Local News

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY SHELTER LIST 2017

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY SHELTER LIST 2017

*Primary Shelters (Others will be opened ONLY if necessary)

Important: Shelters will only be opened on an as-needed basis (at the discretion of the County Emergency Management Director). You should stay tuned to local radio and TV stations for announcements regarding shelter openings.

**Persons with Special Medical Needs MUST be pre-registered!

Registration forms can be found on the County Website athttp://www.co.okeechobee.fl.us/departments/emergency- management/documents

Director of Emergency Management – Mitch Smeykal
Okeechobee County Emergency Management Department
Phone: (863) 763-3212

Citizen Information Line: (863) 824-6888


SFWMD Announces Lock Closures for Lake Okeechobee and Kissimmee River as well as Recreation Closures for Hurricane Irma

SFWMD Announces Lock Closures for Lake Okeechobee and Kissimmee River as well as Recreation Closures for Hurricane Irma

West Palm Beach, FL – In anticipation of Hurricane Irma, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is adjusting hours for navigation locks on Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River as well as temporarily closing public lands to recreation within all 16 counties served by the District.

All navigation locks on Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River will operate during normal hours on Thursday. To ensure safety, all lock operations will be suspended at noon on Friday.  Lock operations will resume when practical and safe following the hurricane.

All SFWMD managed-land and lands managed in partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be closed to public use under an emergency order effective 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 8. Information on all reopenings will be posted on the District’s website after the hurricane.

For more information on navigation and recreation closures, visit www.sfwmd.gov/recreation. For updates on the District’s response to Hurricane Irma, follow @SFWMD_EM on Twitter or visit www.sfwmd.gov


Anatomy of a First Aid Kit

Anatomy of a First Aid Kit

A well-stocked first aid kit is a handy thing to have. To be prepared for emergencies:
  • Keep a first aid kit in your home and in your car.
  • Carry a first aid kit with you or know where you can find one.
  • Find out the location of first aid kits where you work.

First aid kits come in many shapes and sizes. You can purchase one from the Red Cross Store or your local American Red Cross chapter. Your local drug store may sell them. You can also make your own. Some kits are designed for specific activities, such as hiking, camping or boating.

Whether you buy a first aid kit or put one together, make sure it has all the items you may need:
  • Include any personal items such as medications and emergency phone numbers or other items your health-care provider may suggest.
  • Check the kit regularly.
  • Check expiration dates and replace any used or out-of-date contents.
The Red Cross recommends that all first aid kits for a family of four include the following:
  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 blanket (space blanket) [Available on the Red Cross Store]
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches) [Available on the Red Cross Store]
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First aid instruction booklet [Available on the Red Cross Store]

Build A Kit – Be Hurricane Ready

Build A Kit

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own foodwater and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Download the Recommended Supplies List (PDF)

Additional Emergency Supplies

Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:

  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lense solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Maintaining Your Kit

After assembling your kit remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers
  • Replace expired items as needed
  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

Kit Storage Locations

Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles.

  • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
  • Vehicle: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.

Hurricane Basics – Via Ready.Gov

Hurricane Basics

What

Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over the water and move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. These large storms are called typhoons in the North Pacific Ocean and cyclones in other parts of the world.

Where

Each year, many parts of the United States experience heavy rains, strong winds, floods, and coastal storm surges from tropical storms and hurricanes. Affected areas include all Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas and areas over 100 miles inland, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii, parts of the Southwest, the Pacific Coast, and the U.S. territories in the Pacific. A significant per cent of fatalities occur outside of landfall counties with causes due to inland flooding.

When

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30.

Basic Preparedness Tips

  • Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.
  • Put together a go-bag: disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate
  • If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
  • Make a family emergency communication plan.
  • Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”

Preparing Your Home

  • Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
  • Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
  • Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.
  • Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet.
  • Consider building a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter designed for protection from high-winds and in locations above flooding levels.

Hurricane Watch

Hurricane watch = conditions possible within the next 48 hrs.

Steps to take:

Hurricane Warning

Hurricane warning = conditions are expected within 36 hrs.

Steps to take:

  • Follow evacuation orders from local officials, if given.
  • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
  • Follow the hurricane timeline preparedness checklist, depending on when the storm is anticipated to hit and the impact that is projected for your location.

What to do when a hurricane is 6 hours from arriving

  • If you’re not in an area that is recommended for evacuation, plan to stay at home or where you are and let friends and family know where you are.
  • Close storm shutters, and stay away from windows. Flying glass from broken windows could injure you.
  • Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary. If you lose power, food will last longer. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to be able to check the food temperature when the power is restored.
  • Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.

What to do when a hurricane is 6-18 hours from arriving

  • Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Charge your cell phone now so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.

What to do when a hurricane is 18-36 hours from arriving

  • Bookmark your city or county website for quick access to storm updates and emergency instructions.
  • Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
  • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.

What to do when a hurricane is 36 hours from arriving

  • Turn on your TV or radio in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include food and water sufficient for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded.
  • Review your evacuation plan with your family. You may have to leave quickly so plan ahead.
  • Keep your car in good working condition, and keep the gas tank full; stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.

After a Hurricane

  • Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
  • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.
  • Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
  • Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.

When there is no hurricane: Make a hurricane plan

  • Know your hurricane risk. Talk to your local emergency management agency.
  • Make an emergency plan.
    • Sign up for alerts and warnings
    • Make a Family Communication plan
    • Plan shelter options
    • Know your evacuation route
  • Build or restock your basic disaster supplies kit, including food and water, a flashlight, batteries, chargers, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Consider buying flood insurance.
  • Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans. Know where to go and how to get there should you need to get to higher ground or to evacuate.
  • Stay tuned to local wireless emergency alerts, TV, or radio for weather updates, emergency instructions, or evacuation orders.

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Local News 8/31

News Cast for August 31st:

Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel Stephen spoke recently on the over population of the jail, a problem not only for Okeechobee, but most of the nation. Sheriff Stephen mentioned stiffer fines and penalties along with electronic monitoring devices and outreach programs for those who qualify as alternatives to prison.

On the arrest reports:

Tawanda Renea Thomas of Okeechobee was arrested by Okeechobee County Sheriff department and charged with aggravated assault on a pregnant woman. Bond is set at $10,000

Michael Dale Crose was arrested on an out of county arrest warrant for Grand Theft Auto. He is out on $2000 bond.

Robert Woods of Okeechobee was arrested on a misdemeanor count of petit theft and one count of resisting arrest without violence. He is out on $1750 bond.

 


AAA AND BUDWEISER ASK MOTORISTS TO CAP OFF THE SUMMER SAFELY

AAA AND BUDWEISER ASK MOTORISTS TO CAP OFF THE SUMMER SAFELY

Tow to Go Program Available Starting this Friday through Labor Day

Broadcast Quality B-Roll (click here) Broadcast Quality Sound Bites (click here)

TAMPA, Fla. (August 30, 2017)  With the end of summer in sight, many Americans will be celebrating Labor Day weekend in one way or another. Whether that involves attending a family barbeque, hosting a party, or visiting the local sports bar, AAA and Budweiser urge everyone to plan ahead to celebrate safely. That means choosing a Designated Driver, staying where they are celebrating, or arranging for another form of safe transportation.

For those that did not plan ahead and need the Tow To Go program, it is available Friday, September 1st through 6 A.M. Tuesday morning, September 5th.  The following guidelines apply:

Tow To Go Service Area Phone Number
FL, GA, TN, NE, IA, ND, IN (Fort Wayne/South Bend) and WI (Wausau) (855) 2-TOW-2-GO or (855) 286-9246

Tow To Go Guidelines:

  • Confidential local ride to a safe location within 10 miles
  • The AAA tow truck takes the vehicle and the driver home
  • Free and available to AAA members and non-members
  • Tow to Go is provided in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee,  Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, Indiana (Fort Wayne and South Bend only) and Wisconsin (Wausau only)
  • Tow To Go may not be available in rural areas or during severe weather conditions
  • Visit www.AAA.com/TowtoGo for dates and availability throughout 2017

If you are hosting a party, please do so responsibly. Check out the Great Pretenders Party Guide from the Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation to learn more.

“Labor Day weekend is a great opportunity to get together with friends and family,” said Amy Stracke, Executive Director for AAA’s Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation. “Please plan ahead to make sure all of your loved ones get home safely – especially when alcohol is involved.”

“The Tow To Go program is an effective way to promote the use of Designated Drivers and help prevent impaired driving,” said Katja Zastrow, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for Anheuser-Busch. “We are proud to partner with AAA and their roadside assistance drivers to help keep our roads safe.”

Since its inception in 1998, Tow To Go has safely removed more than 24,000 impaired drivers from roads across the Southeast and Midwest. It is designed to be a safety net for motorists who did not plan ahead when drinking away from home on celebratory holidays. It is offered based on the availability of AAA drivers and tow trucks during times of high call volume. The Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation provides Tow To Go to help keep all motorists safe from the dangers of impaired driving.

Anheuser-Busch Wholesalers have been cosponsors of the program since its inception in 1998. Not only has the company provided funding for the service, it has also worked with local bars and restaurants to help educate servers on the importance of not over-serving their customers.

About Anheuser-Busch
Anheuser-Busch and its employees build on a legacy of corporate social responsibility by focusing on three key areas: promoting alcohol responsibility, preserving and protecting the environment and supporting local communities. In the past three decades, Anheuser-Busch and its wholesalers have invested more than $1 billion in preventing drunk driving and underage drinking and promoting responsible retailing and advertising. Anheuser-Busch reduced total water use at its breweries by nearly 50 percent over the last 10 years. The company has been a leading aluminum recycler for more than 30 years. Each year Anheuser-Busch and its Foundation invest approximately $20 million in donations to charitable organizations that help in local communities. The company also has provided over 76 million cans of emergency drinking water to people impacted by natural and other disasters since 1988. Based in St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch, the leading American brewer, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the leading global brewer. For more information, visit www.anheuser-busch.com.

About Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation
Established by AAA – The Auto Club Group in 2010, Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation, Inc. (ACGTSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and public charity dedicated to producing a significant and continuous reduction in traffic crashes, injuries and deaths in the communities targeted by its efforts. ACGTSF provides programs, education and outreach to increase public awareness about the importance of traffic safety and improve driving behavior. ACGTSF is funded by voluntary, tax-deductible contributions from organizations and individuals who support ACGTSF’s purpose.

About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America.  ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.4 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana.  ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 57.7 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.


Temporary Closure of S-135 Lock on Lake Okeechobee Scheduled for Sept. 25

Temporary Closure of S-135 Lock on Lake Okeechobee Scheduled for Sept. 25

The boat lock is one of four on the north shore to be closed for one day each for maintenance

Okeechobee, FL – For boaters navigating to and from Lake Okeechobee, a temporary closure of the S-135 navigation lock at J&S Fish Camp in Martin County has been scheduled for Monday, September 25. This closure will last one day and is necessary to complete maintenance work for the lock.

The S-135 is one of four navigation locks on the north shore of the lake that will be closed for maintenance. The other day-long maintenance closures are:

  • Today – Okeechobee County: G-36 structure, Henry Creek
  • September 5 – Glades County: S-127 structure, Buckhead Ridge
  • September 7 – Glades County: S-131 structure, Lakeport

To get the latest information on navigation through SFWMD structures and waterways, visit www.sfwmd.gov/navigation.


Local News 8/30

News Cast for August 30th:

As Houston Texas continues to reel from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, Florida is playing it’s part to help out. On Tuesday, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers are continuing to actively assist with disaster response efforts in the Houston area. FWC officers have rescued more than 200 Texans since arriving in the area after being deployed by Governor Scott in response to Texas’ request for emergency assistance. Nearly 125 FWC officers, more than 40 boats, 17 high water vehicles, two Mobile Command Centers, and eight shallow draft vessels are currently in Texas to support ongoing search and rescue and disaster response efforts.

Locally, Parrott Island Grill is accepting donations for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. They are in partnership with Salvation Army and Red Cross to be sending donations to Texas. They are in need of clothes, blankets, pillows, necessities and other items. Go to WOKC Facebook page for more information. K9 Rescue is also accepting funds to help them either go to Texas or donate to local pet shelters in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. Their number is 863-824-5373 and they are also available via Facebook by going to K9 Resque (with a q)

Okeechobee County Emergency Management Mitch Smeykel reports that Hurricane Harvey does not pose a direct threat to Florida, however, heavy rains and increased risk of rip currents remain a possibility for portions of the state. Mainly the panhandle. Tropical Invest 93l is developing off the coast of Africa does not pose a threat to Florida within the next 5 days, but should be closely monitored.

On the arrest reports for today:

Mitchell Ray Hatfield of Okeechobee was arrested and charged with Burglary of a dwelling and resisting arrest without violence.  Bond will be set at first appearance.

A routine traffic stop resulted in the arrest of Donald Kirk McDonald JR. After a search of the vehicle, McDonald was charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of a concealed weapon by a convicted felon. Possession of marijuana less than 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia. McDonald was not given bond due to currently being out of jail on bond for another court case.


Locals News 8/28

Local News for August 28th:

On Saturday evening, Governor Rick Scott announced he is deploying Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers and resources to Houston in response to Texas’ request for emergency assistance following Hurricane Harvey. These officers and resources will be assisting with search and rescue and disaster response efforts. Governor Scott spoke with FWC Major Jay Russell, who will be leading the response.

Severino

Governor Scott said, “Floridians know firsthand how damaging a storm can be for families and communities, and how important it is to have the support of nearby states during these challenging times. That is why I am immediately sending FWC officers and resources to respond to Texas’ request for emergency assistance following the impact of Hurricane Harvey. These officers and resources have been staged in Pensacola and we have been closely monitoring this storm and working with Texas to make sure we can offer any assistance they may need. This evening, I also spoke with FWC Major Jay Russell to wish him the best and let him know that all of Florida stands behind him and these brave FWC officers. I encourage all Floridians to continue to offer support and prayer for Texas families and communities.”

Twenty-five FWC officers, 17 high water vehicles, two Mobile Command Centers, eight shallow draft vessels and four patrol boats are currently in route to Houston and arrived early Sunday morning to immediately begin response efforts.

Raichandani

On the arrest reports, Murry Cosby the 3rd was charged with 2 counts of battery including one count of battery on detention or commitment facility staff. A traffic stop resulted in the arrest of  Raymond Raichandani  on two weapons possession charges by a convicted felon. Bond is set at $5500 also in the vehicle was  Karen Grooms arrested and charged with 3 counts  possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. Bond is set at $15000. Robert Verner was arrested for leaving the scene of a traffic crash with injuries. The crash happened at approximately 1:30 am in the 2700 block of 441 south east. Bond will be set at first appearance.


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