Monday, February 28, 2022

US Sugar Lawsuit Reportedly Dropped

Three years ago, thousands of residents were part of a federal lawsuit which claimed that Florida’s sugar industry crop burns are dangerous to nearby residents. Reports say the suit was dropped on Friday. The Associated Press reports, attorneys for several of Florida’s largest sugar companies and attorneys for a dozen residents from Glades, Hendry and Palm Beach counties agreed in federal court that the case should be dismissed, according to court records. The lawsuit was filed in June 2019, claiming the burns reduce property values and compromise air quality. One of the companies named in the lawsuit was U.S. Sugar Corporation, the largest producer of sugar cane in the United States by volume. So, in response, U.S. Sugar released three years of air quality data from public and private monitors located throughout the farming communities. Judy Sanchez, Director of Corporate Communications said, The Glades communities have demonstrated unwavering support for our local farmers who live here, work here, and raise our children here.  They understand that our farming practices are safe, environmentally sound and among the most advanced and heavily regulated in the nation.” We reached out to Robert Mitchell, a vocal opponent of sugar can burning. He says, the local stop the ban campaign will continue, and has nothing to do with the lawsuit. He says he will continue the fight, to stop the burn.

Glades County Deputies Arrest Local Man for Killing His Grandad

Glades County Detectives say they have arrested a man suspected of killing his grandfather. On February 26, just after 1 in the morning, deputies were dispatched in reference to shots fired. Upon arrival deputies located a white male, identified as Ricky Harrell. The 32-year-old was standing outside the residence with his hands up and stated “the gun is inside and no one else is here”. Deputies secured Harrell and entered the residence, where they found 75-year-old Peter Paul Matusiak, deceased on the floor from an apparent gunshot wound. Detectives concluded that Matusiak was intoxicated when the relatives got in an argument. Harrell stated that Matusiak grabbed a shotgun, which he eventually wrestled away from his grandfather. Harrell said his grandad lunged toward him, and he fired the weapon. Further investigation revealed that Harrell has made several comments to friends that he wanted to kill his grandparents. GCSO says, Harrell is charged with first degree (premeditated) Murder. He is being held in the Glades County Jail with no bond.

Pedestrian Hit/Killed in Belle Glade

A Belle Glade man died in a car crash that happened Friday night, at major intersection in the city. On February 25 at 6:52 PM, Earl Blackwood of Loxahatchee was traveling north on Main Street crossing MLK Blvd. At the same time, a pedestrian who has now been identified as Alexandre Metellus traveled into the vehicles path. The Palm Beach County Sheriffs Office reports, Metellus suffered incapacitating injuries as the vehicle hit him head on. He was transported to St. Mary’s Medical Center where he died. Metellus was from Belle Glade. He was 72 years old.

Pahokee Man Arrested on Child Pornography Charges

The Department of Justice released disturbing news out of Pahokee.  Twenty-eight-year-old Dennis Pollard was sentenced in federal court to 25 years in prison for enticing poor children in the Philippines to send him pornographic images of themselves in exchange for money and other child exploitation crimes, some of which involved toddlers. Authorities say, Pollard used a social media messenger app in 2020 to find young girls in the Philippines whom he could groom for the purpose of producing child sexual abuse material (CSAM).  Pollard offered, and sometimes provided, money in exchange for pornographic images of the girls.  Over nearly six-weeks, Pollard convinced a 13-year-old girl, living in poverty, to record herself performing sex acts in exchange for money. Authorities executed a search warrant at Pollard’s Pahokee residence where they found dozens of child sexual abuse images and videos on his phone, as well as on CDs that he had possessed, for nearly a decade.  He was sentenced to 25 years.