Saturday, April 28, 2007

From The Governor

LABELLE, FL. -- Attached is the weekly radio address from Florida Governor Charlie Crist.  The weekly radio address gives the Governor another avenue to communicate with the citizens of Florida and an opportunity to share this vision and priorities for the state. Topic this week: The Governor's plan to reduce property taxes.

Click To Hear (2 Minutes)

Hendry Appraiser Using Hi-Tech Photo System

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry County property appraisal office has implemented a new aerial imaging technology as part of its efforts to increase efficiencies and improve services to its constituents. According to a press release from Pictometry International, the company began aerial flights over Hendry County in early January and then processed and delivered over 40,000 unique, georeferenced aerial photos of the entire county at the end of the month.

"The benefits of this system will be far-reaching to all the citizens of Hendry County as we are introducing and administering the roll-out of this state-of-the-art technology to all other qualified agencies in the county such as 9-1-1, law enforcement, fire departments, emergency management, and engineering," said Hendry County Chief Deputy Appraiser Clifford Wood.

As part of the company's standard license agreement, all its county customers that experience natural disasters such as a hurricane, receive post-disaster imaging services. These new images can be viewed with the pre disaster images by using Pictometry Change Analysis™ software that enables government agencies to simultaneously view both before and after images to better plan and expedite restoration efforts. From an assessment perspective, this level of service enables property appraisers, in the event of a hurricane, to view impact of storm damage and issue trim notices that are reflective of any disaster impact upon properties in their area.

Hendry County is situated in the south-central region of Florida and occupies 1,162.95 square miles with a population of more than 39,000 residents. The Hendry County property appraiser is responsible for managing valuations for more than 36,700 real estate parcels in the county with a total taxable value of more than 2 billion dollars.

"Using this technology along with our traditional valuation procedures, we will be able to more efficiently and more accurately review and supplement our valuations that we are required to conduct on an annual basis," said Henry County Property Appraiser Kristina Kupla. "The Pictometry system will enable us to better equalize valuations and assist residents in understanding how valuations are determined."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Drug Arrests Made At Felda Home

LABELLE, FL. -- At 3:00 p.m., on April 25, the Hendry County Sheriff's Office, along with members of the D.E.A. task force, searched the mobile home residence at 292 Morris Taylor Road in Felda, Florida. Felda is on State Road 29, south of LaBelle. (Left: 2004 photo of 292 Morris Taylor Rd.)

According to Sheriff Ronnie Lee, Officers seized powder cocaine, two electronic weight scales, packaging material, creatine powder cutting agent, five handguns, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, lortab pills, morphine sulphate pills, gemfibrozil pills, methoclopramide pills, and xannax pills.

Juan Jose Muniz, age 46 of 292 Morris Taylor Road Felda, Florida, was arrested and charged with Possession of Legend Drug Without a Prescription (3 counts), Possession of Firearm By Convicted Felon (5 counts), Operating a Drug House, Trafficking Cocaine, Trafficking a Controlled Substance (2 counts), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Bond was set at $370,500.00. Muniz is also being held on a Polk County warrant for Trafficking Methamphetamine. No bond.

Anita Lynn Dye, age 36 of 292 Morris Taylor Road Felda, Florida, was arrested and charged with Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer and Possession of a Firearm By a Convicted Felon (5 counts). Bond set at $55,000.00.

Bobby Holland, age 21 of 257 Mirromar Road Fort Myers, Florida, was arrested and charged with Possession of Marijuana under 20 grams, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Bond set at $1,500.00.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Deputies Make Two Burglary Arrests

CLEWISTON, FL. -- On Friday April 20  Deputies responded to 700 Harlem Tenants Circle #509, the residence of Sherry Thomas, reference to a Burglary in Progress.  Sheriff Lee said, Christina Beaver, 18 years of age who resides 1148 Thomas Street,  Moore Haven, Florida was arrested and charged with Burglary of an unoccupied Dwelling and Petit Theft. Bond was set at $1,500.

On April 18, 2007 at approximately 4:42 PM Deputies responded to 1108 Mohawk Avenue in Labelle, Florida reference to a burglary in progress. Upon arrival suspect Cheryl Martinez was outside the residence in possession of stolen Items approximate value $1,400. Sheriff Ronnie Lee said that Cheryl Martinez, 49 Years of age, of 212 Patten Road in Labelle was arrested and transported to the Hendry County Jail. Bond has been set $25,000.

Arrest Of Suspected Cocaine Dealer

CLEWISTON, FL -- On April 20,2007, a joint effort between the Hendry County Sheriff�s Office and the City of Clewiston Police Department resulted in a search warrant being served at a residence located at West El Paso Avenue in Clewiston, Florida. Sheriff Ronnie Lee announced that as a result of the search, Nathaniel Thomas, 35 years of age, was arrested for Possession of Cocaine With Intent to Sell.

Both Sheriff Ronnie Lee and Assistant Clewiston Police Chief Kristine Petersen, were present at the scene of this joint effort to eradicate illegal narcotics throughout Hendry County. Crack cocaine and a loaded 9mm Ruger handgun were also recovered during the search of the residence.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Port LaBelle Community Meets

PORT LABELLE, FL. -- On Saturday, April 14th, the Port LaBelle Ranchettes Property Owners Association held its quarterly meeting at the community property on Frontier Circle. The meeting was facilitated by POA President and Secretary, Don Munch Jr..

Approximately 30 members were present at the meeting, and many of them expressed their concerns about high property taxes, impact fees, and other costs associated with homeowners. "These concerned citizens do not want to see more families move out of the area due to an excessive cost of living," says Don Munch.

Roger Saunders, a Ranchettes resident and the citizen captain of the newly-established Glades County, Port LaBelle C.O.P. (Citizens On Patrol), gave a brief update of this successful program, and encouraged concerned residents of the Ranchettes, as well as those people residing in nearby Unit 102 and the Port LaBelle Condos and Villas, to get involved if they would like to be a part of the program. Please contact Mr. Saunders at (863) 675-6288 if you live in one of these areas, and you are interested in participating in the C.O.P. program.

The next Ranchettes quarterly meeting is scheduled for Saturday, August 25th at 9 AM.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

LaBelle Area Real Estate For Sale


Place your Hendry county real estate on this Google map and have your property be seen on this map by thousand of readers weekly, as well as support your local online news through your donation.

Hendry county is on the path to future growth with the expansion of State Road 80 to four lanes, and much industrial and office space development ongoing throughout the area. Advertise your real estate here on the Sunday Morning News. Only $49 per property and the ad will remain online until your property is sold.

Just send your ad informaton. (Make sure you tell us the property's street address and what you want to say about the property to be included on the map.) We'll then email you directions for secure online payment of $49 through PayPal.

(Click on any marker on the map above to see property details, and links to more information. Use the controls on the left side of the map to zoom or scroll map in any direction.)

Festivals And Fairs Around The Area

LABELLE, FL. -- Here's a listing of local area fairs and festivals you may want to visit around surrounding counties of Southwest Florida:

• April 21 – 29th Annual Black Gold Jubilee Festival, Belle Glade. 863-996-2745
• April 28 – Arcadia Antique Fair
• April 28 – Sebring Bikefest, Downtown Sebring on the Circle, 4 pm-9 pm
• April 28 – Arcadia's Main Street Golf Tournament
• April 28 – Clewiston Sugarfestival. 863-983-7979
• April 29 – Sweet Corn Fiesta, South Florida Fair Grounds
• May 5 – Brown Sugar Festival, Clewiston, Harlem. 863-228-1550
• May 5 – Arcadia's Watermelon Festival
• May 5 – Hardee Annual Naturefest, Hardee Lakes Park
• May 5 – Hardee Farmer's Market, Wauchula
• May 5 – Hardee Flea Market, Bowling Green
• May 12 – The Sebring Cruise, Downtown Sebring on the Circle, 6 pm-?
• May 12 – Highlands Antique Fair, Poor Richard's Antique Mall, Lake Placid
• May 12 – Arcadia Collectibles' Market
• May 18 – Music in the Park, Wauchula

Friday, April 20, 2007

More Drugs In Montura Ranch Estates

CLEWISTON, FL. -- On April 18th Deputies and Criminal Investigators of the Hendry County Sheriff's Office served a search warrant at 735 North Trebol Street in Montura Ranch Estates. Located within the residence were approximately 8.5 Lbs. Of Marijuana Street value of $16,000.00, along with packaging paraphernalia.

Sheriff Ronnie Lee said Juan Antonio Sanchez, age 33, was arrested and charged with Operating a Drug House, Possession of Marijuana 20 grams or more, Possession of Marijuana with intent to sell, Possession of Legend Drug Without a Prescription, and Possession of Packaging Paraphernalia. Bond was set at $51,000.00.

From The Governor - Podcast

LABELLE, FL. -- Attached is the weekly radio address from Florida Governor Charlie Crist.  The weekly radio address gives the Governor another avenue to communicate with the citizens of Florida and an opportunity to share this vision and priorities for the state. Topics: property tax crisis, water shortage, Virginia murders.

Click Here For MP3 Audio (2 minutes)

Bird Watchers Count 48,000 Birds

CLEWISTON, FL -- Area bird watchers spotted scores of thousands of birds in the Hendry and Glades county area recently, taking part in an annual countrywide bird count. In the Clewiston area 47,000 birds were counted with 90 different species identified. Around LaBelle 476 birds in 41 species were counted. 427 birds were counted in the Moore Haven area including 17 species.

In just four days in February, participants in the Great Backyard Bird Count tallied more than 11 million birds across the United States and Canada. Together, they recorded 616 species and submitted more than 80,000 checklists­33 percent more than the previous high of 61,000 checklists in 2000. The GBBC, a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, engages people of all ages and levels of experience in learning about birds and reporting their sightings for conservation.

American Robins topped the list as the most numerous species counted, with more than two million robins reported from 60 states and provinces. Participant Lorraine Margeson counted a flock of 750,000 robins roosting in a mangrove forest in St. Petersburg, Florida. "In the morning, the robins just pour out of there," she observed. "It's spectacular with the sunrise on their red bellies. When you see it, you think this is what makes life worth living."

This year's rare birds included five Lesser Prairie-Chickens in Oklahoma and two Pink-footed Geese in Rhode Island, first records for the GBBC.

Participants also submitted more than 4,000 bird photos. The GBBC online photo gallery shows images from across the continent, including a Rock Pigeon perched high above New York City, and a pink Roseate Spoonbill taking flight in Houston, Texas. Full results of the count are available online at . Visitors can see what birds were reported in their own town or across the continent, and explore dynamic maps showing how bird distribution and abundance have changed during 10 years of the Great Backyard Bird Count.

See Bird Count For Any City

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Drug Bust In Clewiston

CLEWISTON, FL. -- On April 17 at approximately 7:00 a.m., Deputies and Criminal Investigators of the Hendry County Sheriff�s Office served a search warrant at 1047 Della Tobias Avenue in Clewiston. According to the Sheriff's department, located within the residence were marijuana, packaging materials, U.S. currency, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, a cutting agent, and numerous prescription pills in an unmarked bottle.

Sheriff Ronnie Lee said Carlton Larue Rush, age 33, was arrested and charged with Operating a Drug House, Possession of Paraphernalia, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Firearm/AMMUNITION by a Convicted Felon, Possession of Legend Drug Without a Prescription, Possession of Cocaine With Intent To Sell Within 1,000 feet of a Place of Worship, Trafficking in Cocaine, and Possession of Packaging Paraphernalia. Bond was set at $148,000.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

New Water Use Restrictions

LABELLE, FL. -- The South Florida Water Management District has issued new emergency water restrictions for most all of Southwest Florida including Hendry, Glades, Lee and Collier county. As usual, the government's legaleze as drafted in the new order by the lawyers makes the new regulations almost indecipherable by most readers. The agency has declared the area in a severe water shortage status.

The SFWMD has provided a 16 page copy of the new regulations to local governments and for those interested: 16-pages of new water emergency regulations

Generally speaking it appears that most people will not abide by the new rules as contained in the 16 page document, which generally provides for only two days a week for residential agricultural watering or vehicle washing and "voluntary" reductions to 50 gallons per day per individual for home use, and also voluntary reductions for commercial water use.

There appears to be no real mechanism to enforce the water emergency rules, unless local government choose to do so, and then because the rules are fairly complex we expect there will be no enforcement in Hendry or Glades county.

The SFWMD says people can also check out their web site for information but when we checked, one would have to spend considerable time to try to locate the new information on the website. We have to admit we could find nothing with the April 13 regulations there when we checked Saturday at 4 p.m.

South Florida Water Management District website

Real Beauty

Commentary On Age
By T.W. Bill Neville

They say that beauty is only skin deep, but it has been my experience that "Beauty is as beauty does."  The most beautiful face I've had the pleasure of seeing is my wife's.  As the Mother of our five sons, Grandmother of 10, and Great Grandmother of 1, her face is a history book of joys and sorrows.  Her journey, now in her 76th year, 57 of them at my side, bears witness to the fact, that behind any successful man, is a woman of eternal devotion, strength, and patience.  Her journey as wife, Mother, counsellor, disciplinarian, confessor, guardian, and humanitarian are etched into each line in her face.

Contrary to what the elites would have us believe, those of us who man the battle stations on the front lines of this war of survival, called life, know that those dreaded lines and creases are really "service stripes" or love lines.  Love lines earned in the pursuit of other people's happiness and survival, while maintaining some level of sanity in the pursuit of personal respect and happiness.  Those "service stripes", the inevitable evidence of the commitment to other people's needs and wants, can and do serve as lasting memorials to the integrity and strength that only total maturity can bestow.  Convictions take time to resolve and sort out so that time has provided the necessary strength to apply and live them.  Unlike youth which at best is a blank canvass, the brush strokes of aging have created a depth of beauty sustainable for the ages.

For those of us fortunate enough to have avoided debilitating aging, be thankful and show your gratitude at every opportunity by making your presence felt through community service and involvement.  The worst fear of aging can be to suddenly find that you are irrelevant.  For most people, the most significant event of irrelevancy is to lose your driving privileges.  The pace of living, so dependent on mobility, while not being supported by public transportation facilities, can be a prison sentence for many. 

My wife loves to keep aging in perspective and often responds to the age question by stating, I'm not old, I'm chronologically gifted."  She and I agreed a long time ago that family is the driving force in any successful life and to make sure you are always nice to your kids, because they have the capability to choose your nursing home.

Health Care Costs Becoming More 'Visible'

Can Floridians Compare Health Costs Easily?

LABELLE, FL. -- In an effort to make health care costs transparent to consumers, Florida is one of the first states to help citizens make better health care choices based on comparisons between health care facilities as well as comparisons of drug costs.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration's (AHCA) redesigned web site is the first step in an ambitious program. This site ultimately will give Florida�s health care consumers, purchasers and professionals an unprecedented degree of easy-to-access and understandable information on quality, pricing and performance.

Florida Compare Care consists of two adjoining web sites that disseminate comparative health care information to consumers. The MyFloridaHealthStat web site displays price and quality information for hospital services based on risk-adjusted DRG codes. The MyFloridaRx site conveys information on prescription drugs, and anecdotal evidence shows that it is working to lower costs. For example, in Miami-Dade County there was a dramatic decrease in the range of retail prices for the drug Neurontin since the introduction of the price comparison web site.

State governments, in their role as legislator, employer, and payer, are uniquely positioned to advance price transparency on the nation's journey to health care reform.  Price transparency appears simple and straight-forward: most industry stakeholders favor making more information available to consumers. But the complexity of pricing and its relationship to costs in the health system makes this more difficult than might otherwise be understood.

A recent analysis by the Deloitte Center For Health Solutions offers insight about how price transparency can be achieved without unnecessary tension between payers and providers based on fair and accurate ways of reporting prices. To date, 33 states have passed statutes or laws which affect disclosure, transparency, reporting and/or publication of hospital and health care charges and fees.States that have made efforts in price transparency include California, Florida, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Florida has plans to begin reporting comparative information for health plans and individual physicians in the near future.

Health care cost comparisons:
Deloitte Center report (24 pages):

Cost comparisons of 4 day stay in 13 local hospitals

Friday, April 13, 2007

Home Sale Prices In LaBelle

LABELLE, FL. -- From March 20 to April 10 there were nine homes sold in the LaBelle area for an average price of $193,111. Only four homes were in the Port LaBelle area this time. Normally most of the home sold are in the county's largest subdivision.

1) $208,000 on 2nd Ave
2) $189,000 on Clay St
3) $207,000 on Kumquat Cir (Port LaBelle)
4) $288,000 on Nobles Rd
5) $140,000 on Quail Run
6) $240,000 on Springview Cir (Port LaBelle - Laurel Oaks)
7) $150,000 on E Lincoln Ave
8) $170,000 on E Sunflower Cir (Port LaBelle - Unit Four)
9) $146,000 on N Edgewater Cir (Port LaBelle - Unit Four)

Pet Food Recalls Expanded

Company CFO Sold Half His Stock Weeks Before Recall

LABELLE, FL. -- The nation's 121 million pets may still be in danger as the number of recalled products is expanding. Menu Foods, Inc., expanded its recall to cat food not previously subject to the recall. Reportedly over 3900 pets have died as a result of contaminated food, although numbers are hard to confirm.

A complete list of Menu Foods' recalled products, including the new items, can be reviewed at and Since March 16, recalls of pet food products, including certain varieties of dog food, have been conducted by Menu Foods, Inc., Hill�s Pet Nutrition, P&G Pet Care, Nestle Purina PetCare Company, Del Monte Pet Products, and Sunshine Mills, Inc. More info at .

The chief financial officer of Menu Foods allegedly sold about half his personally owned stock shares in the compnay only three weeks before a massive recall of its pet food products, according to reports.  CFO Mark Wiens reportedly sold 14,000 shares for $89,900 on February 26 and 27. The stock is only worth about $54,000 right now. "He feels just awful that this link has been made," company spokesman Sam Bornstein said this week.

Symphony Orchestra Looks For Musicians

LABELLE, FL. -- The Gulf Coast Symphony is Southwest Florida's premier community orchestra. Its members are your neighbors, your doctors, your lawyers... even your school teachers. Play an instrument and looking for a way to be a part of a friendly, musical community? "Come play with us!" says musical director Andrew M. Kurtz.

Kurtz was named the 2007 Angel of the Arts Performing Artist of the Year by the Alliance of the Arts. "As founding Music Director of the Gulf Coast Symphony, Dr. Kurtz has single-handedly organized and maintained a community-based orchestra and provided an opportunity for local musicians to express their talent; all with total devotion and little financial reward. In his 12th season as Director and Conductor, he has provided enormous education and musical playing experience and wonderful entertainment to our community. He has enriched our lives with his creative musical talents," commented the Arts of the Alliance Angel Awards Jury.
The orchestra typically rehearses on Tuesday evenings from 7 pm to 10 pm. An extra rehearsal may be called the week of a concert. Repertoire ranges from classical to pops. Only play the radio? Then tell a friend or family member who might be more musically inclined about this unique opportunity to be a part of the Southwest Florida musical family. Email to find out more.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Low Income Seniors Get Additional Tax Savings

LABELLE, FL. -- Governor Charlie Crist has signed legislation that will double the additional homestead exemption available to low-income seniors.  Prior to last year's election, the Florida Constitution allowed cities and counties to pass an ordinance that grants low-income seniors an additional homestead exemption of $25,000.  In November 2006, voters amended the constitutional amendment to allow cities and counties to increase this additional homestead exemption to $50,000.  

"We have an obligation to provide our state's seniors the utmost respect and dignity," Governor Crist said.  "Unfortunately, high property taxes are forcing many seniors to choose which bills they can afford to pay.  This legislation provides additional help to those who need it most and can help make living in Florida more affordable." 

House Bill 333 implements the constitutional amendment that increases the local option for homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000 for individuals age 65 and older whose income does not exceed $23,414 in 2007.  The increased homestead exemption applies only to cities and counties, not to school districts or special districts.  

If local governments have already implemented the additional $25,000 exemption for low-income seniors, the legislation allows them to increase the exemption to $50,000 for the 2007 tax year.  Currently, 53 counties and 158 cities have already implemented the additional exemption.  

Local governments that have not already implemented the additional $25,000 homestead exemption for low-income seniors have the opportunity to implement the new law for the 2008 tax year.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Free Travelers Help By Phone Or Web

LABELLE, FL. -- My Florida 511 is a free personalized travel information service for Florida travelers. A user can access the website and create up to 10 different regularly-driven routes (profiles). These profiles can then be accessed by dialing 511 from a cellular or landline phone.

The website also features real-time data on traffic conditions, construction, weather, and evacuation information, as well as live video and still frame traffic cameras. The traffic conditions, weather, and construction info pages cover the entire state, but the video camera only cover the Orlando and Cocoa Beach areas at this time.

website: FL511.COM

LaBelle Homes From $34,500 To $2.5 Million

LABELLE, FL. -- There's a broad range and large inventory of real estate for sale in the LaBelle area according the the multiplisting service of the Ft. Myers Board of Realtors. 186 residential units are now listed for sale and 607 parcels of land available. There are probably many hundreds of other real estate parcel available for "sale by owner" as well.

The lowest priced home for sale in the area is a one-bedroom, one-bath home at 461 Withlachoochee Avenue in the city of LaBelle at $34,500. It has 656 square feet of living space and is selling at $51 per square foot. It's been for sale for five months.

There are dozens of two-bedroom homes in the Port LaBelle Country Village area for sale from $99,000 to $125,000. Most new three-bedroom homes in the Port LaBelle are ranging in price from $200,000 to $250,000

At the top end, a river front home at 700 Fort Thompson Avenue in LaBelle is on the market for $2,150,000. It has 4,811 square feet home on 4.25 acres and is listed at a price of $447 per square feet. It has been for sale since August 2006. There are numerous river front homes in the west Hendry county area priced from $1,200,000 to $2,000,000.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Will Hunting And Fishing Licenses Soon Cost More?

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Other states charge $20 for a fishing license; Florida gets only $12. That�s why some anglers are actually calling on legislators to raise license fees this session to as much as $17.50.

Since 1989, resident anglers have not seen an increase in the cost of a recreational freshwater or saltwater fishing license. The saltwater fees have never changed since they were first authorized that year. Even with the possible increase to $17.50, Florida will still be below the national average of $20 or the cost-adjusted equivalent ($19.51) of the license fee�s buying power back in 1989.

The hunting license fee, currently $11, could also go up to $17.50. It hasn�t changed since 1979 (an equivalent today would be $30.55 and the national average is $30.45). Remember, these fees go to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for conservation and cannot be diverted to other uses.

If you want to beat the possible fee increase, consider buying a five-year freshwater fishing license right now. If you buy now, you�ll get the next five years at the current annual cost of $12 per year, plus you will automatically receive a free bonus of fishing-related products worth more than $60 all by themselves. This offer expires after the first 3,000 five-year freshwater fishing licenses are sold.

What They Don't Tell You - Home Insurance

LABELLE, FL. -- Think you have all your Florida home insurance problems worked out? Cancellations? 300% rate increases. Well, think again. Since January when the Florida Legislature and the Governor forced changes into the insurance laws and regulations, we have been contacting the various state agencies to see if we could get some simple explanations of what consumers should be looking for, and what rights they have under the new rules. Insurance agents have been giving consumers bad advice and just plain wrong answers for the last three months.

As it turned out, not only did insurance agents not know the answers, the state agencies didn't either. Finally, after countless letters and talking to state agencies, Bob Milligan of the Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate's office answered one of our letters. It took more than three weeks to get a response, but who's counting?

"I share your concerns regarding the impact that recent legislation and regulatory action have had on Florida's property insurance market. One reason for uncertainty is that several interpretations have been made - both from the administrative side and by Florida courts - regarding certain aspects of the measures; and, even as I write, the Florida Legislature is considering amendatory legislation that, if enacted, can further revise the law. Please be assured that there is a concerted effort to see that any information posted or released will be timely and accurate. For that reason, I am forwarding your email to our Office of Consumer Services, where professional personnel well familiar with the process will be able to provide you the latest synopsis of current law, regulation, interpretation and the resulting market practice - knowing that some of this information may be made obsolete through legislative action."


Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate

The bottom line: Even though the politicians have been grandstanding about how much money we are all to save on insurance "soon," the powerful insurance lobbyists are not closing the door yet. They will be continuing to pressure the Florida Legislature to revise the laws and regulations to their benefit, and to the consumer's loss. Expect the perceived "savings" on insurance premiums to not appear any time soon, or anytime.

Lester Baird Applies For City Manager Job

LABELLE, FL. -- Recently resigned Hendry County Manager Lester Baird has applied for the position of city manager of Brooksville, Florida. Brooksville, a small town near Tampa will hold interviews among three remaining candidates and town officials on Monday.

Former Brooksville city council member Ernie Weaver told a local reporter that the city's top pick is Baird because he has Florida government experience and can bring a fresh perspective to the job.

Baird is up against Susan Boyer, former city manager for nearby Crystal River and former city manager of Lady Lake, and Jennene Norman-Vacha, former deputy city manager of Brooksville and former human resources director for Hernando County. Baird has also been city manager of the cities of Belle Glade and South Bay.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Man And Wife Arrested After Sex Crime Investigation

CLEWISTON, FL. -- On March 30, 2007, Hendry County Sheriff's Investigators were notified of an alleged sexual battery on a child under the age of 12. Sheriff's Investigators, along with a Department of Children and Families Protective Investigator, initiated an Investigation into the alleged crime. 

According to Sheriff Ronnie Lee, the stepfather of the child, Cecil Dukes age 39 of 450 Montura Avenue, Clewiston, was located on the Brighton Seminole Reservation in Glades County where he was taken into custody on an arrest warrant issued by Hendry County Judge Sloan.

He was charged with Capital Offense Sexual Battery On A Child Under 12 Years of Age. His wife and mother of the child, Leann Fatzinger Dukes age 26, was arrested and charged with Accessory After The Fact and Child Neglect.  Leann Dukes remains in jail under a $85,000.00.  There is no bond for Cecil Dukes.

Immokalee Man Charged In Wife's Murder

Body Dumped In Hendry Canal

CLEWISTON, FL. -- On March 31, 2007, a white female was found in a roadside canal on County Road 833.  Hendry County Sheriff's Investigators retrieved the body from the canal and notified the Medical Examiners Office. 

Since the Hendry County Sheriff's Office had no report of a missing person fitting this description within Hendry County, surrounding Law Enforcement Agencies were contacted. A Collier County Sheriff's Office Investigator said they had a report of a missing white female from the Immokalee area. They were furnished all information and evidence collected by the Hendry County Sheriff's Office. 

The female was identified as Sandra Nicholson, age 38, of Immokalee, Florida. The Collier County Sheriff's Office conducted their investigation, and on April 3, 2007, arrested the victim's husband, Donald Nicholson, age 40 of 687 Clifton Road Immokalee, Florida.  Nicholson was charged with second-degree murder.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Arrests Made In Drug Warrant Sweep

LABELLE, FL. -- Sheriff Ronnie Lee formed a task force of Deputies
and Criminal Investigators, and on the evening of March 30, 2007,
made a sweep of the County serving arrest warrants. Sheriff Lee said
the raid was the result of an undercover investigation by the Hendry
County Sheriff's Office into the Illegal Sale and Distribution of
illegal drugs within Hendry County. Arrests were as follows:

East side of Hendry County
1. Allah Lawrence, age 20 Sale of Cocaine
2. Adrian Anderson, age 29 Sale of Cocaine
3. Arvis Daniels, age 20 Sale of Cocaine
4. Doby Johnson, age 51 Sale of Cocaine
5. Desiree Joyner, age 23 Sale of Cocaine
6. Marice McCray, age 21 Possession of Marijuana
Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell

West side of Hendry County
1. Freedie Lee Thomas, age 40 Sale of Cocaine
2. Lamarco McDougal, age 23 Sale of Cocaine
3. Billy Smith, Jr. age 17 Sale of Cocaine
4. Troi Love, age 22 Sale of Cocaine

There were two additional people arrested during the raid that
warrants had not been issued for. Donald Johnson, age 46, arrested on
the westside of the County for Possession of Narcotic Paraphernalia.
Yasmine Hart, age 19, arrested on the east side of the County for
Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana With Intent To Sell
Or Deliver, and Tampering With Evidence.

There were several individuals that could not be located during the
initial round up. Arrest warrants have been issued for the following
for Sale of Cocaine.
West side of Hendry County
1. James W. Harris, Sr., age 22
2. Leonard D. Gilley, age 26
3. James C. Strickland, age 22
4. Mario Martinez, Jr., age 24
5. Nathan D. Francis, age 19
6. James Heron, age 48
7. Devon Kennedy, age 20

East side of Hendry County
1. Trumanine J. Moody, age 22
2. Joel Justin Ruth, age 23
3. Nicholas Thomas, age 14

Wanted: Info On Puppy Death

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- A puppy that had apparently been killed was found in the bushes on Tuesday March 27, hanging from the pepper trees on the bank of the Caloosahatchee River in Moore Haven just off West Rd. It probably had been placed there sometime close to the previous weekend of March 24th, 25th. The dog was about a 25 to 30 lb medium size dog with a white or off-white short coat. It had small ears that flopped down and a long tail.

If anyone recognizes this pup, please call so we can find out why it ended up like this. The person responsible for this should take responsibility. This poor creature deserved better. If you have information leading to the person responsible, please call the Caloosa Humane Society at 863-675-0997 or Glades County Animal Control 863-946-6001. Please be a voice for this dog.