Friday, March 18, 2022

Mechanical Harvesting in Glades County

Glades County is supporting a private venture to get invasive plants out of the Indian Prairie Canal. And organizers say, it’s being done in an environmentally friendly way. Chairman Tim Stanley says the company is using mechanical harvesting. They will grow hay and export the hay out of the basin when it is sold.  He says the company is also talking with the US Army Corps of Engineers on ways to remove sediment. 

Clewiston Man Gets Life in Prison

Forty-one-year-old Rafael Gonzalez Santiago of Clewiston, was adjudicated guilty and sentenced to life in prison for Sexual Battery, Burglary with Assault or Battery, and Robbery with a Weapon. He was also sentenced to 10 years in prison for one count of False Imprisonment. Santiago was found guilty in December, following a trial in Hendry County. The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office was called to the scene of a home invasion on June 13, 2019. The defendant cut the power to a home in Clewiston then entered the residence. He then robbed and sexually battered the elderly occupant. A man who learned of Gonzalez’s plan, contacted law enforcement as the crime was happening. Deputies got to the scene swiftly and saw Gonzalez running from the home. He was then taken into custody, and will now spend the rest of his life in prison.

Small Town Voted Best Small Town in the South

The periodical Southern Living performed a survey of the best small towns in the south. This town was the only small town in our state to make the list. And they are no strangers to acknowledgment. This city has won dozens of awards including Esquire’s “Charming American Towns,” Coastal Living’s “Happiest Seaside Town” and also ranked as one of the best places to retire. Have you figured it out yet? Well, it’s about 74 miles north of us, on the east coast. And the winner is, Stuart Florida. The city’s PIO says, they have great views, an excellent downtown area, and most importantly, the town is safe and walkable.

Black History Month Contest Winners

Governor Ron DeSantis announced the winners of the Black History Month student essay and art contests as well as the Excellence in Education Awards. Educators were nominated by a principal, teacher, parent or guardian, or student. The theme of this year’s contests was Celebrating African-American Contributions to Florida’s History. There were 2 student winners from Lee County, and 1 from Palm Beach County. Congratulations to all the winners. See the full list below:

Award recipients are as follows:

Student Art Contest Winners

Amara Kantaria, MacFarlane Park Elementary Magnet School, Hillsborough County

Amara is a first grade student who submitted her artwork titled Mary in the Mirror. 

Zuri Jackson, Allen Park Elementary School, Lee County

Zuri is a third grade student who submitted her work titled Future Donald’s Legacy. 

Student Essay Contest Winners

Aryanah Sahai, A.D. Henderson University School, Palm Beach County

Aryanah is a fifth grade student who submitted an essay titled An Amazing Woman that Uplifts Her Community about Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, Shevaun Harris. Aryanah believes that education is a gift that she values and that it is important to help your community. 

Kurukulasuriya Nishini, Fernando, Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School, Lee County

Kurukulasuriya is an eighth grade student who submitted an essay titled Shevaun Harris: A Voice for Many. Kurukulasuriya aspires to be a pediatric oncologist and has had a poem published in the American Library of Poetry. 

Sidjourney Knight, Praise Temple Christian Academy, Lake County

Sidjoureny is an eleventh grade student who submitted an essay titled Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and Her Contributions to the Black Community. Sidjourney aspires to attend law school and volunteers at a food pantry. 

Excellence in Education Award Winners

Christine Ducille Taylor, OCPS Academic Center for Excellence, Orange County

Mrs. Taylor was nominated by a fellow teacher at OCPS Academic Center for Excellence and she teaches first grade students. She has over 30 years of teaching experience and serves as a mentor for aspiring educators and single mothers in her area. 

Renee Rice, Belleview Middle School, Marion County

Ms. Rice was nominated by a fellow teacher at Belleview Middle School and teaches grades seven and eight. She is described by her fellow teachers as one of the most outstanding educators they have ever met and she serves as a basketball coach. 

Audrey Childress, Econ River High School, Orange County 

Ms. Childress, known to her students as Ms. C, was nominated by the principal of Econ River High School and she teaches grades 9-12. Ms. Childress provides support and encouragement for her students, even visiting each student to encourage them to join Zoom classes during the pandemic. Ms. Childress formerly served her country in the U.S. Coast Guard.

City Commission Meeting

The Clewiston City commission will meet on Monday for its regularly scheduled commission meeting at City Hall. The City will present a proclamation in the name of Attorney Gary Brandenburg who tragically passed away last month. Other items on the agenda include the City Manager Randy Martins performance evaluation, application modifications for upcoming events like the Market on Bond and the Hope for Huntington 5K. The City will also announce the 2021 Outstanding Employees of the Year. The meeting will take place on Monday March 21st at 5 p.m. at City Hall.