Tuesday, February 15, 2022

A report from National Geographic explores the rate at which Florida manatees are dying. Evidently, the same pressures that killed more than 1,100 Florida manatees last year are at play again this winter, with Florida wildlife officials reporting 97 dead manatees in January alone. Starvation and cold weather are the culprits, according to NatGeo. Most deaths have occurred in Indian River Lagoon, an estuary stretching more than 150 miles down the middle of Florida’s east coast. Here, decades of pollution from farm fertilizers and residential developments have killed off seagrass that are manatees’ main food source. Between mid-January when cold weather hit Florida and the end of the month, the number of manatee carcasses that were found tripled, according to the FWC. In the past, professionals say, manatees would easily have survived the winter cold snaps. But now, many have been weakened by years of food shortages and are reaching the breaking point.

According to Palm Beach County Court records, a 43-year-old Belle Glade man received a life prison sentence this week, after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder in a 2020 fatal shooting. Investigators wrote that Richard Oscar Singleton “executed” Tekeyo Lumpkin outside a Belle Glade nightclub Nov. 15. The shooting followed a fight between Singleton, Lumpkin and two other men, that began with the three men beating Lumpkin, according to court records. During the fight, Singleton returned to his car and retrieved a gun, then stood over Lumpkin, and shot him, according to a report from PBSO. Singleton then fled to Orange County where he was taken into custody two weeks later. Tekeyo Lumpkin was 43.

On February 11, 2022, Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Detectives arrested 23-year-old, Breice Henley for charges of Aggravated Child Abuse. On Friday, July 24, 2020 HCSO Deputies were called to the residence at 435 Calhoun Street, in LaBelle.  It was discovered that the night before, an infant in the home became lethargic, then unresponsive and appeared to be experiencing seizures.  Adults in the home immediately called 911 and the child was transported to the hospital for evaluation and treatment. An investigation revealed that the child was suffering from severe head trauma.  An arrest warrant was obtained for Henley for the charges of Aggravated Child Abuse.   At the time of this report, Henley was being held in the Hendry County Jail on $150,000.00 bond.

Each year, Through With Chew Week raises awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use (chew, dip, and snus) and the effective tools available to quit tobacco. This Through With Chew Week, Feb. 20-26, Hendry County is encouraging smokeless tobacco users to set a quit date and use Tobacco Free Florida’s free and proven-effective resources to quit for good. Smokeless tobacco contains nicotine, the same addictive and toxic chemical found in other tobacco products. Many chemicals in smokeless tobacco are known to cause several tumors and cancers including oral, esophageal and pancreatic cancers. The American Heart Association reports smokeless tobacco use can also increase the risk of stroke and heart disease. Those looking to quit tobacco can create a personalized quit plan using Tobacco Free Florida’s free Quit Your Way tools and services. The Quit Your Way program offers free tools and services, including free nicotine replacement therapy like nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges for tobacco users who are 18 or older, if medically appropriate. For more information on quitting tobacco, you can call 1-877-U-CAN-NOW (1-877-822-6669) or visit TobaccoFreeFlorida.com/quityourway.