Shooter called 911, claimed self-defense in road rage killing on State Road 60

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Law enforcement officials are investigating the fatal shooting of a Fort Pierce man on S.R. 60 in what is being classified by the sheriff’s office as a “road-rage incident” and what the shooter is calling self-defense.
CONTRIBUTED FROM INDIAN RIVER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Law enforcement officials are investigating the fatal shooting of a Fort Pierce man in what the Sheriff’s Office classified as a ”road rage incident” and what the shooter called self-defense.

Dennis Wayne Hicks, 38, of Fort Pierce, was fatally shot about 7 p.m. Thursday when the driver of a car traveling alongside Hicks in the 5300 block of State Road 60 reached out of his window and fired several shots, according to the Indian RIver County Sheriff’s Office.

The driver then pulled into a parking lot facing the shooting scene and dialed 911, according to Lt. Thom Raulen, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.

More: Fort Pierce man killed in shooting on State Road 60 in Indian River County

More: 4-year-old Fort Pierce girl killed after being thrown from car in crash on U.S. 1

“I just shot somebody at the corner of S.R. 60 and 53rd Avenue,” the man calmly told dispatchers in a 911 call.

“You shot somebody?” the dispatcher replied.

“Yes, in self-defense,” the man said. “People are panicking.”

The caller, whose identity has not been released by the Sheriff’s Office, said he did not know Hicks, not even his name.

“I had my window down and this guy pulled over and he looked over at me and I looked at him,” the man said.

“He said, ‘What’s your problem?’ And I said, ‘I don’t have a problem. Do you have a problem?’ And he said, ‘I’m gonna put a bullet in your ass.’ And then he reached for something and I had my gun and I opened fire on him,” he said.

More: Stuart man arrested in road rage incident

More: Port St. Lucie man arrested in ‘road rage’ incident in Stuart

Detectives interviewed the shooter and a woman passenger in the parking lot for several hours before they were released.

Their car and the victim’s car were both taken to the Sheriff’s Office as part of the investigation, Raulen said. The lieutenant would not say whether a firearm was found in Hicks’ car.

“At this point, we don’t have any probable cause to arrest anyone for murder,” said Assistant State Attorney Steve Gosnell, the prosecutor assigned to the case.

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Lt. Thomas Raulen, spokesman for the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, discusses a fatal shooting Thursday night, Nov. 16, 2017, on State Road 60. MARY HELEN MOORE/TCPALM
Wochit

The shooting

Officials said the shooter and victim were both traveling east on S.R. 60. The shooter was driving a silver Mazda, and the victim was the sole occupant of a red Toyota, Raulen said.

“It is believed this shooting may have been a result of a road rage incident which began in the area of S.R. 60 and 58th Avenue,” according to a late Thursday news release by the Sheriff’s Office.

Another car was hit by four shots as it traveled west through the traffic light, but a man and his 3-year-old son in that car were not injured, Raulen said.

“Somebody just started firing shots out of the car,” that man said when he called 911. “I’ve got a car full of bullet holes with my 3-year-old in it.”

“Our car was shot!” the boy was heard saying in the background.

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Man calls 911 in Indian River County after a road rage incident on S.R. 60 where shots were fired and another man was killed.
CONTRIBUTED FROM INDIAN RIVER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Although it’s unclear how many shots were fired, Raulen said detectives found a number of shell casings in the roadway.

Gosnell said a range of theoretical explanations — including self-defense — could explain the lack of arrest, but would not comment on the specifics so as not to jeopardize the investigation.

“With any murder, you have to look at all aspects of the case,” he said Friday. “Investigators are following up on stuff today and the investigation continues.”

More: Man in serious condition after overnight shooting in Fort Pierce

More: Martin County sheriff: Deputy cites self-defense in fatal shooting

Who was Dennis Wayne Hicks?

Court records showed Hicks, the victim, had two young daughters, one 3 years old and one 5. He had their names tattooed on his shoulders, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

He was born in North Carolina and resided for the past several decades in Indian River and St. Lucie counties, records showed.

Hicks was arrested 16 times in Florida in the past 20 years, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Courts have granted two domestic violence protective orders against Hicks since 2012. Five others have been denied or dismissed in the same time frame.

Hicks most recently spent more than 120 days in jail after multiple violations of probation connected to a 2015 grand theft conviction. He was found June 9, 2016 in a hotel room with a .22-caliber pistol, a crack pipe, syringes and other drug paraphernalia, according to an Indian River County arrest affidavit.

Hicks was released July 7 from Indian River County Jail.

More: Palm Bay man arrested after road rage incident in Fellsmere

More: FHP: Port St. Lucie family shot at on Turnpike in road rage incident

Road rage incidents involving guns

There have been several incidents involving guns this year law enforcement officials have deemed “road rage,” including:

  • A Port St. Lucie man was arrested in May after Stuart police said he pointed a gun at a motorist’s head while driving, then fled.
  • Martin County deputies arrested a 23-year-old Stuart man in July after they said he followed and assaulted a man who pulled a gun on him before stepping back and calling authorities. 
  • Fellsmere police arrested a 24-year-old Palm Bay man who they said pointed a gun at another motorist’s head in June.
  • A Georgia man was arrested in June and charged with attempted second-degree murder, after Florida Highway Patrol said he shot at a vehicle on Florida’s Turnpike in Osceola County.

The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office encouraged witnesses and anyone with additional information to contact Detective Ismael Hau at 772-978-6113 or the agency’s main number, 772-569-6700.


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Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/crime/indian-river-county/2017/11/17/shooter-claims-self-defense-road-rage-killing-state-road-60/873795001/

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Keep fingers and toes crossed on Port of Fort Pierce purchase | Anthony Westbury

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St. Lucie County Administrator Howard Tipton talks about the county’s plan to buy the the Port of Fort Pierce and its future vision.
HANNAH SCHWAB/TCPALM

So far, so good.

About a month from completing their initial due diligence before purchasing the only working portion of the Port of Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County officials say they have yet to find any negatives in the deal.

And already they have snagged reservations to service three megayachts at the port by Christmas.

The county envisages the port becoming a major jobs generator over the next four years. A consultant’s economic impact analysis predicts megayacht servicing and refitting in Fort Pierce could create nearly 900 good-paying, skilled-labor jobs, boosting local payrolls by almost $42 million a year.

The port and airport both could become important regional maintenance, repair and overhaul centers, County Administrator Howard Tipton said. 

In September, the St. Lucie County Commission agreed in principle to begin the purchase process at the port. A final board decision on whether to proceed with the $25 million deal likely will come by mid-December, Tipton said.

In the meantime, county staff is investigating any environmental impediments on the port land and whether an independent appraisal backs up the suggested purchase price.

Port Director Stan Payne anticipates the terminal site will need an additional $5 million to $10 million investment to take full advantage of the promise of megayacht business.

That expense would not be included in the county’s offer; it would be paid by private contractors involved in vessel servicing.

Existing docks at the terminal can accommodate up to five vessels between 150 feet and 250 feet long. Yet demolishing a large warehouse and adding a 500- to 900-ton ship-lifting crane would allow work on dozens more ships out of the water.

The impact study suggests the facility could service 91 ships a year within four years if that investment comes to fruition.

It seems as if there is more than enough South Florida megayacht activity for Fort Pierce to take advantage of a growing — and very lucrative — industry.

The industry has been centered in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, yet those locations are congested. South Florida shipyards currently are operating at 120 to 130 percent capacity, Payne said.

Fort Pierce, because of its easy ocean access, supply of affordable land for expansion,  a relatively deep channel and potential workforce, could be ripe to take much of the market for refitting of larger vessels, up to 400 feet long.  

“What could go wrong?” the cynic in me wondered as I listened to this tidal wave of positive economic forecasts.

Forgive my skepticism, but we’ve been burned/disappointed so many times by projects at the port that never made it off the drawing board. 

Bear in mind that even though the port is almost 100 years old (a port authority was first formed in 1918), it has been active for less than half that time. Fort Pierce’s heyday lasted from the 1950s to the ’70s when citrus cargo crowded its docks.

Since then, the port has been a ghost town. Cargo operations ground to a complete halt during the recession and haven’t returned. Private port landowners have failed to attract new users or investment.

So why would a private-public partnership fare any better?

Fort Pierce ranks dead last in activity among Florida’s 15 deep-water ports. Bringing it back into public ownership would allow St. Lucie County to apply for state infrastructure grants that are not available to private owners, Payne and Tipton argued.

The state Department of Economic Opportunity has been receptive to St. Lucie County’s overtures so far, Payne reported.

The megayacht industry is on a streak, the port director said. There are more than 400 ultra-luxury vessels plying the world’s oceans, and that number is increasing at a rate of 50 new ships a year.

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St. Lucie County and the City of Fort Pierce want to turn the 290-acre Port of Fort Pierce in to a mega-yacht repair center. KEONA GARDNER/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS
Wochit

Even if that growth curve was to disappear overnight, existing megayachts will need frequent maintenance that can cost their billionaire owners millions of dollars a pop.

The county plan will depend on attracting a private investors to manage the repair facility. Payne and Tipton are optimistic a formal request for proposals expected to begin in January will garner suitable candidates.

Is there a Plan B?

Even if megayachts don’t work out, Tipton said, the port land could be sold at a substantial profit as land values rise in the future.

This is prime waterfront property, after all, and that always will be in short supply.

Yet the megayacht deal could be an absolute game changer for a city that’s been plagued by decades of intractable poverty.

So, keep your fingers and toes crossed.

Anthony Westbury is a columnist for TCPalm. This column reflects his opinion. Contact him at 772-221-4220, anthony.westbury@tcpalm.com, or follow him @TCPalmWestbury on Twitter.

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/story/opinion/columnists/anthony-westbury/2017/11/16/keep-fingers-and-toes-crossed-port-fort-pierce-purchase-anthony-westbury/869859001/

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Shots fired from stolen car in Fort Pierce leads to the arrest of two

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There’s a reason why Fort Pierce experienced such a drastic drop in crime from 2015 to 2016. LAURIE K. BLANDFORD/TCPALM
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FORT PIERCE — A Fort Pierce man was arrested Thursday after police say he stole a car and shot at police while they were on their way to another call, according to an arrest affidavit.

Deshone Stacy, 21 of the 200 block of North 24th Street, was charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, driving while license suspended and resisting arrest without violence.

On Nov. 11, at about 4:30 a.m., a Fort Pierce Police officer was called to investigate shooting activity around Avenue D and North 25th Street. On the way to the call, the officer was shot at from a vehicle, according to the report.

The vehicle was a rental vehicle, so police talked to the person who was registered as the renter. The woman claimed the car was stolen, according to the report.

When police found the car on North 24th street, they found Stacy’s fingerprints on the driver side door and the exterior of the vehicle, according to the report. Stacy also posted a photo of himself driving the car on social media.

They also found fingerprints from several other people, including Xazayvier Pullen, 18, who was also arrested Thursday.

When detectives located Stacy Thursday, Stacy and three other males exited the car they were in and tried to run from police, according to the report.

Stacy, Pullen and a third individual — who was later released — were arrested.

After police found a Glock 38 handgun, ammunition and 43 grams of marijuana, Pullen was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, marijuana possession with the intent to sell, possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana and possession or use of drug equipment, according to the report.

Stacy and Pullen were taken to the St. Lucie County Jail. Pullen was released, but Stacy was still being held Saturday. Bail was set at $28,250.

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/crime/st-lucie-county/2017/11/18/shots-fired-stolen-car-fort-pierce-leads-arrest-two/877376001/

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Shooter claims ‘self-defense’ in road rage killing on State Road 60

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Law enforcement officials are investigating the fatal shooting of a Fort Pierce man on S.R. 60 in what is being classified by the sheriff’s office as a “road-rage incident” and what the shooter is calling self-defense.
CONTRIBUTED FROM INDIAN RIVER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Law enforcement officials are investigating the fatal shooting of a Fort Pierce man in what the Sheriff’s Office classified as a ”road rage incident” and what the shooter called self-defense.

Dennis Wayne Hicks, 38, of Fort Pierce, was fatally shot about 7 p.m. Thursday when the driver of a car traveling alongside Hicks in the 5300 block of State Road 60 reached out of his window and fired several shots, according to the Indian RIver County Sheriff’s Office.

The driver then pulled into a parking lot facing the shooting scene and dialed 911, according to Lt. Thom Raulen, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.

More: Fort Pierce man killed in shooting on State Road 60 in Indian River County

More: 4-year-old Fort Pierce girl killed after being thrown from car in crash on U.S. 1

“I just shot somebody at the corner of S.R. 60 and 53rd Avenue,” the man calmly told dispatchers in a 911 call.

“You shot somebody?” the dispatcher replied.

“Yes, in self-defense,” the man said. “People are panicking.”

The caller, whose identity has not been released by the Sheriff’s Office, said he did not know Hicks, not even his name.

“I had my window down and this guy pulled over and he looked over at me and I looked at him,” the man said.

“He said, ‘What’s your problem?’ And I said, ‘I don’t have a problem. Do you have a problem?’ And he said, ‘I’m gonna put a bullet in your ass.’ And then he reached for something and I had my gun and I opened fire on him,” he said.

More: Stuart man arrested in road rage incident

More: Port St. Lucie man arrested in ‘road rage’ incident in Stuart

Detectives interviewed the shooter and a woman passenger in the parking lot for several hours before they were released.

Their car and the victim’s car were both taken to the Sheriff’s Office as part of the investigation, Raulen said. The lieutenant would not say whether a firearm was found in Hicks’ car.

“At this point, we don’t have any probable cause to arrest anyone for murder,” said Assistant State Attorney Steve Gosnell, the prosecutor assigned to the case.

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Lt. Thomas Raulen, spokesman for the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, discusses a fatal shooting Thursday night, Nov. 16, 2017, on State Road 60. MARY HELEN MOORE/TCPALM
Wochit

The shooting

Officials said the shooter and victim were both traveling east on S.R. 60. The shooter was driving a silver Mazda, and the victim was the sole occupant of a red Toyota, Raulen said.

“It is believed this shooting may have been a result of a road rage incident which began in the area of S.R. 60 and 58th Avenue,” according to a late Thursday news release by the Sheriff’s Office.

Another car was hit by four shots as it traveled west through the traffic light, but a man and his 3-year-old son in that car were not injured, Raulen said.

“Somebody just started firing shots out of the car,” that man said when he called 911. “I’ve got a car full of bullet holes with my 3-year-old in it.”

“Our car was shot!” the boy was heard saying in the background.

CLOSE

Man calls 911 in Indian River County after a road rage incident on S.R. 60 where shots were fired and another man was killed.
CONTRIBUTED FROM INDIAN RIVER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Although it’s unclear how many shots were fired, Raulen said detectives found a number of shell casings in the roadway.

Gosnell said a range of theoretical explanations — including self-defense — could explain the lack of arrest, but would not comment on the specifics so as not to jeopardize the investigation.

“With any murder, you have to look at all aspects of the case,” he said Friday. “Investigators are following up on stuff today and the investigation continues.”

More: Man in serious condition after overnight shooting in Fort Pierce

More: Martin County sheriff: Deputy cites self-defense in fatal shooting

Who was Dennis Wayne Hicks?

Court records showed Hicks, the victim, had two young daughters, one 3 years old and one 5. He had their names tattooed on his shoulders, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

He was born in North Carolina and resided for the past several decades in Indian River and St. Lucie counties, records showed.

Hicks was arrested 16 times in Florida in the past 20 years, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Courts have granted two domestic violence protective orders against Hicks since 2012. Five others have been denied or dismissed in the same time frame.

Hicks most recently spent more than 120 days in jail after multiple violations of probation connected to a 2015 grand theft conviction. He was found June 9, 2016 in a hotel room with a .22-caliber pistol, a crack pipe, syringes and other drug paraphernalia, according to an Indian River County arrest affidavit.

Hicks was released July 7 from Indian River County Jail.

More: Palm Bay man arrested after road rage incident in Fellsmere

More: FHP: Port St. Lucie family shot at on Turnpike in road rage incident

Road rage incidents involving guns

There have been several incidents involving guns this year law enforcement officials have deemed “road rage,” including:

  • A Port St. Lucie man was arrested in May after Stuart police said he pointed a gun at a motorist’s head while driving, then fled.
  • Martin County deputies arrested a 23-year-old Stuart man in July after they said he followed and assaulted a man who pulled a gun on him before stepping back and calling authorities. 
  • Fellsmere police arrested a 24-year-old Palm Bay man who they said pointed a gun at another motorist’s head in June.
  • A Georgia man was arrested in June and charged with attempted second-degree murder, after Florida Highway Patrol said he shot at a vehicle on Florida’s Turnpike in Osceola County.

The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office encouraged witnesses and anyone with additional information to contact Detective Ismael Hau at 772-978-6113 or the agency’s main number, 772-569-6700.


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Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/crime/indian-river-county/2017/11/17/shooter-claims-self-defense-road-rage-killing-state-road-60/873795001/

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Megayacht vision for Port of Fort Pierce within closer reach than ever

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St. Lucie County Administrator Howard Tipton talks about the county’s plan to buy the the Port of Fort Pierce and its future vision.
HANNAH SCHWAB/TCPALM

So far, so good.

About a month from completing their initial due diligence before purchasing the only working portion of the Port of Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County officials say they have yet to find any negatives in the deal.

And already they have snagged reservations to service three megayachts at the port by Christmas.

The county envisages the port becoming a major jobs generator over the next four years. A consultant’s economic impact analysis predicts megayacht servicing and refitting in Fort Pierce could create nearly 900 good-paying, skilled-labor jobs, boosting local payrolls by almost $42 million a year.

The port and airport both could become important regional maintenance, repair and overhaul centers, County Administrator Howard Tipton said. 

In September, the St. Lucie County Commission agreed in principle to begin the purchase process at the port. A final board decision on whether to proceed with the $25 million deal likely will come by mid-December, Tipton said.

In the meantime, county staff is investigating any environmental impediments on the port land and whether an independent appraisal backs up the suggested purchase price.

Port Director Stan Payne anticipates the terminal site will need an additional $5 million to $10 million investment to take full advantage of the promise of megayacht business.

That expense would not be included in the county’s offer; it would be paid by private contractors involved in vessel servicing.

Existing docks at the terminal can accommodate up to five vessels between 150 feet and 250 feet long. Yet demolishing a large warehouse and adding a 500- to 900-ton ship-lifting crane would allow work on dozens more ships out of the water.

The impact study suggests the facility could service 91 ships a year within four years if that investment comes to fruition.

It seems as if there is more than enough South Florida megayacht activity for Fort Pierce to take advantage of a growing — and very lucrative — industry.

The industry has been centered in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, yet those locations are congested. South Florida shipyards currently are operating at 120 to 130 percent capacity, Payne said.

Fort Pierce, because of its easy ocean access, supply of affordable land for expansion,  a relatively deep channel and potential workforce, could be ripe to take much of the market for refitting of larger vessels, up to 400 feet long.  

“What could go wrong?” the cynic in me wondered as I listened to this tidal wave of positive economic forecasts.

Forgive my skepticism, but we’ve been burned/disappointed so many times by projects at the port that never made it off the drawing board. 

Bear in mind that even though the port is almost 100 years old (a port authority was first formed in 1918), it has been active for less than half that time. Fort Pierce’s heyday lasted from the 1950s to the ’70s when citrus cargo crowded its docks.

Since then, the port has been a ghost town. Cargo operations ground to a complete halt during the recession and haven’t returned. Private port landowners have failed to attract new users or investment.

So why would a private-public partnership fare any better?

Fort Pierce ranks dead last in activity among Florida’s 15 deep-water ports. Bringing it back into public ownership would allow St. Lucie County to apply for state infrastructure grants that are not available to private owners, Payne and Tipton argued.

The state Department of Economic Opportunity has been receptive to St. Lucie County’s overtures so far, Payne reported.

The megayacht industry is on a streak, the port director said. There are more than 400 ultra-luxury vessels plying the world’s oceans, and that number is increasing at a rate of 50 new ships a year.

CLOSE

St. Lucie County and the City of Fort Pierce want to turn the 290-acre Port of Fort Pierce in to a mega-yacht repair center. KEONA GARDNER/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS
Wochit

Even if that growth curve was to disappear overnight, existing megayachts will need frequent maintenance that can cost their billionaire owners millions of dollars a pop.

The county plan will depend on attracting a private investors to manage the repair facility. Payne and Tipton are optimistic a formal request for proposals expected to begin in January will garner suitable candidates.

Is there a Plan B?

Even if megayachts don’t work out, Tipton said, the port land could be sold at a substantial profit as land values rise in the future.

This is prime waterfront property, after all, and that always will be in short supply.

Yet the megayacht deal could be an absolute game changer for a city that’s been plagued by decades of intractable poverty.

So, keep your fingers and toes crossed.

Anthony Westbury is a columnist for TCPalm. This column reflects his opinion. Contact him at 772-221-4220, anthony.westbury@tcpalm.com, or follow him @TCPalmWestbury on Twitter.

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/story/opinion/columnists/anthony-westbury/2017/11/16/keep-fingers-and-toes-crossed-port-fort-pierce-purchase-anthony-westbury/869859001/

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Heathcote Botanical Gardens in Fort Pierce preps for Garden of Lights

Heathcote Botanical Gardens in Fort Pierce preps for Garden of Lights

Patrick Shay, a volunteer at Heathcote Botanical Gardens, sets up decorative lighting above the reflection garden in preparation for the Garden of Lights 2017, which opens Thanksgiving weekend, 5:30 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through the end of December. Garden of Lights 2017 features thousands of colorful lights of seasonal decorations and displays among the five acres of gardens at 210 Savannah Road, in Fort Pierce. Tickets are available at the gift shop or online at https://www.heathcotebotanicalgardens.org/shop/. Heathcote is also preparing for their 30th annual Garden Festival, with 25 vendors featuring plants, trees, garden accents and art, food and refreshments 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday Nov. 19. Visit www.heathcotebotanicalgardens.org/ for more information on Heathcote’s events.

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/picture-gallery/news/local/st-lucie-county/2017/11/16/heathcote-botanical-gardens-in-fort-pierce-preps-for-garden-of-lights/107753692/

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Teen from Port St. Lucie is second arrested in Fort Pierce homicide

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There’s a reason why Fort Pierce experienced such a drastic drop in crime from 2015 to 2016. LAURIE K. BLANDFORD/TCPALM
Wochit

FORT PIERCE — A second arrest has been made in the October death of a 19-year-old man during what was described as a marijuana deal gone wrong, according to records and Fort Pierce police.

Corey Lamont Brown, 17, of the 2300 block of Southeast Surrey Place, Port St. Lucie, was arrested Wednesday on second degree murder with firearm and robbery with deadly weapon charges, an affidavit states.

MORE: Arrest made in Fort Pierce’s seventh homicide of year

Already arrested in connection with the Oct. 28 incident is Nathan Lesser, 18, of Port St. Lucie. Lesser was arrested on charges of first degree murder and robbery.

The victim in the incident was identified as Sean Patterson by Fort Pierce police spokeswoman Audria Moore.

Patterson was shot in the chest about 10:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at Oleander Boulevard and Emil Avenue, just west of U.S. 1.

According to what police learned from witnesses, Lesser and Brown went to a house to buy marijuana at 10:15 p.m., according to police officials. 

MORE: Pair of murders over the weekend push Fort Pierce total to 6 this year

“Lesser pointed a .22-caliber handgun at several people in the house and told them not to move as the two suspects stole marijuana,” according to a statement released by police after the incident.

“One of those people was the 19-year-old victim, who pursued the suspects as they ran away. During the pursuit, Lesser fired at the victim striking him in the chest,” according to the statement.

Patterson was pronounced dead at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center Heart Institute in Fort Pierce.

More: Drugs, gun found after deputies say man ran from traffic stop

Brown initially was arrested Nov. 3 at Port St. Lucie High School in connection with the shooting.

Moore said Brown is being prosecuted as an adult. He was taken Wednesday to the St. Lucie County Jail.

TCPalm, which customarily doesn’t name juveniles accused of crimes, does name some juveniles depending on the seriousness of the crime, their age, aggravating circumstances and other factors.

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/crime/st-lucie-county/2017/11/16/17-year-old-arrested-fort-pierce-homicide/872162001/

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Public invited to tour research facility studying citrus, celebrate its 70th anniversary

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Florida oranges from St. Lucie, Polk and Highlands counties cycle through the DLF International packing house in Fort Pierce on June 8, 2017. “Florida has the best oranges in the world,” said DLF president Doug Feek.
LEAH VOSS/TCPALM

FORT PIERCE – As part of its 70th anniversary celebration, the Florida IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center at 2199 S. Rock Road invites the public to an open house with exhibits and tours 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday.

Visitors also will have an opportunity to meet a dozen of the center’s past and present research faculty and scientists, about 20 international visiting scientists and a dozen graduate students. 

These researchers are on the front lines of the battle to save Florida’s citrus industry from the greening disease that has ravaged groves across the state for the past decade and threatens the industry’s future.

Natalie’s Orchid Island has donated fresh Florida orange juice for visitors to sample.

More: Florida Gov. Rick Scott unveils budget plan: How would citrus fare?

“We could not be more proud of the work that continues to be accomplished” at the research center, said Jack Payne, University of Florida senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. 

“The many researchers and staff from this center who have dedicated their lives to improving agriculture are proof that UF is committed to making the world a better place,” Payne said.

Ronald Cave, director of the research center, said, “This celebration of IRREC’s 70th year of presence on the Treasure Coast is a testimony to its sustainability, dedication and significance to agriculture and natural resources in the region and the state.”

Established in 1947, the facility, then known as the Indian River Field Laboratory, started with one scientist, a 35-acre citrus grove and a laboratory inside a 1930s-era wooden house. 

More: Indian River District projects loss of 35 percent grapefruit, navel orange crop after Hurricane Irma

Dr. W.T. Young, assistant horticulturalist with the Citrus Experiment Station in Lake Alfred, established research on an 80-acre plot owned by St. Lucie County. 

Young’s early experiments in citrus investigated soil fertility, water salinity and water tables.

Following a severe late blight epidemic in 1948-49 and the loss of thousands of acres of tomatoes, research was added to the laboratory’s programs.

In the 1940s, tomato was a primary crop on the Treasure Coast, with about 100,000 acres in St. Lucie County in tomato production. 

Columnist: Gil Smart: The last citrus groves in Martin County

By the mid-1950s, more than 15 packinghouses handled the commodity. In addition to citrus, research on tomato crop production became a central focus at the research center.

Currently, the campus includes three buildings: a biological control laboratory, a post-harvest facility and a hatchery building at a 26.5-acre aquaculture demonstration site.

Cave said some of the center’s most noteworthy achievements are:

  • The release of two biological control agents against invasive plants: air potato and tropical soda apple.
  • Development of new technologies for baitfish and ornamentals aquaculture industries.
  • Improved post-harvest techniques and worker training for all of the state’s fresh fruit packinghouses.

Columnist: Laurence Reisman: Who packs citrus in June and July? It’s not going where you might expect


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Lerode Geffarard (left) and Amy Altenor, both of FortOranges at the DLF International packing house areAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged ValenciaAbout 40 employees inspected and packaged Valencia

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Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/st-lucie-county/2017/11/15/public-invited-tour-research-facility-studying-citrus-celebrate-its-70th-anniversary/864192001/

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Investigation into snorkelers reported missing near Fort Pierce is over

FORT PIERCE — The investigation into a reported disappearance of snorkelers Saturday near the Fort Pierce Inlet has ended, Coast Guard officials confirmed Tuesday.

“No investigation is ongoing,” said Marilyn Fajardo, a spokesperson for the Coast Guard’s Seventh District. ”The case is considered closed.”

More: No sign of snorkelers reportedly swept out to sea near Fort Pierce; search suspended

More: Coast Guard suspends search for snorkelers near Fort Pierce Jetty

A man called the Coast Guard about 7:30 a.m. Saturday and said he saw two snorkelers holding a Boogie Board and being pushed out to sea near the inlet’s North Jetty, according to a news release.

He reportedly took a photo of the swimmers as they bobbed in the rough surf, and Coast Guard officials circulated the photo with the release.

The onlooker eventually lost sight of them. He never observed signs of distress, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Murray.

“The caller saw them being carried out to sea and kind of assumed,” Murray said. “They were never actually confirmed to be in danger.”

More: Hazardous beach conditions persist along the Treasure Coast

More: Boating tip: Careful in the inlets

Neither the Coast Guard nor the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office had received any missing person’s reports that might be connected as of Tuesday afternoon.

The Coast Guard sent out an urgent marine information broadcast and dispatched helicopter and boat crews to search for the pair, with assistance from the Sheriff’s Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The search was suspended several hours later at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Murray said.

“There was simply not enough information,” Fajardo said Tuesday.

More: Coast Guard finds derelict boat off of St. Lucie Inlet

If the pair was snorkeling in the inlet at the time, the seas would have been rough.

The National Weather Service warned of high onshore winds, large breaking waves and a moderate risk of rip currents in the area Saturday.

At the time of the call, wind gusts in the area reached 20 mph and wave heights were 5 to 6 feet, said National Weather Service meteorologist John Pendergrast.

“The tide was still outgoing at that point,” Pendergrast said. “It would’ve been choppy seas for sure.”

More: Drone video captures 13-year-old rescuing man whose boat capsized in Jupiter Inlet

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Kevin Cadby, a drone operator from Palm Beach Gardens, captured the moment a 13-year-old boy rescued a man whose fishing boat sank Oct. 27 in Jupiter Inlet. CONTRIBUTED VIDEO BY KEVIN CADBY

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/st-lucie-county/2017/11/14/investigation-into-snorkelers-reported-missing-saturday-near-fort-pierce-officially-over/863279001/

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DEP: Sewage spills into Indian River Lagoon by Fort Pierce utility violated permit

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Even when Florida’s waters are beautiful blue, dangers can lurk in the form of bacteria. Three are particularly troublesome, even deadly: Vibrio vulnificus, cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) and enteric bacteria. TYLER TREADWAY/TCPALM
Wochit

The Fort Pierce Utilities Authority has been cited by the state for spills totaling about 10.5 million gallons of treated and untreated sewage at the wastewater treatment plant and several lift stations.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection did not issue a fine for the violations of the utility’s operating permit but accepted a plan to prevent future spills, according to Bowdoin G. “Bo” Hutchinson, FPUA’s director of water and wastewater systems.

The state agency “has taken a firm but fair approach to dealing with FPUA on these violations and focused on the significant corrective measures that FPUA has proposed instead of punitive actions,” Hutchinson wrote in a email.

The state agency “is satisfied with the plan and progress,” Hutchinson said. 

A warning letter from the state sent in early October stated a review found “possible violations” of state statutes and regulations related to discharges of:

  • 6 million gallons of treated wastewater from 10 p.m.  Sept. 10 to 1 p.m. Sept. 11 at the utility’s treatment plant on Hutchinson Island
  • 3 million gallons of treated wastewater from 3:49 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Sept. 13 at the plant
  • 1.25 million gallons of treated wastewater from 3 to 6:45 a.m Oct. 2 at the plant
  • A total of 345,266 gallons of untreated wastewater Sept. 10-13 at five lift stations

The most significant of those discharges was at a lift station in downtown Fort Pierce, where a pump failure caused about 300,000 gallons of untreated effluent to flow into Moore’s Creek.

The creek drains into the Indian River Lagoon at the Manatee Observation and Education Center, which is run by the utility, in near the municipal marina in downtown Fort Pierce.

Other lift station spills were:

  • 3,000 gallons at 27th Street and Orange Avenue
  • 3,000 gallons at Third Street and Virginia Avenue
  • 2,250 gallons at 323 S. U.S. 1
  • 2,016 gallons at Texas Court and Hibiscus Avenue

All those spills were onto the ground and not into any water bodies, according to a DEP spreadsheet.

The discharges on Sept. 10-11 and Sept. 13 at the treatment plant and the lift stations occurred during power outages during Hurricane Irma.

The Oct. 2 discharge also was the result of a power outage.

The plant at the southeast base of the South Bridge is designed to have access to two electric lines, but operators failed to fix a line that had been faulty since the hurricane. The plant lost all power when the single circuit went down.

“That’s an operational error on our side,” Hutchinson told the utility’s board of directors in October.

The remedies being taken by the utility include:

  • Installing a dedicated power feed to the treatment plant, which has already been done
  • Putting a stand-by generator will be in place before the 2019 hurricane season
  • Having portable generators available in 2018 in case both power lines fail

The automatic switch and the generator will cost a total of about $1.5 million, Hutchinson told directors.

The water spilled at the plant had gone through all the treatment processes except having chlorine added and was supposed to go into a 3,000-feet-deep injection well. But because of the power outage, there was no way to push the effluent into the well.

The effluent discharged from the sewage plant was “completely biologically treated,”  FPUA spokeswoman Jann Widmayer told TCPalm in October, and posed no threat to people or wildlife. The plant had removed heavy metals as well as nitrogen and phosphorous, which can spur algae blooms.

FPUA collected water samples from seven sites in the area for 10 days after the spill and found no problems.

The plant can treat up to 10 million gallons of the area’s wastewater a day, according to FPUA’s website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/indian-river-lagoon/health/2017/11/16/sewage-spills-into-indian-river-lby-fort-pierce-utilities-authority-violated-operating-permit-dep-sa/868274001/

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