Dates to Remember
October 20, 2022 – Golf Course Advisory Board Meeting
Office of the City Manager
Citizens, Business Owners & Other Interested Parties:
The State of Florida has been and will continue to be at the center of media coverage related to Hurricane Ian which visited our state recently leaving in its wake death, devastation and genuine heartbreak like the state has seldom seen. Many of our neighboring communities, particularly those to the west, are struggling with the aftermath and will be literally rebuilding for a lengthy period to follow. The Clewiston community is very sympathetic to their plight while also most thankful by comparison for the relatively minor damages and disruption that the storm brought here. Although there remain steps to be taken to achieve a local return to normalcy, I am confident the City will complete the cleanup and restoration process in a timely manner. Stay informed through the media, city social media platforms and announcements on further details of cleanup operations in the upcoming days and weeks ahead.
Professionally, I am pleased with the response and support of the community for the City’s efforts before, during and since the event. I can assure each of you that successfully meeting the major challenges imposed by emergency response to events of this nature does not happen by chance. Planning and preparation for such events are key. Fortunately, Hendry County and Clewiston were ready in this regard and our professional staffs performed their duties well. Personally, I could not be prouder to represent and work for a city government which responded so effectively and efficiently. From our first responders who braved the elements to keep the community safe to our utility and public works staff who ensured vital services remained operational and completed repairs to restore lost services in record time, to the balance of our staff who provide supporting functions to daily operations and service provisions that ensure the quality of life we have come to expect, I say “job well done”. Nevertheless, despite the recognized positive response efforts, we will be critiquing performance and would appreciate any feedback aimed at further improving our community’s response and resiliency efforts in the future.
Despite the hurricane event and its aftermath, government operations continue. In this vein, consistent with Florida law, the City of Clewiston operates on an October 1 to September 30 fiscal year annually. Preceding the fiscal year budget cycle for 2022-2023 which began on October 1, 2022, city staff representing all departments, management and the members of the City Commission spent dozens of hours over several months preparing and reviewing in detail related financial information which culminated in the fiscal year budget documents adopted by the Commission on September 19, 2022. The process started with development and receipt of budget requests from each department and agency funded by the City. In a process led by the Finance Director, each department head and management refined the requests which were subsequently presented to the Commission for consideration. All departmental budgets were reviewed by the Commission in a series of eight workshops and meetings held beginning in July and ending in September. As City Manager, I know of no other single more important exercise or municipal function performed by appointed staff or elected representatives than the critical budget development process that sets the operating and capital spending policy and plans for the community.
The budget development process is an extensive effort and requires a commitment from all involved parties and particularly a strong commitment of time and energy by Clewiston’s elected Commissioners who are not compensated as full-time employees like the rest of the participants. Mayor Kristine Petersen, Vice-Mayor Greg Thompson, Commissioner Mali Gardner, Commissioner Hillary Hyslope and Commissioner Jimmy Pittman represented the community well in the budget process as they do year round in a broader policy role for the City. I applaud the dedication of these five public servants who give so much of their time and energy in serving their community. They each deserve a big “THANK YOU” for their service.
Thank you for your continued support and interest in the City of Clewiston.
Recreation & Leisure Services Director Lauren McGinnis reports:
• We would like to thank everyone for coming out to our open house at the Youth Center! It was so nice to see so many familiar faces come out to enjoy all of the new technology, games, and treats!
• The Youth Center will be open for after school activities starting Monday, October 10. After school activity hours are 2:30 – 6 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. Friday.
• We are currently looking for volunteers for the Youth Center’s after school hours. If anyone is interested in volunteering please contact Director of Recreation Lauren McGinnis at 863-983-1492 to find out more.
• Starting Monday, October 10, the hours for the splash pad will be changing to: Monday – Friday 8 – 11 a.m. and 2 – 6 p.m, Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. - noon and 2 – 6 p.m.
• Be sure to follow us on Facebook for information on all upcoming activities and events!
Golf Course Director Robbie Rush reports:
• Get all information of what’s going on at Clewiston Golf Course Facebook.
• Get on our E-mail list by going to the City of Clewiston website. Go to the golf course division and at the bottom of the page you can sign-up on Constant Contact and get all Clewiston Golf Course information.
• Rates have changed for the summer for non-members (Reduced). $32.00 plus tax for 18 holes and $15.50 plus tax for 9 holes. If you pay for 18 holes you can play as many as you want in the same day.
• Walking is permitted all day.
• Golf Shop hours are 7:45 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. The first tee time is 7:45 a.m. Carts are due in at 7:15 p.m. daily. The golf course is open 6 days a week (Closed on Mondays for the summer months).
• Advertise a Tee Sign out on the golf course. If you are interested in advertising your business at the golf course call 863-983-1448.
• The driving range is closed on Mondays in the summer months.
• Clewiston Golf Course has a driving range. The driving range has lights so you can hit golf balls after (Night Time) hours. Tokens for the range ball machine can be purchased in the golf shop or the Clewiston Police Department after hours.
• Golf lessons and Club Repair are available at the club from PGA Professional Robbie Rush. Contact golf shop at 863-983-1448.
• Clewiston Golf Course can supply all your golfing needs. You can inquire in the golf shop for whatever merchandise you need.
Community Development Director/Fire Chief Travis Reese reports:
• Hurricane Ian impacted the following businesses to the extent that they are not open at this time:
o MCM Paint & Hardware at 321 E. Sugarland Hwy.
The following businesses are all located in Sugarland Plaza on Sugarland Hwy.:
o Little Caesars Pizza
o Advance America Cash Advance
o Foot Dr
o Buddy’s Home Furnishings
o Cato Fashions
Library Director Natasha Hayes reports:
• Library staff provided ready reference/computer assistance, circulation activities, and patron programming to 1,198 patrons this month.
• This month’s programming activities have included:
o Coloring Club was held on September 9 and 23. There were a total of 10 participants.
o The library’s new program, scavenger hunt, was a big hit. Children had fun finding 15 bears around the library and solving this month’s riddle.
o Virtual and Augmented Reality was held from Tuesday, September 13 to Wednesday, September 21 with a total 17 participants.
o Anime Club In- Person and Virtual was lots of fun! We had three new members this month. Feel free to join us and chat about your favorite anime shows and manga. Check our event calendar for a full list of upcoming anime events.
o LEGO Builders Club was held Thursday, September 22 with a total 22 participants. This month’s challenge was Speed Building.
o The Adult Book Club met on September 26 to discuss “Run, Rose, Run” written by Dolly Parton and James Patterson. There were a total of 11 club members in attendance.
Highlighted Programs and Events:
• Crafternoon: Join us on Thursday, October 13 at 3:45 p.m. for DIY Pumpkin Door Hanger! Please pre-register by calling 863-983-1493 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org All materials will be provided. This is a FREE program, open to all families.
• Fall Painting with our local artist Ms. Thomas: Come paint with us! Join the fun on Wednesday, October 19 at 5 p.m. Registration required. Only 12 spaces will be available. Ages 12+
To register, please stop by the library or call 863-983-1493
• Mobility Week Awareness Library Event Monday, October 24 from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.: The state of Florida is celebrating its seventh annual statewide Mobility Week. FDOT is teaming up with Clewiston Library to offer a free, educational family-friendly event.
Discover your Transportation Options!
Learn about transportation choices and receive information about safety for bicyclists, pedestrians, drivers, and transit riders.
Trained bicycle helmet fitters will be on hand to perform fittings to ensure the bicycle helmets are properly sized and fastened correctly.
FREE bicycle helmets (while supplies last) available to visitors that can be properly fitted at the event.
• Anime Club
o In-Person (Open to 6th-12th graders): Anime Club meets every Friday from 3:30 - 4:15 p.m. We will be watching anime provided courtesy of Crunchyroll and talking about your favorite manga.
o Via Zoom: We invite tweens and teens to join us every Monday at 3:30 p.m. To register, email email@example.com to receive Zoom log-in information. If you are under 18, please be sure to have a guardian’s permission to participate in this online event.
• Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt: Stop by the library anytime from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. starting Wednesday, October 5 until Monday, October 31 for “Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt” around the library!
• LEGO Builders Club: LEGO Club meets again on Thursday, October 20 at 3:45 p.m. The library continues to bring in additional LEGO kits and building supplies for club attendees to experience. Come build with us!
• Book Club: Come join the fun at our next TWO meetings: Monday, October 24 at 2 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. to discuss the newest book club title, “Sanibel Flats” by Randy Wayne White. With lively discussions, this group truly enjoys their meetings as they exchange their thoughts about each new title.
• Tweens and Teens Video Game Club: We are thrilled to announce a new tweens and teens program beginning Tuesday, October 25 at 3:45 p.m. Come on down to the library and have some fun. We have various games to choose from. You and your friends can play and challenge each other!
• Are you ready to earn your high school diploma? The Career Online High School program allows individuals to earn an accredited high school diploma for FREE and at your own pace within the comfort of your own home or anywhere internet access is available. Participants finish not only with their high school diploma but also with a career certification and the tools needed to succeed in their chosen field. Applicants who successfully complete the following will be considered for enrollment: an “Are You Ready Survey,” a prerequisite course, and an in-person interview at the Clewiston Library. Learn more about the program, including how to enroll and available scholarship opportunities, visit http://www.hendrylibraries.org or call the Clewiston Public Library at 863-983-1493. Your future is free and only 1 call away!
• Need a place to hold a meeting? What about a computer lab to host your organization’s/company’s training? The Clewiston Library offers a classroom and computer lab with a total of 16 computers for use. For more information or to secure the room, please stop in or call the library at any time.
• If you have not done so already, please join our Facebook page (Clewiston Public Library) in order to remain up to date on the library’s events and programs.
Recap of Upcoming Events:
• Bear Scavenger Hunt– Wednesday, October 5th until Monday, October 31st
• Anime Club (In-Person) – Every Friday at 3:30 p.m.
• Anime Club Via Zoom – Every Monday at 3:30 p.m.
• Crafternoon: Pumpkin Door Hanger – Thursday, October 13 at 5 p.m.
• Fall Painting with our local artist Ms. Thomas – Wednesday, October 19 at 5 p.m.
• Mobility Week Awareness – Monday, October 24 from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
• Book Club – Monday, October 24 at 2 & 5:15 p.m.
• Tweens and Teens Video Game Club – Tuesday, October 25 at 3:45 p.m.
• LEGO Builders Club – Thursday, October 27 at 3:45 p.m.
• Teen Video Game – Friday, October 28 at 1 p.m.
Code Enforcement Officer Debbie Clay reports:
The Importance of House Numbers
When responding to an emergency, minutes matter. House numbers are not only convenient for finding addresses but necessary for emergency responders to locate those in need. So be sure that fire, ambulance, and police personnel can easily and quickly find your address.
The Clewiston Code of Ordinances requires in Section 18-422. – Duty to obtain and display numbers the following:
• The owner or occupant of any building or structure, residential or commercial, designated a number shall affix such number in a conspicuous place above, on or at the side of said building or structure, or to a permanent fixture located in the front yard of the property on which the building or structure is located. Whenever any building or structure is situated more than 50 feet from the street line, such number shall be affixed to a permanent fixture located near the front walk, driveway, or common entrance to such building or structure.
• The number required to be affixed as provided in this section shall be not less than four inches in height in residential districts and six inches in height in all other districts, shall be of a color that contrasts with the color of the part of the building or structure or other fixture to which such number is affixed, and shall be located in a position to be easily discernible from the street fronting the building, structure or mobile home lot. Once the number is affixed as provided herein, it shall be the duty of the owner or occupant of any building or structure, and the duty of every mobile home park owner or manager, to replace such number if the same is removed therefrom for any reason.
It is encouraged that all Clewiston residents take a few moments to install house numbers or examine existing house numbers for compliance.
Code Enforcement personnel will begin focused enforcement on these ordinances in November as well as continued enforcement of all City of Clewiston Ordinances.
The complete City of Clewiston Ordinances is available online and may be accessed utilizing the City of Clewiston website: https://www.clewiston-fl.gov/ or Municode Library website: https://library.municode.com/fl/clewiston/codes/code_of_ordinances
If you have any questions about how to achieve/maintain compliance with this or any other City of Clewiston Ordinance you may contact our office at 863-983-1454 extension 309.
Police Chief Tom Lewis reports:
Business Community Connections Winner - Congratulations to Officer Ethan Rodriguez who won a patrol seat organizer and some other goodies for making an in-person connection with 50 of our city businesses over the course of a week. Business Community Connections is a new program at the police department – officers that make in-person contact with at least 25 businesses are entered into a drawing where they can win items that support their professional development, patrol vehicle accessories, etc. Building upon our already great relationship with the business community is just one way we want to show our appreciation for their support.
On September 3, 2022, the police department received information about an elderly man, who lives in Coconut Creek, Florida. He was possibly suffering from Sundowner’s Syndrome and had used his credit card in Clewiston. Our patrol officers responded to the immediate location of where the credit card was used but were unable to locate him. Although you could assume he left the area, Officer Myers didn’t give up - she scoured the city and located the man sitting in a gas station. Clearly confused, she was able to calm him down, contact his family, and get him home safely. We received a very nice email from the family that included the following quote, “I wanted to let you know that from the bottom to the top of my heart; JOB WELL DONE!!!!!” We couldn’t agree more! Officer Myers was presented with a letter of commendation from Chief Lewis.
On September 6, 2022, the department took possession of new in-car printers for every patrol officer. These printers are replacing our existing printers which are very old. They are used to print crash reports, tickets, incident reports, victim’s rights pamphlets, etc. They were obtained through a grant at no cost to city taxpayers. This is another completed step in our computer infrastructure enhancement project.
On September 7, 2022, Chief Lewis, Officer Myers and Officer Rodriguez had the pleasure of showing off one of our new patrol cars to the cutest little class at Ms. Olivia’s Rising Stars Daycare. Building a trusting relationship with our youth is the foundation of our community policing efforts.
On September 19, 2022, for the first time ever, the Clewiston Police Department will be deploying AEDs and trauma packs in our patrol cars. This is thanks to the generosity of the Police and Kids Foundation, Inc. and is at no-cost to the citizens of Clewiston. This $11,000 donation includes 6 Cardiac Science Powerheart G5 AEDs, 6 portable trauma packs, and one Zoll Comprehensive Trauma Kit, which includes an extensive set of medical supplies to help manage active assailant incidents.
On September 22, 2022, Chief Lewis was hosted by Worry Free Plumbing and the Clewiston Chamber of Commerce for our Coffee with the Chief program. Chief Lewis provided an update on what we’ve accomplished over the past several months and what the new fiscal year will bring in way of accomplishments. The program is a way for the public to get an inside look at the police department and animal services operations and get answers directly from the Chief on any topic or concern. And of course, the presentation included giving away a dozen coffee mugs as folks heard about how their money was being spent and what the vision for the police department’s future looks like.
On September 22, 2022, the police department took possession of new handguns for the police department. The department was able to trade in our current department-issued handguns for new ones (needed due to age and lack of maintenance) as well as other non-used firearms for twenty (20) new Glock Model 45, 9mm handguns (Generation 5) and 5 new Glock Model 43X, 9mm sub-compact handguns (Generation 5) – one of each pictured here. Each sworn officer at this agency will be issued a new gun as soon as we can get them to the range and qualified. These new firearms were obtained at no cost to the city. The trade deal included all of the needed handgun ammunition and related holsters as well.
New Employee - We’re excited to introduce your new Animal Control Officer, Anthony (TJ) Coppler. TJ is currently in the administrative phase of his initial training where he will receive instruction on city and agency policies, animal care and shelter protocols, and much more. Please help me welcome the newest member of our team!
In the month of September 2022, Animal Services reported the intake of 49 cats and 46 dogs.
On October 2, 2022 and October 3, 2022, America’s Sweetest Shelter continued to prepare for an influx of animals as displaced pet owners from Hurricane Ian move into hotels, friend’s homes, etc. and many times surrender their dogs and cats as a result. The Humane Society of Naples cleared our shelter - taking 12 cats and 18 dogs! We are taking the opportunity to complete a deep cleaning on the entire facility.
During the week of September 12, 2022, Officer Garza completed a speed measurement course, certifying him to use radar and laser for traffic enforcement. This course was offered tuition-free to the department and was hosted in Fort Myers, Florida by the Southwest Florida Public Safety Academy.
During the week of September 19, 2022, Officer Conyers completed a Firearms Instructor course. This course is another step in the agency’s goal to completing future training in-house as well as expanding our officers’ ability for professional development. The course was hosted at the Lee County Gun Range.
On September 20, 2022, Administrative Assistant Valles attended the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Fall Training. The training was hosted by Southwest Florida State College and covered topics on the Florida Incident-Based Reporting System, Use of Force Reporting, Data Transparency, and Records Audits.
On September 22, 2022, Subject matter experts from the Dubin Center provided our entire agency with training on dementia - free of charge. Our dispatchers and officers are now better prepared to provide service to people with dementia and to help their families with resources. If you know of someone that is in need or you are looking for resources to help, please contact a member of your police department.
During the week of October 3, 2022, Detective Charles Williams attended Homicide Investigations training. The class was instructed by instructors from Institute of Police Technology and Management (IPTM) and hosted by the Coconut Creek Community Center.
General Services Director Williams reports:
I would like to express my sincere thanks to our great staff and customers for a job well done weathering Hurricane Ian together. After a storm passes, your safety is our number one priority. So just a reminder: always assume downed power lines are energized. If you see a downed power line, stay away and call 911 or our office immediately. Keep away from standing water and debris. They might hide downed power lines. Use caution while driving. Power outages may cause traffic signals to stop working. Treat intersections where traffic lights may be out as a four-way stop and proceed with caution. Finally, avoid areas where our crews are working. Please know that our crews are working quickly and safely to restore your power.
• Electric Crew Activities:
o Hurricane Ian Restoration: replaced three broken poles, repaired two cross-arms and installed conductor line damaged by vegetation. Also repaired numerous streetlights and two traffic signal heads. The Sugarland Highway traffic caution light on the west side of town will be restored as soon as the replacement parts arrive.
o Repaired underground service for a customer on West Del Monte Avenue,
o replaced underground primary in Harlem Community, North Berner Road, East Trinidad, and East Ventura Avenues,
o set a new pole on W.C. Owen Avenue for a new customer service,
o repaired (7) street lights at the Sugarland Sports Complex,
o investigated 138kV transformer malfunction at the distribution substation and found a bad coil that needed to be replaced,
o repaired a service line on Crescent Street,
o installed a new security light,
o changed a bad transformer at the sewer plant,
o installed 300 feet of 4 inches conduit pipe, (3) junction boxes and (8) elbows in commerce park for underground primary service,
o straightened a pole on El Paso Avenue and installed a new transformer
o replaced pole top pin on El Paso Avenue,
o changed connectors for a residential customer,
o installed a sump pump in the spill containment well at the substation.
• Water Sewer Crew Activities:
o Repaired three lift station pumps,
o performed maintenance on Berner Road storm drain,
o repaired numerous water line breaks,
o monitored 51 lift stations during and immediately following Hurricane Ian to prevent any sanitary spills.
• Customer Service Department
o Your Utility partners with customers to bring renewable power to the electric grid. If you’d like to learn more about net metering, please visit the FTC consumer information site at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0532-solar-power-your-home .
o Please remember to register with CodeRed (Reverse 911). This system allows us to contact you in case of an emergency or with other informational announcements. You may register by clicking on the CodeRed link at the bottom of the City‘s website page www.clewiston-fl.gov. You may update your information at any time through the same link.
o If you are considering replacing your air conditioner or attic insulation, remember the City offers a rebate program for those items. Most local contractors participate in the program and can give you more information. You can also visit our website at www.clewiston-fl.gov or call our office.
o It’s Lightning Season! Don’t forget to sign up for your meter based surge protection! Visit our office today.
o Online Bill Pay Is Available on our web site at www.clewiston-fl.gov or www.municipalonlinepayments.com/clewistonfl.
• Facility Maintenance:
o Rewired a light switch and made minor plumbing repairs and mounted a television in the rear of the Youth Center facility;
o completed plumbing and roof repairs at the Harry T. Vaughn Public Library;
o poured a concrete pad for the new fuel tanks at the firehouse,
o repaired a door at Sikes Park,
o repaired six air conditioning units,
o made plumbing repairs at the animal control facility;
o re-keyed all public park restrooms.
• Street Division:
o Continued collecting shopping carts and returning them to the owners,
o cleared our streets and storm drains of horticulture and other refuse scattered by Hurricane Ian: we continue to collect debris piles and palm fronds from our city streets and to operate the street sweeper to keep the catch basins open and free from obstructions,
o assisted the Central Warehouse to complete inventory audits.
• Solid Waste:
o Continued running our collection routes,
o and collected recycle materials from all city facilities.
• Ball Fields:
o Fields are being readied for the upcoming High School soccer season.
o Sprayed the weeds as needed around the lake and park areas,
o repaired the water coolers at the Sports Complex dugouts,
o Our Splash Pad continues to be popular among our very happy patrons.
• Central Garage:
o Performed emergency generator maintenance on all city units to ensure proper operation as needed,
• Special note: Our entire staff is engaged in efforts to clean up our city in the wake of Hurricane Ian.