News Cast 10/22

News Cast for October 22nd:

Okeechobee County Commissioners will be meeting this morning and besides the weekly report on the status of the Coronavirus in the county, they will be getting a progress report from Securitecture, Inc. on the county’s Jail Expansion and Renovation project and they will also be handing out employee service awards. The meeting will be held in the Historic County Courthouse beginning at nine o’clock. It’ll be streamed live on the commissioners’ website. Seating will be limited in the courthouse due to social distancing guidelines.

Speaking of the Okeechobee County Commissioners it was announced last week that County Administrator Robbie Chartier tendered her resignation to take a job as the executive director of Public Risk Management of Florida, where she will be providing property and casualty insurance and group health trust to municipalities across the state. Chartier looked at it as an opportunity that would be great for her career and she could not pass it up. Besides that, Chartier says she feels that as the county administrator, she’s at the top of her game professionally and now is the right time to go.

Chartier became Okeechobee County Administrator in November of 2011 after 13 years as the deputy administrator. During that time she served two stints as interim head County Administrator. Chartier’s last day working with the county will be January 19th and she’ll begin her new job on February 1st. Chartier cited financial stability and getting the county debt-free among her greatest achievements during her tenure and she’ll miss her staff the most. Commissioners will also be addressing Chartier’s successor during today’s meeting.

Early Voting is defined as a person who casts a ballot prior to Election Day at a location designated by your county’s Supervisor of Elections and deposits the voted ballot into the tabulation voting system. The voting equipment used during early voting is the same as the equipment used on Election Day. Early voting began on Monday in Hendry and Palm Beach Counties, and it will begin on Saturday, October 24 in Glades County. Websites for all three counties all have detailed information about the voting process including polling locations, local candidates, sample ballots and voting dates and times. Nicole Reid, News Director for WAFC, our sister station in Clewiston, spoke with Brenda Hoots, Supervisor of Elections for Hendry County and she has more on early voting.

For more information on early voting in Hendry, Glades, or Palm Beach Counties, the links for each county is posted on the WAFC website at www.wafcfm.com.

A funny thing happened regarding Okeechobee County’s COVID-19 case numbers for yesterday-nothing. As of yesterday morning, courtesy of the FL Department of Health, there are 1,680 positive cases of the Coronavirus since March and 37 fatalities, both remain unchanged from the previous day. 1,675 people diagnosed with the virus are local residents and their ages range from zero to one hundred with the median age of the patients at an even forty. The number of county residents hospitalized also remains unchanged with 189. 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 760,389 positive COVID-19 cases since March and 750,739 of them are FL residents. Florida’s death toll is at 16,105 with 47,352 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:

36 year old Joshua David Roach of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for dealing in stolen property and grand theft. His bond is set at $12,500.00 dollars.

29 year old Kyle Thomas Moon of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and tampering with evidence. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.

37 year old Samantha Spring Nolan of Okeechobee was arrested for failing to obey law enforcement. Her bond is set at five hundred dollars.

41 year old Jeremiah Faughn Rhoden of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on two past charges of commercial fraud and trafficking stolen property. His bond is set at $25 hundred dollars.

29 year old Mitchell Arthur Dean of Okeechobee was arrested on three counts of petit theft. His bond has not been set.

55 year old Steven Rodney Marshall of Clewiston was arrested on two Hendry County warrants for violating probation on past charges of petit theft. He’s being held without bond.