Thursday, November 30, 2006

"Dead" Property Owners Sell Land

Five Indicted For Land Fraud

FORT MYERS, FLORIDA -- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as a partner in the United States Secret Service Southwest Florida Financial Crimes Task Force, announces a Federal indictment of the following five people who are alleged to have been involved in a scheme to steal title to real properties in Charlotte, Collier and Lee Counties by way of mail fraud and wire fraud:

Howard Henry, 45, Miramar, Fla. is charged with one count mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud.
Sheila W. Henry, 48, Miramar, Fla. is charged with one count of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud.
Quitin Henry, 23, Tamarac, Fla. is charged with one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.
Tysha Wiggins, 28, Miramar, Fla. is charged with one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.
Omar Dalberry, 24, Miami, Fla. is charged with one count of mail fraud.

The five defendants are accused of fraudulently obtaining title to real property throughout Southwest Florida. The investigation began in November of 2004. According to the indictment, the group would research property using the internet to find existing property that had several years of property taxes unpaid. The group would then connect those properties to deceased persons and begin to fraudulently obtain the property. The group is accused of forging the names of the deceased owners on deeds in order to illegally obtain the properties and sell them. The indictment alleges the defendants have fraudulently obtained title to at least 18 real properties located in Collier, Lee and Charlotte Counties with a total market value of more than $576,000.

Mexican Restaurant Value Increases, But Not Property Taxes

Although Hendry Property Owners Got Hit Big This Year, Restaurant Escaped The Tax Increase

LABELLE, FLORIDA -- After three and one-half years since the previous sale, the restaurant property at 1100 South State Road 80 in LaBelle has changed hands and the new buyers have paid a record price, although the Hendry Tax Appraiser's office still values it at an extremely low number, well below recent sales prices, and even well below an April 2002 sales price.  The 1177 square foot "El Tejano" restaurant building on the west side of SR29 just south of Cowboy Way is only valued at $68,250 as of January 2006, by the Hendry Tax Appraiser. The appraiser's office sets the taxable values each year as of January 1.

But, the property was sold this week to Beleven Properties LLC For $165,000. The seller was Delacruz Properties, Inc.  Both companies are located in Lee county. Guadalupe and Mellissa Delacruz's company had paid $125,000 in March of 2004, so presumably the tax value set for the restaurant property should have been at least $125,000 this year, and possibly much more as property values in Hendry skyrocketed.  The property sold for $125,000 also way back in April, 2002.

The Hendry tax appraiser's office didn't miss a beat in raising most everyone's property value this year.  Thousands of Port LaBelle lot owners saw their lot values jump in tax appraised value by a factor of more than three. Lots valued at $11,000 in 2005 are now hit with property taxes on a tax appraiser's value of $34,000 for 2006.  Not all property owners are taking the huge assessment increases without a fight though.

CHL, Inc., a local home builder and major Port LaBelle property owner has filed over 1000 petitions with the Value Adjustment Board this year, to try to convince the board that their assessments are set too high by the Hendry Tax Appraiser.  It will be an uphill battle though, as the Board members are comprised of two County Commissioners, and a School Board member, who obviously have a vested interest in keeping assessments and thus taxes as high as possible to run their respective government entities. In addition, the Florida Statutes are clear that a petitioner has to have overwhelming evidence that the tax assessment is too high, and not an easy task for anyone, especially CHL, Inc. who had a major hand in raising real estate prices over the last two years as they bought,sold and financed thousands of Port LaBelle quarter acre lots at higher and higher prices.

The Value Adjustment Board hearings begin next week at the Hendry Courthouse.

In The Service

LABELLE, FLORIDA -- Army National Guard Pvt. Leonard B. Carey has
graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.
During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army
mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and
received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military
weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony,
marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading,
field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic
first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises. He is the son
of Sonya Telfort of Orange St., La Belle, Fl. Carey is a 2006
graduate of La Belle High School.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Corps To Revisit Lake Plans After Public Complaints

Public Comments Cause Corp of Engineers To Reconsider

Clewiston, Florida -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
Jacksonville District is revising its draft Environmental Impact
Statement that supports the Lake Okeechobee Water Control Plan.
The original process drafted by the Corps anticipated adoption of a
new regulation schedule in January 2007. However, new
information and comments gathered during the public comment
period have resulted in changes that warrant development of a second
draft of the EIS.

This draft will be made available for
public review in March 2007. Based on this schedule, is
anticipated that implementation of the new regulation schedule will
begin in July 2007. A second public review and comment period
will begin in March and will be open for 45 days. The original
process drafted by the Corps anticipated adoption of a new
regulation schedule in January 2007. Following a
series of public meetings last September, Jacksonville District
Commander Col. Paul Grosskruger asked the interagency study team revisit the proposed draft regulation schedule and fine-tune
it to minimize impacts on the coastal estuaries.

"Public involvement is a very important part of our process, and we are listening to the public's concerns. In our
desire to deliver the overall most effective plan possible, we're
taking the additional time needed to address those concerns. The
public wants to see more water moving south. Of course, that's
what we all want to see, and what the Everglades restoration
program will ultimately provide," said Pete Milam, project
manager. "In the meantime,& we're moving water south,
though we are constrained by the amount of water can move
until water storage and treatment components start coming on line."

As Everglades projects come to
fruition, the Corps will use them to route more water
south. In the interim, the proposed plan provides for
higher level of safety to lake communities and improves Lake
Okeechobee environmental conditions by managing the lake at lower
elevations. Once the proposed regulation schedule is implemented
next summer, water managers will immediately begin developing a
new schedule that will take into account Comprehensive Everglades
Restoration Plan projects, inclunding Acceler8 project
components. This schedule is planned for early 2010

For further information on the Lake Okeechobee Regulation
Schedule Study and Environmental Impact Statement, visit
the Jacksonville District web site at href=""></
or call Susan Jackson, the Corporate Communication Office at 904-232-1953.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Local Ball Teams Play Championship Games In Miami

Three Teams On Schedule From Hendry and Palm Beach County

CLEWISTON, FLORIDA --  Three area football teams will be playing December 1st and 2nd at the Dolphin Stadium in Miami for their respective class championships.  Glades Day School will play North Florida Christian School for the Class 1A Championship. at 7 p.m. Friday night. On Saturday at 1 p.m. Pahokee High takes on Trinity Catholic for Class 2B.  The Class 2A game will feature Clewiston High vs. Bolles School at 7 p.m. Saturday.

A team "walk through" will take place Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. at the stadium for media photographs. A team dinner for players and coaches will be Thursday from 6  to 9 p.m. at the Oasis at Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, Fl.

In The Service

Belle Glade Man Graduates From Basic Training

BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA -- Air Force Airman Christopher D. Mendoza 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 Ramon Mendoza and Ronie Posey of S.E. Fourth St., Belle Glade, Fl. Mendoza is a 2006 graduate of Glade Central Community High School, Belle Glade.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Another Drug Bust In Montura

Two Arrested With Narcotics Charges

CLEWISTON, FLORIDA (November 27, 2006) -- An investigation by the Criminal Investigations Division of the Hendry County Sheriff�s Office led to the issuing and service of a search warrant at a residence at 375 South Isora Street in Montura Ranch Estates in Central Hendry County.

According to Sheriff Ronnie Lee, Caridad Fernandez age 42 of 500 South San Pedro Street in Clewiston, and  Felix Rivero age 47 of the same address were apprehended at the at the scene. HCSO Investigators recovered a quantity of cocaine and  marijuana as well as prescription narcotics in un-labled bottles to include 500 mg Metformin, 100mg Toprol and zanax tablets of 0.5mg. Drug packaging paraphernalia and counter-balance scales were also recovered.

Caridad Fernandez was charged with; Operating a Drug House, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of a Narcotic without a prescription. Her bond was set at $12,500.00. Felix Rivero was charged with; Operating a Drug House, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of a Narcotic without at prescription. His bond was set at $22,415.00. Both were booked into the Hendry County Jail.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Family History - Fun Hobby For Many

LABELLE, FLORIDA -- Genealogy and searching for one's family history is becoming one of America's fastest growing hobbies for many, especially the "baby boom" generation. Family history search services and web sites have been mushrooming over the past several years as many people that grew up in the 1950s and 60s now are finding they have a great curiosity about their ancestors and long-lost relatives.

In past years, before the internet, searching for ancestors was a very difficult and almost impossible task...searches had to be done at libraries, court houses, and other government facilities to find all the old records, including census files, social security records, old land records, etc.

Now, through the internet and its vast free databases, almost anyone with an interest in family history and a little time can fairly easily locate those ancestors online, along with actual photos of U.S. census records for each ten years from 1860 to 1930.

Don Browne, editor of the Sunday Morning News has recently gotten the genealogy bug, and after several months of working the internet, now has about 14,000 names in his family history files online. His family came from Virginia to Ohio in the early 1800s. Now the family members have scattered to all corners of the United States from Washington D.C. to Alaska, to Florida.
The most common family names of his ancestors are: Adams, Bolin, Browne, Haybron, Jones, Johnson, Robinson, Smith, and Wooley. He has a web page online now where those interested in the easiest way to find their ancestor and relatives can get a quick start. Click this link to learn more about family history searches and how to make free family searches on the internet: How To Find Your Ancestors
Photo: Don Browne's great-great-great grandparents from Athens County, Ohio

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

In The Service

BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA -- Army Pvt. Tiffany D. Summerall has graduated
from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C. During
the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission,
history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received
instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons,
chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching,
rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field
tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid,
foot marches, and field training exercises.

She is the daughter of Diane Gary of S.W. Avenue C, Belle Glade,
Fla., and niece of Elaine Howard of Colleraine Ave., Tavares,
Fl. Summerall is a 2004 graduate of Glade Central Community High
School, Belle Glade.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Holiday Food - Safety Tips

Enjoy Your Thanksgiving But Take Care With These Cooking Tips

LABELLE, FLORIDA -- Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson is urging consumers to follow food safety measures during the upcoming holiday season.  More than 76 million people are sickened by food-borne illnesses every year in the United States, resulting in 325,000 hospitalizations and more than 5,000 fatalities.  Many food- borne illnesses are preventable if consumers take steps to protect themselves and their families.

      -- Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator, not the counter. Room temperatures promote bacteria growth. Allow one day of defrosting for each five pounds of turkey weight.
     -- Cook the stuffing separate from the turkey.  Stuffing put in an uncooked turkey is susceptible to bacteria growth.

     -- Cook to the proper temperatures.  A whole turkey should reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees F.  The stuffing in a turkey should reach a temperature of 165 F degrees.  Cooking a turkey at less than 325 degrees F is unsafe because it allows the bird and stuffing to remain in the danger zone for bacterial growth for too long.

     -- Don't interrupt the cooking process.  Interrupting the cooking process promotes bacteria growth.
     -- Slice the turkey before refrigerating.  Whole turkeys do not store safely in the refrigerator.  Put the slices into shallow containers, cover and refrigerate.

     -- Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.

     -- Be careful with holiday buffets.  Servings should be kept small and replenished often -- directly from the stove or refrigerator.  The longer food is kept out, especially beyond two hours, the higher the risk of food poisoning.

      -- Carefully store leftovers.  To speed up the cooling process, put leftovers into shallow, covered containers and keep refrigerator temperature at 40 degrees F or below.  Perishable foods left at room temperature for longer than two hours are susceptible to bacterial growth.

      -- Thoroughly wash hands, cutting boards and utensils before and after contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs.

     -- Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood apart from foods that won't be cooked.

Blight Reported In Immokalee Tomato Fields

LABELLE, FLORIDA -- Hendry County Agricultural Agent Gene McAvoy has
sent a letter to area farmers warning that Glades Crop Care has
reported a confirmed finding of late blight on tomatos in the
Immokalee area. The infection is in a fairly large planting which
has multiple infections widely scattered throughout the
field. Numerous infected plants are present with symptoms ranging
from single lesions to several hotspots throughout the field where
plants display multiple late blight lesions. McAvoy says the disease
can easily devastate a tomato or potato field within a few weeks if
it is not properly controlled.

Since the disease can spread so rapidly, growers are being warned to
scout their fields thoroughly each day, especially when cool and wet
conditions conducive to disease development prevails. Since late
blight symptoms may be confused with symptoms of other diseases,
McAvoy gave farmers several diagnostic pointers to help growers
distinguish between the late blight and other diseases.

Numerous fungicide products are registered for late blight
control. Protectants, as the name implies, protect foliage from
infection by spores. Protectant chemicals must be well distributed
over the leaf surface and must be applied before spores land on
leaves. They are ineffective against established infections.

In Florida, it has been observed that seldom does a widespread late
blight epidemic occur on tomatoes in the Manatee-Ruskin area unless
the disease was present in the Immokalee area and/or Dade
County. Since late blight has been confirmed on tomato in Immokalee,
growers in other areas are being advised to adhere to a preventative
spray program. Growers are advised to be aware of the presence of the
disease in SW Florida and should be alert for the appearance of
symptoms in their fields as well as be sure to apply protective
fungicides to help prevent possible infections. No other disease
will find an unprotected field as rapidly as late blight.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

AOL - Improved Features... And FREE

AOL Finally Gets Their Act Together For Some Great Free Stuff

Special Consumer Report by Don Browne

LABELLE, FLORIDA - I've used the AOL services almost from the beginning, when dial-up internet service was the only choice back in the 1980s. For example, I've posted all our Southwest Florida Online and Sunday Morning News pages using AOL for over ten years. But that's all I used them for. I have several other internet providers for email and browsing online.

The AOL services had been the butt of many jokes for decades, and probably deservedly so. The customer service was awful, the online interface was clunky and hard to navigate, and on and on.

But in recent months, AOL has been taking a 180 degree turn and now has their act together. AOL has become a totally free service for anyone now. And the scope of information they provide is overwhelmingly good. AOL found that they were losing customers by the millions with their previous subscription plans that were actually more expensive than all other internet providers. Now, they've reversed course and are giving away all their online service including free e-mail names, free radio and music stations online, and more than ample news and information pages, all freely accessible to all.

Their are still some glitches...

Last month, I found my monthly bill had been overcharged about $30. I didn't look forward to making that dreaded phone call to "customer service" at AOL. After what seemed like and eternity of waiting and pushing button one, button two, ad nauseum, finally got to a live person, who had that now all too familiar southeast Asian accent but an American name "Fred", who claimed I had overused my allowed minutes last month. After much argument, Fred allowed me a full credit for the extra charges. Ok, so all's well.

Well, not exactly. This month I received a letter saying I had cancelled my subscription account and now had one of the new free accounts. This was mysterious as I had not cancelled my account.

So back to the phone to figure out what was going on. After more buttom pushing, finally got to the live person (this time without any foreign accent)and they tell me that they don't exactly know how my account got cancelled and into the free account. When questioned further, they could not answer fully what I was giving up in taking on the free account. It seemed like I was to receive the same service as before but.. I could no longer call for assistance or use AOL's service to log onto the internet. That was OK since I had several other internet service providers all along anyway. Because AOL customer service has been awful, I'm not going to miss it.

A Thumbs UP

So, the bottom line....I give AOL's new free services a big thumbs up. I've only mentioned the tip of the iceberg as far as what they now offer for free. Take a look at all of their now free services by going to Free AOL and try the music service for some great choices in AOL's 200 radio stations and XM's Radio's 20 more...all for free.

Monday, November 13, 2006

New Branch Bank Manager Named

CLEWISTON, FLORIDA - The Seacoast National Bank has named Letitia
"Tishy" Swagler as the new branch manager for its branch located on
Berner Road in Clewiston. Mrs. Swagler has a banking background of
mortgage lending and banking compliance at the Yardville National
Bank in Hamilton Square, New Jersey. Mrs. Swagler is married to John
F. Swangler.

Belle Glade Couple Gives $1 Million

BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA -- Stetson University, in Deland, Florida, owns
extensive art collection by Modernist painter Oscar Bluemner
(1867-1938) and soon will have a permanent gallery on the Stetson
campus ­ thanks to the generosity of longtime Stetson trustee and
alumna Dolly Hand and her husband, Homer Hand.

The Hands are donating a $1 million lead gift for an art center to be
built between Sampson Hall, home of the university's Art Department,
and the duPont-Ball Library on campus. The university is applying for
grants to raise additional funding needed for construction of the new facility.

The Hands live in Belle Glade, where they own and operate Hand
Enterprises, the management company for their land holdings. They are
active in civic affairs in the Belle Glade/Okeechobee area, and both
are former members of the Palm Beach Community College Board of
Trustees. They have received numerous awards, including the Champion
of Higher Independent Education in Florida (CHIEF) Award from the
Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida in 1996.

Dolly Hand is a 1949 graduate of Stetson's College of Law, which was
located on the DeLand campus until the mid-1950s and is now based in
St. Petersburg. She was the only woman in her class and, at age 20,
was the youngest student ever to complete the law program. Mrs. Hand
has served on the Stetson University Board of Trustees since 1994.
The couple provided permanent funding for the Homer and Dolly Hand
Award for Excellence in Faculty Research, which is given annually to
recognize Stetson faculty members involved in significant research.
They also give to Stetson for student scholarships each year.

Port LaBelle Land Gets Ag Exemption

Exemption For Old Golf Course Land Denied By Glades County Originally

LABELLE, FLORIDA -- After originally denying an agricultural tax exemption for 131 acres of former golf course land in Glades County, the Value Adjustment Board, after a lenghty hearing, reverses Glades Tax Assessor Larry Luckey denial of the exemption and allowed the huge tax break for the land owners.

The acreage laying on the Hendry and Glades county line was purchased at auction several years ago and is now owned by LaBelle Cattle Company LLC who petitioned for an agricultural exemption that would knock about 95% of the property taxes off the tax bill for 2006. Tax Assessor Larry Luckey denied the application because he says the golf course land had been platted and subdivided for single family homes since the 1970s, and the cattle grazing had only taken effect in the last several years, claiming the cattle were only an incidental use to the land, which most likely will be sold in individual lots in the future.

Attorney Steve Hartzell presented evidence before the board that court cases say that it is irrelevant whether a parcel of land is subdivided and platted to be granted an agricultural exemption. The owners have used the former golf course for grazing several dozen cows for the last several years, leasing the land to Comer Taylor for only $2000 a year, evidence presented showed. The land owner also spent scores of thousands of dollars on fencing for the acreage, leading Larry Luckey to argue that the land, although used for agricultural use, would not recover any profit for many many years.

The board members unanimously agreed to grant the petitioners motion to allow the agricultural exemption.

In the other dozen petitions before the board, most all were either withdrawn by the owners or denied by the board because the owners did not give enough evidence of incorrect land values compared to the Tax Assessor's valuation. Several agricultural exemptions were approved though, because the petitioners showed good cause why they missed the deadline for applying for the exemption.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Karau Named To Regional Planning Council

LABELLE, FLORIDA -- Governor Jeb Bush this week named Mel Karau to
the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council. Karau, 73 is retired
and lives in the Fort Danaud area of Hendry county. He replaces
Janice Groves and begins his term November 6, ending Octover 1, 2009.
Others appointed by the Governor are: Frank Weikel, 75, of Punta
Gorda, retired, reappointed for a term beginning November 6, 2006 and
ending October 1, 2009; Rory Dubin, 41, of Sarasota, commercial
realtor, Waterford Real Estate Services, Inc., succeeding Alan Maio,
appointed for a term beginning November 6, 2006 and ending October 1,
2009. All appointments are subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

Pedestrian Robbed And Beaten

Three Arrested In LaBelle Robbery

LABELLE, FLORIDA -- When Pedro Quiroz was offered a ride home for $5.00 he didn’t realize that he would become the victim of an armed robbery. In a report by Sheriff Ronnie Lee Mr. Quiroz was walking home along SR 29 north of the bridge when he noticed a small green car that he thought belonged to a friend of his, he waved and the car stopped. Mr. Quiroz noticed it was not his friend but, the Hispanic female driver asked him if he wanted a ride. When he replied yes, the driver told him she would drive him home for $5.00.

When Mr. Quiroz entered the car he noticed 2 other passengers one of which he knew as Victor and the other passenger was a white male. As the car neared Thigpen Rd. the driver stopped and the white male pulled Mr. Quiroz from the vehicle. Once outside the car the man known as Victor pointed a small semi-automatic handgun at him and then hit him in the head with a beer bottle and knocked him to the ground. While on the ground one of the men went through his pockets and stole his wallet and $250.00 cash.

The subsequent investigation by the Hendry County Sheriff's Criminal Investigations division has led to the arrest of; Maria Kelly Delacruz age 26 of 2020 Wellington Ave. Alva, Florida and Wayne Bubba Oconner age 32 of LaBelle, Florida. Both Delacruz and Oconner were charged with; Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery With A Deadly Weapon, Robbery With A Weapon, and Robbery. They were booked into the Hendry County Jail with bond set at $75,000.00 each.

The third suspect Victor Roa age 29 of 783 Martin Luther King Blvd in LaBelle was arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Kidnapping and Robbery with a weapon. Roa was booked in the Hendry County Jail with bond set at $100,000.00.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Port LaBelle Water Meters Go Hi-Tech

LABELLE, FLORIDA -- Port LaBelle residents will be seeing technicians replacing water meters over the coming months for thousands of existing meters. New electronic meters are being installed to replace the twenty-year old models now recording water useage.

The new meters will send electronic digital radio signals to a meter reader's receiving device to automatically record the water useage. Installed with lithuim batteries that supposedly will last for a decade or more, the new meters allow a Port LaBelle Utility System employee to merely drive by each home to automatically record the water use each month.

There's no offical word whether Port LaBelle customers will end up paying more for their water because of the added cost of the new meters, but residents have for years complained about their historically high water and sewer rates in Port LaBelle. Years ago, the county purchased the water company from the original Port LaBelle developer with promises of lower rates. However, customer costs have only gone up over the years.

Margaret Pass Loses Port LaBelle Election

Port LaBelle Candidate Under Fire In Miami Criminal Case

LABELLE, FLORIDA -- While official election results are pending the Hendry Supervisor of Elections' certification, in one of two Hendry county general election seats for the Port LaBelle Community Development District, Margaret Rose Pass apparently lost her bid for a board seat to Scott Wegscheid. Wegscheid is a long-time member of the district's board.

Pass, who co-owns a home in the Port LaBelle Ranchettes on Birchwood Parkway in Glades county, is the long-time Director of Building and Zoning in Coral Gables, Florida. Or at least was the director until a scandal broke in mid-September. She was suspended from her duties after the arrest of her administrative assistant on charges of corruption and fraud in the wealthy exclusive city-suburb of Miami.

Her assistant, Jorge Reyes was arrested in connection with allegations of time-sheet scams, fraud, and drug related charges according to news reports from Miami. The suspension of Pass followed an anonymous letter that accused both Pass and Reyes of a list of possible felony charges and alleged nepotism from both in the 80-person Coral Gables building and zoning department.

Nothwithstanding her current problems in Miami, Pass, who doesn't keep her feelings hidden, at a recent Glades county commission meeting argued that the Glades county manager should be fired after his past criminal conviction came to light. According to a news report. Pass told the county commissioners, "I'd like to see him fired, and if you don't, I'm going to check in to each and every one of you."

A second Port LaBelle Community Development District seat was won by Suzanne Gee of the Port LaBelle Ranchettes. Gee won over J. Michael Jordan, a longtime member of the Development District board.

Thirty-Five Percent Voter Turnout In Hendry

LABELLE, FLORIDA -- In Hendry county yesterday, 5,508 voters went to polling places from Clewiston to LaBelle. There are 15,670 registered voters in Hendry county.

Hendry voters picked Bill Nelson (D) for the U.S. Senate along with the rest of Florida. but chose the former Republican candidate Mark Foley for the 16th Congressional District, disagreeing with the remainder of the district from Stuart to Charlotte County. who elected Tim Mahoney (D) who resides in the rural community of Venus in Highland County.

Hendry citizens voted Republican for all the remaining candidates, and said "yes" to all the state amendment issues, and approved all District and Supreme Court Judges. Of the total votes cast in this General Election, about 1000 or 20% were made by "early" votes before election day.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Long Wins Glades Commission Seat

MOORE HAVEN, FLORIDA -- The winner of the Glades County Commission
seat is Donna Storter Long. Long took 51% of the vote over Democratic
candidate Alvin Ward. The final count was Long 1189 votes to Ward's
1159 votes in the 13 Glades county precincts. The commission seat is
for Glades County's 2nd District.

Glades Commission Candidates Push For Votes

Political Sign 'Pollution' Offends Some

MOORE HAVEN, FLORIDA -- On election day, with only a few remaining hours to go, Glades county commission candidates are hoping to get the attention of those voters who have not cast their votes yet. At the Muse Community Center in western Glades county, hundreds of signs for the two Glades County Commission candidates as well as signs for state and federal offices were posted on the grounds of the voting place as well as on the public right of way just outside the Community Center's fence.

Voters will be choosing seat holders of 18 offices up for election today in Glades county, and as well for six proposed state law amendments on the 2006 ballot. Republican Donna Storter Long and Democrat Alvin Ward, the only local politicians looking for votes today, are running for Glades County Commission for District 2.

Alvin Ward's supporters, the Glades Democratic Party, placed a large canopy festooned with balloons outside the fence of the community center on public right of way with dozens of Democrat candidate signs. Workers, when asked about the legality of placing political signs on public property say that's the way its always done in Glades county and no one enforces any sign laws here.

And inside the gate, on the county-owned grounds of the Muse Community Association where voters strolled in and out of the polling place all day, Donna Storter Long's signs were prominently displayed in great numbers near the front entrance to the polling place. Storter-Long had been asked earlier in the campaign about complaints about her signs and opponent Ward's illegally placed political signs scattered on roadways throughout the county. Long said she had instructed her workers to not place them on public land of rights-of-way. But in the exuberance of campaigning, workers apparently didn't heed the instruction, as signs are found all over the county on public land, most usually at the corners of busy intersections and along the fronts of schools and other public places. Long said because her signs inside the grounds at the Muse Community Center were on county property they were allowed there.

Notwithstandig that a Glades county commissioner is a Florida constitutional officer sworn to uphold all the laws of Florida while being paid $24,756 yearly, both Glades commission candidates apparently don't intend to uphold "all" the laws in Florida if a few hundred political signs get in the way.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Career Day For Law Enforcement Jobs

FORT MYERS, FLORIDA -- Incoming choppers, exploding bombs, and boats armed with machine guns are just a few of the public safety tools that Edison College students will see next week. The college is hosting a Public Safety Career Fair on Wednesday, November 8 on the Fort Myers campus. 

Representatives from more than a dozen local agencies will be on hand to talk with students about career options in public safety fields. For many years, Edison has offered two-year degrees in criminal justice, crime scene technology and paralegal services, plus certifications for paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and firefighters.

Last August, Edison offered the first classes in its first four-year degree, a bachelor�s of applied science in public safety management. The new baccalaureate degree puts Edison students at the forefront of a national trend to require bachelor�s degrees for public safety professionals instead of certifications or associate�s degrees. The new degree allows local public safety professionals to advance their careers without leaving the area.

In addition to career opportunities, students can also learn how to enroll in Edison�s public safety programs. The career fair runs from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. with live demonstrations scheduled to begin at approximately 1:15 p.m.

The event is being held in conjunction with the monthly luncheon of the Chamber of Southwest Florida, which will feature a panel discussion on public safety, crime prevention, and disaster preparedness. The panel includes three local sheriffs, the Lee County public safety director, Dr. John Dunaway, and others. Dunaway is lead faculty member for Edison�s bachelor degree in Public Safety Management.

For more information, please call Beverly Fox, district communications coordinator at Edison College, at (239) 985-3489 or email To register for the chamber luncheon, call (239) 278-4001

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Democratic Candidate Mahoney Comes To LaBelle

Sen. Bob Graham And Tim Mahoney To Tour Nature Park

LABELLE, FLORIDA -- Democratic Candidate for Congress, Tim Mahoney, and former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham visit LaBelle Friday, November 3 to meet voters and tour water quality projects in Hendry and Glades County.

Tim Mahoney is running for the seat formerly held by Republican Mark Foley. The Republican candidate also seeking to represent Florida's 16th Congressional district is Joe Negron. After the traditional pie and coffee stop at Flora & Ella's Restaurant, Mahoney and Graham will tour the LaBelle Nature Park, just north of the restaurant and adjacent to the historic Hendry House. The park is the site of a planned Caloosahatchee River oxbow restoration and natural resources education center. The pie and coffee reception at Flora & Ella's Restaurant on Hwy 80 in LaBelle is open to the public.

The LaBelle Nature Park is managed by the City of LaBelle and supported by groups including Rotary International, Kiwanis International, the Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association- Riverwatch, Boy Scouts, and the LaBelle-Hendry Recreation Board. LaBelle Mayor and Riverwatch member, Randy Bengston, a strong advocate for the park project, will provide a tour of the park. Bill Maddox, Hendry County Commissioner, and Ron Zimmerly, Hendry County director for special projects, will explain plans for the proposed oxbow restoration.

After a discussion of the park and oxbow projects, Riverwatch members will take the opportunity to raise some of the larger issues of regional water management and water quality with the candidate. The 16th district includes several major water bodies - the Caloosahatchee River, Fisheating Creek, Lake Okeechobee, Kissimmee River, and St. Lucie River. Of primary mportance to Riverwatch is developing a proper south Florida water management system and leadership that will protect Lake Okeechobee, rivers, wetlands, coastal estuaries, and marine shorelines.