News Cast 10/20

News Cast for October 20th:

The Okeechobee City Council will meet this evening and tonight will likely be the night that we learn the fate of the city’s fire department. Councilmembers will vote on whether or not to approve the proposed inter-local agreement with the county to provide fire protective services to the city of Okeechobee. The council voted it down two meetings ago by a slim three to two vote. Councilmembers will also look to adopt a resolution to create the Flagler Park Improvements Citizen Board. The meeting will be held in City Hall beginning at six o’clock. Seating in City Hall will be limited due to social distancing guidelines. The meeting will be broadcast via the Zoom application. You can check with the City Administrator’s office or you can also log on to www.cityofokeechobee.com for instructions on viewing the meeting through Zoom.

Speaking of the Okeechobee City Council and more specifically the City Administrator, Marcos Montes De Oca, the council recognized him during their last meeting by honoring him with the Five-Year Longevity Service Award. De Oca, who began his career as the city’s administrator on October 6th, 2015, says he “feels really good” to be recognized by the council for his years of service to the city and cited his work in helping to get the city more financially stable over these past few years and getting road projects underway and determining the location of the police department as high points in his tenure. De Oca says he’s also proud of showing how open the city is to continued economic development (De Oca-City Administrator for Five Years 1). De Oca, an engineer, is an alumnus of the University of Florida and spent eleven years working with the engineering firm AECOM before becoming the city administrator. He also runs his own engineering firm in Okeechobee called MDO Engineering, Inc., since 2012.

Gilbert Chevrolet in Okeechobee was the scene of a rather large gathering of people last Friday evening to celebrate Okeechobee’s own Krista Stanley following her award as Florida’s 2021 Teacher of the Year and the Gilbert Family decided to honor Stanley’s achievement by providing her with a brand new Chevy Trailblazer. Stanley says she is grateful for this “sweet surprise” and “little bonus” from Gilbert Chevrolet and excited to be driving this new vehicle as she continues her tour around the state doing speaking engagements following her award. Stanley says these last few months have been rather surreal but she chooses not to focus on herself.

Christa Luna, the owner of Gilbert Chevrolet, says she’s excited to celebrate a product of a community which doesn’t have to take a back seat to anyone.

Stanley, who won the FL Teacher of the Year in August, will have the vehicle leased to her from Gilbert Chevrolet for the next two years.

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Okeechobee County as of yesterday rose again, only by six, but fortunately, the number of fatalities stayed the same.  As of yesterday morning, courtesy of the FL Department of Health, Okeechobee County has 1,666 positive cases of the Coronavirus since March, and the number of fatalities remains at 37. 1,661 people diagnosed with the virus are local residents and their ages range from zero to an even one hundred with the median age of the patients being forty. 189 county residents have been hospitalized.  Those who have tested positive are being cooperative with the county and their health providers and going through routine contact tracing. Along with fever, coughing and shortness of breath, other COVID-19 symptoms to watch out for include chills, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat and a sudden loss of sense of smell or sense of taste. Overall, as of yesterday morning, the state has 756,727 positive COVID-19 cases since March and 747,183 of them are FL residents. Florida’s death toll is at 16,021 with 47,125 people hospitalized. Okeechobee County residents can be tested, by appointment only, for the Coronavirus at the County Health Department between the hours of eight o’clock in the morning and two o’clock in the afternoon. This is an oral swab test. The Florida Community Health Centers have a drive-thru and walk-up COVID-19 testing site available every Tuesday and Thursday from eight o’clock in the morning until noon at the former Okeechobee Surgery Center located at 1655 Highway 441 North. No appointment is necessary and you don’t need insurance, but if you have it, please bring your insurance card, otherwise please bring photo identification. Testing is free in both locations. The Okeechobee County COVID-19 information line remains open from 8am to 5pm now every Tuesday thru Saturday. This number, which also doubles as the phone number of the County Library is manned by live personnel and callers can ask about county updates on the Coronavirus and what is being done. The hotline will not address questions about the virus itself or medical questions. The County Library phone number/hotline related to county updates on the Coronavirus is (863) 763-3536. Any questions related to the virus itself, please call the Okeechobee Health Department at (863) 462-5800 or the 24/7 Department of Health hotline at (866) 779-6121. Remember, the key to avoiding the Coronavirus is good personal hygiene. Washing your hands for at least 20-30 seconds with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol in it is recommended. Avoid touching your eyes or face with unwashed hands. Practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet away from someone when greeting them and not shaking any hands. Avoid shopping at peak hours and use delivery services instead.  Avoid places where there are 10 people or more. If you need further information about the virus and recommendations for preventing it, please log on to the Department of Health at floridahealth.gov or the Center for Disease Control at cdc.gov.

On the arrest report:

44 year old Joseph Earl Dudwoire Junior of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for trespassing. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

18 year old Alexandra Melissa Ramirez of Okeechobee was arrested for loitering and prowling. She was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

39 year old Corey Nathan Hardy of Okeechobee was arrested for trespassing and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is set at $15 hundred dollars.

34 year old Tracy Lamar Martin of Okeechobee was arrested by police for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

25 year old Kemmye Jibril Watson of Clewiston was arrested for burglary of a car, loitering and resisting arrest. His bond is set at $12 thousand dollars.