Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Signs Of Inspiration At Edison College

Students Take Art Appreciation "Outside"

LABELLE, FL. -- Drive by Edison State College Center in Labelle and you'll see "Signs of Inspiration" decorating the front entrance.

Professor Nevin Reiss' Thursday night Art Appreciation goes through brief art history lessons, but Professor Reiss also believes, "You don't just talk about art, but you do it!"

Her hands-on approach takes the students from simple crayon and felt-tip marker name placards to color mixing exercises to imitating the grand illuminations created by monks in the Middle Ages to designing and executing personal monograms to this final end of applying all the lessons to a graphic design project.

"Using acrylic house paints and plastic corrugated boards, the students chose inspiring words, designed their signs, painted them and then had good fun planting them," said Professor Reiss. Edison State College Center is at the LaBelle High School building.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Annual Hendry Farm Tour Tickets Ready

27th Annual Hendry County Farm Tour - December 6

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry County Farm-City Tour Council will be holding its 27th annual farm tour of the Hendry County agricultural industry, Saturday, December 6, 2008.  Tickets for the tour cost only $60.00 per person and the participants will be able to catch a modern air conditioned tour bus at the U-Save Supermarket Center on Palm Beach Blvd in Fort Myers or at the Rodeo Grounds in LaBelle.
You will then be transported with knowledgeable tour guides to various stops around the county where you can get a close up look at some of the most efficient farmers in the world. 
Hendry County is one of the largest agricultural counties in the state and is largest producer of oranges in Florida with over 75,000 acres of groves.  In addition, Hendry County is the second largest producer of sugarcane, third largest in vegetable production and fifth largest in beef cattle.
This year's tour will feature a variety of interesting stops at some of Florida's most sophisticated agricultural operations including vegetable transplant and ornamental nurseries, citrus, sod, sugarcane and vegetable production as well as one of the largest beef cattle ranches in the state.  There will also be fresh Florida orange juice breaks at strategic stops along the way.
As an extra-added attraction, lunch will feature a delicious melt in your mouth steak lunch with all the trimmings served by the Hendry County Cattlemen's Association at Cannon Hammock Park - a peaceful tropical hardwood hammock on the edge of the Glades. 
In addition to the opportunity to see Florida agriculture up close and personal – you will tour some of the most unspoiled wild lands in all of southwest Florida where each turn of the road will reveal natural splendor and a chance to see a variety of wildlife.  All attendees will be given a free bag of mixed vegetables and citrus fruit from the agricultural producers of Hendry County to take home with you
Deadline for ticket sales is November 26th, 2008.  For additional information about the tour and how to purchase tickets for the tour, stop by Hendry County Extension Service Office, which is located at 1085 Pratt Blvd, LaBelle, Florida. Phone: (863) 674-4092

Extended Voting Hours For Florida

12 Hour Days Now At Election Sites

LABELLE, FL. -- Governor Charlie Crist today signed Executive Order 08-217, extending the hours for early voting during the current General Election.  Effective immediately, early voting sites will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., through Friday, October 31, 2008, and for a total of 12 hours between 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 1, and 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 2, 2008.

"I have spoken with the Secretary of State and members of the Florida Legislature and have concluded that it is always the right thing to do to give voters every opportunity to cast a ballot," Governor Crist said.  "I have a responsibility to the voters of our state to ensure that the maximum number of citizens can participate in the electoral process, and that every person can exercise the right to vote."

Prior to the 2008 General Election, Florida has seen historic numbers of Floridians registering to vote for the first time.  In addition, record numbers of voters have chosen to cast a ballot during early voting. 

Early voting began on October 20 and runs through November 2.  Current Florida law allows for early voting to be conducted eight hours per day on each weekday, and for a total of eight hours during both weekends during the early voting period. Floridians can contact their county�s Supervisor of Elections for dates, times and locations of early voting.

Florida voters can also request absentee ballots to be mailed to them until October 29.

Take a Vote Hour

Official Google Blog: Take a Vote Hour

Monday, October 27, 2008

Poll - Who Will Be Next Sheriff - U.S. President

Who do you predict as the winner for the next Hendry County Sheriff and U.S. President?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Florida Home Sales Up In September

Sales Up, Prices Still Down

LABELLE, FL. -- Statistics released by the Florida Association of REALTORS® on September sales of existing homes and condominiums indicate that sales were up overall statewide while median prices overall were down statewide.

Existing home sales in Florida for September 2008 versus September 2007 were up 24% statewide, with median sales prices down 22%, although some areas experienced significant differences.  Existing home sales in Fort Myers were up 128%, with median sales prices down 39%, while home sales in Gainesville were down 37% with median sales prices down only 8%.

Existing condo sales in Florida for September 2008 were up 11% statewide compared to September 2007, with median prices down 22% statewide.  Ocala showed existing condo sales up 67% with median prices down 12%, while Tallahassee showed condo sales down 62% with no change in median sales prices compared to September 2007.

Courtesy: Northwest Florida"s

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sex Favors - A Click Away On Craigslist

Many Look For Sex Now On Internet Craig's List

LABELLE, FL. -- Prostitution and other illegal sex activities are an open secret to those in the know, using the popular online classified ads.  A quick search of the Ft. Myers area under "erotic personal", "casual encounters", and personal services shows nearly 100 ads for all types of sexual encounters.

And these ads are pretty graphic, showing just what's offered or sought by those interested. Although Craig's List says they don't want advertising of illegal activities, this is proof they don't monitor their ads. Looks like there is no real control to prevent or edit these ads from anyone at Craig's List.

In St. Lucie county, in the Stuart, Florida area of east coast Florida, deputies have arrested 35 people this week in connection with a prostitution ring that use Craig's List to set up illegal "dates."

The St. Lucie County Sheriff's office completed a three day investigation that resulted in charges of soliciting, deriving income from prostitution, and procuring prostitutes after deputies posed as customers, using the online service to arrange for prostitutes.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Target Makes Grant To Health Department

Family Violence Prevention Materials To Be Purchased

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry and Glades County Health Department - Healthy Families Program announced a partnership with Target® in recognition of its efforts to help parents create a safe and nurturing environment for their children.  The grant from Target will be used to purchase educational videos, curriculum and literature in family violence prevention. 

The Healthy Families Program at the Hendry and Glades County Health Departments offers home visiting services to parents-to-be and new parents, who wish to learn about positive parenting techniques, their child's development, parent-child activities and community resources.  Home visitors use age appropriate curriculum with parents in the home at a time that is convenient for the family. 
The educational material from Target® will be used at home visits and at parent meetings to help parents learn about, stress and how it affects parenting, positive communication, anger management, etc. 
This grant is part of ongoing efforts by Target to strengthen families and communities throughout the country. Since opening its doors, Target has given 5 percent of its income to organizations that support education, the arts, social services and volunteerism. Today that translates to more than $3 million every week.

Pat Land - English Teacher To Campus President

Dr. Land Joins Hendry/Glades Center

LABELLE, FL. --  Dr. Patricia Land expands her role as Campus President to include the Hendry/Glades Center at Edison State College.

Edison State College President Kenneth Walker said, "The entire community of LaBelle, Clewiston, Alva and Moore Haven will benefit from her exceptional experience in administration combined with her longstanding familiarity with the local community."

The expansion is a homecoming for Dr. Land who taught 7th and 8th grade English at Clewiston Middle School in the 1970�s.  "I have a real appreciation for the two counties," Dr. Land says.  "I feel a strong connection to the people we serve."  A seasoned administrator, Dr. Land will continue her current position as ESC�s Charlotte County Campus President and expanding her position as head of the Hendry/Glades Center.

"This is such a wonderful opportunity for the people of our community," said Randall Parrish Jr., Edison State College Board of Trustee member representing Hendry County. "With the vision and leadership Dr. Land will bring to the Hendry/Glades Center many generations of students will be able to thrive," said Julia G. Perry, Edison Board of Trustee Member representing Glades County.

The Hendry Glades Center anticipates major growth in the future.  The College received a generous land gift from the Paul family of Hendry County and the Bonita Bay Group.  This gift combined with Edison State College�s "Help Grow a Campus" capital campaign will enable the institution to build a one thousand student campus in Western Hendry County near the intersection of State Roads 80 and 29.  The College continues to actively develop this concept; however, no date for expansion has been identified.

This campus will become an educational and cultural center that will one day become home to two and four year degree programs. 

Dr. Land earned her doctorate at the University of Tennessee. She earned a bachelor and masters degree in Education from the University of Florida.  She and her husband Tom have two sons, Alex and Elliot.

Poll - Banking and Stock Market Crisis

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Everglades Air Boat Sinks

23 People Aboard Sinking Boat - Captain Doesn't Report It

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Law enforcement officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission cited a Sawgrass Recreation Park airboat captain, Charles W. Riley, D.O.B 10-28-47, of Tamarac, with failing to report a boating accident, a misdemeanor, and careless operation, an infraction.

The FWC filed the charges after the airboat Riley was driving, a 28-foot Diamondback, took on water and sank in an Everglades marsh Oct. 4.  The incident was not reported to the FWC until Oct. 7.

FWC investigators determined the airboat�s capacity is 23 people. There were 37 people (cruise ship passengers) on board the vessel when water came over the bow.  The boat sank in 6-8 feet of alligator-infested water 100 yards north of Sawgrass Recreation Park in western Broward County.

Other airboat captains in the area rescued the tourists, among them young children.  Some suffered minor injuries.  Approximately $5,000 in personal items was destroyed, including cameras and cellular phones.

FWC investigators concluded the airboat was overloaded with people, which caused the boat to sink.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Want To Be Saintly? Here's Your Chance

Ave Maria University Offers Discernment Workshop

LABELLE, FL. -- Master the rules of spiritual discerment at Ave Maria University. The new University just south of Immokalee invites the public to  a weekend-long workshop on Saint Ignatius' Rules for Discernment with the University's Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., Ph.D. The Church's "master of discernment" is Saint Ignatius Loyola.
Father McTeigue is the Associate Dean of the Pre-Theologate at Ave Maria University, and is responsible for the spiritual formation of  young men discerning vocations.  He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy at Ave Maria University.  He has extensive experience in teaching, spiritual direction, retreat ministry and religious formation.

Friday, October 24:
•     7:30 p.m. The Examen:  How to Monitor Your Spiritual Health Throughout the Day.
Saturday, October 25:
•     11:00 a.m. Introducing Saint Ignatius Loyola's Rules for Discernment.
•     2:00 p.m. Understanding Spiritual Consolation and Desolation.
•     4:30 p.m. Spiritual Warfare:  Learning How to Resist the Enemy.
Sunday, October 26:
•     2:00 p.m. Living Gratitude:  The Contemplation to Attain the Love of God.
All conferences to be held in the auditorium in the Academic Building on the campus of Ave Maria University.

State Road 29 Workshop At Civic Center

Public Meeting Scheduled On Widening Of SR29 South

LABELLE, FL. -  The Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting October 28 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the LaBelle Civic Center behind City Hall on it's study to widen State Road 29 south of LaBelle. The public can come anytime between 5 and 7 as a video will be shown continuously and representatives will be present to discuss the project, receive input and answer questions.  Facts on the project:

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is conducting a Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study to evaluate the proposed future widening of 18 miles of S.R. 29 from S.R. 82 in Collier County, north to County Road (C.R.) 80A in Hendry County. C.R. 80A is also known locally as Cowboy Way. This study is necessary due to the projected growth in population and employment for the area surrounding the project limits. The provision of safe and efficient transportation to support this growth requires action to improve the existing transportation network.

The PD&E study is scheduled for completion by the summer of 2009. The design, right of way acquisition and construction phases of this project are not funded in FDOT's tentative five-year work program.

The S.R. 29 project begins north of S.R. 82 and extends to south of C.R. 80A, a distance of approximately 18 miles. The PD&E study process will involve the development of roadway improvement alternatives, a comparative evaluation of the social and environmental impacts and the overall costs of each alternative. It is anticipated that the existing two lanes will need to be widened to four lanes.

Financial Project ID: 417878 2 22 01 – S.R. 29 from North of S.R. 82 to South of C.R. 80A
PD&E study – Ongoing -- $1.05 million
Design, Right of Way Acquisition and Construction phases – Not Funded.


Mahoney's Wife Says I'm Outta Here

Congressman Mahoney's Woes Continue

LABELLE, FL. -- Terry Mahoney, wife of Democratic Congressman Tim Mahoney apparently is saying "goodbye" to Congressman Mahoney, filing divorce papers in Palm Beach county Monday.

Mr. Mahoney admitted publicly last week to having "numerous" affairs after news reports of his payoff to a former mistress. Married since December 1984 Mahoney's wife claims he recently sold real estate owned by both of them and moved the money to his bank account and then "dissipated funds" from the account. She wants an accounting of marital assets sold off in the last two years, according to the divorce suit.

The congressman has listed his net worth as between $3 million and $12 million in various financial disclosures. Last week, Mahoney said he was not resigning or withdrawing from his re-election bid. His district cover portions of Hendry, Glades, Martin and St. Lucie counties.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hendry County Presidential Contributions

Who's Supporting Who In Hendry County?

LABELLE, FL. -- There are not many individual contributors from Hendry county for the presidential election campaigns, and the total amount contributed is about one-third the nation's county contribution average.

Here's the addresses and donation amounts of local campaign contributors, showing overwhelming support in Hendry county for John McCain from large contributors.

151 W Del Monte Ave CLEWISTON, FL Paul $2,300
221 Ridgewood Ave CLEWISTON, FL Paul $1,000
5500 Flaghole Rd CLEWISTON, FL Hunter $1,000
PO BOX 1266 CLEWISTON, FL McCain $500
1054 Bayberry Loop CLEWISTON, FL Huckabee $250
PO Box 3605 CLEWISTON, FL Clinton $250
25435 LOBLOLLY BAY ROAD SW LABELLE, FL Giuliani $1,000
5264 River Blossom Ln FORT DENAUD, FL Obama $550
2050 Fort Denaud Rd FORT DENAUD, FL Obama $500
570 Captain Hendry Dr LABELLE, FL Clinton $300

(Itemized contributions of $200 or more as reported to the FEC. Based on Federal Election Commission data available electronically on September 29, 2008. Data courtesy of the Center for Responsive Politics.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Two Deaths In Hendry Crash

Two Die In Canal

LABELLE, FL. --  Janthina Vanessa Tommie, 30 of Boynton Beach died on northbound State Road 833 approximately 3.5 miles north of Pine Cone Lane when her 2007 Toyota crashed Saturday Morning.  Also dead is Bobbie Copeland, 19 also of Boyton Beach, Florida.

For unknown reasons, the vehicle traveled northeast onto the east grass shoulder, continued north along the east grass shoulder. Tommie overcorrected northeast, re-entered the northbound lane, continued northwest across the southbound lane and then entered the west grass shoulder.

Tommie traveled northwest towards a canal, entered the canal as it overturned onto its roof and came to final rest in the canal, faced east and on its roof. Tommie and the rear passenger submerged with the vehicle. As a result, they both suffered fatal injuries. Neither Tommie nor Copeland were wearing seat belts, according to the FHP report.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Crash On Ft. Denaud Road

Two Seriously Injured

LABELLE, FL. -- Paige W. Lowder, 28 of LaBelle was driving a 1996 Dodge truck Friday at 8:15 p.m. traveling eastbound on SR-80A (Ft. Denaud Rd.) and veered onto the south shoulder with its right side tires. Lowder overcompensated and lost control causing the truck to travel onto the north shoulder.

The left front collided with a palm tree and a wooden fence, overturned onto its right side and the underside collided with a tree. Lowder and his passenger Frank Lopez, 43 of LaBelle were both ejected from the vehicle as it came to final rest on its right side facing east on the north shoulder.

Both were taken to Lee Memorial Hospital and Lowder has been charged with carleess driving and failure to provide proof of insurance. Neither person were wearing seatbelts.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hi-Tech Tracks Sex Offenders

Program Gives Instant Location Info To Probation Officers

LABELLE, FL. -- Imagine you are a Department of Corrections probation officer with dozens of sex offenders on your caseload, each with huge files that contain information ranging from their criminal history and place of employment to whether you should beware of a dog when you visit their home.

Until recently, the probation officer had to condense all that information and much more into a �Field Sheet� that he took with him to contact offenders, because carting a carload of confidential files is prohibited and unrealistic. Once out in the field, the officer would be unaware of changes to the offender�s status unless he called into the office. The solution? The Mobile Data Access System, dubbed MDAS, provides real time updates on offenders to officers both in the office and out in the field via laptop.

The program, created by Department of Corrections staff, also gives probation officers instant access to law enforcement data and contacts, and GPS location data for sex offenders who are on active GPS monitoring. The GPS tracking ability is particularly significant because if sex offenders are not home but are on GPS, the officer can pull up their location on the laptop and track them from street to street, if necessary.

LaBelle Real Estate Sales

LABELLE, FL. -- From 9/23/2008 to 10/14/2008, there were 7 properties sold in the LaBelle area for an average price of $232,429. The properties were:

1) $194,000 on 5th Avenue
2) $117,000 on Chain Court
3) $203,000 on Riverview Drive
4) $330,000 on N Industrial Loop
5) $119,000 on S Davis Street
6) $560,000 on S Industrial Loop
7) $104,000 on S Lakewood Road

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mahoney Now Has FBI To Deal With

FBI Investigating Congressman Tim Mahoney

LABELLE, FL. -- According to the AP, the FBI is checking to see if Congressman Tim Mahoney broke any laws or misused federal funds after hiring a mistress to work for him. The report also says Mahoney was having a second extra-marital affair with a high-level official in his district, and the agents want to know if his push for federal emergency funds for her county might have been related. 

Mahoney did help get emergency status for Glades county, after it was initially denied by the federal government, but the report claims a Martin county "high-level" county manager was the second mistress. Martin county received $3.4 million from FEMA during the alleged affair.

Mahoney had campaigned on a family values and return to morality platform when he was elected to Congress two years ago. His recent tv campaign pleads for making fuel out of citrus waste.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Congressman Mahoney Denies Violating Law

"Private Matter" He Says In Alleged Payoff To Campaign Mistress

LABELLE, FL. -- Accompanied by his wife Terry, Congressman Tim Mahoney (FL-16) issued the following statement Tuesday morning:

I would have come forward earlier but making sure my family is ok is far more important than any political career. I have not violated my oath of office, nor have I violated any laws, and I consider this to be a private matter.  I take full responsibility for my actions and the pain I have caused my wife Terry and my daughter Bailey. No marriage is perfect, but our private life is our private life, and I am sorry that these allegations have caused embarrassment and heartache.

I have requested that the House Ethics Committee investigate the false allegations that have been repeated in the press. I want to be clear that I have not misused campaign funds and I�m confident that when all the facts come to light, I will be cleared of any wrongdoing.

I think the people of my District know that I am a fighter and I am not going to allow this story coming out 20 days before an election to change my resolve to serve the people of the 16th Congressional District. I have worked hard and I am prepared to put my faith in the people and ask for their vote.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Five More Drug Arrests

Undercover Investigation Nabs Five

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Narcotic Investigators arrest five more as Deputies continue executing arrest warrants for Sale and Distribution of illegal drugs within Hendry County. The round up is a result of an under-cover investigation into the sale and distribution of illegal drugs that was initiated in April of this year.

Sheriff Ronnie Lee said William D. Lyons, age 24 of 914 Harlem Academy Clewiston, Adrain J. Dilworth, age 26 of 1114 Florida Avenue Clewiston, William T. Smith, age 32 of 780 Manatee Avenue LaBelle, James L. Bradford, age 45 of 235 Kissimmee Avenue LaBelle, and James R. Pender, age 22 of 745 Kissimmee Avenue LaBelle have been arrested and, with the exception of Lyons, are charged with Sale of Cocaine. Lyons was charged with Possession of Marijuana With Intent To Sell.

Bonds range from $30,000 to $60,000. According to Sheriff Lee, more arrests are forthcoming.

Congressman Mahoney Pays Off Mistress

Alleged Mistress Threatened To Sue

LABELLE, FL. -- Congressman Tim Mahoney who took over the office of Congressman Mark Foley after a sex scandal, has agreed to $121,000 in payments to an alleged former mistress.

ABC News' investigative reporter Brian Ross writes that Mahoney, a married man, also promised "Patricia Allen, a $50,000 a year job for two years at the agency that handles his campaign advertising," according to what the Mahoney's staffers told Ross.

Congressman Mahoney issued this statement Monday afternoon from Stuart, Florida where he lives:

"I was notified this afternoon about a story that ran on ABC News’ website reporting allegations about a former employee. While these allegations are based on hearsay, I believe that my constituents need a full accounting. As such, I have requested the House Ethics Committee to review these allegations. I am confident that when the facts are presented that I will be vindicated." Story from ABC News
LISTEN: Audio of Congressman Firing Alleged Mistress

Search Down Memory Lane - Google 2001

LABELLE, FL. -- Google is celebrating its 10th birthday. So, it has created an online time capsule. You can search the results from 2001 on its site. January 2001 is Google's earliest reliable search database going back that far.

Yes, Southwest Florida Online pages were at the top of the rankings for a "LaBelle, Florida" and "Swamp Cabbage Festival" search even back then.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Alligator Feeding Brings Arrests

Airboat Captains Arrested

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Three airboat captains in the Everglades found out that feeding alligators doesn�t pay. It�s also illegal.

Responding to complaints from the public about Everglades airboat captains feeding alligators, law enforcement officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) conducted an undercover operation that resulted in the arrests of Randy T. Rothermel, D.O.B. 12-4-59, Ft. Lauderdale, and Armando Horta, D.O.B. 6-28-66, Hialeah, who were charged with feeding alligators. Also arrested was John D. Pieper, D.O.B. 9-14-50, Ft. Lauderdale, who faces charges of molesting an alligator.

On July 12, undercover FWC officers were among the many tourists who signed up for airboat rides at Everglades Holiday Park in western Broward County.  During the tour, the officers witnessed and photographed the airboat captains feeding large alligators.  At one point, an alligator, eager for food, bumped one of the airboats.  Tourists, including children, leaned over the edge of the airboats to snap photos of the approaching alligator.

"The actions of these individuals teach tourists and visitors it is OK to feed and touch American alligators," said FWC Lt. Rob Laubenberger.  "This puts the lives of anyone imitating these actions in jeopardy. In addition, the gators will perceive humans as a source of food."

To report any wildlife-law violation, such as feeding an alligator, call the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922).

Farm Workers Get More From Food Buyers?

LABELLE, FL. -- Whole Foods Market, the world�s leading natural and organic foods supermarket and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), the Florida-based farm worker organization spearheading the growing Campaign for Fair Food, announced recently that the two will work in partnership to help improve wages and working conditions for Florida tomato pickers.

The CIW has similar agreements with McDonalds, Burger King and Yum Brands. Whole Foods Market has a store in Naples. The question remains however, how the workers will receive the extra money. Packing plant officials say have nothing to do with the issue. The extra funds will go to an escrow account pending agreements on how to distribute the money.

According to the agreement, Whole Foods Market will support the CIW�s �penny-per-pound� approach for tomatoes purchased from Florida, with the goal of passing these additional funds on to the harvesters.

"With this agreement, the Campaign for Fair Food has again broken new ground," said Gerardo Reyes of the CIW.
"This is not only our first agreement in the supermarket industry but, in working with Whole Foods Market, we have the opportunity to really raise the bar to establish and ensure modern day labor standards and conditions in Florida."

"We commend the CIW for their advocacy on behalf of these workers," said Karen Christensen, Global Produce Coordinator for Whole Foods Market. "After carefully evaluating the situation in Florida, we felt that an agreement of this nature was in line with our core values and was in the best interest of the workers."

Additionally, Whole Foods Market is exploring the creation of a domestic purchasing program to help guarantee transparent, ethical and responsible sourcing and production, using the company�s existing Whole Trade Guarantee program as a model. Whole Trade Guarantee, a third-party verified program, ensures that producers and laborers in developing countries get an equitable price for their goods in a safe and healthy working environment. The goal is to purchase Florida tomatoes from growers that will implement a similar program. "We are especially excited about working with the CIW to develop this domestic �Whole Trade-type� program," said Christensen.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Two Arrested For Pill Possession

Two Sleepers In Car Arrested For Drugs

LABELLE, FL. -- While checking a car that was parked in an empty lot on Manatee Avenue, Hendry Sheriff Sergeant Shawn Reed found two occupants sleeping.  Sergeant Reed and Corporal Jesus Olvera searched the vehicle and located 41seroquel pills, 4 tramadol pills, 1 baggie of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and 20 cyproheptadine pills. 

James Robert Pender, age 22 of 745 Kissimmee Avenue LaBelle, was arrested and charged with Possession of Prescription Drugs, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Possession of Marijuana. 

Amanda Leigh Paris, age 28 of 432 Vangaurd Lake Placid, was charged with Possession of Prescription Pills, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Child Neglect. 

According to Sheriff Ronnie Lee, the Hendry County Sheriff's Office received information from the Glades County Sheriff�s Office that they were attempting to locate Amanda Paris and her 5 month-old baby.  There was an outstanding case against her for child neglect.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

New Biofuel Investor Sought?

Southeast Renewable Fuels, LLC announced today its plan to permit and build a 20 million gallon per year ethanol biorefineries on a 60 acre site along Highway 835 - 15 miles south of Clewiston.  The company has plans to build at least three ethanol plants around the Lake Okeechobee area.

Aaron Pepper, CEO of SRF and the Londono family have formed the core foundation of the Florida Ethanol Cooperative.  Growers and investors are invited to participate in the ethanol project related to the Hendry County site.
Aaron Pepper CEO inspecting sweet sorghum field trials.
Don Markley COO inspecting sweet sorghum field.

The feedstock will be Sweet Sorghum grown in the sandy soils around the Clewiston - La Belle areas.  SRF currently has sweet sorghum field trials underway in various types of soils in the counties surrounding Lake Okeechobee.  Sweet Sorghum is an ideal rotational crop.  There will be profit opportunities for growers and shareholders, as well as numerous industrial and agricultural jobs created.

Clewiston attorney Antonio R. Perez and SRF President, Carlos Rionda have been instrumental in these developments

Church of God Responds To Arrest

LABELLE, FL. -- Edwin Nathan Smith, 26 has been arrested on charges of lewd and lascivious battery and sexual activity with two minor girls. The former youth leader at the LaBelle Church of God was arrested for alleged sexual misconduct with two teenage female church members aged 14 and 15.

Smith, the son-in-law of the church pastor is alleged to have had sexual activity with the 15-year old in his car, and with the 14-year old girl in the church office. Smith is being held on $175,000 bond.

The church responded:

"The La Belle Church of God is deeply saddened by recent allegations of sexual misconduct committed by its interim youth leader. The Hendry County Sheriff's Office is currently conducting an investigation, which has been both thorough and professional in scope. The Church, is of course, acting responsibly and fully cooperating with the Sheriff's Office in its investigation. We are still learning the details of the allegations. Like all in the La Belle community, we are anxiously awaiting the findings of the investigation.

In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers are with all of the individuals and their families affected by these allegations."

Boating Death On River Investigated

LABELLE,FL. -- Law enforcement officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are investigating the death of a 27-year-old Tampa man from injuries sustained in a personal watercraft (PWC) accident.

Michael Poole died at Lee Memorial Hospital Saturday, one day after the accident. Poole and his friend, 27-year-old Matt Verhusen of Ohio, were riding their personal water craft on the Caloosahatchee River at Banna Creek, in Hendry County, Friday. Verhusen lost control of his PWC, and it went airborne, landing on top of Poole, causing severe head trauma.

The cause of the accident is still unclear. The FWC continues to investigate. An autopsy will be performed on the victim.

A Celebration Of St. Francis At Park

Blessing of the Animals at Barron Park

LABELLE, FL. -- A Blessing of the Animals ceremony took place Saturday morning at Barron Park in LaBelle.

Honoring St. Francis of Assisi, Father Alan Kelmereit, pastor at LaBelle's Church of the Good Shepherd presented the celebration ceremony along the quiet banks of the Caloosahatchee River at the Park.

The Good Shepherd Church is located in Port LaBelle at the corner of Collingswood and Eucalyptus.

Watch live video from Don Browne - Florida on

Friday, October 03, 2008

Florida Hunting Season Tips

By Tony Young

Football season's in full swing, and the 2008-09 hunting season's starting to crank up.  Archery season's been going on in most of the state, and I want to talk about three other seasons about to start: crossbow, muzzleloading gun and the first phase of dove.

Crossbow season occurs between archery and muzzleloading gun seasons in the South and Central hunting zones, lasting five days: Oct. 6-10 and Oct. 20-24, respectively.  In the Northwest zone, it comes in later, on the Monday after Thanksgiving (Dec. 1), and lasts one week through Dec. 7. 

This season's for any hunter who'd like to use a crossbow or continue using a bow on private lands.  This is not just for disabled hunters.  Crossbow season doesn't apply to wildlife management areas (WMAs), however.

The most common game to take during crossbow season will be deer and wild hog.  Only bucks may be taken, and one antler must be at least five inches long above the hairline.  The daily bag limit on antlered deer is two.  Wild hogs – considered livestock on private lands – may, with landowner permission, be hunted year-round with no bag or size limits.

 It's also legal to shoot gobblers and bearded turkeys during crossbow season.  Only one may be taken per day, and there's a two-bird fall-season limit.  But you can't hunt turkeys in Holmes County during the fall and winter.

Crossbows and bows must have a minimum draw weight of 35 pounds, and hand-held releases on bows are permitted.  For hunting deer, hog and turkey, broadheads must have at least two sharpened edges with a minimum width of 7/8 inch.

Legal shooting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset.  Except for turkeys, hunters may take resident game over feed such as corn on private lands.

Some things you can't do during crossbow season include hunting deer, hog or turkey with dogs, using explosive or drug-injecting arrows, and possessing firearms.

Immediately following the close of crossbow season in the South and Central hunting zones is the beginning of muzzleloading gun season.  Season dates run Oct. 11-19 and Oct. 25 – Nov. 2, respectively.  Muzzleloading season comes in later in the Northwest zone and runs Nov. 21-23.

During muzzleloading gun season, bows and crossbows are legal methods of taking game on private lands, along with muzzleloaders.  On WMAs, only muzzleloaders may be used.

Legal shooting hours are the same for muzzleloading gun season as crossbow season.  And, legal game, including bag limits and prohibited methods for taking game, also are the same as crossbow season.  Bag limits and antler/size restrictions for game on WMAs can differ, so check the specifics of the area before you hunt.

For hunting deer, muzzleloaders firing single bullets must be at least .40-caliber.  Guns firing two or more balls must be 20-gauge or larger.  You may not use muzzleloaders with self-contained cartridge ammunition capabilities or possess modern firearms during muzzleloading gun season.

The first phase of the mourning and white-winged dove season begins Oct. 4 and ends Oct. 27 statewide.  Shooting hours during this first phase are noon to sunset, and there's a new, 15-bird daily bag limit this year.

The only firearm you're allowed to hunt doves with is a shotgun, but you can't use one larger than a 10-gauge.  Shotguns must be plugged to a three-shell capacity (magazine and chamber combined).

You may hunt doves over an agricultural field, as long as the crop's been planted as part of regular agricultural practices.  However, it's against the law to scatter agricultural products over an area for the purpose of baiting.

Some things you can't do while dove hunting are using rifles, pistols or crossbows; shooting from a moving vehicle; or herding or driving doves with a vehicle.           

In addition to a Florida hunting license, you'll need a $5 crossbow permit to hunt during crossbow season.  A $5 muzzleloading gun permit is needed to hunt during muzzleloader season, and you'll need a no-cost migratory bird permit if you're going to hunt doves.  If you hunt on a WMA, you must have a management area permit that costs $26.50. 

All are available at county tax collectors' offices or license agents or by calling toll-free 1-888-HUNT-FLORIDA or clicking 

Rich Seminole Youth Headed For Early Deaths?

Alcohol And Drugs Among Seminole Youth Despite $120K Incomes

BIG CYPRESS, FL. -- For young members of the Seminole Tribe, this should be the best of times. With annual revenues from casinos and other businesses that have topped $1.4 billion, the tribe provides each of its 3,300 members with an income of about $120,000 a year, a free education and a guaranteed job.

And many college-educated Seminoles are coming home to work in the tribe's Hollywood headquarters. Despite these positive developments, young Seminoles die at an alarming rate from drug overdoses, alcohol-involved car crashes and suicide.

Of 17 Seminole deaths recorded so far in 2008, 11 ­ or about 65% ­ have been linked to drug or alcohol abuse, according to figures obtained by the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. Most of those who have died this year never reached their 40th birthday.

Among the fatalities were the 27-year-old daughter of Tribal Councilman David Cypress, killed in an April car crash, and James Girtman, 22, who died of a gunshot suicide in January in Okeechobee.,0,5718141.story

Little Progress On Everglades Restoration

Delays Abound Says New Report On Florida Everglades

LABELLE, FL. -- Budgeting, planning, and procedural matters are hindering a federal and state effort to restore the Florida Everglades ecosystem, which is making only scant progress toward achieving its goals. So says a new reports by the National Academies.

Good science has been developed to support restoration efforts, but future progress is likely to be limited by the availability of funding and current authorization mechanisms, says the report. To begin reversing decades of decline, managers should address complex planning issues and move forward with projects that have the most potential to restore the natural ecosystem. Ongoing delays in restoration have postponed improving the quality, quantity, timing, distribution, and flow of water in the Everglades and thus have allowed ecological decline to continue.

The numerous delays in implementing the "Mod Waters" project, authorized nearly 20 years ago to restore flows to the northeastern portion of Everglades National Park, have been particularly discouraging. Meanwhile, construction costs continue to rise, and population growth and associated development make restoration increasingly difficult. Unless near-term progress is achieved on major restoration initiatives, the Everglades will likely face further loss of species and habitat deterioration, which could be difficult or impossible to reverse.

The National Academies perform a public service by bringing together committees of experts in all areas of scientific and technological endeavor. These experts serve pro bono to address critical national issues and give advice to the federal government and the public.

Four organizations comprise the Academies: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council. - Everglades Report


LaBelle Drug House Arrest

George Brummet Arrested

LABELLE, FL. -- During the early evening of Thursday October 2, Hendry County Sheriff�s Office Narcotic Investigators executed a search warrant at 235 Favor Street in LaBelle.  Deputies seized a quantity of marijuana, three weight scales, narcotic paraphernalia, percocet, and $1,120 IN U.S. currency. 

According to Sheriff Ronnie Lee, George Henry Brummett, age 28, was arrested and charged with Possession Of A Controlled Substance, Possession of Marijuana Over 20 Grams, Possession of Marijuana With Intent To Sell Within 1000 Feet Of A Place Of Worship, Operating A Drug House, and Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia.  Bond was set at $35,000.