News Cast for November 3rd:
Election Day has arrived and the time for people to make their choices for elected offices. That said, it’s a person’s right to be able to make those choices safely and securely in this time of the pandemic and without fear of being harassed or interfered with in any way and local law officers in the Treasure Coast are ensuring that. Sheriff’s from Okeechobee, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River Counties have partnered with the state attorney’s office from the 19th Circuit to ensure that by warning anyone who seeks to interfere with anyone’s right to choose their candidate will be dealt with by swift legal action. Sheriff Noel Stephen says the plan includes deputies stationed at voter polls to act as security in the event of any harassment of voters by anyone. Surprisingly, though Stephen says that has not been a problem here in Okeechobee and the reason for that is we exercise respect (Stephen-Voter Protection on Election Day). Voter polls opened at seven o’clock this morning and will remain open until seven tonight.
It’s been said that the toughest part of a race is the last leg and that’s where we’re at now in regards to the races for Okeechobee County elected offices for this year. Candidates were seen at the intersection of Park Street and Parrott Avenue waving at drivers of passing vehicles, drumming up support as the days and hours go by leading to tonight. One of those candidates was recently retired Okeechobee County court judge Jerald Bryant, opposing incumbent Sharon Robertson for Okeechobee County Court Clerk and Comptroller. Bryant says he’s taking the lead of former FL Congressman Bill Nelson when he started doing this over forty years ago and he believes it’s making a difference.
Lisa Rodriguez, a candidate for Okeechobee County Supervisor of Elections, has also been at the Park Street and Parrott Avenue intersection waving at drivers for the past several weeks gaining support for her campaign leading into tonight. Rodriguez, the County Deputy Supervisor of Elections since 2014, says it’s encouraging to get the support of the people of this community for her campaign.
Rodriguez is opposed by Melissa Arnold and Donna Howard. Other races of Okeechobee County interest being decided tonight include District 3 Okeechobee County Commissioner between incumbent Brad Goodbread and Demetre Riles, District 55 FL House of Representatives pitting Republican Kaylee Tuck versus Democrat Linda Tripp and of course the US Presidential race between Republican incumbent Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden.
The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Okeechobee County as of yesterday rose by fifteen thru the weekend and unfortunately our fatality numbers also rose by two after nearly a week of no change. As of yesterday morning, courtesy of the FL Department of Health, Okeechobee County has 1,763 positive cases of the Coronavirus since March, and fatalities are now at an even forty. 1,758 people diagnosed with the virus are local residents and their ages range from infant to one hundred with the median age of the patients being forty. Hospitalized county residents remain at 194. Those who’ve 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. As of yesterday morning, the state is reporting 812,063 positive COVID-19 cases since March and 801,371 of those are FL residents. Florida’s death toll is at 16,834 with 49,485 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:
33 year old Christopher Burgor Colon of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for aggravated battery on a pregnant woman and child abuse. His bond is set at twenty thousand dollars.
30 year old Brian Daniel Corwin of Okeechobee was arrested on a Glades County warrant for failing to appear in court on past charges of driving on a revoked or suspended license. His bond is set at ten thousand dollars.
23 year old Lillian Louise Geary of Okeechobee was arrested for armed trespassing and aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony. Her bond is set at just over $17 thousand dollars.
40 year old Aureliano Cantorio of Okeechobee was arrested by police for driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.