News Cast 3/19

News Cast for Mach 19th:

Few impacts from new red light

Okeechobee City Police Chief Robert Peterson said there have been no serious accidents as the result of the new red light at the intersection of North Parrott Avenue and Ninth Street.

“It is surprising.  Generally when you put up new red lights, there are a few more accidents at first until people get used to the light.”

Peterson advocated for the light.  He said truck traffic trying to pull onto North Parrott Avenue often had a long wait time for access and that created hazards.

He said motorists have been paying attention and are getting used to the light.

“It has been a matter of luck.  People have driven the road for 30, 40, or 50  years with no red light and suddenly now there’s a light there  We have had a few mishaps there but everyone has been lucky,’ he added.

Fire union wants more talk in fire department merger

A law firm representing Local 2918 of the International Association of Firefighters said the union was not included in an Inter-local Agreement for fire services agreed to by Okeechobee City Council and the Okeechobee County Board of County Commissioners.

The union represents all of the fire-rescue personnel employed by both Okeechobee County and the City of Okeechobee.

The union requested the city and county schedule sessions for bargaining and negotiations.

Issues they want addressed include but are not limited to seniority, promotions, pension and retirement benefits and terms, temporary employee status, eligibility for transfer, compensation, paramedic certification, safety and training, compliance with the existing agreement, and other terms.

The letter from the firm of Egan, Lev and Siwica mentioned the union has not waived its rights to pursue an unfair labor practice, a grievance, or litigation.

“Until the bargaining, arbitration, unfair labor practice, and or other litigation have been resolved, we respectfully expect the employers to maintain the status quo,” the letter concluded.

The two departments have been working on the merger for months and the merger was expected to happen on June 1.

Walk-ins for COVID Vaccinations are available Sunday, March 21st from 8:30am until 1 pm at the Glades County Regional Training Center, 1030 Industrial Dr, Moore Haven, FL 33471 for healthcare workers, for anyone 60 yrs and older, as well as any law enforcement, fire fighters and school workers 50 yrs and older, or individuals medically vulnerable 18 yrs and older who have the Official Department of Health Form signed by a doctor. Bring identification and proof of FL residency with you.