Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Florida Woman Injured By Jumping Fish

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is warning boaters to careful around sturgeon on the Suwannee River. 

To date, there have been four reported sturgeon encounters this year, according to Maj. Lee Beach, law enforcement commander for the FWC's North Central Region, based in Lake City.  Gulf Sturgeon can grow six to eight feet long and weigh over 200 pounds.

"So far, two people have been injured in encounters with these big fish," Beach said. "Even though the injuries weren't life-threatening, that's still two too many people getting hurt."

These are the four encounters this year:

  • April 27 - A woman was injured when a sturgeon crashed through her boat's windshield, showering her with glass. She received minor injuries.
  • May 14 - Another woman was injured when a sturgeon struck her on the back as she was boating on the river.
  • May 16 - A man reported that a sturgeon jumped into his boat, glancing off the windshield. The operator wasn't injured, but his boat sustained approximately $300 worth of damage when the fish broke his windshield.
  • May 23 - A sturgeon reportedly jumped into a boat near Fanning Springs Park, causing some minor damage to the boat but no injuries.

In 2006, FWC officials began a public-awareness campaign to alert boaters to the risks of jumping sturgeon. 

"And we're continuing that awareness campaign. With all the people who are going to be on the water this weekend, we just want to remind folks to enjoy themselves but be aware of their surroundings," Beach said.

FWC officers will be on duty around the clock this weekend, conducting boating safety checks, watching for impaired operators and educating boaters about the jumping sturgeon on the Suwannee.

What's the best way to avoid a collision?

"We recommend boaters reduce their speed to reduce the risk of impact and to give people more time to react if they do encounter a jumping sturgeon," Beach said. "The FWC also recommends that all boaters wear their life jackets."

The Suwannee River appears to support the largest viable population of Gulf sturgeon. Biologists estimate the annual population at 10,000-14,000 fish, averaging approximately 40 pounds each. Adult fish spend eight to nine months each year in the river spawning and three to four of the coolest months in Gulf waters. 

Biologists are unsure why sturgeon jump. Theories include that the fish jump to communicate or as a dominance display. 

"I have seen these encounters referred to as 'attacks.'  However, these fish are in no way attacking when they jump," said Allen Martin, regional freshwater fisheries biologist. "They are simply doing what they have been doing for millions of years: jumping. They aren't targeting the boaters," he said.

Gulf sturgeon can get quite big, exceeding 8 feet and 200 pounds. 

"They have five rows of rock-hard scutes along their sides, back and belly. When sturgeon and boaters collide, the results can be devastating," Martin said.

State and federal laws protect sturgeon, just like bald eagles, panthers and sea turtles.

"These fish can't be harvested," Beach said.

To report sturgeon collisions, call 888-404-FWCC (3922).

"If anyone is involved in an incident with a jumping sturgeon, please report it to the FWC. With the data received, we can get a better overall view of where the fish are jumping and get the word out to the public," Beach said.

LaBelle's Old Fashioned Barber Shop

LaBelle Barber Shop
8-7 Mon-Fri  9-5 Sat
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419 South Main Street
LaBelle, Florida
Seniors $8 (Tuesdays)
New Customers $2 Off In June (mention this ad)
Rick (954) 448-8475
Armando (863) 673-2265

Why Cindy Anthony Called 911 On Casey

The 911 Missing Child Tapes Played To Jury

At the Tuesday morning session of the Casey Anthony murder trial, mother Cindy Anthony described how she came to find her daughter hiding out at boyfriend Tony Lazzaro's apartment.

After confronting her daughter, Cindy takes Casey from the apartment, and drives Casey around Orlando, Casey saying she will lead her mother to where 2-year old Caylee Anthony is.

Instead of leading Cindy to Caylee, Casey continues lying and driving her mother in circles around Orlando. Cindy spots a City of Orlando police sub-station and tells Casey she's going to get the police involved to find out what's going on with Caylee.

The sub-station is closed however, so Cindy calls 911 from her car.

As the tapes are to be played to the jury, the defense objects and wants to limit their scope in the trial. And the judge instructs the jury about the 911 recordings to be played to them. 

Judge Belvin Perry says they are to considered an "excited utterance" showing the state of mind of Cindy Anthony, and not to be taken as evidence of any crime by the defendant such as a stolen car or a banking crime.

In the first 911 call on July 15th 2008, Cindy calls the police from her car to report a car theft and money taken from her bank account by Casey. The police tell her she has to report it to the Orange county Sheriff;s department because the Anthony home is in the county not the city.

Next she calls the Sheriff's department from home about 8 p.m. July 15th reporting a missing child, and reporting then 22-year old Casey for stealing a car and money. While waiting for the officers, she overhears Casey tell her brother Lee that Caylee has been missing 31 days and the babysitter took her.

Cindy then makes a third 911 call to the Sheriff explaining the new information and adding the car smells like a dead body had been in it. Casey is put on the phone with the dispatcher and calmly says her daughter has been missing 31 days and she talked to the babysitter "yesterday," explaining she had been looking for the child, and so didn't think it necessary to call the authorities.

Florida Gas Prices Lower This Week - Hendry Not So Much

Hendry-Glades Gas Still Higher

Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 5.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.71/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has fallen 3.2 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.77/g.

But in the Hendry and Glades county area, gas prices are much higher. The lowest price in the LaBelle area is $3.86 at the Circle K on SR29 South. BP gas is $3.90. The Shell station in LaBelle price is a bit tricky because the sign out front shows the price if you use a Shell credit card or cash. Add three cents to that for normal credit cards.

In Clewiston, it's $3.86 at Valero for the lowest and the highest is $3.97 at Marathon.

Hendry county has a higher than most county gas tax which adds to the price, and a lack of real competition also adds to the price sting.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices Sunday were $1.03/g higher than the same day one year ago and are 16.2 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 13.7 cents per gallon during the last month and stands $1.04/g higher than this day one year ago.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sean Kingston With Critical Injuries

Kingson's Jet Ski Crashes Into Miami Bridge
Sean Kingston, Miami born hip hop singer crashed into a bridge connecting the MacArthur Causeway and Palm Island in Miami Beach Sunday evening. Kingston and a female passenger were critically injured when their jet ski struck the bridge at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 29.

The bridge is a low lying structure between the main road to Miami Beach and a small residential island. Hip Hop musicians from around the world are attending Urban Beach Week.
Kingston, 21 (born Kisean Anderson), moved to Jamaica at age 8, pursued a rap music career and and after being discovered on MySpace debuted a 2007 album Sean Kingston.
He has appeared on MTV and has singles and a mix tape with Justin Bieber. He co-wrote Whatchasay. performed by Jason Derulo.
Kingston was reportedly taken to the trauma unit of Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and later transferred to the intensive care unit.
(Video - Eenie Meenie with Sean Kingston and Justin Bieber}

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hendry-Glades Memorial Day Ceremonies

LABELLE, FL. -- Memorial Day ceremonies will be at the Fort Denaud Cemetery in Hendry County at 11 a.m. Monday, May 30, 2011 and at the Felda Cemetery south of LaBelle at 9 a.m. and in Glades county at the Ortona Cemetery at 11 a.m.

Refreshments will be served at the American Legion Post 130 on State Road 80 in LaBelle after the ceremonies.

(3D photo American Legion Post 130 Color Guard at Fort Denaud Cemetery - May 2010)

(Click on photo for more photos in 3D )

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mom Testifies At Casey Anthony Murder Trial

Trial Resumes Saturday Morning

The murder trail of Casey Anthony, accused of murdering 2-year old daughter Caylee continued Saturday with follow-up testimony from ex-boyfriend Anthony Lazzaro, followed by questioning of Cynthia "Cindy" Anthony, mother of the accused.

Lazzaro read from text messages between himself and Casey Anthony. Anthony had suddenly left his apartment after Cindy Anthony came to get her, followed by a surprise police search of his apartment, and then Casey's brother Lee Anthony coming to pick up Casey's clothing and laptop computer.

Bizarre text message between Lazarro and Anthony, indicate Caylee is still alive according to Anthony, Anthony blaming herself for the missing child. The defense claims on the date of the text messages, Caylee is already dead by drowning, while the prosecution says she is dead by murder.

(photo: Cindy Anthony testifies at daughter's trial)

Mrs. Anthony, a nurse, is questioned about her history, and ultimate move to Orlando, Florida from Ohio. August 9th 2005 was the birth date of her granddaughter Caylee, and Mrs. Anthony says she didn't know about the pregnancy until June, and after finding out, the family was told. She says she was looking forward to the birth, planning a baby shower, preparing a "Winnie The Pooh" themed room and telling other relatives.

Mrs. Anthony began to weep when showed a photo of Caylee's bed and a Winnie The Pooh teddy bear and later upon seeing a photo of Caylee's sand box and picnic table in the family's backyard.

June 15, 2008 - The Last Time Caylee Was Seen And The Lies Begin

The last time she saw Caylee was Father's Day June 15, 2008, having watched a video with Caylee and Casey of her father who at the time was in a hospice.

Mrs. Anthony said she believed Casey was employed at Universal Studios in Orlando as an event coordinator. She said Casey would wear a lanyard with her photo ID on it and explained she also saw emails and text messages from her employer as well as photos of Casey at the amusement park, although said the photos were taken before Caylee was born.

Mrs. Anthony believed Casey went to work as usual at Universal on June 15, 2008, the day after Caylee's last sighting by the family.

She heard about "Zanny," Caylee's mysterious babysitter first in 2006, but said she never met her.  Zanny moved around from place to place "quite frequently" she said. The Anthony's later tried to find Zanny upon the disappearance of Caylee and gave up the search six weeks ago she said.

Casey told her Caylee would be staying with Zanny on Monday, July 16, and Casey would stay at Zanny's when she returned from Universal Studios. Casey and Caylee was scheduled to return back home on Tuesday, July 17, but Casey said some work schedule prevented her from returning and they were to stay at Zanny's again.

They would not return on Wednesday, Casey saying Caylee would be going to Tampa's Busch Gardens with Zanny, and told Mrs. Anthony they would be back home Saturday, June 21. Mrs. Anthony said there was always some reason why she could not talk to Caylee during the week.

Then the plan changed to a return for Monday, June 23. Casey, on Monday night then told her Zanny had a car accident and Zanny was in a Tampa emergency room.

On Tuesday, June 24, an Anthony backyard shed was broken in to. It later turned out Casey and Tony Lazarro had been together all week in Orlando, and had broken a lock to get to gas cans in the shed. The Tampa trip was a lie.

Although Mrs. Anthony had daily contact with Casey, it turned out the lies were continuous, while Casey lied about where and who she was with during the following weeks.

A July 3rd Universal Studio trip and Jacksonville visit related by Casey to Mrs. Anthony also turned out to be fabrications, as well as the Zanny accident in Tampa. Now Mrs. Anthony was becoming suspicious and asked son Lee to see if he could find out where she was.

On the evening of July 3rd, she started an online page on MySpace to express her feelings and reach out to Casey, after becoming angry about the lies from her daughter, not realizing that anyone could see the online page. Judge Perry would not allow the page to be shown to the jury or questions to be asked about it.

The trial was recessed at 1 p.m. Saturday until Tuesday morning, May 31 at 8:30 a.m. for attorney motions.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Decomposing Smell From Casey Anthony Car

Human Remains Odor Possibly Coming From Car

Testifying at the Casey Anthony murder trial Friday, Simon Birch, an employee of Johnson's Towing in Orlando told the court he smelled an odor like decomposing human remains coming from the white Pontiac Casey Anthony had abandoned.

The car was abandoned by Anthony at a check cashing store near a shopping mall, and towed by the company to it's secured lot.

Birch, having worked for decades in the towing business said he had experience with the odor of human remains, relating he had several occasions when decaying remains had been in towed vehicles. 

He said there was another vehicle on the lot at the time of the Anthony towing, of a suicide victim who had decomposed in the vehicle.

Birch has also formerly worked for Waste Management, a garbage and recycling company, and said he was very familiar with odors.

He did not report the odor to authorities he said because the vehicle was locked, and nothing was visible from the windows so as to confirm that there were human remains in it. 

Hendry County's Quincy Westberry Dies At 78

Clewiston Volunteer Fire Department Member For 25 Years

Quincy L. Westberry, Sr. age 78, of Clewiston
died Tuesday, May 24, 2011 in Hendry Regional Medical Center of Clewiston, FL. Quincy was born May 2, 1933 in Jennings, FL. He is the son of the late Lee and the late Pearlie (Jackson) Westberry. He married Doris McLucas. 

He was employed as a Meat Department Manager for over 38 years for U-Save of Clewiston. He was a volunteer Fireman for over 25 years with the City of Clewiston Fire Department. He enjoyed hunting and spending time with family and friends. 

He is survived by his loving wife of 45 years: Doris Westberry ; three daughters: Sylvia (Carl) Berner of Clewiston, FL, Patty (Bob) Rogers of Dayton , OH, Bessie Crum of Lake City, FL and two sons: Quincy L. (Tracy) Westberry, Jr. of Clewiston, FL, Turner Harris of Dallas, TX; Sisters: Della Whitaker, Kathleen Nash and one brother: Lonnie Westberry; Sixteen Grandchildren and One Great Grandchild. 

The memorial service will be held 6:00 pm on Friday, May 27 in Akin-Davis Funeral Home, 438 E. Sugarland Hwy., Clewiston, FL with Pastor George Bryant officiating. Visitation will be Friday, May 27 from one hour before service. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to be given in his name to the Hendry Regional Medical Center Foundation 544 West Sugarland Hwy, Clewiston, Florida 33440. 

Hendry Commissioners Travel Expenses Reasonable?

Janet Taylor's $3,188 Travel Vouchers Highest Among Commission

LABELLE, FL. -- While the lowest cost for Hendry taxpayers subsidy of travel expenses for county commissioners is only $238 for Carson Turner, Janet Taylor has been reimbursed a total of $3,188 since October 2010 for county business travel.

Turner's travel was paid to a Legislative Day event April 11, 2011. 

Janet Taylor gets a monthly stipend for "typical travel" of $311.10.  She traveled to a Florida Association of Counties Legislative conference in November 2010, charging $449 in expenses and another governmental conference May 18th, 2011 for $311.10.

Darrell Harris spent $2,570 for travel since October. He gets $268.77 monthly for travel expenses. He also receives a $46 cell phone allowance monthly. On his travel expense accounting is shown a April 13, 2011 item for $450 paid to Tiffany Elders.

Albert Perry spent a total of $1,462 since October, including a November 24, 2010 FAC Legislative conference for $326.71, a FAC conference in April 2011 for $1,076, and a FACC refund of $60.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jose Baez Gets Schooled By Judge

Watch live video from Don Browne - Florida on Justin.tv
Casey Anthony Lawyer Gets Flustered, Angers Judge

During cross-examination of George A. Anthony, father of Casey Anthony, attorney Jose Baez was making more and more mistakes, eventually catching the ire of Chief Circuit Judge Belvin Perry. Jr.

A long session of questions during Thursday's session of the murder trial of Casey Anthony was put to Mr. Anthony about gas cans taken from the Anthony home utility shed by his daughter. 

This is Mr. Anthony's second appearance on the witness stand. He was the first witness produced the state.

Baez kept going away from the microphone, causing problems for the court reporter who could not hear him clearly, The Judge repeatedly warned Baez to be at the microphone if he was speaking.

Baez seemingly badgered Mr. Anthony during questioning about the gas cans. Casey Anthony had broken the lock on a shed to take them, later returning them to the house. The FBI and local authorities had apparently taken the can for evidence on two occasions.

Mr. Anthony repeatedly asked Baez to stop badgering him, saying Baez was asking questions to purposely upset and confuse him. Extensive questions began about a photograph of a gas can. As Baez not getting the answers he was looking for,  numerous objections were made by the prosecution, and the Judge sustaining most.

After more questioning about the gas can photos, Judge Perry advised Baez the photos were not entered into evidence yet, despite his long questioning to Mr. Anthony about them.

Finally, Perry had to bring the attorneys off the record in a sidebar, to explain to Baez he can't ask questions about the gas can photo unless the photo is entered into evidence.

The trial continued, Baez continued asking more question to Mr. Anthony about the gas can photos. Exasperated, Judge Perry sent the jurors out of the courtroom and then chastised Baez for not following his admonitions about the gas can photo questioning.

(Video: Judge Perry explains the law to Baez)

Harold Camping Says End Of World Still On

May 21 Was "Spiritual" Judgment Day - World's End Coming October 21

Harold Camping, 89-year old engineer and Family Radio evangelist is now claiming his prediction of 6 P.M. May 21th, 2011 as the time of the Rapture, was actually a "spiritual" Judgment Day, and the world is now under Christ's Judgment.

Camping says the world will be destroyed on October 21 as scheduled. Camping bases his predictions on calculations of coded scripture from the Christian Bible.

Camping says because God's has already warned the world, and completed salvation placing us under His Judgment, there's no need for Camping to warn the world anymore. His radio programs will only contain Christian music and programs until the end.

Family Radio International reportedly has assets of $104 million, taking in $18 million in 2009 according to IRS records.

CLICK HERE to listen to an audio commentary of Harold Camping describing how it took 50 years to determine the Judgment Day dates
CLICK HERE to listen to an audio commentary from Harold Camping about Judgment Day
 CLICK HERE to listen to an audio commentary from Harold Camping calculating Bible dates

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lazzaro Tells Court "No" Sex Abuse In Anthony Murder Trial

Without Jury Present Lazarro Says "No" Abuse By Father

Update May 26, 2010: In testimony Thursday afternoon without the jury present, Tony Lazzaro told the court that Casey Anthony had told him, her father George Anthony had "hit" Casey when she was a child.

He says he thought of it as child "discipline," answering "no" to questioning by defense attorney Jose Baez whether Casey had shared with him any thing about sexual abuse in the past from Casey's father.

During the same questioning, he told the court that Casey had told him that her brother Lee had attempted to touch her "chest" once in the past but she didn't let it happen. He said he didn't know what age she was.

Attorney Jose Baez in opening statements Tuesday told the jury that Casey Anthony had been molested by both her father and her brother. The judge will decide later whether to let the jury hear Lazzaro's testimony on what Casey had told him.

(Photo: Tony Lazzaro in court Thursday)

Casey Anthony's boyfriend had earlier testified for the prosecution Wednesday afternoon in her Orlando first degree murder trial. Either a life sentence or death penalty may be Anthony's fate at the conclusion of what may be a very lengthy trial during May and June.

Anthony "Tony" Lazzaro says he met Anthony through Facebook, finally meeting her in person where they "hit it off." Lazaro said he found her on Facebook in May 2008, and requested to be a Facebook "friend."

Anthony Lazzaro told the jury he was a student at Full Sail Univertiy, a music business school in Orlando at the time he met Anthony. He was living with three male roommates at the time in a small Orlando area apartment.

Anthony visited his apartment frequently and starting in mid-June 2008, when Anthony's daughter was missing, was staying overnight every night in Lazzaro's room.

Testimony established that Anthony's daughter Caylee had visited Lazaro's apartment only a few times, and never stayed overnight, although Casey did sleep there. Caylee was said to be staying with either Cindy Anthony or a nanny named "Zanny" who Anthony paid $400 per week, according to what Anthony told others.

Anthony, as his girlfriend, helped Lazzaro in his promotion business as he tried to bring customers into Orlando area clubs. Testimony centered today on the Fusion restaurant, where Lazaro and Anthony helped bring in customers. The Fusion was a sushi restaurant during the day and turned into a club at night.

Anthony posted notices on Facebook and by word of mouth, attempting to get her friends to visit the club. One witness said none of her friends ever visited, however. Employees at the Fusion, including "shot girls" testified that Anthony was seemingly normal during the June-July 2008 period, even as her child was missing, and not mentioning any problems to anyone.

Lazzaro says Anthony had told him she worked at Universal Studios. The same story was told to other witnesses, where she was telling friends she worked as an event planner.

Testimony today by prosecution witnesses uniformly showed Anthony never mentioning the disappearance of her daughter to any of her friends or co-workers at the club she was promoting in the month since her daughter's disappearance. 

Descriptions of Anthony's behavior during the June to July 2008 period, when Caylee was missing, were described as normal, friendly, and not ever showing any sadness, worry, or anger. 

Several witnesses described Anthony during this period as a "typical" girl in her 20s, and one mentioned her being a "party girl," always friendly, outgoing, and happy.

On July 16, 2008 Lazzaro said he went to an Orlando Blockbuster video store with Anthony. The defense and prosecution have stipulated that a video showing what appears to Anthony and Lazzaro can be entered into evidence to be shown the jury. Anthony reportedly was telling her parents she was out of town July 16.

On June 16th the defense is claiming 2-year old Caylee Anthony had died in a swimming pool accident.

Lazzaro described Anthony as being happy that night. He never saw her scared, crying, acting nervous, and had not told him Caylee was missing. Casey stayed at Lazaro's apartment every night after but did not bring a suitcase or anything of Caylee's.

Lazzaro testified that on the night of June 16th Casey did not make any phone calls, but she would routinely go outside when making a call. Lazzaro "played hooky" from school the next day saying he "didn't want to leave the bed." Anthony never gave Lazzaro any indication anything was wrong, he said.

On June 19th he and Anthony went to look at an apartment to rent, around the block from his current one, but Anthony did not look at the apartment because "she didn't have identification with her," Lazzaro said.

During one club event, Anthony entered a "hot body" contest wearing a blue dress. The photo was entered into evidence and shown to the jury.

Lazzaro said his role at the club during the contest was "security," to make sure no one harassed the bartender or female employees. Lazaro notice no change in Anthony's demeanor and he still had not been told Caylee was missing.

The story of Lazzaro picking up Casey after she ran out of gas, taking her to her parent's house to get some gas was related to the jury. Casey said she didn't have a key to the shed where the gas cans were and used his tire iron to break into it. He said he was concerned but Casey told him it was no problem since it was her house.

A second time, Lazzaro was called on to help Casey with her car that had run out of gas. At the tine Lazzaro was told Casey's father would take care of it, and left the car behind. Lazzaro never saw the car again. Later evidence will show the car was towed away.

On cross-examination by defense attorney Jose Baez, Lazzaro was asked about any threats Casey might have made or any weapons she had. He answered "none" to all.  Baez asked if he had seen Casey buy any weapons on their shopping trips, or chloroform, duct tape, etc.

Lazzaro told Baez he had only seen Caylee two or three times, one time at the apartment complex pool, noting Caylee enjoyed being by the water.

Baez asked about a "secret" Casey had shared with Lazzaro. Baez started to ask him about her saying she had been abused by her father George Anthony, but the prosecution quickly objected as the question was hearsay, and Judge Belvin Perry sustained the objection. The question remained unanswered.

Lazzaro admitted, in cross-examination he had worn a "wire" for the authorities in some unstated connection with Casey's brother Lee, and cooperated with them, including having his phone tapped. He said he made no money from the publicity of this case.

Attorney Baez asked the Judge to introduce a photograph explaining that he didn't want to ask Lazzaro to have to come back to Florida to testify again. The mystery photograph of an Orlando street location was allowed to be shown to Lazzaro but not to the jury.

Baez notified the Judge that he needed about 20 more minutes to finish his cross-examination. Judge Perry elected to recess until tomorrow, noting that the jury had requested to work on Memorial Day but the county courthouse may not be able to open due to budget constraints.

In The Service From LaBelle

Thunder Loredo Graduates From Training In OK

Army National Guard Pvt. Thunder A. Loredo graduated from the Multiple Launch Rocket System Operations/Fire Direction Specialist Advanced Individual Training (AIT) course at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla.
The course is designed to train the students on how to record and transmit firing data, operate fire direction systems and multiple launch rocket system communication equipment.
They also learn to gather operations and intelligence data, and plot that data using charts, maps and records.  They learn to drive specialized vehicles, maintain and use generators, and install and maintain a wide range of communications equipment.
Loredo is the son of Carol M. Loredo of County Road 78, LaBelle, Fla.

LaBelle Heritage Museum Open Extra Hours

More Time To Explore Hendry History

LABELLE, FL. -- Joe Thomas, president of LaBelle Heritage Museum, announced the museum's 150 South Lee Street location will open on Mondays and Tuesdays from 8:45 to 11:45 in the morning starting May 23 and ending June 28. Thomas said this will not effect Thursday and Friday afternoon hours when volunteers are available. 

LaBelle Heritage Museum recently purchased the one-hundred year-old William H. Poole store at 360 North Bridge Street, which will undergo some renovation and modification before exhibits can be moved there and displayed.  Thomas added the Edward C. Warren rotary steam engine, currently on display at 150 South Lee Street, will be relocated to the riverfront on DeSoto Avenue north of Barron Park.

Opening LaBelle Heritage Museum during morning hours is a pilot program to determine if earlier hours increase visits from LaBelle residents and others interested in learning more about LaBelle's history and heritage.

Hendry-Glades County Welcomes New FHP Troopers

Three New FHP Troopers For Area Roadways

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Highway Patrol now has 39 new state troopers to join its ranks as the 120th Basic Recruit Class graduated from the FHP's Law Enforcement Training Academy last week.

The graduation ceremony marks the conclusion of an intensive 27-week training period that prepares them for a career as a Florida State Trooper and instills the FHP's core values of courtesy, service and protection.

The new trooper for Glades county are James Mulhern and Anthony Esposito. Hendry county welcomes new trooper Nelson Tineo.

Florida's newest state troopers from the 120th class will report for duty by June 3, 2011. The Florida Highway Patrol continues its recruitment efforts for the 121st Recruit Class scheduled to begin July 31, 2011. For additional information, please visit www.BeATrooper.com or contact the
Recruitment Office at (850) 617-2307.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

George Anthony - First Witness In Murder Trial

Father Testifies For State - Daughter's Life On The Line

Following a blockbuster, and amazing opening statement by Casey Anthony's attorney Jose Baez, the State of Florida has called Casey's father George Anthony to testify.

The witness' background, his marriage to Cindy, two children, and former job as a member of the Trumbull County, Ohio Sheriff's Office, and later Ohio business experience  was explored by the prosecutor briefly for the benefit of introducing the witness to the 12-member jury in this 1st degree murder trial. 

The family moved to Florida in 1989 and have lived at the same home on Hope Spring Drive since. The first exhibit published by the state in the trial was a photo of the family's home.

Mr. Anthony said he was "extremely excited" when he learned of Casey's pregnancy, even went with her to some doctor appointments, but was concerned of the ramifications of being a single mother. He said he wanted to know who the father was, and would been great to meet him, but never did meet a "Mr. Baker," adding that Casey said it was not known for sure who the father was.

On questioning about the day of June 15, 2008, the last time he ever saw his granddaughter, Mr. Anthony said the morning was normal as he cared for his grandchild Caylee, watching videos (among her favorites was "The Lady and the Tramp") and playing. 

Later that day Casey and Caylee left, Casey explaining Caylee would be staying with the mysterious "Zanni" the baysitter.

He Said, She Said - Father vs. Daughter

Upon direct questioning, Mr. Anthony denied ever abusing or molesting Casey sexually, and denied ever seeing grandchild Caylee again after the 16th of June, 2008, and denying placing duct tape over the mouth and face of Caylee, or having any other knowledge of what happened to Caylee until her remains were discovered in December 2008.

Upon cross examination by defense attorney Baez, Mr. Anthony said he didn't now about Casey's pregnancy until her seventh month when Cindy and Casey sat down with him to announce it. Baez tried unsuccessfully to get him to admit he knew of the pregnancy earlier, badgering him, even asking "You have no trouble with your vision?"

Casey Attorney Jose Baez - Amazing Story Of Tot's Death

Attorney Claims Caylee Anthony Was Never Missing, Abuse By Father, Meter Reader Hiding Body

In a bombshell defense opening statement, lead attorney for Casey Anthony tells the 12-member jury in Orlando, Florida that Anthony's 2-year old daughter Caylee died in a swimming pool accident at the Anthony home on June 16th, 2008.

Baez tells the jury that this trial should not be a murder trial against his client, but a tragic tale of an accident, and accuses the meter reader Roy Kronk, who found the body, of hiding the tot's body in the woods near the Anthony home. The child's remains were not discovered until December 2008, six months after the alleged swimming pool drowning accident.

Baez, an attorney for 5 years, in a meandering tale of amazing ramifications if true, explains his client is not guilty of 1st degree murder, while accusing Anthony's father, in very graphic language, of sexual abuse against Casey Anthony for many years.

George Anthony, an ex-detective was also accused of having a mistress who paid him, while pretending to be at work, so at to fool wife Cindy Anthony.

George and Cindy Anthony, not showing any facial expressions during the statements by Baez are allowed to be in the courtroom because they are considered victims in this case. Ordinarily, prospective witnesses are not allowed to hear any testimony during a trial.

The reason they are appearing extraordinarily calm may be because the Judge had previously ordered all in the courtroom to not have any outbursts or show any facial reactions to what was occurring during the trial, or face being removed from the courtroom.

He goes on to explain why there were "psychic" search dogs and others failing to find the child's body until December 11th, when the meter reader goes to urinate in the same areas where searchers had been, and claims to find the skull and bones of the child. Baez insinuates the man had the remains all along and plants the evidence to get a reward for finding the missing child.

Baez made his extraordinary claims before the jury until 2:22 p.m. Tuesday afternoon when he smilingly asked  Judge Pery if he should continue after a break, but the jury indicated to the Judge they wanted Baez to continue with his statement.

Baez continued with more explanations of what really happened according to his client, casting dispersions on the state's evidence and witnesses who may be expected to testify later. As a defense attorney his job is to create doubt in the jury's mind, and he's certainly making a lot of claims that contradict what the prosecution claims.

Attorney Baez concluded his opening statement at 2:52 p.m.asking the jury to consider how Caylee Anthony really died. The official death, according to the state is from undetermined causes but classified a homicide. Baez claims the child's death was not a homicide but an accident.

Convincing story by Baez and Casey Anthony? That's for the jury to decide at the conclusion of this trial, expected to last six to eight weeks, but after they hear all the evidence collected by the state and it's investigators.

Casey Anthony Trial Begins - Caught In Multiple Lies?

Tot's Dead Skull Photo Shown To Jury
25-year old Casey Anthony's first degre murder trial from Orlando, Florida began this morning shortly after 9 a.m. During the prosecution's opening statement, jurors were shown side-by-side photos of  2-year old Caylee Anthony and a photo of her tiny skull.

Father of Casey, George Anthony was seated quietly with a Bible in his lap. Casey's mother, Cindy was holding a stuffed animal toy. The 12 jurors, 7 women and 5 men are seated in the jury box with notepads. 

The State of Florida's Linda Drane Burdick, an attorney with 21-years experience, blonde-haired and wearing a red jacket, began opening arguments describing the circumstances of Casey's pregnancy, the birth of Caylee, and then the last time Caylee was seen by the Anthony family, June 16th, 2008.

Casey was shaking her head slowly from side to side in a "no" fashion as the prosecutor described the last day Caylee was ever seen by the family, arguing that no one ever saw Caylee alive again. Casey began to weep quietly.

The prosecutor says Anthony lied about the whereabouts of Caylee as well as making up a story about an Hispanic babysitter, who has never been found.

Anthony also lies, says the prosecutor, about a trip to Tampa with Caylee, Phone records show she was not in Tampa, but was in Orlando with her boyfriend, Tony Lazarro.
Ironically, Anthony has broken into her parent's house to get a gas can after running out of gas in her white Pontiac Sunfire, while she was telling the parent's she was in Tampa.

In July, she allegedly lied to parents again about here whereabouts, to prevent her parents from seeing Caylee, telling them she was in Jacksonville while she was really in Orlando.

Ironically, on June 30th Anthony's car was towed in Orlando and George Anthony later picked it up July 15th from the tow company lot, finding an awful smell like death coming from the trunk, and the phone number of one of Casy's friends, leading Cindy Anthony to discover Casey staying at Tony Lazarro's place in Orlando and without Caylee, who has now been missing for a month.

Cindy Anthony calls 911 three times on July 15th to report a missing Cayle. The Court has recessed for 15 minutes after the 1st part of the state's opening statements.

Near the conclusion of the prosecutor's opening statement, photos were shown to the jury of the tiny skull of Caylee and a photo of Caylee before she died. (Jurors have monitors in front of their seats at the Orange County courtroom.)

Trial Oddities: A haunting train whistle in the background could be clearly heard near the beginning of the prosecution's opening statement.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Casey Anthony's Opening Statement - Why I Am Not Guilty

What Could Anthony's Attorney Jose Baez Say?

9 A.M. Tuesday morning, May 24th is scheduled to be the start of the 1st Degree Murder trial of Casey Anthony in Courtroom 23 of the Orange County Courthouse in downtown Orlando, Florida.

Chief Judge of the 9th Judicial Circuit of Florida, Belvin Perry, Jr.will preside over the trial, guiding 12 jurors to what must be a unanimous decision at the conclusion of a possible six to eight week trial.

Lead Defense attorney Jose Baez has indicated he's going to explain Anthony's innocence in the first minutes and particularly why it took 31 days for Anthony to announce her daughter was missing. 

Just what could Baez say to prevent a death sentence or secondarily, life imprisonment if his client is convicted of killing her 2-year old child Caylee Anthony?

Anthony will be defended by Jose Baez, who some say is too inexperienced for such a high profile murder case. 

Baez, a high school dropout, leaving school after ninth grade, joined the armed services at 17, got his high School GED, then eventually graduated from St. Thomas Law School in Miami. The school is ranked near the bottom of U.S. law schools. 

Coincidentally, his co-defense counsel Cheney Mason was also a high school drop out and also joined the military at 17 years of age.

Baez became the lead attorney in this case only three years after becoming admitted to practice law in Florida, leaving some to say he's just not experienced enough in death sentence cases.

Another defense team member with a quirky background is Rosalie Bolin, a non-lawyer trial mitigation expert.  

Bolin is married to 49-year old serial killer Oscar Ray Bolin, Jr., a current resident of Florida's Union Correctional Institution in Starke, Florida, serving three sentences for murder, one life sentence and two death sentences. 

Speculation on Casey Anthony Opening Statement:

What Baez may say to explain the 31 delay in reporting the missing Caylee will be the most wanted statement. Maybe he will tell the jury Anthony was too distraught to think clearly after the child went missing, and finally Casey's mother Cindy reported the missing child after 31 days. Certainly some mention will be made about Anthony being the victim of abuse.

After that explanation, opening statements may then move on to these items:

1. There are no fingerprints
2. There is no murder weapon
3. Someone else took the child
4. Someone else killed the child
5. There is not enough evidence to convict Anthony of any of the State's charges

Gas Prices Finally Falling!

Prices Fall But Still $1.04 Higher Than Last Year

Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 9.0 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.80/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has fallen 8.8 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.83/g, according to gasoline price website FloridaStateGasPrices.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were $1.04/g higher than the same day one year ago and are 1.3 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has increased 0.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands $1.04/g higher than this day one year ago.

On the oil futures market Monday morning prices have fallen about 3% in the U.S. and on the world markets to around $97 per barrel.

Port LaBelle Church Moves Old Sign

Church Signs Placed Without Permits - Now Gone

LABELLE, FL. -- Many don't realize a Hendry or Glades county permit is required when placing signs on property. Healing Waters Worship Center on the corner of State Road 80 and Birchwood Parkway in Port LaBelle found out last week after it received a notice of violation from the Hendry Building Department.

No permiit was issued for the newly placed sign on Birchwood Parkway, said the building department.

A bright orange notice of violation was attached to the sign by the county code inspector early last week. The church removed the sign this weekend.

While the Healing Waters church grounds are immaculately landscaped by church members each weekend and the building itself is well kept, an older "mobile" type sign was placed at the entrance on Birchwood, while another new permanent sign was erected on State Road 80 at the other entrance to the church. 

The signs seem to not be in keeping with the character of the neighborhood and of the nearby Laurel Oaks neighborhood, and probably violate size requirements for signs along State Road 80, as well as being in excess of the total number of signs allowed per parcel. 

One sign per parcel, of a square footage in keeping with the building size, is generally permitted by the county code.

The county's sign ordinance has particular regulations in the  "Gateway" provisions of the code which pertains to State Road 80, the main east-west thoroughfare through Hendry county,

The sign code attempts to keep signage at a minimum, with as little visual clutter along the highway, and mandates strict adherence to specifications of signs allowed.

Hendry Building Code:Reference:

(Video: Church building and old sign, now removed, showing orange violation notice)

How To Amaze Friends & Find Free Money

Finding Money - Florida's Unclaimed Funds

Thanks to technology you can amaze your friends, and come up with free cash to boot.

Let's amaze someone today. Go up to your office co-worker and say "John, did you know someone owes you $100?"

Your buddy will most likely be incredulous, of course. How could you know he's owed money? Now, astound him by saying "Yep, the Eagle Insurance Company has a hundred bucks it owes you!" 

Of course, you're not using ESP and don't have access to the insurance company client records, but you do have an internet tool most people have never heard of.

Here's the secret to finding unclaimed funds

It's a little known databases available showing where corporations, utility companies, insurance companies, landlords, and all manner of folks are keeping money they owe former stock owners, customers, clients, and policy holders. 

And you can access these records if you know where to look. 

Say you put a deposit up with the local electric company, but moved and the company didn't know where to send your $400 deposit. What do they do with the money? They keep it for a while until you ask for it! And then it goes to a special fund in each state.

But there is a database with all the records showing who's owed the money, what it's for, and how much.

Finding Unclaimed Florida Money 

In Hendry and Glades county, Florida for example we've found there are thousands of people owed money. From A to Z, and every name in between, money is being held for them.

For example, Sean Abbot of Sunset Trail in Muse is owed up to $100 by his former electric company, Florida Power and Light. Jack Zorn of Port LaBelle is also entitled to up to $100 from Adobe Systems, Inc.

In Clewiston, Florida, James Ball of Alverdez Avenue is owned money held by the Life Investors Insurance Company. Raymond Barret of Clewiston is owed more than $100 from dividends of the El Paso CGP Company.

Own stock  or a mutual fund years ago? Lots of folks are due dividends and stock distributions, but the company couldn't find you. How about an insurance policy? There's lots of money being held by insurance companies for refunds and distributions to policy owners after the company couldn't locate the policy owner.

Thanks to the internet, most states now have online databases where you can search for yourself, or any name for that matter to see what money is owed to you.

Finding Money In Hendry And Glades County, Florida

Here are PDF files for the LaBelle, Clewiston, and Moore Haven residents and former residents with free money owed to them and immdiately available:

Click on one the following links to see the lists containing thousands of names of people owed money in Southwest Florida towns!

LaBelle, Florida zip code 33935
LaBelle, Florida zip code 33975
Clewiston, Florida zip code 33440
Moore Haven, Florida zip code 33471

Here's where you can search by name or even zip code to find names of people owed money:
Free Money Database! The lists are compiled using addresses where people were last known to be, so when looking for money, use all possible last known zip codes and spellings of names to find all the available money.

Look over the unclaimed funds lists in Hendry and Glades and see if you or someone you know has money coming to them!

Good Luck!

(Database files courtesy of JM Systems LLC of LaBelle)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How Harold Camping Survived The Rapture

Why We Survived The End Times This Week

Harold Camping, 89-year old engineer and Family Radio evangelist, (and some now say, false prophet), predicted 6 P.M. May 21th, 2011 as the time of the Rapture, based on calculations of coded scripture from the Christian Bible.

Was he correct? Or was he or God testing us? That's just two of the explanations available to Camping and  those who believe the end of the world was, or is yet near.

Life will go on. Even the most fervent believer in Camping's prediction, will soon forget the 6 p.m. time passed without much ado, or at the very least will look forward to the next date for a mysterious happening, whether the date of another end time, or the prediction of good times ahead; a booming economy, and the time when our homes jump in value again, signaling a new Era.

Fortunately most of us are very resilient, we can come back from our disappointments, bouncing back from the realization that things didn't go as we thought they might go. 

Even a lottery winner, eventually realizes things aren't as good as hoped, and a jailed person after a while, realizes being incarcerated isn't as bad as thought. 

And here is what Camping and others might explain as to just why the world end didn't realize exactly as promised.

Speculation On What Rapture Believers Will Say This Week:

1. The math was incorrect. An error will be found in calculating the true date of the end time. (I forgot to carry the 0)

2. God was testing us. God is a great joker. Sometime he just wants to make sure we believe in Him. (Abraham, I want you to kill your son. Just kidding)

God found this week, so many of His people were obedient in considering the possibility the end that He has postponed the end times for later.

3. Earthquakes and volcanoes eruptions did happen. INew Zealand, and even California! Iceland volcano) 

4. The Rapture Happened Already. (What you don't believe it? Trust me, true believers KNOW it happened)

The Rapture was claimed by Camping to leave everyone (other than the 200 million select)  simply "unconscious," hell was not promised even for the unbelieving said Camping followers. 

Those who doubt the event happened are merely not in their right minds. Those who have raptured know better, entering a "new place," they see the "miracle changes" brought by God to the world.

5. The New Millennial Age Is Here (What, you don't see it?)

A new world order is happening now. Since Saturday, more people believe in the power of God and are coming to Jesus. Church attendance is up. Politicians are professing their belief in God. Governments are becoming more democratic all over the world, especially in non-Christian mid-eastern regions. What more proof do you need?

6. God Changed His Mind. (God and women have this right)

God has simply changed his mind. God, after all, has the right to do whatever He wants. He is all powerful, and no one can know the true mind of God. We don't yet know why he changed his mind.

The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer, a new 500-page book to be released this week, explains how science can tell why we often believe in logic that's not quite logical, while believing in our heart we are truly right. We make plans, take actions, and even take detrimental directions in our lives, based on faulty decision making.

Shermer aptly explains how we construct beliefs and reinforce them as truths, an accurate description of what happened this week. 

The easiest person to fool is ourselves.

-The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer: book preview

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tim Rumph Murder Trial Begins In LaBelle

Rumph Murder Trial This Week
CLEWISTON, FL. --  Timothy A. Rumph will be judged by a 6-person jury this week for the 2009 murder of Gee Gee Gary of Clewiston.

On Friday morning, December 4, 2009, at approximately 6:25 a.m. Hendry County Sheriff's Deputies responded to the area of 10th Street and Kentucky Avenue in the Harlem subdivision of Clewiston, Florida after receiving a call that someone had been shot.

(Photo:  Timothy Arthur Rumph)  

Once Deputies arrived on scene they immediately saw a man known to them as 35-year old Gee Gee Gary of 1220 Harlem Academy Drive lying on the ground, suffering from a gunshot wound.  

Medics arrived and transported him to Hendry Regional Hospital where he later died.  

Investigators with the Hendry County Sheriff's Office immediately began searching for witnesses and were able to locate one individual that saw the entire incident occur.  After speaking with several witnesses, Investigators were able to request an arrest warrant for Timothy Arthur Rumph for the charge of 2nd Degree Murder.  

On December 5, 2009, at approximately 4:45 p.m., then 20 year old, Timothy Arthur Rumph turned himself in to Hendry County Deputies.  He was then placed under arrest and was being held in the Hendry County Jail on $250,000 Bond.  

The trial begins begins at 9:00 a.m. Monday May 23, 2011 at the Hendry County Courthouse, beginning with jury selection.

Update 5/23/2011: The trial has been continued to June 17th, 2011. Judge Radford R. Sturgis said more witnesses may have to be interviewed and there is a possibility of a plea agreement to manslaughter as the defense has some self-defense arguments. 

Note: Only 38 prospective jurors showed up for jury duty on May 23rd out of a reported 1,000 sent letters.

Update 6/22/2011: The trial has been moved to July 5th, 2011 at 9 a.m. at the Hendry County Courthouse.

Update 9/23/2011: The trial which has been postponed many times and scheduled for Sept. 23 has been postponed once again. A hearing is scheduled for October.

Update: The case was dismissed see: http://swflorida.blogspot.com/2012/02/murder-case-dismissed-rumph-released.html

LaBelle's Black Heritage Festival Entertains

Weekend Fun In LaBelle

LABELLE, FL. -- The annual Black Heritage festival filled Saturday, May 21st with lots of fun activities and food at the Ford-Sunset neighborhood at the Kid Jones Park in LaBelle, Florida.

Music, a basketball tournament, games, entertainment and food let the whole family find something enjoyable to do for the weekend. A 70s Ball is slated for the James Singleton Center in the evening.

Nora Fagin-Ned helped put together this year's activities on behalf of the Ford-Sunset community. (Video: games and food vendors at the park)

Pope Benedict Talks To Space Travelers On Rapture Day

Pope Talks With Space Shuttle Endeavor And Space Station Crew

Pope Benedict XVI. on Saturday morning spoke with the 12-member crew on the International Space Station with a historic message from the Vatican. This is the first time any Pope has spoken to men traveling in space.

(Video: Pope Benedict Talks Live With Space Station 200 miles Above Earth)

There are two Italian crew members on the ISS. The Pope scheduled his call to the space shuttle Endeavor STS-134 and the ISS at 7:11 a.m. EDT.

The Pope offered his best wishes and asked the crew of their observations about how science could come to the "aid of peace." The crew thanked His Holiness for his words and wished him good luck for the works that he is doing on Earth.

The historic communication between the ISS and the Vatican ended at 7:30 a.m.

Today ironically, is also Judgment Day or the day that is predicted as the day of the Rapture when 200 million people, or about 3% of the population on Earth were to be saved from destruction. The remainder of the billions of people on the planet will simply go into a state of unconsciousness. according to followers of Family Radio broadcaster Harold Camping.  

The time set for the Rapture is said to be 6 p.m. 

On October 21st 2011, Camping claims the Earth and universe will be destroyed.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Casey Anthony Murder Trial - 12 Jurors Ready!

Jury Ready To Go To Orlando For Murder Trial

Judge Belvin Perry Jr., Chief Judge of the 9th District of Florida finally swore in the jurors Friday afternoon about 5:30 p.m. for the 1st Degree Murder trial of Casey Anthony.

(Photo: Casey Anthony and attorney Jose Baez)

Anthony is charged with the murder of her 2-year old daughter.

Almost a week later than planned, the State of Florida and Defense attorney Jose Baez and his team of pro-bono attorneys and consultants have pressed through several score of prospective jurors to finally ready themselves for opening statements to begin next week.

Judge Perry plans to begin the trial on Tuesday morning May 24th at 9 a.m. in Orlando on the 23rd floor of the Orange County Courthouse. The trial is expected to last from six to eight weeks.

"She Killed Someone Anyway!" - Casey Anthony Trial Outburst

Jury Selection Stopped After Outburst By Spectator

The Casey Anthony murder trial jury selection process was again interrupted mysteriously this morning at about 10:50 a.m. when a spectator to the trial shouted out "She killed someone anyway!"

The 30-ish woman wearing a green print sleeveless dress making the outburst was immediately taken out of the Pinellas County courtroom, while one of Casey Anthony's attorneys immediately asked the judge to dismiss the prospective juror being questioned at the time for cause.

The mystery woman yelled out the comment while seated in the spectator gallery. She was detained outside the courtroom under  Judge Belvin Perry Jr.'s order. 

The court was recessed while the Judge said he wanted to "look at something." The prospective juror was being questioned about her views on capital punishment when the outburst occurred.

Elizabeth Ann Rogers, dob 7/2/81, was brought into the court minutes later, and was asked by the Judge why she should not be held in criminal contempt of court.

Rogers was in tears and tried to explain she just wanted to "see for herself" and said she was "very sorry," explaining she has a fiance in jail for domestic abuse and she has a 3-year old daughter. She claimed to be bi-polar and havd post traumatic stress from age 14. and currently taking methadone and thorazine which she told the Judge she took at 6 a.m.

Rogers explained she was at the courthouse for a domestic abuse case and just wanted to see what was happening in the Casey Anthony courtroom. She pleaded not to be punished while crying the entire time.

Rogers says she volunteers with the local SPCA, goes to the methadone clinic everyday and receives social security for her disability. The judge considered her disability and the "gravity of what you did today" and found her to be guilty and sentenced her to two days in jail. He could have sentenced her for up to 179 days in jail.

Rogers was taken immediately into custody and processed into jail.

Judge Bevins then commenced court resuming questioning with the previous prospective juror. The Judge excused her from service due to the courtroom incident minutes before.

Ready For The End Of The World May 21?

Harold Camping Predicts Judgment Day At 6 P.M.

89-year old Harold Camping (photo left) is predicting the Judgment Day for May 21st. A radio broadcaster, and president of Family Radio, Camping's website provides lots of information about the Judgment Day, why it's true, and offers all his proof among Bible verses and his interpretations of the texts.
Camping says the Rapture will happen Saturday, and five months later on October 21, God will destroy the Earth and universe. He previously said the Rapture would happen in 1994.
Camping teaches that a Biblical calendar is hidden in the books of Daniel and Revelation. According to his calculations, the world was created in 11,013 B.C. and the Flood was in 4990 B.C. 
Camping's followers say 200 million people will be Raptured, about 3% of the world's population. The remainder will simply cease to be conscious rather than spend eternity in Hell.
On familyradio.com it is proclaimed "Judgment Day May 21, 2011, the Bible Guarantees It!" Literature available on the webpage includes an article on "Gay Pride: Sign of the End."

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Ina Dean Sheppard, age 84, of LaBelle passed away, Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at Hope Hospice- Lehigh Acres, FL. Ina was born June 9, 1926 in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the daughter of the late Alexander and the late Otes (Smith) Ackerman.

She is survived by her one daughter: Judy Lowry of LaBelle, FL; grandson, Robert Lowry and wife Diane J. Lowry; Grandson, Gary Lowry and wife Kelly L. Lowry; Great Grandchildren, Michael A. Lowry, Morgan A. Lowry, Taylor D. Lowry and Jamie L. Lowry.

The funeral service was held 6:00 pm on Friday, May 13 at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, LaBelle, FL with Brother John McGregor officiating, Interment was at Dade Memorial Park, Miami, FL on May 14, at 11:00 am. 

Jose H. Garcia, age 61, of Clewiston died Friday, May 13, 2011 in Clewiston. Jose was born October 28, 1949 in Cuba. He is the son of the late Jose Garcia and Isabel (Hernandez) Garcia.

Survivors include his wife: Rachel Kay Garcia ; daughter: Misty Garcia, son: Michael Garcia, mother: Isabel Garcia, sisters: Magdelena Garcia , Lucia Garcia and Maria Garcia, brothers: Odel Garcia, Obdy Garcia, Raymundo Garcia, Pedro Garcia, Rogelio Garcia, Gilberto Garcia, Jorge Garcia, and Ricardo Garcia, Son In Law, Travis Dawson, Daughter in Law, Mariem Garcia, Granddaughters, Selene Dawson, Niyah Garcia and Makayla Garcia, Father in Law, Joaquin Garcia Jr., Mother in Law, Rachel S. Garcia, Sister In Law, Mary Gloria Rodriguez; Annabelle Rodriguez and Jessica C. Rader and Brother In Law, Joaquin Garcia III.

A graveside funeral service was held at 10:00 am on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at Ridgelawn Cemetery in Clewiston with Elder Manolo Carbajal and Father Jiobani Batista officiating. Interment followed at Ridgelawn. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Settlement Made In LaBelle Church of God Sex Abuse Lawsuits

Alleged Victims Settle With Church and Former Youth Leader

LABELLE, Fl. -- The Law Offices of Jason Turchin in Weston, Florida today announced that a settlement has been reached in two civil lawsuits filed on behalf of two young teens allegedly sexually abused by their Youth Leader at the LaBelle Church of God. 

The church organization called Church of God Florida State Offices, Inc. and Edwin Nathan Smith were defendants in a negligence civil suit brought by the mother and grandmother of the alleged victims in March and April 2010, according to Hendry Circuit Court records. The names of the children and the plaintiffs are confidential.

"It is with great satisfaction that these settlements were reached, to get justice for these young girls and to help them heal from their trauma," said Turchin. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

The lawsuit was based on civil claims stemming from the arrest and conviction of Edwin Nathan Smith, (dob 9/14/82) a one-time Youth Leader at the Labelle Church of God in Labelle, Florida. Smith was convicted of Lewd or Lascivious Battery for the sexual assault of one of the minors, and Lewd or Lascivious Molestation of the other young teen.

In December 2009 Smith (photo above) was found guilty of lewd or lascivious battery, lewd or lascivious molestation, and battery. He was sentenced by Circuit Judge Christine Greider to 14 years in prison on the 1st charge, 1 year in county jail on the 2nd, and 10 years probation on the 3rd. He is incarcerated at the Moore Haven Correctional Facility.

Smith's wife divorced him in 2009. She was the daughter of the Pastor of the church at the time.

The Plaintiff's sued the Church of God Florida State Offices, Inc. because they had reportedly hired the church pastor.  The Plaintiff's were planning on amending to complaint to add the local LaBelle Church of God as well, but a settlement agreement was entered into by the original defendants.

The officers shown for the church corporation on state records are Tampa residents, David J. Stephens, Pres.; Waymon C. Miller, VP; Francis Horton, Sec.; and Barbara Stentz, Treas.  The church is located at 590 E. Hickpochee (State Road 80) in LaBelle.

Florida law permits civil claims for crime victims for those who could have prevented or otherwise contributed to the lewd or lascivious acts. "In the criminal case, the focus is on punishing a criminal for committing crimes against the State of Florida," said Turchin. "In the civil case, we focus on the crime itself. Could it have been prevented? Was it foreseeable?"

The settlement brings closure of the civil cases to all parties, said Turchin.

Many victims of crimes, especially those victims of sexual assault, rape and molestation, may not be aware that they may be able to pursue a civil claim independently from the criminal case. Florida law may allow a victim to pursue a civil claim for pain and suffering, emotional trauma, counseling and therapy expenses, and other damages. said attorney Turchin.

Previous story on the Smith Arrest:

Affordable Homes Still Available In LaBelle

Mid 50s Average Price Means Good Values For Area Families

LABELLE, FL. -- Fewer homes were closed this week but prices still remain affordable for southwest Florida families. From May 10 to May 17, 2011, there were four homes sold in the LaBelle, Florida area for an average price of $56,750.

The homes sold this week:
1) $115,000on Carson Drive
2) $45,000on Jay Terrace (Port LaBelle - Hendry county)
3) $29,000on Leader Street (Port LaBelle - Glades county)
4) $38,000on Sunset Trail (Glades county)