Friday, November 30, 2007

Charges In LaBelle Stabbing Death

Geronimo Diaz Charged With Manslaughter

LABELLE, FL. -- On November 24, at 12:42 a.m., Deputies were dispatched to the Azteca Apartments located at 4269 South State Road 29 to investigate an alleged stabbing. 

Deputies located, what appeared to be, two victims.  One victim, Alfredo Mendez, of 4270 Turkey Run, appeared to have been stabbed in the chest and was lying on the ground.  Another victim,Geronimo Diaz, of 4270 Turkey Run, was transported to Lee Memorial with a laceration to his throat.

Alfredo Mendez was pronounced dead at the scene by  E.M.S.    The death of Alfredo Mendez is being treated as a homicide and is under investigation.
During this same time period, at the same address, Geronimo Diaz is alleged to have chased Wilfredo Mendez with a knife.  Wilfredo Mendez was able to elude Diaz and reported the incident to the Sheriff�s Office.  
According to Sheriff Ronnie Lee, Investigators have completed the investigation into the death of Alfredo Mendez and on November 30, 2007, Geronimo Diaz was charged with Manslaughter.  He remains in the Hendry County Jail with no bond.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

At The Glades County Commission Meeting

Millions of $$ Slated To Be Spent In Glades County

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- At Tuesday's meeting of the Board of Glades County Commissioners the following were on the agenda:

Florida Department of Transportation liaison Susan King reported on $30,037,241 in projects for Glades County through fiscal year 2012 and 20013 including $6,965,286 for 2008 that will, among other projects see the completion of  county road 720 in Muse from the Bee Branch Bridge west to the Charlotte County line, and paving of shoulders for bike paths on county road 731 Loop in Lakeport, and resurfacing of State Road 29 from north of the Hendry County line to SR 78.  She stated the widening and resurfacing project of State Road 78 eastward from State Road 29 through Ortona was scheduled to begin in July of 2008.

South Florida Water Management Projects

Agnes Ramsey reported that on the  C-43 Water Quality Project, SFWMD   had acquired the Boma property south of Ortona Locks and consideration has been given to the commissioners' concerns; a strip along the riverfront to a depth of 1000 will be utilized for public access to the Caloosahatchee, and frontage on SR 80 on the south end would be future surplus for possible commercial development. 

She noted that Lee County had funded $10 million of the $37 million purchase price.  She stated the first item on their agenda would be to determine how the property would be utilized for water quality management depending on how much funding would be available after the January referendum on ad valorem taxing.

She expected the property to initially be leased back to the current owner who would continue to pay property tax and though she could not give details, assured the commissioners that SFWMD is committed to payment in lieu of taxes.

Commissioners Protest Proposed STA For Water Management

Commissioner Paul Beck provided a map of a proposed Stormwater Treatment Area encompassing 8,000 acres along SR 78 between Harney Pond Canal/CR 721 on the west and Indian Prairie Canal on the east. 

Beck stated that according to Glades County Property records, (not including the recent  Boma property and Paradise Run near the Kissimmee River) SFWMD already has removed 8,474.78 acres from the Glades County tax rolls valued at $61,597,877.  Ad valorem and MSTU taxes at current millage would be almost $733,000 per year, plus school taxes, Commissioner Donna Storter Long says.

He explained that when the Seminole Tribe creates their new casino gambling �destination� complex, this proposed site would be prime real estate for off-reservation commercial development and residential development for "work force" housing which some say an expected future need will be for homes for 5000 employees.

He expressed alarm that SFWMD would be removing such valuable property from the tax rolls for water storage behind a 7 foot embankment less than 1000 feet from State Road 78, some places less than 200 ft.  He moved to have the County Manager to prepare a resolution of protest to this location of an STA and request for prior notification of the board by SFWMD prior to other acquisition considerations.  His motion passed 5-0.

Commission Wants Input About Proposed LaBelle Nature Park

Commissioner Donna Storter Long inquired if the County had received correspondence asking for participation in the committee that the City of LaBelle has appointed to develop plans for their 176 acre park in Glades County along Caloosahatchee River. 

Mr. Taylor stated he had not, but consideration would have to be given to the fact that that property was panther habitat.  Sheriff Whidden stated he had been contacted by City of LaBelle Mayor Paul Puletti concerning provision of law enforcement and interlocal agreement for law enforcement and public safety services.


Calling All Bird Watchers And Photographers!

Enjoy The Outdoors? Here's A Great Fun Opportunity

LABELLE, FL. -- Birders, otherwise knonw as "bird watchers,"of all skill levels as well as photographers are needed for the First "STA5-Clewiston Christmas Bird Count"  says organizer Margaret England of LaBelle.

The event will be held from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday December 15th.  Participants of this unique outdoor activity will need to bring their lunch, snacks, and water.  Four different eams will meet at various locations around eastern Hendry county to count the bird species here.

The "STA5 Team" will meet at the STA5 gate at 7 a.m..  The  "West Team"  will meet  at Canon Hammock Park at 7 a.m. That team will survey L-1 Canal Road, 835 in the morning, return to Canon Hammock for lunch, and survey a private farm from noon to 6 p.m. 

The "East Team" will meet at Rogers and Miami Canal Road at 7 a.m. They will survey the Miami Canal Road 1 mile south of 827 to the Manley Ditch Levee.  The "Blumberg Team" will meet at 7 a.m. to  survey Blumberg Road.
A post count dinner will be served at Camp E-Tu-Makee (17500 CR 835) at 6 p.m. To Join a team contact Margaret England. Email:, or call: 863-517-0202 or 863-674-0695

Why You Must Shop Online This Season

Four Reasons To Shop Online

1. Delivery Direct To Your Home Or Office
2. Easy Comparison Shopping
3. Saves Time
4. Best Prices

Your Shopping At Amazon Supports The Sunday Morning News -

Monday, November 26, 2007

Another South LaBelle Murder

Man Dead After Throat Cut

LABELLE, FL. -- On November 24, at 12:42 a.m., Hendry County Deputies were dispatched to the Azteca Apartments located at 4269 South State Road 29, three miles south of LaBelle to investigate an alleged stabbing. 

Deputies located, what appeared to be, two victims.  One victim, Alfredo Mendez, of 4270 Turkey Run, appeared to have been stabbed in the chest and was lying on the ground.  Another victim,Geronimo Diaz, of 4270 Turkey Run, was transported to Lee Memorial with a laceration to his throat.

Alfredo Mendez was pronounced dead at the scene by  E.M.S.    The death of Alfredo Mendez is being treated as a Homicide and is under investigation.

During this same time period, at the same address, Geronimo Diaz is alleged to have chased Wilfredo Mendez with a knife.  Wilfredo Mendez was able to elude Diaz and reported the incident to the Sheriff�s Office.  According to Sheriff Ronnie Lee, Investigators have obtained sufficient evidence for an arrest.  Diaz will be charged with Aggravated Assault With A Deadly Weapon.

Four Murder Suspects Caught

One Dead After Truck Ride From Azteca Store
LABELLE, FL. -- At 1:46 a.m., November 24, the Hendry County Sheriff's Office received a report of a robbery south of LaBelle off State Road 29 and after talking with a victim found that one of the other victims was missing. 

According to one of the victims, Jose Lopez Francisco, age 29, and a friend Jose Cruz, age 20, were picked up at the Azteca Store, on State Road 29 by two white females and two black males, and promised a ride home.

Instead, they were driven to a remote area located off  E Road three miles south of LaBelle, where he and Cruz were told to exit the vehicle.  As they exited the vehicle they were struck with bottles and beaten until they gave up all their money and shoes. 

The four suspects then drove away, leaving Francisco and Cruz in the middle of the roadway.  Francisco then walked back to his residence, leaving Cruz in the roadway.

Body Discovered In Woods

When Deputies arrived at the scene, they were unable to locate Cruz, however, at approximately 6:45 a.m., his body was discovered in a wooded area off of E Road. 

Sheriff Ronnie Lee said Investigators worked long hours, some over 30 hours straight, until all four suspects were found.

Arrested were Josefa Estela Osorio, age 20 of 612 Lopez Street Clewiston, Virgen Osorio, age 19 of 550 South Lopez Street Apartment #18 Clewiston, James Henry Williams, age 18 of 455 Clay Street LaBelle, and Jaquil Williams, age 18 of 475 Clay Street LaBelle. 

All four were charged with Murder, Robbery, and Aggravated Battery.  All suspects remain in the Hendry County Jail with No Bond.

Georgia Man Dead In Crash

US 27 Crash Leaves Man Dead

CLEWISTON, FL. -- A Sunday afternoon crash on U.S. 27 at State Road 80 left 61-year old Jorge Suarez of Atlanta, Georgia dead at the scene as he traveled as a passenger in a 1999 Toyota Corolla driven by  27-year old Annie Suarez, also of Atlanta.

Suarez attempted to turn from U.S. 27 left onto State Road 80 crossing into the path of a 2003 Ford F-250 truck with a camper trailer attached, driven by 60-year old Larry Curtis Dykes of 770 Evercane Road, Clewiston. 65-year old Kenneth Lazere of 815 Caribbean Avenue was a passenger in the truck, as was 10-year old Zachary Dykes . No one in the truck suffered any injuries although it and the camper overturned in the crash.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sunday Morning News Chat Room

Free Chat Room Opens For Sunday Morning News Friends

LABELLE, FL. -- A free, and easy-to-use live Chat Room is now open to all our readers and their friends and family. The chat room is connected to the Sunday Morning News publisher Don Browne's live video TV page.

On the same chat room page, live video can be seen of the editor of the Sunday Morning News. Viewers may talk or chat with him (if desired) while he "slaves" away editing the Sunday Morning News and Southwest Florida Online web pages. Or just watch if you like.

Click here to go to the Chat Room and Live Video. Browne is usually broadcasting video for several hours every day and you'll get to "spy" on him if he's turned on the web camera at his computer.

Chat Room and Live Video TV

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Schuttes Bag Buck

George Schutte Gets His Buck

LABELLE, FL. -- Former Hendry county resident and 1994 graduate of LaBelle High School, George Schutte, now of Lehigh Acres, Fl. bagged a deer while hunding in upstate New York.

George (kneeling with deer) is the son of Mary and John Hollingsworth of Pioneer Plantation in Hendry county, and George and Carol Schutte of Babylon, NY.

George went deer hunting in upstate New York with his Dad, George Sr. (standing in photo) bagging a 10-point buck this past weekend.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Curfews Coming To Glades County

Glades Commissioners Approve Curfew

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- After months of study and meetings, the Glades county commission voted to move forward with an ordinance for a night curfews for minors. A second hearing must be held for final approval.

Employee Service Awards were given out by Chairman Butch Jones to the following employees for their long term service to the county:

Elthea Stafford, Zoning Dept. 34 years, Chuck Lawhon, Road Dept. 34 years, Cassie Cohens, Road Dept. 20 years, Eddie "Gene" Perkins, Road Dept. 20 years, and David Longwell, Courthouse Maintenance 20 years.

Buckhead Ridge Action

The Board adopted Resolutions requesting South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to clean and open Pearce Canal  and the interior rim canal from the Buckhead Ridge Lock Structure S127 to Lake Okeechobee, and continue to maintain them for safe navigability. 

The resolutions were prepared by Maureen Bradley, John O�Neil and Floyd Driggers of Buckhead Ridge.  Mrs. Bradley and Mr. Driggers appeared providing  ownership, assessment and other information they had obtained from Florida Dept of Environmental Protection, SFWMD, and US Army Corps of Engineers.

Approximately 30 residents of Buckhead Ridge attended in support of the Resolutions, including Ralph Drury who also addressed the Board.  The Board directed County Attorney Pringle to review documentation and prepare cover letters for the Chairman to send with the Resolutions when they are transmitted to SFWMD.

Landfill Approvals Sought

The Board, after discussion and review, approved a proposed contract with Glades Landfill LLC, who is seeking approval from Glades County Planning Commission�s Board of Adjustments to modify its current Special Exception (SE) for a Construction and Demolition Debris (c&dd) disposal facility on SR78 3 miles north of US 27 to allow vertical expansion from current 65 feet to 150 feet. 

If the Board of Adjustments grants the SE amendment, Glades County will receive host fees in an up-front lump sum of $1.5million when permits are issued, plus fifty cents per ton for the first 9,600,000 tons ($4.8million) and one dollar per ton for the balance between 65 feet and 150 feet, estimated to be $8 million, plus $60,000 per year to fund employment of a spotter to monitor inflowing waste stream which by this agreement will not contain yard waste. Landscape and vegetative buffering will also be in place along SR 78. 

It is estimated the facility will be filled within 15 years, after which Glades Landfill LLC will construct a scenic overlook with public access, a pavilion and other passive recreational uses. Conditioned with the contract was a separate agreement which modified the existing interim hauling agreement Glades County has with Waste Management to extend beyond the current expiration date of April 2011, at which time the hauling rate for transferring Glades County solid waste from the landfill in Ortona will continue twenty more years with a beginning rate of $40 per ton, up from the existing haul rate of $27.82 per ton. 

Current tipping fees at the landfill are $43 for household waste which means Glades County now collects $43 per ton for incoming waste and pays $27.82 per ton for having it transferred out.

Moving Forward On County Roads

The Board accepted bid from Better Roads to pave approximately one mile on the north end of Fernwood in Muse for $148,173 to be funded from one cent sales tax revenue; work  should be performed immediately following the completion of widening/resurfacing CR 720 in Muse in late spring 2008.  Striping will be provided separately, at which time the roads in Buckhead Ridge will also be striped. 

Avant Brown also reported that he will again attempt to solicit proposals to repair the Harney Pond observation bridge/platform. 

He stated mowing would commence next week in Port LaBelle, and that reports of grass over 31 inches high were because the prior contractor had not performed final mowing. (The County had accepted the mowing responsibility October 9, 2007.)

Mr. Brown commented on the Indian Prairie Campground project noting that the de-mucking project had left the area in worse shape than it was when the County entered into the agreement to manage the campground.  He said now the area is leveled with shell material and no campsites.

He said the mulching company on south 27 had inquired about possibly purchasing the stockpile of muck placed at the Road Dept during the lake de-mucking project last spring.

In Other Commission Matters

Commissioner Donna Storter Long noted that the Community Traffic Safety Team CTS had met at Moore Haven High School concerning the issue of students crossing US 27 at Joey�s Pizza instead of the designated crosswalk at the signal light.  CTST approved School Sup't Wayne Aldrich�s recommendation to approach the City of Moore Haven to adopt an ordinance with penalties for enforcement to prohibit use of that crossing during morning and afternoon hours when students are approaching or leaving the school.

Commissioner Storter Long suggested that if the Board is going to review impact fees in July, perhaps the study should begin now.  The Chairman directed Mr. Taylor to contact Dr. Nicholas who prepared the last study to schedule a review study in the spring of 2008.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Four Reasons To Shop Online

1. Delivery Direct To Your Home Or Office
2. Easy Comparison Shopping
3. Saves Time
4. Best Prices

Your Shopping Here Supports The Sunday Morning News -

Saturday, November 17, 2007

4-Year Old Dead In Muse Crash

Alcohol May Be Factor Says FHP

LABELLE, FL. -- A four-year old child was dead after the crash of a 2005 Chevrolet driven by 21-year old Timothy James Allen of 2310 County Road 731 in Muse. 

Driving with two small children, Allen suffered only minor injuries when he was driving north on unpaved Glades County Road 731, losing control and fishtailing, rotating as the vehicle entered a ditch and overturned ejecting 4-year old Tera Skipper who was unrestrained in the right front seat. Tera was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two-year old Colton Skipper was wearing a seatbelt in the left rear seat and survived the crash.

According to Corporal J. Rongish of the FHP, charges against Allen are pending investigation, as alcohol use may be a factor in the deadly crash. The crash scene was five miles north of County Road 720.

Sunday Morning News Live! - Webcast

Sneak An Up-Close Peek At Your Publisher At Work

LABELLE, FL. -- For those who like to watch live webcams, the editor of the Sunday Morning News invites you to take a look at live webcasts during the week as he slaves away writing and editing the Sunday Morning News and Southwest Florida Online.

Just click on the link below and you'll go to the webcast site. There's no guarantee when he'll be live on camera, but usually during mornings you'll get to "spy" on him. Feel free to register and log in and leave comments or messages on the chat section anytime. If you see something interesting that others might enjoy you are invited to make a "highlight" video. Just "save" a video to the webpage by using the "Fan Highlights" button to save a minute of live video.

Sunday Morning News TV!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Home Sales Pick Up In November

LABELLE, FL. -- From November 6 to November 13, there were five homes sold in the LaBelle area for an average price of $185,400. Those sales included:

1) $140,000 on Calhoun Street - LaBelle
2) $328,000 on Caloosa Estates Lane
3) $210,000 on Tide Circle - Port LaBelle
4) $149,000 on S. Hickory Street - LaBelle
5) $100,000 on S. Missouri Street - LaBelle

Belle Glade Road Improvement Meeting

State Road 80 Improvements to be Discussed Nov. 19

BELLE GLADE, FL. -- The Florida Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting to discuss proposed improvements to be made to S.R. 80 from the U.S. 27 intersection in South Bay to the Canal No. 2 culvert, located 2-1/2 miles east in Belle Glade.  The meeting will be held Monday, Nov. 19, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Belle Glade City Hall, Commission Chambers, 110 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard 

The improvements include: 

·         Milling and repaving the roadway throughout the project limits;

·         Adding new sidewalk on the south side of the road from Mile Post 0.5 to S.R. 715; 

·         Modifying the median drainage structure at the south leg of the Glades Central High School intersection;

·         Upgrading the existing signs and pavement markings;

·         Upgrading the existing traffic signals;

·         Upgrading sidewalks and driveway connections to ADA standards;

·         Installing landscaping and irrigation within the city limits in South Bay and Belle Glade; and 

·         Flatten slope of grassed area of the bus stop on the north side, west of the New River Canal bridge. 

Construction is expected to begin in March 2009 and to be completed in March 2010.  The estimated construction cost is $3.7 million. 

The meeting will have an informal format.  Representatives from FDOT will be available throughout the meeting to discuss the project, answer questions and listen to public concerns. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Seminole Indians To Share Gambling Profits

Slot Machine Profits To Help Schools And Assist Local Governments

MOORE HAVEN, FL.-- Governor Charlie Crist and Mitchell Cypress, Chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, complied with federal guidelines by signing a 25-year compact that has the potential to provide billions of dollars to Florida�s schools. The agreement comes on the eve of the federal government�s approval of a request from the Seminole Tribe of Florida to allow slot machines on tribal lands without any revenue sharing with the state. 

In exchange for significant revenue sharing of profits, the agreement gives the tribe the exclusive right to operate slot machines and card games in the seven existing facilities on tribal lands.  The Seminole Tribe operates local gaming at the Brighton Reservation in Glades county and in Immokalee, south of LaBelle.

"This historic agreement comes after 16 years of negotiations between the State of Florida and the Seminole Nation," Governor Crist said.

The tribe will pay the State of Florida $50 million upon the federal government�s approval of the compact.  Guaranteed annual minimum payments to the State of Florida will be $100 million.  Starting in the third year, the state will receive between 10 and 25 percent of the revenue on a sliding scale, depending on total revenue amounts.  The Florida Legislature will appropriate the funds.

Through the compact, Governor Crist recommends that the funds primarily be used to enhance and support Florida�s education system.  The Governor also recommends that the Legislature designate five percent of the funds to local governments near the tribal lands to assist with increased economic activity, tourism and anticipated ancillary development.

The compact allows the Seminole Tribe of Florida to operate Class III slot machines and banked card games (such as black jack and baccarat) at the seven existing facilities on tribal lands (Immokalee, Big Cypress, Brighton, Hillsborough and three locations in Broward County).  In addition, they will be permitted to conduct six no-limit poker tournaments each year, with 70 percent of the revenue going to charitable organizations

The compact provides a significant disincentive for the future expansion of gambling in Florida. The state will forfeit its share of the tribe�s revenue if such expansion occurs on non-tribal lands.  Excepted from this exclusivity provision are the pari-mutuel facilities in Broward and Miami-Dade counties authorized by the 2004 constitutional amendment and subject to local approval.  Miami-Dade County has not approved the gaming.

The agreement also requires the Seminole Tribe of Florida to develop a compulsive gambling prevention program; submit records to an independent annual financial audit; maintain a legal process for compensating individuals for injuries caused to patrons; ensure consumer protection through compliance with national gaming standards, state building codes and inspections, audits and monitoring of games, financial records and internal procedures.  The tribe will also make provisions for smoke-free gaming and limit admission to patrons age 21 and older. 

Indian gaming casinos on Indian reservations fall under federal jurisdiction.  Governor Crist commented that the federal government had indicated it would allow the tribe to operate the slot machines, even if the state and tribe did not come to an agreement for profit sharing or oversight.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lake Okeechobee Hike Begins Saturday

Big Lake Hike Starts At Pahokee Marina

CLEWISTON, FL. -- On November 17, hikers will gather at the Pahokee Marina to kick off the 16th Annual Big O Hike and celebrate Pahokee�s entry into the Florida Trail family of Gateway Communities.

Since 1992, the 109-mile Florida Trail circuit walk known as the Big O Hike has pumped tourism dollars into small towns around the lake while encouraging hiking for fitness, drawing visitors from as far away as Ontario and California. For 9 days, participants walk from 9.3 to 14.7 miles, starting at sunrise and ending at their leisure, usually by noon.

Although flat and open, the loop trail offers outstanding scenic views, especially at sunrise and sunset, and more than 70 species of birds to add to your life list. The hike passes through five counties around Lake Okeechobee (Palm Beach, Martin, Okeechobee, Glades, and Hendry) where hikers experience the quiet side of South Florida, with opportunities to explore and rest in small lakeside communities, including a Thanksgiving celebration in Clewiston.

Pahokee has been a favorite kickoff point for the Big O Hike for many years, and this fall, the city passed a resolution to become a Florida Trail Gateway Community, drawing community leaders and Florida Trail volunteers closer together. Celebrating natural Florida together boosts not only the local economy, but the sense of community between Floridians. Major J.D. Sasser will preside over the kickoff, where the community will receive road signs and community leaders will join in the first three miles of the hike to Canal Point. 
The hikers begin at the Pahokee Marina, at 8 AM, or at any point along the hike. Joining the hike again this year is Clifton Moody, who at 87 became the oldest hiker to walk around Lake Okeechobee, and last week became the oldest hiker to complete a 132-mile cross-Florida backpacking trip at the age of 90.

In The Service

South Bay's Sgt. Clark Deployed To Iraq

SOUTH BAY, FL. -- Army Staff Sgt. Eddie L. Clark Jr. has deployed to Iraq to support the mission of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Clark, a platoon sergeant, is normally assigned to the 377th Transportation Company, Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas. 

Clark has 17 years of military service and is the son of Katie J. Richards of South Bay, Fla. The sergeant is a 1990 graduate of Glades Central High School, Belle Glade, Fla.

Operation Iraqi Freedom is the official name given to military operations involving members of the U.S. Armed Forces and coalition forces participating in efforts to free and secure Iraq.  Mission objectives focus on force protection, peacekeeping, stabilization, security and counter-insurgency operations as the Iraqi transitional governing bodies assume full sovereign powers to govern the people of Iraq.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Landowners And Tenants To Save Thousands

Groups Now Petitioning To Eliminate Government Tax "Rent" Payments

LABELLE, FL. -- Under proposals by several organizations, Florida's property taxes are to be abolished by state constitutional amendment, saving all property owners and current renters thousands of dollars annually.  Critics of the current property tax system say the taxes amount to an antiquated,  inequitable permanent annual local government "rent" payment by taxpayers but passed through to all citizens.

One such organization, "Not Good Enough Florida"  and it's "Florida Fair Tax Alternative" says the state can receive enough government funds through sales taxes and service fees to meet its budget and not rely on property taxes, which they say are unfair burdens on property owners that trickle down ultimately to extra costs for renters and tenants as well.

The average property owner now pays almost two percent of a property value towards property taxes each year including  special district fees for  water control, recreation, street lights, fire fighting, and trash collection, all of which are added to property tax bills by separate districts depending on the property location in each county. These tax costs are passed directly through by landlords to tenants. A typical family renting a home is paying about two months of their rent to cover property tax payments to the government.

Because no one escapes the costs of the property tax, proponents want local governments to find other ways to collect funds including eliminating current sales tax exceptions including those on stadium skyboxes, charter fishing boats, animal feed, landscapers, pool services, and off road fuel. They say about half of the state and local budgets can be met by eliminating these special exemptions under current laws.

Read Petition To Eliminate Property Tax

List Of Current Petition Initiatives/Constitutional Amendments

Mystery Sky Object To Appear November 11

Look Overhead Tonight For Spectacular Flash

LABELLE, FL. -- Tonight just before sundown, a spectacular flash in the sky will happen over western Hendry county and eastern Lee county.  What is it?  We'll let readers guess for now, and let their curiosity peak and just go out and see it and do a bit of research, and email your guess as to what you see.

Here's how to see the event:  From western Hendry county, At exactly 5:54 P.M. Sunday night look to the North northeast (at 29 degrees east of due north) and look nearly straight up (actually 71 degrees up) and you will see something for a few seconds as bright as the brightest star in the sky. After a second or so it will disappear.

For a truly spectacular view, travel to the Alva area, in eastern Lee county and see the same object in the sky, but about 500 times brighter than those viewing from Hendry county. From Alva the object will appear twice as bright as the the planet Venus which appears near sunrise in the east daily as the "morning star," and this object will also be the brightest object in the sky you will ever see after the moon and sun.

While you're looking for this object, also look to the southwest sky and the brightest object there will be the planet Jupiter.  With a telescope you can easily see Jupiter's moons orbiting around this planet. To the northeast look for the comet Holmes. It's a very large fuzzy object about 45 degrees up in the sky in the constellation Perseus.  Several weeks ago Comet Holmes was not visible, except with a telescope, but expanded to over 500,000 miles wide in a matter of hours last month. Best viewing is with binoculars to see this very large comet ball.

For the maximum viewing brightness of the "mystery" object tonight go to the location on this map. Anywhere on a north-south line from this location will allow seeing the maximum brightness.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Man Dies In State Road 80 Accident

Run Over By Two Vehicles - One "Hit And Run"

LABELLE, FL. -- A vehicle accident on State Road 80, one mile west of county road 833 left an unidentified man dead at the scene Thursday night at 7:18 p.m. The driver was not wearing a seatbelt in the 1993 Honda when it left the roadway and struck a guard rail, ejecting the driver who ended up on the road and was struck twice by two separate vehicles..

According to the accident report, the Honda was eastbound on SR-80 and drifted onto the south shoulder and struck a guardrail. The driver was ejected and came to rest in the eastbound lane of SR-80. Another eastbound vehicle  struck the driver and propelled him several yards to the east and into the westbound lane. Another vehicle was westbound on SR-80 and struck the man while he was in the westbound lane. The second vehicle did not stop or return to the scene. All information regarding the second vehicle and driver is totally unknown. The dead man's identity is unknown at this time.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Five Arrested In Drug Bust

More Cocaine And Marijuana In LaBelle Drug House

LABELLE, FL. -- Members of the Hendry County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant on November 2 at 808 Manatee Avenue in LaBelle.   Deputies located a quantity of crack cocaine, marijuana and prescription drugs.  While conducting the search, Deputies also located $1,886,  money suspected of being used in the dealing of illegal drugs. 

According to Sheriff Ronnie Lee, five people were arrested.  Nekisha Vasser, age 30, was charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of a Controlled Substance (no prescription), Possession of Narcotics Paraphernalia, Possession of Marijuana and Operating a Drug House.  Delroy Travis, age 25 of LaBelle, was charged with Possession of Marijuana.  Rueben Luerano age 43, and Robert Hatch age 38, both of LaBelle and Jonathan Kats age 25 of the Muse area, were charged with Attempt to Purchase Cocaine.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Two Arrested In Montura Murder

Two Arrests After Montura Man Found In Fire

CLEWISTON, FL. -- On October 17, Hendry County Deputies and members of the Montura Fire Department responded to a fire call at 236 Del Sur in Montura Estates.  While extinguishing the fire, Firemen discovered the body of Epitacio Antonio Hernandez-Beltron, age 60, inside the mobile home with his feet and hands bound.  Investigators from the Hendry County Sheriff�s Office, State Fire Marshall�s Office, and Florida Department of Law Enforcement responded to the scene and initiated an investigation.

According to Sheriff Ronnie Lee, shortly after discovering the body of Beltron, Deputies arrested two men and they were being held in the Hendry County Jail on Burglary charges.  Investigators gathered sufficient evidence against these men to charge them with Murder and on November1, Raymond Alberto Diaz, age 43, unknown address, and Vernon Dwayne Stevens, age 24, of 275 North Datil Street Clewiston, were officially charged with the Murder of Beltron. 

In The Service

BELLE GLADE, FL. -- Army Pvt. Rene E. Castaneda 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. Castaneda is a 2007 graduate of Glade Central High School, Belle Glade, Fla.

Friday, November 02, 2007

In The Service

BELLE GLADES.FL. -- Army Pvt. Jerome King 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 Jerome King Sr. of S.W. First Ave., South Bay, Fla., and Cynthia Sherrod of S.E. Third St., Belle Glade, Fla. King is a 2007 graduate of Glades Central High School, Belle Glade.