News Cast for October 20th:
Glades County is negotiating with positive medical transport to take over EMS services in northern Glades County and Buckhead Ridge. The company informally offered to do the service for 70 thousand dollars, Okeechobee County offered to do the service for 126 thousand dollars annually. Glades County will release Okeechobee from their mutual aid services when and if they can work out a deal with positive transport.
Dale Barrett retired after 44 years of service to the Okeechobee school board last week as director of operations. He had started as a physical education teacher and held many jobs including assistant principal. He praised his colleagues and staff over the years during his speech before the school board. Barrett said he is proud of the facilities his staff was able to oversee during the past 20 years including several new schools, like South Elementary, and Osceola Middle School.
In the courts, 20 year old Faith Kahn received two years drug offender probation and 7 months in jail for a January traffic stop by city police where 17 explosive devices, weapons, body armor, a sawed off shotgun and met amphetamines were allegedly found. Kahn pled no contest to possession of a short barreled shotgun. One of her codefendants, Michael Holmes, who was on parole at the time, received four years in prison.
Sports Cast for October 20th:
South Fork stunned Okeechobee by jumping out to a 33-0 lead in the first 15 minutes of the game and went on to rout the Brahmans 54-23 on Friday night. QB Stone Labanowitz completed 10 of 14 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns to Brandon Greis and Walter Thomas. He added a rushing touchdown. Junior Green returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown. Okeechobee was led by an 85 yard kick return for a touchdown by Bubba Fludd, a three yard touchdown by Lamar Williams and a four yard touchdown run by Juanyae Ford. Jarrett Mills added a 32 yard field goal.
Brahman Coach Chris Branham maintained his team was a bit stunned by the early deficit. Branham says there was no one area of the game that the Brahmans were able to be successful Friday. South Fork had 334 rushing yards in the game.
Lamar Williams led Okeechobee with 18 carries for 94 yards.
This week the Brahmans travel to Palm Bay Bayside for another district game.
EXPERIENCE MATTERS MORE THAN AGE WITH YOUNG-ADULT DRIVER SAFETY
AAA Foundation Research Suggests States Could Reduce Crashes by Extending GDL Requirements
TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 20, 2014) — Experience behind the wheel may matter more than age when it comes to the safety of young-adult drivers, according to two new studies by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. These results suggest that states could reduce road crashes, fatalities and injuries by extending graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws to novice drivers beyond age 17. AAA is promoting this research as part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, which takes place from Oct. 19-25.
Graduated driver licensing laws are designed to help new drivers gain practical experience in a relatively safe environment by initially restricting their exposure to risky situations, such as driving at night or with young passengers. The law then gradually phases in more privileges as new drivers gain more experience.
“Turning 18 does not instantly make someone a safer driver,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “This new research clearly demonstrates how important experience is to safe driving and suggests that graduated driver licensing laws may be beneficial for people that begin driving at an older age.”
The findings are based on two studies that examined crash rates of new drivers. The first study looked at crash rates in both California and North Carolina, which are two states that allow driving at age 16 and have no GDL requirements for new drivers ages 18 or older. While new drivers licensed at older ages tended to be less likely to crash during their first months and years of driving than younger beginners, the research revealed an important exception: new drivers licensed at age 18 were more likely to be involved in a crash resulting in injuries during their first year of solo driving than new drivers licensed at any other age.
The second study examined crash rates in New Jersey, which has a minimum age of 17 for unsupervised driving and is the only state in the country to have a comprehensive GDL program for all new drivers up to age 21. In New Jersey, while crash rates of new drivers licensed at different ages largely converged after six months of solo driving experience, older beginners had lower crash rates overall and lower rates of injury crashes than younger beginners.
“Many teens delay getting their driver’s license and are driving less,” said John Pecchio, AAA spokesman. “This results in fewer structured hours behind the wheel during the critical learner’s permit stage.”
Although the data did not allow researchers to directly investigate whether these differences were caused by GDL provisions, collectively, the results of the two studies suggest that applying GDL to all new drivers, or at least to some new drivers older than 17, might have a protective effect and improve safety.
Graduated driver licensing programs have reduced 16- and 17-year-old driver crashes, but generally do not apply to new drivers ages 18 and older. Prior AAA Foundation research found that an estimated 36 percent of new drivers miss out on the protections of GDL by delaying licensure until age 18 or older. AAA is not calling for states to extend GDL provisions just yet, but does believe the research results are very promising in terms of pinpointing a way to keep these drivers safe. The AAA Foundation is planning to dive deeper into this area of research in the coming year.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers, and drivers ages 18-20 were involved in more than 800,000 crashes in the United States in 2012. Parents and teens can learn more about teen driver issues and GDL requirements in their state by visiting AAA’s Keys2Drive website.
Governor Rick Scott: Florida is not waiting on the Federal Government to be prepared for Ebola
~Calls on CDC to step up preparedness support in Florida ~
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – After meeting with officials today from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, as well the Florida Department of Health, the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Division of Emergency Management, Governor Rick Scott made it clear that Florida is not waiting on the federal government for the state to prepare its citizens for a potential case of Ebola. Also today, Governor Scott urged the federal government to add Florida airports to the list of airports that have increased federal safety steps.
Governor Scott said, “We are thankful we do not have a case of Ebola in Florida and we hope we never do. But, my top priority is making sure that Florida stays safe. The CDC and the federal government have already admitted that they have failed to get ahead of the spread of Ebola in other states – and we aren’t going to let that happen in Florida. We are not going to simply wait for the federal government to be prepared. We are taking action.
“Today, we are demanding the attention of the CDC and the federal government to ensure we have what we need to be prepared to respond and keep our state safe. The federal government should add Florida airports to the list of airports that are implementing additional screening for passengers. At this time, five US airports have implemented these additional screenings, and Florida airports should be included.”
Governor Scott has taken the following actions to enhance Florida’s preparedness efforts:
- On Sunday, Florida Hospitals were asked to establish mandatory Ebola training programs to protect healthcare professionals. To date, 46 hospitals have notified ACHA that they have completed this healthcare professional training. ACHA is continuing to follow up daily with hospitals to ensure the training is complete.
- The Department of Health has also identified $1.25 million in federal grant funding that Florida will immediately use to buy high-level Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and other equipment to enhance preparedness efforts.
- The Florida National Guard is now ramping up its preparedness efforts by setting up two Rapid Response teams that will be able to provide healthcare services for any potential Ebola cases in Florida.
Governor Scott has asked the federal government for the following actions:
- Florida has asked for 30 testing kits so the state is ready to conduct tests on any cases that healthcare officials believe could be Ebola. To date, the CDC has only offered three.
- Florida has asked federal officials for over $7 million in federal funds to be redirected so the state can purchase additional high-level personal protective equipment for healthcare workers – as well as other Ebola preparedness supplies.
- Governor Scott has asked the CDC to expand their contact of airline passengers to include all passengers who traveled on the same plane as Dallas nurse Amber Joy Vinson for the full 24 hours after her flight. Within 24 hours of Amber’s flight with a low-grade fever, the plane made five additional stops – including one into and one out of Fort Lauderdale Airport.
As of the Governor’s briefing this morning in Fort Lauderdale, the CDC has not fulfilled any of Florida’s requests and he is now asking them publicly to support Florida in these important preparedness efforts.
Gov. Scott: Unemployment rate Drops from 6.3 to 6.1 Percent
Florida businesses create 12,800 private-sector jobs in September
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Governor Rick Scott today announced that Florida’s statewide unemployment rate in September was 6.1 percent, down 0.2 percentage point from last month and down 0.8 percentage point from the September 2013 rate of 6.9 percent. Florida created 12,800 private-sector jobs in September 2014. Since December 2010, Florida’s private-sector businesses have added 651,300 jobs for Florida families. Florida’s annual job growth rate has exceeded the nation’s rate since April 2012.
Governor Rick Scott said, “Today’s announcement that Florida businesses have created nearly 13,000 private-sector jobs is great news for Florida families. Together since December 2010, Florida job creators have created 651,300 private-sector jobs. Florida’s unemployment rate has also dropped from 6.3 to 6.1 percent, the lowest it has been since June 2008. Our policies are working in Florida, and more-and-more Floridians are able to get a job and support their family, and we will keep working until every Floridian who wants a job can get one.”
Since December 2010, Florida’s unemployment rate has dropped 5.0 percentage points, from 11.1 percent down now to 6.1 percent in September 2014. Florida’s unemployment rate has declined or held steady over the month for 46 of the last 49 months.
Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio said, “The 12,800 new private-sector jobs, the 261,000 online jobs ads, and the decreasing unemployment rate are all indicators that Florida is continuing to grow its opportunity economy. Florida offers the perfect climate for families and business to plan for their future.”
Florida’s labor force increased over the month and over the year in September. On an annual basis, Florida’s labor force has increased for 55 consecutive months. This economic indicator can be a sign of optimism as more people are entering the labor force with confidence in their prospects for finding employment. The labor force is defined as the sum of employment plus unemployment (those with a job and those without a job but actively seeking work).
The long-term positive trends in the unemployment rate and job counts are among the most important economic indicators to consider when analyzing the health of Florida’s economic recovery. The state’s private-sector job counts have been steadily on the rise for over four years, showing that Florida’s businesses are responding to the state’s improving economic climate. Since December 2010, the state has added 651,300 private-sector jobs.
More Floridians Getting Back to Work
- Florida’s annual job growth rate has exceeded that of the nation since April 2012.
- Florida’s private sector job growth month-to-month has been positive for 43 of the last 46 months.
- Florida has created 651,300 new private sector jobs since December 2010.
- Florida job postings compiled by the Help Wanted OnLine data series from The Conference Board showed 261,678 openings in September 2014.
Home Sales Robust
- Home sales remain robust as the backlog of existing homes on the market is down by 33.7 percent from December 2011 (Florida Realtors).
- Florida median home prices were up 2.9 percent over the year in August 2014.
Workforce Boards Assisting in Employment
- In September, Florida’s 24 Regional Workforce Boards reported more than 43,800 Floridians were placed in jobs. An individual who receives employment and training assistance through a CareerSource Center and finds a job within 180 days is deemed a placement and may be reported by a regional workforce board. Of these individuals, 9,392 previously received Reemployment Assistance.
- In 2013, more than 479,000 Floridians were placed in jobs, with 135,384 former claimants finding employment.
News Cast for October 17th:
Manuel Navarro was convicted of manslaughter as jurors deadlocked on a charge of 2nd degree murder after about four hours of deliberations on Thursday. Prosecutor Ashley Albright doubted that Navarro had any self-defense claims and even that he was sitting when he stabbed the victim, 29 year old Francisco Soto. He said the stand the ground law had no role in the incident. Both men were extremely intoxicated at the time with Soto’s blood alcohol nearly 4 times the legal limit. Albright said he will seek the maximum sentence when Navarro is sentenced on November 14th.
Brown Cow Sweetery, Waste Management and American Drilling Services took home awards in different categories as businesses of the year at a luncheon put on by the Okeechobee Chamber of Commerce Thursday at Indian River State College.
Frank Decarlo of American Drilling thanked the crowd for their support and friendship over the years. The Chamber reported that membership increased from 134 to 250 in the past year, with over 19 new businesses holding ribbon cuttings and or grand opening celebrations.
For raw audio of the Chamber Luncheon, click on the link Chamber awards luncheon ! Video footage will be posted to Facebook.
In the courts, 24 year old Hilliard Gopher avoided jail time as prosecutors dropped a charge of trafficking in met amphetamines in his case. Gopher received 18 months’ probation after a traffic stop on state road 78 west last year where 78 grams of the drug were allegedly seized.
An Okeechobee man Lemmie Prescott was hospitalized from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the left thigh on Wednesday night at a home on Lock Access Road. Alcohol was said to be a factor in the incident.
Sports Cast for October 17th:
Percint Wiggins won the most improved player award for Yearling girls basketball this year. She moves on to the high school and is a player to watch over the next four years.
Percint also played travel ball this summer and insists she has improved her game. Percint said she really wasn’t that interested in basketball until her sister started to play. She said that encouraged her to try the sport.
The Brahman boys golf team finished third at districts to Jensen Beach and Lincoln Park and will play in the regional tournament Monday in Plantation.
OHS volleyball swept Sebastian River last night to improve to 12-7 on the year, 25-19, 25-12 and 25-17.
The Junior Varsity squad also swept the Sharks 2-0. The junior girls lost Tuesday to Lake Placid 2-1.
The dean of Treasure Coast football coaches Dennis Lavelle will coach his last game in Okeechobee tonight as the Bulldogs meet the Brahmans in a key district game. Lavelle is retiring at the end of the season. Okeechobee is 2-4 and South Fork 3-3 this year. It is senior night for the Brahmans and nine players and three girls will be honored.
Moore Haven hosts Doral Academy HS football 7:30 pm
OHS swimming at Heartland Invitational in Lake Placid (Fri-Sat)
OYFL teams in playoffs with games in Lake Placid.
Rooney Receives Award for Manufacturing Excellence
Nation’s Largest Industrial Trade Association Names Rooney Champion of Manufacturing
Washington, DC – The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has awarded U.S. Representative Tom Rooney (FL-17) the NAM Award for Manufacturing Excellence based on his record in the 113th Congress in support of American manufacturing.
“Manufacturers in Florida and throughout the United States are making a comeback, creating jobs, making more products and making them better than ever before,” said NAM Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse. “However, manufacturers are often disproportionately impacted by decisions made by policymakers in Washington. The NAM is proud to stand with lawmakers like Rep. Rooney who understand what is at stake and seek to implement policies that will foster innovation, growth and competitiveness.”
“The key to rebooting our economy and helping Americans find good jobs is to create an environment where our businesses and manufacturers can succeed, grow, and hire new workers,” Rooney said. “I appreciate this award from the National Association of Manufacturers, and will continue working to fix our broken tax code, get rid of unnecessary and costly regulations, and expand American energy production, so that our manufacturing industry can thrive and create high-skills, high-paying jobs.”
Key Votes included in the Voting Record are selected by small, medium and large manufacturing executives who serve on the NAM’s Key Vote Advisory Committee. Additional information on the NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence can be found here.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.08 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for two-thirds of private-sector research and development.
Seminole Museum Hosts 17th Annual American Indian Arts Celebration (AIAC) in Big Cypress November 7-8
Seminole Museum Hosts 17th Annual American Indian Arts Celebration (AIAC) in Big Cypress November 7-8
Indigenous Cultural Explosion in the Everglades to Feature Native American Arts, Crafts, and Live Entertainment
Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation, Fla. (October 16, 2014) – The Seminole Tribe of Florida Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum is pleased to announce the return of the highly anticipated annual American Indian Arts Celebration (AIAC) November 7th and 8th. Now in its 17th year, the AIAC is one of the top festivals in the Southeast.
The event will feature an exciting array of artisans, food vendors, children’s craft activities, musical performances, dance demonstrations, a wildlife booth, and Native American camp life recreations. The Indian market will showcase some of the finest native craftsmen from around the country including prize-winning Seminole artisans. Daily performances will include an opening ceremony by Seminole Tribal elder Bobby Henry and his team of Stomp Dancers, Gordon Wareham with storytelling and flute playing, and Seminole musical acts including Paul “Cowbone” Buster, Ted Nelson, Sr., and Hybiskus. In addition, our daily roster includes Polynesian Proud Productions providing authentic Polynesian entertainment and Nakotah LaRance– a 6 time World Hoop Dance Champion and Native American Actor. The Museum’s very own Van Samuels will emcee the festivities. Saturday’s line-up will additionally include special performances by the James Billie Band and the Osceola Brothers Band, and a skateboarding contest and skate parade to correspond with our current Smithsonian exhibit: Ramp it Up—Skateboard Culture in Native America.
The event will take place on the festival grounds across from the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation.
Admission is $10 for adults; $7.50 for seniors and students. Children four years and under and Museum members are free. Admission includes entrance to the event and the Museum. Parking is ample and free.
News Cast for October 16th:
The jury trial of Manuel Navarro will enter a fourth day today and jurors will hear closing arguments this morning. Navarro took the stand in his own defense Wednesday and continued to claim it was self-defense when he stabbed his much younger roommate, 29 year old Francisco Soto to death last August 31st.
Both men had been drinking and had an argument when Navarro told women at a dance not to associate with Soto. Navarro told jurors that Soto once chased him with a machete and had been verbally abusive to him. Lead Detective Javier Gonzales said he did not feel Navarro was justified in stabbing the man.
Among arrests, 52 year old Cindy Ann Conrad was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and carrying a concealed firearm after an alleged disagreement at a home on North West 7th Street. A 25 caliber firearm was seized.
33 year old James Winters of Okeechobee picked up in Glades County on an old warrant for stealing a boat trailer from Harney pond boat canal in Lakeport. It was later recovered by Avon Park police as they seized a stolen vehicle in a separate investigation.
A double wide trailer being dismantled collapsed on a local man in the Spot in the Sun neighborhood on Monday afternoon. Special equipment was brought in by Okeechobee County Fire Rescue to remove the man. He was flown to Lawnwood with non-life threatening injuries.
The city planning board tonight will hear an application for a drive thru restaurant for Sonic in a heavy commercial zoning district at 501 North East Park Street.
Sports Cast for October 16th:
The Lady Brahman volleyball team sweeped past Lake Placid, 25-21, 25-13 and 25-17 to improve to 11-7 on the season. Lexi Ward and Sarah Hurst celebrated their senior night.
The Lady Brahman bowling team fell to Martin County 6-1 and to Treasure Coast 7-0 this week.
Ashley Byrd led the Ladies with a 356 series against Martin County. Jessica Olney rolled a high game of 214 versus Treasure Coast.
The Boys bowling team fell to Martin County 5-2 and the boys team was shut out by the Titans 7-0.
Brian Chapman rolled a high game of 269 versus Treasure Coast. He predicts the bowling team can do well at districts later this month. Chapman has rolled two perfect games in the off season playing in senior leagues with older players. He said that has really sharpened his skills
Yearling volleyball and soccer at Oslo 4:30 pm
OHS bowling home against St. Lucie West 3:30 pm
JV football away at South Fork 6 pm
OHS volleyball hosts Sebastian River 5/6:30 pm
Water Among Top Priorities for Commissioner Putnam in 2015-16 Budget Request
Nearly $30 Million Requested to Support Water Restoration and Conservation Projects
Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services submitted its Legislative Budget Request today for consideration by the Florida Legislature to fund programs and projects during Fiscal Year 2015-16. In a letter to the directors of the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget, the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Appropriations Committee, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam highlighted the need for funding to support water restoration and conservation projects.
“Water is our state’s most important natural resource,” Commissioner Putnam said. “Not only is it one of Florida’s defining characteristics, but we need a healthy and abundant supply of water to grow and thrive as a state. Therefore, we must work to restore the health and conserve our supply of water – and we must do so with a policy and budget that is flexible, comprehensive and long-term.”
Water has been one of Commissioner Putnam’s top priorities during his first term as Commissioner of Agriculture. As a result of his efforts, more than 10 million acres of agricultural lands in Florida have already adopted water-saving techniques and implemented new technologies to protect and conserve Florida’s water supply. Collectively, agricultural producers saved more than 1 billion gallons of water last year.
Additional funding will “help us build on our recent success to continue restoring the health of our water and save even more water for future generations to enjoy,” Commissioner Putnam said.
The water-related requests include:
- $15 million to support restoration projects around Lake Okeechobee, including water retention and nutrient reduction efforts surrounding Lake Okeechobee, St. Lucie River and Caloosahatchee River watersheds.
- $5 million for the Springs Initiative.
- $5 million for the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program Area, both projects aimed at increasing acreage of agricultural lands that are implementing best management practices to reduce impact on the environment.
- $1.5 million for agricultural water supply planning.
- $1.4 million for partnership agreements with water management districts and soil and water conservation districts.
Other priorities reflected in the budget request are the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, citrus greening and wildland firefighters.
The Rural and Family Lands Protection Program provides funding to invest in conservation easements that will protect Florida’s landscape, wildlife habitat and other natural resources, while maintaining private ownership and supporting the local economy. The budget request includes $25 million to support the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program and continue investing in conservation easements located in environmentally critical regions of the state.
Citrus greening is a bacterial disease that has spread to every citrus producing county in the state, and there is no cure. As a result, the citrus industry harvested the lowest crop last year in more than three decades. The budget request includes $8 million to continue research efforts, as well as $8 million to help prevent the spread of disease in the citrus industry.
Florida’s wildland firefighters put their lives at risk to protect Florida’s homes, businesses and residents. The budget request includes funding to provide pay increases for Florida’s firefighters and fire support positions. In addition, it includes $7 million to upgrade equipment and protective gear that will help keep our firefighters safe from harm.
Perseverance is the Ticket
By Christine Call
BOCA RATON— Christopher Comis is a pleasant, smiling, outgoing, hard worker. He is a ticket taker and usher with Paragon Theaters in Deerfield Beach. He works two or three days a week and is excited to be working in the community. Comis said, “My hard work paid off. I wanted a job working with other people and I got it this past June. I’m very happy about my job.”
Comis has cerebral palsy and is a customer of Florida’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and APD is highlighting the workplace achievements of people with developmental disabilities.
Comis went through a regular interview like the other job candidates for the usher and ticket taker position. Kelly Griffin supervises Comis and said he was shy at first, but no more. She raved about his friendliness, positive attitude, and patience. Griffin said, “He makes it so easy to be around him because he’s always smiling. His coworkers love him and look out for him.” Griffin added that the only accommodation Comis needed was a table instead of ticket stand.
Julie Sherman is Comis’ support coordinator. She shared that he is a very strong, articulate self-advocate who wanted to be in an inclusive work environment. “Christopher has made a lot of progress since he started working at Paragon Theaters. The job has been a good self-esteem booster,” Sherman said. She added, “He is now looking for a group home as he wants to be more independent.”
When not working, he enjoys playing video games, attending sporting events, and listening to all kinds of music.
APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 50,000 Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit APDcares.org or call toll-free 1‑866‑APD‑CARES (1‑866‑273‑2273).