Thursday, June 18, 2020

The end of slavery in the U.S., known as Juneteenth, will be commemorated with an Inaugural Freedom Walk in America’s Sweetest Town. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger landed in Texas, and spread word that the war had ended. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation — which had been declared Jan. 1, 1863. Jubilant celebrations followed the reading of the proclamation, which began a tradition that has lasted for 155 years, and continues to this day, celebrated in cities across America. The purpose of the Juneteenth Freedom Walk in Clewiston is to celebrate and promote change. According to a news source, people, who have not yet done so, will be able to register to vote during the event as well. This event is open to anyone who wants to join. Families are welcome and encouraged. For more information about this event, Contact Dr. Janet Holmes Peeples at 786-245-1067.

The Governor has a decision to make regarding legislation that would expand permissible use for drones. HB 659 would allow state agencies to use the aircraft over swamps and other people-free places where invasive species (like pythons) and other nuisances have proved problematic. The bill, if signed into law, would allow wildlife and forestry officials to use drones to track pythons, lygodium and other invasive species inhabiting Florida’s forests, wetlands, and wilderness spaces, often to the detriment of native wildlife. Law enforcement agencies could not use drones for this bill. Supporters asserted that technology could save money compared to using humans for these same purposes.

When Jeankys Pierre Jr. showed up at a friend’s Belle Glade house on the afternoon of June 8, he wanted to know why the 14-year-old in the doorway was crying. She told him how 19-year-old Jamar Peete repeatedly had hit her. Peete was inside gathering his belongings to leave. Pierre, 18, wanted to know why Peete would put his hands on the young teen. In response, Peete reached for a gun, according to witnesses. The two men fought, and Peete fired three shots, 2 of which struck Pierre. Sadly, the injuries were fatal. Pierre, a Belle Glade resident, died that day at St. Mary’s Medical Center. On Tuesday, more than a week after the incident, Peete was arrested on a second-degree murder charge as well as an aggravated assault charge. A judge ordered that Peete, of Pahokee, be held without bail. A former teacher remembered Pierre as “a very respectable young man.” The teacher went on to say, the student-athlete “was full of energy and didn’t meet a stranger. He will forever be missed.”

The LaBelle community remembered the life of fallen FWC Officer Julian Keen last night during a candlelight vigil in his honor. Friends say he always had a smile on his face, and they say his death is a major loss. But they are making sure he has a lasting legacy on the community he served. At least 500 people turned out to hear and share stories about the 30-year-old, affectionately known as LaBelle son, Batman, Man, and now, to everyone, even those that didn’t know him, an angel. The organizer of the event, Sherrodra Gregory, says he was filled with nothing but love and kindness. She says he never saw race, only people. Gregory says this event, with its diverse population was a true testament of that. Julian Keen is a name LaBelle will always remember.