Suit settled but fight not over

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                                           LEESBURG, FLORIDA                                    SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2010                           

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                                                                                                                                             Lake, Sumter
                                                                                                                                             see improved
                                                                                                                                             jobless rates
                                                                                                                                                BRAD BUCK | Staff Writer       BY THE NUMBERS
                                                                                                                                                                               I Lake County unemployment
                                                                                                                                               Lake County’s jobless           rate dropped to 11.6 percent, a
                                                                                                                                             rate is down from                 0.7 percent dip from September.
                                                                                                                                             September, dipping to             I Sumter County figures
                                                                                                                                             11.6 percent in October,          enjoyed a 0.6 pecent boost from
                                                                                                                                             state figures released            Ocober, and now stand at 9.2
                                                                                                                                             Friday show.                      percent. Sumter is the only
                                                                                                                                               In September, local             Florida county below 10 percent.
                                                                                                                                             joblessness was 12.3 per-         I The state unemployment
                                                                                                                                             cent. Last year at this           average is 11.9 percent
                                                                                                                                             time, Lake’s unemploy-
                                                                                                                                             ment stood at 12.2 per-           increase of 72,377 job
                                                                                                                                             cent, according to the            postings     since     last
                                                                                                       VICTORIA ALDRICH / DAILY COMMERCIAL                                     October, AWI said.
                                                                                                                                             Agency for Workforce
Lake County Sheriff’s deputies take a robbery suspect into custody at the RaceTrac convenience store in Leesburg. Four men were              Innovation (AWI).                   “While Florida’s unem-
arrested Friday during a traffic stop in connection with the armed robbery of a Fruitland Park BB&T bank.                                      Sumter County’s un-             ployment rate did not
                                                                                                                                             employment rate stands            decrease this month, we
                                                                                                                                             at 9.2 percent, down from         continue to see positive

Caught                                                                   Robbery suspects                                                    9.8 percent in October.           signs of stabilization and
                                                                                                                                             Last October, Sumter’s            growth,” said AWI Director
                                                                                                                                             jobless rate was 9.6 per-         Cynthia     Lorenzo. “In

                                                                         in police custody                                                   cent.
                                                                                                                                               Sumter is the only
                                                                                                                                             county in Central Florida
                                                                                                                                             with a jobless rate below
                                                                                                                                                                               addition to showing
                                                                                                                                                                               improved over-the-year
                                                                                                                                                                               job creation, Florida
                                                                                                                                                                               posted the largest de-
                                                                                                                                             double figures, according         crease in the country last
                                                                                                                                             to AWI.                           week in the number of
    BRAD BUCK | Staff Writer           orange Chevrolet Cavalier                                                                               Unemployment figures        at the RaceTrac gas station                                                                                                             people who filed for first-
                                                                                                                                             from Lake and Sumter              time      unemployment
                                       in Leesburg believing the                                                                             counties are both better
      olice took four peo-

P     ple into custody
      Friday afternoon for
allegedly robbing the
                                       vehicle and the driver fit
                                       the descriptions of the
                                       ones used in the Fruitland
                                       Park bank robbery.
                                                                                                                                             than the state number of
                                                                                                                                             11.9 percent, a figure that
                                                                                                                                             did not change from
                                                                                                                                                                               benefits. Combined with
                                                                                                                                                                               increasing numbers of
                                                                                                                                                                               job postings online, this
                                                                                                                                                                               is encouraging news for
BB&T Bank branch in                                                                                                                          September.
                                         The sheriff’s office held                                                                             With an 11.9 percent            our job seekers and our
Fruitland Park — the fifth             the car and the suspects                                                                              jobless rate, you have            economy.”
bank robbery in Lake                   until Fruitland Park police                                                                           1,096,000 people not                Friday also saw encour-
County the past few weeks              arrived to make the arrest,                                                                           working out of a labor            aging news for Florida’s
and second in two days.                sheriff’s officials said.                                                                             force of 9,233,000, AWI           consumer confidence.
  The identities of the sus-             Police say they are look-                                                                           said.                             According to the Univers-
pects weren’t immediately              ing at similarities between
released, but Fruitland                                                                                VICTORIA ALDRICH / DAILY COMMERCIAL     Statewide, job postings         ity of Florida, consumer
                                       the various bank rob-              The Fruitland Park Police Department and Lake County Sheriff’s     totaled     235,464      in       confidence       increased
Park police Chief Mark                 beries in northern Lake
Isom said investigators                                                   Office investigate an armed robbery Friday at the BB&T bank at     October, the fifth straight       from 68 in September to
                                       County in the past month.          410 E. Palm St., Fruitland Park.                                   month of gains and an             74 in October.
have identified two of the               Friday’s heist came one
suspects and are waiting               day after two men tried to         BB&T robbery as black           on foot with an undis-
on information on the two              rob the Wachovia Bank              and Hispanic. One was           closed amount of cash,
  Investigators are trying
to determine what role
each played in the rob-
                                       branch at 2271 Citrus
                                       Blvd. in Leesburg. That
                                       bank is just south of the
                                                                          camouflaged while the
                                                                          other wore dark clothing,
                                                                          Isom said.
                                                                                                          Isom said.
                                                                                                            Police and Lake County
                                                                                                          sheriff’s deputies used
                                                                                                                                             Benefits will expire
bery, Isom said.
  A Lake County sheriff’s
deputy stopped a burnt
                                       bank that was robbed
                                         Isom would only
                                       describe the men in the
                                                                            The men entered the
                                                                          bank at 1:06 p.m., pointed
                                                                          a gun at a teller and fled
                                                                                                          police dogs to search for
                                                                                                          the bank robbers in nearby
                                                                                                                      SEE ARRESTS | A2
                                                                                                                                             unless Congress acts
                                                                                                                                                     ANDREW TAYLOR
                                                                                                                                                      Associated Press

                                                                    CLERMONT                                                                   WASHINGTON             —
                                                                                                                                             Jobless benefits will run
                                                                                                                                             out for 2 million people

Suit settled, but fight not over                                                                                                             during the holiday sea-
                                                                                                                                             son unless they are
                                                                                                                                             renewed by a Congress
                                                                                                                                             that’s focusing more
                                                                                                                                             attention on a quarrel
     ROXANNE BROWN | Staff Writer                                                               misconduct.

                                                                                                                                             over preserving tax cuts                It’s a shame what lengths                 The notice of settlement was filed         for people making more
  The City of Clermont has agreed to                  you have to go to in order to             with the Federal Court in Ocala on           than $200,000 a year.
                                                                                                Nov. 5. The case was dismissed on              It’s looking iffy at best
pay more than $62,000 in attorney’s                     address an issue, but it’s              Nov. 9, according to the clerk of            whether Congress will
fees to the American Civil Liberties
Union on behalf of Wayne
                                                        the city. What’s the little             court.                                       renew jobless benefits
                                                           guy supposed to do?                    “It’s bittersweet,” Weatherbee said.       averaging $310 per week
Weatherbee, a local business owner
                                                                                                “It’s a shame what lengths you have          nationwide that are
who filed a federal suit against                               — Wayne Weatherbee               to go to in order to address an issue,       presently claimed by
Clermont claiming the city is violat-                                                                                                                                                            AP FILE PHOTO
                                                    and one of Weatherbee’s attorneys.          but it’s the city. What’s the little guy     almost 5 million people
ing his freedom of speech.                                                                      supposed to do?”                                                               Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., talks
                                                      The settlement regarding the fees                                                      who have been out of
  “We wanted to make sure his mes-                                                                According to Weatherbee, the signs         work for more than six            on Capitol Hill in Washington.
sage was heard loud and clear and                   comes after an initial lawsuit filed on                                                                                    Benefits for more than
                                                                                                are a protest against what he consid-        months.
that his First Amendment rights                     Feb. 4 to stop the city from imposing                                                      An extension of jobless         2 million people will expire
                                                                                                ers to be unfair tactics used by the
weren’t violated. The First Amend-                  fees or demanding that Weatherbee           city against him since 2005. He was          benefits enacted this             over the holidays unless
ment has won,” said Maria Kayanan,                  remove 12 signs he posted on his                                                                                           House and Senate members
associate legal director for the ACLU               property accusing city officials of                                SEE LAWSUIT | A4                 SEE BENEFITS | A2      can pass legislation soon.

                                      Volume 134, No. 324 | 4 sections   INSIDE                   MONEY              A8         TODAY’S         Sun and
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