Tales from Florida


Lehigh Acres, Florida is a far cry from New York City but the apocalyptic scenerio described in The Times this weekend was enough to send shivers down the spine of even the most optimistic gotham dweller:

Trinkets for $1 were an early sign of trouble. Early last year, garage sales and estate auctions became more common in Lehigh Acres as families sold what they could to survive. No one seemed interested in buying whole houses, and foreclosures soon gave way to empty homes that became magnets for crime. Thieves stole air conditioner parts for scrap. And on distant roads with only a few new homes and faded blue street signs from the ’50s — on Narcissus Boulevard, on Prospect Avenue — drug dealers moved in. In 2007 and 2008, the Lee County Sheriff’s Department shut down more than 100 houses in Lehigh Acres where marijuana was being grown. In 2008, the police confiscated nearly 3,000 plants valued at nearly $7 million.


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