News Cast 10/9

News Cast for October 9th:

An Okeechobee man, charged with second degree murder of a local man last spring, will be in court this morning for a plea hearing and he will apparently take responsibility for the crime. 31 year old Derrick Levi Clay will appear before an Okeechobee County Court judge to plead guilty to the murder of 24 year old Tohermain Rosier during the early morning hours of May 3rd. Okeechobee Lead Prosecutor Ashley Albright says if Clay does indeed enter a guilty plea, he will be sentenced right away. Albright says it’s a mystery to him as to why Clay decided on this course of action.

Clay’s attorney, James Regan, says he made a deal with the state to waive the prison releasee re-offender statute in exchange for the guilty plea, which if the case went to trial and Clay was found guilty,  he would serve the maximum of life in prison. Regan, a former prosecutor, says he believes his client made a wise decision by taking responsibility and spare the state and Rosier’s family a trial, not to mention the fact that it’s a lot harder to win cases as a defense attorney.

Despite the admittance of guilt, Clay could still get life in prison. The hearing is set to begin at 11 o’clock. The case against Clay’s accomplice, 25 year old Cheyenne MacKenzie Smith, has yet to be heard.

We’re just over a week into October and while it’s the month of Halloween and fun, it’s also a time to get serious about some issues, one in particular is Breast Cancer. Okeechobee County Commissioners took the time during their meeting yesterday to proclaim October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This proclamation is designed to provide a platform to educate women on learning more about the disease and detecting it early to have the best chances of recovery. Okeechobee resident and Breast Cancer survivor Kantrel Smith was on hand to accept the proclamation and she was honored to accept it. Smith, who was diagnosed last year and still being treated, has been very busy helping others who are going through what she’s been going through.

Tomorrow at the Breast Cancer Awareness Health Expo, there will be a mobile mammogram station set up for women who wish to receive a mammogram and other testing. It’ll be held at the Willie Alderman Field on the four hundred block of NE 15th Avenue from nine until three. Breast Cancer is responsible for claiming 40 thousand lives a year in the United States and it affects men as well as women. If you wish to contact Kantrel Smith about her non-profit organization or the Breast Cancer Awareness Health Expo tomorrow, her phone number is (863) 267-5743.

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Okeechobee County as of yesterday morning rose again, but unfortunately, the number of fatalities also rose by two.  As of yesterday morning, courtesy of the FL Department of Health, Okeechobee County has 1,624 positive cases of the Coronavirus since March and there are now 30 fatalities. 1,620 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. 179 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 726,013 positive COVID-19 cases since March and 717,148 of them are FL residents. Florida’s death toll is at 15,068 with 45,483 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:

27 year old Brianna Katherine Fulwider of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for possession of methamphetamine. Her bond is set at five thousand dollars.

22 year old Aaron Bradley Hill of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on a facility employee with fluids and battery on a law enforcement officer. His bond is set at six thousand dollars.

20 year old Ian Matthew Christie of Okeechobee was arrested for resisting arrest without violence. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.

40 year old Robert Jake Harris of Okeechobee was arrested on battery charges. He was released after posting a one thousand dollar bond.

18 year old Christin Grace Frank of Okeechobee was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. She was released after posting a one thousand dollar bond.