3 To Know: Marco Island is Florida’s safest city

Marco Eagle

1. Report: Marco Island is Florida’s safest city 

SafeWise recently released their 5th annual 20 Safest Cities in Florida report. Marco Island made the list at number one for 2018.

Marco Island, Florida

To compile this report, SafeWise analysts reviewed the most recent 2016 FBI crime statistics and population data. Cities that fell below identified population thresholds or failed to submit a complete FBI crime report were excluded from the ranking system.

The evaluation is based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape and robbery) in each city per 1000 people. If there was a tie, we also factored in the number of property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and car theft).

SafeWise is an online safety resource that helps families and communities “make informed decisions.”

Check out the full report www.safewise.com/blog/safest-cities-florida/.


2. Collier clerk of courts job to be on ballot

After Tuesday's death of Collier County's longtime clerk of courts (see story, 4A), voters will decide who should succeed him.

Dwight Brock won his seventh term in 2016 and was eligible to keep the clerk's job until at least 2020.

Anyone who wants to serve the rest of his term will have until noon June 22 to qualify to get on the ballot. Multiple candidates from the same party would have to run in the Aug. 28 primary. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 6.

Typically, candidates running for public office in Florida have three ways to qualify: by paying a filing fee based on the position's salary, by petition or as a write-in candidate. But it's too late to qualify by petition to become the clerk of courts, said Dave Carpenter, qualifying officer for the Collier Supervisor of Elections.

The total fee for clerk candidates running with a party affiliation is $ 8,677.26. If a candidate decides to run without affiliation, the associated fee would be $5,784.84.

The yearly salary for clerk of courts in Collier is $144,621.

By law, if an office becomes vacant before the qualifying deadline, it is put on the ballot, Carpenter said. 

"The door closes a week from Friday," he said.

Until a new clerk is elected, Gov. Rick Scott can appoint an interim clerk to serve until Nov. 13, a week after the Nov. 6 general election.

3. Florida citrus growers wrap up 'horrible' season blasted by Hurricane Irma

Florida's citrus growers have essentially wrapped up one of the worst seasons they've seen since the 1940s. 

The latest citrus forecast from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows orange production is down nearly 35 percent from the previous season.

Grapefruit fared even worse, with production coming in at half of what it was in the prior season.

Large numbers of oranges sit on the ground at the Story Grove orange grove in the wake of Hurricane Irma on September 13, in Lake Wales, FL.
 Brian Blanco, Getty Images
Large numbers of oranges sit on the ground at the Story Grove orange grove in the wake of Hurricane Irma on September 13, 2017 in Lake Wales, Florida.
Rotten oranges cover the ground at a Valencia grove. Hurricane Irma battered fields and groves across Florida, destroying an estimated 70 percent of the state's orange crop.

Much of the blame is put on Hurricane Irma. The massive storm walloped citrus crops across Florida when it made landfall in September. Groves in Southwest Florida were hit especially hard.

In the 2017-18 season, Florida growers produced 44.95 million 90-pound boxes of oranges and 3.88 million similarly sized boxes of grapefruit, along with 750,000 boxes of tangerines, tangelos and other specialty fruit.

The combined 49.58 million boxes is the smallest number recorded since the 1941-42 season, when growers filled 48.65 million boxes during World War II.

Grapefruit production has reached its lowest point in almost a century. It fell nearly 2 percent from a May forecast.