2015: Year in Review

January
400 Anglers En Route to Clewiston
About 400 hundred anglers and co-anglers will be making the trek to America’s Sweetest Town for the Walmart Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament.

Task Force Tackles Tough Issues
The Education Improvement Task Force addresses the county’s high unemployment rate as it pertains to the condition of its school system.

Man Pleads Guilty in Vassell Murder
Erica Vassell’s body was found on a desolate strip of roadway in Glades County four years ago. Theophilus Brooks plead guilty in her murder late last year.

Rayovac FLW Series Starts Today
The Rayovac FLW Series is the second large fishing tournament to come to Clewiston during the month of January.

Locals Deliver in FLW Series
Clewiston-native Moses Wilson won first place as co-angler; pro-anglers Scott Martin and Brandon McMillan won ninth and sixth place, consecutively.

February
U.S. Sugar Employee Receives Patriot Award
U.S. Sugar employees gathered on the afternoon of Jan. 22 as the United States Department of Defense recognized one of Sugar’s own: Ashly Sergent.

Students Arrested for Threats Made on Social Media App
Clewiston Middle School was placed on lock down for roughly four hours after it was learned a student may have brought a handgun to school.

Hendry County Pageant Winners
Rachel Morrell was named Miss Hendry County, Keelyn Sanchez was crowned Jr. Miss Hendry County and Jaslyn Creagh was crowned Little Miss Hendry County.

Commission Vows to ‘Go Down Fighting’
City commissioners have vowed to do everything in their power to minimize the effect the new maps will have on residents with federally backed mortgages.

March
Mental Health Center Closes
The Hendry Glades Behavioral Health Center will no longer be providing mental health and substance abuse services to residents in Hendry and Glades counties.

Can Purchasing Sugar’s Land Fix S.F.’s Water Problems?
The spotlight is once again on United States Sugar Corporation and the environmental groups calling on the state to exercise its option purchase sugar land.

Two Sides to Lunchroom Privatization
Privatization has emotions running high for school district food service employees, who fear losing everything from their jobs to their pension plans.

Ford Details Airport’s Future
AIA hopes to turn Airglades Airport into an international cargo hub, capitalizing off of Miami International Airport’s huge perishable cargo operation.

April
Miss Sugar Pageant
Rebecca Manning was named Miss Sugar 2015 at the Miss Sugar Pageant held Saturday, March 28.
Parks and Rec Director Named SF Honoree
The 29th Annual Sugar Festival was dedicated to one Clewiston resident who has impacted the lives of countless children in the community: Lance Ramer.

29th Annual Sugar Festival
The Sugar Festival went off without a hitch on April 11 and ended with a performance by West Palm-native Cassadee Pope as the headline entertainer.

City to Stream Live Feed of Lake Okeechobee
Clewiston could soon be the first city on Lake Okeechobee to stream live feeds of the big water once an HD camera is installed atop the dike.

School Board Votes in Favor of Privatization
The mood was somber as the Hendry County School Board vote 3-1 to privatize the school lunch rooms.

May
37th Annual Brown Sugar Festival
Brown Sugar Festival was a day full of entertainment, delicious, homemade food, and the annual parade down Harlem Academy Avenue.

New State Law Puts Summer Camp in Limbo
Summer camp programs hung in the balance because of a recently passed law requiring all camp counselors to get level 2 background checks.

SFWMD Declines Option for Sugar Land
South Florida Water Management District made the decision not to exercise the option to purchase 46,800 acres of U.S. Sugar-owned land in Hendry County.

Comprehensive Plan Moves Forward
The Comprehensive Plan will lay the foundation for what commissioners hope to create for Clewiston: an attractive downtown with sufficient parking.

June
Congratulations, Class of 2015
The Clewiston High School Class of 2015 made its final walk down Cane Field during graduation ceremony held Friday, May 29.

Dog Allegedly Dragged Behind Vehicle in Montura
A female pit bull mix was taken into Gulf Coast Humane Society Saturday afternoon after it was found left for dead in Montura Ranch that morning.

City Limits Liability Against Bounce House Accidents at Parks
The use of bounce houses and other inflatables on city property was up in the air Monday night.

Longtime CPD Officer Retires
Tito Nieves ends a 30-year-long career in Clewiston and a 44-year-long career in law enforcement.

July
Residents Cringe Over Bathrooms at Harlem Pool
Pictures surfaced on social media of the James Mason Pool bathroom in Harlem that sent East County Recreation employees on a mission to clean it up.

Martin Wins Angler of Year
Local pro fisherman Scott Martin won Fishing League Worldwide’s coveted Angler of the Year award, accumulating the most points throughout the 2015 season.

BOCC Sends FPL Amendments for State Review
FPL requested to amend the county’s comprehensive plan to make it possible to build a gas and solar energy power plant off of County Road 833.

Private Parties Limited to One Park
Residents can only use Sugarland Sports Complex for private parties until city staff come back with a recommendation at the next commission meeting.

Residents React to Bounce House Policy
A decision made by the Clewiston City Commission has some residents and one local business owner up in arms about the tentative policy.

August
Sugar Fest Anticipates Great Changes
For the first time in several years, U.S. Sugar Corporation is increasing its presence in the festival that was borne as a celebration of its end of harvest.

Clewiston Tigers 2015
The Clewiston Tigers began their preseason practices on Monday, Aug. 3, readying for their first game against Charlotte High School on Aug. 21.

City Votes to Keep Bounce Houses at Public Parks
The final chapter of the bounce house saga came to a close on Monday, Aug. 17, as commissioners voted in favor of keeping inflatables alive on city property.

Locals Compete in Battle of Bands
Five local musicians are heading to the second round of 96K-Rock’s Battle of the Bands to fight for the chance to record a three-song EP.

September
Gary Allan to Headline 30th Annual Sugar Fest
The Sugar Festival Committee announced the main headliners for the March 19 festival: Gary Allan, Eric Paslay and Chase Byrant.

Tigers Hold Onto Harvest Cup
The Tigers defeated the Immokalee Indians 49-10 in the annual Harvest Bowl Friday night, holding onto the cup for a second year.

County Opens VA Clinic in Clewiston
The VA clinic, located in the existing Hendry County Health Department Building on Olympia Street, will offer preventative medical care to veterans.

Quarter Auction Sees Huge Turnout
Hundreds of local citizens came to help raise about $10,000 for the Mason Cole and Christopher Lowe scholarship funds.

October
Taxi Driver Murdered
It was a gruesome discovery Saturday morning in Clewiston: a man found murdered in a taxi cab parked in a space in front of Hibbett Sports.

CPD: Taxi Driver Killed Over $18
The department claims Ansari was shot after being robbed at gunpoint by Joe “GI” Mccray, 46, of Clewiston, in the parking lot of Sugarland Plaza.

Community Celebrates Homecoming
Amber Whitehall and Tyrin Summers were crowned Homecoming Queen and King at halftime on Oct. 9.

Community Remembers a Fallen Tiger
Expavious “Tyrell” Taylor, 20, was shot and killed at the ninth annual ZombieCon festival in Fort Myers on Saturday, Oct. 17.

McMillan Wins Southern Open on Lake Seminole
Brandon McMillan won Bass Pro Shops Bassmasters Southern Open No. 3 on Georgia’s Lake Seminole and placed first in total points for all three Southern Opens.

November
Sheriff Stirs Controversy with New Decals
The Hendry County Sheriff ’s Office recently added “In God We Trust” decals to the back of its patrol vehicles and the move has proven quite controversial.

Local Band Wins Big in San Antonio
Bajo Zero, a Tejano band made up of musicians from across South and Central Florida, including Clewiston, won a prestigious Tejano Music Award.

Puppy Mill Busted in Montura
Roughly 100 dogs were seized from a home in Montura where agencies believe a suspected puppy mill had been operating.

CMS Teacher Receives Shine Award
An eighth grade teacher at Clewiston Middle School was recognized by Gov. Rick Scott for his dedication as a teacher and military service.

December
Mental Health Clinic Expanding Services
Interim providers saw indigents only until July 1 when Crossroads Behavioral Health Center, Inc., got the five-year contract for services in Hendry/Glades.

Sheriff: Protect Yourself Against Terrorism
Sheriff Steve Whidden is urging Hendry County residents to get their concealed weapon permits in order to safeguard against terrorist and other attacks.

16 Year Old Arrested in Double Shooting
Jathaniel Reggie Brooks was accused of shooting two 18 year olds near Harlem Gardens on Nov. 4.

Will Beer Be Sold at Sugar Festival
Commissioners voiced their concerns about an ordinance amendment that would allow for the sale and consumption of beer and wine at the 2016 Sugar Festival.

The Clewiston News is published every Thursday.

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