Monday August 29, 2022

BELLE GLADE PASTOR WRITES REBUTTAL TO A PALM BEACH POST EDITORIAL

The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board has once again crossed a line when referring to the Glades Communities and our local farmers.  In the editorial posted on on August 17th of 2022 the author of the editorial goes on to say ”that Residents of The Glades, a collection of some of the poorest minority communities in the United States, have waited for years to get someone to pay attention to their plight. The thick clouds steal over their neighborhoods from the adjacent fields where many work, forcing them indoors and sending young and old to clinics for respiratory ailments,” 

Blaming the burning of the sugar cane during harvesting as the culprit of these ailments, but the people in the glades area had something to say about this story and to those whom penned the editorial, in a rebuttal statement to Palm Beach Post Rev. Dr. Robert Rease senior pastor, St. John First Missionary Baptist Church, Belle Glade. expressed frustrations by writing,

We are residents of Belle Glade, Pahokee, South Bay and Clewiston

We are grateful every day for the bounty of these farmlands and for the fellowship of this community that has grown strong roots over decades, roots that cannot be separated from our muck and farming heritage.

We will no longer allow the media to speak, or rather misspeak, for our community. The reporters who write about our towns don’t live here and they don’t know us. Recent articles and opinions repeat tired, baseless rhetoric and seem to be aimed primarily at chasing awards and using us to do it.

The paper claims sugarcane field burns damage air quality and are unsafe for this poor minority community. Even worse, these writers preen and pat themselves on the back as if they were doing God’s work by uncovering the plight of “poor, primarily black and brown” people who need saving from our community’s farmers.

Most troubling is that the Post has covered our farming area for more than 50 years and never saw the need to take on a “crusade” against our cane farmers until they received outside funding.

What is most offensive to our people, is the way The Palm Beach Post wants to make the issue of sugarcane pre-harvest burns about race. We grow weary of being defined by skin color like the Post does time after time. Lines like, “But when the humble Black and brown-skinned residents of The Glades call out for help? They get smoke and mirrors.” Insulting and in fact, racist.

Our residents are not just Black, or brown or white or any other condescending label the Post and other outsiders use to denigrate Glades residents. We are proud people who all live here. We work here. Worship and raise our families here. Our air is clean and meets government standards and we’re living proof of it. Our athletes play at the highest levels in competitive sports after being nurtured here.

Don’t take our word for it, look at the government reports.

We want the public to know, we are breathing just fine here in the Glades. If The Palm Beach Post were to visit more than just the same few discontents who work with an outside special interest, it could easily find this out. That would better serve the public.

We community leaders are asking the media to do its homework just like we ask our kids to do. Uncover the real story about a city rich in farmland, full of people who love this country, who have faith in God, and believe in telling the truth. No area of our community is treated differently by our farmers based on skin color or economic status. Stop furthering this falsehood.

Use common sense and search for the truth. Include inconvenient but true facts and science that show the real picture, the real Glades.

UPDATE ON A STORY WE BROUGHT TO YOU ON FRIDAY ABOUT A PAHOKEE HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER 

A former Pahokee High School teacher has pleaded guilty to four counts of battery after at least three female students accused him of touching them inappropriately while on school grounds, according to court documents.

52 yr old Stephen Goodman taught sports and health sciences as the department head of the school’s Medical Academy for four years.

He was arrested Jan. 27 after a note surfaced from a student who alleged that on Jan. 25, Goodman touched her chest sexually in front of another student, according to court documents and a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office report requested by The Palm Beach Post.

That same student previously reported Goodman to school police in October for making inappropriate comments about her chest size and about her body when she wore a skirt to school, the report cited by WPTV-Channel 5 says. The student’s family declined to press charges at the time.

Since that investigation, two other students said Goodman put them in an unwanted chokehold during a classroom demonstration Jan. 26, court records show.

Stephen Goodman of Lake Worth Beach, pleaded guilty Thursday in court in West Palm Beach. As part of his plea agreement, he will pay $2,095 in court fees and serve four years of probation.

During his probation, Goodman cannot contact any of the minors named in the suit, cannot work in any public or private schools, and must send a letter to the Palm Beach County School District stating his disqualification for employment.

IMMOKALEE MAN ARRESTED FOR DRIVING HIS GOLF CART WHILE DRUNK

An Immokalee man has been arrested after he fled from deputies while driving drunk in a golf cart on Friday night.

According to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), at around 11:32 p.m. deputies were driving east on Lake Trafford Rd. when they tried to pull over a golf cart that was driving with no lights on.

The driver identified as 24-year-old Alex Acevedo saw deputies and quickly pulled off to the side of the road in a grass ditch area. Deputies watched Acevedo throw a can out of his vehicle before speeding back up.

Acevedo sped down Titus Lane and pulled into a driveway where he began shouting for family members to take his items. He threw his cell phone towards a man in the yard before being detained by deputies, CCSO said.

Acevedo smelled heavily of alcohol and was struggling to keep his balance during the whole encounter. Deputies found a large Corona beer can inside the golf cart.

According to the report, Acevedo refused to do field sobriety tests.

Acevedo faces charges of DUI and resisting arrest without violence. He was taken to the Immokalee Jail.