Port Charlotte Sun from Port Charlotte, Florida on January 28, 2008 · 15
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Port Charlotte Sun from Port Charlotte, Florida · 15

Port Charlotte, Florida
Issue Date:
Monday, January 28, 2008
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Lions Club meets at 6:30 p.m. the second and fourth Monday of each month at the Family Table Restaurant. Lions Club members support sight and hearing projects as well as local youth. Call Bill Nurse at 941-426-9444. Palm Christian Academy food drive , 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m. today through Friday at 390 Flamingo Blvd., Port Charlotte. Food collection for the R.E.A.C.H. Foundation food pantry. AMVETS thrift shop is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is in the former Plantation Restaurant plaza, by Spurs and Spokes, on U.S. 17 South, between Arcadia and Nocatee. Case of mistaken identity costs cell phone user ‘S ince moving to Florida from Connecticut, I have purchased a new cell phone and have gotten a local phone number as well. The problem is that I am being inundated with calls from telemarketers and or collection agencies. AT&T will not block the number. The Do Not Call organization took my complaint but hasn’t acted on it. I am getting upwards of 50 to 60 calls in a week from what I can gather is an automatic dialer. Because of the problem, I do not take my cell phone anywhere because just answering it costs me money. Can you please help? Michael Kopinja, Port Charlotte.” Michael, all those calls that you got from 800-424-5004 came from Chase. Chase’s Paul Hartwick confirmed that it’s a customer service number used for credit card customers in collection. Checking with the Web site www.whocalled.us — where people share comments about the identity of phone spammers — revealed comments from almost 200 individuals who had similar experiences with calls from that number. But you never had a Chase credit card. It seems the person that formerly had the local number AT&T recently assigned you did. And there’s the problem. That person signed a six- page card member agreement giving Chase permission to contact them “for customer service or collection, at any address or telephone number as well as any cellular telephone number you provide us.” Almost all of us most likely have signed something like this too, but probably don’t know it. So that’s the number Chase called. Again. And again. And again. Chase — like many other companies including telemarketers — uses an automatic telephone dialing or predictive dialer system. It makes hundreds of calls a minute and uses artificial intelligence to detect when a person answers the phone. But if there’s no real person ready to receive your call in a few seconds, the system just disconnects, not tying up your line. Now you know why there’s no one at the other end of your landline sometimes when you keep saying “Hello” over and over and all you hear is “dead air.” But they’re not allowed to autodial cell phones. The Federal Communications Commission, which regulates all this stuff, did that knowing that “wireless customers are charged for incoming calls whether they TODAY IN THE AREA INDEX Calendar..................2 Police Beat..............4 Obituaries................5 Viewpoint..............22 Opinion..................23 PET WAREHOUSE: P AGE 24 Same store, new owner Pet Owners Warehouse in Port Charlotte has changed ownership, but what hasn’t changed is that it continues to provide the same friendly service as in the past. COUNTY AGENT: P AGE 8 Our Florida urban forests do reduce air pollution Good news — trees are truly good for our urban areas in Florida! Trees help our environment by removing air pollution, thus affecting air quality as well as conserving energy earmarked for cooling and heating needs. O UR TOWN O UR TOWN FORECAST: P AGE 9 Fire weather watch in effect Monday M ONDAY , J ANUARY 28, 2008 Charlotte City Editor – Lorraine Schneeberger 941-206-1168 DAVID MORRIS I NYOURCORNER Fugitive arrested in Charlotte Man wanted in Virginia in connection with slayings S TAFF R EPORT PUNTA GORDA — A man accused of three slayings at a Virginia tree farm was arrested in Punta Gorda Saturday, authorities said. Frederick Phillip Hammer, 48, of Crumpler, N.C., was arrested at approximately 7:52 p.m. at 27457 Tierra Del Fuego Circle in Punta Gorda. At approximately 3:30 p.m. Saturday, the CCSO received a “be on the lookout” bulletin from Virginia for Hammer, who was a “person of interest” in the investigation of three murders in Grayson County, Va., Thursday. Lt. Rick McDonald was notified by a member of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Warrants Squad/U.S. Marshal’s Task Force that the suspect may be in the area of Tierra Del Fuego Circle. Law enforcement units responded to the area of the residence to conduct further investigation. The suspect and several other persons left the Punta Gorda home at approximately 6:10 p.m., authorities said. At approximately 7:52 p.m., Hammer returned to the residence, where he was placed under arrest on the Virginia warrant for the homicides. While original news reports stated that Hammer was taken into custody for a probation violation, CCSO officials said the murder warrant was in their system by approximately 7:28 p.m. Saturday, almost 25 minutes before the arrest had been made. Originally, Hammer was consid- ered a “person of interest.” On Thursday, Grayson County authorities responded to an address in their jurisdiction, where they discovered a triple homicide. Law enforcement officials said an attempted robbery apparently led to the shooting deaths of Ronald F. Hudler, 74; his son, Frederick D. Hudler, 45, and tree farm employee John S. Miller, 25, of West Jefferson, N.C. The murders took place on Take your pick: The 27 other parties By JON F. SICA D E S OTO N EWS E DITOR ARCADIA — Despite the two-party stranglehold on U.S. politics, Florida voters who refuse to conform with political pundits’ “red” or “blue” monikers can take the road less traveled. The Florida Department of State lists 27 other active political parties for voters suffering from a bad case of two-party blues to choose from, with enough platforms and planks to build an English ship of the line. Like the America First Party of Florida ; its Web site said the party seeks to “ensure equality before the law in protecting those rights granted by the Creator” and “to clean up our corrupted political system.” But don’t confuse it with the American Party of Florida , which advocates term limits for state, county and municipal government. There is also the American Poor People’s Party . It doesn’t have a Web site. SUN PHOTO BY SARAH COWARD, scoward@sun-herald.com Is that you, Bambi? A pair of deer peers through the brush of a cypress hammock near a pond at the Babcock Ranch property on a recent cool in Southwest Florida morning. God’s road warriors By JASON WITZ S TAFF W RITER ENGLEWOOD — Pastor Garry Clark can’t seem to find a bicycle seat that suits his large frame. It didn’t matter how far he traveled. Clark could pedal around the block, and the rigid saddle would leave him aching. “A lot of people ride their bike. That’s no story,” he said. “I’m 250 pounds. You put this body on a bicycle seat and it starts to hurt.” But the Englewood man plans to spend one week on that seat, even if it leaves his posterior numb for days. Garry and his wife, Joy, will ride their bicycles 300 miles to the Florida Keys to raise money and awareness for Fellowship Church of Englewood. The trip, which begins Sunday, is part of a fundraising effort to build a 40,000-square foot worship hall in the center of Rotonda. It will have the capacity to seat 1,200 people. Currently, the nondenominational church has two Sunday services at the Lemon Bay High School Performing Arts Center, with attendance averaging 500 to 800. SUN PHOTO BY JASON WITZ, jwitz@sun-herald.com Pastor Garry Clark and his wife,Joy,will ride their bicycles 300 miles to the Florida Keys to raise money and awareness for a new church.The trip,which will last about one week, begins Sunday. SLAYINGS | P6 PICK | P6 ROAD | P6 MORRIS | P6 Marullo’s holds grand opening today By SUSAN E. HOFFMAN N ORTH P ORT A SSISTANT E DITOR PORT CHARLOTTE — Ed Pope first saw chef Glenn Cullen tossing pizza dough high in the air at Monty’s in Punta Gorda. “I can do that,” Pope told him. Cullen had his doubts. But Pope picked up a piece of elastic dough, stretched and twirled it, and sailed it high into the air, catching it as it floated back down. From that time, the two became friends and, over the years, talked of opening a restaurant together. At the time, Cullen was a chef at Monty’s, a popular spot featuring Italian cuisine, and Pope was a Charlotte County Sheriff’s deputy. They maintained their friendship, though, even after the original Monty’s was destroyed by Hurricane Charley and Pope moved on to become a state trooper. Now, after years of friendship and sharing a love of Italian cuisine, the pair are opening their own restaurant together. Marullo’s, at OPENING | P6 - x? ......................................................................................................................................................... .. .

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