News Cast for November 4th:
While it may still be a while before we officially find out if Donald Trump was re-elected or if his opponent Joe Biden became the new US President, there’s no doubt that in Okeechobee, the Republican Party was victorious last night. In the race to become the new Okeechobee County Elections Supervisor, Melissa Arnold defeated non-party affiliated candidates Lisa Rodriguez and Donna Howard to become the new County Supervisor of Elections. Arnold, a local businesswoman who has worked on several past campaigns, says she’s “very blessed” to win this office and she’s excited to begin meeting the goals she set out to accomplish if she won, which she did by garnering over sixty percent of the vote. Arnold says the county deserves excellence and she wants to make it the best small county in the state. To accomplish that, she says her first priority will be to clean up the voter roll.
In another local race, incumbent Brad Goodbread was re-elected as District 3 County Commissioner, defeating Okeechobee High School (OHS) men’s basketball coach and US Army veteran Demetre Riles. Goodbread received nearly 66 percent of the vote to secure a second term and he says he feels good to be re-elected and it gives him a chance to continue to accomplish some things he set out to do such as improvements for Lock 7, creating fun things for people to do in the county without having to leave such as a splash pad and continue to grow the recently formed County Economic Development Corporation to create more jobs and opportunity.
In the other local race, former County Court Judge Jerald Bryant defeated incumbent Sharon Robertson to become the new Okeechobee County Court Clerk and Comptroller. Bryant could not be reached for comment at this time.
Another political race Okeechobee residents were watching closely was the District 55 Florida House of Representatives and that was won by Republican Kaylee Tuck, who garnered nearly 75 percent of the vote in defeating Democrat Linda Tripp. Tuck, an environmental attorney from Sebring, says she had no idea what to expect going in with the voter turnout and was amazed that she won it by a landslide. Tuck says her first order of business when she takes the seat in the Florida House will be balancing the budget and it’ll be tough this upcoming year due to the revenue deficits caused by COVID-19.
The 26 year old Tuck says she’ll continue practicing law despite her election to the Florida House. She will succeed Cary Pigman who has held the post since 2012 and Tuck says she’ll be looking to Pigman for advice on handling certain issues. Tuck defeated citrus executive Ned Hancock in the primary election to secure the Republican nomination for last night’s general election.
The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Okeechobee County as of yesterday rose by a half dozen and unfortunately our fatality numbers also rose by one. As of yesterday morning, courtesy of the FL Department of Health, Okeechobee County has 1,769 positive cases of the Coronavirus since March, and fatalities are now at an even 41. 1,764 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 816,700 positive COVID-19 cases since March and 805,924 of those are FL residents. Florida’s death toll is at 16,890 with 49,715 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:
32 year old Cherise Marie Lawrence Carrick of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies for driving on a suspended license after a traffic stop. She was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.
49 year old William Lugo of Okeechobee was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. His bond is set at ten thousand dollars.
36 year old Yvonne Marie Prieto Brege of Okeechobee was arrested for criminal mischief. She was released after posting a $250.00 dollar bond.
41 year old Jeremiah Faughn Rhoden of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of commercial fraud and trafficking stolen property. He’s being held without bond.
26 year old Cintya Duque Colarte of Okeechobee was arrested for driving without a valid license after a traffic stop. She was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.
19 year old Daniel Morgan Phillips of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of marijuana possession with intent to sell. He’s being held without bond.
35 year old Enevin Edward Lutjen of Okeechobee was arrested by police for battery by strangulation during a domestic dispute. His bond is set at five thousand dollars.
47 year old Tricia Marie Maxey of Okeechobee was arrested on a local warrant for failing to appear in court to be arraigned on past drug possession offenses and resisting an officer. She’s being held without bond.
49 year old Edilberto Lugo of Okeechobee was arrested for disorderly conduct. His bond is set at five hundred dollars.