News Cast for November 6th:
While the American public still doesn’t have a definitive winner in the US Presidential race, all races in Okeechobee County were decided on Election Night and the Republican Party was triumphant. One of those big winners was Jerald Bryant, who became the new Okeechobee County Court Clerk and Comptroller, defeating longtime incumbent Sharon Robertson by garnering 62 percent of the vote on Election Night. Bryant, recently retired from presiding over the county courts, says he wasn’t surprised that he won by as much as he did considering the campaign he ran over the past several months and the effort he put into the campaign. Bryant says his first priority when he takes on his new job will be to assure those who work in the county clerk’s office that their jobs are secure and there will be no housecleaning of personnel.
Bryant says he will also be focusing on the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding and making sure those funds go out to businesses that applied for it. Bryant’s first day on the job will be January 4th. Robertson had been Okeechobee County Clerk and Comptroller since 1997.
The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Okeechobee County as of yesterday unfortunately rose by nine and that’s the bad news. The good news is our fatality numbers remained the same. As of yesterday morning, courtesy of the FL Department of Health, Okeechobee County has 1,784 positive cases of the Coronavirus since March, and fatalities are numbering at 42. 1,779 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, officials from the state health department are reporting 827,380 positive COVID-19 cases since March and 816,376 of those are FL residents. Florida’s death toll is at 16,961 with 50,077 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.
A Sebring man is dead following a vehicle accident a week ago Tuesday afternoon in Highlands County. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officers say the man, who was 50 years old, was riding a bicycle across the northbound lanes of Highway 27 near Keiber Boulevard in Sebring just after 3:30 when the driver a sports utility vehicle (SUV) was heading northbound on 27 in that same area. The Sebring man drove his bike right into the path of the SUV, causing a collision. The impact caused the Sebring man to be ejected from his bike, and land on the center median of the road. He was taken to Advent Health Sebring for treatment but he was later pronounced dead by medics. The SUV driver, a 39 year old woman from Avon Park, was not injured. It’s under investigation. Due to Marsy’s Law, FHP is not releasing the names of the people involved in this accident.
On the arrest report:
28 year old Mitchell Laurence Cordell of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on charges of resisting a law enforcement officer with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct and introducing contraband into a detention facility. His bond is set at $15,250.00 dollars.
36 year old Precious Nicole Hills of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of the controlled substance oxycodone without a prescription and possession of ecstasy. She was released after posting a thousand dollar bond.
36 year old Kenneth Burton McQueen Junior of Okeechobee was arrested on a Broward County warrant for a writ of arrest commitment for failing to pay child support. He was released after posting just under three hundred dollars.
39 year old Daniel Lamar Tindall Junior of Okeechobee was arrested for grand theft, burglary and dealing in stolen property. His bond is set at twenty thousand dollars.
20 year old Fernando Jose Bucio of Okeechobee was arrested for contempt of court for failing to show up to answer for past charges of driving on a suspended license. He was released after posting a five hundred dollar bond.
20 year old Wanda Marquese Sands of Okeechobee was arrested on Broward County warrants for violating probation on past charges of trespassing and grand theft auto. She’s being held without bond.
33 year old David Lee Garrett of Okeechobee was arrested for possession of the controlled substance fentanyl without a prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest. His bond is set at four thousand dollars.
19 year old Antonio Keith Bartell of Okeechobee was arrested for violating probation on past charges of possession of a firearm on the grounds of a school and carrying a concealed firearm. He’s being held without bond.
22 year old Oneisha Lashae Brown of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license and for violating probation on past drunk driving charges. She’s being held without bond.
18 year old Johntaurus Raejohn Johnson of Clewiston was arrested on Hendry County warrants for armed trespassing and obstruction of a criminal investigation. He’s being held without bond.