assumed these were being built for new owners under contract.

Over all, the under construction and vacant homes compared to occupiednew
homes ranged in percentages from 67% in South Port LaBelle to only 11% in
Oak Haven. The average was 55% of unoccupied or under construction compared
to occupied for all the subdivisions. That includes 82 occupied new homes,
77 under construction, and 22 unoccupied.

The huge increase in home building originally began with the cheap land
prices in Hendry and Glades county compared to coastal counties. Then last
fall Hendry county commissioners began charging builders an impact fee of
several thousand dollars causing a mini-boom in building permits issued to
builders just before fees took affect in order to save thousands of dollars.
This coincided with the state wide slowdown in home sales and the timing of
the impact fees was probably not the best for Hendry county. Glades county
commissioners are now studying implementing impact fees there as well at
this time.

Along with new home building exploding here, existing home owners saw house
prices increase dramatically in the last two years and decided they would
join the band wagon and put their homes on the market, increasing
dramatically the number of homes for sale. Joining the speculative frenzy
were locals hurriedly getting real estate salesmen licenses to sell homes.
Over two hundred individuals are either licensed in Hendry county to sell
real estate or are qualified by the state and waiting to take the real
estate exam.

The question for builders and real estate brokers is whether the Hendry and
Glades county prospective home buyer can afford the prices now asked, for
new homes in two of the state's poorest counties and counties with the
state's highest unemployment rates. Or have builders and financiers over
estimated the capability of the local economy to absorb the largest number
of new homes being built in the last two years since the 1980s. Maybe the
best thing for the local economy is for real esate builders, realtors, and
home owners to slow down a bit, and not rush to put more housing units on
the market at this time hoping for a windfall profit.

Hendry County Fair Opening

Parade Today Leads Off Local Festivities

CLEWISTON, FL. -- The Hendry County Fair and Livestock Show opens Monday March 20 at 6 p.m. The annual parade through Clewiston is at 11 a.m. today March 18. Hours have been changed since previous years for this small town fair that is primarily a display of farm animals and other agricultural-themed small displays. This year the fair hours are from 6 to 11 p.m. weekdays, with weekends having longer hours. Friday's closing is at 2 a.m. Saturday morning, while Saturday hours are from 3 p.m. until 1 a.m., and Sunday afternoon March 26, the last day of the fair grounds opens at 1 p.m. and close at 9 p.m. Admission is $4.00. See Hendry County Fair for usual activities found at the annual county fair in past years.

Other area festivals this week: March 18 – The 54th Annual Mobile 1 - Twelve Hours of Sebring Auto Race @ Sebring International Raceway. Green flag at 10:30 am. 863-655-1442; March 24-25 – Avon Park 27th Annual Springtime on the Mall Festival, Downtown Avon Park. 863-453-3350; March 25 – Arcadia Antiques Fair, Historic Downtown. 863-949-4033

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Deputies Play Ball April 1!

LABELLE, FL. -- Mark your calendar for April 1, and bring your enthusiasm
and support to the State Attorney's 4th Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation
Softball Tournament. Cheer on your favorite team as law enforcement
officers from all five Southwest Florida counties gather to "play ball" at
the Lee County Sports Complex on Six Mile Cypress Parkway. Starting at 8
AM, it is a free day of fun for the family and one of camaraderie for the

Last year the Hendry County Sheriff's Office, Glades County Sheriff's
Office and Clewiston Police won the championship for the Lower Division.
The Collier County Sheriff's Office won the championship for the Upper

Local businesses sponsor each agency, and the proceeds, after expenses, go
to Crime Stoppers. This year, area merchants committed $14,000 to Crime
Stoppers, four thousand more than last year. This gives the public and the
teams a day of fun under the sun at no cost. "We are overwhelmed by the
support from the business community," says State Attorney Steve Russell.
"It not only sends a strong message of appreciation for law enforcement and
Crime Stoppers, but also this support demonstrates a commitment to keep our
communities safe." Each team will play a minimum of two games using all
four fields. The games will conclude at dusk.

Russell started the tournament his first year in office to show
appreciation to the law enforcement officers
who dedicate their lives to protecting the citizens of Southwest Florida.
In 2003, there were fewer than 200 participants. This year, there are
close to 400 law enforcement officers "playing ball."

Sunday, March 12, 2006

New Clewiston Offices For Government

CLEWISTON, FL. (March 12, 2005) -- The following Clewiston sub offices have
moved to a new more permanent location at the Clewiston Town Center and be
open for business on Monday March 13th. The Hendry County Clerk of Courts
- 931 W Sugarland Highway - Clewiston - 863-983-1464; Hendry Tax Collector
- 927 W Sugarland Highway - Clewiston - 863-983-1460; Hendry Property
Appraiser - 939 W Sugarland Highway - Clewiston - 863-983-3178.

Other county offices will remain at 100 E. El Paso Ave. include the county
Building Department, SHIP Housing, Veterans Service, Social services, and
Hendry County Administration. The Sheriff's office in Clewiston will remain
at 543 W Sugarland Highway, phone 863-983-1440, until renovations are
complete at their new offices located at the Town Center. Florida State
offices now located at the Town Center include the Department of Revenue
Child support enforcement, Department of Highway safety - Driver's license,
and the Department of juvenile services.

Three LaBelle Restarurants Cited Friday

LABELLE, FL.(March 11, 2006) -- Although state food safety inspectors are
supposed to check out restaurants food safety at least twice a year,
several LaBelle eateries escaped seeing inspectors for up to 18 months.
Catching the oversight, the Florida Division of Hotels and Restaurants sent
out Wayne Whitten, a state sanitary and safety supervisor to inspect Boo
Boo's Riverhouse (owned by Wrangler's Reef Inc.), Fortune Cookie of
LaBelle, and Hungry Howies Pizza and Subs (owned by Southwest Florida
Pizza, Inc.) All three restaurants were found violating many food safety
rules and Boo Boo's and Fortune Cookie were issued warnings to correct all
violations, including several "critical" ones, by April 10th.

Boo Boo's had not had an inspection since December 2004, and Inspector
Whitten, after spending over an hour at the restaurant Friday morning,
cited Manager/Chef Mike Rothenhoefer for nine food safety violations
including three "critical" problems. Whitten's reports showed that the
restaurant's fire suppression hood over the cooking area did not have
current certification and several hand extinguishers were not installed
properly and one even leaked. Documentation was also lacking for required
employee safety training. Soap and towels were not available at the sink in
the service station area and an open drink container was on a food
preparation table. At a bar, a drain line was missing and carbon dioxide
tanks at the bar and in the kitchen were not secured properly. Unshielded
lights were found in the kitchen and in service area.

Next Whitten visited the Fortune Cookie where the last inspection had been
in September 2004. 13 safety violations were cited including three
"critical." A warning was given have all corrected by April 10. Whitten
found no hot water at the service station and a sink not accessible. A
faucet was missing a nozzle. A mop with dirty water was outside back door
and bowls used in bulk food containers had no handles. Food and debris was
found on shelves over three sinks, and dusty walls in kitchen and dust over
the dishwashing machine were also cited. Unshielded lights were in the
kitchen and preparation areas and certification was not current on the
stove hood fire suppression system and hand fire extinguishers. The
emergency exit signs were not lighted.

Hungry Howies didn't receive a warning like the first two, but was expected
to correct nine violations by the next routine state inspection. Unlabeled
spray bottles were hanging near the dishwash area and no disposable towels
were at hand sink in dishwash area. No covered trash container in the
ladies room and damaged door gaskets in the cooler. An air conditioner pan
was leaking from the ceiling and thermometers were not conspicuously placed
in coolers. Two employees were not wearing hair restraints and very dusty
vents were spotted near damaged ceiling tile. Hungry Howie's manager Dale
Hoenie said a remodeling of the restaurant take place around May of this

For local area restaurant reviews that can be updated by readers see

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Montura Burglary Arrests

CLEWISTON, FL. (March 6, 2006) -- Ongoing investigations into 3 separate
burglaries in Montura Estates have led to 2 arrests. According to Sheriff
Ronnie Lee, Clifford Roland Long age 32 of 755 Trebol Street Montura
Estates, Fl.,
has been arrested and charged with 3 counts of Burglary, 3 counts of
Grand Theft and 2 counts of Dealing in Stolen Property and Lola Dean
Clark age 45 of 170 Datil Street Montura Estates, Fl., has been arrested
and charged with 2 counts of Burglary, 2 counts of Grand Theft and 2
counts of Dealing in Stolen Property. Long and Clark were both booked
into the Hendry County Jail with Bond set for Long at $77,000.00 and
$52,000.00 for Clark. Hendry County Sheriff's Office Criminal
Investigators have recovered $17,870.00 of the stolen property.

Cock Breeders Busted

CLEWISTON, FL. (March 6, 2006) -- An investigation into an illegal Game
Rooster Breeding Facility by the
Hendry County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Division led to
the issuance of a search warrant for 775 North Trebol in Montura Estates
by Judge James D. Sloan. Sheriff Ronnie Lee reports that the warrant was
served at approximately 3 pm on Saturday March 4, 2006 by combined forces
of the Hendry County Sheriff's Office, Florida Agricultural Crimes Task
Force with members from Collier, Lee, Polk and Sarasota Counties
participating and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Officers and led
to the arrest of 15 people including one juvenile.

During the raid, officers discovered 160 live game fighting roosters, 3
dead game fighting roosters, 39 hens used for breeding, fighting spurs used
attach to the leg area on the birds for fighting purposes, syringes,
bottled narcotics, glue bindings and carrying cases for illegal care of
fighting game birds and an excess of 2 ounces of cocaine ( one ounce or
more of cocaine qualifies as trafficking). The following were charged
and arrested for; Promoting, Staging, Betting or Being in Attendance of
the Fighting of Game Roosters:

Ivan Diaz age 35 of 12714 NW 102 PL
Hialeah,Fl., Roberto Espinosa, age 52 of 101 Buena Vista Street,
Yonkers, N.Y., Wilfredo Espinosa age 35 of 2201 N. University Dr.
Pembroke Pines, Fl., Jose Randal Garcia age 34 of 9842 NW 128 Pl.
Hialeah Gardens, Fl., Juan Valentin Gonzalez age 42, Alexi Sanchez
Hernandez age 39 of 569 Box Ciper Montura, Fl., Jose Rafael Jose Machado
age 56 of 1414 W 43 Place Hialeah, Fl., German Montes age 37 of2642 NW
28th Street Miami, Fl., Lazaro Pena age 41 of 9919 W Okeechobee Rd. Lot
539 Hialeah, Fl., Alejandro Perez age 37 of 405 NW 59 St. Miami, Fl.,
Martin Perez age 54 of365 Mayoral Street Montura, Fl., Reynaldo Perez
age 63 of 155 North Trebol Street Montura, Fl., Ruben Rodriquez age 41
of 165 North Trebol Street Montura, Fl., Humberto Toledo age 33 ofHC 61
Box 787 Clewiston, Fl., Arnelio Zambrana age 48 of 570 Brida Street
Montura, Fl.

Additionally, Humberto Toledo was also charged with Possession of Cocaine
and placed under a $17,500.00 Bond, Reynaldo Perez was also charged with
Trafficking in Cocaine and placed under a $100,000.00 Bond. Bonds were set
at $7,500.00 each for the others that were arrested. Defendant Reynaldo
Perez stated that the rosters were being raised and trained for fighting
and were to be sent to Puerto Rico for fighting events

In The Service

PAHOKEE, FL. -- Air Force Airman 1st Class Jose R. Mejia has graduated from
basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.
During the six weeks of training, the airman studied the Air Force mission,
organization, and military customs and courtesies; performed drill and
ceremony marches, and received physical training, rifle marksmanship, field
training exercises, and special training in human relations. In addition,
airmen who complete basic training earn credits toward an associate degree
through the Community College of the Air Force. He is the son of Jose F.
and Marcelina Mejia of N. Baines Terrace, Pahokee, Fla. The airman is a
2004 graduate of Pahokee High School.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Restaurant Reviews Online Now

What goes on in restaurant kitchens?

What does Flora and Ella's, Boo Boo's Riverhouse, Log Cabin BBQ, McDonalds, Lightsey's Seafood House, The Big V, and Wendy's all have in common? Besides being local eating places visited by thousands of people every year, they also get inspected for food safety by Florida's Division of Restaurants and Hotels under the Florida Business and Professional Regulation Department.

In checking inspection reporting of local restaurants, we found some surprising results. Most of the well-known eateries in our area have all been citied for numerous serious food safety violations. The state food inspectors reports what they call "critical" violations they find on routine and surprise visits to restaurants. Critical violations are those which, if left uncorrected, are more likely to directly contribute to food contamination, illness, or environmental degradation. Examples of critical violations include poor temperature control of food, improper cooking, cooling, refrigeration or re-heating temperatures. Inspectors say many violations are corrected on the spot during inspections, while some need follow-up visits to make sure the management corrects the problems.

The food safety standards applied during inspections are science-based, and largely derived from a national model called the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Model Food Code. Unannounced routine inspections of operating food service establishments assure that sanitation and safety practices are adhered to. Inspectors also make visits to restaurants after consumer complaints. Regular inspections can be made as little as once yearly to numerous times if critical violations are found and not remedied. In our area it seems most regular food inspections were last made in June of 2005 unless there were consumer complaints or a new restaurant opened.

To see how many critical violations had been found by food inspectors at some local restaurants in the last two years see the LaBelle Area Restaurant Reviews and Hendry-Glades Area Restaurant Reviews. Readers are invited and encouraged to write their own reviews on either or both of these local websites and add any other restaurant to the review pages.

Bird's Eye View Of Your Home


LABELLE, FL. -- How would your house look from the sky? You can get an aerial photograph of your home from Hendry county aerial photographer Don Browne. Photographs can be taken in any county surrounding the Hendry and Glades county area, including Lee, Hardy, Okeechobee, and Palm Beach. Fees start at only $99 for home owners for a digital photograph emailed to you. The photograph can be used for any non-commercial use, printed out up to 8x10 inches, used on your computer, sent to relatives and friends, used on greeting cards, used in real estate for sale ads, etc. For information and fees send your address and info request: email or see Aerial Photographs

Friday, March 03, 2006

Free Farm Day At ECHO

LABELLE, FL. -- ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) will
host its annual Farm Day on Saturday, March 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The
public is welcome to explore the extraordinary world of tropical
agriculture along with a number of rare and unique plants that have the
ability to produce nutritious food under difficult growing conditions.

See a collection of demonstrations including sugar-cane extraction,
mushroom cultivation, fish-farming, edible leaf-powder preparation, seed
cleaning, and a variety of effective farming techniques and tools used
throughout the developing world.

Activities for the children include leaf-painting, paint a pot-plant a
seed, and face painting. Food will be available for purchase from the
Philipino American Society. There will also be a tropical plant sale
featuring a large selection of mangos, avocados, citrus, bamboo, and

The ECHO farm is located off Bayshore Road (Route 78) at 17391 Durrance
Road, one mile east of I-75 Exit 143. For more information, call
239-543-3246. Admission and Parking is FREE.