From The City Manager & Staff June 8, 2023
June 15, 2023 – Golf Course Advisory Board Meeting
June 19, 2023 – City Commission Workshop
June 26, 2023 – City Commission Meeting
July 4, 2023 – Independence Day Holiday – City Offices Closed
Office of the City Manager
Citizens, Business Owners & Other Interested Parties:
In public service roles, city officials have the opportunity to participate in many unique activities and are charged with pursuing completion of various public service projects. Given the nature of doing the “public’s business” which requires lengthy vetting processes and approvals, this is often a laborious task that can test staff and the public’s patience. It is quite an achievement, however, to complete a long discussed and planned project which involved various agencies and partners before becoming a reality. It is especially gratifying when the project has the added twist of being both patriotically and emotionally moving for all who had even the smallest of parts in making it happen.
Such was the experience of Clewiston and Hendry County officials and residents when this year’s Memorial Day celebration took on a new element with the dedication of the long discussed and finally completed erection of an 80 foot high flagpole within the U.S. 27 highway median near the western entrance into the City. With the solemn raising and lowering of the flag event held on Monday morning, May 29, all who participated and the many who watched as the event was live streamed had the distinct pleasure of realizing a significant accomplishment for our community that will stand as a constant reminder of our cherished American freedoms and of those veterans who have served our nation in the military and especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives in service to our country. The flag raising and the Memorial Day service held afterwards at the fairgrounds were extremely well done and a large number of participants and supporters deserve a huge THANK YOU for making this wonderful event possible. The Hendry County Fair and Livestock Show, Inc., who sponsored the events and provided a substantial amount of the project and event funding and the Clewiston High School Public Service Academy students and sponsors deserve special recognition for their contributions which ensured the very successful event went as planned.
From those who suggested the idea years earlier to those who not only dreamed of making this day possible but tenaciously refused to not see the project become reality, to those who did the always difficult task of raising the necessary funds from sponsors and various fundraising activities over several years, to the agencies and organizations who endorsed and gave formal approvals including the Clewiston City Commission, the Hendry County Commission, the Hendry County Fair Board, the Florida Department of Transportation and the several local contractors who donated their time and energy to the project and to the city staff who played vital roles in the entire effort, we as a community should collectively say JOB WELL DONE!
The completion of the project could not have been better timed than to be dedicated on Memorial Day when our nation pauses to recognize our fallen military heroes. The inscription on the dedication plaque to be permanently displayed at the flagpole site in part says it appropriately as follows:
“May our Flag proudly fly over America’s Sweetest Town from this day forward in honor of and dedicated to all former, current and future service members of the United States of America Armed Forces May 29, 2023.”
Thanks for your continued support and interest in the City of Clewiston,
Recreation & Leisure Services Director Lauren McGinnis reports:
School is out for the summer!! Even though there is no school the Youth Center will still be open for summer hours daily. We will be open for students to enjoy our building from noon – 4:30 PM Monday through Friday. We have Xbox games, board games, puzzles, computers, and 3D printers ready for your students to enjoy!
If you are looking for something more structured this summer, the YMCA is hosting summer camp at the Youth Center again this year. There is still room to enroll your child. If you would like to enroll in the YMCA summer camp you can visit the following link to sign up: https://www.ymcaswfl.org/summer-camp. Camp is currently running, so if you have questions you can also stop by the back room at the Youth Center to get more information.
The Splash pad now has new Summer Hours. The water will be on from 8:00 a.m. – noon and 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. every day. The YMCA has restricted access to the splash pad on Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to reach out.
The renovations at the C.S. Mott pool are coming to an end! We are so close to being complete. We are now starting to move into the final touches needed to get the pool re-opened! Lifeguard certifications are currently underway, as we aim for a mid-month GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION!! Keep your eyes out for the formal announcement and date coming soon!
With baseball season winding down at Sugarland Park. We will begin treating the fields. We will be spraying round up to help us get rid of the weeds, bug killer to get rid of the ants and beetles, and fertilizing the grounds. If you plan to use the fields please make sure to take the proper precautions and do not be alarmed if everything looks dead, it’s just part of the process! If you would like to use the fields but have found the gates locked please call the Youth Center to find out how you can gain access.
We are currently working on renovating our parks! Like the baseball fields we will be treating the grounds for unwanted plants, fertilizing what we do want to continue to grow, and treating the insects. Please be cautious if you see that we are treating the grounds. We will be removing some of the old equipment in the coming weeks. If your playground looks empty just know that we have some fun new things coming your way. You may also see us out painting and cleaning the areas around the park to help ensure that you have a beautiful area to enjoy with your families. If you see something that needs repairs or replacing please let us know.
We have upgraded our facility rental process to make it fully digital. This includes a new information sheet that will help us prepare a more accurate quote, and help us find the facility that will best serve you for your event.
Our facilities are almost completely booked for 2023 and we are booking quickly for the 2024 year, with several dates now having a waiting list! Don’t wait, if you are thinking about hosting an event at one of our facilities or parks give us a call today to see what we have to offer.
We want to hear from you! We are working on organizing more family fun community events, and we would love to know what you would like to see. No idea is too big or small, we want it all from video game tournaments to movies in the park and everything in between. Please send any ideas or recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are willing to donate and/or sponsor and event or activity please reach out. We would love to hear from you!
If you have any pictures enjoying any of our parks or facilities that you would like to share please tag us on facebook or email them to email@example.com. We love to see our community enjoying the many spaces we have to offer.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date information on all events and activities going on at the Youth Center.
Library Director Natasha Hayes reports:
• Library staff provided ready reference/computer assistance, circulation activities, and patron programming to 1,571 patrons this month.
• This month’s programming activities have included:
o May’s scavenger hunt in which 52 participants completed. Be sure to check out the new theme this month and find what’s hidden around the library.
o Crafternoon was held on May 10. There were a total of 15 participants.
o Gaming Club was held every Tuesday with a total of 53 participants. Make sure to swing by the library and join in on the fun!
o The Friends of the Clewiston Library Book Club met on May 17 to discuss “Lessons In Chemistry” written by Bonnie Garmus. The book club is growing and we would love to have you be a part of that! There were a total of 13 participants.
In addition to the activities and events listed above, the library is focusing on providing educational activities and programs geared toward robotics and coding as well as augmented and virtual reality. With these fields expanding, it is essential that our libraries continue educating our patrons after school and during the summer. Since our library cooperative is a member of the Southwest Florida Library Network (SWFLN), our libraries are able to reserve equipment and gadgets from their Bits ‘N Bites to Borrow program. This allows our libraries the ability to offer the following hands on, educational programs within the fields mentioned above at no cost. See our recent events below:
o Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 6. Patrons had so much fun commanding their own robotic Sphero Bolt, flying mini drones, and customizing their own buttons. A costume contest was also held in which children dressed as their favorite comic character. Thank you to Frank Harris and Cindy Carroll for judging the costumes.
o Steam Sphero Bolt programs were held on May 11 and May 18 with a total of 45 participants.
o The Virtual and Augmented Reality program was held on Tuesday May 16 with a total of 13 teens.
o The Fun with Drones program was held May 17 with a total of 24 participants.
SUMMER IS HERE and your Clewiston Public Library is geared up and ready for an exciting, fun, hands on educational summer. Be sure to stop in and visit us every Tuesday at 10 a.m. until July 25 for our summer reading program and presentations. Our end of summer event on July 25 will consist of a magician, Showtime For Kids, arts & crafts, board games, snacks, and book bag giveaway.
o On Tuesday May 30, we had a fantastic first day of our Summer Program. Mr. Tim Brown from the Treasure Wildlife Coast Center visited the library. The 95 participants enjoyed the presentation and got to pet the various reptiles and animals.
Highlighted Programs and Events:
• Summer Movie Madness: Every Monday at 1:00 p.m. You may bring your own pillows and/or blankets to cozy up. Popcorn provided. FREE and open to everyone. For more information on weekly themes and movie titles, please call the library at 863-983-1493.
• Florida Archaeology Story Time: Join us on Tuesday, June 6 at 10 a.m. for prehistoric pottery. Children learn about the advent of pottery in Florida, and do hands-on experimentation using play-doh or air-clay to explore pottery-making and decorating technology. The lesson also teaches about how pottery can help archaeologists understand a site and its prehistoric people.
• Digeridoo Down Under Show: Join us on Tuesday, June 13 at 10:00 a.m. for an energetic fusion of Australian music, culture, art, science, comedy, character building and audience participation. This is a whole family event.
• STEAM: Coding Robot Sphero Bolt: Learn the basics of coding, navigate obstacles, and participate in group activities. Stop by on Wednesday, June 14, June 21, and June 28 at 3:30 p.m. Please call the library to register. Children ages 7-12. This program is designed for children and accompanying adults.
• Scavenger Hunt: Stop by the library anytime starting Thursday, June 15 until Friday, June 30 to find the Pandas and solve the riddle!
• Out of My Hands Juggling & Illusion Show: Lights! Magic! Juggling! Join the fun on Tuesday, June 20 at 10:00 a.m. This is a whole family event.
• Book Club: Come join the fun at our next TWO meetings: Wednesday, June 21st 2:00 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. to discuss the newest book club title, “All the Light We Cannot See ” by Anthony Doerr. With lively discussions, this group truly enjoys their meetings as they exchange their thoughts about each new title. New readers are always welcome.
• Animal Island Hopping with Wild at Heart: Come for a fun, educational show with live animals! Join us on Tuesday, June 27th at 10:00 a.m. This is a whole family event.
• Anime and Manga Club
o In-Person (Open to 6th-12th graders): Anime Club meets on Friday, June 9 and June 23 from 3:30 - 4:15 p.m. Come hang out and chat with other Anime fans. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
• Gaming & VR Club: You don’t want to miss this! Stop in at 3:30 p.m. every Tuesday for video games. We have Beat Saber, Roller Coaster Ride, Super Smash Bro’s, Mario Kart, Minecraft, Animal Crossing and the Oculus Quest! Open to all skill levels. Children ages 7 and up. Walk-ins welcome, but registering is always encouraged for better preparation.
• 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 email@example.com or call 863-983-1493.
• 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.
Additional Upcoming Events:
• Monday, June 5
o Kickoff to Medicare Fraud Prevention Week Via Zoom at 10:00 a.m.
• Friday, June 9
o Medicare 101 (with Medicare part B enrollment Demonstration) Via Zoom at 2:00 p.m.
• Friday, June 16
o Diamond Painting at 3:00 p.m.
• Tuesday, June 20
o Medicare part C Via Zoom at noon.
• Tuesday, June 27
o Medicare Part D Via Zoom at noon
• Wednesday, June 28
o STEAM: Sphero Bolt at 3:30 p.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 to Summer Rates. Non-members $34.10 Plus Tax 18 Holes and $17.05 Plus Tax for 9 Holes. Pay for 18 holes and play as many as you want in the same day.
• Golf Shop Hours are 7:45am to 5:30pm. The first tee time is 8:00am. Carts are due in at 7:00pm daily. The golf course is open Tuesday-Sunday and closed Monday.
• 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 has a new token machine now. Get your tokens in the golf shop.
• 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.
• May 6, 2023 Clewiston Golf Course hosted the CHS Tiger Booster Spring Fling. They fielded 90 players.
• June 5-7, 2023 Maintenance will be done on the greens. Aerating and verticutting will be done.
• Junior Golf Camp will be June 26-30, 2023.
• Clewiston Elks Lodge Scramble is scheduled for June 17, 2023.
For more information call the golf shop 863-983-1448.
Community Development Director/Fire Chief Travis Reese reports:
• Samsarah Inc. broke ground on their new truck storage lot at 1307 Olympia Street.
• Clewiston Fire Department hosted an infant & child car seat check-up event.
• Clewiston Fire Department drove a fire truck in the Brown Sugar Parade.
• Clewiston Fire Department supervised the Clewiston High School graduation bonfire.
• Clewiston Fire Department is accepting prequalification applications for new firefighters. If interested please pick up the application at 121 Central Ave., Clewiston, Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm.
Code Compliance Supervisor Debbie Clay reports:
Remove or enclose in a building all Openly Stored Items on Your Property before a Storm is Named
City of Clewiston Ordinance
Sec. 18-246. - Sanitation requirements.
(d) Care of premises. It shall be unlawful for the owner or occupant of a residential building, structure, or property to utilize the premises of such residential property for the open storage of any abandoned motor vehicle or appliance, icebox, refrigerator, stove, glass, building material, building rubbish or similar items. It shall be the duty and responsibility of every such owner and occupant to keep the premises of such residential property clean and to remove from the premises all such abandoned items as listed in this subsection, including, but not limited to, weeds, dead trees, trash, garbage, etc., upon notice pursuant to this division.
Sec. 18-203. - Definitions.
Nuisance or public nuisance means any one or combination of the following:
(1) Any public nuisance known in common law or in equity jurisprudence or as provided by the statutes of the state or ordinances of the city.
(2) Any attractive nuisance which may prove detrimental to the health or safety of children and others, whether in a building, on the premises of a building, or upon an unoccupied lot. This includes, but is not limited to, abandoned wells, shafts, basements, excavations, unused appliances, abandoned motor vehicles, and any structurally unsound fences or structures; lumber, trash, vegetation, such as poison ivy, oak, or sumac, which may prove a hazard for inquisitive persons. Abandoned buildings are attractive nuisances when they are unsecured or unendurable and when, by reason of abandonment or neglect, they contain unsound walls or flooring, unsafe wiring, fire hazards, or other unsafe conditions as further defined herein. Unsafe conditions may include such neglect of security that opportunities for criminal activity persist to the danger and detriment of the neighborhood….
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:firstname.lastname@example.org
Police Chief Tom Lewis reports:
Change in Police Administration – Operations Commander Tito Nieves has changed roles and returned to the position of Patrol Sergeant. As we evaluate permanent replacement options, Sergeant Tom Levins has been placed in an Interim Commander role, effective immediately, to ensure that you do not have a void in communication.
Clewiston Police Department
ACCREDITATION – Over the last 23 months, we have been working hard to prepare the police department to be accredited for the first time in the 98-year history of the city. We are very pleased to have secured three subject matter experts from around the state to provide our agency with a three-day mock assessment in September to better prepare us for the official state assessment. The dates of December 12-14, 2023 are our official accreditation assessment dates. During this time, the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA) will send a team of subject matter experts to the Clewiston Police Department for a three-day on-site assessment. This accredited status will show the public, whom we proudly serve every day, that every aspect of our operation is operating under best practices and outside experts get a continuing first-hand look at our operation.
On May 1, 2023, Chief Lewis and Commander Nieves attended the CHS Public Service Academy Annual Banquet hosted at First United Methodist Church. Congratulations to all of the winners and those that were promoted and recognized during the event.
Beginning on May 9, 2023, Accreditation Manager Ashley Smith shadowed a multi-day mock accreditation assessment at the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. This first-hand look at the process will assist in preparing our agency for the upcoming assessments in September and December of this year.
On Friday, May 12, 2023, Chief Lewis attended Westside Elementary School’s 5th grade DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) graduation. 75 students graduated from the class taught by the Hendry County Sheriff School Resource Officer. What a tremendous accomplishment by our future leaders as they learn about the effects and drugs, making good decisions, and how to react in situations where they feel uncomfortable.
On May 25, 2023 at 8:00 am, our Coffee with the Chief program was hosted by the Clewiston Chamber of Commerce and Johnson Engineering. For the first time ever, the program was held at the police department. Chief Lewis provided a tour of the facility to show-off our newly remodeled areas, a hands-on look at our new patrol vehicles, a hands-on look at newly purchased equipment, and described what the future of the police department looks like.
In the month of May 2023, Animal Services reported the intake of more than 107 cats and 34 dogs.
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES – Do you have a love for animals? Do you have spare time? You could be a perfect fit to be a volunteer at America’s Sweetest Shelter. If you are interested or have any questions about our volunteer opportunities, stop down and visit the shelter at 410 West Arroyo Avenue.
During the week of May 1, 2023, Interim Commander Tom Levins attended a 40-hour Applicant Background investigations class.
During the week of May 8, 2023, Officer Rebecca Wood attended Crisis Response and Management course hosted by the South West Florida Public Safety Academy in Fort Myers, Florida. The course trains police officers on legal aspects and cost-effective and up-to-date crisis intervention strategies. This training is a part of the department’s overall focus on de-escalation techniques.
On May 18, 2023, Sergeant Tito Nieves attended the Taser Instructor course hosted by the Clermont Police Department. This instructor certification will allow the department to train in-house and spend less money on training and travel expenses.
General Services Director Williams reports:
We are pleased to announce that the CS Mott City Pool at 113 W. Osceola Avenue will REOPEN SOON! Please stay tuned for the GRAND OPENING announcement COMING sometime mid-June!
• Electric Crew Activities:
o Removed (4) old poles to wastewater treatment plant, swapped line to new poles
o Replaced broken distribution pole and repaired line damage during weather event
o repaired underground service on Trinidad Avenue,
o removed vegetation from line on WC Owen Avenue & Okeechobee Blvd.,
o repaired street lights,
o replaced bad cross-arm behind Kelly Tractor,
o installed spot lighting fixtures (4) for new flag pole,
o assisted sewer department remove pumps from lift stations,
o checked outlets for Brown Sugar Festival
o removed banner for Brown Sugar Festival
o installed AMI meters for solar installation customers
• Water Sewer Crew Activities:
o Repaired numerous (6) valve leaks/water line breaks,
o replaced (5) water meters,
o installed new pump (4) and replaced panel, pumped down lift stations (4),
o located underground utilities (3),
o performed Lift Station inspections (50)
o replaced water filter at Della Tobias Avenue (5) and flushed line,
o investigated (3) water leaks
o replaced ¾ copper water line and valve, installed new line and box for AMI meter installation
o installed new water line at the city pool
o flushed hydrants and water line; and set hydrant meter
• 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 Made repairs to the CS Mott pool and completed painting
o sprinkler repairs: 3
o plumbing repairs: 2
o repaired back door at the Golf Course Pro Shop, made minor electrical repairs
o replace Bond Street park benches
o Staff repaired the dishwasher and installed a garbage disposal at the Animal Control facility
o Removed broken tree limb at Sikes Park.
o made roof repairs at Operations building
o replaced a damaged rim at the Trinidad Park basketball court, repaired timer system
• Street Division:
o Staff is helping the Solid Waste Department with bulky debris pickups, in addition to our normal operating responsibilities
• Solid Waste:
o Staff is maintaining all collection routes throughout the city.
• Parks & Recreation:
o The Splash Pad is now open to the public throughout the upcoming 2023 summer!
• Central Garage:
o The City of Clewiston is searching for a Mechanic 1 to perform necessary repairs and routine maintenance of city vehicles. Please visit our website for more information: https://www.clewiston-fl.gov/