Happy holidays from the city of Clewiston, America’s sweetest town!
Due to the Christmas and New Year Holidays, there will be no solid waste service offered on Monday, Dec. 26, and Monday, Jan. 1, 2023. Solid waste collection service will be provided on Tuesday, Dec. 27, and Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2023.
Roll off bins will be placed throughout the community for residents to dispose of their Christmas debris. Please do not place construction debris, household garbage or yard clippings in these containers.
Dates to Remember
• Dec. 15 – Golf Course Advisory Board meeting
• Dec. 19 – City Commission meeting
• Dec. 23-26 – Christmas Holiday – City offices closed
• Jan. 2, 2023 – New Year’s Day Holiday – City offices closed
Citizens, Business Owners & Other Interested Parties:
Borrowing a time honored phrase from a popular holiday song: “IT IS BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS” in Clewiston, Florida! The holiday season activities are ramping up and there is a buzz in the community that is quite frankly very exciting and which makes me happy that I live in such a wonderful place. Despite being scheduled early in the holiday season while not necessarily being considered a holiday event, the annual Clewiston Chamber of Commerce Dinner & Awards gala held on Tuesday was a wonderful kickoff for all the seasonal festivities to follow. Congratulations are in order to all the organizers and sponsors for a great event and to the Chamber honored businesses and membership who contribute so much to the private and public sector success of the Clewiston community. City public works staff and community volunteers did a festive themed successful decoration effort of Bond Street for the awesome outdoor gathering again this year. A special recognition and congratulation are in order for Clewiston’s Outstanding Community Service Award winner announced at the dinner who was our recently retired Commissioner and former Mayor Kristine Petersen. Most in the community are well aware of her decades of service in various capacities as detailed in the recognition Proclamation she received at the event.
Highlighting the holiday related items, U.S. Sugar’s Santa Express literally delivered Holiday Cheer by rail this week in the form of toys for families across Glades, Highlands, Hendry, Palm Beach and Martin counties with stops in communities across the region with Santa aboard including Clewiston. The company annually partners with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation’s toy drive in this wonderful effort. Other events to build Christmas joy particularly among our youngest citizens are undertaken by a host of organizations including locally our civic clubs who partner with local schools. I congratulate all who plan and participate in such events. I know a number of local groups do numerous activities that I may not be aware of, but I want to acknowledge here plans of which I am aware. Last Friday, the Clewiston Christian School held a very nice and well attended Live Nativity event in a downtown park. On Monday of this week, my wife Sheila and I had the opportunity to join my fellow Rotarians in a shopping spree at Walmart with Clewiston area youth coordinated with local schools that was very well received with 60 children involved. Upcoming, the Clewiston Police Department, in cooperation with the Fire Department, will have Santa in town again this Saturday to kick off their annual “Shop With A Cop” event also at Walmart. Other seasonal civic type events include several local church bazaars, a Roland & Mary Ann Martin Marina sponsored fishing tournament also this week, the monthly community business sponsored Market on Bond Street event next weekend and the upcoming annual Wreaths Across America event.
In one of the most exciting holiday events I have ever had the privilege to personally participate in, Clewiston also hosted Santa last evening as the guest of honor at the 1st Annual Christmas Tree Lighting held in Civic Park with multiple complimentary activities to follow. With an exceptionally large gathering of citizens witnessing the historic event, Santa, Mrs. Claus and one of his trusty elves arrived via a Clewiston Fire Engine with a police escort clearing the way. Following welcoming remarks from all members of the Clewiston City Commission, recognition of the volunteers and city staff who participated in preparations, and a rousing countdown led by event organizer and Clewiston Recreation & Leisure Services Director Lauren McGinnis, Santa “flipped the official holiday switch” and the beautifully decorated Clewiston Christmas Tree on the hill in the center of the park was illuminated to the joy of the throngs present. Attendees were treated to hot chocolate, fresh popcorn on site, homemade treats, punch and cookies for those who stood in line for hours after the tree lighting to have personal visits with Santa in the nearby recently renovated and seasonally decorated youth center, as well as, those opting to also line up for complinentary rides on the trackless holiday train circling the area. Meanwhile, everyone was treated to a unique “winter wonderland” view from a snow blowing machine that simulated the more traditional seasonal “chill in the air” theme under the beautiful moonlit Clewiston sky over nearby Sugarland Park. Kids there enjoyed playing in a giant Snow Man shaped Igloo design bounce house while parents dined on nearby tables from excellent culinary offerings provided by food truck vendors or shopped at tents offering seasonal wares. Preliminary estimates are that between 1,200 and 1,500 participated in all the activities over the entire 2-3 hour event. For a first time activity, city officials were overwhelmed with the turnout far exceeding our expectations. WOW!
In case you unfortunately missed the tree lighting event, do not panic. You can take a look at the many pictures posted on social media or of course you can still visit Civic Park which will remain decorated throughout the holidays. An early evening visit is especially rewarding when the lights are most visible. We encourage holiday themed photos of your family utilizing the lighting and displays as a backdrop. Please enjoy.
In closing, from your Clewiston city family, and from my personal family to yours, I wish all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Thank you for your continued interest in the City of Clewiston,
Recreation & Leisure Services Director Lauren McGinnis reports:
• With the 1st Annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting approaching we are excited to start what is sure to be a favorite tradition.
• We have loved seeing everyone come out and enjoy the beautiful lights and decorations in Civic Park! The family pictures that are posted have brought so much joy to our hearts! We hope you continue to take pictures and tag us in them!
• The continued support from the community at our building has been amazing! Every day we have more students coming in to enjoy all that we have to offer here at the Youth Center. We love getting to know the students and their friends who are enjoying all of the new games and electronics.
• Our hours for students are 2:30 PM – 6:00 PM Monday – Thursday and 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM on Friday. We invite all of our youth to come and enjoy all of the brand new board games, books, xbox game systems, and 3D printers at the Youth Center every day after school.
• We have brand new books, including test prep books for anyone to use and a large selection of board games for teens to enjoy.
• Our 3D printer runs each Thursday. If you would like to be a part of our 3D print club and/or volunteer for the club please call us to find out how.
• Be sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date information on all events and activities going on at the Youth Center.
• We are working on updating our facility rental process to make it a fully digital. We have a new information sheet that will help us best serve you for your events.
• Are you looking to have an event? Call the Youth Center today to get a new Facility Rental Information Request Form. We look forward to hosting your next event at one of our beautiful facilities or parks.
• We are always looking for volunteers to help with our clubs and activities here at the Youth Center, if you or anyone you know is interested in volunteering please call us at 983-1492 to find out how you can get involved.
Library Director Natasha Hayes reports:
• Library staff provided ready reference/computer assistance, circulation activities, and patron programming to 1,369 patrons this month.
• This month’s programming activities have included:
• New Library Hours:
Monday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Anime Club
• Winter Scavenger Hunt: Stop by the library anytime from 3 to 4:45 p.m. starting Monday, Dec. 5 until Friday, Dec. 30 for the scavenger hunt!
• LEGO Builders Club: LEGO Club meets again on Thursday, Dec. 15 at 3:45 p.m. The library staff continues to bring in additional LEGO kits and building supplies.
• Video Game Club: Join us in-person for Super Smash Bro’s challenge, a Mario Kart race, or see who can survive the longest in Minecraft! Open to all skill levels. Children ages 7 and up. Please be advised that space is limited. Please call the library for more information.
• Clewiston Public Library Holiday Hour Closings are as follows:
Dec. 16 – CLOSED by noon
Dec. 23 – CLOSED
Dec. 26 – CLOSED
Jan. 2, 2023 – CLOSED
• There are no weekly activities from Dec. 27, through Jan. 6, 2023. Weekly activities will resume on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023.
• SHINE (Serving health Insurance Needs of Elders) and Area Agency on Aging-Southwest Florida will be hosting virtual classes for anyone interested in learning more about Medicare! To register for upcoming webinars, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 863-983-1493.
• 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.
• Please stop by the library to pick up a calendar with a list of events and programs so you can join in on the fun.
Recap of Upcoming Events:
• Thursday, Dec. 15
LEGO Club at 3:30 p.m.
• Monday, Dec. 19
Video Game Club at 1 p.m.
Anime Club Via Zoom at 3:30 p.m.
• Tuesday, Dec. 20
Medicare Part D with Shine at noon
Video Game Club at 1 p.m.
• Wednesday, Dec. 21
Video Game Club at 10 a.m.
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 season for non-members $45.00 plus tax for 18 holes and $22.50 plus tax for nine holes.
• Group rates are available and we run a Monday Special after 12 p.m. Call the golf shop for more information.
• Walking is permitted all day.
• Golf shop hours are 7:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. The first tee time is 7:30 a.m. Carts are due in at 5:30 p.m. daily. The golf course is open 7 days a week.
• 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 open daily until 4 p.m.
• 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.
• Thanks to Sugarland Masonic Lodge, Clewiston Rotary Club and His Vision Our Hands. They all recently ran successful fundraising golf tournaments at Clewiston G.C.
• Ladies Day 8:30am Tuesday’s
• Senior Men’s Group 9:00am Tuesday’s and Friday’s
• Men’s Group Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Call golf shop for times.
For more information call the golf shop 863-983-1448.
Community Development Director/Fire Chief Travis Reese reports:
Big Lots is getting closer to opening its doors; they have final inspections planned for early December. Big Lots will occupy 30,000 square feet of new retail shopping space.
Code Enforcement Officer Debbie Clay reports:
At Last We Say So Long...
to those storm shutters covering our windows!
Sec. 110-530. - Residential development and improvement.
(d)Shutters, storm panels and storm rollups. Shutters, storm panels and storm rollups shall meet the following design standards:
(1)Permanently installed shutters:
a. Shutters shall be painted to match either the principal color or the trim color of the structure to which they are attached.
b. Permanently installed hardware for storm panels and storm rollups shall be painted to match the principal color or the trim color of the structure to which is attached, according to which will make such hardware the least noticeable
.c. No permanently installed plywood panels are permitted.
(2)Storm shutters and panels which are not permanently installed shall meet the following utilization standards:
a.They may be put in place or closed not more than 72 hours before and 72 hours after a storm event;
b.They may be put in place or closed for two periods of up to 15 days each between June 1 and November 30 (the hurricane season) when the owner is absent; and
c.They may be put in place on rear windows during any period of time.
Our Code Enforcement personnel will continue focused enforcement in December 2022 on this ordinance as well as continued enforcement of all City of Clewiston Ordinance.
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 or Code Compliance Supervisor:
Police Chief Tom Lewis reports:
The police department has a very proud partnership with the Clewiston High School Criminal Justice Program as they train local youth for future careers as law enforcement officers and law enforcement dispatchers. Currently, 75% of our police dispatchers are graduates from this program. These employees come to us fully-certified, saving our agency time and money. We were made aware that the program’s vehicle (a 1999 model) where students practice safe and legal traffic stops, DUI investigations, effective communication skills, tactics, and a host of other areas/coursework was no longer usable. The City of Clewiston Commission stepped-up and approved the donation of one of our exiting police car units to be transferred to them. On Nov. 7, Chief Lewis handed over the keys to a white 2014 Dodge Charger (former Police Unit #1408). We couldn’t be more proud to partner with the community’s youth!
Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Seizure Headed to State Prison – On Nov. 8, at approximately 2 a.m., Sergeant Salgado conducted a traffic stop on US27. The driver, Claudelle Philistin, had an active warrant from Orange County, Florida on narcotics charges as well as introducing contraband into a correctional facility. After being arrested for the warrant, officers discovered marijuana and other items hidden inside what appeared to be artificial grass inside his vehicle. Also found were several cell phones, cell phone chargers, lighters, rolling papers, and razor blades. Sergeant Salgado, a previous correctional officer, noted the packaging was consistent with items being attempted to be smuggled into a prison setting. To confirm his suspicions, Sergeant Salgado discovered the suspect’s cellphone had an active GPS mapping route. The destination address was South Bay Correctional Institution.
In addition to the warrant, Mr. Philistin was charged with Possession of Marijuana More than 20 Grams, Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Attempted Introduction of Contraband into a Correctional Facility.
In the month of November 2022, Animal Services reported the intake of 33 cats and 72 dogs.
On Nov. 5, Chief Lewis and Commander Brophy attended the Caloosa Humane Society’s annual Peace, Love and Paws gala at the River Bend Resort. The fundraising event supports our animal rescue partner to raise money for the community’s homeless animals. On Nov. 28, the police department responded to a vehicle crash on US 27 and train tracks near Lewis Blvd. A semi-truck had collided with the US Sugar train, killing the driver of the truck. The crash also caused six train cars to derail. Traffic was rerouted for approximately 14 hours. Due to the nature and complexity of the crash, experts from the Florida Highway Patrol agreed to assume the crash investigations. Patrol units, assisted by the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, and members of the Florida Department of Transportation assisted in traffic control until the reopening of the roadway. Future information will be disseminated from FHP when appropriate.
Beginning on Oct. 31, Officer Conyers attended a 4-day Less Lethal Instructor course hosted in Havana, Florida. Officer Conyers is now certified to conduct in-house training to our staff on Chemical Agents (pepper spray variants), Less-Lethal Munitions (40MM launcher options), and Distraction Devices. This will add to our de-escalation options.
On Nov. 21 and 22, Sergeant Tom Levins attended an AR15 armorer’s course hosted at the South Daytona Beach Police Department. On Nov. 22, Sergeant Demetrius Scruggs attended the Glock armorer’s course hosted by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. This will allow the agency to properly maintain newly purchased handguns and AR15s in-house, and save the taxpayers money should a need for a repair happen.
Beginning on Nov. 29, Sergeant Tom Levins attended a 4-day Less Lethal Instructor course hosted by the Palm Bay Police Department. Sergeant Levins is now certified to conduct in-house training with Officer Conyers to our staff on Chemical Agents (pepper spray variants), Less-Lethal Munitions (40MM launcher options), and Distraction Devices.
Beginning on Nov. 30, Officer Louis-Pierre attended a 2-day course for certification to install and repair after-market lighting and equipment on patrol vehicles. These repairs can be costly and can render an emergency vehicle out of service while the department waits for service. This training will allow us to perform repairs in-house, thus saving the city money and time.
General Services Director Williams reports:
• Electric Crew Activities:
• Water Sewer Crew Activities:
• Customer Service Department
• Facility Maintenance:
• Street Division:
• Solid Waste:
• Ball Fields:
Fields are ready for the High School soccer season.
• Central Garage: