Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Marian L. Wagner, age 74, of LaBelle, passed away April 24, 2013 in Lehigh Acres. She was born Jan. 6, 1939 in Flint, MI to the late George Washington and the late Effie Bell (Jersey) Jefferies. She was lovingly known by many in LaBelle as "Lil Grandma."

She is survived by her daughter: Christina (Benjamin) Harling of Lakeland, grandchildren: Robert Koff, Joseph (Angelina) Koff and Ruth Ann Harling and great-grandchildren, Robert Koff Jr., Jessica Koff; Chloe Koff; Nicholas Harling, Cory Briggs, Justin Briggs; Zachary Scelfo; Steven Helms and Joseph Koff and cousin: Robert Rogers.

A memorial service will be held Friday, May 3, 2013, 6:00 p.m. at LaBelle Assembly Of God, LaBelle with Pastor Clifford Avery officiating. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Marian Wagner c/o Seacoast National Bank, 17 N. Lee Street, LaBelle, FL 33935 to aid the family with expenses.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Boil Water Notice After Equipment Failure

Precautionary Boil Water Notice
LABELLE, FL. -- A precautionary boil water notice has been issued for the City of LaBelle water service area. All City of LaBelle water users are advised to bring drinking water to a rolling boil for at least one minute prior to consumption. 

The notice is necessary due to a lightning strike and subsequent FPL equipment failure. This notice is effective immediately and will be in effect until Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 5 pm or a different notice is issued lifting the boil water action. 

For further information please call Joseph Thomas at 863-675-4684 or City Hall during regular business hours at 863-675-2872.

Quarter Million In Drugs Collected By Law Enforcement

One Day Takes Drugs Off Streets And Medicine Cabinets In Okeechobee County
OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- On Saturday, April 27, 2013, the Okeechobee Narcotics Task Force members, collected unused and outdated medications at 5th Avenue/Highway 70, Okeechobee, Florida. The amnesty collection point was set up to keep the medications off of the street and out of the sewer systems.

The total value of items collected that day was approximately $272,280. This operation was a joint effort between the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office and the Okeechobee City Police Department, and agencies from surrounding counties. All medication collected was boxed and turned over to evidence for destruction.

The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office will accept any of these items throughout the year. Just bring to the Sheriff’s Office with no questions asked.

Undersheriff Stephen stated of the operation, “These type of operations are essential in assisting citizens with cleaning out their medicine cabinets. Properly disposing of these medications will not allow them to fall into the wrong hands. Thank you to everyone who participated.”

Richard Branson Celebrates Space Vehicle Flight

SpaceShipTwo's First Powered Flight

Today, Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi's aabar Investments PJS, completed the first rocket-powered flight of its space vehicle, SpaceShipTwo (SS2). 

The test, conducted by teams from Scaled Composites (Scaled) and Virgin Galactic, officially marks Virgin Galactic’s entrance into the final phase of vehicle testing prior to commercial service from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

“The first powered flight of Virgin Spaceship Enterprise was without any doubt, our single most important flight test to date,” said Virgin Galactic Founder Sir Richard Branson, who was on the ground in Mojave to witness the occasion. “For the first time, we were able to prove the key components of the system, fully integrated and in flight. 

Today’s supersonic success opens the way for a rapid expansion of the spaceship’s powered flight envelope, with a very realistic goal of full space flight by the year’s end. We saw history in the making today and I couldn’t be more proud of everyone involved.”

The test began at 7:02 a.m. local time when SS2 took off from Mojave Air and Space Port mated to WhiteKnightTwo (WK2), Virgin Galactic’s carrier aircraft. Piloting SS2 were Mark Stucky, pilot, and Mike Alsbury, co-pilot, who are test pilots for Scaled, which built SS2 for Virgin Galactic. At the WK2 controls were Virgin Galactic’s Chief Pilot Dave Mackay, assisted by Clint Nichols and Brian Maisler, co-pilot and flight test engineer, respectively, for Scaled.

Upon reaching 47,000 feet altitude and approximately 45 minutes into the flight, SS2 was released from WK2. After cross-checking data and verifying stable control, the pilots triggered ignition of the rocket motor, causing the main oxidizer valve to open and igniters to fire within the fuel case. At this point, SS2 was propelled forward and upward to a maximum altitude of 55,000 feet. The entire engine burn lasted 16 seconds, as planned. During this time, SS2 went supersonic, achieving Mach 1.2.

"We partnered with Virgin Galactic several years ago with the aspiration to transform and commercialize access to space for the broader public,” said His Excellency Khadem Al Qubaisi, Chairman of aabar Investments PJS. “Today’s test is another key milestone in realizing that aspiration. Our partnership goes from strength to strength, and is an excellent example of aabar’s desire to participate in the development of world class technologies that are commercially viable and strategically important, both for the company, its shareholders, and for Abu Dhabi.”

The entire rocket-powered flight test lasted just over 10 minutes, culminating in a smooth landing for SS2 in Mojave at approximately 8 a.m. local time.

“The rocket motor ignition went as planned, with the expected burn duration, good engine performance and solid vehicle handling qualities throughout,” said Virgin Galactic President & CEO George Whitesides. “The successful outcome of this test marks a pivotal point for our program. We will now embark on a handful of similar powered flight tests, and then make our first test flight to space.”

In the coming months, the Virgin Galactic and Scaled test team will expand the spaceship’s powered flight envelope culminating in full space flight, which the companies anticipate will take place before the end of 2013.

“I'd like to congratulate the entire team,” said President of Scaled Kevin Mickey. “This milestone has been a long time coming and it's only through the hard work of the team and the tremendous support of Virgin Galactic that we have been

Food Stamps Expand To More Farmers Markets

U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon today announced expanded eligibility for USDA grants to improve access to fresh produce and healthy foods by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients at America’s farmers’ markets.

As a result of funding provided by Congress through the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012, USDA last year announced the availability of $4 million in funding to expand the availability of wireless point-of-sale equipment in farmers markets not currently accepting SNAP benefits. Today’s action expands eligibility for grant funds to include direct marketing farmers, as well as farmers markets. Funds may be used to purchase or lease equipment or pay for wireless access. Funds are available to States through September 30, 2013.

“These grants increase the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables to SNAP customers and further encourage them to purchase and prepare healthy foods for their families using SNAP benefits,” said Concannon. “In general, research shows that about 20 cents of every SNAP dollar spent on food ends up in the pocket of American farmers. Installing wireless technology at farmers markets expands the customer base for markets and increases the share of the SNAP dollar that goes directly back to local farmers and into local economies.”

USDA has made expanding SNAP recipients’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables through farmers markets a priority in recent years. In 2008, about 750 farmers markets and direct marketing farmers accepted SNAP. In 2012, over 3,200 participated – a four-fold increase in markets, which was accompanied by a six-fold increase in redemptions at these outlets.

Along with other criteria, a farmers market is defined as a multi-stall market at which farmer-producers sell agricultural products, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables (but also meat products, dairy products, and/or grains), directly to the general public at a central or fixed location. Direct marketing farmers are individual producers of agricultural products. In order to qualify for the funding announced today, the direct marketing farmer must sell products at a market stall within a farmers market that is not currently participating in SNAP.

Research shows that many farmers markets and direct marketing farmers value their ability to accept SNAP as a means to attract a wider customer base and increase sales. At the same time, a significant number cited the cost of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) equipment as a barrier to accepting SNAP. These findings and others are part of USDA’s Nutrition Assistance at Farmers Markets: Understanding Current Operations report released last week. Today’s announcement helps to address this barrier by supporting farmers markets and direct marketing farmers in obtaining and operating EBT technology.

To find out more about available farmers market equipment funding or to learn more about accepting SNAP benefits at your farmers market, contact your SNAP State agency or visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/ebt/fm.htm.

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including SNAP, that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. These programs work together to form a national safety net against hunger. Visit www.fns.usda.gov for information about FNS and nutrition assistance programs.

Smiles And Flowers For Kids

LABELLE, FL. -- The weather was gorgeous on Saturday for the Sheriff’s Fun Day and Earth Day Celebrations in the Barron Park.

Lots of families came out to hear great music, eat some good food and celebrate Earth Day and the Kiwanis Club of LaBelle gave away vegetables and flowers to kids and tried to educate them on how they can grow their own garden and eat healthier.

Kiwanis Club members wore shirts that said “Children and the Earth, their future is in our hands”. The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle also gave away books to children. Some of the Kiwanis-Key Club High School students helped with the bounce houses for the Sheriff.
There were several other agencies and organizations that came out to help make the event a successful one and plans are all ready in the works to make next year’s celebration even bigger and better, said Kiwanis President Brenda Barnes.

Photo: Kiwanis members: Janeen Elliott, Brenda Barnes- Club President, Esther Bailey-Westerman and Margaret England. (Not pictured Nikki Yeager and Mary Bartoshuk)

Biological Weapon Letter Received

Building Ecacuated
TALLHASSEE, FL. -- Today, a threatening letter claiming to have a biological weapon was intercepted at the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in Tallahassee. Following standard protocol, local, state and federal authorities were notified, and the building was temporarily evacuated until the area is deemed safe to return.

Julie L. Jones, Executive Director of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said, “Out of an abundance of caution, staff worked quickly in executing normal protocols of notifying authorities and clearing
the building to ensure the safety of our employees. Our employees did a great job in identifying a potential
threat – and quickly enacting security measures. The safety of our employees is our top priority, and we will
continue to work with state, local and federal partners to investigate the incident, so we can quickly return to
normal operations.”

The letter was intercepted in the records room of the Department, where seven employees were working. Following standard protocol, a hazmat team was deployed to assess and enact measures to ensure the safety of the employees.

Motorists Get Break On Fuel Costs This Week

Gas 10% Lower Than Last Year But May Rise Again Soon

Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 3.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.42/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 8,237 gas outlets in Florida. This compares with the national average that has fallen 1.6 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.49 per gallon.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 36.1 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 21.1 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 13.3 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 32.2 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

"The party at the pump with the seasonally lower prices may be temporarily over," said analyst Patrick DeHaan. "We've seen situations unfold that have caused a reversal in the downward trend, and those situations are multiplying across portions of the U.S. and Canada. Along the West Coast, supply has grown tight and will lead to likely increases, and in the Great Lakes prices may spike 10-20c/gallon in the next two days in over a half dozen states as a result of a similar situation. Refineries are finishing what was an extensive maintenance season and with plant restarts commencing, problems may develop, putting pressure on prices," DeHaan said.

Pedestrian Dead In Crash Near Casino

IMMOKALEE, FL. -- A pedestrian is dead in Immokalee after being hit by a vehicle near the Seminole Indian Casino at 9:15 p.m. Saturday.

A 2004 Ford E150 was traveling west on West Delaware Avenue west of the intersection of South 2nd
Street as Marie Francois, 55 of Immokalee was walking north attempting to cross W. Delaware Avenue. She walked into the direct path of  the Ford driven by Jean Mary Estime, 60 of Immokalee.

The front of the vehicle struck the right side of Francois. She was transported to Physicians Regional Medical Center on Pine Ridge Road where she was pronounced deceased at 10:17 pm Saturday night.

Estime left the scene and returned a short time later on foot. FHP Trooper Luis M. Navarro says charges are pending investigation.

Italian Family's Car Hit By Patrol Car

Traffic Stop Ends With Rear Ending By Hendry Deputy's Car

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Helene Maria Egger, 59 of Lana, Italy was traveling with her family west on U.S. 27 (SR 25) in the outside lane in western Hendry county as a marked Hendry County Sheriff's department patrol car, driven by Michael Angelo Favara, 38 of LaBelle was traveling west on U.S. 27 in the outside lane in attempt to make a traffic stop on the 2013 Ford driven by Egger.

According the the FHP crash report, Egger brought her vehicle to an abrupt stop and the front of the 2010 Ford patrol car struck the rear of Egger's vehicle which came to a final rest on U.S. 27  facing west. The patrol car also came to a final stop on U.S. 27 facing west.

FHP Trooper Y.D. Valle says no charges were filed. No injuries were sustained by either driver or the two passengers in Egger's vehicle.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mystery Donations - Who Did It?

Mysterious Donations At Museum

LABELLE, FL. -- Anonymous "donations" have been left at the front door of LaBelle's Heritage Museum that have volunteers perplexed. Some two weeks ago a plastic shopping bag was found hanging from the front door. It was discovered to contain one of the museum's three-ring binders of information on local residents and events that had evidently been taken from the museum without permission at some time in the past. 

Did the "borrower" finally decide it should be returned? Who knows.

More recently a box was left at the front door that contained what appears to be a LaBelle High School Marching Band uniform hat with its bright red plume together with a copy of the late Ailsa Dewing's book of excerpts from LaBelle's weekly newspapers from 1922 to 1931 and a copy of Peter Mathiessen's Lost Man River, the second of his three volumes on the infamous Edgar Watson. 

Are these two anonymous donations connected? LaBelle Heritage Museum's volunteers would definitely like to know if there is a connection or merely two isolated happenings. Any and all information shared even an anonymous message left on the museum's voice mail at 863-674-0034, will be appreciated.

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

James M. Phillips, II, age 74, of LaBelle, passed away April 25, 2013 in LaBelle.
He was born Feb. 21, 1939 in Miami, FL, to the late James M. and the late Mayce (Simonette) Phillips.

Survivors include his son: James M. (Penny) Phillips III of LaBelle, daughter: Patricia Williams of Tallahassee, step son, Robert F. Sayre of LaBelle and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was also preceded in death by his son, Tommy Phillips

A graveside funeral service will be held Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 10:00 am at Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle with Pastor Mitchell Wills officiating. Interment will follow in Fort Denaud Cemetery, LaBelle.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Deadly Three Car Crash - Three Injured

Driver Killed Head On After Another Vehicle Crosses Center Lane

LABELLE, FL. --  A three-vehicle crash Wednesday afternoon left one driver dead and three seriously injured about 4:04 p.m. on State Road 80 and Wellington Parkway in Hendry county. 

A 2006 Chevy van driven by Mark John Kurdziel, 57 of Clewiston was traveling east on SR 80 in the eastbound lane. A 2013 Chevy Camaro driven by 44-year old Edgar Mottley was traveling west on SR 80 in the westbound lane.  A 2009 Honda Civic driven by Wildy Salabarria Serrano, 27 of Miami was traveling west behind the Camaro on SR 80 in the westbound lane. 

For an unknown reason, Kurdziel crossed left of the center line into the path of Mottley. As a result, the left front of of Kurdziel's vehicle struck the left front of the Camaro. 

Kurdziel continued east on SR 80 in the west bound lane. Subsequently, the front of his vehicle struck the front of the Honda driven by Serrano, killing her. 

Kurdziel came to a final rest partially in the westbound and eastbound lanes of SR 80 facing north. Mottley came to a final rest on the north grass shoulder of SR 80 facing east. Serrano's vehicle came to a final rest on the north grass shoulder of SR 80 facing south east. 

Wildy Salabarria Serrano suffered fatal injuries during the crash and was pronounced deceased on scene. Kurdziel and Mottley were transported to Lee Memorial Hospital, both with serious injuries. 

Aliuska Perez Blanco, 26 of Miami was a passenger in Serrano's vehicle and suffered serious injuries and also was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital.

Kurzdiel was not wearing a seat belt according to FHP Trooper Y.D. Valle and Corporal R. Ellis. Charges are pending investigation.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fun Day Saturday In The Park

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden and the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Community Policing Unit are hosting its Annual Community Fun Day for friends and neighbors to come together for an enjoyable and informative day Saturday, April 27.

(Video: Scenes from a past Community Fun Day)

The festivities will begin at 10:00 am lasting until 2:00 pm at Barron Park. There will be clowns, bounce houses, Child Identification Kits available and provided by the LaBelle Masonic Lodge. 

Members of the Sheriff’s Volunteers in Public Safety (VIPS) will be on hand to speak with individuals who are interested in learning more about the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office and volunteer opportunities. 

There will be free food and refreshments, entertainment by our very own Sheriff Whidden and the Outlaws along with other local entertainment featuring the Showtime Cloggers.

The main purpose of this event is to bring the community together. “I want to continue to enhance and broaden the lines of communication between the Sheriff’s Office, businesses, and community leaders, as well as our Neighborhood Watch Programs,” said Sheriff Steve Whidden. 

“The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office needs you as partners to prevent and solve crimes to make Hendry County an even safer place for everyone to live and raise their families”.

“I look forward to having the opportunity to meet with everyone and enjoy the afternoon with those in attendance. Please try to come out and see us, enjoy the free food, fun activities. Bring a chair or blanket and enjoy some good old fashion country music. Hope to see you there.”

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New Apartments For Disabled Coming In Fall

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Affordable, disability-accessible housing will soon be available in Clewiston. Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida has broken ground on Sweetwater Place, an income-subsidized apartment complex for people with physical disabilities

Sweetwater Place will be Goodwill’s fourteenth housing complex in Southwest Florida, and first in Clewiston. In Hendry County, the organization also operates Palmetto Ranch, a 28-unit complex in LaBelle.

“Goodwill and our board of directors made a commitment several years ago to expand our services in Hendry County,” says Goodwill COO Rick Evanchyk. “Since then, we have grown our retail stores in Clewiston and LaBelle, opened Job-Link centers in both cities, and now we will have affordable, accessible housing in both, as well.”

At the completion of the construction project, Sweetwater Place will provide 14 HUD-approved units specially designed to accommodate people with physical disabilities. Accessible apartments are constructed with conveniences like assistance railings, widened doorways, roll-in showers, and lowered sinks, countertops, and mirrors.

Goodwill’s barrier-free housing communities also have on-site community rooms, a laundry room and a picnic/patio area. Sweetwater Place will be located on West Ventura Ave., two blocks west of Berner Rd.

Construction of the apartment complex will be completed by Westco Builders of Florida, Inc. with an anticipated opening date in late October. The complex was designed by Associates in Architecture.

Applicants interested in living at Sweetwater Place must meet medical and income requirements, and must pass a background check to be considered for residency. For more application guidelines, call Morgan Puletti at (863) 674-5779.

Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, Inc. provides programs and services to help people with disabilities and disadvantages overcome their barriers to independence. Supported programs include Goodwill Job-Link centers, disability-accessible housing, and the Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Institute. 

New Divorce Law Limits Alimony

When Signed By Florida Governor, Law Caps Alimony Awards
TALLAHASSEE, FL. -- A bill overhauling Florida's alimony law reached the hands of Gov. Rick Scott after passing both the Florida House and Senate. If it becomes law, currently divorcing couples and former spouses could feel the changes take hold as early as this summer.

The bill extensively alters the law as it stands now, with such significant changes including almost a complete elimination of permanent alimony and the ability to place a cap on alimony awards based on the length of a marriage and income.

“Instead of permanent alimony, alimony will almost always be limited in duration to not more than one-half the length of a marriage,” explained Charlie Boyle, a marital and family law attorney with the Farr Law Firm. Limits, he continued, would be placed on the amount of alimony that could be awarded up to a specific percentage of a paying spouse's gross income.

The bill also contains retroactive impacts. This means current alimony payors would be able to apply to the courts as early as July 1, 2013 for a reduction in alimony payments, or, in some cases, termination of payments entirely.

“Some alimony recipients that have been relying on support, possibly for several years, could have that support reduced or terminated,” explained Natalie Lashway, also a family law attorney with Farr.

The bill addresses time-sharing as well, providing a presumption for equal time-sharing of minor children.

“Most significantly, the bill creates a presumption that equal time-sharing with each parent is in the best interest of the child,” Lashway said.

The 50/50 time-sharing can be argued against in some situations, including when the safety, well-being, and physical, mental, and emotional health of the child would be endangered by equal time-sharing.

“In any case, if you are a person who may be affected by this new and sweeping legislation, please make sure that you seek competent advice from a family law attorney,” Boyle said.

Driver Dies In Crash After Hitting Two Trees

Truck Jackknifes After Striking Trees

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- A crash on State Road 29 south of Glades County Road 74 took the life of a 63 year old male truck driver Wednesday morning at 6:49 a.m.. Name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

A 2012 Volvo truck with trailer was traveling south on SR29 when it traveled onto the west shoulder, over a culvert and into a ditch. The shoulder was divided with a ditch in the middle said the FHP.

The driver traveled out of the ditch and onto the west shoulder as the top of the vehicle struck a tree. The vehicle continued to travel west causing the front left to strike another tree. The truck cab jackknifed as it came to rest on it's right side.

The trailer came to rest on an upright position with both the cab and trailer attached. The driver was pronounced deceased at the crash scene.

Gun Handling Courses Free

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will host a free hunter safety course on April 27 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Glades County. Another course is scheduled on May 4 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Hendry County.

Participants must successfully complete the online portion of the course prior to attending and bring the final Web report to the FWC course on April 27. It does not have to be notarized.

Students will learn about hunting laws, safe gun handling and hunter ethics/responsibility, among other topics, before taking the final test. The course also includes live-firing instruction on a shooting range.

The class is at the Glades County Sheriff's Office Shooting Range in Moore Haven on Gun Club Road (north of the city barn), 3 miles north of U.S. 27 on State Road 78, and 6 miles south of Lakeport, near the Fisheating Creek entrance. (GPS will not work for this location.)

The course in Hendry is at the County Sheriff’s Office shooting range, between Clewiston and La Belle, 0.7 miles down Witt Road off State Road 80, 9 miles west of U.S. 27. Take the first road east of the Pioneer Shell Gas Station.
Participants can sign up at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety or by calling the FWC’s South Region Office at 561-625-5122. A link to the online part of the course and a statewide schedule of hunter safety classes are available at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety.

Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975, must pass an approved hunter-safety course before purchasing a Florida hunting license. Parents or legal guardians must accompany children under 16 years of age to all classes. To participate in live-fire exercises, children under 18 years old must present a parental release form signed by a parent or legal guardian.

County Manager Can't Fire Employee Say Commissioners

Hilton Vs. Brown

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- The Glades County Board of Commissioners denied acting on interim county manager Larry Hilton’s request to dismiss Road Superintendent Avant Brown from employment. Hilton alleged insubordination which was refuted by Brown.

Attendance at the Tuesday meeting was standing room only, with the majority of those in attendance there to support Road Superintendent Avant Brown as evidenced by their applause for oral support and the later Board denial to grant the dismissal.

When Hilton accepted the temporary position, he was denied authority to hire and/or fire county department heads. Hilton had placed Brown on suspension which expired April 22.

The object of dissension was replacement of an air-conditioning unit in the Road Department facility charging the Road Dept. budget which was found by two air-conditioner contractor/ inspectors to be in working condition with no evidence of need for replacement.

Motion to deny request for authority to dismiss was made by Commissioner Stanley, seconded by Vice Chairman Storter and unanimously passed.

Vice Chairman Storter asked the Board to not renew the preventive maintenance contract with PGR Mechanical Contractors which was supposed to provide quarterly inspections of county-facility air-conditioning units but were supplying no written inspection reports to document inspection or condition of units if inspected; such omission of contracted performance contributed to the issue in item 8 above. Mr. Hilton stated he had not renewed the contract.

The county Maintenance staff will resume limited preventive maintenance measures and will report on inspections and conditions and notify supervisor if repairs seem necessary.

Tom Corbitt Hired As New County Manager

In other action the Board voted three times to rank the four finalist candidates for County Manager and the first two times Noah Powers was first choice of four, then first choice of three, and the last ranking put Thomas Corbitt over Powers by 3-2 margin.

The Board voted 5-0 to hire Mr. Corbitt to serve as Glades County’s County Manager, and authorized County Attorney Pringle and Chairman Echols to negotiate salary and benefits with Mr. Corbitt and report results to the Board May 14.

On Mr. Corbitt’s employment application he had listed salary expected to be $100,000 annual base salary and other benefits to be negotiated. A contract was not listed as a condition of employment.

-from public notes of Donna Storter Long

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

James W. Akin, age 58, of Clewiston, passed away April 22, 2013 in Clewiston. He was born Sep. 6, 1954 in Clewiston, FL, to the late Thomas J. and the late Julia Mae (Archer) Akin. James loved to hunt and fish, and he will be greatly missed by his family and friends

He is survived by one brother: Tommy Akin, of Clewiston and three sisters: Judith (Jon) Pullen of Clewiston, Donna Akin of LaBelle, Terry (Don) Powell of Clewiston and a host of other relatives.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 2:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston

Juanita (Gross) Harris, age 70, of Clewiston, departed this life Sunday, April 21, 2013 in Riviera Beach, FL. She was born Aug. 6, 1942 in Immokalee, FL, to the late Lewis and the late Nellie Gross.

Juanita spent her life as a homemaker. She devoted her life to her kids, grandkids, friends, her puppies and her never ending collection of frogs.

She is survived by one daughter: Teresa Woodby (Steve) of Clewiston, three sons: Tommy Saxon of LaBelle, FL, Timmy Lee (Sherry) of Clewiston, FL, Toby Lee (Susan) of Clewiston, FL, thirteen grandkids, eleven grandkids, one sister: Helen of Pennsylvania, one brother: David Gross (Ann) of Clewiston.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 32 years Cecil W. Harris, brothers LB Gross and Bud Gross.

MaMa was a blessing to so many people and will be greatly missed. "Be careful on your journey"

Funeral services will be held Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston with Rev. Johnny Abercrombie officiating. Interment will be Thursday, April 25, 2013 in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation will be Thursday 1 hour prior to service at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston, FL.

Louise Leitner Cochran Rudd born July 29, 1924 to Albert Leitner and Helen (Scott) Leitner passed peacefully from this world surrounded by family on Friday, April 19, 2013.

She was a devoted wife to J.C. Rudd for 60 years. She was the beloved mother of R.V. Rudd (Sally), Ronnie Rudd (Barbara), Carlene Cobb, Tanda McGee (Bart). She also leaves behind her sister, Lucille Waters. Nanny as she was known to 14 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren and 6 great-great grandchildren and many others also had the privilege of calling her Nanny. Many nieces, Nephews and was a great friend to lots of people.

She was preceded by son Durward Cochran, brother, Marion Leitner, and half brother Harold Leitner.

Louise loved to read, crochet, sing, fish, and sit by a good campfire with a cup of coffee. A devoted member of Evangel Assembly of God Church in Clewiston and served the lord for many years.

Visitation was held from 6-8 on Monday, April 22, 2013 in Akin-Davis Funeral Home. Funeral services were held at 11:00 a.m. in Evangel Assembly of God Church where Pastor Gary Corley officiated. Burial was in Ridgelawn Cemetery.

Are You A Binge Drinker? 14 Million Woman Are

As Many As 1 In 5 Females Likely To Be Problem Drinkers Says CDC

According to a new Vital Signs report, more than 14 million U.S. women binge drink about 3 times a month, and consume an average of 6 drinks per binge. Drinking too much, including binge drinking (defined for women as consuming 4 or more drinks on an occasion) results in about 23,000 deaths in women and girls each year and increases the chances of breast cancer, heart disease, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, and many other health problems.

Despite these risks, about 1 in 8 adult women and 1 in 5 high school girls binge drink. Binge drinking is a problem for all women and girls, but it is most common in high school girls and young women, whites and Hispanics, and among women with household incomes of $75,000 or more. Half of all high school girls who drink alcohol report binge drinking.

April marks Alcohol Awareness Month, a nationwide campaign intended to raise awareness of the health and social problems that excessive alcohol consumption can cause for individuals, their families, and their communities. Excessive drinking is a dangerous behavior for both men and women. This year, CDC is drawing attention to the risks to women's health from binge drinking, the most common type of excessive alcohol consumption by adults.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Kids Visit Hendry House For Earth Day

LABELLE, FL. -- The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle and the Rotary Club of LaBelle partnered together to sponsor students for Earth Day Activities at the Hendry House in LaBelle Monday.

The cost of transportaion for this field trip is part of what was covered by Kiwanis and Rotary. At least 24 Classrooms submitted Earth Day Posters which were hung inside the Hendry House and will be part of the tour for the students. Inside and outside activities were planned for the morning including a nature trail hike.

Indictment On Sex Trafficking And Drugs

Florida Man Indicted on Drug Conspiracy and Sex Trafficking Charges
TAMPA, FL. -- A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging Andrew Blane Fields, 62, of Lutz, Fla., with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances, namely Oxycodone, Dilaudid and Morphine; three counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; and two counts of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. 

According to allegations in the indictment and criminal complaint, at least as early as 2008 through the end of 2012, Fields engaged in the sex trafficking of three different victims for commercial gain, who are identified in the indictment by their initials. 

Fields coerced and controlled the victims by, among other methods, supplying them on a daily basis with a large number of highly addictive prescription drugs. During the execution of a federal search warrant, law enforcement recovered thousands of prescription pills from Fields’ residence. Fields was previously charged by criminal complaint on March 20, 2013.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

If convicted on all counts, Fields faces a maximum of life in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations with the assistance of the Clearwater, Fla., Police Department and members of the Clearwater Area Human Trafficking Task Force. It will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Josephine W. Thomas and Trial Attorney William E. Nolan with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.

Prices Continue Falling

Gas Getting Cheaper By The Week

LABELLE, FL. -- Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 4.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.45/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 8,237 gas outlets in Florida. This compares with the national average that has fallen 1.6 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.50 per gallon.

In Hendry and Glades county, prices averaged about $3.59.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 41.2 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 22.8 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 14.5 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 34.7 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

"The slow trend downward in the nationl average has survived another week," said Patrick DeHaan. "While unprecedented, the decline in the national average certainly has delighted motorists who are used to large spikes in gasoline prices that come with the territory of springtime. With Memorial Day just five weeks away, there's good news for motorists: prices will likely continue to lag behind year ago levels," DeHaan said.

1 Dead In Crash - Passenger Critical

Tire Blows - Buick Hits Numerous Obstacles Killing Driver

VENUS, FL. -- According to the crash report by FHP Master Sergeant D. W. Taylor, a 2002 Buick was traveling eastbound Sunday about 5:07 p.m. on State Road 70 at Robert McGee Road in Highlands county when the left rear tire blew out.

Sean South Giles, 32 of Delray Beach, Fl. lost control causing the vehicle to rotate clockwise and exit off onto the south shoulder of State Road 70 when it started to overturn, colliding with a fence, trees, then a utility pole.

The vehicle came to final rest on its roof against a palm tree, facing in a southerly direction.

Passenger Sarah Lynn June Staley, 25 of Boyton Beach was taken to Tampa General Hospital in critical condition.  Neither the driver or passenger were wearing seatbelts. It is unknown whether the crash was alcohol related.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Luther Davis Dies At 75 - Retired Funeral Director

Luther Charles Davis, age 75, of Clewiston, passed away April 20, 2013 in Clewiston. He was born May 17, 1937 in St. Cloud, FL to the late Luther Nanthes "Dink" Davis, Jr. and the late Wilma Evelyn (McClure) Davis.

Luther began his career at the age of 15 with Futch Funeral Home of Clewiston. Luther then graduated from Clewiston High School in 1955 before enlisting in the National Guard and then the US Air Force in which he served until 1959. 

He then returned to Clewiston and began his internship with the local Funeral Home until attending and graduating from Gupton Jones College of Mortuary Science in Dallas, TX in 1965. Upon graduation he returned to Clewiston and began working for Pattison Funeral Home as both a Funeral Director and an EMT, which was a first for Hendry County. In 1978, he co-purchased the business and opened and operated Akin-Davis Funeral Homes, P.A. until his retirement in 2004. 

Luther was also a licensed commercial pilot. Luther was very devoted to his family and friends and proudly served his community for over 53 years.

Survivors include his wife: Sherry Marie(Nesbitt) Davis, sons: Craig (Robin) Davis of West Palm Beach and Chad (Leslie) Davis of Clewiston, step sons: Carl J. Ferrara of Clewiston, Clay Ferrara of Sarasota and Clint Ferrara of Brandon, MS; brothers: Don Marion (Mary) Davis and Kenny (Nona) Davis of St. Petersburg, sisters: Deborah (Don) Thomley and Lynn (Vance) Johnston of Clewiston, sister in laws: Vernell Davis of Jacksonville, FL and Patricia Davis of Fairfield, CA; (13) grandchildren, Cody, Colton, Brylee, Crista, and Callie Davis; Brittany and Austin Reeves, Olivia Fabelo, and Alisa, Carl Jr, Alexis, Amanda and Kayla Ferrara; (1) great granddaughter: Mackenzie Defee; and nephews & nieces, Andy, Terry, Dawn, Dannie, Roger, Ashley, Abby, Brittney, Brent, Clay, Cliff, Jennifer, Michael and Tracy. 

He was also preceded in death by his brothers: Herman Davis and Cecil James "Jimmy" Davis.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 10:00 a.m. at Evangel Assembly of God in Clewiston with Pastor Gary Corley officiating. Interment will follow at Ridgelawn Cemetery in Clewiston. Visitation will be Tuesday, April 23, from 6-8 p.m. at the Akin-Davis Funeral Home in Clewiston.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

One Dead In Corvette Crash

SEBRING, FL, -- A two-car crash Friday at 2:44 p.m. left one dead in Highlands County on U.S. 27.

A 1998 Corvette driven by James D. Howard, 66 of Sebring was traveling north bound on US27 in the inside lane as a 2006 Lincoln Town Car driven by Victoria W. Grant 61 of Sebring attempted to travel west, crossing the north bound lanes of US 27 from the stop sign at the intersection of Whisper Cir. in front of the Corvette.

As a result, the front of the Corvette collided with the left (Driver) side of the Town Car. The Corvette ended up facing southwest within the intersection. The Lincoln ended up facing north on the median just north of the intersection. The driver of the Lincoln was pronounced deceased at scene of crash.

A blood alcohol test is pending on Grant. Howard was taken to Lakeland Regional Hospital with critical injuries. He was not wearing a seatbelt said FHP Trooper P. Miller.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Don't Be Scammed By Dubious 'Charities'

Check Out Any Organization Asking For Donations

LABELLE, FL. -- There are many legitimate charities that are helping the ones in need; however, during times like these, scammers also take advantage of people who want to give donations warns the Florida Division of Consumer Services.

Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam advises if you're considering donating to a charity, please keep these tips in mind to assure that your money is going to those who need it most:

When solicited for a donation, always ask for the charity’s registration number (CH#), as well as the paid solicitor’s registration number, if applicable. 

Visit Florida's online Gift Givers Guide to determine what percentage of donations go to administrative, fundraising and program expenses. Information is also available by phone at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352). 

All charities soliciting within the state of Florida, excluding religious, educational, political and governmental entities, are required to register and file financial information with the department.

Never give out your personal, financial or account information over the phone unless you initiated the call and the phone number is from a trusted source.

Be sure to obtain a receipt or printed copy of your donation in order to have a record for tax reporting purposes. Even if an organization is tax exempt, your contribution may not be tax deductible.

The IRS has a website that lists all charities that are eligible to receive tax-deductible donations which should be checked before writing a check. In Clewiston there are only 32 organizations listed and also 32 in LaBelle. There are 15 listed for Moore Haven.  Be warned if the organization is not listed here you may not be able take a tax deduction for your donation.

Ask for the charity's tax–exempt number issued by the Internal Revenue Service and call them or go online for verification. (Search tip: enter the city name and search for those eligible to receive tax-deductible donations)

Do not let yourself be pressured into contributing on the spot. Reputable charities and organizations are just as willing to receive your donation tomorrow as today.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Julius Green, Sr, age 90, of Moore Haven, passed away April 16, 2013 in Moore Haven. He was born Jan. 8, 1923 in Jacksonville, FL, to the late James M and the late Pauline (Fouraker) Green.

He served his country in United States Army. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Moore Haven. He was a lifelong rancher and dairyman. He married the love of his life Opal Raulerson on June 28, 1947. They were married for sixty-fours before she preceded him in death on March 17, 2011.

Survivors include two sons: Julius Green Jr. of Moore Haven, FL, Edwin (Calinda) Green of Moore Haven, FL and one daughter: Marie (Cecil) Wilson of Lake Placid, FL two sisters: Mildred Crawford of Lake Placid, FL, Dorothy Nobles of Hilliard, FL, Grandchildren, Cyrus Wilson, Josie Wilson, Dustin Chapman and Lacy Green

Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 11:00 am at First Baptist Church Of Moore Haven, Moore Haven with Rev. Earl Cline officiating with visitation will be one hour before services.

Will Airport Become A Private Fiefdom?

Agriculture Companies Want Public Airport For Private Gain?
Never Ending Expensive Saga - Will Airport Eventually Be Turned Over To U.S. Sugar Interests?

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry County commissioners in September 2012  voted 4-0 to go ahead with spending more money for legal work on the possibility of turning over the Airglades Airport in central Hendry county to the private interests of U.S. Sugar, Joe Hilliard, and a principal of a new company originally formed to buy the airport property, Florida Cargo Fresh, Inc.

In April 2013 the County commissioners again committed their support to the proposal.

As reported here two years ago Florida Cargo Fresh originally sought to buy or lease the airport and has a dubious success history among it's officers.

Florida Cargo Fresh Inc. was named as the "secret" company a handful of county officials and the Hendry Economic Development Office had been talking with, negotiating the sale of the multi-million dollar assets of one of Hendry county's two public airports.

What's Going On?

Congress established FAA's Airport Privatization Pilot Program to explore privatization as a means of generating access to various sources of private capital for airport improvement and development. Under the program private companies may own, manage, lease and develop public airports. The idea behind the program is to improve and develop airport properties using private capital.

The 2012 Reauthorization Act increased the number of airports than can participate from five to 10. The Act authorized the FAA to permit up to 10 public airport sponsors to sell or lease an airport with certain restrictions and to exempt the sponsor from certain federal requirements that could otherwise make privatization impractical. 

The airport owner or lease holder may be exempt from repayment of federal grants, return of property acquired with federal assistance, and the use of proceeds from the airport’s sale or lease to be used exclusively for airport purposes. 

In June 2011, County Attorney Mark F. Lapp (and now acting Hendry County Manager) requested an opinion from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on selling the airport. Bondi said the county would have to have competitive bidding as opposed to just agreeing to sell to one party. She indicated other problems including any sale would have to be after the county determined the property was no longer needed for aviation purposes.

(Click for link to Attorney General's Legal Opinion)

The FAA pilot program began in September 1997. So far, no airports have received been sold to private interests, although Chicago Midway Airport had a preliminary application approved in January 2013, having originally applies in 2006, and Hendry's Airglades' preliminary application was approved October 2010. Luis Munoz Marin International in Puerto Rico had a final application approved by the FAA in February 2013.

New York's Stewart International was the first commercial service airport to participate in the FAA's privatization program from March 2000 to October 2007. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey now operates the airport.

As of June 2012, there were three active applications in the program, six other airports applied but have snce withdrawn or been terminated from the application process:
Chicago Midway International Airport
Luís Muñoz Marín International Airport
Hendry County Airglades Airport

See all Southwest Florida Online's story coverage of the Airglades Airport

Magic Of Relay This Weekend

LABELLE, FL. -- Magic of Relay comes to LaBelle this weekend at the LaBelle High School stadium. The Relay For Life volunteers ask the community to support the Teams from Businesses in LaBelle. Each team has treats and lots of good food and asks all to take the night off to visit and taste someone else's cooking - Even walk a few laps with friends & team members.

(video: scenes from a previous year's Relay For Life events)

There will be lots of things for kids to do too - games, bounce house and other surprises.

You may make a donation for a Luminaria - in Honor or Memory of someone. The Luminaria Ceremony is very touching and serious. All lights are finally turned off to show the glow of the Luminarias still burning. They are placed all around the track and up in the stands spelling out words like: LOVE, HOPE, FAITH.

The event will have 18 hours of constant laps, fun, games, entertainment and contests. Come anytime between 3 p.m. Saturday - 9 a.m. on Sunday - Best food from 4 - 9 p.m. Saturday; Sunrise Service Sunday morning 7 a.m. - & help break camp & clean-up!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston Bomber Suspect Arrested?

Fox News Says Suspect Caught, Others Say No

BOSTON, MA. -- According to Fox News a suspect was under arrest in the Boston Marathon bombings. But other news sources and authorities say no one is in custody.

Fox News said today about 2:15 p.m. "Investigators have arrested a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing after reviewing photos and video from Monday's event, a federal source confirmed to FoxNews.com. The suspect, who is expected to appear in federal court in Boston later today, has not yet been named by authorities."

But Boston Police said at 2:36 p.m.“Despite reports to the contrary there has not been an arrest in the Marathon attack,"

CNN at 2:22 p.m. this afternoon reported an arrest but has backtracked from that now. At 2:53 The Associated Press reported Federal officials deny an arrest.

Outside the federal courthouse in South Boston a crowd of news reporters has been noted, possibly because of the news of an arrest. The FBI has a daily news briefing scheduled for 5 p.m. in Boston.

Leading Hendry Citizen Dies At 63

Jim Roach - Community Leader

LABELLE, FL. -- James Melton Roach, age 63, of LaBelle, passed away April 12, 2013 in Lehigh Acres.

He was born Feb. 8, 1950 in Rutherfordton, NC to the late Woodrow Roach and his mother, Edna Morrow.

Jim was a graduate of Appalachian State University and was a member of the NC Golf Assoc. Jim was employed by the Lee County Sheriff's Dept. and had Jim Roach Nationwide Insurance in Cape Coral. Jim and his wife Karan owned and operated Cook-N-Country Restaurant in Fort Myers. 

For more than twelve years, he held various positions at Plattner's LaBelle Chrysler Dodge. 

Jim was a member of Lee County and Lehigh Bass Clubs. He also worked with the Hendry County Sheriff's Dept. in organizing the first annual Brian Haas Memorial Golf Tournament and National Law Enforcement Day. 

He was a member of Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church where he served as Chairman of Staff Parish Committee. Jim also served as Chairman of the Hendry County Republican Party.
Jim had a passion for fishing and golfing. He loved the river in LaBelle and always felt it was under promoted in our area. He spent many of his years involved in activities with his two sons. They loved hunting, fishing, 4-H, playing golf, attending Pleasure Horse Shows and Florida High School Rodeo, where he served as President. He was Chairman of the SW Florida Horse Barns during the SW Florida Fair. 

Survivors include his wife: Karan (Barnwell) Roach of LaBelle, sons: Jud (Ashley) Clemmer of Tampa and Jeff (Victoria) Roach of Sulfur, LA, mother: Edna (McKaig) Morrow of Tryon, NC, brother: Woody (Susan) Roach of Myrtle Beach , NC, sister: Kathy (Scott) Harding of Tryon, NC and his grandchildren, Kaylyn, Wyatt and Reagan, who were the joy of his life. He is also survived by his brother in law: Bill (Janice) Barnwell of Ft. Myers and aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, May 4, 2013, 10:00 a.m. at Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church, LaBelle with Rev. John Bennett officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Hope Hospice, 2021 Wings Way, Lehigh Acres, FL 33936.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Prostitution Sting Nets Four Men

Four Arrested On Charges

LABELLE, FL. -- On April 12, 2013, members of the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office conducted a Prostitution Sting in the 300 block of West Sugarland Highway, Clewiston, Florida.

Investigators arrested 38 year old Dwayne Wright of Belle Glade, 52 year old Veerasammy D. Adinaraih of North Carolina, 49 year old Jose Pas Rico (pictured), of Clewiston, and 48 year old Guillermo A. Avila of Miami, Florida.

All of the men were taken into custody and transported to the Hendry County Jail. Wright, Adinarah, and Avila, posted a $500.00 bond. Rico was released on $1,500.00 bond.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Two Injured As Motorcycle Hits Pedestrians

Motorcycle Couldn't Avoid Pedestrians Stepping Into Street

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Two pedestrians and a Harley Davidson rider were injured Sunday night about 9:30 in a collision between the motorcycle and the pedestrians.

Kristy Shawn Priddy, 32 of Lehigh Acres and Anthony Ordones 22 of Fort Myers were both standing in the median of State Road 80 facing north as a 2009 motorcycle was traveling west on SR 80 in the inside lane.

For unknown reasons, Priddy and Ordones walked in a northerly direction in front of the motorcycle's path. Driver Brian Keith Sloan, 48 of Fort Myers could not avoid impact and as a result struck the two pedestrians with the motorcycle's front end.

After impact, the Harley overturned onto it's right side rotating in a clockwise direction while skidding through the westbound lanes of SR 80 said FHP Trooper Specialist Richard M. Verbiest.

The cycle came to final rest facing north in the westbound outside lane. Both pedestrians were transported to Lee Memorial Hospital prior to the arrival of Trooper Verbiest.

Sloan had serious injuries and was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital.

Priddy has critical injuries and charges are pending investigation. Ordones was charged with failure to yield and had minor injuries.

Motorists Get Break On Gas

Florida Price 41 Cents Lower Than Last Year

LABELLE, FL. -- Average retail gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 5.6 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.50/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 8,237 gas outlets in Florida. This compares with the national average that has fallen 5.0 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.52/g.

But Hendry and Glades county as usual are still stuck with prices in the $3.72 per gallon range, 22 cents higher than Florida averages. But driving into Lee county, drivers will find lower prices successfully.

Including the change in gas prices in Florida during the past week, prices yesterday were 41.7 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 21.8 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 13.8 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 37.0 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

"The national average continues to be driven down as oil prices have fallen in recent weeks," said Patrick DeHaan. "The year on year savings is approaching 40 cents a gallon in some spots- not necessarily hitting the lottery, but every cent counts. As we get closer to Memorial Day there's also the chance of an increase in pricing volatility thanks to refinery maintenance season that will be gradually coming to a close," DeHaan said.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wanted - Hit And Run Driver

Missing Hispanic Male Described As Driver Of 2006 Acura

LABELLE, FL. -- Deisy Aguilar, 27 of LaBelle was traveling north on SR 29 about 2:53 a.m. Sunday approaching the intersection of C Road south of the city of LaBelle and was struck from behind by an unknown driver. She had four passengers in her car.

A 2006 Acura 3.2TL was also traveling north on SR 29 and was directly behind Aguilar's 2002 Buick Century. Aguilar slowed to make a right hand turn onto C Road, and the driver of the Acura did not react in time, and the left front struck the right rear of the Buick.

The Acura then fled the scene, and was found shortly thereafter at a local gas station by the occupants of
Aguilar's vehicle. The driver then fled the scene on foot, and was described as a Hispanic male, stocky build, approximately 5'5", dark complexion, short hair, clean shaven, wearing a striped white dress shirt and jeans, and was last seen on foot westbound near Cowboy Way.

The investigation continues, and FHP asks anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the FHP Ft Myers station at 239-344-1730.

Midnight Crash On Motorcycle Injures Man Badly

Critical Injuries To Cyclist

CLEWISTON, FL. -- A motorcycle crash at 12:03 a.m. Sunday put a man in the hospital with critical injuries. Johnny Trevor Jackson, 19 of Clewiston was traveling west on Harlem Academy Avenue approaching the intersection of 10th street when his 2006 Chevy HHR crashed into a motorcycle, said the Florida Highway Patrol.

James Hugh Lauson Edwards, 46 of South Bay, Florida was traveling east on Harlem Academy Avenue approaching the intersection of 10th street on a  2009 Kawasaki Ninja. As the car began to turn left onto 10th street directly into the path of the motorcycle, the front of the vehicle struck the right side of the motorcycle.

Cyclist Edwards was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital with critical injuries. Jackson suffered no injuries.

A blood alcohol test is pending on motorcyclist Edward, said FHP Trooper J. Mulhern. Charges are pending further investigation.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fake Pot And Bath Salts Going On Controlled Substance List

Four Drug Substances Targeted By DEA
Today the United States Drug Enforcement Administration published a Final Rule to permanently control 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylcathinone (methylone) and a Notice of Intent to temporarily schedule three synthetic cannabinoids.

The first of two notices published in the Federal Register this morning is a Final Rule permanently placing methylone, a synthetic stimulant drug that has been encountered in falsely marketed “bath salt” products, into Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, the most restrictive category that is reserved for unsafe, highly abused substances with no accepted medical use. Methylone is abused by individuals for its psychoactive effects, and this abuse has had an adverse effect on public health and safety, including death. DEA temporarily scheduled methylone on October 21, 2011 upon finding it posed an imminent hazard to public safety. In addition the United States Department of Health and Human Services concluded that it should be controlled. On October 17, 2012, DEA proposed to make its Schedule I status permanent, taking steps that conclude with today’s Final Rule.

Over the past two years, synthetic stimulants sold under the guise of “bath salts” or “plant food” has become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults, and is sold at a variety of retail outlets and over the Internet. However, they have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption or for medical use. Marketed under names such as “Ivory Wave”, “Purple Wave”, “Vanilla Sky” or “Bliss,” these products are comprised of substances perceived as mimics of cocaine, LSD, MDMA, and/or methamphetamine. Users have reported impaired perception, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia, and violent episodes. The long-term physical and psychological effects of these substances and their associated products are unknown but potentially severe.

The second Federal Register Notice published today is a Notice of Intent to temporarily control three synthetic cannabinoids (UR-144, XLR11, and AKB48) often seen in falsely marketed “herbal incense” products. DEA has taken action upon finding these three substances pose an imminent hazard to public safety. This action will become effective upon publishing a Final Order to temporarily control these substances as Schedule I substances for up to two years, with the possibility of a one-year extension.

Over the past three years, smoke-able herbal blends are marketed under the guise of being “legal” and have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults. These products consist of plant material that has been laced with a substance that mimics THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet. These substances have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption or for medical use. The long-term physical and psychological effects of these substances and their associated products are unknown but potentially severe.

Illegal Gambling Room Still Open For Business

Gambling Arcade Still Open Despite Law Change This Week

LABELLE, FL. -- Despite Florida Governor Rick Scott signing into law Wednesday the banning of casino style gambling devices at "internet cafes" and "adult game arcades." one lone holdout still remains in rural Hendry county. The gambling ban took place immediately upon his signing the legislation.

The Luxxor 777 arcade room in a small office mall on State Road 80 on the east side of the city of LaBelle was open and operating Friday. The lone attendant said she was aware of the new law signed this week but said, "No one has told us to close."

She described how her business operates, as one customer walked into the dimly lit room as several dozen brightly colored, flashing machines buzzed in the background. She said customers can get a pin code to operate the computer controlled machines by paying as little as $10. The first payment gets an additional $5 of free play she said.

When winning points reach the $25 mark, the customer can collect in cash. She said she didn't know the odds of winning or the "payout" percentage but said it should be marked on each machine.

LaBelle, the small town county seat of Hendry county, just east of Fort Myers had at one time three game rooms where customers could wager their money for cash or gift cards.  The original "adult gameroom" was the Lion's Den Game Arcade which opened several years ago. It closed March 30th.

The second gaming "casino" to open in LaBelle was the Saddle Up Arcade near downtown LaBelle on State Road 80 in a small shopping plaza, and owned by Karen L. Harvell. It is still open, but not giving away any prizes, only food.

After operating since 2009 giving away $25 Walmart, Ace Hardware, and Winn-Dixie gift cards to winning customers, the manager today said he can't give anything away, but does allow customers to play the machines for fun. He said the cost to play is about eight to 25 cents per play.

A large sign is displayed inside the Saddle Up notifying customers that the new law does not allow a gift card prize to be given anymore. To keep customers happy, there is a table with complimentary food and snacks.

An association of bingo room and game room operators are currently planning to sue to keep their operations open. Saddle Up's manager said he's asked Hendry Sheriff Steve Whidden's office for a decision on whether his machines that accept dollar bills might be acceptable, although the law says only "coins" can be inserted for playing. Even so, he admits only prizes worth 75 cents or less can be given to winners.

The payout on the machines varied he said, but generally the customer got 75 cents of each dollar bet. The business keeping the remaining 25 percent.

On April 4th the Florida Senate by a vote of 36 to 4 passed legislation to ban unauthorized slot machine gambling in Florida. Senate Bill 1030, sponsored by Senator John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine), clarifies current gaming laws concerning slot machines, charitable drawings, game promotions and amusement games. The legislation was signed into law Wednesday, April 10 by Governor Rick Scott and became effective immediately.

“I am grateful for Senator Thrasher’s strong leadership in guiding this important bill through the legislative process,” said Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville). “The slot-machine gambling found in Internet cafes and other questionable operations is wrong, predatory, and illegal, and today, both Senate Democrats and Republicans alike voted to set the record straight and approve this legislation, which eliminates the ambiguities surrounding the legality of these machines.”

The new law affirms that gambling is illegal in Florida unless specifically authorized by law. Currently only the State lottery, charitable raffles, some sweepstakes, along with Indian casinos, and some dog and horse racing track casino style games and their card games are exceptions to Florida's "no gambling" law.

Amusement arcades can operate if they involve skill to win, are coin operated and no cash prizes or gift cards are awarded. The law creates a presumption that a device or computer network is an illegal "slot machine" if it simulates a game of chance, accepts payment, and awards prizes.

The new law clarifies that the charitable drawings exception is only for raffles, while the sweepstakes exception is only for promotions that truly are incidental to the sale of consumer products or services.

The amusement arcades exception is not for casino style games but only for coin-operated games that involve an element of skill and for which non-cash prizes are awarded. Gift cards, typically used by many operators, cannot be given as prizes.

Update: On April 17 a sign was posted on the front door of the Luxxor indicating they will be closed until the State gives them permission to open. A phone number was listed for customers to call for information.

(Video: Two games room in LaBelle, one apparently operating illegally and one closed. The Saddle Up, not shown in the video, appears to be operating legally at the moment by not giving out prizes. Apologies for the misspelling of "gambling" in the video title.)

Suspicious Man Approaching Children Sheriff Warns

Man Tells Child To Come With Him In Blue Van, Child Unharmed

OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office is warning the public of a man acting suspiciously towards children in Okeechobee County.

On April 11, 2013 at approximately 11:53 a.m., a suspect in a blue van approached a child on a bicycle and told the child to come with him; the child was able to ride his bicycle away. The child was unharmed, says the Sheriff's office.

On this same date, a suspect in a blue van followed a child from the bus stop and pulled into a driveway. The child was able to run to a neighbor’s house. The adult approached the driver of the van who stated he was selling women’s clothing, purses and perfume. However when the adult asked the suspect to see the merchandise he stated he did not have them with him.

The suspect has been described as a white or Hispanic male, approximately 5’9”; thin build, full beard, no mustache, blue eyes, black hair, and crew cut. He was last seen wearing a pink, blue and green striped shirt and tan pants. He spoke broken Spanish with a Middle Eastern accent. The van was described as a blue, older model, unknown make. The vehicle has a taxi sign in the driver’s windshield.

Okeechobee County Undersheriff Stephen stated, “Our children are our number one asset. Their safety is very important to all of us. Please be aware of where your children are and what is going on around you. If you see this man, vehicle or anything suspicious then call us immediately.”

Anyone with information leading to the identity of the suspect in these incidents is asked to call the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s office at (863)763-3117. Anyone who encounters this person is asked to call 911 and not to engage him.

Update: April 16 - The van appears to be a blue Toyota Sienna Van between 2001-2003. The clear coat on the passenger’s side roof is fading/gone. The blinker is missing from the passenger’s side front. If you know the driver of this van or the whereabouts of the van, contact the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Big BBQ Cook Off In Okeechobee

Scholarship Fund To Benefit From Lots Of Rib Eating
OKEECHOBEE, FL. -- The “O.L. Raulerson, Jr.” Scholarship Fund will be holding their Fourth Annual fundraising BBQ Cook-off on Friday and Saturday, May 3 & 4, 2013. This fundraiser will be held at the Okeechobee County Agri-Civic Center, located at 4601 Highway 710 Okeechobee, Florida 34972. This year's event will also be hosting an Airboat and Buggy show along with a Corn Hole Tournament.

O.L. Raulerson, Jr. was the first and only Sheriff, to date, to be elected to two different Florida Counties. O.L. was appointed to Sheriff in Highlands County, Florida in 1970 and ran for Highlands County Sheriff and won in 1972. 

 O.L. was defeated in Highlands County in 1978 and moved to Okeechobee. O.L. was appointed to Sheriff of Okeechobee County, Florida in 1986. O.L. ran for Okeechobee County Sheriff and won the elections in 1988 and 1992. O.L. was defeated in Okeechobee County in 1998. O.L. ran again for Okeechobee County Sheriff in 2001 and won. O.L. retired and supported our current Sheriff Paul May in 2005. O.L. passed away in 2007.

The fund was developed to remember Sheriff O.L. Raulerson, Jr. by awarding an Okeechobee High School graduating senior with a scholarship. This scholarship is for the graduate to attend the Indian River State College and complete the Law Enforcement Officer Certification Course. We have awarded two scholarships to date and had our first recipient Brant Harden graduate in 2012.

Company sponsorships are available for this event.

Hendry-Glades Health Surveys Online

How's Your County Health Services?

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry-Glades Health Department is asking help from area citizens to take an online survey. The survey asks opinions about current health services and what might be needed in the future among other topics for healthy living.

Visit the sites here for your county and language (It only takes a few minutes to complete):

Video History At Museum Today

Old Timers On Video - Southwest Florida History Saved

LABELLE, FL. -- Years ago, the city of LaBelle had a project to video tape many of the 'old timers' who told very interesting stories of life of years gone by. LaBelle Heritage Museum member, Pat Johnson has put them all on individual DVDs to preserve them. 

Everyone with an interest in seeing, hearing and learning of early, interesting LaBelle pioneers, can come to the Museum Thursday, April 11 between 11:30 and 1 pm. on Bridge Street in LaBelle.

"The videos are filed, safe in today's technology in the museum, but there is so much history, and so many interesting stories that need to be available to everyone - sitting at a computer - in their own home - or in book form," said Johnson. 

Ms. Johnson says, "This is a project that we, as today's residents, now have the opportunity to see, hear and write these stories - for future generations to try to imagine life so long ago!"

Pat will show clips of a number of interviews for a 'public showing' today. The goal is for residents to be aware that there are amazing stories and history of the area at the museum. There are stories to be written. For more information call Pat at 863-675-8335 or Nikki 239-564-2005

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

$292K To Employees After Racial Slur Suit

Harassment Against Three Hispanic Employees Alleged

FORT MYERS, FL. -- The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement with Lee County, Fla. that, if approved by the district court, will resolve allegations that the county discriminated against three Hispanic employees on the basis of race and national origin in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

The settlement agreement requires the county to pay the three affected employees $292,500 in monetary relief, including compensatory damages and attorney’s fees.

According to the complaint, from early 2007 through January 2009, three employees were regularly subjected to racial and ethnic slurs by several of their co-workers.

The department’s complaint, previously filed in the Middle District of Florida, alleged that Lee County discriminated against Facilities Management Tradesworkers Leonides Sepulveda, Marco Ferreira, and Eduardo Rivera by subjecting them to racial and ethnic harassment.

The discriminatory actions by co-workers included mocking Ferreira’s and Rivera’s accents, and making false accusations against Ferreira and Rivera to Lee County’s Office of Equal Opportunity in an effort to have the county terminate the two employees. 

The complaint further alleged that despite timely complaints about the harassment by the employees to their supervisors, as well as the supervisors’ direct observation of the harassment, Lee County failed to take any meaningful action to stop the harassment until January 2009, when the harassers were terminated. 

After the United States filed suit against Lee County, the three employees who were allegedly subjected to race and national original discrimination intervened in the lawsuit.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, which must still be approved by the federal district court, the county is required to review and, if appropriate, revise its anti-discrimination policies for its workforce to protect its employees from discrimination. 

The county must also provide mandatory equal employment opportunity training to all Facilities Management employees that includes an emphasis on preventing race and national origin discrimination in the workplace.

“Title VII ensures that employees have the right to work in an environment free of harassment based on their race and national origin,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “This settlement demonstrates the Civil Rights Division’s commitment to eradicate discriminatory harassment from the workplace.”

Rancher Honored By Audubon

SEBRING, FL. -- Jimmy Wohl, owner/manager of Rafter T Ranch, is the recipient of Florida Audubon’s first Sustainable Rancher of the Year Award, which was presented to him on Sunday, April 7, 2013 in Okeechobee at the Inaugural Everglades Day in honor of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas’ birthday.

Audubon recognizes the great stewardship that ranchers in the Okeechobee Watershed have exercised on their land for more than 50 years. Today, by participating in programs to store and clean water on their land and by committing land to long-term conservation through the sale of conservation easements, ranchers are stepping forward to again become a vital factor in the restoration of Northern Everglades.

Wohl has exemplified stewardship on lands in the Northern Everglades. Through the Florida Ranchlands Environmental Services Project (FRESP) and the Northern Everglades Payment for Environmental Services (NE-PES) Program, Wohl has installed improvements on Rafter T Ranch to store and clean water before it runs into the watershed to Arbuckle Creek. His work shows how ranchers can make simple adjustments on working landscapes to maximize benefits for the environment.

“One of the reasons this award means so much is not just us receiving the award, but what it represents. This is a monumental step for the Audubon Society to even develop this award category,” Wohl said. “It’s a significant indication that we are making a lot of progress in getting the agencies, scientific community, NGOs and landowners to work together to positively address the environmental problems we are faced with today.”

Owned by the Wohl Family, the 5,200-acre Rafter T Ranch is located in Sebring, FL and has received numerous awards including Environmental Stewardship Awards from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the Florida Cattlemen’s Association (FCA) and the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS).

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Charles E. Pearcy, age 65, of Clewiston, passed away April 8, 2013 at JFK Medical Center.
He was born Jan. 1, 1948 in Middlesboro, KY, to the late Edward Eugene and the late Inez (Reed) Pearcy.

He was a Vietnam Veteran who served our country from 1968-1969 as a Sergeant. He was awarded a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and other service medals. He was an active member of the VFW Post 4185. He worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers for 19 years.

He is survived by his wife of 33 years Patricia (Patty) Pearcy, sons: David Tarter (Sara) of Franklin, NC, Danny Tarter (Ruby) of Clewiston, FL, sister: Louise (Lou) Church (Danny) of Troy. OH and four granddaughters: TyLyn, Kylie, Sydnee and Chole.

Services will be held at Akin-Davis Funeral Home, Clewiston on Friday, April 12, 2013 at 1 p.m. Interment will be in Ridgelawn Cemetery, Clewiston. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Speeding Kills Man - 3 Passengers Injured

Midnight Ride May Be Alcohol Related

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Highway Patrol says a LaBelle man is dead as a result of speeding on a rural road. At 12:51 a.m. early Monday a vehicle went airborne over a creek and ended up between several trees, killing the driver

Three passengers, Porfirio Hernandez, 24, Jose Hernandez 30, and Aburto Corona were all taken to Lee Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.

A 2008 Dodge Durango SUV driven by Arturo Martinez Vicente, 30  was traveling west on Fort Denaud Road west of LaBelle at a high rate of speed, said FHP Trooper J. Mulhem.

The driver failed to maintain his lane, and the SUV began to leave the roadway on the right (north) side, struck a garbage can, refuse cart, traveled onto the north shoulder of the roadway, then struck a ditch culvert, became airborne, struck a chain link fence, tree, and continued to be airborne while traveling over the width of Matthew Creek in its entirety.

The vehicle then struck several trees on the opposite side of Matthew Creek before coming to final rest lodged between several trees, partially suspended with its right side off the ground and facing west.

A blood alcohol test is pending on the deceased driver.

Palmdale Store Stuck In Legal Limbo

1929 Store On US27 Now Zoned Residential

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- At the Glades County Commission meeting Tuesday, Larry Taylor asked the commissioner to review his plan to reopen his wife's 1929 frame two-story building on U.S. 27 in Palmdale.

(photo courtesy of Jim Pike)

The building known at the Palmdale General Store has served as a general store, restaurant, and Post Office for decades. The building became a non-conforming use when the County instituted zoning and classified the property as Residential.

But the building has been vacant for many years and can no longer retain it's former commercial zoning.

Mr. Taylor explained he cannot make needed improvements to the building because of its non-conformity and if he tries to rezone it to Commercial, the set-back requirements will increase and then there won’t be room for the porch improvements between the building and the wider setback.

He says he proposes to restore the building back to its original purpose of a local country store but does not intend to sell alcoholic beverages or lottery tickets.

Mr. Taylor cited numerous issues with building permits and inspections on the repairs he has already made. He said the county tax bill has always reflected commercial assessment even though he has never operated a
business there since his wife bought it in 2007.

Palmdale resident Linda Skrine said that it is 16  miles to the nearest town and many residents of Palmdale are seniors or have low income and it is a hardship to make a 32 mile round trip for supplies. She said it would be really convenient for Palmdale to have the store and it could provide job opportunities and a place for teenagers to meet as well as seniors.

Dennis Howard of Palmdale seconded what Linda Skrine had said, that Palmdale needs the store, and the county could use the growth. Jean Martinez of Palmdale said she agreed with the others, that Palmdale needs the store, that some citizens can’t afford to drive that far and run to town every time they need something they may have forgotten to purchase.

Ruth Stambaugh of Palmdale said she agreed for the need for the store, that it would be nice to be able to pick up a few essentials. Larry Stambaugh of Palmdale agreed with previous statements about the store, that it needed to open.

Terry Maroney of Palmdale said the store would be an asset for the county, not just Palmdale as right now drivers going on US27 through Palmdale don’t stop and the business would benefit the county.

Commissioner Griffin deferred to Commissioner Beck as the Palmdale store is located in Beck’s commission district. Beck stated he had visited the store which had been there as long as Glades County had been a county and he liked Mr. Taylor’s project plans and thought variances could be given to allow Mr. Taylor to complete the store and open for business.

(photo courtesy of Bearden82)

Commissioners Griffin, Stanley and Storter all expressed interest and concern for the Palmdale citizens’ need for a retail store, the effect on local economy and tax revenue-both sales tax and ad valorem property taxes, and the delays Mr. Taylor has experienced in opening the store.

Community Development Director Hilton explained the matter of non-conforming use and why the building cannot be changed by enlarging its current footprint.

A Commercial building existing in a district that became zoned Residential which does not allow commercial, immediately becomes non-conforming but may continue in operation as long as the operation does not cease for more than 6 months. The county development ordinance does not allow expansion of a building that becomes non-conforming.

Hilton stated Mr. Taylor could open the store without making his proposed changes that enlarge the buildings footprint, and, he has the option of applying for a zoning change, and if new zoning setback changes affected the project, then he could apply for variances to make exceptions to the setback requirements.

Attorney Pringle cautioned the Board from expressing any position until such time the county’s adopted process in considered, which would mean the applicant would apply for rezoning, the application would be reviewed by staff, submitted to the Planning Commission, and then brought to the Board with their recommendations and the Board could then vote on approval or denial.

Property owner Marcia Taylor appeared before the Board and was told she could apply for the rezoning and the set-back variance at the same time, and if the zoning change is granted, then the variance to reducing the setback requirements could then be considered at the same meeting.

-from notes provided by Donna Storter Long

Monday, April 08, 2013

Hendry-Glades Obituaries

Violet June "Jincey" White Raulerson, age 82, of LaBelle, passed away March 31, 2013 in Clewiston.

She was born June 2, 1930 in Loxley, AL, to the late Ryer and the late Trudy (Barnes) White.
She married James Hardy Raulerson, Sr on November 13, 1950, he preceded her in death on March 17, 2009.

Survivors include two sons: Buddy and wife Gwen Raulerson of LaBelle, FL, Wayne and wife Eileen Raulerson of LaBelle, FL and three daughters: June and husband Kelly Coffey of LaBelle, FL, Rose Mason of LaBelle, FL, Marie and husband Randy Hays of Wauchula, FL, two sisters: Mabel Hays, Gladys McElyea, four step-brothers and sisters; Floyd and Lloyd Grainger, Lucille Snow and Mabel Hays, Twelve grandchildren, fifteen great grandchildren.

She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and sister. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her. She and Hardy are together in Heaven singing and playing the fiddle.

Funeral services were held Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm at Community Harvest Worship Center, LaBelle with Pastor L. W. Howard officiating, where visitation was held one hour before services. Interment was in Felda Cemetery, Felda.

Teens Arrested - Stolen Items Found And Returned

Alert Residents Aid Deputies in Arrest

CLEWISTON, FL.. -- A very observant resident witnessed two teenage boys breaking into vehicles in the Holiday Isles Community, in Clewiston, Florida. After noticing two suspicious teenagers entering his neighbor’s truck, the witness called the neighbor and asked if he had two boys staying at the home with them.

When it was discovered the neighbor had no visitors, both men began to search the area for the suspicious teens.

They located 16 year old Alejandro Mireles and 17 year old Austin Adams, rummaging through another truck in the same neighborhood. The men located and detained both boys. Prior to the arrival of deputies Alejandro Mireles was able to get loose and fled the scene.

A short time later Mireles was located at his residence hiding under the carport area. Deputies were able to recover all items stolen, which were returned to their rightful owners.

Deputies arrested both Mireles and Adams on charges of Burlgary. Both juveniles were released to their guardians.

Nude Man With Shotgun Arrested


CLEWISTON, FL. On Sunday, April 7, 2013, Hendry County deputies responded to the area of 902 N. Gratton Road, Clewiston, Florida. The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office had received reports of a man standing outside naked with a shotgun.

Upon Deputies arrival they found 59 year old Donald Mulligan standing on top of a truck overlooking privacy fence. When Mulligan saw Deputies he pointed a gun at Deputy Sheriff J. Brown. At that point a neighbor, James Vary, began talking to Mulligan reasoning with him to talk to deputies.

Mulligan walked toward his home and returned wearing clothes and carrying two beers. As deputies approached Mulligan he began to make suspicious movements and was taken into custody and transported to the Hendry County Jail.

Mulligan was charged with Assault on an Officer, use of a Firearm while Under the Influence of Alcohol and Resisting Arrest without Violence. He is currently being held in the Hendry county jail on $8,000.00 bond.