Monday, June 30, 2008

Sonny's BBQ Up In Flames

Popular Restaurant Destroyed

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Sonny's BBQ Restaurant, a popular Hendry county eatery located on U.S. 27 on the east side of Clewiston went up in flames today.  

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire and no details have been released. The property is owned by Dale and Gail Coyne of Stuart, Florida.

(photo courtesy of Ron Gacula)

Poll - Politician's Street Corner Signs

See Results and Vote On All Previous Polls

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sgt. Chris Strickland Dies In Combat

LaBelle Mourns Loss Of Chris Strickland

LABELLE, FL. -- Marine Staff Sergeant Christopher Strickland 25, of LaBelle, died in combat according to the Department of Defense.

Strickland, son of Beth Church of LaBelle, was assigned to the 1st Marine Logistics Group,  Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Pendleton, California.

"He was my world. He was my strength," said Strickland's mother while talking with an NBC2 reporter. Strickland had been in the Marines for eight years. Strickland leaves a wife and three-year-old son.  Sgt. Strickland will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Drinking And Driving? Watch Out

FHP And Deputies Looking For Drunk Drivers

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Highway Patrol along with the Hendry County Sheriffs Office will be conducting a Comprehensive Roadside Safety Checkpoint on Friday June 27 in Hendry County. This operation will begin during the evening hours and conclude during the early morning hours of June 28.

The objective is to reduce alcohol related traffic fatalities, traffic crashes and other criminal activities. Since DUI related crashes result in more deaths each year than total homicides, it is quite obvious impaired driving and impaired related
crashes constitute a major threat to the safety and well being of the public.

Reducing the deaths and injuries associated with this violation is one of the most important goals of this and other law enforcement agencies. By the use of Comprehensive Roadside Safety Checkpoints along with continuing public information and education, we hope to maximize the deterrent effect and increase the perception of "risk of apprehension" of motorists who would operate a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

U.S. Sugar Getting Out Of Sugar Business

Sugar Selling 187,000 Acres And Company To State For $1.75 Billion

CLEWISTON, FL. --  187,000 acres of agricultural land is expected to be sold the the State of Florida and South Florida Water Management District by U.S. Sugar Corp.  This would vitually wipe out the country's largest sugar cane grower's stock of land south of  Lake Okeechobee. Although at a very attractive price to U.S. Sugar of about $9000 per acre.

The largest company and main industry in Hendry county, U.S. Sugar is said to have been negotiating secretly for seven months for the sale.  It is unknown what immediate effect of one of the largest land sales in Florida history may bring. U.S. Sugar has 1,700 employees, down from 2,100 in 2006. It's large sugar refinery and mill is located in Clewiston. The sale would take the land off the Hendry county property tax rolls.
Sugar also owns Southern Gardens Citrus in mid-Hendry county  and 33,000 acres of citrus groves, and a short line railroad in Clewiston to haul cane and related products. It earns about $400,000,000 yearly from sugar cane production. The sales price of $1.7 billion seems to be a capitalized number based on about a 25% gross revenue stream from the cane.

Governor Crist's office said of the sale Tuesday at a press conference in Palm Beach County, "The proposed agreement between the South Florida Water Management District and the United States Sugar Corporation involves the public purchase of nearly 300 square miles spanning four counties in South Florida – a land mass as large as New York City. The District will also take ownership of the company's assets, including 200 miles of railroad, a state-of-the-art sugar mill, sugar refinery and citrus processing plant. Subject to independent appraisals and approval by the District's Governing Board, water managers will invest $1.75 billion in cash and certificates of participation to finance the acquisition."

Chief Executive Robert Buker reportedly estimated the worth of the company's land and other assets, including its sugar mill and refinery, at more than $2.5 billion, so the sale is at about 70% of the company's asset value. It is unclear if the government intends to get into the sugar refinery business or if this may be a scheme where U.S. Sugar can lease back the operation and benefit somehow by the generous sugar subsidy payments made annually to them by the Federal government.

It may take about five years to complete the entire sale in stages, with the water management district paying the bulk of the funds. The district recently announced it was halting work on a 26-square-mile reservoir near South Bay to be part of the Everglades restoration plans in the area. Not including this purchase, State and Federal government has spent over $7 billion on Everglades reconstruction so far.

This is the largest Florida conservation purchase of private land in history.  The land is larger the the entire county of Pinellas. U.S. Sugar two years ago, hired a firm headed by Brian Ballard, who was a top campaign adviser to Charlie Crist in 2006.

Rep. Mahoney Responds To Sale

Following the announcement that the State of Florida and South Florida Water Management District have reached a $1.7 billion deal to buy 187,000 acres of U.S. Sugar Corp.'s lands, Congressman Tim Mahoney issued this news statement:

"The State of Florida's decision to have South Florida Water Management purchase 187,000 acres of land owned by U.S. Sugar Corp. holds the promise of taking a major step towards Everglades restoration. Converting this farmland into filter marshes will mean a greater and cleaner flow of water into the Everglades, lessening the need to use the Caloosahatchee and St Lucie Rivers as runoff. It will improve our estuaries and help our coastal communities. Today's decision provides an important complement to Congress' recent passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which has finally positioned the Federal Government to live up to its promise to help fund Everglades restoration. Furthermore, Everglades restoration is critical for South Florida's economic development as it will provide fresh water for our region.

Since coming to Congress, one of my top priorities has been to create jobs with a future for rural Florida around Lake Okeechobee. While all Floridians applaud this bold move to restore the Everglades, we must recognize our responsibility to the tens of thousands of people of Hendry, Palm Beach and Glades Counties. A comprehensive economic development plan must be developed immediately to ensure that these communities do not suffer. I call on Governor Crist to lay out his transition plan and I commit to working with the Governor to secure a bright future for the affected families living in some of our most economically challenged communities."

LaBelle Man Appointed To Acupuncture Board

Governor Names Gunter

LABELLE, FL. -- Florida Governor Charlie Crist today announced the following reappointment and appointments to the Board of Acupuncture, including Greg Gunter of LaBelle. (Senate confirmation required)

· Gregory W. Gunter, 46, of LaBelle, co-owner of Gunter Furniture at 575 S. Main Street, reappointed for a term beginning June 23, 2008, and ending October 31, 2010. Gunter has been an officer of the LaBelle Rotary Club for years.

Others appointed to the board:

· Barbara Rezmer, 65, of Destin, retired, succeeding Gloria Rosello, appointed for a term beginning June 23, 2008, and ending October 31, 2008.

· Barbara Schwartz, 62, of Ocala, self-employed acupuncturist, succeeding Frank Ervolino, appointed for a term beginning June 23, 2008, and ending October 31, 2010.

· Barbara Thurman, 50, of Port St. Lucie, acupuncture physician with Natural Healing Center Inc., succeeding Paulette Karr, appointed for a term beginning June 23, 2008, and ending October 31, 2011.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Under Insured Numbers Growing

Middle Income Families Hit Hardest

LABELLE, FL. -- The number of underinsured adults --those with health insurance all year, but also very high medical expenses relative to their incomes -- rose by 60% between 2003 and 2007, from 16 million to more than 25 million.

Middle- and higher-income families were hit the hardest by the steep increase: underinsurance rates nearly tripled for those with incomes above 200% of the federal poverty level, which is an annual income of $40,000 or higher for a family. Half of the underinsured (53%) and two-thirds of the uninsured (68%) went without needed care because of cost, including not seeing a doctor when sick, not filling prescriptions, and not getting recommended diagnostic tests or treatments.

By contrast, only 31% of the insured reported going without such care. The underinsured were almost as likely as the uninsured to face financial stress related to medical bills. Nearly half (45%) of the underinsured reported difficulty paying bills, being contacted by collection agencies for unpaid bills, or changing their way of life to pay their medical bills, as did half of the uninsured (51%). By contrast, only 21% of the insured reported financial stress related to medical bills.

Rural Internet Broadband Lacking

Florida Tax Credits And Savings To Encourage Development

LABELLE, FL. -- Despite the potential economic and social benefits of broadband network access, there remains a digital divide between urban and rural communities in the availability of high-speed networks, and state governments are taking a variety of approaches to address the problem.

Broadband adoption averages 73% of Internet households in urban areas of the country but just 55% in rural areas. A number of states have created task forces to evaluate the status of broadband deployment and consider possible regulatory changes to encourage its expansion to underserved areas, some are offering tax incentives to service providers and consumers to encourage infrastructure development and increase demand for the service, and some states have established dedicated funding to support infrastructure development.

Florida provides income tax credits for any project designed to provide increased access to high-speed broadband capabilities, which includes coverage of a rural enterprise zone. The state also exempts development projects sponsored by nonprofit or government �eligible sponsors� to increases access to high-speed broadband capability for rural communities with enterprise zones from sales tax.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Florida's Drug Deaths

Alcohol Tops List Of Drugs Found In Deceased

LABELLE, FL. -- In 2007, there were more than 168,900 deaths in Florida. Of those, 8,620 individuals were found to have died with one or more of the drugs specified in this report in their bodies, according to a news report from Florida's Medical Examiner offices.

The three most frequently occurring drugs found in decedents were Ethyl Alcohol (4,179), all Benzodiazepines (2,627), and Cocaine (2,179). The drugs that caused the most deaths were Cocaine, Methadone, all Benzodiazepines (includes Alprazolam), Oxycodone, Ethyl Alcohol, Hydrocodone, and Morphine.

Despite the increase in heroin incidences, deaths caused by heroin still remain lower than in 2005 or any prior year. Prescription drugs continued to be found more often than illicit drugs in both lethal and non-lethal levels.

Mahoney Opposes Bush Oil Plan

Shortsighted And Irresponsible Says Congressman

LABELLE, FL.-- At a press conference Friday Congressman Tim Mahoney (FL-16) announced that he has co-sponsored The Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act of 2008, which will help lower gas prices by demanding that oil companies utilize the 68 million acres of federal land onshore and offshore that they currently lease, but are not in production. Congressman Mahoney also stated his opposition to the President's proposal to end the moratorium on offshore oil drilling.

"The President's proposals to drill off the coast of Florida are shortsighted and irresponsible. Not only could drilling imperil our $65-billion dollar tourist industry, there is insufficient oil there to meaningfully address demand. We know that the entire supply in the "Gulf would fill U.S. demand for only about 10 months," said Congressman Mahoney. "Before we put Florida's economy and families at risk, I want to know why the major oil companies have yet to drill on more than 68 million acres of Federal lands they already under lease. I want know why big oil companies have yet to drill in the 39 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico already available to them. I want to know why big oil companies should continue to get $14 billion in subsidies, when America needs to invest in alternative energy."

Currently, oil companies are not producing oil or gas on the nearly 68 million acres of federal land already under their control.  Offshore, big oil is producing on only about 20 percent of the acres they hold, while onshore, companies are producing on less than 30 percent of the acres they hold. These unused areas could produce an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil and 44.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day, nearly double current domestic oil production.

"It is clear that drilling is not the answer as we have increased drilling by 66% since 2000 yet gas prices have skyrocketed by 220% during that same period. With nearly 68 million acres of onshore and offshore public land already leased for oil and gas drilling but untouched by the energy companies who hold those leases, it's time for President bush and oil companies to stop making the false claim that the US is not making enough land available for energy production," said Congressman Mahoney. "Florida families, who are spending up to 20% of their take-home pay on gas, deserve real solutions not self-serving propaganda. Today is the first of many steps that Congress will take to ensure that high prices don't rob Floridians of their American Dream."

The Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act of 2008 employs a "use it or lose it" tactic that will require oil and gas companies to either produce or give up the federal onshore and offshore leases they are stockpiling by barring the companies from obtaining any more leases unless they can demonstrate that they are producing oil and gas, or are diligently developing the leases they already hold.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Glades Political Rallies For August

Glades Candidates To Meet Public

MOORE HAVEN, FL. --  Want to learn more about your Glades county candidates? Here's your chance to visit any of the local community meetings in Glades County.

Tuesday August 5 @ 7:00 pm

Lakeport Community Center, 1239 Red Barn Rd, Lakeport, North of Lakeport water tower)


Thursday August 7 @ 6:30 pm

Doyle Conner Building, 900 US 27 N, Moore Haven


Tuesday August 12 @ 7 pm

New Beginnings Church, (Old welcome center at Port LaBelle), 4501 Birchwood Parkway, (North side of SR80 on east side of Birchwood Parkway)


Thursday August 14 @ 7 pm

Buckhead Ridge Community Center, SR 78 behind Fire Station, Buckhead Ridge


Tuesday August 19 @ 7 pm

Palmdale Community Center, Next to Fire Station, Main Street Palmdale


Thursday August 21 @ 7 pm

Muse Community Center, 3897 Loblolly Bay (CR 720), Muse (note: bridge is out east of Center, take detour route)


Friday August 22 @ 7 pm

Ortona Library, 1115 Coffee Mill Hammock, Behind Fire Station on Ortona Rd, Ortona

Pet Adoption Day At Bank

See And Adopt A Pet

LABELLE, FL. --Florida Community Bank will be hosting a pet adoption day on Wednesday June 25 from 10am to 2pm in support of the Caloosa Humane Society, a non-profit organization that houses the homeless animals of the Labelle area.
Representatives from the Humane Society will have dogs and cats on-site that are available for adoption.  In addition to pet adoptions, the event will also feature a coloring contest for children, live DJ entertainment, a visit from �Lucky� the Dalmatian, refreshments and the opportunity to sign up to become a member of the Caloosa Humane Society. 
On the 25th and throughout the month of June, the Labelle branch of Florida Community Bank will be collecting donations of the items needed to keep the Humane Society running. Among the much-needed items are bleach, 409 Cleanser, Simple Green, Dawn dish soap, paper towels, newspaper, garbage bags, cat toys, canned cat & dog food, clay litter, and old blankets or towels.  In addition to these items the humane society is always in need of monetary donations, volunteers  and any available type of community support.
The adoption day and donation drive are being held at Florida Community Bank located at 155 N. Bridge Street, LaBelle, Florida.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sonic Booms - Shuttle Over Hendry/Glades

LABELLE, FL. -- The Space Shuttle Discovery announced itself loudly Saturday morning with double sonic booms. The shuttle flew directly over Hendry and Glades county at a speed much faster than the speed of sound during its final approach to the Kennedy Space Center near Cocoa Beach, Fl.

Don Browne broadcast live video from NASA as the Shuttle flew over LaBelle with running commentary until its landing at the Space Center on Florida's east coast.The Shuttle had spent two weeks in space and docked with the International Space Station last week.

Watch live video from Don Browne - Florida on

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Cliff Miller Suggests Special Port LaBelle District

Planning Workshop Asks For Land Use In 2050

PORT LABELLE, FL. -- At a visioning workshop for the Port LaBelle Oxbow area Thursday night, Cliff Miller suggests forming a special planning district for the former Oxbow Golf Course lands.

Miller, formerly Glades County Manager, represents the two owners of the Port LaBelle Marina. He told the audience that because the area of the former Oxbow Golf course is in Glades and Hendry county it should have a special planning district.

Residents in the area are seeking to keep the lands, now designated as a Regional Park, as recreational zoned land, while the county and developers are seeking comercial and high density housing zones.

While residents are concerned about uses of the land "now", the Hendry county commission set up, through consultants Johnson Engineering, a "visioning" workshop to ask residents what they would like to see in 42 years, leading to some wild speculation at the workshop as to the best uses for the land in year 2050.

Watch live video from Don Browne

View All Videos From the Port LaBelle Visioning Meeting:
Readers may make comments about the Future of Port LaBelle Oxbow at the videos and on this blog.

Joe Grubbs, Johnson Engineering/Vince Cautero, Hendry County Planner
Charles Fulp Asks About Recreation - Does He Get An Answer?
Charles Fulp and residents look to future
Port LaBelle Oxbow Future? - Recreation or Condos?

Man Hole Covers Recovered

Got Stolen Scrap Metal? This Gal Apparently Did

LABELLE, FL. -- On the morning of June 10, the Hendry County Sheriff's Office received a call from Ashley�s and Sons Salvage Company reporting that someone had just attempted to sell them several man hole covers, steel water pipes, and steel grates.  Ashley�s suspected the items were stolen and refused to buy them. 

They passed the information on to Sergeant Shawn Reed.  Sergeant Reed responded and located the truck and driver at the Azteca store located on State Road 29 south of LaBelle.  Sergeant Reed contacted the Lee County Sheriff�s Office and it was determined the items were the property of the Lee County Water Management and had been stolen from a construction site in the Lehigh Acres area. 

Sheriff Ronnie Lee said due to the cooperation of Ashley�s and Sons, Sergeant Reed was able to locate and arrest Linda Liliana Chavez-Hernandez of 322 South East 14 Street, Immokalee.   The investigation continues and more arrests are expected.

In The Service

Indiantown Man Serves Country

INDIANTOWN, FL. -- Army National Guard Spec. Ronald I. Hatch has been mobilized and activated at Fort Dix, N.J., for a deployment overseas to a forward operating base in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  The soldier is a member of the 38th Military Police Company, a National Guard unit based in Danville, Ind.

Hatch, a unit supply specialist, has served in the military for 13 years. He is the son of Susan L. and stepson of William Bestwick of S.W. Sand Wedge Drive, Indiantown, 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 peoples of Iraq.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hendry/Glades Commissioners To Meet Public

"Visioning" Public Workshop  For Land Use And Zoning

LABELLE, FL. -- The combined Hendry and Glades county Board of Commissioners are to meet the public Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Townsend Center building at the cooperative extension office on Pratt Boulevard.  (Across from the Health Department, south of Cowboy Way, east of the airport). The meeting will be held in the building's large conference room where a large crowd is expected.

The purpose of the meeting is to receive input from residents, property owners and others interested in the ultimate future land use and zoning in Hendry county, and in particular the future land use of the land around the former 27-hole golf course in Port LaBelle.

The LaBelle community group Save Oxbow As Recreation has for years advocated keeping the current agriculture land for recreational uses. The old golf course is currently designated as a regional park on the Hendry and Glades county comprehensive plan. It has been subdivided into parcels now under numerous owners.

The current land owners have proposed building condos and shopping areas on the Hendry county land between SR80 and the Port LaBelle Inn. The land northeast in Glades county has been subdivided for hundreds of housing units for many years but currently is used for cow pastures.

Crocodile Heads For Palmdale

Croc Returned From South Carolina Capture

PALMDALE, FL. -- Allen Register, of Gatorama, in Palmdale, the rural community west of Moore Haven along US27, returns home from South Carolina Thursday morning with an American crocodile caught recently in the surf off the Isle of Palms in South Carolina by South Carolina Department of Natural Resources' permitted trappers.

American crocodiles live in coastal areas throughout the Caribbean, and occur at the northern end of their range in southern Florida. Over 2,000 of these animals can be found in southern Florida living in brackish and saltwater areas. DNR biologists are not sure why the crocodile was found in South Carolina waters, and suspect the animal may have been brought to this location by a private collector or exhibitor, as the area is far from its normal range. 

To get to the bottom of the mystery the croc will undergo DNA testing at Gatorama to try to find the answer to that question. A sample will be taken Thursday, and then sent to Florida Wildlife and Conservation Commission for analysis.

S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials transferred custody of the croc to Gatorama and Allen Register, Wednesday, at Roark�s Reptile Safari in North Charleston, where it had been held for safe keeping following its capture.

The six foot crocodile will be transported in a large wooden crate straight through from South Carolina and will be DNA tested before it�s release.  It will be held in a pool viewable from the animal park�s walkway for a short quarantine period before joining the resident breeding colony of American Crocodiles at Gatorama.

Gatorama is known world wide in the industry as the leader in captive breeding of American Crocodiles. It will be raised in captivity in a natural swampy habitat, as part of a secondary breeding colony at the Gatorama facility that specializes in alligator and crocodile outreach and educational tours.

The American crocodile was federally listed as endangered in 1975 when it was estimated that fewer than 300 lived in Florida. The American crocodile has since been upgraded to a threatened species due to its progress and recovery.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Florida Tomatoes Safe

Safe To Eat Says Ag Commissioner

LABELLE, FL. -- Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson has announced that Florida-grown tomatoes have been deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has been added to the agency's list of states with "safe to eat" tomatoes.  FDA's website is updated in the evening and will reflect the change.
"I was confident Florida was not the problem and was not the source of the salmonella outbreak impacting other states," Bronson said.  "Florida tomato growers have one of the most stringent tomato production programs in the nation.  They initiated the heightened safety standards several years ago to ensure public confidence in their product."
After reviewing Florida's safety initiative, the timing of the illness outbreak and the timing of tomato harvesting, FDA added Florida to the "safe to eat" list.  Growers will provide a certificate with each shipment verifying the tomatoes are from Florida.  Bronson points out that the tomatoes that are now being harvested and shipped from Florida did not even exist when the salmonella outbreak occurred.  He says Florida growers sell an abundance of their product in Florida and there have been no reported illness in the state.  Florida growers also sell predominantly to eastern states and the bulk of illnesses have occurred in western states.
"It is critical that consumers know that our tomatoes are safe and delicious," Bronson said.  "Our growers have worked hard to ensure the utmost safety of their product."
Currently, tomato harvesting is under way in three areas of the state, Quincy near Tallahassee and Ruskin and Palmetto near the Tampa area.  Growers have already had truckloads of tomatoes turned away by retailers concerned about the salmonella outbreak that has impacted mostly western states.  Retailers are being notified of Florida's addition to the "safe to eat" list and it is hoped Florida tomatoes will be back on store shelves immediately and enjoyed by all.
In 2006-2007, Florida tomato industry had $464 million in cash receipts.  They have an estimated direct and indirect economic value of $1.1 billion in total direct and indirect economic impact, provide over 15,700 jobs and contribute $58 million indirectly to local and state tax revenue streams.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Poll - Hendry's Best School Superintendent

Letter To The Editor


Every four years the citizens of Hendry County are victimized at the hands of those that shouldn't be, but want to be, but don't have the sense God gave them.  Let's analyze something here in response to the letter of a former member of the Hendry County Sheriff's Office.

As to personnel on the street at any given time, might I ask, before Ronnie Lee was elected the first time, how many deputies were on the street, actually patrolling and solving crimes…other than the ones who were stealing guns, victimizing the citizens of Hendry County and who knows what else, and being just plain criminals under the guise of the Badge?

As to Sheriff Lee "living in Lee County"… might I ask that same former member just how many days you spend, along with your criminal cronies, at "Alternative Lifestyle" and "swinger" bars in Lee County before you scurried back to hide in 'ole Hendry County and then portray yourself as a Law Enforcement Officer?  You are right.  Ronnie Lee and his family did live in Lee County.  He worked the 20th Judicial Circuit as an Investigator for many years, about the same time you were doing your drugs in the twilight.  Just in case you didn't know, the 20th Judicial Circuit includes Hendry County.  You guys didn't seem to have a problem with a former Chief Deputy living all of the way on Sanibel now did you?  Why was that?  I guess none of you can answer that truthfully now, can you.  (I believe the statue of limitations has run now, so…)

And might I ask that same former member, "Just what did you do in the Marines?"  And I will answer that for you.  The same as you and your cronies did when the Citizens of Hendry had the misfortune of having you on that Department…nothing.  Your MOS was a paper-pusher and you didn't stay long in the Corps because you couldn't handle it.  You badger Sheriff Lee's tenure in the Corps and I will say it was a lot longer than you, and he retired from it…with Honor.

A true Marine honors the Corps and is proud of their accomplishments in service, including having their uniforms that they wear.  Why don't you ask my wife about her father, who served in the Corps in WW II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, before he retired?  We buried him in the most honorable of grounds, Arlington National Cemetery recently, in you know what?  His dress Blues.  He kept one of everyone of his uniforms after retiring from the Corps after 23 years.  I call that Honor and Pride.  Nothing you and your cronies would have the first clue about.

Not taking anything from the Marines that fight for our Counties freedoms today, but he WAS a Marine.  My Father was a Marine.  Two of my Brother in laws were Marines; one just retired from the Corps, just as his Father did.  Not a pretend one such as yourself and several others of your buddies.

And no, I did not serve in our country's military.  I served my community for 30 years.  I have raised my son, and for that fact, all of my children, to be respectful to all, not victimize people around themselves because of someone's illogical beliefs or stupidities.  I guess I did alright…he has a full ride scholarship into the U.S. Army to become an Officer.  Did you ever do that?  I guess not…You have no honor as you did not serve in the beliefs of the Corps.

You talk about psychological disorders?  Might you enlighten the readers on what type of yoga or outer space science you deal in today?  Please explain why you and the buddies that I refer to, who can't pass psychological testing, or go with larger law enforcement agencies that require you to pass those tests, including polygraphs.  I guess you can't answer that one either?

Whereas I do not know personally any of the other candidates, I do know that many are there because of let's say, influences, who want to control the Sheriff's Office and continue to victimize the Citizenry of Hendry County, you and your cronies included, under the guise of a deputy with the Hendry County Sheriff's Office.  Most have no significant experience.  Most couldn't care less about the rights of a citizen of that county and/or the good people who do exist in the Hendry County Sheriff's Office.

The individual that you back because he has promised you and others jobs, might I ask you this?  How come he has signs out there on SR 80 in front of a residence that the individual stole a large amount of money from a nearby town and then moved to Hendry County?  How much money did that guy give your guy?  And for what, to let his little 'ole wife back in there to do nothing at the taxpayers expense?  What experience does your candidate have?  Not much from my memory.

The ignorant and spiteful bigots you refer to are you and yours.  You were incompetent before, and it apparently has continued.  And to clear the record for all of the readers, I suggested to fire you and your cronies because of the incompetency you and yours exhibited…Sheriff Lee wanted to give you all a chance and you proved those of us right who knew how incompetent you truly were.  You guys are the reason that law enforcement is at an all-time low in the respect category.  You and your cronies are despicable members of that community, and the citizens of that community deserve a whole lot better.  Not want-to-be's who wear a badge, the same badge that you and your cronies tarnished, and will continue to tarnish, at the expense of the good people of Hendry County if the truths are not righted.  The same badge that many have worn, and died for, with honor and pride.

The Hendry County Sheriff's Office, the good people within that office, and those citizens deserve a whole lot more than a pack of degenerates who hide behind a badge who would not know compassion and respect to their fellow human beings if it slapped 'em in the face.

No Allen, I do not have a dog in this fight.  But I do know that the citizenry of Hendry County knows what you and yours are, and by the grace of God, will show you and your cronies that in the upcoming elections.

J.A. "Tony" Vetter, Lieutenant (Retired)
Former Captain – Hendry County Sheriff's Office
A resident of Lee County…

Monday, June 02, 2008

Drug Bust In Harlem

Money, Gun, And Drugs Found

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Hendry County Deputies executed a search warrant Friday May 30 at 946 Virginia Avenue, in the Harlem subdivision west of Clewiston, Florida. Crack cocaine, twenty six bags of marijuana packaged for sale, one large bag containing 206 grams of marijuana, 30 ecstasy pills packaged for sale, $1200.00 U.S. currency, two digital weight scales, and a 12 gauge sawed off shotgun were seized. 

Lee Odoms, age 20, was arrested and charged with Possession of a Hallucinogen with Intent to Sell, Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Sell, Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell, Possession of Marijuana over 20 grams, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Operating a Drug House.  According to Sheriff Ronnie Lee, Odoms posted a $30,000.00 bond the same day of his arrest and was released from the County Jail.

Two Dead Found In Truck Fire

Mystery Surrounds Two Bodies

LABELLE, FL. -- On May 31 at approximately 12:42 p.m., the Hendry County Sheriff's Office received a report of a truck on fire in an orange grove on North Church Road in Felda, Florida. 

When Deputies arrived the cab of the truck was completely engulfed in flames.  The Felda Fire Department extinguished the fire and two bodies, burned beyond recognition, were discovered inside the cab of the truck.  The Medical Examiner�s Office in Lee County is attempting to identify the deceased through DNA. 

According to Sheriff Ronnie Lee, Florida Department of Law Enforcement is assisting with the investigation.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

LaBelle Webcast Most Watched In World This Week

Interactive Chat Webcast Top In Viewer Counts This Week

LABELLE, FL. -- Sunday Morning editor Don Browne's interactive chat and webcast was the most watched live webcast at internet broadcasting's this week.  Browne had over 20,000 viewers pass through the LaBelle chat/live broadcast channel this week. 

The broadcast live from LaBelle this week included live coverage of the Space Shuttle Discovery launch, sports, and Browne's normal informal chatting with visitors around the world, and his zany music entertainment show. features hundreds of live internet broadcasts daily. this week announced that Don won a recent contest for new video tutorials on "how to broadcast live video" over the internet. 

Four New How-To Tutorials: - Web Cam Settings Tutorial - Beginng Broadcast Tutorial - Advanced Web Cam Tutorial - Tutorial How To Make An Episode

Muse Bridge Closed For Ten Weeks

Lengthy Detour For Residents And Businesses

MUSE, FL. -- The two-lane bridge along County Road 720 spanning the Bee Branch River will be closed Wednesday, June 4 and remain closed until Monday, August 18.  The old bridge will be demolished and replaced with a new, wider bridge scheduled to open on or before the first day of school, Monday, August 18.

While the Bee Branch River Bridge is closed to traffic, motorists traveling along CR 720 will use a detour route to get from one side of the river to the other.
The westbound detour route from CR 720 is Fernwood Road (1 mile) to Crescent Acres Road (3.5 miles) to State Road 78 (4.8 miles) to Kirby Road (.2 miles) to Kirby Thompson Road (5 miles) and back to westbound CR 720.

Motorists traveling east on CR 720 should follow Kirby Thompson Road to Kirby Road to SR 78 to Crescent Acres Road to Fernwood Road in order to reach CR 720 on the east side of the river.

The $1.4 million Florida Department of Transportation project will build a 48-foot-wide bridge that will be open to trucks. The old bridge, which prohibits truck traffic, is about 20 feet wide. Working in cooperation with the Glades County Board of County Commissioners and the Glades County School Board, the department has directed its contractor, Pittsfield Construction, Inc. to build the new bridge during a 75-day period when school is not in session.

In addition to a newly constructed bridge, the project includes paved shoulders and sodding on roadway approaches to the bridge, new guardrails, new signs and pavement markings.