Archive for » February 14th, 2012«

Paradise to Prison: Pettibone Sentenced in $1.5 Million Ponzi Scheme

Trading the D.C.-area rat race for a quiet seaside paradise sounds like the ending to a John Grisham novel.

It’s a daydream that former Alexandria resident Richard Allen Pettibone, 44, almost made a reality. But the money he used to fuel his dreams—$1.5 million—wasn’t his.

Pettibone stole the money in a Ponzi scheme from his investment clients in Springfield, Lorton and Sterling, he acknowledged last week in a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Pettibone was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison for mail fraud. Federal public defender Joshua McIntire Paulson represented Pettibone, Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye prosecuted the case and U.S. District Judge James Cacheris accepted the plea agreement.

Playing Cat and Mouse with Investors

From February 2003 to February 2006, “Rick” Pettibone, a 1985 graduate of the old Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County, operated Benten Investors, LLC. He operated the company from an Old Town Alexandria address on the 400 block of N. Lee Street, according to Peter Carr, public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

For several years, Pettibone played cat and mouse with about a dozen Northern Virginia investors, including some acquaintances, mailing them phony statements that kept them from asking too many questions while using their investment money for his own personal pursuits. The losses for one investor from Springfield totaled $400,000, according to an FBI affidavit.

Pettibone and girlfriend Debbie Clark, a graduate of Reston’s South Lakes High School who attended George Mason University, used the investors’ money to purchase two homes in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood on W. Wyatt Avenue. Also using investors’ money, they leased a car under Pettibone’s grandmother’s name, and splurged on a nearly $400,000 yacht, according to Carr and the FBI affidavit.

After selling the Del Ray homes, one in the summer of 2005 and another later that year, Pettibone quickly bought and sold another home on O Street in Washington in 2006.

Fleeing the Country

In February 2006, the couple fled to Costa Rica, but not before wiring $500,000 of the investors’ money to a bank there. Carr said they motored the yacht from the D.C. area to Florida. It’s uncertain who was at the helm or how the yacht got from Florida to Costa Rica.

After being tipped off by disgruntled investors, the FBI began to investigate the case and eventually tracked Pettibone down at a small seaside village in Puerto Jiminez in Costa Rica, where he and Clark had opened a motel called “The Palms” near the coast. The town, population 8,000, is on the Osa Peninsula near Corcovado National Park, home to crocodiles, monkeys, parrots and jaguars, according to National Geographic.

A description of the hotel on the Costa Rica tourism site offers this description:

“Each room at The Palms Hotel is beautifully decorated, air conditioned, has hot water, first class linens, spectacular views of the Golfo Dulce and free wireless internet. The Palms Restaurant offers al-fresco dining directly on the Golfo Dulce. The menu offers regional dishes along with international cuisine on par with finer restaurants anywhere in the world.”

The Spending

The FBI investigation, led by Special Agent Michael P. Kelly, a CPA and certified fraud examiner, uncovered a tangled trail of financial transactions. According to the affidavit:

  • Pettibone and Clark bought a 43.5-foot long 2002 Cruisers Model 4450 yacht with a pricetag of $398,331.43 from Warehouse Creek Yacht Sales. Dubbed “Viviendo,” they purchased the yacht using an American Express card in the name of Clark’s mother, Nena McHugh, a former State Department employee, according to the FBI affidavit. McHugh told the FBI she was not the intended owner of the yacht. $299,286.94 of investors’ funds were used to purchase, insure, dock and maintain the boat.
  • Clark and her mother purchased one home with investors’ funds and Pettibone bought another, both on West Wyatt Avenue in Del Ray. After the sale of the homes in July and November 2005, Pettibone wired four transfers totaling $530,000 from Wachovia Bank to Banco Nacional de Costa Rica.
  • Deposits, payments to the title company and mortgage payments on the homes came from the Benten Investors’ account.
  • A house on O Street in Washington, D.C. was paid for with investors’ funds; Pettibone eventually pocketed nearly $75,000 while investors lost close to $150,000.
  • Payments on 33 credit cards (Pettibone funneled nearly $500,000 from the Benten Investors’ accounts into them).

Calls to Pettibone’s lawyer were not returned.

According to her Facebook page, Debbie Clark is still living in Costa Rica, where Pettibone spent 11 months in jail awaiting extradition and sentencing.

Apparently Clark will not serve any time. “The plea agreement indicates that this District agrees not to prosecute girlfriend Debbie Clark for any involvement she had or may have had in this scheme,” Carr said.

Clark still owns The Palms hotel and its restaurant, according to its current manager Erickson Lezcano Matarrita, who was contacted by Patch through the tourism bureau.

Days before Pettibone’s sentencing last Thursday, Clark wrote on her Facebook page: “Rick is a good man…and I love him very much….I will miss him every day [until] we are together again.”

The federal Bureau of Prisons will determine where Pettibone serves his time, Carr said.

Typically federal prisoners prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia are detained at Alexandria’s William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center while they wait to be transported to prison.

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Rockford Boat, Vacation & Fishing Expo to unveil new hybrid boat

The 41st annual Boat, Vacation Fishing Expo, which will be held from Friday, Feb. 17 through Sunday, Feb. 19, at the Indoor Sports Center/Expo ISC, 8800 E. Riverside Blvd., Rockford, will feature the unveiling of a new hybrid boat.

The GillGetter and Qwest electric pontoon hybrid boats can be powered by a variety of electric motors, including the Minn Kota E-DRive, the Torqeedo 2.0R and the 4.0R, the Parsun 5HP, the Apex Solo Drive, the Ray electric outboard or the newly offered Paddle Qwest electric hybrid.

The expo runs from 4-8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17; from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, and from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 19.

For more information, go to or call 815-877-8043.

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Trade group urges Virginia to keep boat-tax cap

Trade group urges Virginia to keep boat-tax cap

Posted on 14 February 2012

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Members of the Virginia Marine Trades Association gathered last week in Richmond as part of the association’s inaugural Lobby Day event.

Fourteen General Assembly members, or their legislative aides, met with constituents to discuss legislation of concern to the industry.

“With more than 253,500 watercraft registered in the commonwealth, as well as 7,600 documented vessels, boating and other activities related to Virginia’s waterways are a significant part of our state’s heritage — and our economy,” VMTA president Carolyn Norton Schmalenberger, of Norton Yachts in Deltaville, said in a statement. “VMTA seeks to protect and promote all of the different businesses involved in recreational boating.”

Lobby Day attendees shared their concerns about House Bill 145, which would remove the long-standing $2,000 cap on the sales tax for boats.

“Virginia’s watercraft tax structure benefits not only consumers and boat dealers, but also businesses that serve the recreational watercraft industry and the local economy,” Schmalenberger said. “For many years, Virginia has been perceived as a boating-friendly state. Removing the cap would postpone purchases, discourage boat owners from moving up in size and drive boat buyers to neighboring states where watercraft tax is much less.”

Members also shared statistics provided by the National Marine Manufacturers Association detailing a significant drop in recreational watercraft spending in Virginia between 2007 and 2010.

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Leaser Lake trout fishing possible for 2013

George White, the chairman of the Leaser Lake Heritage Foundation, reported what many Lehigh Valley area anglers would consider good news.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is thinking about opening up trout fishing on the still-drained Leaser Lake as early as 2013.

Original plans by the PFBC called for the lake to open for trout fishing in 2016, but PFBC executive director John Arway said during the 2012 Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg last week that he felt that the 117-acre lake could open to fish for stocked trout as early as 2013.

While that may sound appealing to anglers, White isn’t so sure it will be in the best interests of turning the lake into a model warmwater fishery.

The lake, built in 1971 thanks to a dam that bottled up unnamed creeks, has had issues with the dam and spillway almost since that first construction. It was rebuilt in the 1990s, but leakage issues at the base of the dam forced the current construction project which started in October 2010.

“Recently we’ve been hearing rumblings from Harrisburg that they might step up the stocking program and go with some trout stocking early on in the restocking project,” White said Monday, “and we feel that’s a bad idea from an ecosystem standpoint.”

White set out list of reasons why stocking trout and allowing trout fishing would be a bad idea before the previously announced 2016 opening, but he also is eager to hear what Arway and PFBC Director of Fisheries Leroy Young have to say at the Leaser Lake Heritage Foundation meeting next week. The meeting, open to the public, is at 7 p.m. Feb. 23, at the Lynn Township Building on Route 143.

“I want this to be a friendly meeting,” White said. “We don’t want to ambush these guys because they are willing to come out here and talk to us. I think that’s great on their part. Heck, I’d love to be out on the lake canoeing and fishing tomorrow. We’ve been waiting a heckuva long time.”

The dam project is coming along quite nicely, according to White, although it still isn’t ready to start filling up with water. The concrete work is basically finished; the rail system on the dam and spillway are in place; and more than $100,000 worth of man-made fish habitat has been constructed in the drawn-down lake.

“Right now construction is on hold for the winter,” White said, and it has little to do with the current winter weather.

Instead, last year’s rains so saturated the ground that the soil around the dam simply wasn’t suitable for proper compaction, according to White.

“They are holding out until things dry out so that they can finish it off properly,” he said.

Once the soil is set, the spillway will be closed so that the creeks and springs will fill the lake. Once the lake is at full capacity, roughly 4.5 miles of shoreline will be easily accessible to anglers, with the boat launches ready to send out canoes, kayaks, sailboats and row boats.

The real gut check for Leaser Lake, however, is in the establishment of its ecosystem, and members of the Leaser Lake Heritage Foundation believe that introducing trout too early in the restocking phase can have a permanent negative imprint on the warmwater fish such as largemouth bass, crappies, sunfish and walleye that will be introduced as fingerlings.

White and others believe that, if restocked properly, Leaser Lake has the potential to be a Northeast U.S. destination for warmwater fish. Introducing larger fish early in the restocking process may thwart that possibility.

“The trout will eat any small fish they can find,” White said. “They would take advantage of whatever food stock is in there, and that would be the stocked fingerlings and bait fish. We’re still waiting to hear the full plan from the [PFBC]. We thought they had a good plan as far back as 2006 when they explained the long moratorium on fishing to start off with bait fish and let the populations explode before introducing bigger game fish.”

This is the biggest fish habitat-from-scratch-project the PFBC has undertaken, according to White.

“As soon as the water starts filling up, plankton and algae will form, and then they’ll introduce bait fish. It will take time for these bait fish to populate the habitat structures. Once the fingerlings are introduced, if we give them time, they will be a great base to restore the fishery. We would rather see the whole ecosystem restored so that we could ensure a sustainable quality warmwater fishery.”

White would rather see the ecosystem develop over the previously announced timeline.

“We’ve been waiting a heckuva long time,” White said, “but I’d rather wait a little longer and see it done right instead of wishing we had waited. There’s nothing worse than looking back with regret. There are plenty of other places around here to go trout fishing. The real beauty of this lake will be as a sustainable warmwater fishery.”


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Smooth sailing for youngsters

THE Ulverstone community has 12 reinvigorated youngsters following the graduation of the Leven Yacht Club’s broadreach program on Saturday night.

In just its first year, the broadreach program gives children and their parents or caregivers the opportunity to do something they wouldn’t normally get to do, which in this case is sailing.

Leven Yacht Club media spokesperson Paul O’Halloran said the program was one of the most fulfilling things he has ever been involved in.

“About 12 months ago local teacher Chris Fletcher set up a pilot program and after that was successful he and the club decided to take on a broadreach program.

“Basically we targeted kids from ages 10 to 13, but we didn’t identify them ourselves. Chris approached the schools and asked them to identify the children along with their parents and caregivers who would be willing to commit to the program,” Mr O’Halloran said.

Along with the children, there were 11 adults in the program along with 15 Leven Yacht Club members who acted as mentors for the group.

From the outset Mr O’Halloran said the participants were all frightened to even get in the boats, but over nine weeks the children, along with their family members, were able to build up confidence and sail their boats in the open ocean.

“We promoted a healthy lifestyle, with an aim of getting fit to sail, for the children through the nine weeks.

“It wasn’t just about the sailing. There were a lot of numeracy and literacy skills needed to sail the boat properly, with the sailors asked to tell wind direction.”

The program is set to be on again later this year in the 2012-13 season.

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St. Charles Parish Council relaxes rule on liquor-sale buffer zone

Restaurants with liquor licenses would be able to locate closer to churches, playgrounds, schools and day-care centers, if those institutions agree, a measure approved by the St. Charles Parish Council on Monday provides. Parish law sets a 500-foot buffer zone between the churches, schools and other such institutions and businesses that sell liquor.

St. Charles Parish logo.jpg

The council’s action allows an exception permitting alcholic sales as close as 300 feet of the protected intitutions, if the council passes a waiver resolution. There currently is no way to get a waiver from the requirement. The 300-foot buffer is the minimum required by state law.

The ordinance, sponsored by Councilwoman Wendy Benedetto, requires that the owners of the affected businesses, churches or parks within 500 feet would have to sign letters of no objection before the waiver could be granted. The ordinance applies only to businesses with restaurant liquor licenses, not taverns.

Parish Councilman Paul Hogan unsuccessfully tried to persuade the council to require the council to pass an ordinance granting the waiver, a process that requires a public hearing and public advertisements before a vote. He also tried to amend the ordinance to exclude publicly owned property, saying someone who is politically influential could persuade a public body to grant the waiver to businesses near a playground, but deny it to competitors.

Benedetto said the measure is designed to help a restaurateur who wants to relocate across the street, but the new location would be too close to a church, which does not oppose the venture.

Council members Carolyn Schexnaydre, Terrell Wilson and Hogan voted against the measure.

Wilson, whose district includes the Hahnville and Boutte areas, said the issue could be contentious because there are several churches in his district that could eventually be affected.

“It’s the kind of thing that could split the congregations,” he said.

In other action, the council approved a $117,699 contract with Frickey Bros. Construction to replace a boat launch in the Bonnet Carre Spillway under Interstate 10 that was damaged by storms in 2010 and by the spillway opening in 2011.

The parish was awarded a $125,000 Community Development Block Grant for the project.


Matt Scallan can be reached at or 985.652.0953.

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Mike Bleech: Fish and Boat Commission change will help Erie access – Erie Times

One of the more pressing area changes finally was resolved by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission at its recent winter meeting, when a step was taken toward improving fishing access for anglers who live in Erie.

For the past several years, Pennsylvania lagged behind other states bordering Lake Erie in setting regulations designed to protect fisheries in the lake. New York, Ohio, Michigan and Ontario, Canada, also border Lake Erie.

In order to manage fisheries in Lake Erie, it is absolutely essential that these states and Canadian province cooperate. They have done this to a great extent, though not without small disagreements.

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission was established to bring all states and provinces bordering the Great Lakes together on managing the lakes. The Lake Erie Committee is the body for dealing specifically with Lake Erie. It established suggestions for establishing fishing regulations, both for commercial fishing and for sport fishing, to protect the fisheries. These are based upon considerable data collected for the purpose of tracking fish populations in the lake, and trends in the populations.

Two of the most important fisheries are for yellow perch and walleye.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has, of course, cooperated with these protective measures. However, because of red tape we have not been able to react to changes as quickly as the other states have been able to do. This changed with the recent Fish and Boat Commission meeting.

By doing away with red tape, Pennsylvania now will establish daily creel limits by April 15 each year.

Anticipating that this would all happen too late for it to be included in the 2012 Summary of Fishing Regulations and Laws, the Fish and Boat Commission previously advised anglers to follow the daily creel limits for walleye and perch from the previous year. Watch for changes

Another move that will benefit Erie anglers was the approval of a grant from the Erie Access Improvement Program, not to exceed $210,000, to the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority to go toward construction of a fishing platform at Liberty Park.

Total cost of the fishing platform will be about $747,000. The Fish and Boat Commission previously awarded grants totaling $168,500 for the project. Also contributing are the Port Authority, S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Coastal Zone Management Program.

MIKE BLEECH can be reached by e-mail at Read more of his columns at

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Getting 'Moby-Dick' opera up and sailing

— Canadian tenor Ben Heppner is a versatile performer, but Tinker Bell he’s not. Yet this mountain of a man will be flying as Captain Ahab in San Diego Opera’s West Coast premiere of the opera “Moby-Dick.” The production sets sail Saturday at San Diego’s Civic Theatre.

At a recent rehearsal of the new opera by Jake Heggie — who made a splash with his first opera, “Dead Man Walking,” in 2000 — the imposing Heppner was standing at the back of a cavernous rehearsal space in the Civic Theatre complex, wrapped in ropes and leaning on the cane that is part of the costume package for Captain Ahab, whose wooden peg leg replaces the limb bitten off by the great white whale in Herman Melville’s sprawling 1851 novel.

But, during a brief rehearsal break, director Leonard Foglia casually pointed out that Heppner would not be standing but suspended above the stage during the actual performance.

“I’m about 15 feet in the air,” said Heppner, who created the role for the world premiere in April 2010 in Dallas. “I spend someone else’s aria hanging up there, as well as my own. It’s about six minutes.” Did Heppner know before he was cast that the story would land him midair? “I did not,” the tenor replied calmly. “Although, when I looked at the score and saw that Captain Ahab says: ‘I will go up to the masthead and sight Moby Dick,’ I thought, I’m wearing a peg leg. How exactly am I going to do that?”

What it came down to for Heppner was blind trust — and the excitement of being part of something new, even though during each performance “the leg that is not pegged goes through hell and back” as Heppner navigates on one foot. That’s really why everybody involved ended up on Ahab’s whaling ship, the Pequod — even though, according to composer Heggie, setting sail on any opera production is always a trip on the good ship OMG.

For soprano Talise Trevigne — the only female cast member among the Pequod’s rowdy 67-member crew in the “pants role” of Pip the cabin boy — the motivation was Heggie’s music. She called it contemporary yet accessible. “He writes from the soul,” she said. ‘I saw a tweet: ‘It’s the “Avatar” of opera.’ I like that.”

Even if this work weren’t based Melville’s tale of man versus white whale, the whale metaphor is always appropriate when talking about building an opera. In a telephone interview, the San Francisco-based composer explained that, unlike a stage musical that benefits from weeks of previews, an opera’s opening night really is opening night. “By the time it premieres, it feels pretty much shot out of a cannon,” Heggie said.

Pre-rehearsal in San Diego, Foglia, an established theater director, said the production includes a lot of high-tech excitement, including multimedia projections and acrobatics. That also brings risks, he said. “We have the ability to do so much now, knock on wood,” he said. “But it’s live. And it doesn’t work if somebody tripped over the plug, you know what I mean?”

But Foglia, who also directed “Dead Man Walking” and Heggie’s “Three Decembers” and “The End of the Affair,” still prefers new opera. He also prefers directing new plays to revivals. And luckily, this opera has a few well-received opening nights under its belt: “Moby-Dick” represents a co-production of five opera companies: Dallas Opera, the State Opera of South Australia, Calgary Opera, San Diego and San Francisco Opera, where the boat docks in October.

It’s not just the whale theme that makes this opera big. Dallas Opera artistic director Jonathan Pell called on Heggie to create an opera to open Dallas’ new Winspear Opera House. It was “not just a new American opera house, but a bold one — it was going to be red, and it was going to be downtown, with architecture that really made a statement,” Heggie said.

Heggie turned to playwright Terrence McNally, librettist for “Dead Man Walking.” He was startled when McNally said the only opera he wanted to do was “Moby-Dick. “I got really scared by that, but then I realized it was really a great place to start. There is instant name recognition, and there really wasn’t an definitive version out there in terms of film or stage.” Pell took some persuading, but eventually he too was on board.

McNally had completed successful cancer treatment before production began, but by then had already withdrawn as librettist, to be replaced by another Heggie collaborator, Gene Scheer. The creative team immediately turned the story upside down by ending, rather than beginning, with the iconic line: “Call me Ishmael.” “We want to treat the story actively in real time, not with narrator,” Heggie said. “Our character, named Greenhorn, is the survivor that years later will write the book. It freed us up enormously to create the events that would later inspire the author.”

One other thing: No boat. That is, instead of building a big wooden whaler to rock on the stage, the stage itself becomes the deck. “We needed an abstract vision for the piece — plus in the whale hunt, if we had little boats on wheels rolling it around, I think it would have killed it. It takes you out of the story,” Heggie said. Joked Foglia, “We always knew this wasn’t going to be ‘The Pirates of Penzance.'”

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Excess property sale on post Saturday

A Non-Appropriated Funds excess property sale, open to the public, will be held at DFMWR Supply, 912 Sigma St., on Fort Stewart from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Sale items will range from chairs, cribs and sleeper sofas, to weight and Nautilus exercise equipment.
Also up for sale will be a 1986 Chevrolet truck; two 15-passenger Dodge vans, one a 1988 and the other a 1996, a jon boat; Custom Craft boat with trailer; plus additional boat and travel trailers.
Purchasers must be prepared to remove the items immediately.
Military ID cardholders may pay by cash or check. Sales to civilian purchasers will be cash only.
For more information, call NAF Supply at 767-4301.

Hunter Golf Clubhouse hours changing
The clubhouse at Hunter Golf Club will close at 6 p.m. beginning Feb. 16 and continuing through March 10. Starting on Sunday, March 11 – the first day of Daylight Savings Time – the clubhouse will remain open each day until 7:30 p.m.
For more information, call 315-9115.

Qualifying for PGA pro-ams
Soldiers based on Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield are invited to compete in a qualifying tournament at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, on the Hunter Army Airfield Golf Course to be selected to represent Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield in pro-ams for the Heritage Classic on Hilton Head Island’s Harbour Town Golf Links on April 9 (two slots) and the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf Tournament on Savannah’s Westin at Savannah Harbor Golf Resort on April 18 and 19.
The Heritage Classic has played host to some of the greatest names in golf. Legends like Nicklaus, Palmer, Tiger and Greg Norman, as well as today’s top golfers from around the globe, have all been challenged by the fairways of the Harbour Town Golf Links.
Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf includes the stars on the Legends Tour, including Tom Kite, Gil Morgan, Dave Stockton and Tom Watson. The best six golfers will be selected with special consideration given to wounded warriors. Register by calling the Hunter course at 315-5910 no later than Feb 23. Regular fees will be charged.

Youth trip for Black History Month
A trip to Savannah in observance of Black History Month is planned Feb. 25 for CYSS-registered youth in grades 5-12.
Youth will go to the First African Baptist Church for a history lesson about slavery and the role of the church in the Underground Railroad. The tour also will include a visit to the Owens Thomas House, a pre-Civil War houses in Savannah. The cost is $4 per youth. Registration continues through Feb. 23.
Fort Stewart and Hunter youth can be registered through the CYSS Webtrac on-line system, or at one of the Parent Central Services offices at Stewart, 767-2312 or Hunter, 767-5425.

Sapelo Island trip for Black History Month
Leisure Travel has planned a Feb. 25 trip to Sapelo Island, considered a direct link to black Africa, to mark February as African American History Month.
Participants will tour with a native of the island. Included in the $50 per person price is transportation to the visitors center, ferry to Sapelo, tour and lunch.
Call 767-2841 at Stewart or 315-3674 at Hunter for more information.

Youth track and field, soccer sign-up
Registration for youth track and field and spring soccer will end Feb. 17 at Parent Central Services on Gulick Avenue.
Sports programs are open to youth members of Fort Stewart CYSS living on or off post. Track and field is open to ages 7-14 (as of Dec. 31) and soccer is open to ages 4-13 (March 1).
Parent Central Services is open by appointment only from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and from 8 a.m.-noon on Friday. Walk-ins are welcome on Wednesday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 767-2312. If you have a user ID, you may also register online at
Volunteers are also needed to coach teams. If you are interested in becoming a referee or a coach, visit the Youth Sports Office inside Jordan Youth Gym on West 6th Street and request a volunteer packet. Volunteers are required to undergo background checks.
For more information about Youth Sports, call 767-4371/9342/9270. For more information regarding program registration requirements, call 767-2312.

Catch-and-release bass tourney
A catch-and-release bass tournament, with winners determined by total weight of a five-fish, is scheduled for March 17.
It will be at Pond 1, Pineview Lake. Fishermen may launch at first light (about 6:30 a.m.) and present their catch for the weigh-in at 11 a.m. Cash prizes, based on the number of participants, will be awarded for first through fifth places, largest fish, and youth category.
Early bird registration will continue through March 8. The cost is $15 for soldiers, retirees, family members and Army civilians and all youth 16 and younger. The early bird fee is $30 for civilians. An additional $5 charge will be added for registration March 9-16.
Register at the Stewart and Hunter Pass and Permit Offices. The Stewart office phone number is 435-8061. The Hunter office’s number is 315-5163.
Registration fees go up another $10 on the day of the tourney. Boat rentals will be available at Holbrook Equipment Rental Center to valid ID cardholders only. Renters must present a boater safety card, available free through

Corkan’s “2-4-20 Deal”
Here’s a deal you won’t want to pass up at the Corkan Family Fun Center on Fridays from 3-9 p.m. A price of $20 covers two roller skating admissions, two skate rentals, a pitcher of soda and a 12-inch, two-topping pizza.
For more information, call 767-4273.

Bowlers Breakfast at Stewart Lanes
Looking for a pick-me-up for the end of the work week? Visit Stewart Lanes every Friday from 9-11:30 a.m. for the Bowlers Breakfast special. The special is $7.50 per person and includes two games of bowling, shoe rental and breakfast.
Don’t have time to bowl? Enjoy something from the breakfast menu, with prices ranging from $2 to $5. Menu items include breakfast burritos, bacon, sausage, eggs, grits, toast and biscuits.
Don’t have time to dine in? Call ahead for a pick-up order.
For more information, call 767-4273.

Family and MWR on the Web, Facebook
Visit the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Web site for information about what FMWR has to offer soldiers and families at Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield. The site is at
Also, like the action on Facebook at

International food in Palmetto Room
Thunder Run’s internationally inspired cuisine night is eing served in the Palmetto Room every Wednesday from 5-8 p.m., due to renovation on the south side of Club Stewart.
The menu features a different taste every week from Italian, Latin, German to American cuisine. The cost is $9.95 for adults, half price for children ages 5-10 and free for children ages 4 and under. For more information, call 368-2212.

Youth Facebook meeting March 1
A Youth Action Council Facebook meeting is scheduled from 5-6 p.m. on March 1.
The meeting provides youth with opportunities to discuss issues and to make recommendations to improve the quality of life for youth on Fort Stewart. It is open to military connected teens of parents stationed at Fort Stewart.
To participate, “befriend” the Fort Stewart Youth Center Facebook page,!/FORTSTEWARTYC.
For details, call the School Liaison Office at 767-6533.

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Enter for a chance to fish with professional angler Joe Thomas: Oswego Neighbors Today – Syracuse Post

reel in the outdoors.jpgFacebook

The following is a press release posted on the Outdoors blog by reporter David Figura:

The Wear It! Oswego campaign announces the Fish with a Pro sweepstakes, whereby one lucky grand prize winner will have the opportunity to fish with professional angler Joe Thomas. Thomas is the host of Stihl’s Reel in the Outdoors television show on the Outdoor Channel. An additional 50 runners-up will be eligible to attend a free pre-event barbeque.

“I’m excited to team with the Wear It! Oswego campaign on this important safety initiative,” said Joe Thomas. “What better way to promote the use of life jackets while angling than by fishing with the Fish with a Pro sweepstakes winner on the world-renowned Oswego River during peak salmon season,” Thomas added.

The Fish with a Pro event will take place in Oswego on Oct. 13. The winner will fish for salmon on the Oswego River in Oswego, guided by Kevin Davis, an experienced drift boat captain.

An additional 50 individuals will be randomly selected to attend the free pre-event barbeque to be held in Oswego on Friday evening, October 12, 2012. Attendees to this exclusive, invitation-only event will get the opportunity to meet Joe Thomas in person and to receive his free autographed picture.

According to Thomas, people are encouraged to submit as many sweepstakes entry forms as they would like. You must be 18 years old to enter and must reside in the United States. The Wear It! Oswego campaign will provide the winner with two nights’ hotel accommodations at an Oswego lodging establishment. All other travel arrangements, costs and meals associated with this fishing event are to be incurred by the winner.

One Fish with a Pro winner will be selected randomly from all eligible entries. All entries must be postmarked by July 15. The grand prize drawing will be held on Aug. 1.

The Fish with a Pro sweepstakes entry form and official rules can be found on the Wear It! Oswego Facebook page, as a pdf document or on the Oswego County Tourism website.

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