Returning soldier gets a warrior's welcome.By Sara Miles, NBC2 Reporter
FORT MYERS - A Southwest Florida soldier returned home Wednesday night after spending six months in Afghanistan. And he was not only welcomed home by his family, but also by group of people he doesn't even know! After spending the holidays without his family, Army Private First Class Jesse Minick is on his way home to Naples to celebrate with his parents. But perhaps the best present he will receive during his time home was Wednesday night as he stepped off the plane. His time overseas was short, but his homecoming was nothing short of a hero's welcome. As his flight flew in from Colorado, the 20-year-old had no idea what his family had planned. "Gift we are never going to forget and know Jesse will never forget," said his step-dad Damian Gemma. As he walked through security and into the terminal, he was greeted by dozens of people waving flags. There were also people on motorcycles, driven by people he doesn't even know. They are members of the Warriors' Watch Riders - a group who honors our nation's warriors by drawing attention to them when they arrive home. "I'm very, very happy and I'm glad he's home and safe," said Minick's mom, Dana Minick. The Palmetto Ridge High graduate joined the Army in February 2010 and then left for basic training right after he graduated in June of that year. "It was sad, but also nice that he was going to see the world and venture out on his own," Dana said. Gemma said that during the last few months, Minick was driving a tanker and doing whatever the Army tells him to do. "He's proud to serve his country and we are really proud of him," he said. Minick will be home for two weeks before he heads back to Colorado for more training. There is the possibility he may also be sent back to Afghanistan as well.
|Lee County motorcyclists look to stay safe|
|By Dayna Harpster • DHARPSTER@NEWS-PRESS.COM • May 11, 2009|
Frankie Kennedy, Earl Clark and Victor Piorkowski are leather-clad bikers who look downright fearless. But show them a woman applying makeup while driving and they will be shaking in their steel-toed boots. Ditto someone behind the wheel on a cell phone.
for good reason. Nationally, the number of motorcycle riders dying in
accidents has been rising for the past nine years, according to the U.S.
Department of Transportation. There are more motorcycles on the road,
but that doesn’t explain why there are more crashes. Between 1997 and
2005, motorcycle registrations increased by 63 percent, from 3,826,373
in 1997 to 6,227,146 in 2005. But deaths have more than doubled, from
2,116 in 1997 to 4,810 in 2006.
Alberta Birdie Clark, 52, North Fort Myers - Yamaha V-Star 650: Never, ever turn left in front of an oncoming motorcycle.
Earl Smokey Clark, 43, North Fort Myers - Yamaha V-Star: Keep both hands on the handlebars at all times and be aware of your surroundings.
“Watch out for motorcycles not because we’re special,
but because we’re vulnerable,” said Kennedy of Cape Coral, who has been
president of the Southwest Florida ABATE group for a decade. He teaches
safety classes all over the county and beyond. In that effort, he’s
backed up by a group of experienced riders who teach in schools, driver
education programs, even a senior center recently.
If You Go
What: Swamp Fest Motorcycle Rally, with vendors,
entertainment, games, prizes, safety programs, poker run, and “Bears
for Bears,” collection of stuffed animals to be given to the Lee
County Sheriff’s Office for children in trauma situations.
Frankie Kennedy, 51, Cape Coral - Indian: Watch out for motorcycles, not because we're special, but because we're vulnerable.
Bob Litterello, 54, Cape Coral - Harley Classic: Ride and drive defensively. Pay attention to the people around you.
Victor Piorkowski, 48, North Fort Myers - Honda Shadow: Be aware of blind spots.
SHARING THE ROAD: 10 TIPS FOR DRIVERS
1. More than half of all fatal motorcycle crashes
involve another vehicle. Most of the time, the motorist, not the
motorcyclist, is at fault. There are a lot more cars and trucks than
motorcycles on the road, and some drivers don’t “recognize” a motorcycle
— they ignore it (usually unintentionally).
|2009 GEICO Cup & Bike Build Invitational Winners.|
|by Full Throttle Magazine, Jan. 22, 2009|
|Harley-Davidson seeks federal bailout.|
|by Motorcycle.com Staff, Jan. 21, 2009|
Harley–Davidson is awaiting news in regards to
whether the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will designate the
company as eligible for federal funding under a bank bailout
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., wrote a letter January 16 to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chairman Sheila Blair, saying Harley-Davidson recently inquired whether its financing company and subsidiaries, Harley-Davidson Credit Corp. and Eaglemark Savings Bank, are eligible for the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program, or TLGP.
Casey said he supports Harley's request for eligibility and wants the FDIC to make a decision on the company's eligibility, ideally ahead of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report due out Friday. "Without access to TLGP, Harley-Davidson may be forced to make tough decisions that will impact workers in Pennsylvania, jeopardize the local economy, and negatively impact the state economy," Casey wrote in the letter.
The TLGP guarantees unsecured corporate debt against default, which would cover the bills of Harley-Davidson's internal financial entities if they were unable to pay bills themselves. H-D employs nearly 3,000 people at its plant in York County, PA., and another 1,500 work at dealerships in the state.
Against an industry wide slowdown, analysts expect Harley sales to be down 20 percent for the fourth quarter, and Raymond James analyst Joseph D. Hovorka said in a client note that sales among 55 dealers surveyed were "the softest reading ever for our survey." Sales are expected to slide another 20 percent to 30 percent this year as consumers cut purchases of luxury goods.
Four analysts — Goldman Sachs, Standard & Poor's, RBC and Raymond James — have downgraded Harley shares in as many weeks, and the company’s former HDFS president, Sy Naqvi, left the company early this month. H-D’s stock price has dropped from $80-plus per share in December 2006 to $13.70 this week.
|Effective 2009, Myrtle Beach, SC will no longer host motorcycle rallies.|
|Message from the Mayor
Myrtle Beach is no longer the location for two long-running motorcycle events. After many years, our residents grew weary of three weeks of noise and traffic congestion each May, and they asked City Council to end the events. As a result, the Harley-Davidson Dealers Association Spring Rally and the Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest will not be held in Myrtle Beach.
This was a difficult decision. Myrtle Beach welcomes visitors year-round, but the giant motorcycle rallies simply grew too large. Our staff, residents and businesses strained to keep up with these huge single-focus events. It may surprise you, but our economy is much healthier with a fully diversified visitor base, instead of a concentration on one or two extremely large events.
Please know that Myrtle Beach is not anti-biker or anti-motorcycle. We want folks to come on the vehicle of their choice and enjoy all of the things Myrtle Beach has to offer. We are ending the motorcycle-related rallies because they grew too big and lasted too long. The huge rallies even kept visitors away from Myrtle Beach, and that's not good.
For everyone's safety and welfare, City Council has added a few new rules and regulations. We believe these new laws will make Myrtle Beach a safer and more friendly destination. For example, with your safety in mind, we now require that all motorcycle riders and passengers wear a helmet and eye protection. We also have a 1:00 to 6:00 a.m. curfew for everyone under 18. These and other rule changes are explained on this web site.
Thank you for understanding. As you know, Myrtle Beach is a great place to visit, and we welcome you at any time. I look forward to your next visit and am confident that you will have a great time in Myrtle Beach!
New Rules & Ordinances
Ordinances for Noise, Motorcycles, Alcohol Consumption, Property Management, Curfew and Accommodations
|Myrtle Beach Motorcycle Rallies Frequently Asked
I’ve heard the rallies will still occur, just not in the city limits. Is that true?
The rallies will not occur in the City of Myrtle Beach and may not occur exactly as they have in the past elsewhere. The City of Myrtle Beach is concerned with the city limits, but other local governments are considering actions to limit or alter the rallies. For example, Horry County Council is considering changes to vendor numbers, locations and fees. Surfside Beach has eliminated vendors for two years. North Myrtle Beach will not allow vendors in front of Barefoot Landing and may or may not approve a variance for a tent at the Harley-Davidson shop. You may wish to contact other local governments directly to inquire about their plans. Atlantic Beach (843) 663-2284; City of North Myrtle Beach (843) 280-5555; Horry County (843) 915-5005; Town of Surfside (843) 913-6111.
I understand the motorcycle rallies have been cancelled and will not be held in 2009. Is this true?
Yes, as far as the City of Myrtle Beach is concerned, the motorcycle rallies have ended. The residents of Myrtle Beach spoke loudly and clearly, asking City Council to end the May rallies. In response, City Council enacted numerous ordinances and changed existing laws to curtail the rallies beginning in 2009. Some form of the rallies may be held elsewhere in Horry County, but they will no longer occur within the city limits of Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Why does Myrtle Beach no longer want motorcycle rallies?
The rallies grew too large and lasted too long. The back-to-back rallies attracted several hundred thousand bikers and event-goers and overwhelmed the city for nearly three weeks. The rallies drove other visitors away. Through the years, the city tried to work with the organizers and attendees, but the rallies did not improve. Instead, they became larger, longer and louder. Myrtle Beach welcomes people who ride motorcycles lawfully, but the rallies have ended.
Is this effort to discontinue the motorcycle rallies targeted at one group or one specific rally?
No, the City of Myrtle Beach doesn’t want to play host to any motorcycle rally, regardless of its sponsors or attendees. The new ordinances are in effect year-round, not just during the month of May.
So, is Myrtle Beach anti-biker?
Not at all. The city welcomes individual motorcyclists 365 days a year, as long as they obey all local and state laws. However, the city doesn’t welcome the huge motorcycle rallies and the problems they bring.
Haven’t these rallies existed for many years? Why is the City of Myrtle Beach just now deciding to discontinue the rallies?
The May motorcycle rallies are not new, but for many years, they lasted only a few days and attracted much smaller crowds. While those events may have presented some challenges for residents, most people tolerated them for short periods. However, in recent years, both May motorcycle events outgrew their original size, scope and duration. The back-to-back rallies now last for nearly three straight weeks and present a huge burden on the local community. As a result, the residents asked the city to end the rallies, and City Council responded accordingly.
If the city doesn’t want special events, why do the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and other organizers promote events like the Sun Fun Festival, the Myrtle Beach Marathon, or the Canadian-American Days Festival?
Events like the Sun Fun Festival, the Myrtle Beach Marathon and the Canadian-American Days Festival last only a few days and don’t require nearly the level of support from the city as the motorcycle rallies. Also, they don’t cause the same level of inconvenience, noise and congestion for the residents. Those events also do not result in increased crime, traffic wrecks and fatalities.
Myrtle Beach is a tourist destination. It seems strange that such a destination would decide it doesn’t want tourists, doesn’t it?
We welcome all tourists, as long as they obey our state and local laws. The motorcycle-related rallies grew to be too large, too noisy and too unmanageable. For example, during July 4th, we will host even more visitors than during the motorcycle rallies, but the effect on the community is much less intense. The rallies grew so large and lasted so long that they simply overwhelmed the community. In short, their negatives far outweighed their positives.
If the motorcycle rallies were such a great benefit for our area, it would seem that other communities would compete for them and try to move them to their towns, much like national conventions. So far, that hasn’t happened. Ask yourself… Would your community welcome three weeks of motorcycle rallies with hundreds of thousands of participants and the resulting noise, litter, lewdness, crime, traffic congestion, reckless driving, accidents, injuries, and deaths? Probably not.
The rallies bring a lot of revenue to the city and its businesses. Does the City Council realize how much money it stands to lose?
Yes, the City Council is aware of the economic impact of the motorcycle rallies, but the rallies also cost the community, and more than just money. Certain business segments did well during the rallies, but others did not. The city also paid a substantial cost in staff time and resources to cope with the rallies. Many would-be visitors also chose not to visit during May because they did not want to be caught up in the rallies. But perhaps the biggest cost of all was the effect the rallies had upon our quality of life. Residents were no longer willing to give up the month of May.
Do businesses realize they’re going to lose a lot of money when the rallies go away?
Yes, and no. Some businesses did benefit financially from the motorcycle rallies and expressed concern over the city’s decision. Other businesses didn’t benefit financially from the motorcycle rallies and supported the city’s efforts. And, believe it or not, there are some businesses that benefit financially from the rallies but believe overall that they still aren’t good events for the area. It’s safe to say that the business community is divided on the issue, but regardless, the city is eliminating the rallies for non-monetary reasons.
If I decide to ride my motorcycle to Myrtle Beach in May 2009, what changes will I notice?
Myrtle Beach is the same appealing destination that it’s always been, but you will be subject to several new ordinances. For example, you will need to wear an approved safety helmet and eye protection while riding your motorcycle within the city limits. Your motorcycle must have a functioning muffler and you will not be allowed to make excessive noise. At idle, motorcycles and other vehicles may be no louder than 89 decibels. You will need to present your license, registration and proof of insurance at all traffic checkpoints, which will be more common beginning in 2009. These checkpoints also may include noise measurements. For more details on our local laws, please view our list of new or changed ordinances.
Hotels are telling me I can’t bring my motorcycle on a trailer. Is this true and, if so, why?
The city will not allow motorcycle trailer parking on
public rights-of-way within the city limits, nor at large, vacant sites.
You may park trailers in hotel parking lots as long as they do not
displace other guests’ vehicles. Spaces for trailer storage may be
available outside city limits, but within the city, there will be no
space available for trailer storage. Also, city ordinances restrict
motorcycles to no more than two vehicles per public parking space.
Both. The new ordinances are in effect year-round, and actions to eliminate the motorcycle rallies will be implemented consistently among all events.
When do the new laws go into effect?
Some of the new ordinances are already in effect. Other laws will be implemented in February 2009.
Are the city’s efforts constitutional?
Yes, the city believes its efforts are very much in line with the constitutions of the United States and South Carolina. As a matter of policy, the city doesn’t comment on pending legal challenges. However, lawsuits have been filed, and thus far, the courts have sided with the city and refused to issue any injunctions.
Where do the city limits of Myrtle Beach extend?
Like all cities in South Carolina, the city limits line zigs and zags. Generally speaking, the city limits begin at the southern end of Restaurant Row and continue to just past the former Air Force Base. Except for a portion of Grande Dunes, all of the City of Myrtle Beach is east of the Intracoastal Waterway. Look for signage at the major entrances to the city. At this time, SC 31, the Carolina Bays Parkway, is completely outside the Myrtle Beach City limits.
|Florida could outlaw cell phone use by distracted drivers in wake of fatal semi accident.|
|Posted On: December 31, 2008 by Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner|
Florida drivers could be banned from using cell phones or text messaging while driving if retired Fort Myers-area paramedic Jay Anderson succeeds in pushing a new law aimed at reducing serious and fatal traffic crashes on our roads.
"Stay Alive ... Just Drive!", an organization Anderson founded, was named the Outreach Effort of the Year by the Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition on the same day he learned a Fort Myers driver caused a five-car pile up because she was text messaging.
Anderson, whose organization is vocal in warning of the dangers of using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving, said the accident is yet another payment toward the growing cost of a serious problem.
Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Personal Injury Lawyers, which was named sponsor of the year by the injury prevention coalition but is not involved in the effort to push for the new law, urges motorists to pay attention to the road and put safety first.
"Heather's Law", named for 26-year-old Heather Hurd who died in January on U.S. 27 in a 10-car crash caused by a semi driver who was allegedly text messaging, began the lawmaking process this month when it was introduced by two state senators.
"It's very, very sad and totally preventable," said Anderson, of the crash, which claimed several lives and critically injured several others. He said Hurd was on her way to the wedding planner with her fiancé. Her parents were waiting at the wedding planner when authorities arrived to inform them of the tragedy. "People need to accept it -- these things are preventable. They are not accidents. Ninety percent of all crashes are the direct result of driver error."
Anderson said the fact that this was a semi driver accused of text messaging shows distracted driving is not limited to any one segment of society.
"It's becoming so obvious that I think it is making more people aware that it is a problem -- you can sit at any intersection and look left or right and you are going to encounter someone on a cell phone," Anderson said. "It encompasses all ages, from new drivers to people in their 80s."
While only a small percentage of bills introduced into the lawmaking process each year actually become law, Anderson is optimistic that Florida will join five other states that he said currently ban cell phone use by drivers, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, California and Washington, D.C.
"We are off to a good start and I think we have
some great legislative support," he said.
There are certain things you can do to help protect your rights if you are involved in a crash. For four decades, the car accident and trucking accident attorneys at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Personal Injury Lawyers, have been representing Southwest Florida motorists and other victims of personal injury. The firm offers free appointments to discuss your case at any of its offices in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, Arcadia, Port Charlotte, Venice and Sebring.
|Wrong Way Driver takes out 12 bikers on way to funeral.|
|New Laws for Motorcycle Licensure Take Affect July|
Basic Rider Course now required for all motorcycle endorsement
Starting July 1, new motorcyclists must take and pass the Basic Rider Course through the Florida Rider Trainer Program before they can have the motorcycle endorsement added to their license, per Section 322.12(5)(a)., Florida Statutes.
After July 1 of this year, everyone will have to take the class and pass the test, no matter their age. Future motorcyclists will be able to find a Basic Rider Course sponsor or teacher on our website. Upon successful completion, the sponsor will submit the pass results electronically to the department records. Upon receiving the results, the applicant will be processed for a motorcycle endorsement.
The Department’s Florida Rider Training Program has a wealth of information on motorcycle safety and proper licensure. For more information, check outwww.flhsmv.gov. Also information on where to find approved sponsors who teach the course can be found here.
Please note that anyone driving a motorcycle without an endorsement is violating the law, today.
What if I had completed the tests before July 1 and did not get the endorsement by that date? Will my waiver from a third party tester be honored?
Yes. As long as the tests have been successfully completed, you can still get the endorsement up to 1 year from the date of the waiver.
What happens if I had a motorcycle permit from a DL office prior to July 1 but did not complete my tests?
You have to take the Basic Rider Course before securing your endorsement.
What if I have completed the Experienced Rider Course but did not secure my endorsement before July 1, 2008?
You still have to take the Basic Rider Course before you can secure the endorsement and be legal to drive a motorcycle.
Originally posted on December 12, 2007
Sheriff Mike Scott responds to 'no helmet' editorial
Liberal media ... conservative view on helmets?
“Hats off (pun intended) to all the organizers and
participants in last Sunday’s Christmas Motorcycle Run.
|ABATE of Florida, Inc.
PO Box 60745
Fort Myers, FL 33906
Help support your local MRO*
*(Motorcycle Rights Organization)
|ABATE of Florida, Inc.|
|© 2010 ABATE of
Florida, Inc. Southwest Chapter • All Rights Reserved
Donations to ABATE of Florida, Inc. are not deductible for Federal Income Tax Purposes
ABATE of Florida, Inc. and Southwest Chapter Does Not Condone Drinking and Driving