Wednesday December 8, 2021

Under new provisions added to the Florida Right to Farm Act, farmers are better protected from lawsuits surrounding their burning activities. Right now, it’s burn season all around the state. Another bill is trying to repeal some of those protections. Florida State Representative Anna Eskamani and Senator Gary Farmer have filed a bill to repeal part of SB 88, which allowed “particle emissions” to be on a list of protected farming activities under the Florida Right to Farm Act. Supporters of the bill say the protections are overly generous, and some Glades area residents say they worry about the health impacts of the burns. US Sugar representatives maintain that their practices are safe, and they invite anyone to attend one of the many tours that the company hosts, most recently hosting students and administrators, from Florida Gulf Coast University, as well as members of the media, who had some tough questions about farming practices and hazardous conditions. Supporters of the right to farm act include the mayors of Belle Glade, Bay and Pahokee, Former Hendry County Commissioner and President of Glades Lives Matter, Janet Taylor.

A case of the coronavirus omicron variant in Florida was confirmed Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the case was first identified Monday in a patient in St. Lucie County. The United States recorded its first confirmed case of the omicron variant Wednesday — a person in California. Cases have also been confirmed in several other states, including Georgia.

On Saturday, December 4, LaBelle, Wal-Mart, hosted the “5th Annual Shop with the Sheriff. Shop with the Sheriff is an annual event that includes elementary and middle school students along with deputies from the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office.  These students are nominated by the School Resource Officer assigned to each school in partnership with school guidance counselors.  As part of this event, students selected to participate are joined with a deputy to shop together. Each student receives a $100.00 gift card to purchase something for themselves or to purchase Christmas gifts for family members and friends.  Once the children have completed their shopping and made their purchases, it’s over to the wrapping tables.  Each year teachers from the elementary and middle schools volunteer their time to wrap the gifts purchased.  Sheriff Steve Whidden said, “We look forward to this event each year, having that one-on-one time with the children makes it all worthwhile”.

The Clewiston Chamber of Commerce held their annual chamber dinner last night. This year’s event was held in a manner that was, according to organizers, “with maximum allowable safety precautions in place regarding the pandemic.” The event was held on Bond Street in Clewiston, an outdoor setting dressed in white tablecloths, white holiday lights on the trees and sidewalks, and a festively decorated stage courtesy of the City of Clewiston. In attendance were dignitaries of the city including the City Manager, the Mayor, several commissioners, the Chamber Board Members, School administrators, CEOs and business owners, and many familiar faces of friends, family and loved ones. Chamber Director Hilary Hyslope took to the stage, between the breaks of live saxophonist Miguel Newberry, to recognize some outstanding citizens and business owners, who were all voted on by chamber board members. Notably, after commemorating her 30th year in the Clewiston Flower shop, which still stands in its original building from 1966, Alethea Hanson took home the award for Businesses of the Year for Clewiston Florist and Gifts. We’ll be discussing more of the winners from last night’s event throughout the week. Special thanks to the chamber and all of the board members for their hard work putting together this event.